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“ And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband ... And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof."-Revelation xxi. 2, 23.
The inspired penman has truly said of Jerusalem, Thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof." Though now degraded and defiled, ruined and desolate, we cannot forget that Zion was once the chosen mountain of Jehovah, the very perfection of beauty, and joy of the whole earth. From Jerusalem went forth the word of the law,—all nations
went up to worship within her gates,— David, the man after God's own heart, reigned in her over the people of Israel, and his lyre sounded upon her sacred hills. The visible glory of the Lord shone in her beautiful temple; and, above all, upon this holy mountain, the anointed Son of God shed his most precious bloodthen burst the bands of the tomb, rose from the dead, and ascended up to heaven.
In Jerusalem, too, repentance and remission of sins were first preached to sinners in his glorious name, and she was selected by both prophets and apostles, as the type of “ that great city, new Jerusalem,” or, as St. Paul styles her, “the Jerusalem that is above.”
To the christian reader, every mention of the present afflicted state of this highly-favoured city will recal the prophetic words of our Saviour, “Behold, thy house is left unto thee desolate.” But while in this point of view Jerusalem is to us all a fearful warning of the consequences of unbelief, and abuse of great privileges, in another respect she may remind us of that mercy which is greater than even our sins. The word of God leads us to hope and expect days of pardon and of peace for Zion, when Jerusalem shall “shake herself from the dust, and arise, and sit down." For, when her children shall say,
66 Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord;" the curse shall be taken away, and “Jerusalem shall again be safely inhabited” “ in her own place, even in Jerusalem," and “ upon her inhabitants shall be poured out the spirit of grace and of supplication.” Then shall“ living waters go out of her,” and the nations shall resort to her again,
year by year, to worship the King, the Lord of hosts. Then will her glory be greater than it was of old, for it will be more entirely the glory of holiness,when 66
every pot in Jerusalem shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts,” —when there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts, and when her sons shall say, “ There is strength for the
inhabitants of Jerusalem, in the Lord of hosts their God.”
“ Jerusalem is presumed to owe its origin to Melchizedec; and if so, must have been founded two thousand
before the advent of our Lord. In the succeeding century, it was captured by the Jebusites, who extended its walls, and built a castle or citadel upon mount Sion. It was taken from them by the forces under the command of Joshua (xv. 63, xviii. 28 ; Judges i. 8), but they long retained possession of the fortress; nor was it established as the capital of Israel till the time of king David. Its magnificence was chiefly owing to the works of his son and successor, Solomon, who adorned it with sumptuous edifices, and, above all, with a temple... which has in no age been, nor will be, excelled in splendour and magnitude. During the period of Rehoboam, the city was stormed and plundered by Shishak, king of Egypt; and a similar fate befel it about a century and a half afterwards, from Joash king of Israel. In the reign of Manasseh, it was besieged and taken by the Assyrians, when the idolatrous monarch was carried captive to Babylon. Its destruction, however, was not effected till the time of Zedekiah, when Nebuchadnezzar, actuated by a spirit of fury, committed terrible ravages, razing the fortifications, setting flames to the temple, and carrying away the inhabitants as prisoners, in the view of adding to the population of his own capital. Seventy years afterwards they were restored, and Zerobabel began to rebuild the sacred structure. Alexander the Great could not be said to have taken it, since the place voluntarily submitted to him, when he entered it as a friend, and offered sacrifices in the temple. It was sacked by Antiochus Epiphanes, who profaned the holy city by placing the image of Jupiter in it.
“ The Maccabees, who restored the independence of
1 Zech. i. 17, viii. 8, xii. 5 (marg. reading) 6, xiv. 11, 21.
their country, rescued it from the heathen, but a contest between their descendants gave the Romans an opportunity for interfering, and Pompey made himself master of the capital, which he surnamed Hierosolymarius. Judea, revolting from the Roman yoke, was besieged by Titus, captured, and totally destroyed in the year of our Lord 70, when 97,000 persons were taken prisoners, and 110,000 perished." Reflecting on its former beauty, riches, and glory, Titus could not forbear weeping, and cursing the obstinacy of the seditious Jews, who forced him, against his inclination, to destroy so magnificent a city, and such a glorious temple as was not to be paralleled in the whole world. It was again rebuilt by the Jewish nation ; but fresh commotions breaking out, Adrian expelled every Hebrew, and made it death for any of them enter it. He then began a new city on the ruins of the old, which is supposed to be the present
But it was Constantine, and his mother Helena, who had the honour of restoring here the worship of the one living and true God. The caliph Omar, the third in succession from Mahomet, was its next conqueror. During the holy wars, it was taken in the great crusade by Godfrey of Bouillon, when the standard of the cross was triumphantly displayed upon its walls, and it again became the capital of a kingdom ; though Godfrey, when offered the diadem, refused it, declaring he would never receive a crown of gold in that city, where the Saviour of the world had worn a crown of thorns!. In 1217, this monarchy was abolished, and since this period the city of the Lord,' has remained the capital of a Mahometan province.
“... The capital of Judea has passed under various denominations ... In the first place, it is supposed to be compounded of two appellations, Salem, or Peace, and Jebus (1 Chron. xi. 4), afterwards changed to
i Isaiah li. 17; Jer. xxv. 15.
Jerusalem. Some suppose it signifies 'Fear Salem, because the city was very strong ; others,
They shall see Peace;' and many, with a greater degree of probability, say it means « The Inheritance of Peace.' In the sacred page we find it called the city of David, the city of God, the holy mountain, the holy hill, the throne of the Lord, and the house of the Lord God of Israel, the city of the great King, the throne of Judgment, the throne of the house of David, a place for the Judgment of the Lord, and for matters of controversies, the city of Truth, the city of Joy and a Defence, his Tabernacle;' by the Hebrews, Jeruschalem ; the Greeks and Romans, Hierosolyma ; and the Mahometans name it Kuddish, or the holy, and also, the Lady of Kingdoms. It spreads over several hills, the largest of which, Mount Sion, beautiful for situation, is on the south . . It is triangular, enclosed with walls, in some places 150 feet in height, with steep ascents on every side, and forms nearly the central part of Judea. Towards the north a valley separates it from Acra, and the second or lower city, on the east of which is Mount Moriah, the site of the Temple of Solomon ; on the south is the valley of Hinnom, and to the north Mount Calvary. The general elevation above the level of the sea may be calculated at 1,600 feet... On the morning after my arrival, I walked round the outside of the walls, 'to mark its bulwarks, and tell the towers thereof,' as they exist at this moment, that it may be told to the generations following'... I apprehend the circuit of the whole walls does not exceed three miles, at least it may be walked round with facility in a couple of hours, and the breadth of the capital may extend to more than
1 See Dan. ix. 16; Ps. xcix. 9, xlviii. 2; Matt. iv. 5 ; Neh. xi. 1; Ezra i. 3; 2 Chron. xix. 8; Deut. xvii. 8; Zech. viii. 3; Isa, xxii. 2.
2 Ps. lxviii. 15, lxxxvii. 1, cxxv. 2.