« PreviousContinue »
which bringeth salvation" was preached | in the council at Jerusalem, upon the only to the Jews; the first messengers of authority of Peter, “how God at the the Gospel were forbidden to go into first did visit the Gentiles to take out of any “ city of the Samaritans, or into them a people for his name ;" reserving the way of the Gentiles.” After the re- / a greater event, to a more distant age, surrection and ascension of our Lord, that is the restoration of Israel, after the though the command was general, and calling out of the Gentiles. “ After the commission co-extensive with all the this, I will return, and will build again fallen children of men, “Go ye into the tabernable of David, which is fallen all the world, preach the Gospel to every down, and I will build again the ruins creature," they were directed to com thereof, and I will set it up." An event mence at Jerusalem, and they seem to to be succeeded by another, namely " that have understood their charge at the most the residue of men might seek after the to refer to the tribes scattered abroad, Lord, and all the Gentiles upon my those who had never returned from name is called, saith the Lord, who Assyria and Babylon, or to the proselytes doeth all these things.” from the Gentiles. In this contracted From these and similar passages, then, view, it pleased the Holy Spirit to leave we collect, Ist. That the Gentiles bethe minds even of the Apostles them- come a portion of the Church, and selves for full six years or more. They believing people of God, in the way of were still preaching the Gospel to Jews substitution, being (to use the imagery only, and Samaritans; and the Lord was and language of the Apostle,) “ grafted “ daily adding to the Church, (the in upon the olive tree among the natural Mother Church at Jerusalem) such as branches, to replace those broken off ; should be saved.” In this way a part of and with them made partakers of the the nation was converted, whom St. root and fatness of the olive tree.” That Paul calls, “a remnant according to the “ their fall, and their diminishing is beelection of grace, and the rest were come our riches." Therefore, when we blinded.” Rom. xi. 5-7.
address you with the offers of pardon, · The next step in the wise fulfilment peace, justification, and sanctification, of God's purposes was the calling of the through the blood and righteousness of Gentiles. For this there needed even our Redeemer, and by the operation of miraculous interference, that the cloud | his Holy Spirit, we say, “ now is your of prejudice might be removed from the | accepted time, now is your day of salApostles themselves as well as from the | vation." And secondly, “ though Jeru
brethren which were in Judea. Peter salein shall be trodden down for the B was sent to preach the word unto Cor- times of the Gentiles ;" though “ blind
nelius, and “ while he yet spake, the ness, in part, is happened to Israel, till the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard fulness be come in” a brighter day is him, and he commanded them to be nigh. “For if the casting away of them baptized in the name of the Lord.”- be the reconciling of the world;" that After this, some time, the great Apostle is, if their sin which has occasioned this of the Gentiles receives his mission “to casting away, has been the means of turn men from darkness unto light, and bringing about the death of Christ, thro' from the power of Saian unto God,” | which the world is reconciled; God thus yet we find him declaring to the Jews in educing abundant good from overflowing the synagogue, at Antioch in Pisidia, evil_" what shall the receiving of them (Acts xii. 46) “ It was necessary that be”-to what shall their happy conthe word of God should first have been version and restoration tend, but “ life spoken to you, but seeing you put it from from the dead.” Then shall the poor you and judge yourselves unworthy of dead, forgotten, and neglected Gentiles, of everlasting life, Lo we turn to the receive the quickening impulse of the gentiles." You see that neither the Holy Spirit, and they too, shall “ live unto judicial blindness of the nation, nor the God.” admission of the Gentiles, took from Or to retrace our steps, the converIsrael their right of the first offer, norsion of the world we regard as the final prevented individuals, whose hearts the consummation, connected with the comLord opened, (like Lydia's,) from believ- plete establishment of Messiah's kinging. Then we hear St. James declaringdom. The proximate event which goes before, is Missionary exertion, carried has produced historians like Samuel, and on, not as at present, by labourers few Ezra, and Nehemiah-Statesmen, like and far between, but by the children of Joseph and David Warriors and Kings Israel. Before this, we look for their such as David and Solomon ; and Poets restoration into their own land, and their with whose productions the classic reconversion to the faith of Jesus. And mains of Greece and Rome bear no our present and obvious duty is, (if we comparison, are every way worthy hissincerely wish and pray that these things | regard. may shortly come to pass,) to “work To the Christian of this day, they are together with God," to lend our assistance, or ought to be still dearer. He derives and bend our aims in promoting his his religion, the solace and comfort of plans, seconding his providences and his life, his hopes in time and eternity endeavouring as far as in us lies, to seek from them. His Bible comes from them. the salvation of Israel. Remembering No pen has ever written, nor heart inthat the Gospel we have received, is but dited a good matter, under the inspi. a precious deposit, with which we have ration of the Spirit of God, save been entrusted ; that “ your merry is in amongst them. They received and order that they also may obtain mercy.” | treasured up the heavenly oracles, and In other words, we owe our conversion have transmitted them unimpared, even to their unbelief, they are to owe their's “ those Scriptures which are able to to our belief ; and thence in quick suc- make one wise unto salvation, through cession, the living waters are to flow, | faith which is in Christ Jesus.” The for the healing of the nations, “ that first preachers and propagators of the every thing may live whither the river Gospel, the Holy Martyrs, the blessed cometh," " When the Lord shall be King Apostles were all Jews. The very author over all the earth,” yea, “ King of Kings and finisher of his faith, was himself a and Lord of Lords for ever!”
Jew, born of a Jewish Virgin, and who Who are the Jews ? The antiquarian even exalted, glorified and seated at the replies, they are the most ancient and right hand of his father, is still pleased venerable people upon the face of the to be distinguished as “ the lion of the earth: while other nations have sprung tribe of Judah." up, each upon the ruins of the other, The student of prophecy, “searching as the mushroom derives its birth from like those of old the sufferings of Christ, the fallen tree; while they vainly endea and the glory that should follow,” disvour to trace their origin and are lost in covers that in every link of the wondrous the mists of a not remote superstition chain, from the head of the roll,'' these alone can trace back their progen foretelling “the seed of the woman," itors to - the very cradle of our race. to the grand accomplishment, “shall They have preserved their records un bruise the serpent's head,” the character, mixed with fables, uninjured by time; fortune and füiure prosperity of Messiah their lineaments unaltered since the days and His people are inseparably united. of Pharoah, and their manners the same And the devout and humble expectant in as Moses and Abraham prescribed. the second Advent of his Lord, whose
The Philosopher regards their rites blessed hope is fixed upon his glorious and ceremonies as the strangest, the appearing, recognises that animating, soul most wonderful of any other people, dis- stirring truth, as only approximating in tinguishing and separating them froin all Israel's conversion and future dominion the rest of the human family ; contain- | upon the earth, “ when they shall seek ing in things apparently trivial, lessons of the Lord their God, and David their wisdom, and shadows of future truths. King, and fear the Lord and his goodHe sees them alone preserving in the ness in the latter days." midst of grossest surrounding darkness, Under every aspect they are a wondrous the knowledge and worship of the one people. Consider their pristine greatliving and true God, and as has been ness; their present degradation; their said, “ children in the sciences and arts future glory. What they were : What which embellish and civilize life, yet they are: What they shall yet be. Three men in religious understanding.” To the distinct views which I proceed to lay man of literature they are equally an before you. object of interest. The people which ! 1. What THEY WERE.
From the earliest times, it would people down into Egypt, to preserve appear that in God's dealings with the them from present famine, and because world, he had in view the selection of a the iniquity of the Amorites was not full. favored people, to be to him " for a name Honorably received at first, for the sake and a praise upon the earth.”
of their kinsman Joseph, they were evil When unhappy Cain was driven an entreated at the end. Four hundred outcast from the church, and a wanderer years rolled over, still the promise was from the face of the Lord, and Abel was in abeyance, yet the fathers lived and translated to a better paradise than that died in faith; their cruel task-masters from which Adam was expelled, then made their lives bitter with hard bondage, was Seth appointed for a seed in Abel's but God's eye was over them; he heard place, and his posterity “ began to call their cry; he sent them a deliver. He upon the name of the Lord;" that is, brought them out of Egypt_his mighty they assumed the title of the Lord's peo- arm, his outstretched hand put forth for ple. (Gen. iv. 26.) Again in the fourth their protection ; he divided the Red chapter of Genesis we find them called Sea before them; they passed over dry “ the Sons of God.”
shod; the stony rocks gushed out water; Of Shem, the son of Noah, we read the clouds dropped down manna,– (ix. 26.) “ blessed be Jehovah, the God miracles were constant and daily, as the of Shem." Shem had the Lord for his rising of the sun ; he drove out the God; a blessing aud a promise which nations, their enemies could not stand includes all that Omnipotence itself can before them. For forty years they trado for his creature ; and in the process versed the wilderness, "their raiment of time the descendants of Shem were waxed not old, neither did their foot called to be God's chosen and peculiar swell,” till at length God brought them people. Again was the earth overrun with into their promised land; a land, which wickedness, nothing save the covenant Moses thus describes, “ of brooks of and promise would seem to have pre-waters, of fountains and depths which vented the infliction of an another deluge spring out of vallies and hills ; a land of upon a guilty world, when God called wheat, and barley, and vines, and pomeAbraham, alone, from beyond the flood, granites ; a land of oil olive, and honey ; where with Terah his father he had a land wherein thou shalt eat bread withserved idols. How free, how sovereign out scarceness, thou shall not lack anyis His grace! To Abraham God was thing in it.” (Deut. viii. 7.) There God pleased to reveal himself, making known planted them, and gave them cities to his perfections, and promising him dwell in. “ The Lord himself was their blessings-blessings both temporal and Judge, the Lord their Lawgiver, the spiritual, or rather, the one the source Lord their King.” (Isa, xxjö. 22.) He of the other. He took him out of his gave them statutes, and ordinances, and country to confer upon him a better land. commandments such as none other nation He gave him a Son, and a posterity, ever possessed before, “because he loved numerous as the sands of the sea, and as them, and would perform the oath which the stars of heaven for multitude ; above he had sworn to their fathers.” Thus all God declared that from him, the were they to him “a peculiar people Christ should come, in whom “all nations above all the people that were upon the of the earth should be blessed."
face of the earth.” Follow down the From this time, God's dealings with current of their history, it was written Abraham's posterity fill the page of Scrip- for our instruction. Again and again ture. The kingdoms and nations of the the provoked their Redeemer, and they earth are of no consequence save as they were given over into the hands of their were implicated in the history of Israel. enemies, “chastened, but not forsaken ; God makes use of them as rods and persecuted but not destroyed.” He sent scourges for the chastisement of his them Saviours ; he raised up Kings : children, to be thrown aside and disre- Cyrus was his shepherd to accomplish garded when done with. The Assyrian, his merciful purposes. Their cup of the Babylonian, the Persian, Grecian, earthly prosperity was full; they had Roman empires rose and fell : Judah, at peace in all their borders; their comtimes superior-at other times their cap- merce extended to the farthest regions tive, has outlived them all. God led his 'of the globe ; their temple was the wonder of the world « Blessed indeed Suppose too that we carried into the land was that people who had the Lord of of our banishment the torturing refor their God.” To them pertain membrance, that we had once been the ed “ the adoption' of sons, “ the favorites of the Almighty; the depositaglory” of the Shechinah, the visible ries of his truth; the preservers of Majesty of God _" the covenants of religion ; who only had the Bible, and promise," renewed so often to their | its promises to call our own. And that ancestors, " the giving of the law” in now all this were reversed. God no all its accompanying terrors on Mount longer gracious. The service no longer Sinai ; they had the only acceptable accepted. The Bible darkened in its “ service" in which Jehovah would be interpretation, and the law and the testiapproached, and “the promises,” and the mony overlaid through human traditions. patriarchs, and last of all, and more than _“Our holy and beautiful house where all, from them “as concerning the flesh,” our fathers served God, thrown down “ Christ came who is over all, God, and razed to its foundation ;" “ no stone blessed for ever." Such were the Jews. being left upon another :" "strangers deII. WHAT ARE THEY?
vouring our pleasant places.” To deepen Ichabod! the glory is departed; the the shadows of our picture let us add, the ark is taken, the temple is thrown down ; 1 sense of conscious unworthiness, and that the holy incense ascends no more to per- our sins had drawn down this terrible fume the mercy seat; the mitre has fallen vengeance : put in what Moses predicted, from the priest ; their nobles are led -“trembling of heart, sorrow of mind, away captive; they have neither ephod, failing of eyes," and the bitter agony of nor teraphim; the people are “scattered a wounded spirit. All this may serve to and peeled.”_ Still they “ dwell alone paint the parallel. And what has brought in the midst of the nations,"_preserving these fearful judgments upon the ancient their distinct characteristic features, cling- people of God ? O hear and tremble ; ing to the reminiscences of by-gone it is the admonition of an inspired apostle greatness, anxiously expecting their | himself, it was unbelief. Unbelief turned Messiah, they know not that he has come all their blessings into curses, it can “and returned to his place.”_In the equally spoil yours. They thought very language of their prophet Amos “scorn of that pleasant land, and believed “ God has sifted them among all nations, not his word.”_" Thou standest by like as corn is sifted in a sieve." They faith, be not high minded but fear : for if remain, “a by-word, an astonishment, God spared not the natural branches, a hissing, and a curse.”_" Wrath has take heed lest he spare not thee." come upon them to the uttermost;"- Again and again they provoked the guilt lies heavy upon their souls. For Most High God, their Redeemer. 1800 years God has been taking ven Slighting his commandments, believing geance, and fulfilling upon them their not his promises, rebelling against his own fearful imprecation--" His blood be laws. They joined themselves in alliance upon us and upon our children."
with the surrounding nations, they parTo bring the astonishing contrast of took of their idolatrous rites; therefore their former glory with their present hu- | God gave them over into the hands of miliation more visibly before our eyes; their enemies. He brought them back to realize the picture for a moment, as if from Babylon, and as respects idolatry, their sorrow was our own; let us imagine (the most grievous sin in the sight of a the numerous population of this land Holy and Jealous God) ever since they uprooted from the soil of their fathers ; | have been blameless. Wherefore then that soil to which they cling with their this last captivity, why this chastisement deepest cherished and holiest affections. sorer than all which went before, enduring Suppose them dispersed and driven out, not for 70, nor 700,-but 1700 years wanderers upon the wide world ; every and more ; and still their cup of misery where insulted, oppressed, tormented, unexhausted? They rejected the Holy persecuted. Their very name expressive one of God; they crucified their Mesof all that is mean and despicable, cun- siah ; they preferred a murderer in his ning and rapacious. The sight of their place !_" not this man, but Barrabas.”— misery so far from awakening sympathy, Then came the Roman army and burnt a provocation of further aggression. | up their city; then one million, one hundred thousand perished in the siege ; | ing, to call them into life and spiritual then was there found no wood remaining existence, when “ they shall stand upon to crucify them upon, no purchasers for their feet an exceeding great army." their children turned into slaves. Such This respects futurity, and leads to our are the Jews since the day of their palmy third consideration. greatness ; we see them still, poor with I III. WHAT THEY SHALL BE !out pity, rich without respect. An innate History and the page of inspiration are feeling of dislike seems to take possession full of the past_our own eyes look upon of the natural man when he beholds the present-prophecy unfolds their them. It would almost appear as ano. coming greatness." ther form of “the enmity" put between | Prophecy has been well termed, antithe seeds of the woman and the serpent ; cipated history, and to this I am about to and many a one amongst ourselves may bring your minds, that we may learn the be conscious of the revulsion of feeling, destinies of God's people. But my breand the struggle with his understanding thren, I find that here I must depart from it cost him to look with reverence and my design. My wish was in this my affection on a Jew!
third division, to adduce from the ProSuch they are, and they are more.- phets, passages and texts bearing upon A surprising change has come over their the restoration, re-settlement, conversion, spirits. For a long time absorbed in the and kingdom of Israel; to prove from traffic of the world, “laden with thick “ the more sure word of prophecy,” clay,” amassing wealth, and by their suc though it be for the present “a light cess only presenting themselves objects shining in a dark place,” that these things of temptation to the spoiler; the mind “must needs be.” The subject however of the nation would appear to have will not admit of this contraction, it will awakened, and in some sense to be in oot bear to be condensed: and the fair preparation for its coming destiny.- discussion would lead us far beyond the Though still degraded, “and put with proper limits of a discourse, and the the dogs of the flock;" they are no longer time usually devoted to this exercise. openly ill-used. Christendom seems to The difficulty lies in this, that I should feel some touch of remorse for their past have to quote not verses but chapters ; treatment.— Restless aud impatient as not from one or two, but from nearly all they have ever been, they can now talk | the inspired writers, from Moses to Malaof returning to Jerusalem, without provo- chi. That the selection itself would give king fresh persecution. The chains of undue preponderance to one passage, superstition are melting away before the leaving uncited another equally convinspirit of free enquiry. They are turning cing. May not my object, which is to too from the fables and follies of the interest and instruct you, to awaken Talmud to the pure and unadulterated your affection towards God's people, and fountains of living waters. Many are forward your zeal in their behalf, be already saying in their hearts, “who will better attained, if I can by any means shew us any good ?',-"Lord list thou up | induce you to search the Scriptures for the light of thy countenance upon yourselves, whether these things be so. them!"
I promise you that if you will address For the first time they have sympa- yourselves to the task, with simple minds, thisers in their suflerings.- Enlightened desirous of knowing the truth, divested of Christians are ready to aid their endea- prejudice, and willing to take what is vours, cheer them in their hopes, and written, as it is written, and under the encourage them in their prospects of teaching of the Holy Spirit, which you restoration. Societies are formed, in our must especially ask for in prayer,—you own country, and upon the continent of will find Europe, for the purpose of promoting 1. The recovery of the Jews from Christianity among the Jews. The their dispersion, their being brought back Church begins to see her own interest in into the land of Judea, the re-building their future, and it may be not distant of their Temple, and the re-settlement of glory. Already there is “a noise and a their kingdom under the reign of David shaking” amongst them, it needs but the their Prince, again and again foretold by sound of the Gospel, the word of preach nearly all the prophets from Isaiah to the