what end has the gospel been preached there? Chapter Verre Not for a witness against them, we in charity may hope. A witness for them it did not prove. Judging of the doctrine by its effects, they wisely expelled its teachers before it had spread to any great extent. From this point, Jesus goes back again, and in the 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20th verses, describes the afflictions of individuals in the destruction of Jerusalem. (From Matthiew and Mark's account wę may luppole it means Jerutalem ; but Luke ch, xxii, V. 24. says it plainly.) And yet in the two following verses he connects the end of the world with it-saying -- For then xxiv. 21 • shall be great tribulation, such as was not since " the beginning of the world to this time, no nor

ever shall be (what is meant by this, I know, • not) and except those days should be shortened, " there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's Sake, those days fhall be shortened. (I apprehend, for the elect’s fake, must mean those of lhem who should be alive at that fatal period, the end of the world.) Again cautioning them not to be deceived by false Christs, and false prophets in verses 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, and 28th. He in the following words gave them this awful description-'Immediately after the tribulation of • those days, thall the sun be darkened, and the " moon shall not give her light, and the stars • fhall fall from heaven, and the powers of the s heavens shall be shaken, and then shall appear


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Chapter Verse the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven, And

" then shall all the tribes of the east viourn; and " they shall see the Son of Man coming in the ' clouds of heaven with power and great glory, ' And he shall send his angels with a great sound

of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his 'elect from the four winds, froin one end of 'heaven to another. Now learn a parable of the

the fig-tree : When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer

is near : fo likewise ye, when ye shall see all ' these things, know that it is near, even at the ' doors. Verily I say unto you, this generation shall

not pass, till all these thing's be fulfilled.' This is plain and positive. St. Mark ch. xiii, v. 30, records the very fame words. St. Luke ch. xxi, V. 32, differs something in words, but is the same in substance— Verily I say unto you, this gene• ration shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.' St. John says nothing of the matter. Jesus, after

describing this awful scene, and foretelling its xxiv. 36 near approach; adds-- But of that day and

"hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of ? Heaven, but my Father only.' Mark's record ch. xiii, v. 32, is— But of that day and that hour • knoweth no man, no nol the angels which are ' in Heaven, neither, the Son, but the Father.' (In the Cambridge and other ancient manuscripts of St. Matthew's Gospel, are found the words nor the Son, conformable to St. Mark's.) If Jesus


was ignorant of that day, and that hour, he might Chapter Verse be so of that age and that year ; it is more than probable that he was so; why then did he risque his credit in so many positive declarations, that all should be fulfilled in that age ? To promote the work of conversion; is the only reply that suggests itself through the medium of human reason. If the destruction of the world was so very near ; fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, were of little use : houses and lands, of less value ; and their ready money well laid out in purchasing seats in Heaven. Powerful arguments ! but it will be observed, that they operated most powerfully upon those who had least to part with.

Jesus expatiating upon the uncertainty of that day, reminds his audience of the unprepared state in which mankind were suddenly and unexpectedly destroyed by the general deluge ; adding-—' So shall also the coming of the Son of Man xxiv. 39 • be. What is meant by the following story two men in the field : and two women grinding : one of each to be taken, and the other left ; I know not. Neither Mark, Luke, or John, mention it. Such things sometimes happen in earth. : quakes ; but I should suppose it of little consequence at the end of the world, and therefore imagine this speech is misplaced by St. Matthew. Jesus goes on, to recommend preparation and warchfulness; and illustrates the propriety of so doing by several parables. Mark records but

one ;


Chapter Verse one ; Luke and John, none. Jesus then describes, xxv. 31 in plain terms, his glorious appearance, to judge

mankind; and his justice and equity, in the execution of this business. Those who had been

charitable should have eternal life, in the kingdom 41. of Heaven : those who had not been charitable,

should be punished everlasiingly, in the fire prepared for the devil and his angels. As this description of the judgment, appears (according to St. Matthew) to be the winding up or conclufion of a very long discourse, replete with necessary information, and excellent advice: I should have expected it would have been much more explicit with respect to the necessary duties, by which Heaven was attainable : and the particular crimes, which subjected the perpetrators to everlasting punishment. It is true, the former have been enumerated in many places and upon many occafions : but the latter, strictly speaking, in one only; and that is called the sin against the Holy Ghost, which we are told, is neither to be forgiven in this world or in the next. But what this sin against the Holy Ghost was, we are not ex. pressly told. The most learned of our divines, cannot, with any degree of certainty, inform us : nor can they even tell us whether, in this age, it is palable for us to commit this fin : nor indeed would it be worth the enquiry, if everlasting purithment is to be the consequence of every or any other crime. But the word everlasting is cer



tainly improper : the term he used has surely a Chapter Verlie more limited fenfe. If not ; our ideas of juftice and equity, are inadequate to the necessary call we have for them in determining this interesting matter.

"And it came to pass when Jesus had finished all xxvi. -:these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know

that after two days is the feast of the passover, " and the Son of Man is betrayed to be crucified.' At this time the chief priests, scribes and elders, assembled in the palace of Caiaphas the high priest, consulting how they might destroy Jesus privately ; fearing an uproar among the people, should they atrempt it upon the feast-day. Neither Matthew or John say any thing further of the matter in this place; but Luke adds then

entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot,
being of the number of the Twelve, and he
went his way, and communed with the chief
priests and captains, how he might betray

him unto them. And they were glad and
'covenanted to give him money; and he pro-
mised, and sought opportunity to betray him

unto them in the absence of the multitude.' Mark gives nearly the same account. From these circumstances, we may suppose, that it was the constant practice of Jesus and his disciples, to leave the city in the evening, and conceal theniselves in some garden or private place in the deighbourhood, vide John ch. xviii, v. 1 and 2,


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