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softened by his mercies, and awakened by his judgments. Conscience tells us, that such has been the purpose of his messages, however they have come. And this conscience is more especially the voice of God, because it is his Spirit stirring within us. "That which is born of the flesh, is flesh," and is contrary to the law of God. Our evil nature is indisposed towards the way in which "we ought to walk and to please God." But" that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit;" is given to purify and renew that evil disposition, and to make us delight in what we would naturally reject, and to follow that which we would naturally refuse. And whenever that Spirit, working with man's reason or conscience, has witnessed to the sinful and impenitent, that the road which they are so boldly walking is the broad road which leadeth to destruction; that witness is the call of God, testifying that he would gather his children together, and that if they perish, it is because they will not come.
This does not contradict the truth, that man cannot change his own will; renew his own heart. "The grace of God must prevent us, that we may have a good will, and work with us when we have that good will.” 6 "No man can come unto me," says our Lord, "except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him." 7 He is drawing us, however, by means of which every heart is inwardly conscious, whether it yields to them or no. Those who have not been gathered under their Saviour's wings, are
6 Art. X.
7 John vi. 44.
well aware that the fault lies with themselves and
their own perverseness. We see plainly, in the gospel history, how the Jews resisted warnings, and shut their eyes against evidence. And when the secrets of all hearts are laid open; when the ways of God, and the ways of man are alike spread clearly before the world assembled to judgment, then will be seen the sincerity of God's offered mercy: how often would he have gathered his children together! And then the obstinacy of all who refused to hear will be charged upon them by their own consciences; and they will feel that they are lost, because they would not.
Righteous art thou, O Lord, and true is thy judgment. The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: O grant us understanding, and we shall live." 8
8 Ps. cxix. 137, 144.
DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE, AND PERSECUTION
OF THE APOSTLES FORETOLD.
MATT. xxiv. 1—14.
1. And Jesus went out,' and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
In the progress of the history, we are now approaching the consummation of that purpose, for which the Son of Man" was made flesh, and dwelt among men." This was present to the mind of our Lord, less as it concerned himself than others. He had entered Jerusalem for the last time. But what were the feelings which he entertained? The same which he again expressed at a still more trying season, saying, "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children." As he approached the city, he had "wept over it," on account of " the days that were coming upon it," because it had not "known the things
1 of the treasury, where he had been speaking. See Mark xii. 44. Luke xxi. 1-4.
2 Luke xxiii. 28.
which belonged unto its peace." And now the sight of the buildings of the temple, so admired by the disciples, immediately recalls to his mind the catastrophe awaiting it in the determinate counsels of God. Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
Forty years after these words were spoken, a stranger visiting the spot on which Jerusalem was now standing, would have been unable to discover the site of the temple which "was adorned with goodly stones and gifts," and had been "forty and six years in building." The foundation was dug up, and the surface ploughed. Because it " knew not the time of its visitation."
3. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
4. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places.
8. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
In answer to the question, Tell us when shall these things be? our Lord reveals many events relating to 3 Luke xix. 41, &c.
the country, and many relating to the apostles themselves. There should be an interval; a dangerous and fearful interval; and many presages of the gathering storm. All those things should happen which most disturb public peace and private comfort. Many should assume the character of the deliverer, the appointed Messiah, and should deceive many. There should be wars and rumours of wars. And these evils, arising out of men's lusts, should be attended with other evils arising out of God's anger: famines and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. But all these are but the beginning of sorrows.*
From these short hints respecting the country at large, our Lord proceeds to what concerned the аро
9. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
10. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
It has pleased God, for the confirmation of our faith, that the history of the destruction of Jerusalem should be related not by a Christian, but a Jewish author, Josephus, who was himself concerned in all the affairs of that awful period. And he fully acquaints us how all these things happened as they are here foretold.