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say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my first born. And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold I will slay thy son, even thy first born;" Exo. iv., 22, 23. Israel is also styled his elect: “For Jacob, my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name, I have sirnamed thee, though thou hast not known me;" Isa. xlv., 4. They are, furthermore, called the children of Jacob, his chosen ones : “O ye seed of Israel, his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones ;" Chron. xvi., 13. God having chosen them to be a peculiar treasure to himself, above all the people of the earth ; Exo. xix, 5. Deut. vii., 6. So all nations of the earth have ever since received the word of God, and the true religion from the Jewish nation, and Jerusalem has been styled the mother of all churches. Before the first advent of Jesus Christ, to them alone, says St. Paul, “ Belonged the adoption, the glory, and the covenant, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises ;" Rom. ix., 3; and none then could be joined to the Lord ; Isa. Ivi., 3 ; and worship him aright, unless he joined himself to the Jews, and became a worshipper of the God of Israel, or a member of that church.
When Christ came in the flesh, the gospel was first preached to them, as being the children of the kingdom; Matt. viii., 12. Our Lord also exercised his ministry exclusively among them, whence he is styled, “ The ministry of circumcision;" Rom., XV., 8; and he himself declared that he was not sent to any but only “ to the lost sheep of the house of Israel ;” Mat. xv., 24. And when he sent out his apostles, he instructed them, while he was here on the earth, to preach the gospel to none but to the Jews. “These twelve sent Jesus forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not in the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand;" Mat. 5—7. And after his ascension, they were charged to commence preaching at Jerusalem. “ And he said unto them, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem ;” Luke xxiv., 47. And they, accordingly, at first preached the word to none but to Jews only. “Now they which were scattered abroad upon
the persecution that arose about Stephen, travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but to the Jews only;" Acts xi., 19. And St. Paul, who is styled the apostle to the Gentiles, first offers his ministry to the Jews,“ preaching Christ in their synagogues, as his manner was;" Acts ix. 20 ; xiii., 5; xiv. 1; xvii., 12, 17; xviii., 4. He declared it was necessary that the gospel of God should be first spoken to the Jews. “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been preached unto you;" Acts xiii., 46. St. Paul also declared, “ That the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to
every one that believeth, to the Jew first ;" Rom. ii., 10. He furthermore asserts, that " through the fall of the Jews, salvation is come unto the Gentiles;" xi., 11. Our Lord also himself teaches the same doctrine in the parable of the great supper ; in consequence of the refusal of those who were first bidden to come, the invitation was afterwards sent out to the lame, the halt, and the blind, by which we are to understand the Gentiles; Luke xiv. 21.
Notwithstanding the infidelity of the great body of the Jewish nation, the first Christian church which was ever planted, and received the doctrine of the gospel, and the institutions of Christianity, was wholly composed of Jewish converts. " And they continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. . And all that believed were together, and had all things common, and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved ;" Acts ii., 42—47. All the churches of the Gentiles received the gospel from the Jews, they being made partakers of their spiritual things; Rom. xv., 27. And the word of God coming out from them to other churches, the Gentile converts are represented as all “ grafted into their good olive-tree;" Rom. xi., 17. Hence, in the primitive times, the church of Jerusalem had the pre-eminence of all other churches; to her they went for the decision of their controversies ; Acts xv.; and the bishop of Jerusalem is, therefore, styled by the ancients, “ The first bishop, the guide of priests, the top of the heads, the bishop and chief of the apostles ; Cotel, note, p. 138. And the church of Jerusalem is said to be the church " Which all favored as the mother of Christians." And St. Paul declares, alluding to this very church, “ But Jerusalem which above is free, which is the mother of us all :" Gal. iv., 26.
At the fall of anti-christ, and before the second coming of our Lord to judgment, the Jews shall be converted to the faith of the gospel, and become again a most famous church. This mystery St. Paul clearly revealed in the eleventh chapter of his Epistle to the Romans. The reader is requested to turn to that chapter and read it through with care and attention. St. Paul there says: “ For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of the mystery, 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: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins;" Rom. xi., 25–27. Again, “ For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the
world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead ?” Rom. xi., 15. “ And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again;" Rom. XI., 23. The prophets had foretold the infidelity and rejection of the nation of the Jews at the introduction of the gospel, and had especially declared that “ The children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without a teraphim;” Hosea iii., 4. “ For lo, I will command, and I will sist the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sive, yet shall there not the least grain fall upon the earth ;" Amos ix., 9. We have seen the accomplishment of all these prophecies which speak of the rejection and dispersion of the Jews among all nations, and of their remaining a distinct and separate people from all the nations of the earth, and also their wonderful preservation as a numerous people, and why should we doubt the fulfilment of those prophecies which declare their conversion to the Christian faith, and restoration to the divine favor, especially when it has been so plainly and so fully declared by St. Paul himself? What St. Paul asserts respecting this subject in the eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, will serve as a key to the great things spoken by the prophets, relating to the Jewish nation, and teach us to interpret them of their glorious conversion to the faith of the gospel. In connexion with this rejection and dispersion of the Jewish nation, it is declared: "I will bring again the captivity of my people, Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall be no more pulled up out of their land, which I have given unto them, saith the Lord God;" Amos ix., 14, 15. “Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days;" Hosea iii., 5. “ It shall come to pass, in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand a second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shina, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah, from the four corners of the earth. The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim;" Isa. xi., 11–13. The second time of God's setting his hand cannot refer to the restoration of the Jews from Babylon, for though that event might be so denominated in respect of their being brought out of Egypt, yet the period of the whole prophecy does not answer to it. That which is here referred to, is something which should be wrought for Israel under the
reign of the Messiah, and at a time when “ the earth should be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea;" and what it can be, but their conversion to him, I am not able to conceive.
This doctrine is also taught in the following passages : " And it shall come to pass, in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcast in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount of Jerusalem, that they may fear the Lord from the east, and his glory from the rising sun ;" Isa. xxvii., 13; lix., 19. This same sentiment is expressed by Tobit; he says: “When the times of the age shall be accomplished, they shall return from all places of their captivity, and build up Jerusalem, and the house of God shall be built in it gloriously, as the prophets have spoken thereof;" Tobit xiv., 51 ; vi., 7. And when they shall be thus converted, and receive the gospel, then shall salvation be again derived from them to the Gentiles, and they shall be the means of converting such of them as still remain to be converted; and shall draw them to as great purity and zeal, and as great knowledge of the truth as the church ever enjoyed ; for, says the apostle,
“ If the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fulness? And of the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall be the reconciling them but life from the dead,” to the same world ? Rom. xi., 12, 15. These great truths have been clearly foretold by the prophets : “ As I have sworn, that the waters of Noah shall no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee any more; for the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee;" Isa. liv., 9, 10.“ In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign to the people ; and to it shall the Gentiles seek : and his rest shall be glorious ;" xi., 10. “ And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord. My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, from henceforth, and forever;" lix., 20, 21. “I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls salvation, and thy gates praise. The sun shall be no re thy light by day, neither for brightness, shall the moon give light unto thee; but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be thy everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning
shall be ended;" ]x., 15, 18, 19, 20. “Behold, I will then lift up