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THE WAR. Its HORRORS. ORIGIN AND END.
FULFILMENT OF PROPHECY.-REAL CAUSE OF JEW-
It is with emotions of actual relief and gladness, that we leave to other works the details of that awful war, during the continuance of which 1,356,460 of our hapless countrymen perished, and 101,700 graced as prisoners the triumph of the Roman emperor and his son; and this calculation relates only to the period of the destruction of Jerusalem : the thousands and thousands of men, women, and children, who fell victims to aftermassacres, are not included.
As a History of the Women of Israel, we need not linger on details which our own historian Josephus, and yet more powerfully, in all the eloquence of modern writing, Milman, has brought so vividly before us, save to give one shuddering glance on what must have been the anguish, the tortures, of the female children of the Lord at that awful period. Every social tie-mother, daughter, sister, wife --- must every hour have been subject to the agony of such bereavement as we can but faintly image now. We see, by both Isaiah and Ezekiel, that the sins of the women had added to the weight of national iniquity; but still all were not sinful, all were
not rebellious. Countless thousands of those that fell were true to their God and His law. The service of the Temple, the daily offerings, were continued in the very midst of the most horrible internal dissensions and outward siege; and not only men armed for battle, but the aged and the feeble, the loveliest and the most unprotected female, the stripling youth and the tender child, sought the temple courts to worship, and often by the very altar found their deaths. What, in this dark epoch, would have supported the Hebrew female and given her strength to witness misery, suffer torture, and then die ? what but an assurance of that immortality, wherein the distinction between the righteous and the wicked should be discerned, and all of this world's agony be swallowed up in an eternity of bliss ?
In shrinking from the pages of horror which relate the Jewish war, we sometimes forget to bring forward in its deserved light the noble and exalted patriotism from which the awful struggle sprang. In our last period, we have endeavoured to give some idea of the enslaving and savage nature of the Roman government over the provinces of Judea. A reference to the historians of the period will make it clearer still. From Herod, falsely called the Great, originated, as we have seen, the Roman subjection of Judea, and the denationalizing of the Jewish people. But all of nationality, all of patriotism, had not merged into the slavish subjection which the persecuting cruelty of the Roman governors seemed determined to enforce. In the very face of crushing tyranny and inward depression, the Hebrew people rose as one man to throw off the yoke of Rome-Rome, the mistress of the world, Empress of a thousand cities, of a hundred
provinces, each one larger and more mighty than the
other province were summoned against them. Ay, and that had not the wrath of the Eternal worked against them, in the division of themselves, and in the awful fulfilment of the threatenings which they had disregarded, Judea would have been unconquered still.
One important fact it is necessary to notice here. Our young sisters, no doubt, have often read and heard (for it is impossible to peruse Gentile historians of the
time without such impressions) that the awful occurrences of the war, the destruction of our glorious Temple, and banishment from our Holy Land, all were occasioned, not by our departure from the law of God, and manifold national transgressions, but from our obstinate rejection of Jesus, when he came for our salvation. Now, without an intimate knowledge of our history during the continuance of the Second Temple, this might be a startling argument. We see that we are dispersed; we read of all the miseries and massacres which have befallen us; of the omens and prodigies that preceded the destruction of the Temple. We are told by eager Gentile acquaintance, or read in their books, that so Jesus prophesied, and that he wept when he looked on Jerusalem, foreseeing all the calamities about to ensue because the people rejected him ; and unless we know another cause for all these things, how are we to answer?
And yet how easy is the true reply! A very cursory glance over our history, from the return from the Babylonish Captivity, even if we go no farther than the death of Herod, will bring glaringly before us the awful sins for which we are thus punished. Even in the brief sketch which we have given at the commencement of our Sixth Period, we surely must trace the national departure from the pure law of Moses, the assimilation with other nations, the entire forgetfulness that we were to be a “nation of priests, holy unto the Lord”- the awful deeds of parricide and massacre, devastating the houses of those very princes chosen as the Lord's anointed priests: and even had we but the reign of Herod, we read a sufficiency of sin to hurl down on us the threatened chastisement of the Eternal.
between the first and second Captivity was granted us as a period of trial, whether or not we would return with our whole hearts unto the Lord. The twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy, with its sublime and startling prophecy, was ours then, even as it is now. We had already felt the wrath of the Lord: and the power to return to Him and to His law, or to reject them, His mercy had planted in our hearts. If man had no power of himself, to keep the law of God, as the Gentiles teach, then, indeed, would the law have been instituted in mockery, not in love, to destroy not to save; and there could have been no need for that sublime prophecy of Moses. This is not the work to dilate on the twentyeighth chapter of Deuteronomy, as inclination might prompt. We can only beseech our readers to turn to it themselves—to observe the blessings promised for obedience--the curses threatened on the disobedientto compare the history of Israel, during the continuance of the Temple, with the first fourteen verses of the chapter, and reflect if such blessings could be ours; and then from the fifteenth to the end of the chapter: and do we need more to instruct us in the nature of our sins--and the wherefore they were punished ?
“ But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes, which I command thee this day, that all these curses shall come upon thee and overtake thee.” This single verse is all-sufficient to overturn every Gentile argument. The prophecy which it precedes is so exact a description of all that took place in Jerusalem, before its siege by the Romans,