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tfe have so far traced, is in fact a continuance of Israel^ as a society; and that this society was continued long after the accession of the Gentiles. Perhaps it is superfluous. But on a subject of so much practical importance, and such diversity of opinion, the reader will pardon an accumulation of evidence, which to him may seem needless.
. Paul, in his Epistle to the Church at Rome, which, as it would seem, from several passages in it, consisted partly of Jews, and partly of Gentiles; an epistle supposed to have been written about seven and twenty years after Christ's ascension, expressly teaches the continuance of the true Israel, in the believing Jews, who then existed; and in distinction from the unbelieving Jews, who were hardened, and cast away, as, vessels of wrath. Rom. ix. 22, 23, 24. "What if God, willing to shew his .wrath, and make his power known; endured with much long suffering, the vessels of -wrath, fitted to destruction. And that he might make known the riches of his glory:, on the vessels of mercy, which he had prepared unto glory. Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles." These believing Jews were called, and made vessels of mercy. In the 27th versej the Apostle tells us, they were the remnant of Israel. "Esaias also, crieth concerning Israel, though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved." This prediction he considers as fulfilled, in the persons of those then existing believ-. ing Jews, of whom he was one. This idea he resumes in the beginning of the eleventh chapter. "I say then, hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, o( the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew." They still remain his people, by the same covenant bonds, in which they had ever been allied to him. He adds in the 5th verse. 'Even so then, at this present time, there is a remnant, according to the election of grace. The same idea he inculcates by the similitude of an olive tree, verse 16. X
"And if the root be holy, so are the branches." It is continued verse 17. "And if some of the branches were broken off." This implies that some of them remained. Let the olive tree therefore, introduced by Paul in this place, represent what it may, this clause undeniably proves, that the believing Jews held precisely the same character, and relation, with their earliest progenitors ; or with Abraham, in whom their society was founded.
As there is much evidence of the point before us in this figure of the olive tree; and as we shall have occasion to make a farther use of it in this chapter, and in the subsequent parts of this Treatise, it is necessary we should determine here what the Apostle designed it should represent. To settle this matter, we must resolve the question, from what were the unbelieving Jews broken off? The branches that are supposed to be broken off, it is conceded on all hands, represent them. The tree, therefore, must represent that, whatever it be, from which the unbelieving Jews were broken off.
It is contended by some, that this was the enjoyment of Gospel means, and offers. Thus Dr. Jenkins, in his Defence of the Baptists, page 63, says, "No doubt the Jews had those outward advantages, that the Gentiles, who were wild, had not." And page 66, "But to the participation of Gospel blessings, in a Gospel Church state, with the Jews who believed; but from which the Jews who believed not, were broken off."* Thus also Mr. Andrews observes, in his Vindication, • page 12. "The representation which Paul meant to to communicate by the metaphor of the olive tree, is simply the opportunity, or proffer of salvation, by Jesus Christ," page 14. "In consequence of their having rejected the proffer of salvation, they were broken off from those privileges which they had, or might have enjoyed."* But the fact is, they have never been broken off from these privileges, and proffers. They have still the whole of the Old Testament scriptures in their hands. And those of the new, are in the hands of some of them, and at the command of all. The Gospel was preached to them, even in Judea, years after this Epistle was written. It has been preached to them in every age since. At this day, wherever they are dispersed, through Europe, Asia, and America, salvation is, with greater or less clearness, overtured to them. Conversions are, in fact, made from among this people. How are they made? Without opportunity, and without the proffer of salvation? Then faith does not come by hearing, nor hearing by the word. By what means is the promise, that they shall be graffed in again, to be executed? Must it not be by the ministration of the word ? Gospel advantages and means, must be brought to them prior to their being graffed in. Therefore, they must be enjoyed while they are broken off. An interpretation, which is absurd in itself, and contradicted by undeniable facts, cannot be admitted. .
* Is it then true, that the unbelieving Jews were once in "a Gospel Church state ?" When? In what is called the Christian Church ? Then, undoubtedly, the Christian Church is but a continuity of the Jewish Church. For it is certain they never were members of the former, as a distinct society from the latter. In what is called the Jewish Church? Then that was a Gospel Church. S» do wvoii.t?, in spite of themselves, get entangled in the truth.
2, That from which the unbelieving Jews were broken off, cannot be Jesus Christ, personally and separately considered, as an object of faith and hope. This is the account which Dr. Baldwin gives of the olive tree, in his last publication, page 240. "By the good olive tree, therefore, we rather think, Christ himself is intended." But this interpretation leads him at once into a sad self-contradiction. For, putting the question, which he perceived would immediately arise in the reader's mind, "If so, it may be asked, how can jt be said, that the unbelieving Jews were branches (as they must have been in some sense) or they could not be broken off?" He answers, "They were so considered in consequence of their visible profession. As a nation, they professed fo be his people." Then the nation of the Jews, were a nation of professing Christians. This is either to concede every thing to us; that the nation of the Jews was the visible kingdom of the Messiah; or it is a declaration without any meaning. If by professing people, be intended, that they were professed believers in Christ, as the twelve disciples were, this is notoriously contrary to fact. For, from first to last, they openly rejected him. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not." They did not receive him by any kind of visible submission; but perpetually opposed, and at last crucified him. Besides, How could they be cut off from a visible profession? A man may profess as long as he lives, let him be in one state or another. Did the thousands of unbelieving Jews now ejflsting, ever make such a profession? Certainly not. No part of the world, have been more openly inimical to Jesus, than this people.
* "Or might have enjoyed." What I broken off from something to which they never were united? But Mr. Andrews endeavors to defend this, by an appeal to the words of Christ. "" There shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out." But this is a poor defence. For these persons were, in fact, in the kingdom of God. What absurdity, to speak • f their being thrust out, unless they had been previously in ? A parallel place we have in Matthew viii. 12, "But the children of the kingdom shall be cast ou' &c."
3. That from which the unbelieving Jews were broken off, was not the society of the elect, as such, or those who, according to God's eternal predestination, become enriched with the adoption of sons. For these all are branches which abide in the vine, and must infallibly be saved. They are vessels of mercy, toward whom, this severity is not shewn.
4. It does not seem satisfactory to say, with Mr. Peter Edwards, that the olive tree represents simply a visible Church state. It is not denied, it is one of the principles of this Treatise, that some of these unbelieving Jews were in a visible Church state, and cut off from it by open unbelief. And dismemberment in this sense is undoubtedly involved in that dispensation by which they were broken off-. But does a simple, visible Church stale, come up fully to the idea conveyed by the metaphor of the olive tree ? Does this stafsj comprehend the fatness of which the believing Gentiles partake ? Does it distinguish living, from nominal Christians? Are all who are in this state subjects of saving faith ? Is this, and this only, the state into which the unbelieving Jews are to be grafted again? Is this all that is implied in the effect of the vail's being taken from trie heart, and their turning to the Lord? Would the salvation of all Israel follow of course? I confess myself not satisfied with this explanation. And am constrained, therefore, to adopt another idea, viz,
•5. That from which the unbelieving Jews were broken off was the Society of Israel, without any respect to the distinction of visible and invisible membership. Let this matter be a little explained. It has appeared from passages, which have been introduced, and there are a multitude of others of a like kind, that Israel, as an entire community, is often addressed under the notion of a single person. "Moreover he will bihig upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of, and they shall cleave unto thee." This language expresses a complete unity. All over the scripture, injunctions, predictions, promises, and threatenings are addressed to" this society, in the second person singular, as though it were an individual, existing through the succeesive periods of time. This mode of speaking, while it marks the identity and unity of the Society with peculiar force, seems to exclude the distinction of visible and invisible membership, though it really exists. In a manner corresponding with which, our Lord says, John xv. 1, 2. "I am the true vine, and my father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." 5th verse, "I am the vine, ye are the branches." Here the Savior identifies his followers with himself; all of them without distinction. He and his people are one person, as much as the vine and the branches are one vine. Yet some of these followers of his, who are in him, according to the rr^taphor, as much, and in the same sense, as the