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Pretended Messiahs would attempt to deceive them. 385 chosen, (those Days shall be order it in his Providence, that those Days shall be Se&. 161. fhortned.) (Mat. XXIV. shortened; for he hath ftill Purposes of Love to22.]
Mark XIII. ward the Seed of Abraham, which shall at length take Place; (Rom. xi. 26.) and in the mean Time, he will make their continuing a distinct People, a Means of confirming the Faith of Christians in
succeeding Ages (k).
them, he should raise up for them any miracu-
there, do not believe (it.] (Compare Luke xvii. 23.
and Prodigies (i), managed with so much Art, as
Grace, as finally to be secured from the Dan-
comparing the Event with the Prediction, your
stances, which in another View might have a TenMar.XXIV.26.Where- dency to shake it. Therefore if they fall say. Mat. XXIV. fore, if they shall say unto unto you, Behold, we have found the expected 26. you, Behold, he is in the De Messiah, and he is now gathering his Forces about
(k) Their continuing a distina People, a Means of confirming the Faith of Chriftians, &c.] This I have shewn at large in my Ten Sermons, Ser. x. pag. 277,-279. and the Reader may see the Remark farther illustrated, by Mr. Addison, Spectat. vol.vii. Nó 495. and in Burnet's Four Discourses, pag. 8,—10.
(1) False Messiahs and false Prophets Mall arise, &c.] This is not a mere Repetition of what was said before, in ver. 6. (pag. 374.) but relates to those Impostors, who appeared during the Time of the Siege ; of which see Joseph. Bell. Jud. lib. vi. cap. 5. (al. vii. 11.) S. 2. and Euseb. Ecclef. Hift. lib. iv. cap. 6. See also Grotius, on Mat, xxiv. 24. VOL. II.
Where the Carcase is, the Eagles will gather together. Sect. 161. People, do not go forth to join yourselves to his fart, so not forth : behold,
Followers ; [or) if they shall say, Behold, she is be is in the secret Chambers, Mat. XXIV.: 26.
in the secret Apartments of some particular Friend,
selves the Trouble so much as to enquire into the
no other Messiah but me; and when I appear, it cometh out of the Eaft, and
rufalem, and to the final Judgment. (Compare
five also will the Desolation be; for, as I former- Carcase is, there will the
28 For wherefoever the
IMPROV EM E N T.
Luke xxi. 21.
F our Lord urges his Disciples, with such fpeedy and solicitous Haste,
to flee from the Sword of God's Temporal Judgments, how much greater Diligence should we give to flee from the Wrath to come! What
(m) In some more distant Regions, &c.] There may perhaps be an oblique Intimation in this Passage, of the Slaughter afterwards made on the Jews elsewhere, and particularly under Adrian and Trajan; when what had been foretold by Mofes (Deut. xxviii. 49, & feq.) was remarkably fulfilled, and as an Eagle flies upon its Prey, their Enemies pursued them to Destruction ; and the Calamities they underwent were such, that (as Dio Caffius informs us, Hift. lib. 69.) 50,000 were Nain, 500 of their Fortresses were demolished, and goo of their chief Towns in Egypt, Crete, &c. were plundered and burnt to the Ground : Not to
rrible Things they afterwards suffered, in France, Italy, Spain, and other Parts of Europe, in the Decline of the Roman Empire: Of all which see Dr. Jackson's Eternal Truth of the Scriptures, Book i. part 2. feat. 3. chap. 6, 10,—13.
Reflections on the Ruin that Bould come on the Jews. 387 are any of the little Interests of Life, that out of Regard to them we Sect. 161. Thould be willing to continue one Moment longer exposed to a Danger, which may sink us into everlasting Perdition and Despair !
We have here a lively Description of that aggravated Ruin, which was brought upon the Jews for neglecting Christ; even great Tribulation, Mat. xxiv. such as had never from the very Beginning of the World fallen upon any 21. other Nation, nor shall ever be equalled. Thus was his Blood upon them, and their Children. (Mat. xxvii. 25.) May we never know what it is, to have this Blood crying against us, for trampling it under Foot as an unboly Thing! (Heb. x. 29.) For surely to the Jews, who thus rejected the Counfel of GOD against themselves, all these Things which they suffered were but the Beginning of Sorrows; and the Famine and Sedition, Pestilence Ver. 7, 8. and Slaughter, by which so many Thousands perished, served only to consign them over to infinitely more terrible Indignation and Wrath, Tribulation and Anguish, which will at last fall on every Soul of Man that doth Evil, whether y cw, or Gentile. (Rom. ii. 8. 9.)
These unhappy Creatures eagerly listened to the very Name of a Mef- Mark xiii. fiah, by whomsoever it was assumed; while they rejected him whom 21, 22. God had sent them, and who had so long, and with so much Importunity, been renewing to them the Offers of Life and Salvation. May none of us ever know the fad Impatience, with which condemned Sinners will with, and wilh in vain, for those Overtures and Messages of Grace, which they now despise ! În that Sense, wheresoever the Carcase Mat. xxiv. is
, there will the Eagles be gathered together : Where-ever there is the 28. like Unbelief and Impenitence, there will be in its Degree the like Ruin. Christ has graciously told us these Things before : May we humbly attend Mark xiii. to the Warning, that none of this Terror and Destruction may ever 23. come upon us!
Christ describes the total Destruction of the Jewish State
by strong Figures, many of them literally suiting the Day of Judgment; to the Mention of which he proceeds, declaring the particular Time of it unknown. Mat. XXIV. 29, -36. Mark XIII. 243---32. Luke XXI. 25,---33.
LUKE XXI. 25.
LUKE XXI. 25.
UR Lord proceeded in the awful Repre- Sect. 162. in the Sun, and
Luke XXL. Moon, ing on Jerusalem, and said, Before this Desola
25. Ссс 2
Luke XXI. 25.
Jesus describes the Tribulation of those Days. Sect. 162. tion fall be compleatly come, there mall be (as Moon, and in the Stars; and
? I told you before, ver. 11.) some extraordinary upon the Earth Distress of
Signs in the Sun, and in the Moon, and in the the Sca, and the Waves roase
thereof, roaring, and breaking in upon the Land
for Fear, and for lookwhelmed with the fad Expectation of those cala- ing after those Things which mitous Things which are coming upon the Land : For this shall not be like former Invasions or Captivities, which only produced some transient Diforders in the State, or, at most, an Interruption in the Government for a few Years; but it shall be attended with such a total Subversion of it, and with such vast, extensive, and lasting Ruin, that it shall be a most lively Emblem of the Deso
lation of the whole World at the Last Day. Mat. XXIV.
For immediately after the Affliction of those MAT. XXIV. 29. Im-
Stars Mall fall from Heaven, and the Powers of Light ; and the Stars shall
(a) Expiring with Fear.] This is the literal Rendering of anafuxoutwv ano 2068.
- The Signs here spoken of seem to be some of the latest of those mentioned in the Writers referred to above, in Notes (8) and (h) on ver. 10, 11. pag. 374, 375.
(6) Immediately after the Affliction of those Days.) Archbishop Tillotson, and Brennius, with many other learned Interpreters, imagine, that our Lord here makes the Transition from the Destruction of Jerusalem, which had been the Subject of his Discourfe thus far, to the General "Judgment: But I think, as it would, on the one hand,
be very harsh, to suppose all the Sufferings of the Jewish Nation in all Ages, to be called the Tribulation of those Days; so it would, on the other hand, be equally so, to say, that the General Judgment, which probably will not commence till at least a Thousand Years after their Restoration, will happen immediately after their Sufferings ; nor can I find any one Instance, in which Eubeas is used in such a ftrange Latitude. What is said below, (in Mat. xxiv. 34. Mark xiii. 30. and Luke xxi. 32. pag. 391.) seems also an unanswerable Objection againit such an Interpretation. I am obliged therefore to explain this Section as in the Paraphrase; tho' I acknowledge many of the Figures used may with more literal Propriety be applied to the Last Day, to wich there may be a remote, tho' not an immediate Reference.
(c) The Sun shall be darkened, &c.] It was cnstomary with the Prophets, as it still is with the Eastern Writers, to describe the utter Ruin of States and Kingdoms, not only in general by an universal Darkness, but also by such strong Figures as those here used, which
Messengers should be sent to assemble bis Elect.
389 that Prophetic Language to which you have been Sect. 162. accustomed, the whole Civil and Ecclesiastical Con
stitution of the Nation shall not only be shocked, 30 And then shall appear but totally diffolved.
And then all there evi- Mat. XXIV. in Heaven : and then thall dently appear such a remarkable Hand of Provi- 30. all the Tribes of the Earth dence in avenging my Quarrel upon this sinful mourn, and they shall see People, that it hall be like the Sign of the Son the Clouds of Heaven, with of Man in Heaven at the Last Day; and all the Power and great Glory. Tribes of the Land shall then mourn, and they shall (MARK XIII. 26. Luke fee the Son of Man, coming as it were in the Clouds XXI. 27.)
of Heaven (d), with Power and great Glory; for
the great Lord of those Heavenly Hosts, are set,
vens to the other, or from the uttermoft Part of the
all have their Foundation in that Way of speaking. Compare Isa. xiii. 10. xxxiv. 4, 10. Ix. 20. Jer. xv. 9. Ezek. xxxii. 7, 8. Joel
. ii. 30, 31. iii. 15. and Amos vili. 9. (d) Coming in the Clouds of Heaven. ] Sudden and irresistible Destruction, in which much of the Hand of God evidently appears, is (as Dr. Whitby justly observes,) often expresied by God's coming in the Clouds: (Compare Psal. xviii. 9. 1. 3, 4. xcvii. 2, 3. civ. 3. Isa. xix. 1. xxvi. 21. Ixvi. 15.) But I think, the Celestial Appearances described by Josephus, (as above, Note (b) on Luke xxi. 11. pag. 375.) lead us into the exactest Interpretation of this Text, and greatly illustrate the Propriety of these Expressions here.
le) Send forth his Messengers.) Moft of the Translations, as well as our own, greatly obfcure this Text, by rendering the Word as years, Angels ; for tho'it generally signify those Celeftial Spirits, who are on great Occasions the Messengers of GoD to our World, it is well known, that the Word refers, not to their Nature, but to their Office; and is often applied to Men, and rendered Messengers. See Mark i. 2. Luke vii. 24, 47. ix. 52. 2 Cor. viii. 23. Phil. ii. 25. and Jam, ii. 25. In some of which Places it signifies, as here, Preachers of the Gospel, who were to carry on God's great Design of uniting all bis chosen People in one Society under Chrift, as their common Head. Eph. i. 10.