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Origin of the Roman Power in Judea, with its continuance to
the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. — The character of
The History and Topography of Jerusalem and the Temple
Events foretold by Christ, as symptomatic of the approaching
ruin of the Jewish polity
The revolt of the Jews, and the circumstances which led to
it.— Titus marches against Jerusalem.— His army described.—
The three factions within the City commanded by Simon, John,
and Eleazar described. — Titus advances with his army to the
walls.— His attack upon the City. — The first wall taken
Titus' successful attack upon the second wall. — Encamps
within the first, and offers terms of peace. These being
refused, a second assault is made. — The second wall taken.
— The famine within the City described and the horrours
The Jews desert to Titus.— Terms of Capitulation again
offered, and again rejected. — The Romans receive a check. —
A council of war called. — The whole City surrounded by a
wall. — The famine at this period described. — The excessive
cruelty of the soldiers towards the Jewish deserters. —
Fortifications raised, and the woods around the City cut
The Romans take the tower of Antonia, and make an
unsuccessful attack upon the Temple. — Titus addresses the
Jews. — Another assault upon the Temple made, and without
effect. — The state of the famine in the City described.— A
mother puts her child to death, and feeds upon it, with a
view more particularly to stigmatize the seditious. — A
third unsuccessful attempt made upon the Temple. — The
Romans call a council of war. — The last attack upon the
Temple succeeds. — The surrounding buildings are set on
fire. — Titus enters the Temple. — The Temple is burnt, and
a dreadful carnage of the Jews ensues. — Six thousand people
killed who are assembled by an impostor.
The signs and portents prognosticating the destruction of
the Temple and City enumerated. — Titus proclaimed
Imperator. — The Priests of the Temple put to death. The
third wall is taken, and the upper City entered and burnt. —
John and Simon, the leaders of the factions, are imprisoned.
— The number of the inhabitants and others slain and made
captive. — The whole City laid in complete ruin, and the
Romans return to their capital
The completion of the Prophecies relating to events
immediately succeeding the destruction of the City and the
downfall of the nation. — The Nazarenes. — Hadrian builds
Aelia Capitolina upon the ruins of Jerusalem, and erects
Temples for heathen worship. — The Christian Church
established. — Helena's visit to the Holy Land. — Discovers
the true Cross.— Constantine builds Churches upon spots
consecrated by the sufferings of Christ — Julian, the
Apostate, endeavours to rebuild the Temple of the Jews.— His
failure.— Alexander's shnilar attempt and failure to turn
the channel of the Euphrates.— Reflections arising from the
subject of the Work
Conclusion. — Authorities referred to
and destruction of Jerusalem, by Titus Vespasian, have
occupied the attention of many writers; some few of whom
have noticed the prophecies relating to both these events in
a general manner: with a view to illustrate other topics
with which they have been connected. Dr. Lardner, with his
usual learning and precision, has treated the subject more
fully than any other writer; yet he has not entered into all
its connections; and seems to have omitted, as irrelevant to
the object of his work; not only the prophecies of the Old
Testament, but, with the exception of such of our Saviour’s
predictions as refer to events preceding the destruction,
almost all those of the new; together with many other
striking circumstances by which the History of the Siege is
materially affected. [Jewish
Testimonies, vol 7.] Archbishop Newcome
[Observations on the Conduct of our
Lord.] with a view to shew the fulfilment of
all things spoken by Christ as a Prophet, has discussed such
matters as are connected with those prophecies alone; and
has proved very largely their regular accomplishment from
the work of the Jewish Historian: but as his intention was
not to enter into the particulars of the Jewish History
during the time of the siege; or into any other detail than
what either very briefly manifested, or could immediately
establish the prophetic character of Christ; his
investigation was not designed to answer the purpose of a
History of the signal downfall of the City and Nation of the
[Dissertations on the Prophecies] and Mr. Kett
[History, the Interpreter of
Prophecy.] both introduce us to the subject by
means of the Prophecies themselves, and consequently relate
no other particulars than are requisite concisely to exhibit
their completion, Others might be mentioned, who, though
they have only partially treated, have added much to the
general elucidation of the subject:
[Whitby on Matt. xxiv.—Tillotson’s Sermons, etc.]
so that little more seems necessary to form a
detailed History of the overthrow of Jerusalem, as connected
with the Scripture Prophecies; than a compilation from the
works of these various authors in conjunction with that of
Josephus; and consequently the degree of merit must be
trifling that can accrue to an attempt of this nature.
But however small the merit, the utility of such an
undertaking is evidently great; not only as it furnishes a
most signal assurance that the vengeance of heaven is the
inevitable consequence of national guilt; but as it confirms
the accomplishment of the most ancient prophecies;
corroborates the authenticity of the gospel; and stamps the
divine character of Him by whom that gospel was delivered,
prophecy stands eminently distinguished by its singular
importance and the great variety of matter which it
embraces, affording so decisive, so irresistible a proof of
the divine authority of our religion, Bp. Porteus.]
With a desire to attain these important ends, the works of
the authors alluded to have been impartially, though not
indiscriminately, employed in drawing up the following
pages: and such an account is presented to the reader as may
[Quod si quis
Servatoris nostri verba cum iis comparet, quae ad codem
Scriptore de universo bello commemorata sunt, fieri non
potest quin admiretur praescientiam ac predictionem
Servatoris nostri, earn que vere divinam et supra modum
stupendam esse fateatur.] at one view, make him
acquainted with the Jewish and Roman histories, so far as
they are connected with the subject of the work; with the
City and Temple of Jerusalem as they were standing at the
time of Christ’s appearance, and for some time afterwards;
with the various stages and proceedings of this destructive
siege; and with every corresponding particular recorded in
Holy Writ; in the order of their occurrence.
Nothing appears better calculated to reward the attention of
the serious observer of religion, than the contemplation of
this part of the Jewish History, and. its connection with
the writings of the Evangelists; for, as Eusebius has
remarked—”If any man will compare the words of our Saviour
with the whole History of the Jewish war, as related by
Josephus; he cannot forbear to admire and acknowledge our
Lord’s prescience and prediction to be wonderful above
nature, and truly divine:” [Euseb,
Eccl. Hist. iii. 7.] nor
does it seem less probable that he could fail to be forcibly
struck with the completion of those predictions also of the
ancient prophets, [The
prophecies of the Old Testament referring to the former
destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, were most of
them fulfilled a second time by Titus; indeed, they apppear
to bear a particular reference to this latter siege.]
which though not so singularly precise, or so remarkable, as
those of our Saviour; from their antiquity and evident
application, in no less a degree establish the revered
characters of those by whom they were spoken; and the
infinite power and wisdom of Him, by whose spirit they were
made to shew and promulgate the mysteries of futurity.
If we want reasons for believing in a divine revelation,
what stronger proofs can be brought in confirmation of its
truth, than the plain discovery of the fulfilment of those
things which that revelation has predicted: predicted too,
to substantiate its validity, and to confirm the assurances
that the conditions it Imposes are those best calculated to
benefit mankind? If then, by shewing the predictions of a
prophet to have been verified after his death, the character
of that prophet is confirmed; and as none can see into
futurity but God alone; that, therefore, the prophet has
been directed by the divine spirit: and consequently that
nothing he has spoken professedly in his prophetic character
can be otherwise than true ; it follows that a revelation of
the will of God to man is established whenever such
declarations are proved to have been fulfilled; and the
importance of the objects to which the obedience of mankind
has thus been directed, is rendered at the same time equally
conspicuous. Now, though the certainty of a divine
revelation may have been abundantly manifested by the
completion of a variety of other scripture prophecies, as
well as by those now under consideration; yet, by bringing
the History of the Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem into a
form calculated to excite an interest in the mind even of an
indifferent reader; and to set the events, as they occur, on
a parallel with the prophecies which relate to them; it
surely appears highly probable that a more ready assent to
the truth of the scriptures will be given, a seriousness and
application to their subject may be induced, and a stronger,
if not a confirmed belief of revelation, finally extorted.
If objects so great and desirable as these, can be obtained
by such investigations, their utility is manifestly obvious:
and he, who by a work of this description can so far
interest his reader as to induce him to make further
researches, which ultimately may confirm hint in the belief
and exercise of his religion, will derive a satisfaction
which will amply re-pay the labour it may have cost him in
With a view to elucidate
the authenticity of the gospel narratives, and to establish
the divine character of Him whose actions and doctrines they
record; the Author of the following pages has endeavoured to
prove, first, that the Evangelists themselves both lived and
wrote at the periods assigned them by Christian tradition:
and secondly, that in the volume of Josephus, we have the
ungarbled testimony of that eminent person. These
particulars are briefly comprised in the Introduction: the
occasion of the Jewish war and its continuance till the time
of Titus, constitutes the first chapter of the work. The
history and topography of the city and temple, the second;
and the prophecies, the fulfilment of which was appointed to
precede the destruction, together with their accomplishment;
form the subject of the third. The remaining chapters
contain a detail of the various particulars of the siege
with the predictions of the Prophets and of Christ
introduced as notes, together with whatever observations the
subject occasionally suggested; besides other circumstances
in the history itself.
concisely enumerates the authorities upon which the
accomplishment of the prophecies is founded. This outline is
sufficient to shew, that the writer can establish but
little, if any claim to more originality than what perhaps
may be attached to the manner in which he has arranged the
materials, and endeavoured to elucidate the subject: but
whatever merit may be due to this part of his undertaking,
he considers as the effect of that kind and friendly
assistance afforded him by the Reverend Reginald Heber; by
whose approval and encouragement, the work has been
prosecuted and extended beyond the limits of its original
The evidence made use of and applied to the establishment of
the important points now discussed, is such as cannot be
rejected by the scruples of any rational or thinking mind.
No other has been adduced than that of writers in no way
connected or interested in the matter, but such indeed, as
if they were not inimical to the Christian Religion, were at
least perfectly indifferent, or altogether ignorant of it.
Josephus the Jewish Historian, both from the religion of his
nation, as well as from that of the Romans he befriended,
was the least inclined to be a favourer of that which he
speaks of as insignificant; and whose divine author, if he
mention him at all, he considers only as the leader of an
inconsiderable sect of deluded and infatuated Jews.
Bp. Newton observes, that "he" (Josephus) "doth not so much
as once mention the name of false Christs, though he hath
frequently occasion to speak largely of false prophets ; so
cautious was he of touching upon any thing, that might lead
him to the acknowledgment of the true Christ. His
silence here is as remarkable, as his copiousness upon other
Paley, in his Evidences of Christianity, considers either
the passage as genuine, or the silence of Josephus designed.
Vol. 1, p. 121.
Vide Marsh's Michaelis and Gibbon's Roman Hist. voL ii. p.
40, and notes. Also, Whiston's Dissertation on this subject,
prefixed to his translation of Josephus. From these it will
appear, that the genuineness of this passage has been given
up by Christians upon very inadequate grounds
With respect to the testimony afforded by Heathen authors
who flourished soon after the Christian aera, as they were
still less acquainted with the propagators of Christianity,
or the grounds upon which their principles were founded, so
are they less concerned about the doctrines and precepts
they had taught ; so that the truth of the fulfilment of the
predictions of Christ, to which we have more particularly
alluded, rests upon authorities no way bearing reference
either to Jesus Christ, or to his religion.
In tracing, therefore, the accomplishment of those
prophecies relating to the destruction of the city and
people of the Jews, two material points may have been
obtained : The one establishing the authenticity of the
Gospel, the other confirming the divine character of Him who
is the subject of it : for as we trust it has been shewn by
sufficient testimony in the Introduction
to this History, that the Gospel Prophecies were delivered
at the time there mentioned; and that it has now been
proved, by the History itself, that they were afterwards "
in the fulness of time," accomplished ; it necessarily
follows, that He who is the subject of them must have been
endued with that divine power and wisdom his followers have
uniformly ascribed to him.
We may then safely consider this prophecy as an
unquestionable proof of the divine foreknowledge of our
Lord, and the divine authority of the Gospel; and on this
ground only (were it necessary), we might securely rest the
whole fabric of our religion.
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