Page images

Mark and Luke were approved and confirmed, the one by St. Peter, the other by St. Paul. So Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis, and Clemens Alexandrinus say expressly that the Gospel of St. Mark was written at the desire of the new converts, and ratified by St. Peter. So the learned Origen affirms, that the second Gospel is that of Mark, who wrote as Peter dictated to him; and the third Gospel is that of Luke, which is commended by Paul. So Tertullian saith, that Mark's Gospel is affirmed to be Peter's whose interpreter Mark was; and Luke's Gospel they are wont to ascribe to Paul. So Jerome saith, that the Gospel according to Mark, who was the disciple and the interpreter of Peter, is said to be Peter's. These authorities are more than sufficient to weigh down the single testimony of Irenæus to the contrary; but besides these, Gregory Nazienzen, Athanasius, and other fathers might be alleged to prove, that the Gospels of Mark and Luke received the approbation, the one of St. Peter, the other of St. Paul: and it is very well known, that both these apostles suffered martyrdom under Nero. The Gospel of St. Mark must have been written at latest in the reign of Nero · “for he died in that reign, in the eighth year of Nero,"* according to Jerome. The Gospel of St. Luke was written before the Acts of the Apostles, as appears from the preface to the latter; and the Acts of the Apostles concluding with St. Paul's dwelling at Rome two years, it is probable that this book was written soon after that time, and before the death of St. Paul. It may be concluded then .as certain, that three of the four Gospels were written and published before the destruction of Jerusalem; Dr. Lardner himself, who fixed the time of writing the three first Gospels later than most other authors, yet maintains that they were all published some years before the destruction of Jerusalem;† and in all probability the writers themselves were dead before that period; St. Matthew and St. Mark were certainly so: and consequently it cannot with any colour of reason be pretended that the predictions were written after the events St. John is the only evangelist, who lived and wrote after the destruction of Jerusalem; and he purposely omits these prophecies, to prevent this very cavil, as we may suppose with reason. Neither can it be pretended, that these predictions were interpolations made afterwards,‡ because they are inserted in several

* Mortuus est autem octavo Neronis anni. [Translated in the text.] De Script. Ecdes. 105, vol 4. edit. Benedict.

+ See vol. 1. of his supplement to the Credibility of the Gospe. History

* See this argument pursued more at large in Dr. Jortin's Remarks on Ecclesiastical History vol. 1. p.72 77.

places, and woven into the very substance of the Gospels; and because they are cited and alluded to by ancient writers as well as other parts; and because they were not to be accomplished all at once, but required several ages to their perfect completion; and we see them, in some instances fulfilling to this very day.

In the conclusion of the twenty-third chapter of St. Matthew, our Saviour had, with the most merciful severity, with the most compassionate justice, pronounced the sentence of desolation upon Jerusalem; ver. 37, 38,- O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Be hold, your house is left unto you desolate.' In like manner, upon another occasion, when he was approaching to Jerusalem, Luke xix. 41, 42, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, if thou hadst known, even thou at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.' So deeply was our Saviour affected, and so tenderly did he lament over the calamities, which were coming upon his nation! Such a generous and amiable pattern of a patriot spirit hath he left to his disciples and so contrary to truth is the insinuation of a noble wri ter, that there is nothing in the Gospels to recommend and encou rage the love of one's country.

When our Saviour uttered that pathetic lamentation, recorded in the twenty-third chapter of St. Matthew, he was in the temple,. speaking to a mixed audience of his disciples and the multitude: and as he was departing out of the temple, ver. 1st, of the twentyfourth chapter, his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple,' intimating, what a pitiable calamity they thought it, that so magnificent a structure should be destroyed. In the other gospels they are represented as saying, Mark xiii. 1,— 'Master, see what manner of stones, and what buildings are here;' and as speaking of the temple, Luke xxi. 5,- how it was adorned with goodly stones, and gifts.' The gifts of ages were reposited there, the presents of kings and emperors, as well as the offerings of the Jews and as the whole temple was built with the greatest cost and magnificence, so nothing was more stupendous than the uncommon measure of the stones. The disciples appear to have admired them particularly, and to have thought them very extraor dinary; and indeed they were of a size almost incredible. "Those

[ocr errors]

* Shaftsbury's Characteristics, vol. 1, p. 99.

+ Vide Joseph. de Bell. Jud. lib. 5, cap. 13, sect. 6, edit Hudson

employed in the foundations, where, in magnitude, forty cubits," that is, above sixty feet, a cubit being somewhat more than a foot and a half: " and the superstructure was worthy of such foundations." ."* There were some stones of the whitest marble, forty-five cubits long, five cubits high, and six cubits broad, as a priest of the temple hath described them.

Such a structure as this, one would have expected, might have endured for many generations, and was indeed worthy of the highest admiration: but, notwithstanding, our Saviour assures his disciples, ver. 2,―There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.' Our Saviour in his prophecies frequently alludes to phrases and expressions used by the ancient prophets; and as the prophet Haggai, ii. 15, expresseth the building of the temple by a stone being laid upon a stone,' so Christ expresseth the destruction of it by 'one stone not being left upon another.' In the same manner he speaketh of, and to, the city, Luke xix. 44. They shall lay thee even with the ground, and shall not leave in thee one stone upon another.' It is a proverbial and figurative manner, of expression, to denote an utter destruction: and the prophecy would have been amply fulfilled, if the city and temple had been utterly ruined, though every single stone had not been overturned. But it happened in this case, that the words were almost literally fulfilled, and scarce one stone was left upon another.' For when the Romans had taken Jerusalem, "Titus ordered the soldiers to dig up the foundation, both of all the city and the temple." The temple was a building of such strength and grandeur, of such splendour and beauty, that it was likely to be perserved, as it was worthy to be preserved, for a monument of the victory and glory of the Roman empire. Titus was accordingly very desirous of preserving it, and protested to the Jews who had fortified themselves within it, "that he would perserve it, even against their will." He had expressed the like desire of preserv


'Hy 8

Πείραι δε τεσσαρακονίαπηχεις το μεγεθος ἦσαν το δομηματος. Saxis vero in extructione usi sunt quadragenorum cubitorum magnitudinis. [Translated in the text.] άξια των τοικίων θεμελίων και τα ύπερ αὐτων έργα. Tantis autem fundamentis digna erant opera illis imposita. [Translated in the text.] Των δε ἐν αὐτω λίθων ἔνιοι μήκος πενίς και εσσαρακονί, πηχων ήσαν, ύψος ωeιε, εύρος δε ἑξ. Saxorum autem quibus exstructum erat templum, quædam erant xlv. cubitos longa, alta v. et lata vi. [Some of the stones with which the temple was built, were forty-five cubits long, five high, and six broad. Joseph. de Bell, Jud. lib 5, cap. 5, sect. 1, 2, 6, edit. Hudson.

[ocr errors]

† Κελεύει Καισαρ ήδη την κε πολιν άπασαν και τον νέων κατασκάπτειν. Jubet eos Cæsar totam funditus jam evertere civitatem et templum. [Translated in the text.] Joseph. de Bell. Jud. lib. 7, cap. 1, sect. 1, p. 1295, edit. Hudson.

† Τηρησω δε τον ναον ύμιν, και μη θέλυσι, Vobis autem etiam invitis templum servaho

ing the city too, and sent Josephus and other Jews again and again to their countrymen, to persuade them to a surrender. But an over-ruling Providence directed things otherwise. The Jews them selves first set fire to the porticos of the temple, and then the Ro mans.† "One of the soldiers, neither waiting for any command, nor trembling for such an attempt, but urged by a certain divine impulse, threw a burning brand in at the golden window, and thereby set fire to the buildings of the temple itself." Titus ran immediately to the temple, and commanded his soldiers to extinguish the flame. But neither exhortations nor threatnings could restrain their violence. They either could not hear, or would not hear; and those behind encouraged those before to set fire to the temple. He was still for preserving the holy place. He commanded his soldiers even to be beaten for disobeying him: but their anger, and their hatred of the Jews, and a certain warlike vehement fury overcame their reverence for their general and their dread of his commands. A soldier in the dark set fire to the doors: and thus, as Josephus says, "the temple was burnt against the will of Cæsar." Afterwards as we read in the Jewish Talmud and in Maimonides, Turnus Rufus, or rather "Terentius Rufus, who was left to command the army at Jerusalem,"** did with a ploughshare tear up the foundation of the temple; and thereby signally fulfilled those words of Micah, iii. 12,-Therefore shall Zion for your sake be ploughed as a field.' Eusebius too affirms, " that it was ploughed up by the Romans, and he saw it lying in ruins."++ The city also shared the same fate, and was burnt and destroyed as well as

[Translated in the text.] Joseph. de Bell. Jud. lib. 6, cap. 2, sect. 4, p. 1269 edit. Hudson.

*Joseph. de Bell. Jud. lib. 5, cap. 8, sect. 1, cap. 9, s. ct. 2, &c. cap 11, sect. 2; lib 6, cap, 2, sect. 1, edit. Hudson.

+ Joseph. de Bell. Jud. lib 6, cap. 2 scct. 9, edit. Hudson.

† 'Ενθα δη των ςρατιωτων τις, ότι παραγγελμα περιμεινας, ετε ἐπι τηλικΗτω δείσας ἐγχειρηματι, δαιμονίω όρμη τινι χρωμενος, κ. τ. λ. Quo tempore miles quidam, non expectato cujusquam mandato, neque tantum facinus veritus, divino quodam impetu fretus, &c. [Translated in the text.] Joseph. de Bell. Jud. lib. 6. cap. 4, sect. 5, p. 1278, edit. Hudson.

§ Joseph. ibid. sect. 6 et 7.

|| Ο μεν ὧν ναός έτως, άκοντος Καισαρος, ἐμπιπραται. Et templum quidem hoc mode exuritur, invito Cæsare. [Translated in the text.] Sect. 7. p. 1279.

¶ See them quoted in Lightfoot, Whitby, Wetstein, &c. upon the place.

** Τορείλος Ρεφος" όλος γαρ άρχων της ςραλίας καθελελοιπίο. Terentius Rufus; namque is exercitui præfectus relictus erat. [Translated in the text.] Joseph. de Bell. Jud. lib. 7, cap. 2, p. 1298.

++ Eusebii Demons. Evangel. lib. 6, cap. 13, p. 273; edit Paris. 1628.

the temple.* "The Romans burnt the extremest parts of the city, and demolished the walls."+ Three towers only, and some parts of the wall were left standing, for the better encamping of the soldiers, and to show to posterity what a city, and how fortified, the valour of the Romans had taken. Ail the rest of the city was so demolished and levelled with the ground, that they who came to see it, could not believe that it was ever inhabited. After the city was thus taken and destroyed, great riches were found among the ruins; and the Romans dug it up in search of the treasures, which had been concealed and buried in the earth.§ So literally were our Saviour's words accomplished in the ruin both of the city and of the temple and well might Eleazar say, that “God had delivered his most holy city to be burnt, and to be subverted by their enemies :" and "wish that they all had died, before they saw that holy city demolished by the hands of their enemies, and the sacred temple so wickedly dug up from the foundations."¶

In this plain manner our Saviour, now drawing near to his fatal hour, foretold the absolute ruin and destruction of the city and temple. The disciples were curious to know more of these events, when they should be, and how they should be; but yet thought it not proper to ask him at present, the multitude probably still flocking about him and therefore they take an opportunity of coming unto him 'privately, as he was sitting upon the mount of Olives,' from whence was a good prospect of the city and temple, and there prefer their request to him, ver. 3,—Tell us when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?' These are only different expressions, to denote the same period with the destruction of Jerusalem; for when they conceived would be the destruction of Jerusalem, then they conceived would

Joseph. de Bell. Jud. lib. 6, cap. 6, sect. 3, cap. 7, sect. 2, cap. 8, sect. 5, edit. Hudson.

† Ρωμαίοι δε τας τε έσχαλιας τε άστεος έντπρησαν, και τα τείχη καλεσκαψαν. Romani vero extremas urbis partes incenderunt, et moenia funditus everterunt. ['Iranslated in the text.] Joseph. ibid. cap. 9, sect. 4, p. 1292, edit. Hudson.

Joseph. de Bell. Jud. lib. 7, cap. 1, sect. 1, edit. Hudson.

Joseph. ibid. cap. 5, sect. 2.

|| Προηκαλο δε την ίερωίαλην αὐτα πολιν τυρι και καλασκαφαις πολεμίων. Urbemque sibi sacratissimam, tradidisset hostibus ut incendio periret et funditus dirueretur. [Translated in the text.] Joseph. ibid. cap. 8, sect. 6, p. 1318.

Τ ̓Αλλ' εἶθε παντες ἐτεθηκειμεν, πειν την ξεραν ἐκείνην πολιν χερσιν ἰδεῖν κατασκαπτόμενη πολεμίων, πριν τον ναον τον άγιον ὕτως ἀνοσίως ἐξορωρυγμένον. Atque utinam omnes fuisseaus mortui, priusquam illam sacram civitatem hostium manibus exscindi videremus, priusquam templum tanta impietat funditus erui. Translated in the text. Joseph bid. sect. 7, p. 1322, edit. Hudson.

« PreviousContinue »