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An Ecclesiastical History To The 20th Year Of The Reign Of Constantine by Eusebius

AFTER Nero had held the government about thirteen years, Galba and Otho reigned about a year and six months. Vespasian, who had become illustrious in the campaign against the Jews, was then proclaimed sovereign in Judea, receiving the title of emperor from the armies there. Directing his course, therefore, immediately to Rome, he commits the care of the war against the Jews, into the hands of his son Titus; for after the ascension of our Saviour, the Jews, in addition to their wickedness against him, were now incessantly plotting mischief against his apostles. First, they slew Stephen by stoning him, next James the son of Zebedee, and the brother of John, by beheading, and finally James, who first obtained the episcopal seat at Jerusalem after the ascension of our Saviour, and was slain in the manner before related. But the rest of the apostles, who were harassed in innumerable ways, with a view to destroy them, and driven from the land of Judea, had gone forth to preach the gospel to all nations, relying upon the aid of Christ, when he said, “Go ye, teach all nations in my name.” The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella. Here, those that believed in Christ, having removed from Jerusalem, as if holy men had entirely abandoned the royal city itself, and the whole land of Judea: the divine justice, for their crimes against Christ and his apostles, finally overtook them, totally destroying the whole generation of these evil-doers from the earth. But the number of calamities which then overwhelmed the whole nation; the extreme misery to which particularly the inhabitants of Judea were reduced; the vast numbers of men, with women and children that fell by the sword and famine, and innumerable other forms of death; the numerous and great cities of Judea that were besieged, as also the great and incredible distresses that they experienced who took refuge at Jerusalem, as a place of perfect security; these facts, as well as the whole tenor of the war, and each particular of its progress, when, finally, the abomination of desolation, according to the prophetic declaration, stood in the very temple of God, so celebrated of old, but which now was approaching its total downfall and final destruction by fire; all this, I say, any one that wishes may see accurately stated in the history written by Josephus. It may, however, be necessary to state, in the very words of this writer, how about three hundred thousand that flocked from all parts of Judea at the time of the passover, were shut up in Jerusalem as in a prison. For it was indeed just, that in those very days in which they had inflicted sufferings upon the Saviour and Benefactor of all men, the Christ of God, destruction should overtake them, thus shut up as in a prison, as an exhibition of the divine justice. Passing by, then, the particular calamities which befel them, such as they suffered from the sword, and other means employed against them, I may deem it sufficient only to subjoin the calamities they endured from the famine. So that they who peruse the present history may know, in some measure, that the divine vengeance did not long delay to visit them for their iniquity against the Christ of God.








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