صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

if it be a figurative one, interest and ingenuity may raise many doubts and difficulties; but against the accumulated weight of evidence, καθ' υπερβολην εις υπερβολης, afforded by so inany plain literal predictions, all pointing to one person, all punctually and exactly fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and in him alone, no tolerably plausible objection can ever be made. Let candour'and integrity, reason and cominon sense, be judges in the cause, and they must determine they have already determined by the virtuous Nathanael -" Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the

King of Israel.”

Such, then, is the case of the Jews, such the evidence they rejected, and such the cause of their rejecting it. Having fixed their eyes and their hopes upon the shadow, they set at naught the substance, though appearing at the time and in the manner described by their own prophets. Having rejected their God, they have been rejected by him; and the fatal errors, which occasioned their infidelity, have received a final and tremendous refutation, by the di. vine judgements inflicted upon them.

To demonstrate, that, as the seed of Abraham, they had no exclusive and indefeasible right to the favours of Heaven, those favours have been withdrawn from them, and conferred on the Gentiles.

To show that the law of Moses was not in itself efficacious, or designed to be perpetual, they are put under an absolute incapacity of observing it any more. They have no altar, no priest, no temple.

To reprove the fond notion, that Canaan was the end of the promises, they have been driven out of it,

[ocr errors]

and forbidden to approach it. In a state of utter desolation, it has passed successively into the hands of their enemies of every denomination, and never reverted to them.

To eradicate the ideas of a temporal Messiah, and dominion over the nations, after beholding the sceptre departed from Judah, after having been deceived by a multitude of impostors, they continue to this hour, at the end of 1700 years, fugitives and vagabonds upon

the earth. And now, let us be permitted, in our turn, to address an argument to the deist upon this topic. You demand ocular proof of prophecy accomplished. It is before you, in an instance without a parallel. It was repeatedly foretold, both in the Old and New Testament, that, for the rejection and murder of their Messiah, the Jews should be dispersed into all countries; yet that they should not be swallowed up and lost among their conquerors, but should still subsist, to latest times, a distinct people. By Jeremiah, God declared he would make an end of the nations their oppressors, but he would not make an end of them" You will not say, this prediction was written since the event; and certainly, an occurrence more singular or improbable could not have been predicted. In the course of human affairs, who hath heard such a thing? Yet, so it is. . The mighty monarchies of Assyria, Persia, Greece, and Rome, are vanished, like the shadows of the evening, or the phantoms of the night. Their places know them no

[blocks in formation]

more. Nothing remains of them but their names : while this little contemptible people, as you are wont to style the Jews, strangely secure, without a friend or protector, amidst the wreck of empires; oppressed, persecuted, harassed always, by edicts and execu. tioners, by murders and massacres, hath outlived the very ruins of them all. Except you see signs and wonders, you will not believe. Behold then a sign and a wonder; the accomplishment of prophecy is a standing miracle; the bush of Moses surrounded by flames, ever burning, and never consumed ! Contemplate the sight as it deserves; and be not faithless, but believing; for this is the Lord's doing, and therefore so marvellous in our eyes. : That the Gospel, when slighted by the Jews, might not be without its fruit, and that God might have a church and people to supply their place, the apostles turned to the Gentiles ; so that their fall became the riches of the world, and good was brought out of evil. Let the warning given us by our own apostle be ever sounding in our ears, though, when we consider the state of religion among us, it may perhaps make them tingle. :. “Because of un“ belief they were broken off, and thou standest by “ faith. Be not high-minded, but fear; for if God “spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he " also spare not thee."

The cause of Jewish infidelity was a hatred of the power of godliness, concealed under the-cloke of zeal for its form, and occasioned by a love of wealth,

e Rom. xi. 20, 21.

power, and parade, a notion of privilege, pre-emi. nence, and indefectibility. And is it not astonishing, that with such an example before her eyes, the church of Rome should be pursuing the same course, and splitting upon the same rock? Let us be thankful, that we are come out of her; and let us guard against the shadow of her crime, by constantly bearing in mind, that the promises are spiritual, and that they are conditional ; that if the light of the Gospel which is vouchsafed us, be abused, God can remove it; that, like the bright ruler of the day, it may proceed westward, and leave us in darkness; that he who converted Britons and Saxons, can call the tribes of America to the faith, and " of those stones raise

up children unto Abraham."

To conclude-When we see the Jews, for so great a length of time, preserved under calamities, which would have been long since the ruin of any other people, our regard and attention ought to be strongly excited towards them. Extraordinary was their beginning and their progress ; more extraordinary, perhaps,: will be their end; for if they abide not still in unbelief, they, as the natural branches, may surely be grafted in again ; and there can be but little doubt, that such an event will take place. It is said, they are dispersed, “till the times of the “ Gentiles shall be fulfilled ";" and that “ blindness " in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of “the Gentiles be come in?.” It seems evidently to be implied, that at the period mentioned, whenever

Luke, xxi. 24.

& Rom. xi, 25.

it shall come, their dispersion will cease, and their blindness be removed. Glorious things are spoken of them by their own prophets, which do not seem, as yet, to have received their full and proper accomplishment. When the Gentiles had revolted from the true religion, revealed after the fall, the church subsisted for two thousand years in the family of Abraham. Since the apostasy of the Jews, it hath subsisted nearly the same space of time among the Gentiles. And what saith St. Paul? “ As ye in times

past have not believed God, yet have now obtained

mercy through their unbelief; even so have these « also now not believed, that through your mercy “they may also obtain mercy.” The very mercy shown to the Gentiles is to be a means of bringing the Jews to the faith : and perhaps we can no wliere meet with an instance of a more popular and affectionate turn, than that by which St. Paul seems to find a reason for their zeal to convert the Gentiles, in his love to his own countrymen the Jews, that he may thereby provoke them to emulation. Let us -second his endeavours to effect this, by our love and our good works : let us, in our lives and conversas tions, show them a religion, whose attractive excellence may invite and compel them to embrace it. Nor let us omit to observe, that, as Gentiles, while we labour to promote their interest, we likewise shall, by so doing, promote our own. So signal an event as the conversion of the Jews, cannot but operate again on the lukewarm and degenerate nations, as

h Rom. xi. 30, 31,

« السابقةمتابعة »