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coming; except to those who have unscripturally associated the ideas of his coming with 'the re'storation of Israel:' and, as fact proves that Israel is not restored, no further proof can be requisite to such persons: but ' an honest man,' (p. 25. 1. 22.) having well considered this argument, may think with me, that it has no relation at all to the present subject.
P. 25.1. 32. 'Five hundred years before Christ.' The Lamentations were written after the destruction of the first temple; the second was not destroyed till above seventy years after the birth of Jesus: yet Mr. C. in other places, computes that no more than 490 years occurred between the one and the other! (P. 88.)
P. 25. 1. 34. 'He could do no good to Israel.1 Jesus did good to many ten thousands of Jews, personally and by his apostles: but what physician can do good to an obstinate patient, who not only rejects his advice and his medicines, but also—^fit pugil, et medicum urget?—becomes a boxer, andJights his physician?
P. 26.1. 12. ' Proof from the gospel,' &c. This is a vain attempt to make the gospel destructive of itself. It would be indeed most wonderful, if Jesus, who before Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate avowed himself the Messiah, and who was crucified for that avowal, should be found just before to testify that he was not the Messiah! (1. 26.) But this is not the only instance in which our Lord is introduced as renouncing the claims which he was crucified for advancing. Mr. C. has it fully settled in his own mind, that the coming of the Messiah and the restoration of Israel must occur at the same time: and thus he is every where led to assume, as self-evident, the very point which he ought to prove.
Our Lord's claim to be a Prophet will come under consideration in another place. At present the expression, " until the times of the gentiles be "fulfilled," may require a brief consideration.
TIMES OF THE GENTILES."
Considerable weight is laid on these words; and Mr. C. takes for granted that they mean, 'until the measure of the iniquities of the gentiles 'shall be full:' (1. 30—34.) but they appear tome to admit of a very different interpretation.—'axp> Txvh,&u)o-i xaipo) eSvuiv; "Until the times of the "nations shall be accomplished," or, " shall have been fulfilled." No expression, at all resembling this, occurs in the Old Testament; or even in the New, except that of the apostle in the Epistle to
the Romans:l *Ap£?<? a To irXijf w/*a ruiv t&vujv Ikkx&ji;
"Until the time when the fulness of the nations "shall come in." When the times shall arrive for the fulness of the gentiles to be brought into the church, "the blindness," which "in part has "happened to Israel," shall be removed, "and so "all Israel shall be saved." 2 This, or somewhat to this effect, is the evident meaning of the apostle: and from his argument it may be concluded, at least with gr;eat probability, that, according to his views, the conversion and resto
1 Rom. xi. 25. 'Rom. xi. 25—31. 2 Cor. iii. 13—16.
VOL. IX. P
ration of Israel will occur nearly at the time, when in the purpose of God, " the fulness of the "nations" shall become the subjects of Jesus Christ: and that the conversion of Israel, occurring at this crisis, shall introduce that grand display of the power, and truth, and mercy of God: and be "as life from the dead" to the nations of the world, and be one grand means of accomplishing it. Certainly the apostle meant the conversion of the nations? and there can be little doubt that the words of our Lord had reference to the same.— Till that period shall arrive, "Jerusalem shall" continue " trodden under foot of the gentiles."
I do not deny that the restoration of Israel will be preceded, and attended, by most tremendous judgments on many nations. In this the prophecies both of the Old and New Testament agree.1 'The restoration of Israel' will, no doubt, be one grand part of the Messiah's triumph over the beast, the false prophet, and the old serpent.2 Besides antichristian opponents, the Mohammedans and idolaters, in Canaan and in the east, will no doubt vehemently oppose the reinstatement of Israel in the promised land; as the Canaanites did in the days of Joshua, and with the same event. But these dreadful scenes will be of no very long duration, and will introduce " the "times of the gentiles ;" or the conversion of all nations to Christianity. Among the converts to our holy religion, Israel will assuredly have a peculiar preeminence, as the nation through which God has blessed all other nations: not, as they vainly
1 Ez. xxxviii. xxxix. 1—16. Joel iii. 8 Rev. xix. 11—21.
dream, by ruling over them with haughty dominion ; which they will cease to desire, when they fully experience the loving spirit of Christianity: but by the willing honour, and grateful deference, rendered them by their fellow Christians. Then they will understand and enter into the apostle's meaning; "There is neither Jew "nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there "is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in "Christ Jesus." »
'" The times of the gentiles" seem to signify 'the times, during which the gentiles are per'mitted to keep possession of Jerusalem; namely, 'till the Jews be converted unto Christ :• then 'their times will be fulfilled; probably the Jews 'will be restored to their own land, and vengeance 'will be executed on those who oppose their 'return. For these events seem to be predicted, 'introductory to the calling of the nations into 'the church. Or, the times appointed for the 'calling of the gentiles, or all nations, into the 'church, may be meant. When this draweth 'nigh, the Jews will recover their holy city.'*
Nothing can be more clear than that such a time is foretold throughout the Old Testament. I shall not, in this place, anticipate a question which will soon come under our consideration: but let the reader carefully consider the texts referred to below ;3 and he must be convinced, I should think, that the times of the gentiles in this sense may confidently be expected: for " the "scripture cannot be broken." Whether this conversion of the nations to the worship of the God of Israel shall be by their being proselyted to Judaism, as the Jews sometimes appear to admit, or by their conversion to Christianity, may with many persons be a matter of doubt: but the predictions are undeniable: and the times when these shall be fulfilled are "the times of "the gentiles; and not the times when the gentiles, at large, shall be destroyed, or crushed, which is no where foretold by the prophets. On the contrary, after several predictions of dreadful judgments on this or the other nation, it is added, "Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab "in the latter days." The same is said of Ammon and of Elam.1 The times are coming, not when Judah shall rule with an iron rod over all nations, but when all nations shall be gathered to Judah's Shiloh; receive from Judah "the oracles of God ;" worship, and serve, and bless themselves, in the God of Israel; and honour and love Israel as the chief nation on earth, and the source of blessings to all other nations. And surely it might be thought that this would be more gratifying even to Jews, than their present expectations of lordly dominion: and certainly it will be so, when the Lord shall "circumcise their heart to "love him with all their heart." Then preeminence in love, and gratitude, and honour, from
1 Gal. iii. 26—29. * Scott's Bible, on Luke xxi. 20—24. 'Gen. xii. 3. xxii. 18. Ps.xxii, 27. lxxii. 17. Is. ii. 1—4. xix. 24, 26. Jx. Jer.xvi. 19. Mic. iv. 1—4. Mai. i. 11.