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TO THE HONOURABLE
WILLIAM WILBERFORCE, Esq.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR THE
COUNTY OF YORK,
THE ILLUSTRIOUS ADVOCATE OF VIRTUE
AND VITAL CHRISTIANITY,
AND THE AMIABLE FRIEND OF HUMAN NATURE,
IS, WITH THE GREATEST RESPECT,
BY HIS MOST OBEDIENT
SOME months ago having met with an account of a society professedly instituted for the conVERSION OF THE Jews, I was induced to give a particular attention to the prophecies on that subject, having myself always entertained an idea, that the time for the realizing of that glorious hope is yet premature ;* and moreover, that the conversion and restoration of that people, “terrible from their beginning hitherto,”+ is a work in which God will have no need of converting societies, nor will admit of any participation in it with the arm of flesh. The judicial blindness upon Israel is declared by the prophets, and our Savi. our himself, and the apostles, to be the immediate work of God, and an afflictive judgment, which was to lie heavy upon them for a great length of time, even “ till the fulness of the gentiles should come in ;" answering nevertheless, all the while, wise and gracious purposes of the christian dispensation. It cannot therefore possibly be removed until “ the fulness of time is come,” as many abortive attempts have heretofore proved, nor even then can the supernatural veil drawn over their hearts by the hand of God, be withdrawn by any other hand.
+ Isai. xvii.
* Dan. xii, 7, 11, 12.
Isai. lix. 16; lxiii. 3.
I am very far from being singular in this opin. ion. “ The numbers, dispersion, and adherence of the jews to their religion,” says Mr Addison, “ have furnished every age, and every nation of the world, with the strongest arguments for the christian faith; not only as these very particulars are foretold of them, but as they themselves are the depositories of these and all the other propie. cies which tend to their own confusion. Their number (moderately computed at 5,000,000) furnishes us with a sufficient cloud of witnesses that attest the truth of the Old Bible. Their dispersion spreads these witnesses through all parts of the world. The adherence to their religion makes their testimony unquestionable. Had the whole body of the jews been converted to christianity, we should certainly have thought all the prophecies of the Old Testament, that relate to the coming and history of our blessed Saviour, forged by Christians, and have looked upon shem, with the prophecies of the Sibyls, as made many years after the events they pretend to fore
It appears, I think, very manifest, that no hu. man endeavours in the way of conversion, can be of any material advantage to the hastening of that great national change and regeneration. All that can be done is to go on before with the pickaxe and spade, clearing away the rubbish* which their national prejudices have added to the great stumbling block, which God by his almighty Providence has already begun to “ take up;” having sent on THE BREAKER before them, to do the previous work.
The objections of the jews against christianity have been very ably hacked up and shovelled out of the way, by the strong arm of Leslie, (in his Short method with the Jews,) in so clean and complete a manner, that there seems nothing of that kind left for any scavenger after him to do. What I have here attempted, is of a different nature, and may not be without its use when God