網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

spirit, and a disposition to shake off the Roman yoke. About forty years after bis crucifixion, rebellious tumults became more common and serious; at last Eleazer, the high priest's son, persuaded those who officiated in the temple, to reject the sacrifices of foreigners, and no longer pray for them. This was considered by the Romans as an unpardonable insult, and of course laid the foundation of a sanguinary war. Cestius Gallus marched an army into Judea, in order to quell them, and spread desolation wherever he went; he burned some towns, slew several thousand of the inhabitants, entered Jerusalem, and burned three divisions of the city ; but in the midst of his conquest, through the treacherous advice of his officers, he raised the siege, fled from the city, was pursued by the Jewish army, and finally lost six thousand of his men. When the Roman Emperor, Nero, heard of his defeat, he appointed Vespasian to prosecute the war against the Jews, who, with his son Titus, collected an army of sixty thousand men,

and marched into Judea, A. D. 67; the principal towns of which were destroyed, and at least one hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants, of both sexes, and all ages.

Vespasian, wben he reached Jericho, hearing of the death of Nero, returned to Rome, and was chosen emperor. By this event the Jews bad two years longer allowed them to repent in, but they grew still more wicked; factions contending for sovereignty slaughtered each other with savage animosity. Thousands and tens of thousands were slain in these conflicts. Thus they continued to spread desolation and carnage on every side, when the factions were petrified with the news of the approach of the Roman army, under the chief command of Titus, who encompassed Jerusalem, at the time when the Jews from all parts of their country were convened at the metropolis, to celebrate the feast of the passover. Titus surrounded the city by a circumvallation ;

this trench was thirty-nine furlongs in circuit, strengthened with thirteen towers; by this means they not only gained the two

[ocr errors]

outward walls of the city, but demolished part of the inward wall; possessed themselves of the tower of Antonia, set fire to the temple, the castle, the registeroffice, the council chamber, and the palace of queen Helena. Thus, not only fire and sword, but famine and pestilence united their terrific influence to avenge the Lord's quarrel with his ungrateful people. They were reduced to the necessity of eating dried grass, rats and mice, their sandals and belts, and even their own children. One Jewess of noble family, in particular, prepared her infant son for a meal, and had eaten half thereof, when some sol. diers compelled her to relinquish the remainder. This tragical event is related by Josephus, to whose history I would refer the reader for a more particular account of the many woes and miseries, which fell upon the Jewish nation, for their rebellion and ingratityde to their gracious and long-suffering Creator; thousands perished with hun. ger, the streets were crowded with heaps of unburied human bodies; the stencb

of which produced the most destructive disorders. The reader may form some idea of the dreadful ravages of these complicated judgments, when he is informed, that no less than one hundred and fifteen thousand, eight hundred and eighty-eight dead bodies were carried through one gate only from the 14th of April, when the siege commenced, to the 1st of July following; and all these were destroyed by intestine com motion, famine and disease. The whole number of the poor cast out at the different gates of the city, amounted to no less than six hundred thousand ; the sight of which moved the pity of the Roman soldiers, especially Titus, who was counted a serciful general. He at different times entreated the Jews to surrender, and promised them mercy; but they derided and laughed him to scorn; which so irritated bis army, with many other provocations they received from the infatuated Jews, that, when they became masters of the city, they put every man, woman and child to death they met; they then set fire to

с

it, and finally plowed up its foundations. Josephus reckons “one million and one hundred thousand Jews were destroyed during the siege, exclusive of two hundred and thirty-seven thousand who perished in other places; and innumerable multitudes, which were swept away by famine, pestilence, &c. of which no calculaton could be made. No less than two thousand laid violent hands upon themselves." Thus we see God can in å little time bring swift destruction upon impenitent and ungrateful nations and individuals. This great city, which for beauty and strength was emphatically called the praise of the whole earth, in five months was consumed, with its wicked inbabitants ; and its whole circuit levelled in sucb a manner, that a stranger would scarcely have believed that it had been a popalous city. The desolate and mournful state of Judea, from this period, is exactly described by the prophet Isaiah:

-I'hen said 1, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the citivs be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses with

« 上一頁繼續 »