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To explain these prophecies, we need go no further than Scripture itself. The history of the Apostles illustrates them; showing how they were delivered up to be afflicted, and were beaten in the synagogues, and were brought before rulers and kings, and were put to death for the name of Christ. St. Paul's own narrative may be taken as a specimen of the whole. "Of the Jews" (he says) "five times received I forty stripes save one; thrice was I beaten with rods; once was I stoned; in prisons frequent ; in deaths oft; in perils by mine own countrymen ; in perils by the heathen; in perils among false brethren." 5 Carried as a prisoner to Rome, he was brought before Cæsar and in the end, he suffered a martyr's death.

The disciples were also warned, that they should be hated of all nations for Christ's name's sake. They opposed the vanities of the heathen, and all false pretences to religion: they explained the nature of sin: they enforced righteousness. For this reason, they were hated of all whom they failed to convince; and who "loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

It is also foretold, that many false prophets should arise, and should deceive many. All the apostles, in their letters, make mention of such, who had, in their time, actually caused the mischief which these words predict: "Many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh." Many false prophets are gone out into the world."


"There are certain

5 2 Cor. xi. 22.

men crept in unawares, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." These are they "that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed; they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities." Hymeneus and Philetus concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of

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Such were to be the trials of the infant church, before the end came; before the event took place, which would prove the truth of Christ's words, and signally confound the most determined enemies of his faith.

But even in the midst of these difficulties, persecutions, and discouragements, "the word of God grew mightily and prevailed." The gospel of the kingdom was preached in all the world. "The

kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers took counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed." But the Spirit of God was stronger than the opposition of Satan; and " added to the church daily such as should be saved."

This is a part of that "sure word of prophecy," which is left for the instruction and encouragement of those," on whom the ends of the world are come." May all contribute to the effect for which it is designed and help to " direct our hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ;" till the fulness of time arrives, and he appears, not in

6 2 John 7; Jude 4; 2 Pet. ii. 10; 2 Tim. ii. 17.

wars and rumours of wars, not in famines and pestilences, but with " ten thousand of his saints," and "all the holy angels with him,' "on the throne of his glory."

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MATT. xxiv. 15-28.

We broke off in the midst of the discourse, in which our Lord was conveying information and warning to his disciples, as to the events which should precede the destruction of Jerusalem. He had hitherto spoken generally, and taught them to expect troubles and persecutions. He now acquaints them more particularly how they might avoid the dreadful evils of the siege.

15. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

16. Then let them which be in Judea flee into the moun


17. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house :

18. Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

19. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

20. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

21. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

22. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

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Daniel had spoken of the time, when "the daily sacrifice offered at Jerusalem "should be taken away," and "the abomination that maketh desolate, set up." Our Lord teaches us what is meant by" the abomination that maketh desolate:" saying, in St. Luke, "when ye see Jerusalem compassed about with armies, then know and understand that her desolation draweth nigh."


A foreign army was every way an abomination to the Jews, and too surely it proved an abomination of desolation. When, therefore, the Romans were seen compassing about Jerusalem, the Christians who believed their Lord's words had notice to escape. Let them beware of being enclosed within the walls when the siege has once begun, all who are in the city must abide their fate: let those who are abroad not venture to return home: and let those who are at home, flee to the mountains

Dan. xii. 11.

Chap. xxi. 20.

Sad indeed would it be for such as


for safety.3 could not fly, or who were forced to fly in the most distressing circumstances: with their infants, or in the winter, or on the sabbath on the sabbath day. For there shall be great tribulation. So grievous were the miseries attending the siege and the destruction of this city, that the historian, who was an eyewitness, declares that no city ever suffered such things; and that all the calamities which have ever happened to any, seem not comparable to those which befel the Jews. It would appear as if no flesh could be saved.

Still it was not the design of God that this his people should be utterly destroyed. Therefore, for the elect's sake, those days shall be shortened, and a remnant be allowed to survive."

3 Historians relate, that in conformity with these instructions, when the Roman army approached Jerusalem, the Christians who were in the city fled to Pella, a mountainous region, and to other places beyond the river Jordan.

4 The strict observance of the Jewish sabbath would forbid even flight from danger on the sabbath day. The enemies of the Jews sometimes took advantage of this religious scruple. Christians were not bound to the same rigid observance but early prepossessions had such hold upon the minds of the Jews, even after they were converted to the Christian faith, that they would not use their liberty. St. Paul alludes to this, Romans xiv. 5, 6. Perhaps, however, these are general expressions, intended to heighten the idea of distress.

5 This is commonly interpreted of the Christians. But the Christians had notice to escape, and, as far as we know, did not suffer in the siege. The Jewish people were also the "elect of God:" and God had still a purpose respecting them. And now, though "blindness in part had happened unto Israel," still they were "beloved for their fathers' sakes:" and out of the general calamity a portion of the people was preserved, which should hand down the race of Abraham.

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