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vail of unbelief was thenceforth upon their hearts; and they are now, as nauseous carcasses, an abhorrence to all flesh. “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God! on them which fell, severity.”
Let us now consider the disposal of those, who, as loyal subjects, followed their king. This we shall find to have been altogether the reverse of the other.
Here we are to recollect the many promises which had been made of the unceasing continuance of the name and the seed of Israel, some of which have been called into view, and need not here be repeated. We are to recollect that the Messiah was to be a horn of salvation, (a symbol of invincible strength) to his people Israel; and that, being on the throne of David his father, he was to order and establish his kingdom forever. And we are to recollect, that the zeal of the Lord of hosts was pledged to do this.
Accordingly we see this very kingdom of the Mes. siah going down the lapse of time; and, with irresistible progress, triumphing over all opposition, even in oạr own day. We see it surviving the general wreck of Empires, and about to rise upon the entire ruins of them all, as an eternal excellency, the perfection of beauty.
At the time of Christ's ascension, this kingdom consisted of a pretty large number of subjects. For, after his resurrection, he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once. These could be but a part, of the whole number, of his adherents. Some of these five hundred, were alive when Paul wrote his first Epistle to the Corinthians, about twentysix years afterwards. See the 15th chap. of that Epistle. To these, of whatever number they might consist, under the preaching of Pe. ter, at the Pentecost, were added about three thousand souls. Acts. ii. 41. These were all native Jews; as were those to whom they were added. Peter addressed them as such. And the Gospel was not yet preached, either by Christ or his apostles, to the Gentiles. These continued daily, with one accord, in the temple; the principal place of worship, for the Church, since the days of Solomon. They, with their fellow believers, were the Church. For it is said in the last verse of the chapter. “And the Lord added to the Church, daily such as should be saved.” We have here then undeniably the Church of Christ, consisting altogether of native Jews, members of the tribe of Judah, and the seed of Abraham. To this Church, mention is made in the 4th chap. 4th verse, of the addition of about five thousand more believers. These also were native Jews. Afterwards, Acts v. 14. that, “ believers were the more added to the Lord; multitudes, both of men and of women." These also were Jews. In the 6th chap. 7th verse, is an additional testimony to the still greater augmentation of the Church. " And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem, greatly; and a great number of priests were obedient to the faith.”
The apostles, and leading brethren of the Church, were soon after this, dispersed, by a violent persecu. tion, through the regions of Judea and Samaria. But,
they that were scattered abroad, went every where, (still however within the limits of those regions; and their labours appear to have been confined, even in Samaria, to the Jews) preaching the word.”
We have now arrived to the time, when the ingather. ing of the Gentiles began; a period of great importance, not as terminating the Kingdom of the Messiah ; but as involving a great change in the actual state of that kingdom. By this event, the system of adoption, which was wrought into the Abrahamic covenant, as an essential part of the economy of the kingdom, was carried into extensive effect; the partition wall between Jews and Gentiles was broken down; and the king. dom removed from its local position, into the midst of an immense people, hitherto sitting in the region and shadow of death. This event, therefore, claims a careful consideration. But before we enter upon it, that nothing essential to the economy may be left in doubt, I deem it expedient to subjoin farther evidence, deduced from the Epistles, that the Church, whose history
we have so far traced, is in fact a continuance of Israel, as a society; and that this society was continued long after the accession of the Gentiles. Perhaps it is superfluous. But on a subject of so much practical im portance, and such diversity of opinion, the reader will pardon an accumulation of evidence, which to him may seem needless.
Paul, in his Epistle to the Church at Rome, which, as it would seem, from several passages in it, consisted partly of Jews, and partly of Gentiles; an epistle supposed to have been written about seven and twenty years after Christ's ascension, expressly teaches the continuance of the true Israel, in the believing Jews, who then existed ; and in distinction from the unbelieving Jews, who were hardened, and cast away, as vessels of wrath. Rom. ix. 22, 23, 24. " What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and make his power known; endured with much long suffering, the vessels of wrath, fitted to destruction. And that he might make known the riches of his glory; on the vessels of mercy, which he had prepared unto glory. Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.” These believing Jews were called, and inade vessels of mercy: In the 27th verse, the Apostle tells us, they were the remnant of Israel. "Esaias also, crieth concerning Israel, though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.”. This prediction he considers as fulfilled, in the persons of those then existing believa ing Jews, of whom he was one.
This idea he resumes in the beginning of the eleventh chapter. “I say then, hath God cast away his people? God forbid, For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.". They still remain his people, by the same covenant bonds, in which they had ever been allied to him. He adds in the 5th verse. “Even so then, at this present time, there is a remnant, according to the election of grace. The same idea he inculcates by the similitude of an olive tree, verse 16.
* And if the root be holy, so are the branches.” It is continued verse 17. "And if some of the branches were broken off.” This implies that some of them remained. Let the olive tree therefore, introduced by Paul in this place, represent what it may, this clause undeniably proves, that the believing Jews held pre. cisely the same character, and relation, with their earli. est progenitors; or with Abraham, in whom their soci. ety was founded.
As there is much evidence of the point before us in this figure of the olive tree; and as we shall have occasion to make a farther use of it in this chapter, and in the subsequent parts of this Treatise, it is necessary we should determine here what the Apostle designed it should represent. To settle this matter, we must resolve the question, from what were the unbelieving Jews broken off? The branches that are supposed to be broken off, it is conceded on all hands, represent them. The tree, therefore, must represent that, whatever it be, from which the unbelieving Jews were broken off.
It is contended by some, that this was the enjoyment of Gospel means, and offers. Thus Dr. Jenkins, in his Defence of the Baptists, page 63, says, “No doubt the Jews had those outward advantages, that the Gentiles, who were wild, had not." And page 66, “But to the participation of Gospel blessings, in a Gospel Church state, with the Jews who believed ; but from which the Jews who believed not, were broken off."* Thas also Mr. Andrews observes, in his Vindication,
“The representation which Paul meant to to communicate by the metaphor of the olive tree, is simply the opportunity, or proffer of salvation, by Jesus Christ,” page 14. “ In consequence of their having rejected the proffer of salvation, they were broken off
* Is it then true; that the unbelieving Jews were once in " a Gospel Church state ?” When? In what is called the Christian Church ? Then, undoubtedly, the Christian Church is but a continuity of the Jewish Church. For it is certain they never were members of the former, as a distinct society from the latter. In what is called the Jewish Church ? Then that was a Gospel Church. So do errorists, in spite of themselves, get entangled in the truth.
from those privileges which they had, or might have enjoyed."* But the fact is, they have never been bro. ken off from these privileges, and proffers. They have still the whole of the Old Testament scriptures in their hands. And those of the new, are in the hands of some of them, and at the command of all. The Gospel was preached to them, even in Judea, years af. ter this Epistle was written. It has been preached to them in every age since. At this day, wherever they are dispersed, through Europe, Asia, and America, salvation is, with greater or less clearness, overtured to them. Conversions are, in fact, made from among this people. How are they made? Without opportunity, and without the proffer of salvation ? Then faith does not come by hearing, nor hearing by the word. By what means is the promise, that they shall be graffed in again, to be executed ? Must it not be by the ministration of the word ? Gospel advantages and means, must be brought to them prior to their being graffed in. Therefore, they must be enjoyed while they are broken off. An interpretation, which is absurd in itself, and contradicted by undeniable facts, cannot be admitted.
2, That from which the unbelieving Jews were broken off, cannot be Jesus Christ, personally and separately considered, as an object of faith and hope. This is the account which Dr. Baldwin gives of the olive tree, in his last publication, page 240. “By the good olive tree, therefore, we rather think, Christ himself is intended.” But this interpretation leads him at once into a sad self-contradiction. For, putting the ques. tion, which he perceived would immediately arise in the reader's mind, “ If so, it may be asked, how can
* «Or might have enjoyed.” What! broken off from something to which they never were united ? Bit Mr. Andrews endeavors to defend this, by an appeal to the words of Christ. There shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out." But this is a poor defence. For these persons were, in fact, in the kingdom of God. What absurdity, to speak of their being thrust out, unless they had been previously in ? A parallel place
“But the children of the kingdom shall be cast
we have in Matthew viii, 12, out &c."