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the first place, whether the Scripture does not expressly foretel the future conversion of the house of Israel? This is, I believe, so little controverted, that I will not stop to insist upon it. I will merely say, that if there be one point of the prophetic word more clear than another, it is, that the Deliverer shall come from Sion, that the veil shall be removed from the heart of this people, that they shall be inserted again into their own olive, and that so all Israel shall be saved. The future conversion of the Gentile nations, does not in my judgment rest upon such numerous and unequivocal testimonies of the divine word, as that of the antient people of God; and yet of the universal diffusion of the Gospel among the Gentiles, what Christian entertains a doubt?
I inquire then, in the next place, whether the ordinary means of instruction are to be employed in accomplishing this great event. And who can hesitate on such a point? In what single step, relating to the propagation of the Gospel or the conversion of sinners, does not God use the means which he has enjoined on us as our duty, and to which he has promised to attach his blessing? In what part even of the eventful history of the Jews themselves were not instruction, and reproof, and warning, and invitation, the force of argument and the tenderness of persuasion employed ? At the
very moment when they triumphed over the bondage of Egypt, and the opening waves divided at the rod of the prophet, was not that law delivered, which was to controul their conduct and direct their obedience? Even in the midst of all the miracles which attended their subsequent journeys or repose, their captivity or their return, the infancy of their nation or its maturity, were not exhortation and instruction added to the extraordinary symbols of the divine presence? And this in the period of the church when a theocracy yet subsisted, and the splendour of miracles shone around it. And can we doubt whether means are to be employed now, when miracles have been suspended for so many centuries, and when all the astonishing operations of almighty grace in the present day, are carried on by ordinary combinations of human wisdom and effort? Whether indeed any thing properly miraculous may accompany the conversion and restoration of this people to their own land, if we are right in our expectations of that restoration, I am not concerned to determine; it is quite sufficient to know, that the use of means is indispensable in the order of the divine procedure, and therefore binding on the conscience of every obedient Christian. In fact, I do not hesitate to say, that we might as well wait for the intervention of miracles in our attempts to convert the Gentile, as in the case of the Jew. And such an assertion I know has actually been made; but made by those who were secretly anxious to dismiss an unwelcome subject, or were ignorant of the efficacy of grace in renewing and sanctifying the human heart. Only a few years ago we were as gravely told, that the Hindoo could not be converted without a prodigy, as we now are that the Jew cannot. And I pray God, that the evidence of facts which has confounded the one objection, may lead us to the active employment of those means which God may bless to the refutation of the other.
But it may perhaps be further doubted, whether the present be a suitable time for making this attempt, however right such an attempt may in itself be. And must then, I would ask, the same objection which was advanced of old against the rearing of the Second Temple, be deliberately answered now, ere we put our hands to the erection of the new and spiritual edifice? Is it then time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? Is it for you to know the times and the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power? Is it a time to disperse your Bibles over the world, and to send your missionaries into every quarter? Is it a time to educate your children, and scatter your blessings at home and abroad? And, is it not a time to think upon Zion and
favour the dust thereof; to raise the fallen tabernacle of David, and weep over the desolations of Israel? Yes, adorable Saviour; to raise such objections is to trifle with our duty towards thee! It is not argument on this point, , but thy grace, which we need. We confess with shame our backwardness in this work of mercy! We acknowledge that ages have rolled by, whilst Christians have been despising and persecuting, instead of pitying and instructing, thy long-lost, but not rejected people. O that the time may now be come for the effusion of thy Spirit upon us; the time when thy mercy shall soften our hearts, the time when repentance for our past delay, shall quicken our future diligence, and a tender affectionate sympathy for the Jew, shall take place of our lifeless indifference or presumptuous despair!
It may however, in the last place, be still said by some, that the attempt has been made and has failed; or at least that such discouragements have arisen as may well check the hope of any considerable success. And here, I apprehend, the real weight of all the present objections against our Society may be said to lie. Allow me therefore a moment's further attention, and I trust some considerations
may be suggested calculated to lessen its force. For, on the very face of the question, I do not understand how an attempt to promote Chris
tianity amongst the Jews can be said to have failed, when it is only just now being made, and all our proceedings are in an incipient state. Certainly we can never look for success, if we sit down in despondency without having fairly entered on the necessary exertion. Considering the infant state of the cause and the languor with
wbich it has had to contend, I must be permitted to assert that our advance bas by no means been slow, and that the prospect of ultimate success is far from discouraging. In our estimate of it, indeed, it is necessary to bear in mind the particular nature of the cause in which we are engaged. We have no right to expect that splendour and magnitude in our proceedings which attend the Societies for spreading the Scriptures over the earth, or for converting the hundreds of millions of Heathen and Mohammedan people. We have here to do with a dispersed nation, which however numerous in itself is yet comparatively of small extent-not exceeding in the whole (as is commonly supposed) five millions - and wandering in almost every region of the earth. Our access therefore to them must be more difficult, our efforts more unconnected, and our success less conspicuous. We are besides to remember, that the very moral degradation of the mass of the Jewish nation, which we all admit to be the fact, and which I fear is at times the source