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THE CONVERSION OF THE JEWS.
ROMANS XI. 15-For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead ?
The rejection of the Jews for rejecting the gospel was a deplorable event. It deeply affected the heart of the apostle, who sincerely lamented their sad condition. But there were three things, which afforded him some consolation in the view of it. The first was, that they were not all cast away. The second was, that their rejection was the occasion of spreading the gospel among the gentiles. And the third was, that they should be, in some future period, called in, and made instrumental of enlarging the church of Christ. This last ground of consolation is mentioned in the text. “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead ?” This plainly intimates,
That the calling in of the Jews will be productive of great and happy effects. I shall,
I. Show that the Jews will be called in, and,
II. Mention some of the great and happy effects, which will flow from this event.
I. I am to show that the Jews will be called in. God has dispersed them all over the world, and therefore his calling them in must imply, not only the takof this event we find in the first chapter of Hosea.--“ Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, whieh cannot be measured, nor numbered : and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head; and they shall come up out of the land : for great shall be the day of Jezreel,” or seed of God. The restoration of the Jews is still more literally foretold by the prophet Amos. By him God says, “I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel, and they shall build waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they also shall make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land, which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.” The prophet Zechariah not only predicts the return of the Jews to their own land, but also describes the purity of their worship after their return. He says, " Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited-Yea, every pot in Jerusalem shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts : and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seeth therein : and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts." These are a few of the many predictions of the prophets concerning the future conversion and restoration of the Jews. Į might cite many more passages, and even chapters in favour of the Jews being called in, but those I have read, are sufficient to establish the point, so far as predictions unfulfilled can establish it. 2. The remarkable preservation of the Jews, in their state of dispersion, confirms the predictions which have been cited, and affords a strong presumptive evidence of their future restoration. They have been scattered among all nations for almost two thousand years, and yet remain a distinct people, totally unconnected with all others, in their modes of living and rites of worship. This cannot be accounted for, by the common principles of human nature, nor by the example of any other nation in the world. All other conquered nations have, in time, lost their laws, their customs, their manners, and their religion, and become blended with their conquerors. Hence the preservation of the Jews, for so many ages, and in so many parts of the world, as a dis- . tinct nation, must be ascribed to the peculiar care of providence. For some reason or other, God has preserved and distinguished the seed of Abraham amidst all the wars and revolutions in the world. And what other reason can be assigned for this singular interposition of providence, but the divine purpose of restoring them to their native land? This, indeed, is a good reason why they should be preserved, and kept from mingling with any other nation.
other nation. In this view, they have been ever since their dispersion, a standing monument of the truth of God in his predictions, and of the faithfulness of God in his promise to Abraham. His extraordinary conduct towards this people for more than eighteen hundred years past, has been an occular demonstration to the world, that he intends to collect them into one body, and lead them back to the land of their nativity. And this is further confirmed,
3. By their peculiar circumstances, as well as by their past preservation. They never have been per
mitted to own any particular country, or to establish any particular government, but always have been subjected to the laws and revolutions of the nations among whom they have been dispersed. And though they have generally enjoyed the temporal blessing of Abraham, yet their wealth has always consisted in personal and not in landed property. So that they have no partial attachment to any particular place, or people, or government ; but constantly stand ready to march to Judea, whenever providence shall open
the their return to the land of their fathers’ sepulchres.They are now as completely prepared to return from every place and nation where they live, as they were to return from their Babylonish captivity in the days of Ezra. And they are waiting and longing for the promised Messiah to appear at their head, and lead them in triumph to their native land. Whenever, there. fore, God shall take the veil from their hearts, and cause them to look upon him whom their fathers pierced, with a believing and penitent eye, they will undoubtedly confide in the promise to Abraham, and form a strong and irresistable resolution to surmount all obstacles, and force their way through all nations to the land of promise. This, the predictions, the promises, and the providence of God all conspire to put beyond doubt. I now proceed to mention,
II. Some of the great and happy effects, which will flow from this event. Though we are in a great meas. ure ignorant of the ways and means, by which God will gather his ancient people from the various and distant places of their dispersion, and conduct them to their own land, which is now inhabited by their most inveterate and inhuman enemies; yet we must conclude,
that this extraordinary event cannot be brought about, without producing great and happy effects. It must certainly make a very sensible impression upon all the nations from which they are taken; and indeed, upon all other nations, who will necessarily become acquainted with such a signal interposition of providence. Besides, we must suppose, that God will answer some important purposes, by means of their conversion and restoration ; for he always has made them instrumental of carrying into effect his wise and gracious designs. Here then it may be observed,
1. That the restoration of the Jews to their own land, will greatly confirm the truth of divine revelation. There are more particular and express predic. tions concerning the restoration of the Jews, than concerning any other event foretold in the Old and New Testament. And whenever this event shall take place, it will be more easy to discern the agreement between the predictions and their accomplishment, than it has been in any other case whatever. It will be an occular accomplishment, and such as all men, whether learned or unlearned, are equally able to understand. With regard to the fulfilment of many divine predictions, wise and good men differ in opinion. Some supposing there has been, and others supposing there has not been an accomplishment of them. But when the Jews shall be actually called in, and put into posses-, sion of Judea, all men will be united in the belief, that this great and astonishing event is a complete fulfilment of all the predictions respecting the seed of Abraham. The nature of this event, the long time it had been predicted, the multitude of predictions respecting it, and the great and numerous obstacles in the way of