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I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord; thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall
unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when
your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord, and I will turn, away your captivity....." In the histories of Daniel and Nehemiah, we have most signal instances of the fulfilment of this prophecy, as the appointed time drew near. Daniel is. Neh. i.
If these histories had been left wholly without application to the present dispersion and future restoration of the Jews, yet still they would afford us strong analogical confirmation of the view we have taken of the language of the prophecy: but this confirmation is rendered direct and explicit, when we find the deliverance from Egypt set forth by the Holy Ghost as the grand exemplar of the final redemption of the whole nation. (Isaiah xi. 11-16; Micah vii. 15.) And when by the prophetic prayer of the 83d Psalm, we are taught the application of the victories of Deborah and Gideon, to the future deliverance of the Jews and destruction of their enemies. Compare Psalm lxxxiii. 9-18, with Judges iv. and v. and vii. 25.
IV. Fourthly, I appeal to the analogy of sound doctrine: not indeed for an independent proof, but for a corroboration of what appears to me to be already proved.
It has been the practice of the best Christian divines, in all ages of the church, to derive illustrations from the Lord's dealings with the Jewish nation, explanatory of the doctrines of the New Testament, and of the dealings of God with his believing people in Jesus Christ. The warrant for this practice rests on the typical nature of the Jewish nation and history. The nation was a type of the church: the promises of the land of Canaan, to the nation, were typical of the promises of final salvation, body and soul, to the people of God: and the whole history of the nation was typical of the experience of New Testament believers.
Thus the sovereign choice, from amongst his brethren, of a man of the Chaldeans, Abraham, the son of Terah, the father of the nation: the sovereign rejection of his son Ishmael, and confirmation of the promise to Isaac; and the still more marked distinction made between the two sons of Isaac before the children were born, or had done any good or evil;illustrate in the most striking manner the election of God's sovereign grace, to the exercise of which he vindicates his undeniable prerogative, saying, "Have not I a right to do what I will with my own?” and which he has so put into righteous operation, that an Apostle, commenting upon this very point, lays it down as a general truth not to be gainsayed, that salvation is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
Thus, again, the long-suffering of God with the Jewish nation, as it is written, Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity: nevertheless he regarded their affliction when he heard their cry; and he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies;” (Psal. cvi. 43–45; see also Hosea xi. 7, 8, 9)-illustrates touchingly the patient love of Jesus our Lord towards the ungrateful and provoking members of his mystical body. To this long-suffering the Jewish nation was indebted for its continued existence; and every disciple of Jesus Christ may well say, “It is of the Lord's mercy that I am not consumed,"
if thou wert extreme to mark what is done amiss, O Lord, who could stand?"_"not that thou art slack concerning the fulfilment of thy promises or threatenings, as men count slackness; but thou art long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Thus, also, the holy jealousy of the Lord over the Jewish nation, giving them into the hands of their enemies for their national offences, requiring repentance from them, promising repentance to them, and bringing them to repentance, before he delivered them from bondage;-illustrates the paternal chastisement and watchful care of which all the children of God in Christ Jesus are partakers,-for "he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth,” he prunes sharply every fruit-bearing branch, that it may bring forth more fruit. The effect of such discipline is thus beautifully described by the Apostle, 2 Cor. vii. 10, 11, “Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of; .
for behold this self-same thing that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge!” Now as the dealings of the Lord with the Jewish nation, in times past, illustrate this doctrine of the church; so also does this doctrine, now existing in the church, confirm our interpretation of the prophecies, that thus it shall be again with the Jewish nation. Their sorrow must precede their restoration.
We may go one step further, though the subject more properly belongs to our next Lecture, and say, that the unchang, ing faithfulness of God to his church, confirmed by many * Rom. ix. 16–23.
+ Lam, iji, 22. Psal. cxxx. 2 Pet. iii. 9.
infallible promises, * is a token and pledge of the sure accomplishment of his promise of final restoration to the Jews, when their uncircumcised hearts shall be humbled, and when he shall remember his covenant with Jacob, with Isaac, and with Abraham, and shall remember the land. Concerning the church, we say, salvation is promised to the penitent; and except they repent, they cannot be saved: and, again, repentance is promised to them that they may be saved; and being penitent, saved they most surely shall be. Concerning the Jewish nation, we say, restoration is promised to the penitent nation; and except they repent, they cannot be restored: and, again, repentance is promised to them that they may be restored; and being penitent, restored they most surely shall be.
V. Finally, those prophecies which seem opposed to the view here taken of the penitence of the nation, and which have been frequently quoted against it, apply, I conceive, to a totally different branch of the subject. In Ezekiel xx. 42, 43, we read, as addressed to the Jewish nation, “Ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand (I sware) to give it to your fathers: and there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings wherein ye have been defiled, and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils which ye have committed.” And in the 36th chapter we read, “I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land: then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean, &c. ... (24, 25.) Ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers. (28.) I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen: then shall ye remember your own evil ways," &c. (30, 31.) Also in Zechariah, chap. xii. 6, we read, “Jerusalem shall be in
* To those who maintain that no such promises are given; that certainty in the matter of salvation is a most dangerous doctrine; that the Lord Jesus Christ travailed in agony and bloody sweat even unto death, leaving it to the option of fallen creatures, whether he shall ever see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied, or not; there is, of course, no strength in this branch of analogy. But to as many as are persuaded that Jehovah has mercifully taken the end as well as the beginning of this work into his own hand; that ħis purpose is unchangeable, and his covenant, for the accomplishment of it, ordered in all things and sure; that the revealed office of the Holy Ghost is effectually (by means, indeed, of motives working in the moral constitution of the creature, but still effeciually and invariably) to apply what the Lord Jesus has perfectly prepared; and that the final salvation, therefore, soul and body, of every member of the mystical body of Christ is infallibly certain, because God is unalterably true. To as many, I repeat, as are cast into the mould of this sound and orthodox doctrine of the Catholic church, there is, in the analogy before us, a demonstration of the return of the Jews to their own land.
habited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son; and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first
From these and similar passages, it might seem, at first reading, that the national penitence of the Jews is not to be expected until after their restoration to their land. must carefully distinguish between their national penitence, properly so called, under an acknowledgment of their deserved punishment; and their subsequent godly sorrow, under a perception of their undeserved forgiveness. The passages now before us seem to me to predict the conversion of the Jews to the faith of a crucified Messiah,* after they are in their own land; and when the Lord, whom their fathers pierced, shall appear personally among them, for it is in the land, even on the Mount of Olives, that his personal appearance to them shall take place. Zech. xiv. 4. This, therefore, does not interfere with the view already advanced, from other predictions, of a preliminary penitence as Jews, preparatory to their restoration. I understand the 31st chapter of Jeremiah as embracing this whole subject in its order. In verse 18, the preliminary penitence of Israel is declared: “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus, Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God. Surely after I was turned (here is the secret grace of God securing the repentance), I repented; and after I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.” Then follows the kindling mercy of God towards the penitent (20): “Ephraim, my dear son! a pleasant child! for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still; therefore my bowels are troubled for him: I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.'
In the next verses, the restoration of the people to the land is the theme: “Sit thee up way-marks, make thee high heaps; set thine heart toward the highway, even the way which thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities .... .. there shall dwell in Judah itself, and in all the cities thereof together, husbandmen, and they that go forth with flocks .. I will sow the house of Israel, and the house of Judah, (the two kingdoms, however diversely treated
* It is of this conversion that the Apostle Paul speaks in Rom, xi. 23, and 2 Cor. iii. 16.
in the interim, are associated as one in the prediction of final and permanent blessedness) with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast: and it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict, so will I watch over them, to build and to plant, saith the Lord.” (21—28.) And then follows a description of their true change of heart, when the Lord shall make with them a new covenant, and write his laws in their inward parts." (29—34.)
A penitential cry, therefore, to the God of their fathers, uttered by them as Jews, and as a nation, is what we are first to expect. Already, as we have heard from an eye-witness of the interesting scene, some of them assemble themselves on the eve of their Sabbath, under the walls of Jerusalem, where the abomination of desolation still standeth, and chant in mournful melody the lamentations of their Jeremiah, or sing with something like a dawn of hope
“Ail Bene, Ail Bene,
- build thy house speedily.
-build thy house speedily.
-build thy house speedily.” We conclude, for the present, with what Bishop Lowth calls a "formulary of humiliation," "a penitential confession and supplication of the Israelites in their present state of dispersion."
“Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and thy glory. Where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels, and of thy mercies toward me? Are they restrained? Doubtless thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O God, art our Father, our Redeemer; thy name is from everlasting. O. Lord, why hast thou made us to