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be the coming of Christ; ana when they conceived would be the coming of Christ, then they conceived would be the end of the world,' or rather (as it should be rendered) the conclusion of the age.'* The end of the world,' or the conclusion of the age,' is the same period with the destruction of Jerusalem; for there being two ages (as they were called) among the Jews, the one under the law, the other under the Messiah; when the city and temple were destroyed, and the Jewish polity in church and state was dissolved, the former age must of course be concluded, and the age under the Messiah be commenced. It is true, the phrase ovvteλela T8 aiwvoc most usually signifies the end of the world,' properly so called; as in the parable of the tares, Matt. xiii. 39,— the harvest is σuvreλela T8 aiwvoç the end of the world;' ver. 40,- As therefore the tares are gathered and burnt in the fire, so shall it be iv ry ovvTEλEI TS aiwvoç TSTS in the end of this world.' And again, ver. 49, ― So shall it be ἐν τῇ συντελειᾳ τε αίωνος at the end of the world, the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just.' In like manner our Saviour says to his disciples, Matt. xxviii. 20,- Lo, I am with you alway, έwç τnç σvvteλɛiaç t8 aiwvos even unto the end of the world.' But here the phrase appears to be used much in the same manner as in the Epistle to the Hebrews, ix. 26, But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; in the end of the world,' ἐπι συντελειᾳ των αιώνων, in the conclusion of the Jewish age or ages: and these, I think, are all the places where the phrase occurs in scripture. The coming of Christ' is also the same period with the destruction of Jerusalem, as may appear from several places in the Gospels, and particularly from these two passages: There are some standing here,' saith our blessed Lord, who shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdoin,' -Matt. xvi. 28, that is, evidently, there are some standing here who shall live, not till the end of the world, to the coming of Christ to judge mankind, but till the destruction of Jerusalem, to the coming of Christ in judgment upon the Jews. In another place, John xxi. 22, speaking to Peter concerning John, he saith, • If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?' what is it to thee, if I will that he live till the destruction of Jerusalem? as in truth he did, and longer. The coming of Christ,' and the conclusion of the age,' being, therefore, only different expressions to denote the same period with the destruction of Jerusalem, the purport of the question plainly is, when shall the destruction o
* Συντέλεια το αίωνος. [Translated in the text.]
Jerusalem be, and what shall be the signs of it?' In the parallel place of St. Mark xiii. 4, the question is put thus: 'When shall these things be, and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?' In the parallel place of St. Luke, xxi. 7, the question is put thus: 'When shall these things be, and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?' So that the disciples ask two things, first, the time' of the destruction of Jerusalem, 'when shall these things be;' and secondly, the signs' of it, ' and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled,' as it is in St. Mark; and what will be the sign when these things shall come to pass,' as it is in St. Luke; and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the conclusion of the age,' as it is in St. Matthew. The latter part of the question our Saviour answereth first, and treateth of the 'signs' of his coming, and the destruction of Jerusalem, from the 4th to the 31st verse inclusive; and then passeth on to the other part of the question concerning the 'time' of his coming and these two heads of our Saviour's answer shall likewise, in the same method and order, be made the subject of this, and some subsequent discourses.
Our blessed Saviour treateth of the signs of his coming and the destruction of Jerusalem from the 4th to the 31st verse inclusive; by 'signs' meaning the circumstances and accidents, which should forerun, usher in, and attend this great event and I am persuaded the whole compass of history cannot furnish us with a prophecy more exactly fulfilled in all points than this hath been.
False Christs our Saviour mentions as the first sign of his coming, ver. 4 and 5,—‘Take heed that no man deceive you, for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.' With this he begins in all the evangelists, and in all useth almost the very same words; only in St. Luke, xxi. 8, he addeth the time draweth near;' and indeed within a little time this part of the prophecy began to be fulfilled. For very soon after our Saviour's decease appeared Simon Magus, Acts viii. 9, 10,- and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying This man is the great power of God.' He boasted himself likewise among the Jews, as the Son of God.* Of the same stamp and character was also Dositheus the Samaritan, who pretended that he was the Christ foretold by Moses. In the reign of Claudius, about
*Irenæi lib. 1, cap. 20, p. 94, edit. Grabe. Theodoret. Hæretic. Fab. lib. 1, cap. 1, p. 192, vol. 4, edit. Paris. 1642.
+ Και μετα της Ιησε δε χρονος ήθέλησε και ο Σαμαρους Δοσίθεος πεισαι Σαμαρεις, ότι αυτος εἴη ὁ προφητευόμενος ύπο Μωσέως Χρι ος" και έδοξε τινων τη ἑαυτο διδασκαλία κεκρατηκέναι
twelve years after the death of our Saviour, when Cuspius Fadus was procurator of Judea, a certain impostor, named Theudas, persuaded a great multitude with their best effects to follow him to the river Jordan; for he said that he was a prophet, and promised to divide the river for their passage, and "saying these things he deceived many," saith Josephus. But Fadus sent a troop of horse against them, who falling unexpectedly upon them, killed many, and made many prisoners; and having taken Theudas himself alive, they cut off his head, and brought it to Jerusalem. A few years afterwards, in the reign of Nero, and under the procuratorship of Felix, these impostors arose so frequent, that "many of them were apprehended and killed every day."+ They seduced great numbers of the people still expecting the Messiah; and well therefore might our Saviour caution his disciples against them.
The next signs he giveth of his coming are several terrible calamities, as, wars and rumours of wars, famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places, ver. 6 and 7,- And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.' Accordingly there were wars and rumours of wars,' as appears in all the historians of those times, and above all in Josephus. To relate the particulars would indeed be to transcribe great part of his history of the Jewish wars. There were more especially rumours of wars,' when Caligula the Roman emperor ordered his statue to be set up in the temple of Jerusalem, which the Jews refused to suffer, and persisted in their refusal and having therefore reason to apprehend a war from the Romans, were in such a consternation that they omitted even the tilling of their lands: but this storm was soon blown over, and their fears were dissipated by the timely death of that emperor.
Post Jesu tempora voluit et Dositheus quidam Samarita suis persuadere, se esse Christum illum, quem Moyses prædixerat, visusque est nonnullos sibi sua doctrina conciliare. [And after the time of Jesus, Dositheus of Samaria wished to persuade the Samaritans that he was the Christ predicted by Moses; and he appeared to have gained some by his doctrine.] Origen contra Celsum, lib. 1, p. 372. Vide etiam lib. 6, p. 638, vol. 1, in Matt. Tract. 27, p. 851, col. 2, vol. 3, edit. Benedict.
* Και ταυτα λέγων πολλες ἠπάκησεν. Et hujusmodi sermonibus plurimos decepit. Translated in the text.] Joseph. Antiq. lib. 20, cap. 4, sect. 1, p. 886, edit. Hudson.
† Τάτων μεν ὁ Φήλιξ πολλες καθ' έκαςην ήμεραν—-——-λαμβανων ἀνήρει, Horum quidem multos,-quotidie captos, Felix sustulit. [Translated in the text.] Joseph ibid. cap. 7, sect. 5, p. 892.
Joseph. Antiq. lib. 18, cap. 9. De Bell. Jud. lib 2, cap. 10, edit. Hudsou. Philo contra Flaccum. Tacitus Hist. lib. 5
It is said, moreover, that 'nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.' Here, as Grotius well observes, "Christ declares, that greater disturbances than those which happened under Caligula, should fall out in the latter times of Claudius, and in the reign of Nero. That of 'nation against nation' portended the dissentions, insurrections, and mutual slaughter of the Jews and those of other nations, who dwelt in the same cities together; as particularly at Cæsarea,"* where the Jews and Syrians contended about the right of the city, which contention at length proceeded so far, that above twenty thousand Jews were slain, and the city was cleared of the Jewish inhabitants.† At this blow the whole nation of the Jews were exasperated; and dividing themselves into parties, they burnt and plundered the neighbouring cities and villages of the Syrians, and made an immense slaughter of the people.‡ The Syrians in revenge destroyed not a less number of the Jews, "and every city," as Josephus expresseth it, "was divided into armies." At Scythopolis the inhabitants compelled the Jews who resided among them to fight against their own countrymen, and after the victory basely setting upon them by night, murdered above thirteen thousand of them, and spoiled their goods.|| At Ascalon they killed two thousand and five hundred, at Ptolemais two thousand, and made not a few prisoners. The Tyrians put many to death, and imprisoned more. The people of Gadara did likewise, and all the other cities of Syria, in proportion as they hated or feared the Jews. At Alexandria the old enmity was revived between
* Indicat Christus majores quam sub Caio evenerant cædes imminere ultimis temporibus Claudianis, et Neronis principatu. Illud vos in Ovos significat Judæos et qui aliarum erant gentium iisdem in civitatibus morantes mutuis inter se cædibus collidendos: quod contigit Cæsareæ primum, [Translated in the text.] deinde Scythopoli, Ptolemaide, Tyri, Gadaris, rursum Alexandriæ, deinde et Damasci. [Afterwards at Scythopolis, Ptolemais, Tyre, Gadara, and again at Alexandria.] Illud autem Basikela in Baσ significat tretrarcharum aut provinciarum aperta inter se bella.-Huc referri debet Judæorum in Peræa habitantium bellum adversus Philadelphenos ob finium controversiam, Cuspio Fado procuratore; Judæorum et Galilæorum bellum adversus Samaritas, procuratore Cumano; postremo bellum primum a sicariis quos vocabant, deinde, ab universa Judæorum gente sumtum adversus Romanos et Agrippum aliosque Romani imperii socios, quod initium habuit Gessio Floro procuratore. [Translated in the text, p. 386.]
+ Joseph. Antiq. lib. 20, cap. 7, sect. 7, &c. De Bell. Jud. lib. 2, cap. 13, sect. 7 cap. 18, sect. 1, edit. Hudson.
Ibid. cap. 18, sect. 1.
§ Ibid. sect. 2. Και πασα πολις εις δυο διηρητο ςρατοπεδα. Et unaquaeque civitas in puos divisa erat exercitus. [Translated in the text.] p. 1095.
Ibid. sect. 3. Vita Josephi, sect. 6.
De Bell. Jud. lib. 2, cap. 18, sect. 5.
the Jews and Heathens, and many fell on both sides, but of the Jews to the number of fifty thousand.* The people of Damascus too conspired against the Jews of the same city, and assaulting them unarmed, killed ten thousand of them.+ "That of kingdom against kingdom' portended the open wars of different tetrarchies and provinces against one another; as that of the Jews who dwelt in Peræa against the people of Philadelphia concerning their bounds, while Cuspius Fadus was procurator:‡ and that of the Jews and Galilæans against the Samaritans, for the murder of some Galilæans going up to the Feast at Jerusalem while Cumanus was procurator:§ and that of the whole nation of the Jews against the Romans and Agrippa and other allies of the Roman empire,|| which began while Gessius Florus was procurator." But as Josephus saith, "there was not only sedition and civil war throughout Judea, but likewise in Italy,'¶ Otho and Vitellius contending for the empire.
It is farther added, and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places.' There were famines, as particularly that prophesied of by Agabus, and mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, xi. 28, and by Suetonius and other profane historians** referred to by Eusebius, which came to pass in the days of Claudius Cæsar,' and was so severe at Jerusalem, that, as Josephus saith, "many perished for want of victuals."-And 'pestilences,' for these are the usual attendants upon famines. Scarcity and badness of provisions almost always end in some epidemical distemper. We see many died by reason of the famine in the reign of Claudius and Josephus farther informs us, that when Niger was killed by the Jewish zealots, he imprecated besides other calamities famine and pestilence upon them, (λιμονίε και λοιμον the very words used by the evangelist) "all which, (saith he,) God ratified and brought to pass against the ungodly."‡‡-"And earthquakes in
Ibid. cap. 20, sect. 2.
* Ibid, sect. 7 et 8.
Joseph. Antiq. lib. 20, cap. 1, sect. 1.
Ibid. cap. 5. De Bell. Jud. lib. 2, cap. 12, sect. 3, &c. || Ibid. cap. 17. TO μονον δε κατα την Ιυδαιαν ςασις ήν και πολεμος ἐμφύλιος· ἀλλα και έπι της Ιταλίας. Verum non solum per Judæam erat seditio et bellum civile, sed etiam in Italia. [Translated in the text.] De Bell. Jud. lib. 4, cap. 9, sect. 9, p. 1200.
** Suetonius in Claudio 18. Taciti Annal. lib. 12. Euseb. Eccles. Hist. lib. 2,
†† Πολλων ὑπ ̓ ἔνδειας ἀναλωμάτων φθεοιρομενων. Multis alimentorum inopia pereuntibus. [Translated in the text.] Joseph. Antiq. lib. 20, cap. 2, sect. 6, p. 881 Ibid. cap. 4.
sect. 2, edit. Hudson.
Quæ sane universa contra improbos Joseph. de Bell. Jud. lib. 4, cap. 6, sect. 1,
†† ’Α δη παντα κατα των άσεβων ἐκυρωσε» ὁ Θεός. rata habuit Deus, [Translated in the text.] p. 1186, edit. Hudson.