« AnteriorContinuar »
ing words of the verse are clearly in favor of this con^ struetion. The words, and shall be eaten, are apparently against it, and must be a bad translation. Surely the remnant are not to be spared merely for destruction. Poole and Vitringa give different expositions of this clause. They are both in favor of the passive renderingc But, according to Vitringa^ several learned ferities render it actively. An active rendering, i. e.. that they should return to eat or waste away their enemies, seems to be necessary to make it agree with the rest of the verse, the context, and the scheme of the Bible. But however this clause is to be rendered, and whatever be the meaning of it, the residue of the verse is decidedly in favor of the continuance of a part of Judah in the land. They are compared to a tree, whose foliage is gone. The tree itself remains, keeps its place in the earth, lives, and thrives.
If we recur to the history, we find it said, It Kings,' xxv. 12. "But the captain of the guard, left of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen." These would be more probably inheritors of the blessing than their richer neighbors. For God hath chosen the poor of this world.
The same thing is intimated in Nehemiah, i. 3. *' And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the Province, are in great affliction, and reproach; the wall also of Jerusalem is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire." There is then no evidence of an entire ejection during this captivity. The evidence is against it* Some were left when the captivity began; and when it closes, some are still found in the land.
The present dispersion of the unbelieving Jews resembles that captivity. Analogy would lead us to presume, that a part at least of the remnant, whose history we have traced as far as the scripture would carry us, remained within the limits of the land of Canaan, and that their descendants have continued t# occupy it to the present day, Nw
I fitid little in Dr. Mosheitit's History, which is ex* plicit and demonstrative on this subject. But there are several, passages which imply, that this has been the fact. In his history of the second Century he tells Us,; Vol. I, page 159; "But it was not frbm the Romans alone, that the disciples of Christ were to feel oppress siom Barchochebas, the fictitious king of the Jews, whom Adrian afterwards defeated, vented against them all his fury j because they refused to join his standards, and second his rebellion." This remark will surely apply to no disciples of Christ but such as were Of Jewish descent, and lived in Palestine. In the II. Vol. of his history, page 24, the following passage is found. "It was much about this time, that Jevenal, bishop of Jerusalem, or rather of CElia,* attempted to withdraw himself and his church from the jurisdiction of theBishop of Cesarean and aspired after a place among the first Prelates of tht Christian world. The high degree of veneration, and esteem, in which the church of Jerusalem was held, among all Christian Societies (on account Of its rank among the apostolical churches, and its title to the appellation of the Mother Church, as having succeeded the first Christian Assembly founded by the appostles) was extremely favorable to. the ambition of Juvenal, ahd tendered his project much more practicable than it would otherways nave been." Mactaine, his translator, subjoins the following observation in a note, *' After the destnictioh of Jerusalem, the face of Palestine was almost totally changed ; and it was so parcelled out, and wasted by a succession of wars, and invasions, that it preserved scarcely any traces of its former condition, tinder the Christian Emperors there were three Falestines formed but of the ancient country of that name, each of Which was an episcopal see. And it was over these three dioceses that Juvenal usurped and maintained the jurisdiction." Surely these accounts imply, that there wereattliis time many Christians of Jewish descent inhabiting the land of Canaart. In the 157 page of this Vol. where Mosheim is speaking of the events which happened itt
* The city was generally called Qilia, at that titns.
the seventh century, he remarks thus ; «In ^e eastern Countries, and particularly in Syria and Palestine the Jews at .certain times, attacked the Christians with mer7 $ij<ess fury.'' There were then atJhis tjme also mauy Christians in this land. He mentions Comas, as a bishop of Jerusalem, in the eighth century, who acquire^ considerable reputation for sacred poetry. The opT pressions which the Christians in Palestine suffered from the Saracens, constituted the reason, or the principal lftotiye, which was hojden forth to Christendom for the .crusades.
And modern travellers tell us, that there are now a considerable number of Christians in that country. §ome of them may be sincere believers.
But let us allow that the seed of Abraham are completely ejected. Then the promise must be interpreted as general and final. It is a fact, .that from the time jthat Jacob went down into Egypt to the passage of Jordan under the conduct of Joshua, the seed of Abraham had not actual possession of the land. If this be jreconcileahle with the execution of the promise, as all concede that it is, then the present dispersion may be reconcileable with it, though involving a complete ejection of longer continuance, >
When the Jews were restored to the land of Canaan from their seventy years captivity in Babylon, they were undoubtedly restored in execution of covenant promise. Should this land be again put into possession of Abraham's descendants, now dispersed among the nations; be holden by them exclusively, finally, and under circumstances of greater glory than has yet been experienced; it will be allowed by those who witness this event, that the promise has in no article failed. If there be evidence in the scripture that this is designed, we ought to look upon it as though it were a reality. And this evidence ought to be received as obviating the objection. It shall be our object therefore now, to prove, that tins event is to take place.
The preceding events, the time, the manner, the attending circumstances, and the consequences; their nature, extent, and duration; cannot, consistently with the limits we have prescribed to ourselves, be here explained. These subjects are indeed of the most interesting concern, and fall perfectly within the plan of the present work. But the discussion would lead to deep and extensive research; and if pursued, it must be done in a supplementary volume.
At present it will be sufficient to furnish proof that a restoration is to take place.
There are several things in the transactions of God with Abraham, and in the history of the patriarchs, which imply such an event. Abraham's call had immediate, and express respect to the land of Canaan. The land was promised, not to his seed only, but to him personally. Genesis ^xiii. 15.—"For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever." 17th verse, t* Arise walk through the land in the length of it, and in the breadth of it; for I mill give it unto thee." The words have express respect, not only to his seed, but to him personally. Abraham himself was to inherit it. A miracle was wrought to assure him of it. See the 15th chapter. In the 17th chapter, 8th verse, it is promised to Aim distinctly, and secured to him as an everlasting possession. Yet it is remarked, and evidently remarked with design, by the Martyr Stephen, Acts vii.» "And he gave him none inheritance in it; no, not so much as to set his foot on ; yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child." Agreeably to this it is remarked in the eleventh of Hebrews, that Abraham went into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance; and that he sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise." This idea is suggested also in Exodus vi. 4. »• And I have also established my covenant with them, (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage; -wherein they were strangers." These passages unitedly inform us that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were mere stranger* in this country; and that they never had actual possession of it according to promise. How are these facts reconcileable with the execution of the covenant? Perhaps the fulfilment of this article of it is yet a future event. So far as the scriptures favor this idea, and it is apprehended they do favor it greatly, they authorize us to expect a restoration. There^are several circumstances also in the history of the patriarchs, which pretty evidently look forward to such an event. God's plan is one, is of a piece, and reaches down to very re: mote periods of time.' Many of the events which go to constitute this plan, considered in themselves, may seem frivolous, and not worth detailing in a serious narrative; yet may be important in their connexion with the result. The formal purchase of the cave of Machpelah; the burial of Sarah, of Abraham, Isaac, •Rebecca, Jacob, and Leah in that place; the oath imposed by Jacob, and taken by Joseph, that he would .see that his father's bones had sepulture there; the care with which, in conformity to a similar oath, the bones of Joseph were carried up by the Israelites when they left Egypt for the same purpose; the language of heirship to this land, which is wrought into the covenant, and runs through every part of scripture; the ejection of the idolatrous inhabitants of the land, as intruders, by a series of miracles; the very much that is said of this land in distinction from all other lands, as specially God's property; (see Leviticus xxv. 23) as a land which God's eye is perpetually upon, and which hecareth for; and its being made expressly typical of the blessedness of saints, which is not limited in duration, seem to look forward, with no little force of evidence, to a final, and peculiarly triumphant possession of this land. Christ is eminently the heir. He is heir of the aggregate good conveyed in the promises. But it cannot be supposed he has ever yet entered into possession, according to the true intent of this character. It would seem he must yet, at some period, eject his enemies; who, to the prejudice of his rights, and