Sidor som bilder

church in general, at one time as at another. Zion has often thought that her Gdd had forsaken her ; and the children of Zion very often imagine, that God is not only slow, but negligent in carrying into effect his gracious designs towards the church. But God, by all his apparently retrograde movements, is actually promoting the great interests of his kingdom as fast as possible. He was as really fulfilling his promise to Abraham, while his seed were four hundred years in bondage, as while he was pouring down his blessings upon them in the land of promise. God has as constantly and irresistibly carried on his cause, since the casting away of the Jews, as before ; since the rise of Mahomet and the Man of sin, as before, and since the prevalence of the grossest errors and delusions in the christian world, as before. God is never slack, as men count slackness, in carrying into effect the great purposes of his grace. God promotes the fruitfulness of the earth, by cold as well as by heat, by darkness as well as by light, just so, he promotes the prosperity of the church by all the opposition made to its growth and enlargement. By all past errors, delusions, idolatries, and infidelity among Jews and gentiles, God has been preparing the way as fast as possible for the conversion and restoration of the Jews, and for the conversion of all nations to the belief and love of the gospel ; and for the ruin of his incorrigible enemies. They have been saying and are still saying, “Where is the promise of his coming ? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” The methods which God is employing to pro: mote his gracious designs are as well suited to try the hearts of saints, as the hearts of sinners. The darkness

and the light, which now attend the operations of divine providence, have a direct tendency to awaken the hopes and fears of both the friends and enemies of Christ. Aceordingly, we find an uncommon zeal and exertion on both sides. This zeal and exertions will probably rise to a much higher degree, to prepare the way for the conversion and restoration of the Jews, for the destruction of their enemies, and for the sup pression of all opposition to the cause of truth. The friends of Christ have no just ground to murmur or despond at the apparently slow movements of the wheels of providence, nor his enemies to hope and triumph. In due time, the Jews will be restored and converted, the gospel will spread and prevail, errors and delusions will be detected and destroyed, and the enemies of all righteousness will either embrace the truth, or perish in their strong delusions.

4. If the Jews shall be called in ; then we cannot expect any long settled peace among the nations of the earth, till that great event shall take place. It cannot be brought about in an ordinary way, without disturbing the peace and harmony of all nations where they principally reside, and through whom they must make their way to Judea, which is in the possession of the Mahometans, who are very numerous and powerful. They are equal enemies to Jews and christians, and firmly attached to their strong and pleasing delusions. No moral means will have the least tendency to convince them of the their errors or dispose them to embrace christianity. They will risk their lives before they will give their religion and government, which are inseparably connected. It would require an immensely numerous and powerful army to subdue them, if they should stand alone ; but they un. doubtedly would, if they found it necessary, call in the assistance of other deluded, idolatrous nations. All false religions can unite against the true. It is not to to be supposed, that the Mahometans can be conquered without spreading war and desolation among the whole eastern world. And should a general war break out there, it would directly or indirectly affect all Europe, if not America. It will require great convulsions and revolutions in the christian, as well as in the heathen world to purge them of their errors and delusions in theory and practice. There must be a vast deal of hay and stubble burnt up, before the primitive purity of christianity can be introduced into the nominal churches of Christ. But they will be more loth to give up error than truth. There is no just ground to expect, that the Jews will be called in, and the millenium will be brought on, by the mild means of mere moral motives. God has commonly protected, built up, and enlarged his church, by employing the sword to destroy its enemies. His people made their way to the land of Canaan by the force of arms, and took possession of it by destroying and subduing the original inhabitants of it. The reformation from popery was brought about, by long and bloody wars in the states of Germany, and the churches in this country owe their origin, their preservation, and enlargements to a series of wars and revolutions among christians and heathens. God has always seen it necessary to promote his own cause, by the dreadful means of wars and fightings. And there is every reason to expect, that he will still continue to employ these means to answer the same purpose, till all the hostile nations of the

earth lay down their arms, and cease to oppose the kingdom of the Prince of peace. Though some suppose the millenium has already commenced, and will soon be peaceably ushered in ; yet their opinion does not appear to be well founded upon any thing God has said in his word, or has done in his providence. Wars and rumors of wars are still sounding in our ears; and and in respect to those nations in particular, who will probably destroy one another to prepare the way for the restoration of the Jews. It concerns the friends of God to prepare for the fiery trials, that may await them.

5. It appears from what has been said, that we have as much reason to believe the Jews will be eventually restored to their native country, as they had to believe the coming, incarnation, sufferings, and death of Christ, before his appearance in the flesh. There was a multitude of plain predictions in the Old Testament con. cerning the person, life and death of Christ, which the Jews ought to have believed before he appeared, and especially after he had appeared, suffered, and died. But there are as many plain predictions both in the Old and New Testament concerning the restoration of the Jews after their long dispersion. And there are no more apparent difficulties in the way of their returning to their native land, than there were in the way of Christ's coming into the world. But christians have been very unbelieving in respect to their return. Their unbelief of that remote event has become proverbial. If we hear any one say, that such or such event will not take place till the Jews come, we understand him to mean, that such an event never will come to pass.-Such unbelief of the plain and numerous predictions of the conversion and restoration of thc Jews, has led

christian nations to despise and abuse that ancient and and once venerable nation. This feeling and conduct is a species of infidelity, highly reproachful to those who profess to believe the bible, in which there are such great and precious promises in favor of God's peculiar people. It is true, they deserve to be despised and neglected, for their despising and neglecting the heathens so long, and viewing themselves as the only nation worthy of the notice and favour of God. Even the apostles, at first, supposed the gospel was sent exclusively to the Jews, and that salvation was of the Jews only. But this is no excuse for gentile chris- . tians, who neglect, despise, and abuse them almost every where. But,

6. Since God has plainly told us, that he intends to deliver them from their low and depressed state, and carry them back to their native land, and put them into the possession of all the privileges and blessings of the gospel, we ought to desire and do all we can to bring about that great and happy event. We believe, that the gospel makes no distinction between Jew and gentile, and that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. It appears from what has been said, that their conversion and restoration will be a rich and extensive blessing to the world, and like life from the dead to us, as well as to them. It is, therefore, a most important and desirable event. Paul viewed it in this light; “ Brethren, my heart's desire, , and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” He says again, “I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be sar

« FöregåendeFortsätt »