Obrazy na stronie

of Jew and Gentile, bond and free, past, present, and future generations; not only the happiness of earth, but much of the glory of heaven, depends on its accomplishment. Without it no sweet song of "Salvation to God and the Lamb," would have echoed amidst the heavenly hills, none of the race of Adam would be seen worshipping before the presence of Jehovah with the angels of light; those melodious hymns of redemption, now chaunted by ten thousand times ten thousand glorified Saints, had not been heard but for the vicarious sacrifice of the Son of God, who not only covenanted, but did actually lay down his life a ransom for sinners. When Jesus, the Christ of God, the Prince Messiah, appeared on earth, it was not simply to set the children of men an example of piety and virtue; we ardently admire his glorious example, and consider his followers bound to imitate the bright pattern he has left them; yet we dare not believe that that was the only object he designed to accomplish when he visited our world. No, he came as the federal Head, the Representative and Surety of his people. He was "cut off from the land of

*John xiv. 6.

+ John xii. 27.

1 Corinthians xv. 22. Romans v. 17-19.

the living," by a violent andcruel death; yet not for himself, not for any sin of his own,* nor purposely to set us a pattern of patience and resignation; but to discharge the debt of sin, he had covenanted to cancel on man's account. Jehovah executed towards him the severest justice, and permitted his crucifiers to exercise the blackest ingratitude, and most inhuman cruelty. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou who killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would the Lord have gathered thee under his protecting care as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not." Thy awful doom waɛ sealed when thou didst reject the authority, and persecute unto death Jesus the Messiah, thy prophet and benefactor, thy God and King. The thought of thy approaching misery drew tears from the eyes, and groans from the heart, of Incarnate Deity; yet thy children beheld, with feelings of triumphant scorn, the sorrows and sufferings their wanton cruelty inflicted on the Holy Jesus. But heaven marked the impious deed. The blood of Jesus, of prophets, of apostles, and of martyrs, called for vengeance on thy guilty land; the cry was heard, justice remembered thy

* Luke xxiii. 4. Isaiah liii. 5, 10. † Matthew xxiii. 35—37.

black catalogue of crimes, the King of heaven beheld the insult offered to his beloved Son, and Jehovali arose to punish thy rejection of Jesus the Messiah, whom " ye would not have to reign over you." The crimes of Jerusalem were of the blackest and most awful character, and her punishment was tremendously dreadful.* The Israelites, once the peculiar favourites of Heavent-nursed in the lap of plenty, instructed in the oracles of God-blessed with the temple of Jehovah-taught to adore the God of truth whom their forefathers worshipped; this people, who once had the Lord for their Law-giver and King,‡ were compelled to bow beneath the oppressive power of arbitrary despots-the law of truth was exchanged for the tyrant's mandate-equity and justice were banished the walls of Salem, and despotism, oppression, blasphemy, and pride, reigned within that devoted, miserable, city. Anarchy and confusion ruled that senate and sanctuary, once as gloriously distinguished from the rest of the world by the purity of its government, as by the richness and elegance of its buildings. Jerusalem was devoted to destruction, and she sunk beneath

*Matthew xxiv. 21. Deuteronomy iv. 5, 8.

+ Deuteronomy iv.7.

the accumulated horrors of war, famine, fire, and pestilence. Internal faction and a foreign foe reduced that beauteous city and magnificent sanctuary, to a heap of ruins. The temple fell-not all the commands, promises, or threats of Titus, could save that splendid edifice from destruction; the people of the prince, regardless of their general's orders, helped to complete the work of desolation;-but prophecy was fulfilled, Jerusalem was overwhelmed with the flood of divine vengeance, and desolation prevailed even unto the end of the war.


And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.Daniel ix. 27.

SOME writers consider this verse prophetical of the desolate state of Jerusalem under Antiochus Epiphanes, that sacrilegious monarch who impiously profaned the sanctuary of the God of Israel. By nim the temple was ransacked and despoiled of its holy vessels; its golden ornaments pulled off; its hidden

treasures seized; and an unclean animal offered on the altar of burnt-offerings. Thus did this impious Syrian king dare profane the altar and temple dedicated to Jehovah. Neither was this all; Jerusalem again felt the force of his horrid cruelty and profaneness; men, women, and children, were either slain or taken captive; and the houses and city walls were destroyed. The Jews were not allowed to offer burnt offerings or sacrifices to the God of Israel-circumcision was forbidden-they were required to profane the Sabbath, and eat the flesh of swine, and other beasts forbidden by their law*—the sanctuary dedicated to Jehovah was called the temple of Jupiter Olympius, and his image set up on the altar-idol temples and altars were erected throughout all their cities—and the Holy Scriptures destroyed whenever they were met with-and death was the fate of those who read the word of the Lord. The most horrid and brutal cruelties were inflicted on such as chose to obey God, rather than this Syrian monster. Jerusalem was overspread by his abominations; desolation was indeed poured out " upon the desolate" when Antiochus Epiphanes held the blood-stained sceptre,

* Leviticus xi. 2, 7, 8.

« PoprzedniaDalej »