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and conversion. He declares, that, when in the countries of their dispersion they shall call to mind the things which have befallen them, and shall understand the true grounds of those curses which have so long pursued them, then the Lord will turn their captivity, and gather them out of all the nations whither he had scattered them; that he will bring them back into the land of their fathers; that he will restore to it its former fertility; that he will spiritually circumcise their hearts; and that he will cause both them and their children to love the Lord their God with all their heart and with all their soul. Nor does he only predict the restoration and prosperity of Israel. He intimates, that, at the same period, God will put all the curses, which he had once poured upon the Jews, upon the head of their enemies, and upon the head of those that hated and persecuted them. From other parallel prophecies, which treat more largely of the judgments of the Lord at the era of the restoration of the Jews, we cannot doubt that this is an allusion to the overthrow of Antichrist and his confederacy.
It is deeply interesting to view, in connection with the present prediction, the sentiments of the Jews themselves. "Soon after the establishment of Christianity," says one of their writers, "the Jewish nation, dispersed since the second destruction of its temple, had totally disappeared. By the light of the flames which devoured the monuments of its ancient splendour, the conquerors beheld a million of victims dead or expiring on their ruins. The hatred of the enemies of that unfortunate nation raged longer than the fire which had consumed its temple; active and relentless, it still pursues and oppresses them in every part of the globe over which they are scattered. Their persecutors delight in their torments too much to seal their doom by a general decree of proscription, which would at once put an end to their burthensome and painful existence. It seems as if they were allowed to survive the destruction of their country, only to see the most odious and calumnious imputations laid to their charge, to stand as the constant object of the grossest and most shocking injustice, as a mark for the insulting finger of scorn, as a sport to the most inveterate hatred; it seems
as if their doom was incessantly to suit all the dark and bloody purposes, which can be suggested by human malignity supported by ignorance and fanaticism. Weighed down by taxes, and forced to contribute more than Christians for the support of society, they had hardly any of the rights which it gives. If a destructive scourge happened to spread havock among the inhabitants of a country, the Jews had poisoned the springs; or those men, cursed by heaven, had, nevertheless, incensed it by their prayers against the nation which they were supposed to hate. Did sovereigns want pecuniary assistance to carry on their wars? The Jews were compelled to give up those riches in which they sought some consolation against the oppressing sense of their abject condition : as a reward for their sacrifices, they were expelled from the state which they had supported, and were afterwards recalled to be stript again. Compelled to wear exteriorly the badges of their abject state, they were every where exposed to the insults of the vilest populace. When from his solitary retreat an enthusiastic hermit preached the crusades to the nations of Europe, and a part of its inhabitants left their country to moisten with their blood the plains of Palestine, the knell of promiscuous massacre tolled before the alarm-bell of war. Millions of Jews were then murdered to glut the pious rage of the crusaders. It was by tearing the entrails of their brethren that these warriors sought to deserve the protection of heaven. Skulls of men and bleeding hearts were offered as holocausts on the altars of that God who has no pleasure even in the blood of the innocent lamb, and ministers of peace were thrown into a holy enthusiasm by these bloody sacrifices. It is thus, that Basil, Treves, Coblentz, and Cologn, became human shambles. It is thus, that upwards of 400,000 victims of all ages and of both sexes lost their lives at Cesarea and Alexandria-And is it, after they have experienced such treatment, that they are reproached with their vices? Is it, after being for eighteen centuries the sport of contempt, that they are reproached with being no longer alive to it? Is it, after having so often glutted with their blood the thirst of their 'persecutors, that they are held out as enemies to other
nations? Is it, when they have been bereft of all means to mollify the hearts of their tyrants, that indignation is roused, if now and then they cast a mournful look towards the ruins of their temple, towards their country, where formerly happiness crowned their peaceful days, free from the cares of ambition and of riches?
"Since the light of philosophy began to dawn over Europe, our enemies have ceased to satisfy their revenge with the sacrifice of our lives. Jews are no longer seen, who, generously refusing to bend under the yoke of intolerance, were led with solemn pomp to the fatal pile. But, although the times of these barbarous executions are past long ago, although the hearts of sovereigns are now strangers to this cruelty, yet slavery itself and prejudices are still the same. By what crimes have we then deserved this furious intolerance? What is our guilt? Is it in that generous constancy which we have manifested in defending the laws of our fathers? But this constancy ought to have entitled us to the admiration of all nations, and it has only sharpened against us the daggers of persecution. Braving all kinds of torments, the pangs of death, the still more terrible pangs of life, we alone have withstood the impetuous torrent of time, sweeping indiscriminately in its course nations, religions, and countries. What is become of those celebrated empires, whose very name still excites our admiration by the ideas of splendid greatness attached to them, and whose power embraced the whole surface of the known globe? They are only remembered as monuments of the vanity of human greatness. Rome and Greece are no more; their descendants, mixed with other nations, have lost even the traces of their origin; while a population of a few millions of men, so often subjugated, stands the test of thirty revolving centuries, and the fiery ordeal of fifteen centuries of persecution! We still preserve laws, which were given to us in the first days of the world, in the infancy of nature! The last followers of a religion which had embraced the universe have disappeared these fifteen centuries, and our temples are still standing! We alone have been spared by the indiscriminating hand of time, like a column left standing amidst the wreck of worlds and the
ruins of nature. The history of this people connects present times with the first ages of the world, by the testimony which it bears of the existence of those early periods: it begins at the cradle of mankind, and its remnants are likely to be preserved to the very day of universal destruction. All men, whatever may be their opinions and the party which they have adopted, whether they suppose that the will of God is to maintain the people which he has chosen; whether they consider that constancy which characterises the Jews as a reprehensible obstinacy; or if, lastly, they believe in a God, who, regarding all religions with equal complacency, needs no other wonders to exemplify his greatness, but the incessant and magnificent display of the beauties of nature: all, if their minds are susceptible of appreciating virtue and tried firmness, will not refuse their just admiration to that unshaken constancy unparalleled in the annals of any nation *.”
How can we satisfactorily account for the wonderful preservation of the dispersed Jews, without admitting, what is so repeatedly inculcated in prophecy, that their concerns are under a Special superintendance of God's providence †? And for what purpose can we suppose them to be thus preserved distinct among the nations, except for that which is no less repeatedly declared in prophecy, their restoration and conversion? Assuredly the time will arrive, when they shall be gathered out of all the countries of their dispersion, and brought to the saving knowledge of the Gospel; when Jews and Gentiles shall jointly form only one flock; and when the hallowed name of Jesus the Messiah shall be great even to the very ends of the earth.
* An appeal to the justice of kings and nations, oited in Transactions of the Parisian Sanhedrim, p. 64.
The Jews themselves seem to be conscious of this truth. One of them observes, that his nation, "scattered by the storm of adversity over the face of the habitable globe, always unfortunate, always persecuted, always faithfully adhering to the religion of its ancestors in spite of tortures and of sufferings, affords, to this very day, a striking phenomenon incomprehensible to human reason. Transactions of the Parisian Sanhedrim, p. 165.
The millennian glory of Jerusalem-The rebuking of Antichrist.
Isaiah ii. 1. The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2. And it shall come to pass in the end of days, that. the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shalt be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow unto it. 3. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 4. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people*. They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 5. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.
The glories of the millennian kingdom of Christ, or the kingdom of the mountain †, form the principal subject of this prophecy. In the end of days, or at the termination of the great period of 1260 days, the Jewish Church will begin to be restored to her right of primogeniture. She will join her younger sister, the Gentile Church; and will unite with her in receiving Jesus as the Messiah. Jerusalem will become a kind of spiritual metropolis of the fifth great monarchy, that of the Lamb: the glory of the Lord will be in the midst of her: and she will be acknowledged by all nations to be the joy of the whole earth.
* And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people.] "Both by the power of his word, which is compared to a two-edged sword in Scripture; and by the remarkable judgments which he will exercise upon those who are incorrigible. See Luke xix. 27. Rev. xix. 15. Psalm cx. 6." Mr. Lowth's Comment. in loc.