« FöregåendeFortsätt »
which spendeth her hours in holy mourning; for great is her misery in the land of her captivity.
3. Ample matter hath sbe for sorrow and lamentation :
ing her thoughts froin worldy enjoyinents and indulgencies, she transfers them, by faith unfeigned, to the glories of eternity. The corruptible body presseth down the soul to the earth and earthly things, so that she cannot, without the grace of Christ, raise herself up to divine and heavenly contemplations. Much need therefore does she find of the spirit of Christ to comfort and support her by his visitations; lest she be lost and swallowed up in the gulph of sensual pleasures, or turned aside from her holy resolutions by the suggestions of the evil one; many of whose devices can neither be counteracted, nor known, but by the wisdom of the scriptures, and the strength of tlie spirit. Manifold temptations and unlooked for troubles befal the people of God in the wilderness ; but all things are made by him to work together for good to those who live in his faith and fear: for which, blessed be his holy name for ever and ever. The devont soul, during her pilgrimage, should often solace herself with meditation on the rest and glory of the saints in heaven, that so she may not faint under her burther. Indeed, holy mourning itself is a great relief to her, while she is in the land of her captivity, and absent from him whom she loveth, as sorrow of heart is alleviated by the effusion of tears. Those who have not the love of God in them, are strangers to the sensations of the soul, who, having bid adieu to the world, goeth in quest of the celestial bridegroom, and desireth no consolation but what proceedeth from her friend and her beloved.
4. We see how hardly men are induced to part with any worldly trifle upon which they have misplaced their affections, and with what unteigned joy they welcome it upon its return. What then ought to be the love of God in the heart of a christian! Accordingly, no sooner is the devout soul favoured with a visitation from on high, but light is sorn in her, and joutil gladness is the happy product. Animated by the hope of glory, and the foretaste of heavenly delights, she magnificth the Lord, and rejoiceth in Gop ker Saricur: and that she may taste the celestial honey, she openeth her mouth, and drareth in her breath, saving, Truly God is loring unto Israel, ezen unto such as are of a clean heert. Dy God, my God, with whom alone there is pleasure which disappointeth not, who art iny joy, my glory, and my beauty, how good is it for me to be thus visited by thee! Not unto me, o Lord, not unto me, not unto my merits, but unto thy mercy be the praise, O thou who art the true and the only comforter of faithful souls, who love and long for thy appearance.
ON THE RESTORATION OF THE JEWS.
TO TILE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S
I VERY readily comply with the wish of a writer in 1 your last number, who, under the signature of " À Constant Reader," proposes any giving, for the purpose of inserting in your useful miscellany, a general idea of my reasons for thinking, that Luke xxi. 24, as briefly mentioned in my Visitation Sermon, does not refer to the Restoration of the Jews. ,
The passage itself is this :-'. They (i. e. the Jews) shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” What I have said about it is, that though this is the passage of the New Testament, which seems most strongly to favour the opinion of the restoration of the Jews, yet no great stress ought to be laid upon it for this purpose. "
In the first place, it is to be observed, that it is only by implication, that this passage can be understood as predicting the restoration of the Jews. Nothing to this purpose is expressly said in it. The prediction only limits the time, when Jerusalemn shall be trodden down of the Gentiles. But, may it not be too hasty to conclude, that, when Jerusalem shall cease to be trodden down of the Gentiles, it will necessarily be inhabited by Jews ? When this prediction was delivered, the world was di. vided into Jeros and Gentiles, i. e. into worshippers of the true God, according to the ritual of Moses, and Pagans, or worshippers of idols. This being no longer the case, the prediction must be interpreted with a view to the Na
change which has taken place, or rather to the change which shall have taken place at the time of its fulfilment. At present, we must at least consider the world as dividedi into Christians, Jews, Mahometans, and Pagans, the two batter of which, however, may very well be comprehended under the term Gentiles. It does not necessarily follow, therefore, because Jerusalem will be delivered out of tbe hands of the Gentiles, that it will be replaced in the bands of the Jews. The passage may mean no more, than that the land of Judea anck city of Jerusalem, on accouut of the wrekedness of the Jews, and particularly on account of their rejection and murder of the Messiah; shall be so long under the punishment of the Almighty, as to be the last part of the earth, or among the last, in which the religion of Christ shall be truly known and acknowledged. It is not expressly said, and probably it, was not intended to be intimated, what shall be the case of Jerusalem at that time, but rather what shall not be the case of it; much less is it said, that the Jews shall inhabit it. The most, therefore, that can be made of this prediction is, that, after the conversion of all Gentiles to Christianity, Jerusalem shall no longer be “trodden down of the Gentiles," which it cannot with propriety be said to be, when inhabited by Christians. Now, it is evident, that Jerusalem, if inhabited at all, must then be inhabited by Christians; and it will make no difference, as to the truth of the prediction, whether those Christians, previously to their conversion, were Jews or Gentiles. In short, I consider the prediction as a denunciation of punishment only, and not, according to the more usual interpretation of it, as a dununciation of punishment with a promise of its remission. I
Further, my idea is, that, by a figure of speech not unusual, more especially in prophetic language, the word « Jerusalem” may here be put, not only for the city, but for the inhabitants of it; and not only the then inhabitants of it, but their descendants. The meaning will then be, that the Jews shall be “ trodden down of the Gentiles,'' i. e. dispersed among the Gentiles, and in a distinet and abject state, “ until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled," i.e. till the Gentiles shall.all, or generally, he converted to the Christian faith; to which desirable avent'this state of the Jews, by affording a standing proof of the truth and divine origin of Christianity, will conwibute: that, after this event, and in the progress to
wards wards it, the Jews will gradually be convinced of their errors, come over to the Christian fold, and be no more a distinct people. That the figure “trodden down” may be applied to the inhabitants of a city, as well as io the city itself, see Isaiab xviii. 2, 7, xxv. 10, xxvi. 9, 18, Micah sii. 30, and other passages of Scripture. This interpretation, as is evident, is by no means inconsistent with the preceding one. They may, indeed, rather be considered as parts of the same; for it is highly probable, that a similar fate awaits both the city of Jerusalem and the Jews, i. e. that the inhabitants of Jerusalem and country of Judea, whoever they may happen to be at the time, will be the last, or among the last, of the Gentiles, who will be converted to Christianity; and that the Jews will be the last, or among the last, of mankind, who will be converted to it. It may be thought an objection to this interpretation, that, as the Jews themselves are mene tioned, in the preceding verse, under the term “ this nation," it is less likely, that they should so soon after be intended by the term “ Jerusalem." Nothing, however, is more common in prophetic declarations, and indeed in some of the plainer parts of Scripture, than for the same idea to be resumed under a different term. I may add, that, in this case, the idea is not exactly the same, if, as I suppose, both the city and its inhabitants are intended to be included under it. On the whole, therefore, I conceive the sense of the latter part of the passage to be this:--" The city of Jerusalem, and the people of the Jews, shall be trodden of the Gentiles as long as it is possible for them to be so, even till all the world shall be converted to the Christian faith, and the name of Gentiles no more be heard of."
To form a decisive opinion either for or against the restoration of the Jews, may seem to partake of the want of caution, which I have blamed in others. I cannot, however, avoid saying, that to me there appears a presumption against it froin the nature of the Christian religion, which the passages of Scripture, generally alleged as predictions of it, are by no means sufficient to overcome. I will add, that, without supposing a literal restoration of the Jews, those passages of Scripture not only have a meaning, but a much more important meaning. . All the promises of favour to the Jews, which we meet with in the prophecies, are either such as are to be understood literally, and applied to the Jews before
the the coming of our Saviour; or such as are to be understood figuratively, and applied to Christians, that is, to those Israelites indeed, of whom the literal descendants of Abraham were intended as a type. The former have already been fulfilled. The latter have been fulHilling ever since the coming of our Saviour, are now fulfilling, and will continue to be fulfilled to the end. It seems extraordinary, that the mistakes respecting the Jewish religion, which St. Paul took so much pains to correct, should still subsist, and subsist among Christians, The Jewish religion was al sort of scaffolding, by meang of which the Christian religion was erected; and its purpose in this respect being answered, there is no reason to expect, that cither it, or any thing which has a peculiar reference to it, will ever be revived. We juştly condemn the Jews for expecting a temporal, rather than a spiritual prince; yet, to suppose that all the sublime descriptions of Jewish prosperity, which occur in the prophecies, had only or principally in view earthly and temporal blessings, · and not rather those heavenly and eternal blessings, to which Christians are taught to aspire, is to entertain the saine low notions respecting the Messiah's kingdom, as the Jews are condemned for entertaining respecting the Messiah himself.
There is nothing in the covenant made with Abraham, which is a just ground of the expectation referred to. The token of the covenant, by which the land of Canaan was given, as what is called a perpetual possession, to the posterity of Abraham, was circumcision. But circumcision cannot consist with the religion of Christ; for the arostle expressly tells the Galatians, “ If ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." Gal. v. 2. Now, it the token of the covenant be removed, and removed by divine anthority, can it be thought that the reward of it was intended to reinain? The most important part of the promise made to Abraham was, that “ in his seed, all nations of the earth should be blessed;" and, as this came to pass, when the Messiah was born from among the Jewish people, the promise made to Abraham, so far as his seed were exclusively concerned, was then fulfilled.
It is plain, that St. Paul considered Abraham as the father of all faithful Christians, whether from among Jews or Gentiles. See Rom. iv, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18. In like manner, John the Baptist bad before warned his countrymen not to lay an undue stress on such a trivial