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SECTION II.

A virulent Perfecution of the Jews is carried on by the Papal Power, in a great Part of Afia and Africa.

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ONE circumftance clearly revealed, is, that the Jews shall be in very great diftress immediately before their converfion. To this purpose are the expreffions of Jeremiah, chap. xxx. 4.-9, 10." And these are the words that the "Lord fpake concerning Ifrael, and concerning Judah. For thus faith the Lord, We have "heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not "of peace. Afk ye now, and fee whether a "man doth travail with child? Wherefore do "I fee every man with his hands on his loins, "as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned "into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, "fo that none is like it; it is even the time of "Jacob's trouble; but he shall be faved out of "it. For, it fhall come to pass in that day, faith "the Lord of hofts, that I will break his yoke "from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, "and ftrangers fhall no more ferve themselves "of him: But they shall serve the Lord their "God, and David their king, whom I will "raise up unto them." Of this trouble, paint

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ed in fuch lively colours, it is faid, "That Ja"cob fhall be saved out of it ;" that is, it fhall end in deliverance. And when fhall that be? "In that day,-when strangers shall not more "ferve themfelves of him;" that is, at the clofe of their long difperfion. But being thus faved, "They fhall ferve the Lord their God, "and David their king," that is, they fhall fubmit to the Meffiah. Thefe circumftances are applicable to the period immediately preceding their converfion, and to that only.

This circumftance is confirmed by the prophet Ezekiel, chap. vii. 16.-18. "But they "that escape of them, fhall escape, and shall be "on the mountains like doves of the vallies all "of them mourning, every one for his iniquity. "All hands fhall be feeble, and all knees fhall "be weak as water. They fhall also gird them"felves with fackcloth, and horror fhall cover "them; and shame fhall be upon all faces, and "baldness upon all their heads." From the beginning of the chapter, the prophet defcribes the defolation of the land of promise, by the Roman difperfion. But in order to afford fome confolation to the faithful, he obferves, verse 16. That a "remnant fhould escape;" that is, after all the calamities of their difperfion, who fhould be brought to a fenfe of their fin, and be made to mourn over it: He then defcribes that diftrefs

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diftrefs which, in the courfe of providence, would be the mean of bringing them to a fense of fin. So that it immediately precedes their converfion.

I.

The Prophet Daniel predicts the fame trouble, with this addition, That it should be the greatest the nation had ever experienced, chap. xii. 1. "And at that time fhall Michael ftand up, "the great prince which ftandeth for the chil"dren of thy people; and there shall be a time "of trouble, fuch as never was fince there was "a nation, even to that fame time: And at that "time thy people fhall be delivered, every one "that fhall be found written in the book." Here are three circumftances which fix the period of this trouble to that immediately preceding their converfion. The expreffion, " at that "time," in the beginning of the verse, connects it with the end of the reign of the blafphemous king, mentioned in the close of the preceding chapter. It is likewife the time at which Michael fhall ftand up for the nation of the prophet. I confider Michael as a disguised name for the Meffiah. If he had called him Meffiah here, it would confound this period with that of his first appearance, formerly mentioned in the prophecy of the feventy weeks, chap. ix. 24. This "tanding up for them," intimates the manifestation of him to Ifrael,-at the fame time

time the people" fhall be delivered;" fo it must be the close of their long calamitous difperfion

The nature of this distress is as clearly revealed as its existence. It appears to proceed from the fword and famine. So the Prophet Ifaiah exprefsly afferts, "Thefe two things are "come unto thee; who fhall be forry for thee? "Defolation and destruction, and the famine "and the fword: By whom shall I comfort "thee?" Chap. li. 19. As it is sometimes an eafier matter to rear a new building, than to clear the foundation of old rubbish, so it is eafier to establish the true sense of scripture, than to remove the errors occafioned by false interpretation. All the commentators of name upon Ifaiah, apply this paffage to the return from Babylon. But a little attention to the paffage itself must convince the unprejudiced, that unless we fhall permit the hiftorian flatly to contradict the prophet, no one iota of this paffage can apply to that period. At the period here mentioned, "There is none to guide her (Jerufalem, "or the Jewish nation,) among all the fons "whom she hath brought forth; neither is there 66 any that taketh her by the hand, of all the "fons that he hath brought up," verfe 18. Was there none of the nation either able or willing to fupport her at the return from Babylon?

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There were Zerubabel and Shealtiel, Ezra and Nehemiah, Jofhua the high-prieft, Haggai, Zcchariah, and Malachi, the prophets; all of them as willing to take the hand of their nation, as they were able to guide her. Thy "fons have fainted, they lie at the head of all "the streets as a wild bull in a net: They are "full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God;" verse 20. Did any fuch diftrefs as this, together with the sword and famine mentioned in the foregoing verfe, precede the return from Babylon? On the contrary, many were fo well fatisfied with the land of their captivity, that they remained there, notwithstanding the proclamation of Cyrus. The fact is, that they only returned," whofe fpirit God had raised to

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go up to build the Houfe of the Lord;" Ezra i. 5. perfons whom God excited to forego their temporal interefts in Babylon, for their fpiritual privileges in Jerufalem. "Thus saith the Lord -Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the 66 cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup "of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it "again;" Ifa. li. 22. This intimates a deliverance from fuch diftrefs as never fhould be renewed, therefore cannot apply to the Babylonish captivity; for it has been renewed by the Roman difperfion, and rendered much more calamitous. But all the prophets affert, that when converted,

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