« السابقةمتابعة »
injured, abused people have strong prejudices against the christian faith? And is it not devolving at present upon all christians, by a totally different mode of treatment, to endeavour to overcome these prejudices, and bring the remnant of Israel to the knowledge of the truth? They have a long and dreadful account against us-we owe them a debt which we shall be in no danger of discharging—is it not then high time for all who bear the christian name, to begin to seek and promote their good?
4. It is a strong reason why christians should attempt the conversion of the Jews, that they have the most satisfactory assurances of their future recovery and salvation.-We have an assurance of this in the text and context. "If thou (Gentiles) wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree; how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Zion, the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins."-Promises similar to these, we find in almost every part of the Old Testament. "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, when I took them by the hand to bring them out of Egypt, which covenant they brake; but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel ;-I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people; and they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them; for I will forgive their
iniquity, and remember their sin no more.""I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and will bring them again unto this place, and cause them to dwell safely; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me."-The language of promises such as these (of which there are many in the Old Testament, having respect exclusively to God's ancient people) is certainly plain and explicit, and affords the strongest encouragement to those who labor for the conversion of the Jews, that they shall not be suffered to labor in vain.
5. We have assurances in the Scriptures, not only that the Jews shall be converted, but that their conversion will be effected through the instrumentality of Gentile believers. We have a promise to this effect in the same chapter with the text. "For as ye (Gentiles) in times past have not believed God, yet now have obtained mercy through their unbelief; even so have these (Jews) also now not believed, that through your mercy, they also may obtain mercy." This representation of the Apostle, as to the manner in which the rejected Jews are ultimately to be brought to the reception of mercy, is confirmed by many of similar import in the Old Testament. There we hear the Jehovah of Israel, addressing his ancient people in the following terms; "Behold I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders, and kings shall be thy nurs
ing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers," and "thou shalt suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings."-"Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel. And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee."-" They (the Gentiles) shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord, out of all nations, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord."-The import of these various, figurative representations is obviously this ;-the Jews are to be converted, and returned to their own land, through the instrumentality of the Gentiles. What encouragement therefore for Gentile Christians (and almost all Christians at the present time are Gentiles) to pray and labor for the conversion of the Jews?
6. It is evident from the Scriptures, that upon the conversion of the Jews are suspended rich and abundant blessings for the Gentile Churches. This is plainly intimated in the chapter with the text. "If the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world; what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead ?"-It is represented also in the Old Testament, that when the Jews begin to be converted, they shall be sown among the nations," and "shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, and as showers upon the grass," promoting, of course, spiritual fertility and fruitfulness. Then "shall ten men, out of all languages of the nations, take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you; for we
have heard that the Lord is with you." Then will God begin to say with new emphasis to those who once were not his people, Ye are my people; and they shall say, Thou art our God." Then inderd shall the Gentile Churches, which behold the beauty of the renovated Zion of Israel" be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory."-If intimations like these from different parts of the inspired volume are worthy to be trusted; then the Gentile Churches owe it to themselves, to their own spiritual prosperity and glory, to attempt the conversion of the dispersed of Israel.
7. There are peculiar reasons for such attempts at the present time, growing out of the facilities which are furnished for making them. In various parts of
Europe and America, associations are formed and have gone into effect, differing indeed in minor particulars, but all aiming at the same grand object, the conversion of the Jews. Those therefore who are disposed to aid in this important work, can do it in any way they please, and at any time. Without so much as leaving their homes, they may have the satisfaction of doing all they think it their duty to do, either for the support of Missionaries among the Jews; or to furnish them with the New Testament and Tracts in their several languages; or to establish a contemplated colony of converted Jews in our own country. -Facilities are now offered for doing good to the dispersed of Israel, which have existed in no other age. It is then peculiarly incumbent on Christians of the present age to attempt their conversion.-It may be added,
8. There are special reasons for such attempts at the present time, arising from the success with
which recent exertions have been crowned.-Hopeful conversions from Judaism to Christianityevents which in former ages have been scarcely known to exist-are becoming frequent, and some of the most diligent and successful laborers now in the vineyard are converted Jews. In addition to this, it may be observed, that as the eyes of Christians begin to be opened to the manner in which it becomes them to treat the Jews, the eyes of Jews are apparently opening, relative to the high claims of the Christian religion. They are in the general willing to listen to the instructions of Missionaries, and to receive and examine the New Testament and Christian Tracts which are circulated among them in their own tongue. The veil of darkness, it may be hoped, is removing from their minds; the wall of prejudice, which has so long separated them from the truth, is breaking down; a spirit of free and impartial inquiry is in many instances exhibited; and a disposition is on the whole manifesting itself, which, if continued and cherished as we trust it may be, must ere long result in the conversion of many Jews. Now then is the time for Christians to think and feel, and pray, and exert themselves on their behalf. Now is the time for a prudent, vigorous, and persevering effort for their conversion.
The reasons here given why it becomes Christians to attempt the conversion of the Jews, are sufficiently numerous, and it is believed are pertinent and important. Whether we regard those feelings of veneration which we are accustomed to cherish towards their Patriarchal ancestors or the unspeakably important favors we have received from themor the long and cruel persecutions which they have endured from the hands of Christians-or the pro