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seriously consider this part of the subject. O that they would trace the unparalleled sufferings which they have been called to endure, for so long and unprecedented duration, to the true cause! I cannot but believe that they would soon be convinced that the only and true cause of it is stated by the apostle, viz. “For ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men; forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles, that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: For the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost." i Thess. 2 : 14–16. The Lord Jesus Christ himself expressly foretold, and plainly predicted the destruction of*Jerusalem, and the ruin of the commonwealth of our nation, as a punishment for rejecting him. That our people have suffered these national calamities, is attested by one of our own historians, and corroborated by other writers. Josephus has described the commencement, progress, and conclusion of that destructive war, which ended in the final overthrow of that renowned city, wherein God had chosen to put his name and manifest his glory. .
Does it not strike you, dear Benjamin, with astonishment, that when Senacherib came with a mighty army against Hezekiah, God declared that he would defend Jerusalem against all the power of the enemy; and to fulfill his prumise, an angel slew, in one night, a hundred and four score and five thousand of the Assyrians, and thereby forced the assailants to a precipitate retreat out of the country. Jsa. 37: 36. But when the Roman general led his legions into Judea, no such protection was afforded. On the contrary, the country was wasted, the city was encompassed by a multitude of armed men, who carried on the siege with the greatest vigor, and drove the besieged to the greatest extremities. The inhabitants, instead of uniting their strength in defence of the place, were unhappily rent into factions,
and opposed one to another. These waged an intestine war within the walls, which were constantly assaulted by the foe without. Thus the city was divided against itself, and every man's sword turned against his fellow. To complete the distress, the famine prevailed to so great a degree that the tender mother killed, roasted, and ate her own infant. See Josephus, B. vii. ch. 8. Deut. 28: 57. Multitudes of people were thus consumed by the sword and by hunger; and after all, Jerusalem, God's chosen city, was taken by stormthe holy temple burned with fire; and after a most terrible slaughter, our whole nation was scattered abroad, and condemned, like Cain, to wander as fugitives and vagabonds in the earth. Here let us pause a moment, my dear Benjamin, and ask, wherefore hath the Lord thus done unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger ? why hath he given up his people to be destroyed by the sword and by the famine? He protected them against the tyranny of Pharaoh, and preserved them in their passage through the Red Sea, where the Egyptian army was drowned. By a glorious cloud he conducted them through the pathless desert, and in that barren land he fed them with angels' food; the nations of Canaan he overthrew before them, and granted them privileges which no other people under heaven enjoyed. But nowO my heart weeps within me now this very people are banished from the land of promise, exposed to numerous hardships, and live in a degraded state of exile, which has lasted more than seventeen hundred years, and none can tell the end.
This amazing change in the condition of our people can. not fail to strike every attentive mind, for they are fallen from the greatest height of national prosperity to the greatest depth of national adversity. Yet surely God hath not done it without cause. All that he hath done in afflicting our people, when he delivered them into the hand of the Chaldeans, who burned Jerusalem with fire, and carried the people into captivity, a plain and satisfactory reason was
assigned for it in the following words : “ They mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people till there was no remedy.” 2 Chron. 26: 16. And it is on this principle alone that the last destruction of Jerusalem and the present dispersion of our people can be accounted for. Since the Babylonish captivity, they have not been addicted to gross idolatry in worshipping graven ima. ges and adoring the work of men's hands; so far from it, they have been particularly tenacious of their own laws, and have carefully avoided all connections with the nations among whom they sojourn. Yet it is evident that they must be guilty of some very grievous and heinous crime, otherwise God would never suffer them to be oppressed and scattered as they have been. Their crime, then, is evidently the rejection of Jesus Christ. They would not hearken unto that prophet like unto Moses, whom the Lord raised up; they treated both him and his followers with the greatest indignity, and cruelly persecuted them unto death; they would not hearken to God's words which that prophet spake in God's name, and God hath required it of them, by punishing them for their disobedience. The curses denounced in the song of Moses have fallen upon them because they rejected and crucified the Lord of glory. O that our beloved brethren, who have suffered so much, and who are still suffering for their sins, would be persuaded seriously to consider the matter. What stronger proof of the truth of Christianity can possibly be given than the destruction of Jerusalem and their own dispersion, which Jesus predicted, and which have so remarkably come to pass ? Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised God, is burned with fire, and all our pleasant things are laid waste. Would God suffer them thus to be spoiled and afflicted if they were obedient to his commandments? If they had done right in rejecting Jesus of Nazareth, would the Lord abandon them thus to the power of their enemies ?
God has evidently confirmed the mission of Jesus Christ by destroying their commonwealth and expelling them from Canaan. O that the Lord would speedily pour upon our dear people “the spirit of grace and supplication, that they may look unto him whom they have pierced, and mourn for it as one mourneth for his only son, and be in bitterness for it, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born," Zech. 12: 10.
$9. 4. There are some other predictions respecting the prophetical office of the Messiah, which have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
From Isaiah, 9:1, 2, it appears that Galilee was to be a conspicuous place of the Messiah's employment as prophet and teacher. Hence, although Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, yet he was educated and brought up in Galilee, and there he commenced his work as a prophet. Matt. 4 : 12–16. Hence both Jesus and his disciples were called Galileans.
The same prophet foretold the matter of Messiah's preaching, in the 61st chap. 1-3. That this prophecy relates to the Messiah, is acknowledged by our Rabbins, and with it Jesus began his public ministry. Luke, 4:1, 14-21, as has already been shown, and to it he referred John's disciples as a proof of his Messiahship. Matt. 11 : 3-5. The little success which attended the ministry of Jesus, was likewise foretold. Isa. 53 : 1. 6:9, 10. Comp. Matt. 13: 13–16.
Although Jesus spake and taught as never man taught, and confirmed his doctrine by innumerable miracles, the most astonishing and the most benevolent, yet few, comparatively, believed in him.
§ 10. 5. The predictions which Jesus himself delivered, and the exact fulfillment of many of them, deserve our peculiar attention. Jesus Christ foretold, with wonderful exactness, not only the events which should befall himself, the sufferings which he should undergo, and the persecution which his disciples should experience, as well as the sup'port they should receive, all of which were most minutely realized; but he also foretold, with a precision which could result only from divine foreknowledge, the siege of our holy city; the destruction of our temple; and the fatal ruin which should overwhelm our nation; events, of which, at that period, there did not seem the remotest probability. He foretold also the astonishing propagation of his Gospel, which has indeed, according to his description, resembled a grain of mustard seed, that, from being the smallest of seeds, becomes a great tree, under the shadow of which all the fowls of heaven can lodge in safety. In spite of all the opposition of our rulers, in spite of all the persecutions of heathen emperors, in spite of all the ridicule of philosophers and the malice of Satan, nay, in spite of the inveterate corruption of the human heart, the religion of the Gospel has been es tablished in the world: and though in too many places de based by superstition and corrupted by heresy, it has, in the lives of its sincere professors, produced such fruits as most irrefragably demonstrate its divine origin.
The church of Christ, thus established, has continued nearly 1800 years unshaken by all the malice of its enemies. According to the prediction of its founder, the gates of hell have not been able to prevail against it. “Had the counsel of this work been of man, (according to the wise observation of our famous Rabbi Gamaliel,) it would have come to naught;" but it is manifestly of God, since none have been able to overcome it.
Ø 11. IV. We consider, next, the manner in which Jesus Christ exercises the office of a prophet. As the Mediator was to be the object of faith and fountain of happiness to the saints before his incarnation, as well as to those afterward, it was necessary that the covenant between the Father and Son should be revealed to them, that their faith and hope might rest upon a sure foundation. Hence we have already observed, that one of the covenant stipulations was, that the Mediator should reveal the will of his Father.