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guage of their Liturgy, borrowed from the writings of their fathers, but in the deep sincerity of their hearts also; and that when this cry became general among them, the miraculous interference of their God and their fathers' God were manifested in their behalf, and Palestine again put into their possession; and suppose an accurate historian subsequently to write a narrative of the events; what more unequivocal language could he use, than the language of these prophecies turned into the past tense ?
But, is not the language of prophecy figurative ? -Yes, frequently. Let us then examine, what are the figures conveyed by these expressions, they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers ; they shall loathe themselves ; they shall remember me, and seek my face. If it be alleged, that these and similar words predict those convictions of sin, which the people of God, whether Jew or Gentile, should feel in all lands previous and introductory to their conversion, then let us inquire further, what are the figures contained in the preceding expressions of the same prophecies, “ I will bring the land into desolation, and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it; and I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you; and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.” (Lev. xxvi. 32, 33.) “ Ye shall be plucked out of the land; the Lord shall scatter thee among all people.”
(Deut. xxviii. 63, 64.) “I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah ; I, even I, will tear.” (Hos. v. 14.) The people of God among the Gentiles, are still in the habitations of their friends, in the possessions of their fathers ; their lands have never been brought to desolation: they have never been plucked from their homes, nor torn as by the fury of a lion. Surely, when it was promised to Abraham in his old age that he should have a son, it would not have been so violent an interpretation of the language of that promise, to have said, that the children of his confidential household steward were accounted as his children, and that therefore, he was to look to the family of Eliezer of Damascus for his heir, as it is to make the language of the prophecies now before us, to signify the convictions of Gentile sinners, or individual Jews, as distinguished from the nation. In the case of Abraham, we know by the event, that any interpretation which evaded, in the slightest degree, the literal meaning of the words, would have been erroneous; and in the case now before us, we ask, if these preceding expressions of the prophecy, scattered, plucked off the land, torn, be applicable exclusively to the Jewish nation, and to that nation, in the literal meaning of the words ; upon what principle is it, that an arbitrary disruption of the context can be made, and the subsequent expressions of penitence denied a similar application ? Either, therefore, first, plucked off the land must be shown to apply to Gentiles who have never been plucked off their lands, and individual Jews who have never had any lands; or, secondly, they shall confess their iniquity, they shall loathe themselves, they shall remember me, and seek my face, must be acknowledged to apply to the Jewish nation as a nation; or, thirdly, the interpreter must separate what the Holy Ghost has joined.
II. In support of our general position, I appeal, in the second place, to the prayer of Solomon, 2 Chronicles, chap. vi.
Various calamities are supposed, as befalling the people; defeat in battle, famine in their land, dispersion among their enemies; and in each case, their confession of sin, and penitent supplication before God, are introduced as the precursors of their deliverance : “ If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near; yet, if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captives, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, we have dealt wickedly; if they return to thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray towards their land which thou gavest unto their fathers, and the city
which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name; then hear thou from the heavens, from thy dwelling-place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.”
In connexion with this as the general principle of the divine dealings, and in further support of the position now before us,
III. I appeal, in the third place, to the histories of the past deliverances of the Jews, whether the first great deliverance of the whole nation, in all its tribes, from Egypt, or the subsequent and smaller deliverances of parts of the nation, out of their respective distresses. In the case of Egypt, we read in the book of Exodus, ii. 23, “ It came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage: and God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and God looked upon the children of Israel, and had respect unto them.” And in chap. iii. 7, 8, 9, “ The Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their task masters; for I know their sorrows, and I am come down to deliver them. .... Now therefore behold, the cry of the children of
Israel is come unto me.....” vi. 5, “ I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage ; and I have remembered my covenant.” To guide us in our interpretation of this transaction, we have it thus recited by Moses in the book of Numbers, xx. 14, 15, 16, when he sent to the king of Edom to solicit his permission to pass through his territory: “ Thus saith thy brother Israel : thou knowest all the travel that hath befallen us; how our fathers went down into Egypt, and we have dwelt in Egypt a long time; and the Egyptians vexed us, and our fathers : and when we cried unto the Lord, he heard our voice, and sent an angel, and hath brought us forth out of Egypt.” The national cry precedes the national deliverance : yea, it is so stated, as if the groaning of the captives had reminded God of his covenant with their fathers, which for a season was forgotten.
After the death of Joshua, and of all the elders who overlived Joshua, and who had seen all the works of the Lord which he had done for Israel ; the nation rebelled, and incurred the righteous anger of their heavenly King, for the Lord was their king. For this they were delivered into the hands of their enemies, to be in subjection to one conqueror after another; Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia, and Eglon king of Moab, and Jabin king of Canaan, and the king of Midian, and the king of the Philistines, who oppressed the