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are told "waxed bold and said.” (this was at Antioch,)" It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you, but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord, and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region." Still we find that the same principle was preserved and taken as the rule of conduct. In the last chapter of the Acts of the Apostles we find St. Paul solemnly addressing himself to the Jews. He was then at Rome, where he had liberty to receive such of them at his own hired house, as desired to confer with him on the subject of the everlasting gospel. But when he found that, generally speaking, they were unwilling to receive his testimony, he thus addresses them, "Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, saying, Go unto this people and say, hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand, and seeing ye shall see and shall not perceive; for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed, lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." Then mark the words which the inspired apostle adds, "Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it." Thus the Gospel began to be, as it were, transferred to the Gentiles, and it gradually left the Jews. That gospel subsequently travelled from land to land, and in the mercy and grace of our God long ago did it reach the happy and highly privileged country whence he who this evening addresses you has come hither, and long ago by the blessing of God did that gospel in the midst of its varied journeyings visit the privileged land-for privileged it is, in many respects-in which I now address you; and assuredly the same word of divine truth, according to the counsel of God which cannot be set aside, will,
chased with the price of his most precious blood. Those apostles "went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following." Still the Jewish nation rejected the overtures of mercy, and the consequence was, that, having filled up the measure of their iniquities, they were rejected of God for a season. This the Lord Jesus had predicted, and the prediction was literally fulfilled. I proceed in the next place to observe, that
The rejection of the Jews was, according to the purpose of God, in his inscrutable wisdom, a means of the receiving, or reconciling of the world; a means of the receiving of the Gentiles into his favor, and into a blessed fellowship and communion with him through faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Here then I would remind you, that, according to the prediction of our adorable Redeemer, ،، repentance and remission of sins" were to "be preached in his name amongst all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Hence we find, that the apostles in obedience to the Saviour's command, and attending to the precise language of his injunction, while they went forth preaching the gospel everywhere, began first to proclaim its blessed truths at Jerusalem, to those of their own nation on the day of Pentecost. And subsequently they continued to act according to the spirit, even where they could not act according to the direct letter of their Lord's command. For, when they left Jerusalem and went to preach the gospel in other places, we find from the records of their preaching as preserved in the acts of the apostles, that wheresoever they went they first of all entered into the synagogues of the Jews, and there to those of their own nation, even to those who had rejected the Lord of Glory, they preached salvation through Jesus Christ. The Jews, however, considered in their collective capacity though, through the mercy of God, there were many blessed and happy exceptions continued obstinately to oppose themselves to the overtures of divine grace, they continued obstinately to reject and refuse the Messiah. Then it was that the apostles turned away from them, and, as it were, uttered their condemnation "Paul and Barnabas" we
continue to travel and to spread its benign and saving influence, until the full purpose of the grace of God in Christ Jesus shall be accomplished. Satan cannot arrest it in its career. Satan may ceed through his agents, abettors, and instruments, in putting fetters and manacles on those who are engaged in preaching the gospel, but he cannot fetter, or manacle the gospel itself. It was the testimony of this inspired apostle when he himself was a prisoner in bonds, that the word of God is not bound." And O let me here call upon you before I proceed with my subject, to reflect with all seriousness of mind upon that gospel which, in the mercy of God has been, and still is preached among us. call upon you to bear in mind what is the intelligence, the all-important intelligence which that gospel brings. Our blessed Lord himself concisely, but fully, sets that intelligence before us when he informs us that "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life." "God," proceeds the faithful and true witness," sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved." An inspired apostle also gives us a concise view of the gospel, when in one single verse he tells us of the calamity in which we are involved by sin, and of the deliverance provided for us by divine grace; "for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." But while I remind you of the intelligence which the gospel brings, let me likewise direct your attention to its character, its moral character, its character as to its practical design and tendency. On this important subject we likewise receive information from the same apostle, for he declares that "the grace of God which bringeth salvation," and this is but a periphrastic mode of expressing the gospel itself, "hath appeared to all men." Then mark its character, its moral character, its important practical tendency which the apostle proceeds thus to describe; "teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who
gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Such, then, is the suc-intelligence which the gospel brings, and such is the character and nature of the gospel itself in regard to its practical tendency.
Now the result of the rejection of the Jews, in consequence of their having filled up the measure of their iniquities, has been, that this gospel, which as the ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ I have this evening endeavoured to set before you, has been sent to us. O let us remember the responsibility that attaches to us, in connection with this inestimable boon. O let us remember, that if we do not rightly avail ourselves of the privileges transferred to us, their transfer will most awfully increase and aggravate our guilt; for thus saith the Redeemer himself, and his language is applicable to Gentiles as well as to Jews if they are guilty of the same offence,— "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil." Oh! may God of his abounding grace and mercy grant that we may not only hear the truths of the everlasting gospel, but so receive those truths in the love of them, that that gospel which is the "power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first and also to the Greek," may be the power of God to the salvation of our own immortal souls; then shall we ascribe that salvation "to Him that sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb," and joyfully continue this ascription of praise as long as eternity shall endure. But, I proceed to contemplate.
II. WHAT WILL, AS CERTAINLY, BE THE RESULT OF THE FUTURE RECEPTION
OF THE Jews.
The Apostle, in the language of the text, leads us to expect that the result will be great, and glorious, and important; for if" saith he "the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what will the receiving of them be but life from the dead ?" Now, I am quite aware that it has been, and is maintained, that the language here recited is not so clearly and decidedly the language of prediction as christians are accustomed to suppose, I am perfectly
well aware that the original of this passage, abstractedly considered, might be thus rendered, "If the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what would the receiving of them be but life from the dead." If, however, we suppose the Apostle to be employing the language of mere abstract argument, and that for the purpose of urging on the Gentiles the duty of using their vigorous exertions for promoting and advancing the spiritual welfare of the Jews, still I would affirm, that his language, even when considered as argumentatively employed, is equivalent to a prediction, inasmuch as the former part of the inferential clause, namely, that part which has respect to the restoration of the Jews, relates to a subject which is frequently brought forward in scripture as the theme of explicit prophecy. Supposing the Apostle then to be arguing thus, "If they," that is the Jews, "should be received, then their reception would be as life from the dead,"—that is, it would be to the rest of the world as a spiritual resurrection-a resurrection from a death in trespasses and sins; we may at once avail ourselves of his argument, and, in connexion with what we know from other parts of Scripture, turn it into the language of prediction, in some such way as this.—The apostle affirms hypothetically, that, if the Jews should be received then their reception would be to the rest of the world as life from the dead; it would be the means of effecting, generally, a moral or spiritual renovation; but we know that the Jews will be received, for this is expressly predicted in many parts of God's word, therefore we know from the tenour of the Apostle's argument, even if it be no more than an argument, that the reception of the Jews will be to the rest of the world no less than life from the dead— the world will be spiritually renovated, and, as it were, created anew in Christ Jesus.
he does not directly affirm it, in these words: "I say, then, hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.God hath not cast away his people whom he foreknew." But we find the Apostle, in a subsequent part of the chapter, speaking clearly, plainly, distinctly and affirmatively on this subject. In the 25th and 26th verses he says, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, (lest ye should be wise in your own conceits,) that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." But, let us confirm the language of the inspired Apostle, by a reference to that of the prophets on this subject; and I shall deem it sufficient to call your attention to two copious passages out of a great variety which might be brought forward. I refer you in the first place to the testimony which is recorded in Ezekiel xxxvii. the 21st to the 28th verse inclusive: "Thus saith. the Lord God, Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all; neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them; so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them, and they all shall have one shepherd; they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them." I call on those whom I address, particularly to observe, in what a remarkable manner, and to what a great extent, temporal and spiritual blessings are here blended together, a manner indeed so remarkable that I cannot for a moment imagine that the passage I am reciting to you has ever yet received its intended accom
plishment. The prophet, speaking in the name of the Lord proceeds, " And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein; even they, and their children, and their children's children, for ever; and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore." I shall only further refer you on this point to the language of the Prophet Zechariah, in chapter x. of his prophecies, the sixth and following verses. And I will strengthen the House of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph," Joseph is here put by synecdoche for the ten tribes as distinguished from the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin," And I will bring them again to place them, for I have mercy upon them, and they shall be as though I had not cast them off, for I am the Lord their God, and will hear them.And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their hearts shall rejoice as through wine; yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the Lord. I will hiss for them, and gather them, for I have redeemed them, and they shall increase as they have increased. And I will sow them among the people, and they shall remember me in far countries." Mark, that the Israelites, even before the restoration to their own land takes place, shall partially, at least, remember the God of their fathers in those distant countries whither they are dispersed and scattered. "And they shall live with their children, and turn again." In what sense shall they live? Probably the Prophet meant in the favor of God, just as Abraham was desirous in his petition that Ishmael, his son, might be the object of God's favor, "O, that Ishmael might live before thee.". "I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Le
bannon; and place shall not be found for them. And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up; and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away; and I will strengthen them in the Lord ; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the Lord."
I may again make an observation, similar to that which I made in connection with the last passage which I quoted, namely, that temporal and spiritual blessings are here so blended together, that it seems scarcely possible that, on a fair consideration of the entire prediction, we should come to the conclusion that it has already received its accomplishment. Thus we find the language of the Apostle in various parts of the chapter, from a portion of which I have been addressing you, confirmed by explicit predictions of the Prophets. It being then sufficiently clear from prophecy, that the Jews will yet be received into the favor of God, we may fairly infer, according to the tenor of the Apostle's argument in the text, that their reception will be as life from the dead to the world at large; "what shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead ?"
This glorious result, however, does not rest solely on the Apostle's argument though that were abundantly sufficient. We find that argument satisfactorily confirmed by the clear and copious language of prophecy which fore tells the blessings which will accrue to the world from the conversion and restoration of the Jews; the destined instruments of God for the welfare and salvation of mankind.— First of all then, I will direct your attention to the language of Isaiah, in the 27th chapter of his prophecies, the sixth verse, where he describes the Almighty as speaking concerning Israel in these terms. "He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root. Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit." But, I would more particularly call upon you to contemplate the glowing and copious language of this prophet in the commencement of the Ix. chapter, where, addressing the Jewish church, he says "Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross
darkness the people; but the Lord shall | the Apostle's phraseology in the text.. arise upon thee, and his glory shall be The conversion of the Jews, then, and seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall their future restoration, through the come to thy light, and kings to the mercy of God, to their own land, will, brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine according to the purposes of divine grace, eyes round about, and see; all they lead to the extension of the richest gather themselves together, they come to blessings to the whole human race; thee; thy sons shall come from far, and when that bright and glorious period thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. shall be at hand, in which "the knowThen thou shalt see, and flow together, ledge of the Lord shall cover the earth and thine heart shall fear, and be en- as the waters cover the sea." It is not larged; because the abundance of the necessary that I should further enlarge sea shall be converted unto thee, the in the way of exposition. I proceed, forces of the Gentiles shall come unto therefore, to observe, that in reviewing thee." the subject which has engaged our attention, and endeavouring to derive from it some practical instruction, we should immediately deem it to be our bounden duty to feel a deep interest in the welfare of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is clearly our bounden duty, because we find, (with reverence be it spoken) that God himself has manifested a deep interest in their welfare, and if we fail to be similarly affected with reference to that nation which he has so highly favored, we are guilty of dishonoring God, and of not paying that particular attention which it is incumbent on us to pay to the plain testimony and declarations of his word. In the next place, I would observe that we shall not rightly contemplate this interesting and important subject, unless it leads us to compassionate the Israelites in their present forlorn and destituté condition. When we view them as they now are and then revert in our minds, to the state of glory and eminence in which they once were, and from which they have so fearfully fallen, we may well say, in the language of Jeremiah, "How is the gold become dim, how is the most fine gold changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street. The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!"
But we shall not rightly improve this subject unless we are in our hearts, unfeignedly thankful to Almighty God for that grace which he has been pleased to extend to ourselves—to us who are ready to condemn—and, alas! we are but too ready to condemn the Jews for their rejection of the Messiah when he came to his own and his own received him not. O let us ask-If we have not rejected the testimony of God's word concerning his Son,
I refer you also to the language of the prophet Micah which closely resembles that which is employed by Isaiah in an early part of his writings. The words of Micah are these: :-- "But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths, for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." Still more especially would I direct your attention to the language of the prophet Zechariah, who wrote after the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, and whose testimony is, on that account, more peculiarly valuable. We find him thus writing at the close of the 8th chapter. "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, it shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities. And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of Hosts; I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of Hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."
Sufficient, I trust, has been advanced to establish the truth of that conclusion at which we have been endeavouring to aive, with respect to the meaning of