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

TO these accounts it may be proper to add the sure prediction of our Saviour, in which he foretold these very events as follows: “But woe to them that are with child and those that give suck in those days; but pray that your flight be not in the winter, nor on the Sabbath. But there shall be then great distress, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither may be.” The historian, adding up the whole number of those slain, says, that eleven hundred thousand perished by famine and the sword, and that the rest, the factious and robbers, mutually informing against each other, after the capture, were put to death. Of the young men, the tallest, and those that were distinguished for beauty, were preserved for the triumph. Of the remaining multitude, those above seventeen were sent prisoners to labour at the mines in Egypt. But great numbers were distributed to the provinces, to be destroyed by the sword or wild beasts in the theatres. Those under seventeen were carried away to be sold as slaves. Of these alone, there were upwards of ninety thousand. All this occurred in this manner, in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, according to the predictions of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who by his divine power foresaw all these things, as if already present at the time, who wept and mourned indeed at the prospect, as the holy evangelists show in their writings. These give us the very words that he uttered, when he said to this same Jerusalem, “If thou didst know, even thou, in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace, but now they are hidden from thy eyes. For the days will come upon thee, and thy enemies shall cast a trench around thee, and shall encompass thee around, and shall every where shut thee in, and they shall level thee and thy children with the ground.” Afterwards he speaks as if of the people: “For there shall be great distress upon earth, and wrath upon this people, and they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and they shall be carried away captive to all nations, and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the nations, until the times of the nations shall be fulfilled.” And again, “When ye shall see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that her desolation has drawn near.”

On comparing the declarations of our Saviour with the other parts of the historian’s work, where he describes the whole war, how can one fail to acknowledge and wonder at the truly divine and extraordinary foreknowledge and prediction of our Saviour? Concerning the events, then, that befel the Jews after our Saviour’s passion, and those outcries in which the multitude of the Jews refused the condemnation of a robber and murderer, but entreated that the Prince of Life should be destroyed, it is superfluous to add to the statement of the historian. Yet it may be proper to mention, also, what things occurred that show the benignity of that all-gracious Providence that had deferred, their destruction for forty years after their crimes against Christ. During which time the greater part of the apostles and disciples, James himself, the first bishop there, usually called the brother of our Lord, still surviving, and still remaining at Jerusalem, continued the strongest bulwark of the place. Divine Providence yet bearing them with long-suffering, to see whether by repentance for what they had done, they might obtain pardon and salvation; and beside this long-suffering, it also presented wonderful prodigies of what was about to happen to those that did not repent; all which having been recorded by the historian already cited, it well deserved to be submitted to the view of our readers.








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