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ruins of nature. The history of this people connects present times with the first ages of the world, by the testimony which it bears of the existence of those early periods: it begins at the cradle of mankind, and its remnants are likely to be preserved to the very day of universal destruction. All men, whatever may be their opinions and the party which they have adopted, whether they suppose that the will of God is to maintain the people which he has chosen; whether they consider that constancy which characterises the Jews as a reprehensible obstinacy; or if, lastly, they believe in a God, who, regarding all religions with equal complacency, needs no other wonders to exemplify his greatness, but the incessant and magnificent display of the beauties of nature: all, if their minds are susceptible of appreciating virtue and tried firmness, will not refuse their just admiration to that unshaken constancy unparalleled in the annals of any nation *."
How can we satisfactorily account for the wonderful preservation of the dispersed Jews, without admitting, what is so repeatedly inculcated in prophecy, that their concerns are under a Special superintendance of God's providence +? And for what purpose can we suppose them to be thus preserved distinct among the nations, except for that which is no less repeatedly declared in prophecy, their restoration and conversion? Assuredly the time will arrive, when they shall be gathered out of all the countries of their dispersion, and brought to the saving knowledge of the Gospel; when Jews and Gentiles shall jointly form only one flock; and when the hallowed name of Jesus the Messiah shall be great even to the very ends of the earth.
* An appeal to the justice of kings and nations, cited in Transactions of the Parisian Sanhedrim, p. 64.
The Jews themselves seem to be conscious of this truth. One of them observes, that his nation, "scattered by the storm of adversity over the face of the habitable globe, always unfortunate, always persecuted, always faithfully adhering to the religion of its ancestors in spite of tortures and of sufferings, affords, to this very day, a striking phenomenon incomprehensible to human reason. "" Transactions of the Parisian Sanhedrim, p. 165.
The millennian glory of Jerusalem-The rebuking of Antichrist, Isaiah ii. 1. The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2. And it shall come to pass in the end of days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shalt be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow unto it. 3. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 4. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people *. They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 5. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.
The glories of the millennian kingdom of Christ, or the kingdom of the mountain †, form the principal subject of this prophecy. In the end of days, or at the termination of the great period of 1260 days, the Jewish Church will begin to be restored to her right of primogeniture. She will join her younger sister, the Gentile Church; and will unite with her in receiving Jesus as the Messiah. Jerusalem will become a kind of spiritual metropolis of the fifth great monarchy, that of the Lamb: the glory of the Lord will be in the midst of her: and she will be acknowledged by all nations to be the joy of the whole earth.
* And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people.] "Both by the power of his word, which is compared to a two-edged sword in Scripture; and by the remarkable judgments which he will exercise upon those who are incorrigible. See Luke xix. 27. Rev. xix. 15. Psalm cx. 6." Mr. Lowth's Comment. in loc.
† See Dan. ii. 35.
The return of the converted Jews will however be opposed by the faction of Antichrist and his congregated vassals. These the Lord will rebuke in his anger; and, after cutting off the irreclaimable part of the confederacy, will cause the rest to lay down their weapons of war, and to humble themselves before Messiah the king.
The judicial blindness of the Jews-Their preservation from entire destruction.
Isaiah vi. 8. And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I ; send me. 9. And he said; Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10. Make gross the heart of this people; make their ears dull, and close up their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. 11. And I said, Lord, how long? And he answered: Until the cities be laid waste, so that there be no inhabitant; and the houses, so that there be no man; and the land be utterly desolate; 12. And the Lord have removed men far away; and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. 13. And, though there be a tenth part remaining in it, even this shall undergo a repeated destruction: yet, as the ilex, and the oak, though cut down, hath its stock remaining, so shall a holy seed be the stock of the nation.
The remarkable judicial blindness of the Jews, with respect to the promised Messiah, is here very clearly predicted: and, accordingly, the prophecy is so applied both by our Lord himself, and by his apostles St. John and St. Paul *. This blindness is to continue during the
Matt, xiii. 14. John xii. 40. Acts xxviii. 26.
whole time of the dispersion: and so accurately has the prediction been fulfilled, that now, at the end of seventeen centuries from the sacking of Jerusalem by Titus, we still behold the Jews removed far away from the land of their fathers, and labouring under the same astonishing infatuation that prompted their ancestors to crucify the Lord of life.
Yet, notwithstanding the general dispersion and ruin of the people, a tenth part was to remain in the land; but even this scanty remnant was to undergo a repeated destruction. Nevertheless the nation itself was to be preserved in the midst of its calamities; and, although frequently undergoing an almost total excision, was still to shoot forth again like young twigs from the stump of an oak that has been cut down. The passage, in which this part of the prediction is contained, "though somewhat obscure, and variously explained by various interpreters, yet, I think, has been made so clear by the accomplishment of the prophecy, that there remains little room to doubt of the sense of it. When Nebuchadnezzer had carried away the greater and better part of the people into captivity, there was yet a tenth remaining in the land, the poorer sort, left to be vine dressers and husbandmen under Gedaliah*; and the dispersed Jews gathered themselves together, and returned to himt: yet even these, fleeing into Egypt after the death of Gedaliah, contrary to the warning of God given by the prophet Jeremiah, miserably perished there. Again, in the subsequent and more remarkable completion of the prophecy in the destruction of Jerusalem and the dissolution of the commonwealth by the Romans, when the Jews, after the loss of above a million of men, had increased from the scanty residue that was left of them, and had become very numerous again in their country; Hadrian, provoked by their rebellious behaviour, slew above half a million more of them, and a second time almost extirpated the nation. Yet, after these signal and almost universal destructions of that nation, and after so many other repeated exterminations and massacres of them, in different times and
* 2 Kings xxv. 12, 22.
† Jer. xl. 12.
on various occasions since, we yet see, with astonishment, that the stock still remains, from which God, according to his promise frequently given by his prophets, will cause his people to shoot forth again and to flourish."
The birth of Christ-His second advent-The blessings of his millennian kingdom-The restoration and conversion of Israel—The exhaustion of the mystic Euphrates and Nile-The overthrow of the Antichristian sovereign of the mystic Babylon in the land of Palestine.
Isaiah xi. 1. And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots: 2. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of Knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; 3. And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4. But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and with equity shall he work conviction in the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the blast of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked one. 5. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 6. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid: and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7. And the cow and the bear shall feed together; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cock
* Bp. Lowth's Isaiah in loc. See also Mr. Lowth in loc. "We ought," says one of the orators in the Jewish Sanhedrim at Paris, "to return our thanks to Providence, who has not suffered that the aged tree should be torn up by the roots, though it has often permitted that its branches should severely suffer." Trans. of Paris. Sanhed. p. 165.