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will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land; and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob," Isaiah xiv, 1.
But the absurdity of this notion is literally its own refutation, and annihilates the whole scheme of Jewish exclusiveness. "Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them but the transgressors shall fall therein," Hosea xiv, 9.
The blind zeal which characterized the Jewish nation in reference to these privileges and advantages was the source of incalculable diffi. culty and anxiety to those by whose instrumentality many had been led to embrace Christianity. The conduct of Peter in reference to the propriety of preaching Christ to the Gentiles is sufficient evidence of the strength of Jewish educational prejudices, and the fact is here adduced only to exhibit that principle; but it is not surprising, considering that circumstance, that the Jews generally should exhibit a feeling of hostility toward the Gentiles' enjoying an equal share of religious privileges. The numerous Judaizing teachers that speedily arose in the church were the offspring of this almost natural propensity, and they added to the difficulties and anxieties with which the holy apostles and first propagators of Christianity had to contend. Accordingly we find the church agitated and disturbed by perplexing questions of rights and privileges. As far as the Jews are concerned, their arguments of exclusiveness were based, and, as they thought, properly and successfully, upon the terms of the Abrahamic covenant. The doctrines of the gospel are in danger of being subverted by the intemperate and ignorant zeal manifested, and the apostle Paul is under the necessity of endeavoring to reconcile the minds of his brethren according to the flesh. His arguments on the subject are contained in his inimitable and truly logical epistles to the Romans and Galatians, in which the true nature of the Abrahamic covenant is fully and beautifully set forth. Such is the distinct connection of the apostle's reasoning with the question under consideration, and so unequivocally corroborative is that reasoning of the position we have assumed in reference to the literal gathering, that we could well afford to rest the case upon its deductions.
Turning to Genesis xii, 2, 3, we find the following promise made to Abraham: "I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing; and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." To this promise of greatness to be conferred on Abraham some particulars are added in the thirteenth chapter, commencing with the fourteenth verse: "Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward and southward, and eastward and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever," &c. In the fifteenth chapter and fifth verse we have these words: "And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be." The prediction that Abraham should possess the land of Canaan to inherit it, is repeated in the seventh verse, followed by a sacrificial ratification of the divine engagement. Up to this time
Abraham is without issue, and in the sixteenth chapter we have a concise account of the conception of Hagar, Sarah's maid, who had been given to Abraham. After Hagar had fled from the house of her mistress, an angel appeared unto her, and said, "I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude." After this the covenant is renewed, and the rite of circumcision appointed as the seal thereof. Then, in the fifteenth and following verses, God promises Abraham a son by Sarah, whose name should be called Isaac, and with whom the covenant is to be established and with his seed after him. Abraham had said, "O that Ishmael might live before thee!" God, therefore, renews the promise respecting Ishmael's greatness and nationality, and adds, "But my covenant will I establish with Isaac."
After the lapse of several years the patriarch is commanded to offer his son Isaac for a burnt offering to the Lord; he obeyed, and then Jehovah was pleased to reiterate the terms of the covenant, saying, "In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." Throughout the whole of this history a distinction is clearly maintained between the posterity of Abraham by Ishmael, and his posterity by Isaac. The covenant is established with the latter. Yet a covenant is made in reference to the former, and he, as well as Isaac, submits to the initiatory rite of circumcision. The question, therefore, will very naturally arise, Wherein does the difference consist, and what is the true nature of the Abrahamic covenant? To ascertain these points we must have recourse to the epistles already named. From them we learn that the promises made to Abra. ham's posterity through Isaac were spiritual in their character, and that the covenant was a spiritual covenant, mainly and especially so. The covenant included, first, the means, and, secondly, the conditions of justification. Through Isaac, as a type and ancestor of the Messiah, "all the nations of the earth are to be blessed," Gal. iii, 16, 17; Rom. iv, 13, 14. “All the nations," not the natural descendants of Abraham merely. The benevolent mission of the Messiah embraced the world, and those spiritual privileges and enjoyments which are pur. chased by his precious blood may be received by all the families of the earth. So much for the means of justification. The conditions are alike general. The capacity to believe the promise of God is possessed by all men, " to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed"- the spiritual believing descendants of Abraham, whether Jew or Gentile. Nor did the possession of the covenant blessings depend upon any works, not even submission to the painful rite of circumcision, for Abraham was justified before he was circumcised, "that he might be the father of all them that believe," Rom. iv, 11-25.
The innumerable posterity promised to Abraham did not so much comprehend his natural descendants as his spiritual children. Per. haps, however, the vast multitudes that were really his offspring were properly typical of the still greater multitudes that should walk in his footsteps by believing on the name of his illustrious and ever blessed Son, Jesus Christ. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bear
est not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not; for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath a husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of the promise;" that is, we be. lievers, whether Jew or Gentile, barbarian or Scythian. "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise," Gal. iii, 29; iv, 27, 28. Thus we perceive the propriety of the apostle's declaration in another place, "All are not Israel who are called Israel." The Jews have under the gospel no special claims to the divine regard, any more than the Arabs, who are, as well as they, natural descendants of Abraham. Neither because they are so have they any natural title to the blessings of sonship, for there are many "called Israel" who are not Jews. For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men but of God." So then the gospel was preached before unto Abraham; and the covenant made to him and through Isaac could not have been completed without the introduction of the gospel, and the abrogation of the ceremonial law. Yet God hath not cast away his people and refused to save the Jews. No; he hath invited all. And when the Redeemer, who came to his own, was rejected and despised of them, he afforded them no ground of excuse for their persevering unbelief, but said to his apostles, that his gospel should be preached among all nations, "beginning at Jerusalem."
Notwithstanding this, as a nation, they exhibited unequivocal proofs of hardness and impenitent hearts. But future mercy is reserved for them, for "they have not stumbled that they should fall" beyond the hope of recovery. They shall be restored to the favor and protection of Heaven." Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in." Let it be remembered that the apostle is throughout maintaining the spirituality of the Abrahamic covenant and the universality of its terms. The Jews are now, through judicial blindness, prevented from enjoying its blessings, and are enduring severe punishment for their sins. But it shall not be always so. "The gifts and callings of God are without repentance." God will "turn away ungodliness from Jacob, and the covenant shall be fulfilled when he shall take away their sins." The Deliverer out of Zion shall appear," and so all Israel shall be saved." God shall "accomplish the number of his elect." "For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
In perfect accordance with these evangelical views of the divine covenants is the language of Paul to the Corinthians and Ephesians. The Christian church is the "commonwealth of Israel." Unregenerate persons, of whatever nation, are "aliens." By the power and mercy of God in Christ "the middle wall of partition," consisting of ceremonies, sacrificial and sacramental rites, which was erected between Jews and Gentiles, is now broken down. We were "strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, ye, who sometime were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ." All national distinctions are annihilated. Throughout the world one great and glorious commonwealth is to be formed.
All Christian believers are to enjoy an equal participation in its rights, privileges, and immunities. But that commonwealth is called the "commonwealth of Israel"—an emphatic designation-leading us back through the ages of the past, pointing to the Jewish church as the emblem or type of the Christian, and proclaiming universal liberty and equality through the vast spiritual dominions of Him who hath "reconciled" both "Jew and Gentile unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby." And how infinitely contemptible do all modern notions of earthly glory and power and literal restorations appear when compared with the transcendent spirituality and magnificent grandeur of the apostle's corollary! Such is the plan of redemption, and such are the wise arrangements of Providence, that though distinctions had been created and much increased by human pride and prejudice, yet they are not to be continued. "Now," under the Christian dispensation, "now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit," Eph. ii-x, passim.
Unbelief of these great and glorious gospel truths has made the Jews what they now are. Even while reading the Old Testament they discern not its spirituality. They do not "look to the end of that which is abolished; but their minds were blinded." "Even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their hearts." By their obstinacy the merciful purposes of God respecting them have been frustrated. "Nevertheless, when their heart shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away." Then, and not till then, shall the enlightened Jew discover the glory of the Mosaic dispensation, which introduces him to the exceeding great glory of the gospel. The resplendent light of Christian truth will chase away the gloom of Jewish error, and the recipient shall behold the ignorance in which he and his fathers walked respecting the land of promise" the law of commandments contained in ordinances"-the language of the prophets, and the person, mission, and character of Him "who was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." When the vail is taken away they will discern the spiritual purport and typical character of the Abrahamic covenant, that the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, that all places are alike consecrated to the service and worship of Jehovah, that not in Jerusalem, nor in Judea alone men ought to worship. The Christ upon whom the Jew shall look with emotions of commingled sorrow and pleasure shall, by his blessed Spirit, teach him that all things were made by him and for him, and that the whole world is to be the theatre on which are to be displayed the glories of the cross and the triumphs of the redeeming plan.
We have thus endeavored to present, in as condensed manner as possible, the New Testament view of the future prospects of the Jews. Their moral restoration is as clearly set forth in the writings of the apostle Paul, and there as strikingly illustrated, as could well be imagined. We have not seen fit to insist upon the spiritual illustrations
of prophecy given by him to the Romans. With the information already furnished, any reader of common capacity wil perceive the propriety of our former exposition of many of the predictions of the ancient prophets respecting the future state of the Jewish nation. So completely destitute is the New Testament of the least allusion to any literal gathering, that it is absolutely mysterious how any mind could have made any such deductions. Nay, it is not mysterious, for when any hypothesis is assumed, however unreasonable, an appeal is made to the Scriptures to support the dogma and the writer. But this has generally been after the testimony of reason has been consulted and considered decisive. We have endeavored to divest these papers of a controversial character, but we could not wholly avoid an occasional allusion to the opinion of those who have written on this perplexing question. But it is not to the opinions of men, favorable or unfavorable, that we would appeal in support of our position. We have not weighed the case of the Jews in the balances of mere human reason, nor have we considered the probability or improbability, the possibility or impossibility, of the literal restoration of the Jews. The question in our mind has been what we consider the only safe one, viz., "Is the doctrine Scriptural? Can the literal return be fairly inferred from a proper interpretation of prophecy?" We have candidly stated our opinion, formed after deliberate investigation, both of the Old and New Testaments. We have gone where the Bible has led us, and there, on this subject, we are content to rest, until the clear light of eternity shall confirm or confound our conceptions of that series of events which is comprised in the divine administration of all human affairs. We may, however, in a future number, bring to light several historical facts respecting the actual return of the Jews, showing the fulfilment of certain predictions, and answer several objections which may be urged against our views of the moral restoration of the people of Israel.
For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review.
REVIEW OF DICK ON COVETOUSNESS.
BY REV. WILLIAM HOSMER, OF THE GENESEE CONFERENCE.
An Essay on the Sin and the Evils of Covetousness; and the happy Effects which would flow from a Spirit of Christian Beneficence. Illustrated by a variety of Facts, selected from sacred and civil History, and other Documents. By THOMAS DICK, LL. D., Author of the "Christian Philosopher," &c. New-York, Robinson, Pratt, and Co., pp. 318.
CHRISTIANITY has suffered inconceivably in its general interests by the imperfect, and even anti-christian views which have obtained on the duty of beneficence. All true Christians must deprecate the least attempt to mislead the public mind, or to induce a recurrence of that spurious liberality which distinguished the patrons of the Crusades; and which now, though in a less onerous degree, is contributing without discretion to the promotion of objects not embraced by an en