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There can be no doubt, that the rejection of Jesus Christ by the Jews of his time, the treatment he experienced at their hands, and all the circumstances of his ignominious death and passion, were events foreseen and forecast long before. The whole scheme of Christianity proceeds on the supposition that they must, and would, come to pass. It is just as certain, that they were all the effect of secondary causes, the operation of which was contingent, requiring the free and uncontrolled course and agency of ordinary human motives: that the Jews, by whose instrumentality these events were brought about, were deliberate agents even when acting in subordination to the determinate will and counsel of God; and fulfilling the voices of the prophets, read among them every sabbath day: that they are described as free agents, and dealt with accordingly, as responsible for what they had done; as authors of a part which they had advisedly chosen, and might have avoided, if they would.
In like manner, they were equally free in their rejection of Christianity; yet that rejection also was long before contemplated, as an event that must happen; and provision was long before made for the substitution of the Gentiles in the stead of the Jews, on that very account. As they were tried then, previously, by the personal ministry of the Messiah, though it was foreknown that his ministry would terminate only in his rejection, and his crucifixion, by them so were they tried subsequently by the personal ministry of his apostles, though it was foreseen that their preaching also would end in the nation's rejecting Christianity.
Humanly speaking, indeed, the rejection of the
Christian religion by the Jews, was a necessary consequence of their rejection of Jesus Christ. By that act, they became only the more rooted in unbelief. It was morally impossible, that they who had all along so obstinately resisted, and at last had even crucified our Saviour, should allow themselves to be converted by his apostles; or think of receiving and acknowledging HIM as their Messiah, with the stigma of the cross, in addition to the reproach of the Nazarene, whom they could not away with when alive; though they had daily proofs of his power, and energy, and authority, beyond the measure of the efficiency even of the chiefest of the prophets, and commensurate only to the personal rank and dignity of the Son of God. This moral impediment in the way of the success of their future ministry, considering among whom it should be transacted, and after whose it should be tried, our Lord himself insists upon to his disciples in these words: "If the world
hateth you, ye know that it hath hated me before it “hateth you.. .. Remember the word, which I "said to you, There is no servant greater than his "lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also
persecute you: if they have kept my word, they "will also keep your words."
The rejection of the Jews by God, as his people, was a necessary consequence of their rejection of his Son, as their Messiah; since it was impossible that they could retain their relation to himself, along with their unbelief in his Son. Yet this rejection might not be final and complete, until the other was so too; the true date of which, the course of events itself proves to have been the commencement of the Jewish s John xv. 18, 20.
war. And this rejection of his ancient people by God, as I before observed, considered as the proper consequent of a proper antecedent, was the effect of their rejection of Christianity. Yet was there no reason, why what was properly to be the consequence of this rejection, might not be represented as the effect of the rejection of the Messiah. Both these antecedents were alike foreknown to God, and both were the proper effect of a cause or principle very much the same, in each instance.
The curse pronounced on the fig-tree was a symbolical act, implying the futurity of a similar malediction on the Jews; and as followed by the effect in the former instance, it was a significant intimation of the certainty of the same kind of retribution, sooner or later, in the latter. The time when, might still be left indefinite; for it is sufficient to know that even then the doom of the Jews was sealed in the purposes of the Divine providence, as their ultimate infidelity was already foreknown to the Divine prescience. The interval between the close of our Saviour's ministry, and the actual commencement of the symbolized vengeance, cannot be taken into account in estimating the immensity of the divine views. The instant excision of the Jewish people is not more necessarily predicted by the malediction on the fig-tree, than their instant rejection as the people of God, is by the denunciation of woes, pronounced two days after, and recorded in the twentythird of St. Matthew's Gospel. Neither of these things can we reconcile in its obvious and primary scope and meaning, with the fact of a longer trial to be conceded, through the preaching of the apostles, to the same people and the same persons, who had
already rendered themselves justly obnoxious to the vengeance of God, by their rejection of Jesus Christ; except by having recourse to the Divine prescience in conjunction with the free agency of men; the former rendering it already known to God that the Jews would reject at last, that which by virtue of the latter, they were still at liberty to accept or to refuse, as they themselves should think fit.
LUKE xiv. 15—24.
15 And one of those, that were sitting at meat with him, having heard these things, said unto him, "Blessed shall he be, "who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God." 16 And he said unto him, "A certain man made a great supper, and bade many. "17 And at the hour of the supper, he sent his servant to say "to them who had been bidden, Come; because all things are
now ready. 18 And they began with one accord to excuse "themselves all. The first said unto him, I have bought a field,
and I must needs (I have a necessity to) go forth and see it; I pray thee (ask thee) have me excused. 19 And another 'said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to prove "them: I pray thee (ask thee) have me excused. 20 And "another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot
come. 21 And that servant, when he
was come to him,
Then the master of
brought word to his lord of these things. "the house, being angered, said to his servant, Go forth quickly
THE GREAT SUPPER.
LUKE XIV. 15-24. HARMONY, P. IV. 39.
" into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the
'poor and maimed and lame and blind. 22 And the servant
said, Sir, it is done as thou hast commanded, and there is still 66 room. 23 And the lord said to the servant, Go forth into the
highways and fences, and constrain them to come in, that my "house may be filled: 24 for I say unto you, None of those men, who have been bidden, shall taste of my supper."
THE account of the parable, on the consideration of which we are about to enter, is part of the narD d