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[“ Known unto God are all things from the foundation of the world:” and every thing that is " done, is done according to his deterniinate counsel and fore-knowledge." The deliverance of the Jews from Egypt was foretold to Abraham four hundred and thirty years before it took place; and it was accomplished on the self-same day that had been then fixed h. In like manner, their deliverance from Babylon was fixed; nor were they detained one hour there beyond the seventy years that had been assigned for their captivity. Thus is the period fixed for their present dispersion. It is to terminate one thousand two hundred and sixty years after the establishment of the Papal tyranny and of the Mahometan delusion. Other thirty years are added to that time for completing of that glorious work, and forty-five more for the full introduction of the Millennium, when all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christk. Respecting the exact time from whence these several periods must be dated, Commentators are not agreed; nor is it our intention to enter into that part of the question: we only mention these things to shew, that “God has reserved the times and the seasons in his own power,” and that the time for the future restoration of the Jews is as determinately fixed in the Divine counsels, as any other event that ever occurred.]
We think too that we may already see, II. The signs of its approach
When our blessed Lord came to establish his kingdom upon earth, there were many signs whereby a candid observer might ascertain that he was really come! An expectation of him had prevailed both among Jews and Gentiles; his forerunner, John the Baptist, had come to prepare his way": and his own miracles had evinced, that he was indeed the person whom he professed to be'. Thus the Psalmist intimates that there are signs, whereby the future manifestations of his love and mercy to his people Israel shall be discerned, previous to their full accomplishment : “ The time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come; for thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof." We say then that the approach of that blessed period is now evidently marked by,
8 Acts ii. 23. and iv. 28.
h Exod. xii. 41. i Jer. xxv. 12. and xxix. 10.
k Dan. vii. 25. and xii. 7, 11, 12. with Rev. xi. 3, 15. and xi. 6, 14. and xiii. 5.
1 Matt. xvi. 3. m Luke i. 25, 38. n Matt. xvii. 9-13. o John v. 36.
1. The concern that is now felt for the Jewish people
[How many centuries have passed without any efforts made for their conversion to the faith of Christ! They have been regarded by the Christian world as utterly unworthy of notice : or rather, have been treated by them with all manner of indignity, oppression, and cruelty. But now Christians begin to feel how basely they have acted towards them; and are combining their efforts to rend the veil from their hearts: and by all possible means to lead them to the knowledge of that Messiah, whom their fathers crucified P ----]
2. The expectation which the Jews have of their approaching deliverance
[The Jews even of our own country, and still more upon the Continent, have a persuasion that their Messiah is speedily to appear, and to vindicate them from the oppression which they have so long experiencedy. And though they do not at present know what kinds of blessings they are destined to enjoy, (for they look no further than to a temporal deliverance,) yet the circumstance of their “ looking for redemption" as fast approaching, may justly be regarded as a sign of its actual approach.]
3. The work that has already been effected among them
[Many have been converted to the faith of Christ : and though, as in the first ages of Christianity, many have dishonoured, or renounced, their holy profession, yet many have held fast their faith amidst the heaviest trials, and have adorned the Gospel by a holy conversation. We cannot, it is true, boast of thousands converted at once: nor were the efforts of John, and of the Lord Jesus Christ himself, very successful for a season: even after all the labours and miracles of our Lord, his disciples amounted only to five hundred; the greatest part of those who were convinced by him for a season having gone back from him: but the seed sown by him grew up on the day of Pentecost, and brought forth fruit an hundred-fold: in like manner we have only fruit sufficient at present to encourage our continued exertions; but we hope that Pentecostal fruits will yet be found, and that too at no distant period. At all events we have evidence enough to shew, that God is with us in our labours of love, and to assure us, that we shall not labour in vain, or run in vain. The very circumstance of so many heralds being stirred up to prepare their way, is a strong ground of hope that ere long " the valleys shall be exalted, and the mountains and hills be made low, and the crooked be made straight, and the rough places plain; and that the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together"."]
p The attention paid to the study of prophecy in this day is remarkable.
9 Persons conversant with India have assured us, that both Mahometans and Hindoos have an expectation also that a great change is about to take place in the religions which they profess.
Nor are we left in uncertainty about, III. The effects of its arrival-To the Jews themselves the effects will be glorious
[Such prosperity, both temporal and spiritual, will they enjoy, as was but faintly typified in the days of Solomon “ The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun seven-fold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wounds -]
To the Gentiles also it will be the commencement of inconceivable and universal happiness
[This is particularly marked in our text; “So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord :” yes, the restoration and conversion of the Jews will be “ as life from the dead” to the whole Gentile world. Their deliverances from Egypt and from Babylon attracted the attention of the nations which were round about them; but this deliverance will fill with surprise and astonishment all the nations upon earth: for the Jews are scattered through every country under heaven: and in every country there will be a simultaneous motion of the Jews towards their own land, and a turning to that Saviour, whom now they hate. This will carry conviction to the minds of all, that Jesus is the true Messiah, the only, and all-sufficient Saviour of the whole world. Then will all the great ones of the earth, the highest kings, no less than their meanest subjects, behold the glory of God in the face of our adorable Saviour; and all, both Jews and Gentiles, become one fold under one Shepherd u However incredible this may appear, it shall assuredly be effected in due season ; for the Lord hath promised; and not a jot or tittle of his word shall fail.] ADDRESS
1. Have compassion upon Zion
r Isai. xl. 3-5. s Isai. xxx. 26. t Rom. xi, 12, 15.
u See Isai, lx. 1–8, 10—14. Ps. lxxii. 8-11, 16-19. Zech. ii. 10–12. and viii. 20—23. and xiv. 9.
[See how deplorable is the present state of God's ancient people: compare it with the former periods of their history when they were so signally honoured with the presence of their God in the wilderness, and at Sinai, and in the days of David and Solomon
Shall not the contrast fill you with pity and compassion ? Methinks you can scarcely have the feelings of men, much less of Christians, if you
over their forlorn and destitute condition. See how Nehemiah felt the desolations of Zion in his day * !
and is there not yet greater occasion for you to do so now? See how Daniel set himself to implore mercy for his brethren, encouraged by the near approach of the time destined for their deliverance y
And let the prospect we have of an infinitely greater deliverance for them, stimulate you to similar exertions in their behalf. Let nothing be wanting on your part that can contribute to their good. Your time, your money, your influence will be well employed in so glorious a cause : and be assured that in endeavouring to "water others, you shall be watered yourselves."]
2. Seek to experience the good work in your own souls
[We would not so draw your attention to the vineyard of others, as to divert it from your own. If it be desirable for the Jews to “fear the name of the Lord, and to behold his glory," it is surely no less desirable for you also. Brethren, this charity must begin at home. It will be a fearful thing to “preach to others, and to become cast away ourselves." Begin then, every one of you, to seek the favour of God to your own souls. Truly it is lamentable to see in what a state our Christian Zion is: and how many amongst us differ little from the Jews, except in name and profession. And in this we are far more guilty than they, because, whilst they are misled through the blindness that is come upon them, we sin against light and knowledge, and, Judas-like, betray the Saviour whom we profess to love. Let us hope, however, that the time for God to favour us is come ; (O that it may be come, and that our eyes may see it!) and that the tabernacle of David which is fallen down, shall be speedily reared amongst us, to the glory of God, and to the salvation of many souls.
souls. Much as we desire your aid for the Jewish nation, our first desire is, that you yourselves may be saved. In this we are sanctioned by the apostle Paul, who, whilst he pitied the Gentile world, desired to be accursed from Christ if it might but be instrumental to the saving of his brethren the Jews. To you then, Brethren, we say, First give your own selves to the Lord, and afterwards to us, by the will of God? ---]
* Neh. ii. 2, 3.
y Dan. ix. 2, 3.
2 2 Cor. viii. 5.
THE ETERNITY AND IMMUTABILITY OF CHRIST. Ps. cii. 25—28. Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the
earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands : they shall perish, but thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment: as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed : but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.
AMONGST all the Psalms, there is none more full of mourning and lamentation than this : but whether the Psalmist speaks in his own person, or in the person of the Church which was in the most desolate condition, is not certain. But though written at the return of the Jews from the Babylonish Captivity, and referring primarily to the restoration of the Jewish Church and polity, it evidently has respect to the Messiah and the establishment of his Church on the face of the whole earth : since it is said, that “ the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth his glorya.” Indeed the words of our text are expressly applied to Christ in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and are adduced to shew the infinite superiority of Christ above all the hosts of heaven". With this infallible guide to direct us, we proceed to point out,
I. The perfections of Christ
The description here given of our Lord Jesus Christ proves beyond all doubt his proper Deity. Observe, 1. His eternity
[He it was who made the universe : the highest angels derived their existence from his all-creating hand "All things were created, not only by him, but for him :" which could not be, if he himself were a creature. Suppose him ever so high above all other creatures, if he himself was a creature, he could not have created all things, seeing he himself must have been created by another. But he was the eternal God: " he was with God, and was God: and without him was not any thing made that was madee.” Yes, that adorable Saviour, who at the a ver. 15.
b Heb. i. 10–12. c Col. i. 16. d Col. i. 17.
e John i. 1-3.