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several impostors sucessively arose, and led away the people to their destruction. In fact, in the reign of Nero, when Felix was procurator of Judea, such numbers of these impostors made their appearance, that many of them were put to death every day.
But the most remarkable of our Lord's predictions is, that of the destruction of Jerusalem.* This prophecy includes so many particulars, its detail of circumstances is so full, and accords so completely with the event, that, allowing for the figures of speech, it might seem, almost, to be the account of one who had witnessed the siege, and the demolition of the city. Regarding it as a genuine prediction of our Lord's, it affords a most illustrious proof of his divine authority, and, consequently, of the truth of Christianity. The unbeliever has not failed to impugn it; and, struck with the resemblance which the passage bears to the after-relation of the historian, he has endeavoured to set it aside as a spurious prophecy, as an invention of the Evangelists, or of the primitive Christians, subsequent to the event therein spoken of.
Upon which, I would remark: 'first,† that the publication of the gospels, in which the prophecy is inserted, is universally ascribed, by a series of unconnected writers, to a period previous to the
* Matt. xxiv. Mark xiii. Luke xix. 43, 44, and chap. xxi.
+ See Outlines of Evidences, by the Rev. J. Grundy.
destruction of Jerusalem.
Secondly, there is not the slightest reason for supposing, that this part was a subsequent production, or was not written and published at the same time with the rest. Thirdly, the predictions of the destruction of Jerusalem are incidentally inserted in different parts of the gospels. Fourthly, the books of the New Testament, immediately after their appear→ ance, were widely dispersed amongst all Christians. No subsequent paragraph or chapter could, therefore, have well escaped detection. Fifthly, neither Jews nor Pagans, the most inveterate enemies of Christians, ever charged them with subsequently inserting these accounts. It was reserved for the modern opponent of the gospel to bring charges of invention and of fraud against the primitive disciples, in matters, wherein, the ancient unbeliever did not suspect their honesty.
Finally, our Lord foretold those unparalleled calamities which befel the Jews, subsequent to the taking of Jerusalem, and their dispersion throughout all the world; There shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.-For great wrath shall be upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the
* See Lecture on Testimony.
times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.'* sufferings of the Jews during the siege of Jeru salem were of the most appalling description, is a fact fully confirmed by their historian Josephus; but their calamities did not end with the demoli tion of their city. Besides the amazing numbers that were slain by the sword, or that perished by famine, thousands of the wretched survivors were reserved to grace the triumph of their conqueror, and subsequently, to die, contending with beasts, in the theatres of the Roman empire. In fact, the whole nation was, as it were, proscribed, and the few that escaped the fury of war, were led away captives, or wandered about fugitives and outcasts. Thus was the prophecy of the Lord Jesus literally fulfilled; Jerusalem was 'trodden down of the Gentiles,' and her children were dispersed throughout all the nations. But it is not only in what occured at the destruction of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the inhabitants of Judea, that we have evidence of the truth of our Lord's predictions, we see them verified, even at the present day, in the oppressed state of this celebrated city, and in the condition of the Jews, scattered as they are, throughout every nation under heaven.
From our review of the subject, I conclude, therefore, that prophecy yields abundant evidence of the divine mission of Jesus, and, consequently, of the truth of Christianity. For, first, the prophecies of the Jewish scriptures, were fully accom
* Matt. xxiv. 21. Luke xxi. 24.
plished in the Lord Jesus. And, secondly, many remarkable predictions of the Lord Jesus himself, were literally and completely fulfilled. If, as the impugner of the scriptures asserts, religion be a fable, and revelation a dream, how shall these extraordinary coincidences be explained? My brethren, let us not be deceived: Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering ;' let us show forth its excellence to the world by our works: let us manifest it to be the offspring of that wisdom from above, pure, peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
Gradual progress of all the works and creatures of God to the perfection of their several states. Of the creation of the world.-Of man's condition.-Pursuits.-Character.-Of Religion and Morals.→→→ Of the imperfection of character of certain individuals mentioned in the ancient scriptures.-Of David. Adapted to the circumstances of his age and country.-Jesus the Christian's examplar. The character of Jesus a powerful internal evidence of his divine mission.-Remarks on the prominent features of the character of Jesus.--Manner and style of teaching. Of exhibiting the evidence of a divine mission.-Of the greatness of his views and purposes.-Recapitulation.--Testimony of unbelievers to the transcendent excellence of the character of Jesus.Their opposition to Christianity inconsistent with this testimony.
How beautifully progressive are all the works and creatures of God! How gradually, and yet, how surely, do they undergo the several changes appointed to them, until they arrive at the perfection of their state, accomplish the purposes of their Creator, and pass away! What order, utility, and beauty, doth he cause to arise from unpromising beginnings; yea, often, from seeming confusion, worthlessness, and deformity!