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phetic intimation, that the life of St. John should be protracted to a longer date than that of the other Apostles, and till the occurrence of a very awful event. Our Saviour, in his prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, mingled his account of that approaching scene of terror with the description which he was pleased to give of the final dissolution of the world itself: he ascended by a rapid but not unnatural transition from the less to the greater. And was not the destruction of one people (shortly to be accomplished) the most intelligible sample that could be afforded of the future destruction of all the people of the earth? For it must be observed, that, be the range of devastation ever so extensive, the human senses can take in but a limited portion, the contiguous or surrounding parts. If, therefore, the sufferers in the siege and sackage of Jerusalem, wherever they cast their eyes, could behold nothing but scenes of horror, if they heard nothing but cries of misery, if they felt nothing in their own bosoms but terror, anguish, and despair, their senses were probably as strongly affected as
will be those of the existing race of mankind at the end of the world. To them the world itself was at an end ; to them the day of judgment was at hand; and the contemporary Jewish historian describes the most unusual convulsions of nature also as attending the fatal catastrophe. Neither could the victims of so dreadful a calamity, even had they had leisure for reflection, have found any present alleviation in the assurance that the ruin was circumscribed in extent, that their nation only was doomed to perish, and that others, and among the rest their conquerors, would continue to oc
cupy the earth.
To one or other, therefore, of these analogous events, the destruction of a people or of the world, our Saviour informed his disciples that the life of St. John should be extended; and their interpretation fixing erroneously upon the latter period, the saying went abroad among the brethren, " that that disciple should not die.” It was to correct this mistake, by giving precision to the words of our Saviour, that St. John, when he wrote his Gospel, added, “ Yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will, that he tarry till I
come, what is that to thee ?" And accordingly St. John did outlive the destruction of Jerusalem, the apt prototype of the world's dissolution. He witnessed the fulfilment of that terrific prophecy which the other evangelists had only left upon record, but upon record which could neither be altered nor defaced, that Jerusalem should utterly perish, that the nation itself should cease to exist in a substantive character, and that of their boasted temple not one stone should be left upon another.
And here I cannot help pointing out to your attention, how peculiarly the future fortunes of the Jews, after the destruction of their city, are intimated by our Saviour. He does not say, “ Linger in the confines “ of the beloved spot: and when the enemy “ is departed repair the ruins, and as well
as you may re-establish your homes." This would have been the most natural proceeding also on the part of any people, and more especially of those who knew from their own scriptures that the Lord had
“ chosen Sion,” that “ he had desired it “ for his habitation®," that he had even longed for it. But no: the divine prophet knew better the eternal decree of God: when the Roman standard is once set
in the holy place, flight and dispersion are the measures which he counsels, and foretels to his guilty countrymen. The impulses of patriotism and the sympathies of nature must yield to overwhelming power.
“ Let them “ which be in Judea flee into the moun“ tains ; let him which is on the housetop “ not come down to take any thing out of “ his house,” but only to escape with all imaginable speed : “neither let him which “ is in the field return back to take his “ clothes :...but pray ye
your flight be not in the winter b. From the fulfilment of this prediction the present condition of the Jews takes its date. The hive, with all its contents, was destroyed; and the bees which could escape from its precincts, or straggled in the contiguous fields, for ever took their flight from the devoted spot.
a Ps. cxxxii. 13.
b St. Matthew xxiv. 16-20.
But to revert to the more immediate subject of this discourse. The longevity of St. John the Evangelist was a circumstance pregnant with the greatest advantages to the diffusion of Christianity, and with the strongest corroborative evidence of its truth: for had the disciples of our Saviour conspired to impose upon mankind a cunninglydevised tale, it may be conceived that, so long as the whole or the greater part of their body existed, they might be held together by the common bonds of such union, by the shame of defection, and the fear of reproach from those of their own party ; but the survivor of them all could have no such apprehension. Having seen his colleagues either sink by the decay of nature, or suffer in the cause, his most natural course would then at least have been to seek obscurity and elude detection. How could such a man, when bereft of all his
companions, and more especially when labouring under the weight of years, be supposed to be more in love with a dangerous falsehood than with what remained to him of life here and his eternal salvation hereafter ? But