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of the world, were compared with those of the Jews, they would appear much inferior upon the comparison :"* and again, in another place, he saith, "To speak in brief, no other city ever suffered such things, as no other generation from the beginning of the world was ever more fruitful of wickedness."+ St. Luke expresseth the reason thus, ' For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled,'-xxi. 22. These be the days of vengeance,' wherein the calamities foretold by Moses, Joel, Daniel, and other prophets, as well as those predicted by our Saviour, shall all meet as in one common centre, and be fulfilled with aggravation on this generation. These be the days of vengeance,' too, in another sense, as if God's vengeance had certain periods and revolutions, and the same days were fatal to the Jews, and destinated to their destruction. "For it is very memorable, and matter of just admiration," according to Josephus, "that the temple was burnt by the Romans in the same month, and on the same day of the month, as it was before by the Babylonians."+
Nothing so violent can be of long continuance. These calamities were so severe, that, like fire, they must in time have consumed all, and have left nothing for themselves to prey upon. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved,'ver. 22. If these wars and desolations were to continue, none of the Jews would escape destruction, they would all be cut off, root and branch. I think Josephus computes the number of those who perished in the siege at eleven hundred thousand, besides those who were slain in other places :§ and if the Romans had gone on destroying in this manner, the whole nation of the Jews would certainly, in a
* Πολιν γαρ δη των ύπο 'Ρωμαίος πασων την ήμετέραν ἐπὶ πλείςον τε εὐδαιμονίας συνέβη ωροελθείν, και προς έσχατον συμφορων αὖθις καταπέσειν τα γυν ωαντων ἀπ' αἰωνος ἀτυχήματα, προς τα Ι«δαίων, ήττασθαι μοι δοκει κατα συγκρισιν. Nam ex omnibus, civitatibus, quæ Romanorum jugum subierunt, nostræ sane contigit ad summum felicitatis pervenisse, ac deinde in extremam calamitatem incidisse, namque omnium ab omnis ævi memoria res adversa, si cum iis conferantur quæ Judæis acciderunt, longe ab illis superari mihi videntur.-Josephi Proem. sect. 4, p. 955. [Translated in the text.]
† Συνελοντα δ' εἶπειν, μητε πολιν άλλην τοιαυτα πεπονθεναι, μητε γενεαν ἐξ αἰωνος γεγονεναι xaxias youμwτpav. Illud autem breviter dici potest, neque aliam urbem talia perpessam esse, neque hominum genus aliud ab omni ævo sceleratius exstitisse.-Lib. 5, cap. 10, sect. 5, p. 1246 [Translated in the text.]
· Θαύμασαι δ ̓ ἄν τις ἐν αύτη της περιοδο την ἀκρίβειαν· και μηνα γεν, ὡς ἐφην, και ήμεραν ἐπετήρησε την αὐτήν, ἐν ἡ προτερον ὑπο Βαβυλωνιων δ ̓ ναος ἐνεπρήσθη. Est autem ut mirari quis possit in eo accuratam circumacti temporis rationem: nam eundem, ut dictum est, mensem et diem servavit, quo prius templum a Babyloniis exustum fuerat.-Lib. 6, cap. 4, sect. 5; sect. 8, p. 1279, edit. Hudson. [Translated in the text.] Lib 6, cap. 9, sect. 3.
little time, have been extirpated. But for the elect's sake, 'but for the sake of the Christian Jews, 'those days shall be shortened.' But for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, the Lord hath shortened the days,' as it is expressed in St. Mark, xiii. 20. The elect is a well known appellation in scripture and antiquity for the Christians and the Christian Jews, partly through the fury of the zealots on one hand, and the hatred of the Romans on the other, and partly through the difficulty of subsisting in the mountains without houses or provisions, would in all probability have been almost all destroyed either by the sword or by famine, if the days had not been shortened. But providentially, the days were shortened. "Titus himself was desirous of putting a speedy end to the siege, having Rome, and the riches and the pleasures there, before his eyes."* Some of his officers proposed to him to turn the siege into a blockade, and since they could not take the city by storm, to starve it into a surrender: but "he thought it not becoming to sit still with so great an army;" "and he feared lest the length of the time should diminish the glory of his success; every thing indeed may be effected in time, but celerity contributes much to the fame and splendor of actions." The besieged, too, helped to shorten the days, by their divisions and mutual slaughters; by burning their provisions, "which would have sufficed for many years;"§ and by fatally deserting their strongest holds, "where they could never have been taken by force, but by famine alone." By these means, the days were shortened;' and, indeed, otherwise Jerusalem could never have been taken in so short a time, so well fortified as it was, and so well fitted to sustain a longer siege. The enemy without could hardly
* Ipsi Tito Roma, et opes voluptatesque ante oculos: ac, ni statim Hierosolyma considerent, morari videbantur.-Tacit. Hist. lib. 5, p. 217, edit. Lipsii. [Translated in the text.]
† 'Αυτω δε το μεν ἄρχειν καθολυ μετα τοσαύτης δυνάμεως ἐκ ἐδόκει πρέπει». Ipsi autem Tito cessare quidem prorsus tanto cum exercitu honestum non videbatur. Δεδίεναι τε μη την δόξαν το κατορθώματος αύτω το μήκος έλαττωση το χρόνο" τότω μεν γαρ είναι ωχν ἀνύσιμον, προς δε της εύκλειας το ταχος. Metuendumque ne successus gloriam ipsi diminuat temporis longitudo: hac enim cuncta quidem effici posse, sed ad gloriam facere celeritatem.--Joseph. de Bell. Jud. lib. 5, cap. 12, sect. 1, p. 1251, edit. Hudson Trans'ated in the text.]
Ibid. cap. 1, &c.
§αὶ ̔Ος ἂν αὐτοῖς ἐκ ἐπ' ὀλιγα διήρκεσεν έτη πολιορκημένοις. Quod non paucis annis illis sufficere potuisset obsessis.-Sect. 4, p, 1213. [Translated in the text.]
] Εφ' ὧν βια μεν έδέποτ' άλωντι, μόνω δ' ἐδύναντο λιμω In quibus vi, quidem nunquam, sola vero fame expugnari poterant.-Lib. 6, cap. 8, sect. 4, p. 1289. [Translated in the text.]
ever have prevailed but for the factions and seditions within. Titus himself could not but ascribe his success to God, as he was viewing the fortifications, after the city was taken. His words to his friends were very remarkable: "We have fought," said he, " with God on our side; and it is God who hath pulled the Jews out of these strong holds; for what could the hands of men or machines avail against these towers ?"* God,' therefore in the opinion of Titus, as well as of St. Mark, 'shortened the days.' After the destruction of Jerusalem too, God inclined the heart of Titus to take some pity upon the remnant of the Jews, and to restrain the nations from exercising the cruelty that they would have exercised towards them. At Antioch particularly, where the disciples were first called Christians, the senate and the people earnestly importuned him to expel the Jews out of the city:+ but he prudently answered, that their country, whither they should return, being laid waste, there was no place that could receive them. Then they requested him to deprive the Jews of their former privileges, but those he permitted them to enjoy as before. Thus, 'for the elect's sake, those days' of persecution were shortened.'
Our blessed Lord had cautioned his disciples against false Christs and false prophets before, but he giveth a more particular caution against them about the time of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ or there, believe it not; for there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that (if it were possible) they shall deceive the very elect,'-ver. 23 and 24. And in fact many such impostors did arise about that time, as we learn from Josephus, and promised deliverance from God, being suborned by the tyrants or governors to prevent the people and soldiers from deserting to the Romans; and the lower the Jews were reduced, the more disposed would they be to listen to these deceptions, and the more ready to follow the deceivers. Hegesippus
* Συν Θεων ἐπολεμησαμεν, έφη, και Θεος ἦν ὁ τω δε των έρύματων Ιεδαίες καθελών, έπει χειρες τε ἀνθρωπων ή μηχαναι τι προς τέτες τις πυργος δύνανται. Deo, inquit, favente bellavimus, Deus est, qui Judæos ex istis munimentis detraxit; nam humanæ manus et machinæ quid contra tales turres valeant ?-Ibid. cap, 9, sect. 1, p. 1290 [Translated in the text.]
+ Joseph. Ibid. lib. 7, cap. 5, sect. 2.
† Πολλοι δ' ἦσαν ἐγκαθετοι παρα των τυραννων τοτε ωρος του δήμου προφηται, προσ μενειν την ἀπο τα Θεω βοηθειαν καταγγελλοντες, ὡς ἧττον αὐτομολοιεν, και τις έπανω δεως και Φυλάκης γινόμενος ἐλπις παρακρατων· πείθεται δε ταχέως ἄνθρωπος ἐν συμφοραις. Multi autem tunc a tyrannis subornati erant ad populum prophetæ, deunciantes esse auxilium a Deo expectandum, ut populus minus transfugeret, et eos, qui supra metum erant et custodes, spes retineret. Cito autem in adversis homini persuadetur
too in Eusebius mentions the coming of false Christs and false prophets about the same time.* But as it was to little purpose for a man to take upon him the character of the Christ, or even of a prophet, without miracles to vouch his divine mission: so it was the common artifice and pretence of these impostors to show 'signs and wonders,' onμɛla kai tɛpara the very words used by Christ in his prophecy, and by Josephus in his history.+ Simon Magus performed great wonders according to the account that is given of him in the Acts of the Apostles, viii. 9, 10, 11,—'There was a certain man called Simon, which before time in the same city used sorcery, 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: And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.' Dositheus likewise was reputed to work wonders according to Origen: Barchochebas too, who Jerome saith pretended to vomit flames.§ Such also were the Jews, of whom St. Paul speaketh, 2 Tim. iii. 8, 13, comparing them to Jannes and Jambres, famous magicians of Egypt, who withstood Moses, as these also resisted the truth, men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith, πονηροι άνθρωποι και γοητες wicked men and impostors.” There is a strange propensity in mankind to believe things marvellous and astonishing and no wonder, that weak and wicked men, Jews and Samaritans, were deceived by such impostors; when, if had been possible, they would have deceived the very elect,' the Christians themselves.
But behold,' saith our Saviour, 1 have told you before,'-ver. 25. Behold I have given you sufficient warning. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert, go not forth; behold he is in the secret chambers, believe it not,'-ver. 26. It is surpris ing that our Saviour should not only foretel the appearance of these impostors, but also the manner and circumstances of their conduct For some he mentions as appearing in the desert,' and some in
[But at that time a number of prophets, suborned by the tyrants, pronounced to the people that help might be expected from God. By this means the people were less inclined to desert, and the expectation of it restrained the guards, and those who were superior to fear. In adversity men are easily persuaded.] Lib. 6, cap. 5, sect. 2, p. 1281, edit. Hudson.
* Euseb. Eccles, Hist. lib. 4, cap. 22.
+ Joseph. Antiq. lib 20, cap. 7, sect. 6, p. 893, edit. Hudson. Vide etiam de Bell. Jud lib. 7, cap. 11, sect. 1.
✦ Contra Celsum, lib. 6, c.p. 11, p. 638, vol. 1, edit. Benedict.
§ Adversus Rufinum. lib. 3, col. 466, vol. 4, edit. Benedict.
'the secret chambers;' and the event hath in all points answered to the prediction. Several of the false Christs and false prophets conducted their followers into the desert.' Josephus in his Antiquities saith expressly, that "many impostors and cheats persuaded the people to follow them into the desert,' where they promised to show manifest wonders and signs done by the providence of God; and many being persuaded suffered the punishment of their folly; for Felix brought them back, and chastised them."* Again in his history of the Jewish war, speaking of the same persons, he saith, that "these impostors, under a pretence of divine inspiration, affecting innovations and changes, persuaded the multitude to grow mad, and led them forth into the desert,' as if God would there show them the signs of liberty. Against these Felix, for it seemed to be the foundation of a revolt, sent horse and foot soldiers, and slew a great number of them." The Egyptian false prophets, mentioned by Josephus, and in the Acts of the Apostles, xxi. 39,-led out to the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers:' but Felix marching with his forces, and "coming to an engagement with him, the Egyptian himself with a few others fled away, and most of those who had been with him were slain or taken prisoners." There was likewise " another impostor" mentioned by Josephus, "who promised salvation to the people, and a cessation of all evils, if they would follow him into the desert;' but Festus sent horse and foot against him, and destroyed
* Οι δε γοητες και άπατεωνες άνθρωποι τον όχλον έπειθον αὐτοῖς εἰς τὴν ἔρημιαν έπεσθαι δειξειν γαρ έφασαν έναργη τερατα και σημεία, κατα την τω Θεω προνοιαν γενόμενα. πολλοι πεισθεντες, της ἀφροσύνης τιμωριας ύπεσχον αναχθεντας γαρ αύτες Φήλιξ ἐκολασεν. Impostores vero et fallaciis pleni homines suadebant multitudini, ut ipsos in solitudinem sequerentur. Sc enim ipsis ostensuros dicebant manifesta prodigia et signa, quæ Dei cura et providentia evenirent. Multique, fidem habentes, dementiæ suæ pœnas pertulerunt. Eos quippe retractos Felix supplicio affecit. [Translated in the text.] Ant lib. 20, cap. 7, sect. 6, p. 893, edit. Hudson.
† Πλαντι γαρ ἀνθρωποι και ἀπατεωνες, προσχηματι θειασμό, νεωτερισμος και μεταβολας πραγματευόμενοι, δαίμοναν το πλήθος ἀνέπειθον, και προηγον εἰς την ἐρημιαν, ὡς έχει τα Θεα δείξαντος αυτοις σημεία ἐλευθερίας· ἐπι τέτοις ὁ Φηλιζ, ἐδόκει γαρ ἀποφασεως εἶναι καταβολη, σεμψας ίππεις και πεζός όπλίτας, πολυ πληθος διέφθειρε. Nam homines seductores et fallaciis pleni, specie divini afflatus, novis rebus et mutationibus studentes, vulgo ut insanirent persuadebant, et proficiebant in solitudinem; ac si illic Deus ostensurus esset eis signa libertatis. Contra istos (inde enim videtur oritura esse insurrectio) milites, tam pedites, quam equites, misit Felix, magnumque eorum numerum interfecit. [Translated in the text.] De Bell. Jud. lib. 2, cap. 13, sect. 4, p. 1075.
Antiq. lib. 20, cap. 7, sect. 6. Do Bell. Jud. lib. 2, cap. 13, sect. 5. 'Qse cuμBoans γενομένης, τον μεν Αιγύπτιον φυγείν μετ' ὀλίγων, διαφθαρηναι δε και ζωγρηθηναι πλείςος των GUY AUTW. Facto igitur congressu Ægyptius quidem ipse cum paucis evasit; plurimique eorum qui cum eo erant partim trucidati, partim vivi capti sunt. [Translated in the text] p. 1076.