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Luke expreffeth the reafon thus, (XXI. 22.) For thefe be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. Thefe be the days of vengeance, wherein the calamities foretold by Mofes, Joel, Daniel, and other prophets, as well as thofe predicted by our Saviour, shall all meet as in one common center, and be fulfilled with aggravation on this generation. Thefe be the days of vengeance too in another fenfe, as if God's vengeance had certain periods and revolutions, and the fame days were fatal to the Jews, and deftinated to their deftruction. For it is very memorable, and matter of juft admiration according to (2) Jofephus, that the temple was burnt by the Romans in the fame month, and on the fame day of the month, as it was before by the Babylonians.
Nothing fo violent can be of long continuance. Thefe calamities were fo fevere, that like fire, they must in time have confumed all, and have left nothing for themselves to prey upon. And except thofe days fhould be shortened, there should no flesh be faced. (ver. 22.) If thefe wars and defolations were to continue, none of the Jews would efcape deftruction, they would all be cut off root and branch. I think (3) Jofephus computes the number of thofe who perifhed in the fiege at eleven hundred thoufand, befides thofe who were flain in other places: and if the Romans had gone on destroying in this manner, the whole nation of the Jews would certainly in a little time have been extirpated. But for the elect's fake, but for the fake of the Chriftian Jews, thofe days fhall be fhortened. But for the elect's fake, whom he hath chofen, the Lord hath fhortened the days, as it is expreffed in St. Mark. (XIII. 20.) The elect is a well known appellation in feripture and antiquity for the Chriftians; and the Chriftian Jews, partly through the fury of the Zelots on one hand, and the hatred of the Romans on
(2) Lib. 6. Cap. 4. Sect. 5. Jarpavai de av TIS ED CUT! The Wegiode την ακρίβειαν. και μηνα γεν, ὡς ἔφην, και ήμεραν επετήρησε την αυλην, εν η πρότερον ὑπο Βαβυλωνιων ὁ νας ενή Tenon. elt autem ut mirari quis poffit
in eo accuratam circuma&ti temporis rationem, nam eundem, ut dictum eft, menfem et diem fervavit, quo priua templum a Babyloniis exuftum fuerat. Sect. 8. p. 1279. Edit. Hudson.
(3) Lib. 6. Cap. 9. Sect. 3.
the other, and partly through the difficulty of fubfifting in the mountains without houfes or provifions, would in all probability have been almost all destroyed either by the fword or by famin, if the days had not been fhortened. But providentially the days were shortened, Titus himself (4) was defirous of putting a fpeedy end to the fiege, having Rome and the riches and the plea fures there before his eyes. Some of his officers (5) propofed to him to turn the fiege into a blockade, and fince they could not take the city by ftorm, to starve it into a furrender: but he thought it not becoming to fit ftill with fo great an army; and he feared left the length of the time fhould diminish the glory of his fuccefs; every thing indeed may be effected in time, but celerity contributes much to the fame and fplendor of actions, The befieged too helped to fhorten the days by (6) their divifions and mutual flaughters; by (7) burning their provifions, which would have fufficed for many years; and by (8) fatally deserting their strongest holds, where they could never have been taken by force, but by famin alone. By thefe means the days were Shortened; and indeed otherwife Jerufalem could never have been taken in fo fhort a time, fo well fortified as it was, and fo well fitted to fuftain a longer fiege. The enemy without could hardly ever have prevailed but for the factions and feditions within. Titus himfelf could not but afcribe his fuccefs to God, as he was viewing the fortifications, after the city was taken. His words to his friends were very remarkable. "We have
gloriam ipfi diminuat temporis longitudo. hac enim cuncta quidem effici poffe, fed ad gloriam facere celerita tem. p. 1251. Edit. Hudfon.
(6) Ibid. Cap. 1, &c.
(7) Set. 4. ός αν αυτοις εκ επ ολίγα διήρκεσεν στη πολιορκεμενοις quod non paucis annis illis fufficere potuiffet obfeffis. p. 1213.
(8) Lib. 6. Cap. 3. Sect. 4. εQ' ὧν βία μεν εδεποτ ̓ ἅλωναι, μονῳ εδύναντο λιμῳ. in quibus vi quidem nunquam, fola vero fame expugnari poterant. p. 1289.
fought, (9) faid he, with God on our fide; and it is God who hath pulled the Jews out of thefe ftrong holds; for what could the hands of men or machines against these towers?" God therefore, in the opinion of Titus as well as of St. Mark, Jhortened the days. After the deftruction of Jerufalem too, God inclined the heart of Titus to take fome pity upon the remnant of the Jews, and to restrain the nations from exercifing the cruelty that they would have exercised towards them. At Antioch particularly (where the difciples were first called Chriftians) (1) the fenate and the people earneftly importuned him to expel the Jews out of the city; but he prudently anfwered, that their country whither they fhould return being laid wafte, there was no place that could receive them. Then they requested him to deprive the Jews of their former privileges, but thofe he permitted them to enjoy as before. Thus for the elect's fake thofe days of perfecution were shortened.
Our bleffed Lord had cautioned his difciples against falfe Chrifts and falfe prophets before, but he giveth a more particular caution againft them about the time of the fiege and deftruétion of Jerufalem. (ver. 23 and 24.) Then if any man shall fay unto you, Lo here is Chrift or there, believe it not; For there fhall arife falfe Chrifts and false prophets, and shall show great figns and wonders, infomuch that (if it were poffible) they shall deceive the very elect. And in fact many fuch impoftors did arife about that time, as we learn from (2) Jofephus, and promifed deliverance from God, being fuborned by the tyrants or governors to prevent the people and foldiers from deferting to the Romans; and the lower the Jews
(9) Ibid. Cap. 9. Sect. 1. συν Θεῷ γ' ἐπολεμησαμεν, εφη, και Θεος ην ὁ τώνδε των ερυμαίων Ιεδαιες καθελών, επει χειρες τε άνθρωπων η μηχανα, τι προς τέτες της πυργος δύνανται; Deo, inquit, favente bellavimus, Deus eft, qui Judæos ex iftis munimentis detraxit; nam humanæ manus et machinæ quid contra tales turres valeant? p. 1290.
(1) Jofeph. ibid. Lib. 7. Cap. 5.
(2) πολλοι δ' ήσαν εγκάθετοι παρα των τυράννων τότε προς τον δημον προ
φηται, προσμένειν την απο το Θες βοη θείαν καταγγελλον]ες, ὡς ἡτον αυτομος λοιεν, και τις επάνω δεες και φυλακης γινόμενες ελπις παρακραίων. πείθεται δε ταχέως ανθρωπος εν συμφοραίς. Multi autem tunc a tyrannis fubornati erant ad populum prophetæ, denunciantes effe auxilium a Deo exfpectandum, ut populus minus transfugeret, et eos, qui fupra metum erant et cuftodes, fpes retineret. Cito autem in adverfis homini perfuadctur. Lib. 6. Cap. 50. Sed. 2. p. 1281. Edit. Hudfon.
e reduced, the more difpofed would they be to liften hefe deceptions, and the more ready to follow the ivers. Hegefippus too in (3) Eufebius mentions coming of falfe Chrifts and falfe prophets about the e time. But as it was to little purpofe for a man to upon him the character of the Chrift, or even of ophet, without miracles to vouch his divine miffion; I was the common artifice and pretence of these ftors to how figns and wonders, onμna xaι tepala, very words ufed by Chrift in his prophecy, and by Jofephus in his hiftory. Simon Magus performed wonders according to the account that is given m in the Acts of the Apoftles. (VIII. 9, 10, 11.) e was a certain man called Simon, which before time e fame city ufed forcery, and bewitched the people of ria, giving out that himself was fome great one: To they all gave heed from the leaft to the greatest, g, This man is the great power of God: And to him ad regard, because that of long time he had bewitched with forceries. Dofitheus likewife was reputed to wonders according to (5) Origen: Barchochebas who (6) Jerome faith pretended to vomit flames. alfo were the Jews, of whom St. Paul fpeaketh, m. III. 8, 13.) comparing them to Jannes and es, famous magicians of Egypt, who withstood , as thefe alfo refifted the truth, men of corrupt minds, ate concerning the faith, πονηροι άνθρωποι και γοητες, men and impoftors. There is a strange propenfity kind to believe things marvelous and aftonishing: o wonder, that weak and wicked men, Jews and itans, were deceived by fuch impoftors; when if been poffible they would have deceived the very the Chriftians themfelves.
behold, faith our Saviour, I have told you before. 5.) Behold I have given you fufficient warning. fore if they shall fay unto you, Behold, he is in the
ufeb. Ecclef. Hift. Lib. 4.
(5) Contra Celfum, Lib. 6. Cap. 11. p. 638. Vol. 1. Edit. Be
defert, go not forth; behold, he is in the fecret chambers, believe it not, (ver. 26.) It is surprifing that our Saviour fhould not only foretel the appearance of thefe impoftors, but also the manner and circumstances of their conduct. For fome he mentions as appearing in the defert, and fome in the fecret chambers; and the event hath in all points anfwered to the prediction. Several of the falfe Chrifts and falfe prophets conducted their followers into the defert. Jofephus in his (7) Antiquities faith exprefly, that many impoftors and cheats perfuaded the people to follow them into the defert, where they promifed to fhow manifeft wonders and figns done by the providence of God; and many being perfuaded fuffered the punishment of their folly; for Felix brought them back, and chaftifed them. Again in his (8) history of the Jewish war speaking of the fame perfons he faith, that these impoftors, under a pretence of divine infpiration, affected innovations and changes, perfuaded the. multitude to grow mad, and led them forth into the defert, as if God would there fhow them the figns of liberty. Againft thefe Felix, for it feemed to be the foundation of a revolt, fent horfe and foot foldiers, and flew a great number of them. The Egyptian falfe prophet, mentioned by (9) Jofephus, and in the Acts of the
(7) οἱ δε γύλες και απαλεωνες ανθρωποι τον όχλον έπειθον αυτοις εις την ερημιαν ἐπεσθαι. δείξειν γαρ έφασαν εναργή τεραία και σημεία, κατά την τε Θε πρόνοιαν γενόμενα. Και πολλοι πεισθελες, της αφροσύνης τιμωρίας υπεσχον. αναχθείας γαρ αυτες Φήλιξ εκολάσεν. Impoftores verò et fallaciis pleni homines fuadebant multitudini, ut ipfos in folitudinem fequerentur. Se enim ipfis oftenfuros dicebant manifefta prodigia et figna, quæ Dei cura et providentia evenirent. Multique, fidem habentes, dementiae fuae poenas pertulerunt. Eos quippe retractos Felix fupplicio affecit. Ant. Lib. 20. Cap. 7. Sect. 6. p. 893,
τετοις ὁ φήλιξ, εδοκεν γας αποφάσεως είναι καταβολη, πέμψας ἱππεις και πεζες όπλίτας, πολύ πληθος διεφθειρε. Nam homines fedu&tores et fallaciis pleni, fpecie divini aflatus, novis rebus et mutationibus ftudentes, vulgo ut infanirent perfuadebant, et proficiebant in folitudinem; ac fi illic Deus oftenfurus effet eis figna libertatis. Contra iftos (inde enim videtur oritura effe infurrectio) milites, tam pedites quam equites, mifit Felix, magnumque eorum numerum interfecit. De Bell. Jud. Lib. 2. Cap. 13. Sect. 4. p. 1075.
(9) Antiq. Lib. 20. Cap. 7. Sect. 6. De Bell. Jud. Lib. 2. Cap. 13. Sect. 5. ὡσε συμβολης γενομενες, τον μεν Αιγυπ τιον φύγειν μετ' ολίγων, διαφθαρήναι δε
ζωγρηθηναι πλειτες των συν αυτῷ Facto igitur congreffu, Ægyptius quidem ipfe cum paucis evafit; plurim que eorum qui cum eo erant partim trucidati, partim vivi capti funt. p. 1076, Apostles,