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there must be there mountains, rivers, trees, and a temple a thousand miles square.
The description given us of the millennium is figurative; yet it will be admitted by all, that such expressions as these are literal, The greatness of the Kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints. Knowledge shall be increased. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Why may we not apply the same principle to the subject under consideration? Admit that the Jews are to be restored to their own land, and that the description given of their civil, and religious state afterwards, is designed to raise our conceptions of the glory and blessedness which are in reserve for them under the Gospel dispensation. Beside, there still exists in the breast of
Jew an unconquerable desire to inhabit the land which was given to their Fathers; a desire, which even a conversion to Christianity does not eradicate. Destroy, then, the Ottoman Empire, and nothing but a miracle would prevent their immediate return from the four winds of heaven.
It is objected, again, that the land will not support the inhabitants. But it will be recollected, that the Jews are not now so numerous as they were when they dwelt in the land of Canaan. And is there not a promise that, when God blesses his people, he will bless the land for their sakes, and cause it to bring forth abundantly.
But I need not pursue the inquiry. There is a better wish, a brighter prospect.
The Children of Israel shall seek the Lord their God. The veil will
then be taken from their hearts. They will look upon him, whom they have pierced, and mourn; they will return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads. Fixing their eyes upon the Cross, they will exclaim, we have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the Prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
This event forms an important feature in the writings of the Prophets and Apostles. They speak of it in such language as this:“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thec. . Whereas thou hast been forsaken, and hated, so that no man went through thee; I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thy people shall be all righteous. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation, I the Lord will hasten it in his time. Break forth into joy; sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people; he hath redeemed Jerusalem. Thy watchmen shall lift up their voice, with the voice shall they sing; for they
eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion. If the casting away of them be for the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead. Their return will be welcomed with universal rejoicing. The Angels in heaven will rejoice, to witness this new exhibition of the divine goodness, and forbearance. The holy assembly of Prophets Apostles, and Martyrs will rejoice, when they see their degenerate children returning to the Shepherd and Bishop of souls. The saints on earth will rejoice, when they sit down with the outcasts of Israel at the table of our Lord. Then they will exclaim, “This our brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost
shall see eye
and is found.” The ransomed Jew, as he ascends the hill of Zion, will mingle his songs with the whole church militant, and triumphant, saying, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and honor, and glory, and blessing.
But how will this interesting work be accomplished? By the benevolence of the Gentiles. Even so have these not believed, says Paul, when addressing the Gentiles, that through your mercy they may obtain mercy. As they gave the Gospel to us, we are to give it to them, and how great is the privilege of reflecting back a part of that glory, which has so long beamed upor us from the holy of holies!
That there has been, for a considerable time, an increasing solicitude among the Jews with regard to the Christian's Messiah, is abundantly evident from the many facts which are daily presented to our notice. Permit me to refresh your memories with a few of the most important. About the middle of the seventeenth century, for the purpose of examining the question whether the Messiah had appeared in the flesh, a GENERAL COUNCIL assembled in Poland, at which were present three hundred Rabbies, and Jews out of every nation. After the council had been in session six days, a learned Rabbi insisted upon the propriety of examining the claims of the Christian religion. A Pharisee who was present remarked, that a person, who
ape peared in so humble and despised a character, could not be the promised Messiah. The Rabbi replied, By what power
did he perform his miracles? The answer was, By magic. No power of magic, said the Rabbi, can open the eyes of the blind, and bring the dead to life. The assembly was dismissed in the greatest confusion, without a decision of this important question:
A public dispute held in Venice, in the year 1747, between two Rabbies and a convert to the Christian religion, is not less interesting. The contest was conducted with great spirit upon both sides; but the Christian convert reasoned with so much energy, and clearness from the word of God, that the Rabbi exclaimed, “I beseech you, permit us to close our books and be silent; for if we proceed to examine the prophecies further, we shall all be Christians. The proph
of Daniel,” he continues, “speaks so distinctly of the coming of Christ, that the time of his appearing must be
past, but whether Jesus be that person or not, I cannot tell."
The testimony of missionaries, now in the field, affords ample encouragement for persevering efforts. Their language is this, “In Russia there is a great inclination prevailing among the first Jewish families to embrace Christianity. Several have already been received into the church. Six Rabbies, in a letter written in Hebrew, requested the New Testament for nine hundred families. It is singular to observe, that there have been many unexpected conversions from the Jewish to the blessed religion of Jesus, around the Mediterranean. And the Jews are not so obdurate as they once were, and when converted prove the most active members of the Church of Christ. In POLAND, within a short time, more than thirty Jews, and among
these, many families of great property, have by baptism been added to the church. The same remark may extend to Bohemia and to many other adjoining countries.” «Various facts,” say
the Committee of the London Jews Society, shave during the last year indicated that
a general movement is taking place in the Jewish mind, which can scarcely fail to be attended with the most important consequences, and this too at no distant period.”
While enumerating the blessings, which have descended
the Jewish nation, we cannot forget the unexampled benevolence of the Emperor of Russia, whom Divine Providence has raised up as a second Cyrus, to gather together the out-casts of Israel. And what is still more remarkable, and auspicious, we find among the advocates for the conversion of the Jews, the Allied Sovereigns of Europe!
With these facts before us, we cannot for a moment besitate? Surely the day so long desired by the people of God is beginning to dawn! The darkness and gloom of this long and dismal night are retiring before the light of truth. The blessed Gospel has commenced its gradual, yet irresistible progress. The Holy Spirit is carrying on among them a work of grace. The sacred Scriptures are circulated, and received, with the most animating prospect of success. Jewish children are receiving a Christian education, and are thus secured from the most bitter prejudices against the name of Jesus.
Encouraged by these events, the Christian world are awaking from their long and criminal slumbers, and are inquiring, with deep solicitude, “Lord, what wilt thou have us to do."
This leads me to the third particular in the discourse, III. THEIR CLAIMS UPON THE GENTILE CHURCH.
If any individual, in this assembly, should inquire, what part can I bear, what duties can I discharge? To such I reply,