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Verse 51

Matthew 27:51. And behold Immediately upon his death, while the sun was still darkened; the veil of the temple The inner veil which divided the holy from the most holy place; though made of the richest and strongest tapestry; was rent in two from the top to the bottom: so while the priest was ministering at the golden altar, (it being the time of the evening sacrifice,) the sacred oracle, by an invisible power, was laid open to full view: God thereby signifying the speedy removal of the Jewish ceremonies, the abolition of the Mosaic dispensation, the breaking down the partition- wall between Jews and Gentiles, who were both to be now admitted to equal privileges, and the opening a way, through the veil of Christ’s flesh, for all believers into the most holy place. And the earth did quake There was a general earthquake, probably through the whole globe, though chiefly at and near Jerusalem: God testifying thereby his wrath against the Jewish nation, for the horrid impiety they were committing. And the rocks rent Mr. Fleming ( Christology, vol. 2. pp. 97, 98) informs us, that a Deist, lately travelling through Palestine, was converted by viewing one of these rocks. For when he came to examine the clefts of it narrowly and critically, he was convinced that the rent had been made in a supernatural manner, as he acknowledged to his fellow-travellers, saying, I have long been a student of nature and the mathematics, and I am sure these rents in this rock were not made by a natural, or ordinary earthquake; for by such a concussion the rock must have split according to the veins, and where it was weakest in the adhesion of its parts; for this I have observed to have been done in other rocks, when separated or broken by an earthquake, and reason tells me, it must always be so. But it is quite otherwise here, for the rock is split athwart and cross the veins in a most strange and preternatural manner. This, therefore, I plainly see to be the effect of a real miracle, which neither nature nor art could have effected. Sandys ( Trav., p. 264) has given an accurate description and delineation of this fissure; and Mr. Maundrell (in his Journey from Aleppo, p. 73, 74) tells us, that it is about a span wide at the upper part, and two spans deep; after which it closes, but opens again below, and runs down to an unknown depth in the earth.

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