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From the time of the Maccabees, the rigour of the fabbath had been relaxed; and it was deemed lawful for them to defend themfelves on that day against an aggreffor. But the arm of flesh was a feeble support, when it did not fight under the fhield of the Almighty; and to fhew more vifibly, that He had rejected them, the days confecrated to his honour and fervice, which of old were days of peace and of joy, were now marked, above others, with calamity and woe. The war itself was begun on the fabbath, and in confequence of an infult offered to their law, by an opprobrious facrifice at the entrance of a fynagogue in Cefarea. On another fabbath they maffacred in Jerufalem a Roman garrison, that surrendered on terms to them; and while they were imbruing their hands in the blood of unarmed men, who attempted no defence, and used no fupplication, but only called out on their violated oaths; the self same day, and the very fame hour, as it were, fays Jofephus, by a particular judgement of providence, more than twenty thousand Jews were killed at Cefarea.

di Maccab. ii. 41. A. J. L. XII. c. vi. §. 2. L. XIV. c. iv. §. 2.

I

e B. J. L. II. c. xiv. §. 4, 5.

f B. J. L. II. c. xvii. §. 10.

Ibid. c. xviii. §. 1.

At the feaft of tabernacles, Ceftius marched with an army against Jerufalem; and appearing before the city on the fabbath day, the Jews rushed out against him with mad but unavailing fury. Not long before the war, twenty thousand Jews perished at the passover, in a tumult in the temple: and at the same feast, in a fubfequent year, the city was finally invested by Titus*.

If these things are but the beginning of forrows, O thou afflicted daughter of Zion, how shalt thou endure the extremity of pangs, and the bitterness of death? Caft off by thy GOD, forfaken by thy friends, thy mighty men armed against each other, who fhall fupport, or who fhall comfort thee in the day of indignation? In vain wilt thou spread forth thine hands to the Lord, in vain wilt thou offer to him thousands of rams; he hath no delight in thy burnt offerings, his foul abhorreth thy folemn feafts, in them he multiplieth affliction upon thee.

Jerufalem hath grievously finned, she hath finned against the most High; she hath slain

B. J. L. II. c. xix. §. 1, 2.

A. J. L. XX. c. iv. §. 3. B. J. L. II. c. xii. §. i.
B. J. L. V. c. iii. §. 1. L. VI. c. ix. §. 3.

within

within her walls his fervants the prophets; she hath shed the blood of the juft and holy One. Yet now, even now, if it be not too late, turn unto the Lord, and to his Anointed, "with all thy heart, and with fafting, and with weeping, and with mourning'." For "the lion is come up from his thicket, the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land defolate, and thy cities fhall be laid waste, without an inhabitant"."

the Lord hath spoken it.

For the mouth of

Joel ii, 12.

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➡ Jer. iv. 7.

SER

K 4

SERMON V.

LUKE XXI. 20, 21.

When ye shall fee Jerufalem compassed with armies, then know that the defolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains.

TH

HE difputes among Chriftians are by some writers set forth as the ground of an objection against Christianity; and from the mistakes or prejudices, the weakness or wickedness, of particular men, is inferred the uncertainty of the general fyftem. The argument, if it proved any thing, would prove a great deal too much. If whatever has been doubted was in confequence to be thought doubtful, there is no propofition, however evident, that must not be queftioned; no truth, however certain, that must not be abandoned.

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