cious influences which it has enjoyed. The Gospel has undoubtedly brought to the world a vast addition of light. The fulfilment of prophecies and promises, in a series of facts, has confirmed the truth of scrip. ture testimony, and shewn more clearly to mankind the nature of the marvellous work of redemption. It has illustrated the glory of Jehovah's character, and brought life and immortality more clearly into view. It has multiplied motives to piety, and greatly increased the number of the subjects of it. The spirit is given in more plentiful effusions, and grace is more triumphant. But it has been shewn that this increase of light and grace, cannot be drawn into an argument against the identity of the Jewish and Christian church, Differences, as great in these respects, are observable in particular periods of the last dispensation. The difference between the states of the church in the eley. enth, and the sixteenth centuries, is at least as great as is to be observed between the two dispensations generally. And the difference between its present state, and that which is approaching, in the ingathering of the Jews with the fulness of the Gentiles, must be

greater still.

This very interesting event, which is a leading subject of the faith and prayers of all the people of God, so far as it falls within the plan of this treatise, we will next briefly consider.



the conversion of the rejected Fews, their restoration to the land, secured to them in the covenant, and the ingathering of the fullness of the Gentiles ; which events are to intro. duce the millennial glory.',

IT may have been an objection in the mind of the reader to the theory which has been exhibited, that the posterity of Abrahamhave, in fact, been cast out for centuries, from the land of Canaan. This objection, which has considerable plausibility, ought to be obviated. It cannot be obviated, unless it can be made to appear, that the posterity of Abraham' either do, or are yet to possess this land, according to covenant. It was given them, as an unalienble possession, by will. If it has been enjoyed but for a time, and this under great interruptions, and it is never again to come into their possession, some embarrassment will seem to attend the scheme which has been advanced.

Though interpretations of prophecy, not yet fulfill. ed, must always be in some measure doubtful ; yet it is to be presumed, God has so far instructed us into the manner in which the covenant is to be executed, that no insuperable objection can lie against it.

It has appeared that the covenant absolutely secured a succession of pious persons, in the posterity of Abraham, constituting the seed, in the proper, literal sense of that term ; and that of these, as heirs by natural de. scent, the kingdom of Christ primarily consists.

Such a succession must be supposed therefore in the Christian Church ; though, since the distinction between Jew and Gentile is done away, we are incapable of pointing them out, as such. Our not being able to do this, is certainly not inconsistent with the supposed fact, that such a succession has taken place,


The certainty of it rests upon the best foundation ; that of covenant promise. We need only to be sure ; and it is thought abundant proof has been furnished, that the promise is absolute. Let there be but a remnant, and the promise stands. If there be not, God hath certainly cast away his people.

It is probably not possible to prove from History, that there has been yetany period of time, in which there have been no Christian believers within the limits of the land of Canaan, History favors the idea that there have ever been such, more or fewer. These, or some of them, may have beer lineal descendants from Abraham. What can be more likely than this supposition? If so, then the seed designed in the covenant have ney. er been disseized of this inheritance.

If we look back to the period of the Babylonian captivity, we shall find reason to conclude, that during the whole of the time that captivity lasted, there was a remnant which continued to hold the possession. The seed were not ejected. Let us, to convince our selves of this, here recal into view the passage in the 6th chapter of Isaiah. “Go and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understsnd not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their cars heavy, and shut their eyes, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and una derstand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said I, O Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the land be uterly desolate. And the Lord haye removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But yet, in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten, as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves; so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof." This passage, though somewhat ob: scure, is clearly in favour of the idea to prove which it is produced. The words, in it, must refer to the land, which was to be desolated. And the words a tenth, must refer to a favored remnant. The clos

ing words of

the verse are clearly in favor of this construction. The words, and shall be eaten, are apparently against it, and must be a bad translation. Surely the remnant are not to be spared merely for destruction. Poole and Vitringa give different expositions of "this clause. They are both in favor of the passive rendering. But, according to Vitringa, several learned critics render it actively. An active rendering, i. e. that they should return to eat or waste away their enemies, seems to be necessary to make it agree with the rest of the verse, the context, and the scheme of the Bible. But however this clause is to be rendered, and whatever be the meaning of it, the residue of the verse is decidedly in favor of the continuance of a part of Judah in the land. They are compared to a tree, whose foliage is gone. The tree itself remains, keeps its place in the earth, lives, and thrives.

If we recur to the history, we find it said, II Kings, xxv. 12. “But the captain of the guard, left of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen.” These would be more probably inheritors of the blessing than their richer neighbors. For God hath cho-, sen the poor of this world.

The same thing is intimated in Nehemiah, i. 3. And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the Province, are in great affliction, and reproach; the wall also of Jerusalem is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.” There is then no evidence of an entire ejection during this captivity. The evidence is against it. Some were left when the captivity began; and when it closes, some are still found in the land.

The present dispersion of the unbelieving Jews resembles that captivity. Analogy would lead us to presume, that a part at least of the remnant, whose history we have traced as far as the scripture would carry us, remained within the limits of the land of Canaan, and that their descendants have continued to ' occupy it to the present day,

[ocr errors]

I find little in Dr. Mosheim's History, which is explicit and demonstrative on this subject. But there are several passages which imply, that this has been the fact. In his history of the second Century he tells us, Vol. I, page 159; “But it was not from the Romans alone, that the disciples of Christ were to feel oppression. Barchochebas, the fictitious king of the Jews, whom Adrian afterwards defeated, vented against them all his fury ; because they refused to join his standards, and second his rebellion." This remark will surely apply to no disciples of Christ but such as were of Jewish descent, and lived in Palestine. In the II. Vol. of his history, page 24, the following passage is found. “It was much about this time, that Jevenal, bishop of Jerusalem, or rather of @lia, * attempted to withdraw himself and his church from the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Cesarea, and aspired after a place among the first Prelates of the Christian world. The high degree of veneration, and esteem, in which the church of Jerusalem was held, among all Christian Societies (on account of its rank among the apostolical churches, and its title to the appellation of the Mother Church, as having succeeded the first Christian Assembly founded by the appostles) was extremely favorable to the ambition of Juvenal, and rendered his project much more practicable than it would otherways have been.” Maclaine, his translator, subjoins the fol. lowing observation in a note. " After the destruction of Jerusalem, the face of Palestine was almost totally chang, ed; and it was so parcelled out, and wasted by a succes. sion of wars, and invasions, that it preserved scarcely any traces of its former condition. Under the Chris. tian Emperors there were three Palestines formed out of the ancient country of that name, each of which was an episcopal see. And it was over these three dioceses that Juvenal usurped and maintained the jurisdiction." Surely these accounts imply, that there were at this time many Christians of Jewish descent inhabiting the land of Canaan. In the 157 page of this Vol. where Mosheim is speaking of the events which happened in

* The city was generally called Elia, at that time..

« 上一页继续 »