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hundred and fifty-seven thousand, six hundred and sixty! Yet, as bishop Newton tells us, the number of the captives too was very great.
E. For, you know, our Lord had said, "They shall be carried away captive into all nations."
M. Yes; and Josephus tells us that "the number of the captives taken in the whole war amounted to ninety-seven thousand! Some of these were sent to labour at the public works in Egypt; others underwent a still more cruel fate, eleven thousand of them perished from want! But the chief part were destroyed by wild beasts in the theatres or public shows throughout the Roman provinces; being made to fight in troops with one another for the amusement of the people, and thus to perish by each other's hands."
Yet these were the people whom the Lord Jesus would once have gathered together with all the tenderness of a parent! How often had they afterwards cause to wish that they had indeed been gathered under His Almighty wings! How safe the shelter which they would have found there! Oh! that they could but have taken refuge beneath them, until all these calamities were overpassed! But they would not, when they might; and now it was too late.
Such was the miserable end, my dear child, of those who had opposed and put to death the Son of God; and if it had not been that, for the sake of the Christian Jews, the Lord "had shortened those days," those dreadful days, the whole people would have been consumed, "no flesh would have been saved." But, "for the elect's sake," for the sake of His own little flock, the Lord did shorten those days: nevertheless the
nation was altogether broken up, and scattered over the earth.
E. And what became afterwards of Jerusalem?
M. After prophesying the slaughter of the Jews, and the carrying them away captive, our Lord added, "And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles." And Jerusalem has never since been in the possession of the Jews; but has constantly been in subjection to some other nation; first of all to the Romans, in the second place to the Saracens; then to the Franks, afterwards to the Mamalukes, and now to the Turks. Once it was the delight of the pious Israelite, as he entered the gates of the favoured city on the great festivals, to exclaim, in the joyful language of the Psalmist, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand in thy gates, O Jerusalem!" For Jerusalem was then "built as a city that is compact together: beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole land was Mount Zion:" for in those happy days she was "the city of the God of Israel, the mountain of His holiness;" and thither the tribes went up on the solemn feast days, "even the tribes of the Lord, to testify unto Israel" their communion in the national religion, and "to give thanks unto the name of the Lord." Such was Jerusalem once. But how mournful was the change, when the Jews had rejected, despised, and crucified the Lord from heaven! Then "wrath came upon them to the uttermost" and "the hand of the Lord was against the city:"-against His own city, whose very "gates He had once loved more than all the dwellings of Jacob,"-with a very great
destruction. Impregnable she had once been; not indeed in her mountains, though they did stand round about her; nor yet in her bulwarks and towers; but in her God: for "the shields of the earth belong unto God," and He was "known in her palaces as a sure refuge." I dare say you can give me some instances of this.
E. Do you mean in the days of the good king Hezekiah, when the proud Sennacherib came all round Jerusalem with an immense army. I remember all that well, and how Hezekiah placed his strength in God, praying earnestly to Him in his distress.
M. And you remember, no doubt, how he kept his own mind, and the minds of his people steadfast in the Rock of their salvation. And how "the daughter of Zion," was able then to despise her enemies, and to "laugh them to scorn."
E. Indeed I do; the destroyer was not permitted to enter the city, nor even to shoot an arrow there, nor to come before it with shields.
M. How different was it in the time of the Roman invasion! "The abomination of desolation," the feet of enraged idolaters, "swift to shed blood," stood within the gates of Jerusalem, stood within the very courts of the Lord's house, stood within, nay, they stood not, but trampled down the very temple. So that Titus himself when he came again to Jerusalem, not long after his conquest of it, "and beheld the sad devastation, and called to mind its former splendour and beauty, could not help lamenting over it," and deploring the cruel necessity of destroying such a city. So complete, indeed, was the desolation, that Eleazar
said to his countrymen, "What is become of our city, which was believed to be inhabited by God. It is rooted up from the very foundations, and the only monument of it that is left, is the camp of those that destroyed it, pitched upon its remains."
E. But was it never built up again?
M. It was in a manner rebuilt, but not by the Jews. Great and many have been the changes and chances, to which Jerusalem has been subjected, since its destruction by Titus; but in none have the Jews been able to recover the possession of their ancient city. The Gentiles, that is, other nations, different from the Jews, have each in its turn had possession of the holy place, and have all, by their manner of treating it, verified most strikingly our Lord's prophetic words, that it should be " trodden down." Romans, Greeks, Persians, Arabians, Turks, Egyptians, Franks, Moguls, Tartars, Mamalukes,-have, at different times, possessed Jerusalem-but the Jews never!-The holy place has been trampled on by Gentile feet; but the Jews have no possession there, though they have made repeated attempts to obtain it: indeed they have been, for the most part, actually forbidden to enter it, or even to approach the city. But I will endeavour to give you a short account of the history of Jerusalem since its destruction, such as learned men have collected out of ancient writers.
E. Thank you, dear Mamma, I was hoping that you would; for I have only a confused idea now in my head of Romans, Greeks, Persians, Arabians, Tartars, and all those other nations that you mentioned just now.
M. I am glad to find that you like to have clear ideas of things; and I will make this as plain and easy to you as I can.
Jerusalem was destroyed, by the Romans, seventy years after the birth of Christ. Sixty years after that, it was rebuilt by the Roman emperor Ælius Adrian, who called the city after himself by the name of Ælia. On this occasion the Jews rebelled against their Roman masters, in order to regain the holy place, and probably did obtain it for a short time; but it was only to bring down upon themselves another overthrow more dreadful than that inflicted by Nebuchadnezzar, or even by Titus. The new city was retaken by the Romans, and entirely destroyed. The Jews were slain with a terrible slaughter; Judea was almost desolated; and of the people who survived, an incredible number were scattered over the face of the earth. The city was rebuilt, but only as a Roman colony; the Jews being expressly excluded from it; and their religion insulted by the erection of the marble statue of a hog over one of the gates!
In this state Jerusalem continued, not as a Jewish, but as a Roman city, under the name of Ælia, until the reign of the first Christian emperor, Constantine the Great. At that time the very name of Jerusalem was grown into such disuse, that it was very little remembered among the heathen. Bishop Newton mentions an extraordinary proof of this: he tells us that a martyr from Palestine was asked from what country he came, and when he answered Jerusalem,' neither the governor of the province nor any of his assistants could understand what city he meant, or where it was situated.