Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

from Babylon, till the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, the Jews were always an oppressed and tributary people, surrounded by powerful enemies, dependent upon different heathen governments for support, and harassed with many invasions. The Scripture, however, cannot be broken ; and we look forward to a real and positive fulfilment of every promise, which has not been clearly, and according to a fair and judicious interpretation, fulfilled already

3. The promise of perpetual possession of their land, is equally, and even more obviously, decisive ; as when it is said, “ They shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt ; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children FOR EVER: and my servant David shall be their Prince FOR EVER.--And I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them FOR EVERMORE.” (Ez. xxxvii

. 25, 26.) This was, evidently, not true of the restoration from Babylon ;-for, after a few hundred years, the temple was utterly destroyed by the Romans, the Jews were cast out from their own land in a more fearful manner than before; and, ever since, they have been outcasts and wanderers on the face of the whole earth.

4. It is evident, that the Ten Tribes have never yet been restored. Whenever, therefore, the promise extends to Ephraim or Israel, in connexion with, and as distinguished from Judah, we may rest assured, that a future, and not any past, restoration is spoken of. Upon this point the whole passage Ez. xxxvii. 15—22, may be considered, in which the future union and restoration of Judah and Ephraim is first symbolically represented, (ver. 15–17,) and then clearly predicted, (ver. 18—22.) With this may be compared Jer. xxxi. 15—31. But nothing can be more clear and decisive than Isa. xi. 12, 13, “He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble The OUTCASTS OF ISRAEL, and gather together THE DISPERSED OF JUDAH, from the four corners of the earth. The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.”

5. A restoration from all countries is sometimes em

[ocr errors]

phatically promised. “It shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. (Is. xi. 11.)

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt ; But, the LORD liveth, which brought up, and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, AND FROM ALL COUNTRIES whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.” (Jer. xxiii. 7, 8; see also xxxii. 37,&c.) The former restoration was almost exclusively from Babylon and Chaldea.

6. Sometimes we meet with a promise of a better state than any former. The promise, “I will cause to return the captivity of the land, AS AT THE FIRST, saith the LORD," (Jer. xxxiii. 11,) has never yet been fulfilled : still less the express declaration, “I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings.” (Ez. xxxvi. 11.) This could never be said of the restoration from Babylon, in respect of either spiritual or temporal things. It remains, therefore, to be accomplished in the future restoration of Israel.

7. Nor can any thing be more decisive of the reference of a prophecy of the restoration of Israel to events yet future, than its connexion with promises of universal spiritual conversion, and a life of godliness, under the government of David their King. To Him it is promised that they shall return, after their present dispersion. (Hos. iii. 4, 5.) And it is very evident, that to His government they have never yet submitted. Nor was it possible that these promises should be fulfilled, till after the mystical David, there spoken of, had been revealed that is, till the time of the Christian dispensation ;-during which it is clear, that, thus far, there has been neither spiritual conversion, nor restoration, of the Jews as a nation. They continue, to this day, in obstinate rebellion against that King: but we wait for a time, when “they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jer. xxxi. 34.) “ And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, even my servant David ; He shall feed them, and He shall be their Shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a Prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it." (Ez. xxxiv. 23, 24.)

IV. Lastly, it may be observed, that a right understanding of the principal prophecies, relating to the future glory of Israel, is a matter of interest and importance to the Christian, with regard to the concerns of his own soul. Some, perhaps, might imagine, that explaining so many passages of Scripture in reference to a particular nation, which have hitherto been generally regarded merely in the light of spiritual promises of undefined and unlimited application, would have a tendency to deprive the Church at large of the consolations and encouragements, which believers have hitherto been accustomed to derive from those passages. But the contrary is really the case. And, in this sense, as well as in reference to the blessings which will result to the world at large from the conversion of Israel, it may justly be said, that the cause of Israel is the cause of the Church. For, when the real meaning and prophetic reference of those passages is ascertained, then, and not till then, are we properly prepared to make a practical application of them to the concerns of our own souls, for comfort and edification. Then shall we have before our eyes, not only the promise and declaration, but also the wonderful example of God's unchanging faithfulness and love,--of His tender compassion and bound

All this will be embodied, so to speak, when even rebellious and outcast Israel is restored to God, and to His covenant mercies, and made an example and monument of Redeeming Grace, before the eyes of all nations. And, if events clearly foretold in God's Word are as sure as those which are already past, then may we derive as wonderful consolation and encouragement from God's future mercies to Israel, as we have hitherto been enabled to derive instructive warnings from their abuse of His goodness, and the awful punishment and rejection which have ensued. “ Behold, I will bring it health and cure,

less mercy.

and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth. And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against Me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against Me. And it shall be to Me a name of joy, A PRAISE AND AN HONOUR BEFORE ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and THEY SHALL FEAR AND TREMBLE FOR ALL THE GOODNESS AND FOR ALL THE PROSPERITY THAT I PROCURE UNTO IT." (Jer. xxxiii. 6—9.) Such will be the deep feelings of the nations on beholding these things! which we also are allowed to anticipate, as another prophet did, who, (in the prospect of these very events,) exclaims, “ Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which Thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.” (Mic. vii. 18—20.)

Amsterdam, April, 1823.

The following Chapters are recommended for perusal, in

reference to the Jewish Question ; and will throw much light upon it, if taken in connexion with the preceding observations :

Exodus xv.
Leviticus xxvi.
Deuteronomy xxviii. xxx. xxxii.
Psalms lxxviii. lxxix. lxxx. cv. cvi.
Isaiah xi. xii, xxiv.-xxvii. xxxii. xxxiv. xxxv. xlix.

lix. lx.lxvi.
Jeremiah xxx, xxxi. xxxii. 37-44; xxxiii. I. li.

[ocr errors]

Ez. xvi. 60–63 ; xx. 33–44; xxxiv. xxxvi. xxxvii.

xxxix. xlvii. Daniel ix. compared with Ezra ix. and Nehemiah ix.

will suggest suitable arguments to be used in prayer;

as also several of the Psalms. Hosea iji, xiv. Amos ix. Micah iv. v. vii. Zephaniah iii. Zechariah viii. x. xii. xiv. Romans xi. and 2 Corinthians iji.

« AnteriorContinuar »