Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

governor, of his proceedings. Catullus immediately sent a party of horse and foot to meet him and his followers, who, being an unarmed multitude, were easily surprised, and most of them slain. Jonathan escaped; but diligent search being made for him, he was soon apprehended and brought to the governor, before whom he accused the richest of the Jews, as his advisers. The governor, who seemed glad of an opportunity to vent his spleen against them, gave implicit credit to these accusations, aggravating every circumstance of supposed, guilt. He even excited some of the Jews to accuse one Alexander a Jew, and Bernice his wife, whom he had long hated. He put them to death first of all; after which, he caused all the Jews that were rich, to the number of three thousand, to be executed, and confiscated their effects to the emperor. But his malice not stopping here, he persuaded Jonathan to accuse the most trusty and faithful Jews both at Rome and Alexandria. One who was thus falsely accused was Josephus, the historian, who was in high favour with Vespasian. This caused an investigation of the whole affair, in consequence of which, the Jews were acquitted, and Jonathan punished; being first scourged, and then put to death. Vespasian, through the mildness of his disposition, forebore to proceed against the governor, who, though he thus escaped punishment from man, was soon after grievously afflicted of God and died miserably.

The emperor gave orders for all the lands in Judea to be sold, and strictly prohibited the building any cities therein. He also imposed a yearly tribute on all the Jews; who were generally held in the utmost

contempt by the Romans. But the celebrated Josephus was highly esteemed by Vespasian, who gave him apartments in his own house, where he had resided before he was emperor, and made him a free citizen of Rome, assigning him a pension, with a grant of lands in Judea. Titus, after his father's death, conferred additional favours and honours upon him, and ordered his history of the wars of the Jews to be deposited in the public library, after having been examined by himself, king Agrippa, and others, who had been eye-witnesses of many of the scenes which he describes.

We are now come, my dear George, to the termination of the Jewish wars. This people were once beloved of God; and, though they often provoked him by their sins, yet he bore long with them, till they filled up the measure of their iniquities in the crucifixion of Christ: yet, even then, the Lord did not immediately execute his wrath upon them, but gave them space to repent, and sent the apostles to preach among them, inviting them to come for salvation to that Jesus whom they had crucified, that they might 'escape the wrath to come. Thus, through the ministry of the word, accompanied with the blessing of God, numbers believed on the Lord Jesus; and it was these converts that went to Pella, and so escaped the general desolation. But the bulk of the Jews, persisting in their infidelity, the Lord departed from them, and gave them up to their own intentions; for surely no people ever acted more absurdly, or more contrary to their interest, than they did in the last war with the Romans.

How different their situation at this time, frore

what it was when Antiochus determined to extirpate them, and actually made their city a desolation, polluted their sanctuary, and, in a manner, annihilated their worship; when the pious people were driven into dens and caves of the earth! what could human foresight expect at such a period, but their final destruction? Titus, on the contrary, by no means wished to destroy them, but only to reduce them to obedience to the Roman power; and it was his most ardent desire to preserve the city and temple. Thus we see that Antiochus, with all his malice, could not extirpate those whom God meant to save; nor Titus, with all his clemency, preserve that city and temple, which God had determined to destroy.

Their æconomny was to be broken up, and they scattered among all nations. They were not to meet with the same treatment which they did in their former dispersion ; for then they found honour and preferment in strange lands.

But now they were to be wanderers in the nations, as Hosea prophesied, chap. ix. 17, which is fulfilled to this very day: for they remain a distinct people, universally despised, yet not destroyed. Where is the king, since the final destruction of Jerusalem, that has honoured any of them by making them prime ministers, as Nebuchadnezzar did Daniel and his three companions? Or that has sought their aid to quell

angerous insurrection, as Antiochus the Great did, in the time of Onias the Third, or Demetrius, in the days of Jonathan?

Perhaps there are no people upon the face of the

[blocks in formation]

earth more destitute of arms or means of self-defence than the Jews; thus fulfilling that portion of scripture in Zechariah ix. 10, I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle-bow shall be cut off. While this has been accomplished on the Jews, Britain has experienced a completion of the promise in the latter part of the verse: And he shall speak peace to the beathen, and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.

At the time when this prophecy was delivered, our nation was overwhelmed with heathenish darkness and superstition: but, blessed be God, the peaceful kingdom of Christ has reached this happy isle, and we have felt its beneficial influence! Let us then endeavour, by all the means in our power, to extend its blessings to the remotest corners of the earth; that those who are now worshipping wood and stone, may turn to the living God; that all may know the Lord from the greatest even to the least.

The time will shortly arrive when even the despised Jews shall bow to the sceptre of Christ. They are now preserved to shew forth the longsuffering of God in sparing them, and will hereafter be called to display his goodness and mercy, in restoring them to love and favour. We have many promises to confirm our belief in their restoration; and some think they will return and inhabit their own land, which has lain in desolation above seventeen hundred years; but, be that as it may, they will shout with all the kindreds and nations of the earth, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive honour, glory, and power, for ever and ever.

Then

will that blessed period arrive, when the whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord; war and devastation will no more be heard; envy, hatred, and malice, will be banished from the heart, and • Holiness to the Lord' be engraven on every action! Then will the mercy and goodness of God be illustriously displayed; the rich will no more oppress the poor, nor the poor envy the rich: the only strife will be, who shall give the most glory to God! May this be your aim, my dear boy, as I hope it is that of

Your affectionate aunt.

THE END.

Directions to the Binder for placing the

MAPS.

The Land of Canaan
Journies of the Israelites
Travels of Paul
Countries of the Jews

opposite Title Vol. I,

Page 72.
Title Vol. II.
Page 183.

Lonuon: Printed by J. Barbeid,

91, Wardour-Sweet, Solio.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »