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nothing to remind us of what it once was. A Turkish mosque continues to defile the spot where was once the temple of the Lord of Hosts!
elegant and stupendous Mussulman may enter it.
It is an
building, but none but a The name that we adore, the name that is above every name, must not be mentioned there: indeed a few years ago it was a common practice with the Turks to spit in the face of every Christian whom they met in the streets. But notwithstanding the beauty of the building which adorns the hill of Moriah, the modern Jerusalem is altogether unlike the ancient city. "From the daughter of Zion all her beauty is departed." One of the many travellers who have visited it, tells us, that if a person were carried blindfold from England and placed in the centre of Jerusalem, or on any of the hills that surround it, nothing would exceed his astonishment on opening his eyes. From the mountains he would look down, not as one of old, upon a land flowing with milk and honey, but upon a wild, rugged, mountainous desert: no flocks feeding on the hills, no forests adorning the acclivities, no water flowing through the valleys; but one rude scene of melancholy waste, in the midst of which the once glorious Zion, as a woman forsaken, bows her head in widowed desolation.
E. But, Mamma, when he entered the city?
M. Ah! the magic of its name, and of all its early associations, would be still more lost there; and he would be more than ever disappointed then. No "streets of palaces and walks of state; no high raised arches of triumph; no fountains to cool the air, or porticos to exclude the sun-not a vestige to remind
him of its former military greatness, or the riches of its commerce 1." No, all rude, mean, and melancholy, he is led to ask himself again and again, Can this be Zion? whom no man now careth for.
E. And are there any Jews there now?
M. There are a great many, and they have several synagogues, but small and mean. "For although,” says a living traveller who visited Jerusalem in the year 1814, "the Jews are oppressed and treated with more contempt at Jerusalem than elsewhere, they still flock to it. To sleep in Abraham's bosom is the wish of the old; while the young visit it in hopes of the coming of the Messiah, and some are content to remain for the commerce they carry on. They pay a heavy tax to the Turkish governor, and the Jewish quarter, as in all eastern towns, is separate from the rest." Thus Jerusalem is still trodden down by Gentile feet, and has been so for nearly 1800 years. And all that time the Jewish nation have been a standing monument of the truth of Christ's predictions; themselves dispersed over the whole earth, and their land groaning still under the yoke of foreign lords and conquerors. So sure is the word of prophecy, so dreadful the wrath of God against those who reject His Christ.
E. But I hope the Jews will not always do this, Mamma.
M. We have reason to hope so, my child. The same sure word of prophecy seems plainly to encourage the delightful expectation that the Jews will one day be the chief among God's people, and Jerusalem again, perhaps, His most favoured city.
FIFTY-FIRST SUNDAY EVENING.
THE FINAL JUDGMENT.
M. We spoke, last Sunday, of the vengeance executed upon the Jews, for their unbelieving rejection of the Son of God, as a solemn lesson to all mankind. But it is more: it is a type or figure of that more general, and far more dreadful judgment, which shall hereafter come upon all the rebellious, who live and die in unbelief and sin. Our Lord Himself connects the prophecy of His second Advent at the end of the world, with that awful exhibition of His power, the destruction of Jerusalem; when He came in power as Judge of the world, breaking in pieces, as with a rod of iron, those who would not have Him to reign over them. But this coming was invisible, except in its effects. These, indeed, were awfully both seen and felt, and are felt and seen to this very day.
E. I think you said before that Christ expressly told His disciples, not to expect to see Him in person at the destruction of Jerusalem.
M. Yes; He told them that many should then come in His name; and many false Christs did come, showing signs and wonders enough to deceive even the Christians, had they not been warned beforehand. Christ had said, "Believe them not." But our Lord's second Advent, when He shall come in person, will be very different. There will be no doubts then as to His appearance. He will not come in the desert, or the secret chamber, but in an overpowering and conspicuous manner, as the "lightning which cometh forth out of the east, but shineth even unto the west." [Second Series.]
His judgment too will then be extensive as the wickedness of men, descending like an eagle upon its prey: "So shall the coming of the Son of Man be. But of that day, and that hour knoweth no one; no, not the angels of heaven." Even the Lord Jesus in His human nature was ignorant of it. It is one of the secrets of the Almighty. We must not, therefore, expect to find out even from the Scriptures the exact time of its approach. All that our Lord has vouchsafed to tell us about it is, that we may expect great revolutions in the kingdoms of the world before that momentous period comes. These changes He has described to us in the hieroglyphical or figurative language of the east.
E. I thought so, Mamma: I thought, when Jesus spoke of the sun, and the moon, and the stars, being darkened and falling from heaven, that there must be some meaning in the words, which I did not understand. I have been reading the whole of the 24th of St. Matthew to myself since last Sunday, and trying to make it out; but that puzzled me.
M. I do not wonder at that: how should you discover that the language was entirely figurative—that the luminaries here spoken of were the sun, moon, and stars of the political world; the high powers that preside over its changes; the lights of our social firmament; rulers of its day and night; and signs of its varying seasons? But so they are; and all of them were to be darkened, and totter in their places, or to fall from their exalted sphere. And great have been the revolutions, which have already taken place among the nations of the earth, since "the tribulation of those days," when Jerusalem was given up to the Gentiles.
The imperial power of Rome then shone forth, (did it not?) as the sun of this lower world.
E. Yes, it did indeed; but it has been darkened, Mamma, and its light is gone.
M. And how many inferior powers have shared the same fate, and fallen from their high estate! But I shall not dwell much upon this part of the prophecy; because a great deal of it is still unaccomplished, and... therefore still mysterious. Prophecies can only be understood aright when they are fulfilled. They then become matters of history; subjects of most improving study. We will now turn our thoughts rather to that great event, of which the destruction of Jerusalem was only a forewarning; only a type or figure. I mean the time when the Lord Jesus will come in His own person, as Judge of the world, to deliver the righteous and to punish the wicked, in a far more remarkable manner than that in which the unbelieving Jews were then punished, and the humble, confiding Christians saved from the surrounding destruction.
This is the great subject to which the destruction of Jerusalem should lead our thoughts. We should keep in mind, that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to day, and for ever;" the same awful Judge to the impenitent; the same blessed Saviour to them that humbly trust in Him. When we read of Jerusalem, we should think of that day, when "the Son of Man shall come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, and shall send His angels, with a great sound of a trumpet, to gather together His elect from the uttermost parts of the earth." And if we believe that He will thus "come to be our Judge," we should never cease to pray that we may "be numbered with