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... ON THE STATE OF THE JEWS... , 1:TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S
I MAGAZINE.. be SIR,'';
In addition to what I have said respecting the restoration of the Jews, I write to say, that I wish the following observations on the present state of the Jews to be considered as a Note to a passage at p. 19, of my Visitation Sermon. The address of Bishop Warburton to the Jews did not fall in my way tilt after the publication of my sermon; otherwise, these observations would have been inserted in it. Whether, at any preceding period of iny life, I lád read that address, I really do not know. I believe, that I had not. ii ."".. . . I am,,
- , Sir, • Rempstone. -,"a;
Your's &c. i losi in Murch 5, 1805. . . . . . E. Pearson. THE passage of the sermon, which is meant to be re
1 ferred to, is this :-“ If prophecies of this kind (i.e. those prophecies, which were intended, by their accomplishment, to become proofs of the truth of Christianity) were clearly understood before-hand ; if the events they refer to were distinctly described, and the time of their fulfilment exactly made known, a témptation to inter fere with them would be held out, which might haye a pernicious effect. Men might be led either inpiously to engage in an attempt to hinder the accounplishment of them, or superstitiously to step out of the line of their
duty to promote it*...!!
Note. * Even the wisest men may be led into an error of this kind. · In Bishop Warburton's address to the Jews, prefixed to B. iv, of his « Divine Legation," is the following remarkable passage. Referring to the then recent rejection of the Jews' Naturalicution Bill, he says, “ Any attempt to incorporate you by naturalization into such civil communities, before the time predicted, and while you adhere to your old religion, as directly opposes the prophecies, or the declared will of Heaven, as the attempt of Julian to rebuild your temple, after the sentence of its final destruction had been put in execution: because it aims to procure for you a civil condition while Jews, which it is foretold you shall not enjoy till you are become Christians." Whether it was right or wrong tô reject the Jews' Naturalization Bill, I shall not now enquire; but certain I am, that the rejection of it is not to be justified upon these principles. It is not the business of a human legislature to adapt its measures to the fulfilment of divine prophecies. For, in the first place, this supposes a much clearer knowledge of the meani!g of untulfilled prophecies, than is attainable; and would subject human laws to the caprice of every faiciful interpreter. Is it so very clearly foretold, that the Jews shall become Christians, before they become incorporated into the civil com
LETTERS on Good FRIDAY.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S
MAGAZINE. UT Tutto
;7b The following letters were inserted fourteen years ago in a provincial paper then printed at Exeter, but which has been long since discontinued. As I apprehend that they are of importance, and merit preservation, I transmit them for a place in your very appropriate Miscellany, if you shall judge them deserving of it.
PER A CONSTANT READEX.
THE near approach of that solemn day in which the
I pure part of the Christian Church hath, in all ages, commemorated the sufferings and death of the Divine Author of our holy religion, makes me desirous of engaging every one of my christian brethren to a strictly religious observance of it. Through the channel therefore of your paper, I beg leave to submit a few observations to the considerations of the public.
I ai sensible that men of sceptical principles, and those of a sectarian spirit do too successfully, in many places, dissuade the members of our church from paying that reverential respect to this truly holy-day, which our rubric enjoins, and which in the original establishment of it, was undoubtedly understood to be its due from all christians. On this account then, I cannot but consider it as performing a necessary duty to endeavour the revival of a solemn observance of a day which the primitive christians always regarded with the most awful respect. vii munities of Christians ? May not the latter be a step preparatory to the former? Secondly, we may safely leave the dispensations of God to God himself. Whatever is the meaning of a real prophecy, i. e. à prophecy delivered by inspiration of God, it will be sure to be fulfilled, whatever may be the proceedings of men; nay, the proceedings of men must eventually contribute to the execution of God's designs. This, however, will furnish no excuse for unjust proceedings. Men are to go on in the straight road of duty, without any regard to consequences of this kind.. The conduct of Julian was wicked; but the wickedness of it consisted in the design, which he professedly had in view. There is an essential difference between naturalizing the Jews, as a measure of humanity or of policy, and doing the same thing with a view to contravene the judgments of God.
The annual commemoration of great and extraordinary events is warranted by the example, and confirmed by the consent of men in every age, of every country, and of every description. We are prompted by the feelings of nature to pay marks of grateful distinction to our natal day; and the annual commemoration of conquests and deliverances engages our warm approbation. We take very great delight in celebrating the return of those days, in the events of which we imagine ourselves interested. And this is highly reasonable: for such a conduct keeps alive the principle of gratitude in our minds, and by preventing our forgetting the benefits received, makes us regard the authors of them with reverence. It was most certainly from such a sense of gratitude that the primitive professors of christianity appropriated select days for the annual celebration of the great circumstances which distingnished the stupendous work of man's redemption. · Feeling a deep and lively impression of the infinite obligations which they lay under to the Divine Author of this amazing scheme, they considered themselves happy in devoting all convenient times and seasons to the wor. ship of him, and to the praise of the wonders he wrought for their emancipation from the slavery and punishment of sin. But knowing also that the generality of men are too thoughtless, and too much engaged by sensual objects to retain long a due sense of signal favours, they very wisely as well as piously determined upon the annual observance of the most conspicuous events in our Saviour's mission. Leaving the commemoration of those great scenes entirely to mens' own direction and particular convenience would have been the certain way to create, in process of time, a universal indifference, and perhaps at last a total forgetfulness of them. By fixing, therefore, set days for the celebration of the holy mysteries of our religion, christians are precluded the possibility of making any excuse for the neglect of them, or for their forgetting the duly which they owe to him whose name they bear..
Among these devoted days, none deserves more peculiar marks of religious veneration than that, which on account of the stupendous instance of love which it celebrates, is stiled Good FRIDAY.
If we do but seriously consider the great change which took place in the moral condition of man in con.
sequence of that event; and that this dark day filled with inexpressible bitterness, sufferings and woe, was the prelude to the dawning of eternal happiness for wretched mortals, we cannot but commemorate its anniversary with holy reverence and religious awe!
The primitive church so devoutly regarded the day of our Saviour's passion, as to fast every Friday throughout the year; and our excellent church has properly preserved the same pious institution. But the degeneracy of modern manners is so great, that it is to be feared, there are but very few among us who pay this token of reverence even to the great commemoration day of the sufferings and death of Christ.
And though this failure of reverence to this holy day is greatly to be lamented, yet the whole of the evil does not lie here; for in many places we can scarcely observe any outward shew of respect at all paid to it: the shops are opened, labourers are employed, and the ordinary business and pleasures of the world are pursued in the same manner as if the event which this day celebrates had long since ceased to be interesting to mankind, and that there is no farther necessity for taking any notice of it.
From whatever causes this evil proceeds, whether from a general lassitude among christians, or from the prevalence of fanatical, heretical, and sceptical principles, still I apprehend that there are but few persons who have the least regard for the honour of their Sayiour, and who contemplate what he has done with pious feeling, that will venture to offer an apology for it. At a time like this, when infidelity shews its shameless front, and gigantic strides in our most public places; when an insidious and specious heresy spreads its fatal poison far and wide, and when both are encouraged by a general depravity of manners, real christians have every reason to be zealous for the honour of their profession by adhering more strictly to its peculiar doctrines and du. ties. They must shew that they are not ashamed of that Saviour who was not ashamed to suffer the most unworthy indignities, the most degrading poverty, and the most unparalleled sufferings for their salvation. Now, therefore, when so many are putting him to open shame, and crucifying him afresh, either by denying the supreme dignity of his person, the efficacy of his passion, and the duty of paying him divine worship;--and the generality again despising him by a neglect of his positive injunctions and dying commands—it surely behoves all his genuine followers to express a more than ordinary zeal in his service. They must manifest their firm belief in bis doctrines, by paying a strict obedience to his precepts, and by observing those times and ordinances which his church has appropriated to his honour. i
Did he condescend to become the mock of cruel and blood thirsty men, and to be offered up an innocent sacrifice for the sins of the whole world: did he voluntarily endure hunger and thirst, pain and weariness, persecution and death, that we might become heirs of eternal life and glory, and shall we think it too much to devote one day in the year to the serious and devout meditation of such boundless love and unparalleled mercy ? Shall we deem it injurious to our worldly interests to debar ourselves of one day's labour and pleasure, in order that we may contemplate the various steps which providential wisdom and goodness took in accomplishing this mysterious miracle of love?--The Saviour of men when suspended upon the ignominious tree, had some tedious hours of contemplation, and doubtless he, in them commiserated the misery of those sinful creatures, whose cause he had undertaken ;--he viewed also in that trying and painful period, the church which was to be cemented by his sacred blood, and to be founded upon his cross-Shall we then who call ourselves members of that church, neglect the sacred day which it hath piously set apart for the celebration of the death and passion of its divine head?
Let us not be reasoned out of our duty by sceptical innovators, nor ridiculed out of it by the fashionable part of the world;—but let us adhere to our profession in all its branches.
By thus shewing ourselves to be in reality, and not in name only, the servants of a crucified Saviour, and that we glory in that Cross which we bear as the badge of our profession, he will when he comes in the clouds of Heaven with the same holy sign triumphantly displayed, publicly own and reward us in the presence of men and angels!
That these observations sincerely designed to serve the cause of our gracious Redeemner, his church, and the spiritual benefit of its members, may have the salutary effect of restoring some to a due sense of their religious