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tion of the Jewish people are not to be understood according to the letter. And as those prophecies are to be received altogether, or not at all, we thence must conclude that the idea commonly prevailing, that the Jews now living are to be restored to the land of Palestine, is an error founded on a mistaken view of the Scriptures.
We shall now endeavour to show that the Scriptures plainly affirm that the Jewish nation would be scattered abroad and would perish; and we shall also adduce certain facts which go to prove that this prophecy is about to be fulfilled, and indeed that it has been in part fulfilled already
It may be clearly shown that a literal restoration of the Jews to their land, would falsify the most positive declarations of Scripture, and make God break His promises. For was it not repeatedly declared to the Jews by Jehovah, that if they were an obedient and good people they should remain in the land and be blessed; but if disobedient and rebellious, that they should be cursed, should be scattered abroad among the nations, and there should perish? Read the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy, that remarkable chapter of blessings and curses pronounced upon the Israelites, which were to take effect according to their obedience or disobedience; and in the 8th chapter, the promise or prophecy is summed up in a few words :—"And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day, that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish ; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.” (Deut. viii. 19, 20.) Now, what is the fact? Were they not an idolatrous and disobedient people? Are they not called by Moses himself a rebellious and stiff-necked people? And did he not prophesy even in that early day, what would befall them, what course they would take, and “call heaven and earth to record against them"? For I know," said he, " that after
will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded
you, and evil will befall you in the latter days.” Was not this prophecy fulfilled? And in after times, do we not find the prophets filled with denunciations against them, as a rebellious and wicked people, who had turned away from their God, and given themselves up to eyil? What did the Lord Himself term them ? “An evil and adulterous generation." Did He not speak of them as hardened in sin, beyond recovery, and with words still of compassion, foretell their destruction ? "O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have
gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” (Matt. xxiii. 37, 38.) Nay, did they not, by their own acts, fulfil all that had been prophesied about them, when they crucified the Lord of Glory, and cried out—"His blood be upon us, and on our children"? And has it not been upon them?-Awful self-condemnation !
If such, then, was the character of that nation, and if God's promises are to be fulfilled, then is there any reason to believe that they will be restored ? If they rebelled, were they not to be scattered among the nations and perish? Will not the sentence be carried into execution ? Nay, has this not already been done in part? Where are the greater part of that nation—the ten tribes ? Are they not lost-gone-extinct ? They, at least, cannot be restored.
And here it may properly be asked, What would be the object of such a restoration? Can the Christians really suppose that the Jews are actually, as they regard themselves, a favourite and chosen people of God? Is the Lord any respecter of persons ? That people was indeed chosen and raised up to perform a certain use in the hand of Divine Providence, viz., to become the receptacles of the Law-that through their instrumentality the Divine Word might be written, and also that a representation or ceremonial church might exist, till a more spiritual one could be established. But when the Lord came into the world, and established a new and spiritual church, and the old ceremonial law was abrogated, their use as a nation was performed, their work was finished; and consequently, as a nation, they soon ceased to exist. What would be the object of restoring them as a nation again?
But it may be adduced as an argument in favour of the probable restoration of the Jews, that they have been so singularly and wonderfully preserved as a separate people, though scattered through the world, retaining their own peculiar religious forms and rites, and having so little social connection with the rest of the human family. So they have, indeed, been miraculously preserved. But it was for a different purpose in the workings of Divine 'Providence. The writings of the New Church teach what that purpose is. They have been preserved in the fulfilment of the Lord's prophecy—“Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled.” (Luke xxi. 32.) By “this generation” is meant the Jewish race. And why were they not to pass away? What end was to be accomplished by their remaining ? It was this : the Lord is there prophesying the future decline and consummation of the church then about establishing, viz., the first Christian church; (for by the expression, “end of the world,” or as it should be
translated, “consummation of the age,” is signified, not the destruction of the natural globe, but the end and consummation of the church.) The Jews were not to pass away, or to become extinct, till that prophecy was fulfilled, and that church should come to its end. And this is the reason, viz., that they might be the depositories of the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament, and the medium of sacredly preserving them in their original tongue. This is the use for which they have been preserved as a distinct people.
To perceive the truth of this, we must note the peculiar character of the Jews. They are an exceedingly external people; they have a remarkable reverence for external sacred things. It is on this account that they were chosen to form a representative or ceremonial church: they were capable, from their reverence for external things, such as they had been taught to consider sacred, of going through the long and minute ceremonies of the Levitical law. For the same reason, they had the highest regard for the mere letter of their Holy Scriptures, even to their minutest jot or tittle. Those Scriptures have been preserved among them,-even though so scattered as a people, —with the greatest
For hundreds of years, there was a general standard copy kept at Jerusalem ; and a particular one also in every synagogue.
Afterwards, in the third century, rose the Masorites,-Jewish doctors who composed the work called the Masora; a critical work on the Scriptures of the Old Testament, in which were carefully recorded the number of the verbs, words, and even letters in these Sacred Scriptures, besides a great variety of explanatory notes, all having for their end the preservation of the Sacred Text in its utmost purity. Then, from time to time, accurate copies were published by learned Rabbis, for the benefit of the public.
Now, all this was going on during the middle ages, the dark ages of Europe. And but for this care of the Jews, the Word of the Old Testament would, in all probability, have been either altogether lost, or very much injured. The Christians could not, and would not, have taken the same care of it. For what was the state of the Christian nations in those times? They were almost barbarians; engaged in perpetual wars and fightings, and very illiterate. The only edition of the Bible in common use was in the Latin languagethe Roman Vulgate. The New Testament, indeed, was preserved with care, as being the foundation, more especially, of Christianity. But the Old Testament, as being, in their opinion, of but secondary importance, and in many parts very difficult to be understood, would have been neglected, or perhaps the text altered to agree with their ideas of its meaning. For,
the Christians, being a more internal people, regarded the sense more than the words; and where it did not seem intelligible, they would have endeavoured to make it so, by alterations and amendments. Thus would the integrity and sanctity of the Holy Word have been violated. For the Word is Divine in every jot and tittle, and not a letter of it can be altered without corrupting and desecrating it.
Thus were the Jews to be preserved, until a church should arise which should know the full value of the Divine Word, from an understanding of its spiritual sense; and for that reason,-on account of the correspondence existing between the spirit and the letter,—should hold it as most sacred also, even in its literal sense. Such a church is now becoming established. The New Church prizes the Word of the Old Testament, even in its letter, as highly and more highly than the Jews, though for a different reason ; and consequently, they will take as scrupulous care of it as the Jews have done. As this church becomes established in the world, the Jews will probably be seen to fade gradually away, and bye and bye, cease to exist as a distinct race, and at length, altogether disappear, like the other ten tribes. There are signs of this already. In the city of Leipsic, in Germany, a society has lately been formed among the Jews, the members of which, though not adopting the doctrines of Christianity for themselves, yet bind themselves to have their children educated Christians. The chief of this society is a Dr. Creiznach, a man of energy and learning. The same paper that gives this account (the Aix-la-Chapelle Gazette) states, that out of the 6,000 Jews in Leipsic, not 500 have for a long time paid any regard to the prescriptions of the Talmud, or the laws of the Old Testament. Thus is the foundation of Judaism giving way. Divisions, too, are beginning to take place among the Jews themselves, in the city of London, and also on the Continent. Some have affirmed that, if the Messiah does not come within a certain period, they will give up of His coming, and adopt Christianity. Others have come out, and openly declared that they have no desire for a restoration to the Land of Canaan ; that their home is the country where they were born and brought up, and there they wish to live and die. Such is the present state of things Such are the signs of the times : what result do they foretell? Is it not, plainly, that the Jews will not always continue to exist as a distinct race? That they will intermingle with other people more and more, and at length gradually disappear, and thus, as a people will perish? Thus will God's just sentence be executed. Thus, the Lord's prophecies being all fulfilled, “ this generation will pass away." London.
0. P. H.
HONOURING OUR FATHER AND MOTHER.*
BY THE REV. B. F. BARRETT. “Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”—Exod. xx. 12. It is known to all who are familiar with the writings of the New Church, that the Word of the Lord contains everywhere a spiritual as well as a natural signification; and the truths of the spiritual sense are eternal and universal in their nature. The precepts of the Decalogue, therefore, in their higher senses, contain instruction-laws of life—for angels as well as men; for they pervade heaven, and come down from heaven to earth. In their spiritual sense they relate altogether to the things of our spiritual life, and are above time, space, and nature, as the soul is above the body.
While, therefore, these precepts in their natural sense are accommodated to the states of natural men and children here on earth, in their spiritual sense they are accommodated to the states of angels, and of all who are in the desire and effort to become angels—all spiritually. minded men and women. But as natural birth must precede the spiritual, so must these precepts be learned and obeyed in their literal sense before we can understand or profit by the spiritual sense.
Filial honour, such as the text in its literal sense enjoins, involves filial love and reverence. It is not a sentiment which springs up and grows spontaneously in the heart; it is born only of filial obedience. Before children can learn truly to love and reverence their parents, they must learn to obey them. It is the duty of parents, therefore one of their first and highest duties-early to implant in their children the habit of obedience. It is their duty to establish and maintain such absolute parental authority, that their word shall be regarded by the child as fixed and unalterable law; and they should seek to do this in such a manner that their children will not fail to see that their own best good is what is regarded as the end of all parental control; so
* This Sermon has come to us through the former Editor, to whom it had been sent; it has therefore been waiting insertion. In fact we felt some hesitation about inserting it, lest it might provoke controversy. We think the talented author has displayed, on one point, some degree of theological eccentricity, if not perversity, in pleading so earnestly for the maternal claims upon us of one to whom the Lord's words may be applied—“She is not my wife, neither am I her Husband." We have every wish to deal tenderly and even affectionately with what we are accustomed to call the Old Church; but we cannot consent to the opinion that there is no visible distinction to be made between the Old and the New, and that the New Jerusalem is only to be found in the communion of saints.