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According to this account, the wbole amounts to 1,357,490, besides a vast multitude that died in the caves, woods, wildernesses, common sewers, in banishments, and various other ways, of whom no computation could be made. To which must also be added, ten thousand slain at Jotapata more than our author has mentioned; for Josephus expressly mentions forty thousand, but he only thirty thousand. To these is we add ninety thousand taken prisoners, apparently doomed to a cap tivity worse than death, and eleven thousand, who are said to have perished either through the neglect of their keepers or their own sollen despair, the amount will be scarcely less than A MILLION AND A HALF! The reader must also keep in view, that a great proportion of these were strangers, who had been invited from remote parts of the world, to come to Jerusalem and assist them in the defence of their religion and liberties, their country, city, and temple; in doing which, they shared in the common ruin. Thus did the providence of God order it, that those who, by their opposition to the gospel, in all parts of their dispersion, had participated in the guilt of crucifying the Lord Jesus, and persecuting bis apostles, should also be involved in their punishment.
It is not a little remarkable that Titus, though a heathen, was frequently obliged, during this war, to acknowledge an overruling providence, not only in the extraordinary success with which he had been favoured against them, but also in the invincible obstinacy through which they, to the last, preferred their total destruction to that of accepting his repeated overtures of mercy. Again and again did he, in the most solemn manner, appeal to heaven, that he was innocent of the blood of these wretched people. * In almost every chapter, we find
• Joseph. Wars, b. 5. ch. 12.
Josephus also ascribing these dreadful calamities, and the final ruin of his nation, city, and temple, to an overruling power; to the offended Deity, or to the sins of the people: but no where more pathetically, than in that chapter, in which he sums up a number of dreadful warnings sent before hand, not so much to reduce them to obedience, as to make them discern the almighty hand that was now pouring out the awful vials of his wrath
upon them. *
As soon as the Romans had completed their destructive work of fire and slaughter, Titus set them to demolish the city, with all its noble structures, fortifications, palaces, towers, walls, and other ornaments, down to the level of the ground; as though he had nothing in view but to fulfil the predictions of Christ concerning its destruction, as is contained in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew's gospel. He lett nothing standing but a piece of the western wall and three towers, which he reserved merely as a monument to future ages of what had been the strength of the city, and the skill and valour of its conqueror. His orders were executed so punctually, that, except what has been just mentioned, nothing remained which could serve as an index that that ground had been once inhabited; insomuch that when Titus himself, some time afterwards, passed through it, in his way from Cæsarea to Alexandria, in order to embark for Rome, he wept profusely at the sight of a devastation so dreadful, cursing the wretches that had compelled him to be the author of it. +
Such was the dreadful issue of this war, terminating in the utter downfall of the Jewish state and nation, from which it has never recovered to this day; it involved in it the destruction of the temple and the discontinuance
Joseph. Wars, b. 6. ch. 5. and b. 5. ch. 13.
# Ibid. b. 6. ch. 8, 9.
of the services annexed to it. The desolation of the coumtry itself went on increasing ; till, from being, for its size, one of the most fertile and populous countries in the world, it is now become the most barren and desolate, the latest computation of the number of its inhabitants scarcely exceeding fifty thousand.
All these calamities were, no doubt, accomplished by natural causes; and were therefore such as might have been expected from a thorough knowledge of the temper of the inhabitants, their refractory disposition towards the Romans, their factions among themselves, and their presumptuous confidence in supernatural assistance, joined to a knowledge of their weakness when contrasted with the overbearing power of the Romans. But who besides the Supreme Being could have foreseen all these circumstances, or have known that the operation of them would lead to this catastrophe, when the rebellion might have terminated in many other ways, instead of the total ruin of the country and the dispersion of its inhabitants ? The divine foresight is conspicuous therefore, in our Saviour's clear prediction of these events, with all their leading circumstances, when it does not appear that any other person entertained the least apprehension of such a thing. The Jews indeed now tell us, that Jesus Christ found all that he predicted concerning the destruction of their city and temple in the prophecies of Daniel; but it is natural to ask, why did not their own Scribes, the professed interpreters of the law and the prophets, and why did not also the leading men of their own nation, discover the same things in that book?
Not only the wisdom, but the justice of God is also conspicuously displayed in this great event. A particular Providence had ever attended that people. They had always been favoured with prosperity while obedient to God and his prophets; and, on the other hand, calamity of some kind had been the never-failing consequence of their disobedience. But the measure of their iniquities was now filled up; and the wrath of heaven came upon them to the uttermost. Never had the nation in general shewn a more perverse and obstinate disposition towards any of their prophets, than was now evinced towards Christ and his apostles, though none of their prophets had ever been sent to them with such evident marks of a divine mission. Their inveteracy to Christianity continues to this day, and so does their dispersion, though they are still a distinct people, and never mix, so as to
a be confounded, with any of the nations among whom they have settled.
But I quit this subject with a reflection or two. The reader will perceive, that the history of the Jewish war, as detailed by their own historian, Josephus, in many instances a witness of the facts he attests, forms a com mentary upon the prophecies of Christ. Amongst other things, he has given a distinct account of the “fearful sights and great signs from heaven," which preceded the destruction of Jerusalem; and Tacitus has confirmed the narration of Josephus.* If Christ had not expressly foretold these things, some might have suspected that Josephus exaggerated, and that Tacitus was misinformed; but as the testimonies of these historians confirm the predictions of Christ, so do the predictions of Christ confirm the wonders recorded by these historians.
We may also remark, that by these terrible events, an end was at length put to the Mosaic economy; for, with the destruction of their city and temple, the whole of the Jewish polity and church state was also subverted. Prom that time, the remnant of that once highly favoured nation have been dispersed throughout the world; despised and hated by all; subjected, from age to age, to a
• Tacit. Annal. b. s. VOL. 1.
perpetual succession of persecutions and miseries, yet under all these disadvantages, upheld by divine providence, a distinct people. They have ever since remained “without a king, without a prince, and without a sacrifice: without an altar, without an ephod, and without divine manifestations;" as monuments every where of the truth of Christianity-yet, with this promise, that “ the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days."*
The accession of Vespasian to the imperial dignity, connected with the termination of the Jewish war, by the arms of his son Titus, happily restored tranquillity and peace to the world. He reigned ten years, much to the happiness of his subjects, and was succeeded in the throne by his son, who, though rather unpopular at the commencement of his reign, nevertheless, conducted himself in such a manner as to acquire the greatest reputation of any of the Roman emperors. During all this period the churches enjoyed a state of outward peace, and the gospel was every where crowned with success. To the inexpressible grief of his subjects, however, at the age of forty-one, and after the short reign of two years, two months, and twenty days, Titus was snatched away, having, as was suspected, been poisoned by his own brother Domitian, who succeeded to the throne in the
Domitian, in his temper and disposition, inherited all the savage cruelty of the monster Nero. Yet he spared the Christians in a considerable degree, until about the year 95, when several were put to death, and others banished, on account of their religion, both in Rome, and throughout all the provinces. Among those put to death was his own cousin and colleague in the consulship,
Hosea iii. 4, 5.