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lences, and fearful sights, and great signs from heaven; and Josephus and Tacitus speak of prodigies and portents in a manner which, with every allowance for exaggeration and superstitious fancies, customary upon such occasions, indicates something peculiar.
The circumstances of the siege, and their exact conformity to the prophecies uttered by Moses and successive prophets, and finally detailed with more ample denunciation by Christ, are so well known, and have been so often pointed out, that it is not my intention to produce them here.
In a consideration of the works of Josephus, Tacitus, and Suetonius, some particuJars illustrative of the subject will be adduced, and those who wish for a more full and exact investigation may have recourse to Bishop Newton and other commentators. · The declaration of our Blessed Lord, with respect to the destruction of the city and temple, involved a consideration of the demolition of the Jewish institutions, and the establishment of Christianity in their stead, while the dispersion of the Jews was intended to distribute every where the living witnesses of the truth of prophecy, unwilling and un
suspected advocates for a cause which they themselves blindly resisted.
The removal of the Jews into captivity in Assyria, where they remained seventy years, and into Egypt, whither they were brought again and “ sold for bond-men and bond66 women *,” events foretold in prophecy, had only tended to confirm them in adherence to their distinctive rites and customs.
But the remainder of the scroll of prophecy, unsealed by our Lord and his Disciples, foreshewed the departure of the Mosaic dispensation, leaving only the memorial of its figures, the testimony of its prophecies, and the moral force of its commandments ; and it disclosed to the world the successive periods of the Christian Church till the full display of its triumph, the final consumma, tion of its glory.
In the prophecies, which relate to the dispersion of the Jews, it was foretold that they should be « plucked from off their own 6 land t," and remain in captivity till their final re-assembling; and the testimony of many Heathen writers might be adduced to prove how ineffectuat all endeavours have been to counteract the fulfilment of these prophecies. · That the Jews were often disposed to return, and that they still cherish the hope of returning is well known, Adrian found it nécessary to oppose the disposition, by forbidding them, on pain of death, again to settle in Jerusalem, and it appears that few if any were able to effect it. Benjamin Tudela relates in the twelfth century, that the city was almost totally abandoned by the Jews, and that he could not find in it above two hundred persons of that nation.
* Deut. xxviii. 68. and Joseph. Antiq. lib. xii. c. 1, 2. et Bell. Jud. lib. vi. c. 9.
+ Deut. xxviii. 63, 64.
It was however disclosed in distinct terms, that, though the people should be dispersed “ from one end of the earth to the other," they should not be utterly destroyed, yet that “ they should find no ease or rest, being “ oppressed or spoiled," and that “ they “ should be mad for the sight of their eyes, “ which they should behold, and become an “ astonishment, a proverb, and a by-word, “ their plagues being wonderful and of long “continuance *."
* Deut. xxviii, and xxxi. 17.
It will be seen then that the Heathen historians afford an exact commentary on these ever memorable prophecies. More abundant testimonies to their accomplishment might be derived from the writings of the fathers and ecclesiastical historians, but it is wished in this work to deduce evidence from writers only who were not converted to Christianity, and whose bias was against its claims; as if turning for a moment, in contemplating the stupendous scene of the crucifixion, to notice the centurion, and them that were with him, who bore likewise their suffrage to Christ,“ saying, truly this was the son of “ of God.”
The prophecies of our Lord, with regard to the dispersion, sufferings, and death of his disciples * and followers, and those with relation to the rapid rise, progress, and establishment of Christianity, and to the opposition, offences, and resistance from evil men which it should experience, might be easily shewn from Heathen writers to have received in many instances an exact completion, but this would lead us beyond the line proposed in this work.
* See also Acts xi. 27. xxi. 11. ii. 9.
The predictions also of the Apostles and Evangelists, which describe the Antichristian powers, and the first measures of their enmity, might be illustrated by similar testimonies ; but this detail does not fall within the scope proposed ; and where modern history and experience should be brought into consideration to do any justice to the subject, it would be useless, if not injurious, to exhibit any representations necessarily incomplete and defective.