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the character both of Christians and of Jews; and it must be remembered, in the explication of the subsequent part of the prophecy, that he still pursues the same course, and that his auditors are viewed in this double light. In v. 24, he does, however, speak in the third person and of the Jews alone: they shall fall by the. edge of the sword; and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. Most commentators agree, that he speaks here of two distinct periods. The first principally respected the great slaughter of the Jews under the Romans, and the calamities they were to incur from the destruction of their city: the second extended to the whole period of their dispersion in the nations of the world. Here then it is that he makes his transition, in the very place where we should expect it; and commences his reply to the second question of his disciples.

It is this second grand division of the prophecy which is now to be considered. As it proceeds from the very highest authority; as it respects the most important events, and events which are all yet unfulfilled, though some of them probably may not be far distant; as it opens to our view a new order of things, when the world shall be as it were renovated, and true religion shall reign upon the earth; it surely deserves our most careful inspection. Any passage of the same length, having stronger claims on our attention, it would in truth be impossible to allege. The whole of it ought, therefore, to be viewed together; and accordingly it shall be first transcribed, without omission, and without comment. Luke's account, on several important points, is more full and complete than the parallel place in Matthew and in Mark. From him, therefore, it shall be taken. It reaches from the beginning of v. 25, to v. 35.

As our Lord had predicted, at the close of v. 24, that Jerusalem should be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled; it seems natural to conclude, and the contents of the prophecy itself will warrant the conclusion, that, in the verses which follow, he was going to point out those momentous events, which are to take place, when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled; or, in other words,- when the long a>ra of spurious Christians, of adulterated religion, and of corrupt government, which have now subsisted during the revolution of so many centuries, shall be destined to terminate1'. In truth, had an important particle which immediately follows been correctly rendered in our common version, it would have struck the reader at the first sight, as a matter not disputable, but clear and decided, that this most illustrious of the prophets has, in the succeeding passage, predicted the changes, which are to be accomplished When the times of the Gentiles shall expire.

Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. Then shall there be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the

21 The former part of the prophecy, in the opinion of Dr. Clarke, as well as of Vitringa, is not confined to the sufferings of the Jews and the destruction of their capital, but has an express reference to the subsequent spread of antichristianism, and to the heavy calamities which should afflict the Christian world. In the xxivth ch. of Matthew, says this distinguished English divine, 'our Lord, in answer to the question put to him by hi» disciples, gives them a large prophetic description of the destruction of the city and nation of the Jews, by the power of the Romans: and a long series of other events.—Our Lord tells them, that not only the city and temple of Jerusalem should be destroyed, and the Jewish nation dispersed; but that, after this, there should still succeed a long train of calamities, and the end should not be yet. For Jerusalem should be trodden down of the Gentiles, till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And during that long period of time, in other parts of the world likewise, nation should rise against nation, and Hngdom against kingdom; and there should be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in divers places, and that even all these calamities, comparatively speaking, should be but the beginning of sorrows. For a deluge of corruption and iniquity should overspread the world. And there should be very great and very long persecutions i and a time of tribulation, such as had not been since the beginning of the world.' See Mat. xxiv. 7,9,10, 12,14, 21. Seventeen Sermons on SeveralVccasions, by Dr. S. Clarke, 1724, p. 378, 382. On this subject the reader also may look back to vol. II. p. 41, of Uie present work.

Vol. II. y

waves rdaring: mens hearts /ailing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming' on the earth, for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then11 shall they see the son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things Begin to come to pass, Then look up, and lift up your heads ; for .your redemption draweth nigh. And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your ownselves that summer is now at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my word shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness and cares of this life, and so That Day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. , In this long passage I have, in a single instance, deviated from the English version. An alteration, introduced by Mr. Wakefield into his valuable translation, I have adopted as clearly a right one; substituting the words then shall there be signs13, instead of and there shall be signs.

22 Tort, then, i. e. 'after the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.* Grotius in loc.

23 There seems little reason for doubting, that our Lord in speaking used vau, which corresponds to xeu in the Greek. Now such is the frequency with which vau signifies then in the Hebrew bible, that no less than two or three hundred instances of it are specified in the concordance of Noldins.

After this note was written, I was gratified by meeting with a coincidence of opinion in the works of Mede. This passage he twice quotes (p. 910, 920) in the same manner as translated by Mr. Wakefield; and in one of his letters says, 'the copulative «ei verse 25, Km creu crjftf/<*, &c is to be taken after the Hebrew manner ordinative, for turn, deinde, which you know is frequent in scripture, then shall be signs'

It is in conformity to this translation, that St. Mark says, in the parallel place (xiii. 24), in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened.

Then shall there be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars. Already has the parallel verse in Matthew been carefully considered14; and, being larger and more distinct, it throws a light upon the import of this briefer passage. The meaning of the Greek word, translated signs, no siagle word in our language is capable of conveying. Ziinfiet signifies any thing which happens contrary to the usual course of events15: accordingly the clause may be thus rendered, and then that which is extraordinary shall be in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars. When the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, great and extraordinary wants shall take place in the antichristian monarchies and aristocracies of the world; or, in other words, they shall be overturned.

Then will there beupon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity. Since {$-,«, is used both here and in the last verse, why in one instance it has been translated gentiles, and in the other nations, it were difficult to say. But whatever arbitrary distinction the translator might intend to introduce, it is unreasonable to suppose, that the word does not, in both places carry a uniformity of import. In the original, Kmi tm T»« y,« mux* tS-im n enroll*, a comma ought, I think, to be placed after <rvi«xn, and the right rendering of the words will then be, and upon the earth distress, with perplexity of the Gentiles. As the sun, and the moon, the stars, and the sea, are symbolic expressions, to annex a dissimilar interpretation to the word earth would be to incur

24 See eh. xxii.

25 This is the proper sense of (n^ue/ov in the New Testament. Accordingly between (mfuin and tepees, lexicographers, with Theophylact and Ammonius o f Alexandria at their head, point out the following distinction: the former expresses an event, which is extraordinary and unusual, but agreeable to the order of nature; the latter signifies that which is supernatural and miraculous. It is perhaps superfluous for me to add, that in the lexicons onftsf»n is rendered ostentum, and (as the reader may find by turning to Littleton) ostentum signifies that, which is extraordinary, and which betokens something to come. The latter idea, however, is not always attached to the word

the charge of inconsistency. Dr. Lancaster, indeed, observes, that 'it is the usual style of the scriptures to represent such men as are sinners, idolators, out of the covenant of grace, or at least apostates from it, by the names of earth, inhabitants of the earth, and the like.' The clause, then, imports, that upon the antichristian part of the world there will be great distress, and that these heathens, as they may deservedly be styled, shall be perplexed, and thrown into the most nice and critical situations.

But our Lord does not merely apprise us of the fact, that, immediately previous to the downfal of oppressive government, the antichristian inhabitants of the world will be involved in singular distress; but he also acquaints us how this distress shall be caused. And upon the earth distress, with perplexity of the Gentiles; the sea and the waves roaring-; which latter clause, as Dr. Priestley on the passage remarks, is 'a figurative description of convulsions among nations by war, &C.16' Wars shall happen, which shall shatter the power of aristocracy and of despotism. Nor is the information the less sure and less to be depended upon, on account of its being figuratively expressed; for these symbols carry along with them a fixed and determinate meaning. 'Many waters'1"'',' says Dr. Lancaster, in his dictionary, ' upon the account of their noise, number, and disorder, and confusion of their waves are the symbols of nations ;' and sea troubled and tumultuous denotes a 'collection of men in motion and war.' It is added, men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth. Fear shall seize upon the hearts of many men. All those whose claims are at variance, w'ith the welfare and the rights of mankind (and, alas, they are a numerous body) shall tremble at those events which are transacting in the European world", and behold

26 Priestley's Harmony. Oee the same observations in Wolzogenius.

27 See pages 55 and 56.

28 The reader will here be ready to exclaim, why do you interpret the earth, the European world: in the last verse annexing to it a symbolic, and m this a literal, sense i But this difficulty will vanish, when it is re

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