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Mat. xxiv. 12.
Reflections on the signs of the Destruction of Jerusalem. Se&t. 160. stronger Light upon it, than if they had been written by a Chriftian on
Purpose to illustrate it. Luke xxi. Let us bless God, that our own Eyes have not seen such Desolations
and Ruins, such Commotions in the natural and moral World, such DifMark xiii. sentions in civil Life, such Persecutions and Hatreds amongst the nearest 12, 13
Relatives, under the Pretence of propagating Religion ; which however propagated, is nothing, without that Love, which is so often made the first Victim to it,
Yet too plainly do we fee, in one Form or another, Iniquity abounding, and the Love of many waxing cold. Let us endeavour to revive on our own Hearts a deep and lasting Impression of Divine Things ; and remember
, whenever we are tempted to let go our Integrity, that it is be alone, who endures to the End, that Mall be saved.
Whatever our Trials are, let us chearfully confide in the Protection
of Divine Providence ; nor let us despair of those continued Influences 18. of the Blessed Spirit, which may animate us to the most difficult Services,
and support us under the most painful Sufferings. Let us therefore in Patience polless our own Souls, and maintain that Composure and Steadiness of Spirit, as those that know how much more valuable it is, than any Enjoyment which can be taken away, or any Temporal Interest which can be brought into Question.
SE C T CLXI.
Our Lord proceeds to describe the nearer Prognostications of
the Destruction of Jerusalem, and the extream Severity of those Calamities which pould then fall on the Jewish Nation. Mat. XXIV. 15,---28.
Mark XIII. 143---23.
Luke XXI. 20,---24.
LUKE XXI. 20.
LUKE XXI. 20. Seet. 161. UR Lord, having proceeded thus far in his A ND when ye fall see Discourse, added some more immediate
with Armies, and the ALuke XXI. Signs, by which the near Approach of this ter- bomination of Desolation,
rible Destruction might be determined; and said, spoken of by Daniel the
Jesus declares the nearer Signs of this Destruction. 381 Holy Place, (whoso readeth, and displayed in an Holy Place; that is, when the Sect. 161 let him understand,)) then Standards of their desolating Legions, on which know that the Desolation thereof is nigh. [Mat. they bear the detestable Images of their Idols, Luke XXI. XXIV. 15. Mark XIII. are planted on holy
are planted on holy Ground (a); then know that 14.]
the Desolation thereof is just approaching. And,
pearing; and the whole Context is of great Im21 Then let them which portance (b). Now I say, when you see this are in Judea, Aee to the Signal, then let them that are in Yudea, flee, which are in the Midst of it, as fast as they can, from the fortified Cities and depart out; and let not them populous Towns, to the Mountains and the Wilthat are in the Countries, derness, where they will be secure; and espeXXIV. 16. Mark. XIII. cially let them that are in the Midf of it, where -14.)
Jerusalem stands, depart immediately out of it,
and all its Sanctity, will not secure its Inhabitants. MARK XIII. 15. And Let every one therefore retreat as fast as pos- Mark XIII. let him that is on the House- fible, and let not him that is taking the Air on the 15. Top,
(a) Planted on holy Ground.) Not only the Temple, and the Mountain on which it ftood, but the whote City of Jerusalem, and several Furlongs of Land round about it, were accounted holy. (See Mat. iv. 5. Vol. i. pag. 111.)-It is remarkable, that by the special Providence of God, after the Romans under Cestius Gallus made their first Advance towards Jerusalem, they suddenly withdrew again, in a most unexpected, and indeed impolitic Manner ; at which Josephus testifies his Surprize, since the City might then have been easily taken. By this Means they gave, as it were, a Signal to the Christians to retire; which in regard to this Admonition they did, some to Pella, and others to Mount Libanus, and thereby preserved their Lives. See y Seph. Bell. Jud. lib. ii. cap. 19. (al. 24.) §. 7. and Eufeb. Eccl. Hift. lib. iii. cap. 5. Of the Idolatrous Standards in the Roman Armies, fee Grotius's excellent Note on Mat. xxiv. 15.
(b) The whole Context is of great Importance.) If any wonder, that so important a Prophecy is not more frequently insisted upon in the New Testament, I think we may justly answer, that it was not proper for the Apostles to urge it; as the exact Commencement and Termination of the Seventy Weeks was a nice Controversy out of their Way, and not capable of being fully cleared up to the Populace, with whom they were chiefly concerned ; and as several of the Events referred to in it had not their compleat Accomplishment, till some Years after most of their Writings were published. But that the Period is long since elapsed is certain, however it might be reckoned; as Dr. Bullock has excellently shewn. See his Vindication, book ii. chap. 4. §. 6. pag. 216,—218. and Dr. Sykes of Christianity, ch, 16. pag. 297, -301.
382 He warns bis Disciples to free from the Danger. Sect. 161. Battlements at the Top of the House, go down into Top, not go down into the the House, nor enter into it, to take away any Thing, in, to take any Thing
out of Mark XIII.
tho' ever so precious, out of his House ; but let his House. [MAT. XXIV. him go down by the outer Stairs, as the shortest 17.
Way, lest he should linger to his own Destruction. 16 And let not him that is at work in the Field, and 16 And let hing that is
hath laid aside his upper Garment as an Incum- in the Field, not turn back brance, go back fo much as to take his Clothes, if again for to take up his Gar
ment. (Mat. XXIV. 18.] they are not just at Hand (c); left the Enemy
should surprize him, before he can recover them. Luke XXI. (Compare Luke xvii. 31. pag. 190.) In a LUKE XXI. 22. For
Word, let every one flee for his Life, and reckon these be the Days of Vengehimself sufficiently happy, if he can escape with ance, that all Things which
. it, tho' in the most naked and destitute Circumstances: For these are Days of most terrible Vengeance, to which most of the Threatenings of the Prophets, even from the Days of Moses, do ultimately refer; and they shall be so full of Distress and Misery, that all the most dreadful Things which are written in them, may then be said to
be compleatly fulfilled (d). Mark XIII. But more especially there will be Woe and MARK XIII. 17. But 17. Terror to them that are with Child, and.to them Wo to them that are with that give Suck in those Days; as their Incumbrances Suck in those Days. (Mat.
Child, and to them that give will be peculiarly great, and they that are with XXIV. 19. LUKE XXI. them will be driven in a wild Confternation to 23.-] consult their own Safety, to the Neglect of those whom common Humanity might teach them to
guard and affift. 18
And therefore pray, that no additional Cir- 18 And pray ye that your cumstances of Difficulty may attend you; as for
(c) Go back to take his Clothes.] These are as strong Expressions as one can imagine, to urge the speedieft Retreat. It is indeed obfervable, that this whole Discourse abounds with very lively Figures of Oratory, and is heightened with the noblest Beauties of Description. Were it 'neceffary to produce Authorities, to prove that Husbandmen laid aside their upper Garment when at Work, they might be found in Elsner ; (Observ. Vol. i. pag. 109, 110.) but that learned Critick has impaired the Beauty of the Text, by interpreting it as a Caution not to go Home to fetch them. Not to turn back implies, fleeing directly without going back (as we speak in the Country,) so much as a Land's Length to take them up; and lo it rises on the former Verje.
(d) May then be said to be compleatly fulfilled.] Among many admirable Things to be found in that great Original, Dr. Jackson's Credibility of the Scriptures, I cannot but reckon that Part of it, in which he shews, how exactly the Prophecies of Moses were accomplished in the Slaughter and Dispersion of the Jews, in, and quickly after, this fatal War with the Romans. See the Passages quoted below, in Note (m).
Great Tribulation would be in those Days.
not be in Winter, when the Roads are bad, and
fo much Extremity.
of any more (e); as no People ever have been,
and so inexcusable a Series of Impenitence and Luke XXI. 24. And Infidelity. And therefore they shall fall by the Luke XXI. the Sword, and thall be led Edge of the Sword in Multitudes, both within 24. away Captive into all Na- and without the City; and the Consequence of tions: and Jerusalem fhall all shall be, that the miserable Remnant which surbe trodden' down of the vives the general Carnage, shall be carried away
Captive into all the most distant Nations of the
(e) Such as the like has not been, nor ever shall be.] This Josephus expressly asserts to have been Fact; and whoever reads his Account, or even that judicious Abstract from him which Eusebius has given us, (Ecclef. Hift. lib. iii. cap. 5, 6.) will see a sad Illustration of all this, and criminal and detestable as the Jewish Nation now was, will hardly be able to forbear weeping over those complicated Miseries brought upon them, by Plagues, and Famine; and Fires, occasioned by the Siege, and by the Carnage made, not only by the Romans, but by the yet greater Cruelties of the Seditious and Zealots within the City,' who really acted the Part of so many incarnate Fiends, rather than of Nen.
(f) They shall fall by the Edge of the Sword, and shall be carried Captive &c.] It is well known, (according to Josephus,) that Eleven hundred thousand Jews were destroyed in this War; and near an Hundred thousand taken Prisoners, and (acccording to Deut. xxviii
. 68.) sold for Slaves at the vilest Prices. See Yoseph. Bell. 'Jud. lib. vi. cap. 9. (al. vii. 17:-) S. 3.
(8) Jerusalem shall be trampled down by the Gentiles.] Their Land was sold, and no few was allowed to inhabit there; (a Rigour never used, that I know of, towards any other People conquered by the Romans;) nay, they might not come within Sight of Jerusalem, or rather of Elia, the Name given to the new City, when the Foundations of the old were
384 Those Days should be shortened for the sake of the EleE7. Sect. 161.the Times appointed for these Triumphs and In- Gentiles, until the Times of
sults of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled, and the Day the Gentiles be fulfilled. Luke XXI.
come, when God shall remember his antient
And during the Wars which are to bring MARK XIII. 20. And on this sad Catastrophe, except the Lord had short- except that the Lord had ened those Days, no Flesh could be saved; the whole thould be saved: but for the Nation would be utterly exterminated from the Elect’s fake, whom he hath Earth, and the Name of Israel no longer be had
chosen, in Remembrance (i): But for the Elect's sake, whom be bas graciously chosen to be at length Partakers of the Blessings of his Gospel, God will so
plowed up: A Heathen Temple was built, where that of GOD had stood; and a Turkish Mosque pollutes it to this Day. So remarkably was the Hand of God upon them. And it is well known, by the Testimony of a Heathen IVriter, (who ridiculously ascribes it to a fatal Resistance in the Element,) that Julian's impious Attempt to rebuild their Temple, and settle them in Jerusalem again, in professed Contempt of this Prophecy, was several Times miraculously defeated by the Eruption of Balls of Fire, which consumed the Workmen. See Ammian. Marcell. lib. xxiii. cap. 1. pag. 286.
(h) Till the Times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.] It is much easier to vindicate the Authority of the Words nespor eðvay from the Objection of Dr. Mill, (Proleg. pag. 133.) chiefly founded on their being omitted in the Cambridge Manuscript, than to determine the Signification of them. I cannot suppose, with Mef. Le Clerc and L’Enfant, that by the Accomplishment of the Times of the Gentiles, we are to understand the Time when Constantine put an End to the Gentile Idolatry in Jerusalem, and established the Christian Worship there. (Euseb. Vit, Conft. lib. iii. cap. 26.) It seems reasonable to suppose, that here, as in most other places, the Gentiles are opposed to the Jews; and consequently, that all the Period, between the Destruction of Jerusalem, and the Restoration of the Jews to their own Land, so expressly foretold in Scripture, is here intended. (See lja. xxvii. 12, 13. Ezek. xi. 17. xx. 40, 42. xxxiv. 13. xxxvi. 24, 28. xxxvii. 21,28. xxxix. 28, 29. Hof. iii. 5. Amos ix. 14, 15. and Zech. xiv. 10, 11.) With this indeed is connected the bringing in, what St. Paul calls, the Fulness of the Gentiles: Rom. xi. 25, 26. But unless it could be proved, (which I do not recollect,) that the Inhabitants of Palestine shall then peaceably surrender it to the returning Jews, it seems most natural to suppose, the Time of the Gentiles here signifies, the Time when they shall be visited and punished; which is the Sense, in which this very Phrase, and others nearly parallel to it, frequently occur in the Old Testament; as Brennius justly obferves. (Compare Ezek. xxx, 3. as allo Jer. xxvii. 7. 1. 27. Ezek xxi. 25, 29. xxii. 3, 4.) And if it be fo, it feems an Intimation, that the Turks, or some other Antichristian Power, may continue possessed of the Holy Land, till the Restoration of the Jews; for one can hardly suppose, their way into it should then be opened by the Conquest of a Christian Nation.
(i) Except the Lord had Mortened those Days, no Flejh could be saved ; &c.] Such were the Quarrels that prevailed among the Jews, that Numbers of them were destroyed by one another; and the whole Country was become a Scene of such Desolation and Bloodthed, that not only those who were fhut up in Jerusalem, but the whole Jewish Nation would have suffered much more by the longer Continuance of the Siege, considering how much the same Spirit prevailed among them in other Places.—Mr. Reading, in his Life of Chrift, pag. 309. understands the Days being shortened for the Elect's fake, of the Preservation of the Christians at Pella, whose Safety he supposes to have depended on the shortening of the Siege, and whom he takes to be the Eleet intended here. (See Dr, Whitby on Mark xiii. 20.) — Of the special Providences by which the Siege was shortened, fee Grotius on Mat, xxiv, 22.