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as men count slackness, in carrying into effect the great purposes of his grace. God promotes the fruitfulness of the earth by cold as well as by heat, by darkness as well as by light; just so he promotes the prosperity of the church, by all the opposition made to its growth and enlargement. By all past errors, delusions, idolatries and infidelity among Jews and Gentiles, God has been preparing the way, as fast as possible, for the conversion and restoration of the Jews, and for the conversion of all nations to the belief and love of the gospel, and for the ruin of his incorrigible enemies. They have been saying and are still saying, “ Where is the promise of his coming ? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” The methods which God is employing to promote his gracious designs, are as well suited to try the hearts of saints, as the hearts of sinners. The darkness and the light which now attend the operations of divine providence, have a direct tendency to awaken the hopes and fears of both the friends and enemies of Christ. Accordingly, we find an uncommon zeal and exertion on both sides. This zeal and exertion will probably rise to a much higher degree, to prepare the way for the conversion and restoration of the Jews, for the destruction of their enemies, and for the suppression of all opposition to the cause of truth. The friends of Christ have no just ground to murmur or despond at the apparently slow movements of the wheels of providence, nor his enemies to hope and triumph. In due time, the Jews will be restored and converted, the gospel will spread and prevail, errors and delusions will be detected and destroyed, and the enemies of all righteousness will either embrace the truth, or perish in their strong delusions.
4. If the Jews shall be called in, then we cannot expect any long settled peace among the nations of the earth, till that great event shall take place. It cannot be brought about in an ordinary way, without disturbing the peace and harmony of all nations where they principally reside, and through whom they must make their way to Judea, which is in the possession of the Mohammedans, who are very numerous and powerful. They are equal enemies to Jews and christians, and firmly attached to their strong and pleasing delusions. No moral means will have the least tendency to convince them of their errors, or dispose them to embrace Christianity. They will risk their lives before they will give up their religion and government, which are inseparably connected. It would require an immensely numerous and powerful army to subdue them, if they should stand alone; but they undoubtedly would, if they found it necessary, call in the assistance of other deluded, idolatrous nations. All false religions can unite against the true. It is not to be supposed that the Mohammedans can be conquered, without spreading war and desolation among the whole Eastern world. And should a general war break out there, it would directly or indirectly affect all Europe, if not America. It will require great convulsions and revolutions in the Christian, as well as in the Heathen world, to purge them of their errors and delusions in theory and practice. There must be a vast deal of hay and stubble burnt up, before the primitive purity of Christianity can be introduced into the nominal churches of Christ. But they will be more loath to give up error than truth. There is no just ground to expect that the Jews will be called in, and the Millennium will be brought on, by the mild means of mere moral motives. God has commonly protected, built up, and enlarged his church, by employing the sword to destroy its enemies. His people made their way to the land of Canaan by the force of arms, and took possession of it by destroying and subduing the original inhabitants of it. The resormation from Popery was brought about by long and bloody wars in the states of Germany; and the churches in this country owe their origin, their preservation and enlargement, to a series of wars and revolutions among christians and heathens. God has always seen it necessary to promote his own cause by the dreadful means of wars and fightings. And there is every reason to expect that he will still continue to employ these means to answer the same purpose, till all the hostile nations of the earth lay down their arms,
the kingdom of the Prince of peace. Though some suppose the Millennium has already commenced, and will soon be peaceably ushered in, yet their opinion does not appear to be well founded upon any thing God has said in his word, or has done in his providence. Wars and rumors of wars are still sounding in our ears; and in respect to those nations in particular, who will probably destroy one another to prepare the way for the restoration of the Jews. It concerns the friends of God to prepare for the fiery trials that may await them.
5. It appears from what has been said, that we have as much reason to believe the Jews will be eventually restored to their native country, as they had to believe the coming, incarnation, sufferings and death of Christ, before his appearance in the flesh. There was a multitude of plain predictions in the Old
Testament concerning the person, life and death of Christ, which the Jews ought to have believed before he appeared, and especially after he had appeared, suffered and died.' But there are as many plain predictions, both in the Old and New Testament, concerning the restoration of the Jews after their long dispersion. And there are no more apparent difficulties in the way of their returning to their native land, than there were in
the way of Christ's coming into the world. But christians have been very unbelieving in respect to their return. Their unbelief of that remote event has become proverbial. hear any one say that such or such event will not take place till the Jews come, we understand him to mean that such an event never will come to pass. Such unbelief of the plain and numerous predictions of the conversion and restoration of the Jews, has led Christian nations to despise and abuse that ancient and once venerable nation. This feeling and conduct is a species of infidelity, highly reproachful to those who profess to believe the Bible, in which there are such great and precious promises in favor of God's peculiar people. It is true, they deserve to be despised and neglected, for their despising and neglecting the heathen so long, and viewing themselves as the only nation worthy of the notice and favor of God. Even the apostles, at first, supposed the gospel was sent exclusively to the Jews, and that salvation was of the Jews only. But this is no excuse for Gentile christians, who neglect, despise and abuse them almost every where. But,
6. Since God has plainly told us that he intends to deliver them from their low and depressed state, and carry them back to their native land, and put them into the possession of all the privileges and blessings of the gospel, we ought to desire and do all we can to bring about that great and happy event. We believe that the gospel makes no distinction between Jew and Gentile, and that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. It appears from what has been said, that their conversion and restoration will be a rich and extensive blessing to the world, and like life from the dead to us, as well as to them. It is, therefore, a most important and desirable event. Paul viewed it in this light. “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” He says again,“ I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this 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. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes; but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. — For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief; even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.” We are much indebted to the Jews, who prepared the way for the coming, incarnation, and atoning death of Christ, and for spreading the gospel far and wide by the apostles, who were descendants of the Hebrews, the seed of Abraham. We have received unspeakable benefits from their being for a while cast away, and are promised still greater benefits from their predicted restoration. We 'ought sincerely to desire this great and glorious event, and to unite in our exertions with those who are forming societies and using means to bring it to pass. The Christian nations at the present day seem to have a greater tenderness for the Turks than for the Jews, and are unwilling to disturb them, for the sake of delivering the Jews from their despotic and cruel hands. But this is probably a work which they ought to do, and are destined to do. There is no ground to expect the restoration of the Jews, without the aid and assistance of the Christian world. And if the Jews are to be restored before the commencement of the Millennium, it is time for christians to be awake, and alive to the great and arduous work they have to do, and to prepare themselves for it. And they will not prepare themselves for it, until they attend to, and believe the divine predictions concerning God's peculiar, chosen and beloved people, who are groaning for deliverance from the cruelty and oppression of an ungrateful and unbelieving world.
Finally, This subject teaches us the indispensable obligation we are under to believe, and love, and obey the sacred oracles, which the Jews so long preserved, and at length conveyed to us Gentiles, who were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. The apostle asks, “ What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?" He replies, “ Much, every way: chiefly because that unto them were committed the oracles of God." These we have more fully and completely in our hands, than the Jews ever had. By these we are highly favored above the Jews, who have only the Old Testament in their hands; and above all the pagan world, who are totally destitute of divine revelation, and perishing for the lack of knowledge. Our obligations to embrace the gospel are as great as the blessings which are promised to all who do embrace it. Those who disbelieve and reject the gospel, not only forfeit all the blessings it offers to their choice, but expose themselves to an aggravated condemnation, for resisting the light and force of divine truth, which renders them far more guilty than the unenlightened heathen. So our Saviour said to them who heard and rejected the gospel he preached : “ Wo unto thee, Chorazin: Wo unto thee, Bethsaida; for if the mighty works which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you."
SERMON X X IV.
SAINTS DESIRE TO SEE THE BEAUTY OF THE LORD.
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to be hold the beauty of
the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. - FSA Li xxvii. 4
David was a man of war from his youth; and during the greater part of his reign, his duty called him to head his armies, and lead them forth against his enemies, who were almost perpetually invading his kingdom. And though he was willing to follow the voice of God in his providence, yet he sincerely regretted his necessary absence from the house of God. Every revolving Sabbath renewed and increased his strong desires after the precious privileges and enjoyments of the sanctuary. And he was led, on some sacred day of rest, to compose this psalm, in which he expresses the pious feelings of his heart, and his ardent wishes to meet God in the place where he recorded his name, and displayed the moral excellences of his character. “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek aster: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to in. quire in his temple.” It was his sincere desire that his business might always admit of his being in the house of God every Sabbath ; and he determined, as far as possible, to order his secular concerns so, that he might constantly attend the services of the sanctuary. For he says he viewed this the greatest privilege on earth. “ One thing have I desired;" that is, I have desired one thing above all others; and that is, to enjoy without interruption, the public worship of God in his house. This he desired above all things, because it gave him the best opportunity of beholding the beauty of the Lord, and of knowing his mind and will revealed in his word. All good men VOL. VI.