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of disappearing, or mingling with the nations, remaining a perfectly distinct people, in every kingdom, the same, retaining similar habits and customs, and
creeds, and manners, in every part of the globe;
though without ephod, teraphim, or sacrifice—meeting everywhere the same insult, and mockery, and oppression—finding no resting-place, without an enemy soon to dispossess them—multiplying amidst all their miseries—surviving their enemies—beholding, unchanged, the extinction of many nations, and the convulsions of all—robbed of their silver and of their gold, though cleaving to the love of them still, as the stumbling-block of their iniquity—often bereaved of their very children—disjoined and disorganized, but uniform and unaltered—ever bruised, but never broken—weak, fearful, sorrowful, and afflicted—often driven to madness, at the spectacle of their own misery—taken up in the lips of talkers—the taunt, and hissing, and infamy of all people; and continuing ever, what they are at this day, the sole proverb common to the whole world: how did every fact, from its very nature, defy all conjecture; and how could mortal man, overlooking a hundred - successive generations, have foretold any one of these wonders that are now conspicuous in these latter times? Who but the Father of Spirits, possessed of perfect prescience, even of the knowledge, of the will, and of the actions of free, intelligent, and moral agents, could have revealed their unbounded, and yet unceasing wanderings; unveiled all their destiny, and unmasked the minds of the Jews and of their enemies in every age and clime? The creation of a world might as well be the work of chance as the revelation of these things. It is a visible display of the power and of the prescience of God; an accumulation of many miracles. And although it forms but a part of a small portion of the Christian evidence, it lays not only a stone of stumbling, such as infidels would try to cast in a Christian path, but it fixes an insurmountable barrier at the very threshold of infidelity; immoveable by all human device, and impervious to every attack/'*
Is this satisfactory and felt to be conclusive as regards the past? Doubtless it is, completely so. Let all those who feel it to be so, consider candidly on what principle of prophetic interpretation this satisfaction is founded. When Moses and the Prophets spoke of the dispersion of Judah and Israel, did they mean literally what they said? When they described the persecutions, and oppressions, and miseries of that people in all ages, did they mean literally the lineal descendants in the flesh of that nation, as distinguished from all other nations? And did they mean to say, that those lineal descendants in the flesh of the Jewish people, generation after generation, would be scattered abroad from their own country, among the nations of all countries? This question is fraught with * Keith.
consequences. If Moses and the Prophets, when they spoke of Judah and Israel, meant some other people, (e. g. Christians among the Gentiles); and if, when they spoke of dispersion and persecution, they meant some other thing, (e. g. a distressed state of mind); then the historical facts to which Keith refers are not fulfilments of the prophecies. They happen, indeed, to agree with the language of the prophets interpreted literally. But the prophecies must not be interpreted literally; and, therefore, these facts must not be received as fulfilments. Such is the auxiliary which infidelity finds in the rejection of literal interpretation.
But on the other hand. If the facts adduced be indeed the fulfilments of the prophecies referred to, then the literal interpretation of prophecy is established. And such an interpretation of the prophecies which are as yet unfulfilled, will give the facts which are to be scripturally anticipated.
It is established, for example, that when Moses and the Prophets write Judah and Israel, they mean Jews in literal, lineal descent in the flesh, and not Christians of the Gentiles: that when they write dispersion from their land among all nations, they mean literally the land of Judea, and literally nations in other lands: that when they write captivity, persecution, sword, famine, pestilence; they mean literally those calamities which have accordingly come literally to pass. When, therefore, in the same contexts they go on to write deliverance from captivity and persecution, restoration to their own land, from all countries whither they have been scattered, resettlement in their old estates, and national glory, honour, and power, and peace, under the Son of David, their king, what do they mean ?* Is the character of their language fundamentally altered, because the fulfilment of it has not yet become history to us? Is there any talismanic power in the particular age of the world wherein we chance to live, that up till this time the language of the prophecies should be taken literally; but after this time it must not be taken literally? And is our faith so mingled with infidelity, that, although by the help of history we can acknowledge that events which have occurred were predicted, we cannot on the strength of prophecy alone feel confident that events predicted will occur? It is a serious question, how far we are enabled to adventure the confidence of our hearts upon the bare word of God without a voucher. In matters of doctrine and experience it is difficnlt to ascertain. Prophecy supplies a test, and cordially to anticipate without wavering the fulfilment of All| that the prophets have spoken, is to honour the faithfulness of our God.
* "For thus saitli the Lord: Like as I have "brought all this great evil upon this people; SO will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them." Jer. xxxii. 42. f St. Luke xxiv. 25,
St, Jude's, July, 1838.