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soldiery, who " regarded not the person of the old, nor showed favour to the young." History informs us, that the Romans, under Titus and Vespasian, after a protracted siege, unparalleled in horror, and sanguinary beyond example, at length became masters of this once-favoured spot; and if we compare the predictions of Christ with the events which occurred, and followed at the taking of this devoted city, we sahll be struck with the coincidence of the declaration, and its awful fulfilment.
His foreknowledge of the dreadful calamities which should precede and accompany the destruction of Jerusalem, caused our blessed Saviour, when he beheld the city, to weep over it: and, surely, if this oncefavoured race had then known the day of its visitation, the Lord would have turned from his fierce anger ; but these things were hid from their eyes." Having rejected the Lord of Glory, they were given over to judicial blindness, and the Lord brought upon them a nation from afar
to execute his vengeance. Jerusalem was “ trodden down by the Gentiles," and there was great distress upon the land, and wrath upon the people.” The sword and the
spear from without, and famine and pestilence and civil discord within, were indeed unto them “ the beginning of
sorrows.' The predicted day was now come, when their “ enemies should cast a trench about them, and compass them round, and keep them in on every side.” Their walls of strength, their beautiful palaces, and their magnificent temple, were laid “even with the ground.” Not “ one stone was left upon another” that was not thrown down; and all the princes and the nobles, the ruler and the ruled, the priest and the people, and “the children within thee,” either “ fell by the edge of the sword,” or were “ led away captive into all nations," for there was
great distress in the land, and wrath upon the people."
Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.-Micah iii. 12.
“ Walk about Zion, and go round about her, tell the towers thereof, mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces,” are they still “ beautiful for situation?” Is Jerusalem yet the “joy of the whole earth?” Within “ her walls peace once reigned, and prosperity within her palaces." But how
tures. Only three strong towers remained of the once magnificent Jerusalem, and they were left to exhibit to future times the skill and power of the Roman troops, in becoming possessed of a place so strongly fortified by nature and art. Josephus and other Jews attribute the unparalleled calamities of their country-men, and the destruction of the temple, to the signal vengeance of heaven, inflicted to punish that deluded people for their cruelty and injustice to James the just, the brother of Jesus, who is called Christ : but a believer of the New Testament must consider that they were punished for their rejection and crucifixion of Jesus Christ himself, the Messiah of Israel, and Son of God; it was for that cause Zion was plowed as a field; Jerusalem became a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.”
And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.Isaiah viii. 14.
These words are not prophetical of the person of the Messiah, yet they describe, in striking language, the effects that would follow his appearance and ministry upon earth. They foretel the opposition and enmity that would arise, in the minds of the Jewish nation, to the Christ of God. If the whole Israelitish race had gladly hailed Jesus as their Messiah, and if all, to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed, from its first promulgation down to the present hour; if all these countless multitudes, had cordially embraced the faith of Christ, it could not have proved a more decisive evidence of “ the truth as it is in Jesus,” than is afforded by the Jews in their rejection of Christ as the Messiah, Thereby the prophecies of God are fulfilled concerning him, who, though set for a sanctuary, became “a stumbling block, and rock of offence,” to the house of Israel, “and a gin and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” The Jews were not a little vain of the glorious pre-eminence their nation once sustained amidst the kingdoms of the world, on account of the wondrous works, which the Lord of Hosts had wrought for them, by “his mighty hand, and outstretched arm.”
Their religious distinctions and ceremonies had also tended to feed their pride, and nourish their haughty contempt, for the other nations of the earth. Their long promised Messiah was not forgotten by them. In his reign, their lively imaginations had blended all the splendid conquests and dazzling magnificence of regal power. Theirs was a tone of mind but ill-suited to bow before the. despised Man of Nazareth ; to embrace the commands, and follow as a master, one so poor, that “ he had not where to lay his head.” When we Consider the natural pride of the human heart, as joined with the national pride of the Jewish people, we may cease to wonder at their rejection of Jesus. "They could not stoop to acknowledge even the Son of God as their ruler, when offered to them void of the purple robe and golden sceptre. They could not swear allegiance to Ziou's King, when they saw neither his royal pavilion, nor marshalled troops. They could not bow before one born in a stable, though Angels had descended to proclaim his glorious advent. What wonder, if the eye by gazing so long and frequently on the dazzling splendour they were wont to attach to the Messiah's reign, could not perceive the fainter rays of glory that glimmered around the retired path of the Man of Nazareth; they were offended at the absence of all temporal splendour in his person; the Cross of Christ proved a stumbling block and rock of offence. The Jews rejected, as unfit for their building, “ the precious corner stone,