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S E R M ON
Rom. XI. 25, 26.
I would not, brethren, that ye pould be igno
rant of this mystery (left ye should be wife in
your own conceits) that blindness in part is happened to Ifrael, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Ifrael fall
HE history of the Jews is, in every
part, singular and astonishing. From their first designation as a peculiar people to the present hour they stand forth a conspicuous proof of God's special providence and constant direction of the affairs of men ; a glorious example of the blessed fruits of faith and obedience to the will of Heaven, and a stupendous instance of the dreadful conse
quences, even in this life, of stubbornness and fin.
Their unparalleled sufferings in one age we have surveyed at large. We have seen their calamities commencing at the time and in the manner which our blessed Lord had foretold, and daily multiplying, till the sword of the Romans finished what their own diffenfions began, and their heinous offences merited ; till their land was laid waste, their beauty consumed, and the city of their solemnities burnt to the ground.
But although the exact completion of our Lord's prediction, in all the particulars of this amazing series of events, is abundantly sufficient to demonstrate the inspiration of those holy Gospels which contain this important prophecy, and to establish, in consequence, the truth of that religion which is therein taught; yet we cannot here conclude our meditations. Beholding, amidst the revolutions of empire and vicissitudes of fortune, this extraordinary people still subsisting, at the distance of more than seventeen centuries from the final defolation of their country, we cannot look upon them with indifference. Spread as it were on the surface of the ocean, but not blended with its waves,
scattered through the mass of mankind, but still preserved distinct, like the bodies which in the heart of the earth remain as tokens of an universal deluge, they shew that they once belonged to one common state; they shew that those scriptures must be divine, which foretel their dispersion and preservation; events that none but the Allwise could foresee, and none but the Almighty could bring to pass. We cannot therefore but inquire, whether those same scriptures, to the truth of which they are living though involuntary vouchers, have declared the future will of Heaven concerning them ; what calamities are yet behind, or what blessings still in store for them,
To this interesting inquiry, that same prophecy of our Lord, which has been the fubject of our late meditations, directs our present thoughts; when it informs us, that
Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Had the Jews, in any age since Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, been suffered to rebuild their city and temple, and to settle there; or were the Gentiles universally converted to Christianity, the Jews still continuing in unbelief; on either supposition, this prophecy would appear to be defeated, and consequently would merit no serious attention. But neither of these events has yet taken place.
a Luke xxi. 24.
In the time of Adrian, when the Jews were gaining strength, and under the auspices of a pretended Messiah were seating themselves in Judea, many thousands of them were Nain ; and they were expressly forbidden by an imperial edict to let their feet on the land of their forefathers b. In the next century, when an apoftate emperor attempted to perform for them what they were unable themselves to accomplish, to rebuild their temple and restore their worship; the impious undertaking, zealously as it was prosecuted, was soon interrupted and finally defeated by fire bursting forth from the bowels of the earth. « The children of Israel" therefore “abide,” as it was predicted of
, many days without a king, and Epfeb. H. E. L. IV. c. vi. * This attempt of Julian was A. C. 363. and is recorded by Ammianus Marcellinus, a contemporary pagan historian, L. XXIII. c. i. It is mentioned also by several Christian writers of the same century. See Chryfoft. Hom. 4. in Matt. T. II. p. 20. 1. 16. Hom. 41. in Act. T. IV. p. 389. 1. 7. Orat. 2. in Babyl. T.V. p. 470. 1.19. Greg. Naz. Orat. 2. contr. Julian. Ambrof. Epift. xvii. But for a full proof and vindication of the miracle by which the attempt was defeated, See Bp. Warburton's Julian.