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AND ITS MIRACULOUS CHARACTER.
there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria ; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt."
The events here predicted have never yet been accomplished. The Lord has never “set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people;” nor have they ever been previously restored “from the islands of the sea,” and “from the four corners of the earth.” “ The tongue of the Egyptian sea," or of the Nile, has not been destroyed, nor the river been smitten in its “ seven streams.” Nor has there been a recurrence of those miraculous interpositions which marked their departure from Egypt; and which both Isaiah, in this passage, and the Prophet Micah, announce to be the accompaniments of their future restoration. “ According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt, will I show unto him marvellous things.”* These events still remain to be fulfilled, and consequently establish the doctrine of their final restoration.
As it is not, however, my province to show how the denial of this fact militates against some of the most express declarations of the Scriptures; and that the predictions relating to the restoration of the Jews are too enlarged, and universal in their
* Micah vii. 15.
application, to have been fulfilled in the return from the Babylonian captivity, I shall simply refer to Ezek. xxxvi. 24–26, as expressive of a restoration and conversion never yet blended together. The promised union also of the two sticks of Ephraim and Judah, predicted in Ezekiel xxxvii. 22,* (an event which cannot possibly be fulfilled but by the return of the ten tribes, and by that of the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah,) is of itself sufficient to establish the fact of their second restoration, and proves how utterly the attempt to controvert this sense is founded on error, and on a most limited interpretation of the prophecies referring to this subject.
But while the restoration of the Jews is a matter of controversy, or of open denial, with a portion (but we trust a small one) of the Christian public at home; the belief of the fact is universal among the Jews themselves, and its accomplishment supposed to be nigh at hand. This expectation is not peculiar to any particular place or country, but prevails especially in the Levant, in Smyrna, and in Constantinople; in Egypt, in
* “And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel ; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.” (Ezek. xxxvii. 22.)
Syria, in Palestine, in Poland, and in Germany. It is accompanied by the impression that the period for Messiah's coming is arrived. The year 1840, from the completion of a certain chronological period of time, was announced by their Rabbies as the era for the fulfilment of this event. I have ascertained these facts by personal intercourse and observation, during a late visit to the East. I never remember a more general concurrence of sentiment. The tide of emigration has already commenced. “I am going,” said an aged Jew, “ to witness the appearing of the Messiah. I hope to see him with these eyes. Should I be disappointed in this hope, I shall at least have the consolation of laying my bones in the land of my forefathers.” I heard many similar testimonies. Nine hundred Polish Jews solicited permission from the Emperor of Russia to go to Palestine with this view, declaring that should the Messiah not appear, they should, in that case, conclude that he had already come, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, and be prepared to embrace Christianity. Civil restrictions threw impediments in the way of this proposition. There may be, and there unquestionably is, a fallacy in the particular object of expectation, and yet the general impression may indicate a state of mind announcing an approaching crisis. There are already five thousand Jews in Jerusalem; and, inclusive of
this number, from fifteen to seventeen thousand in Palestine. There are about eight thousand in Syria, comprehending the Jews of Damascus, forming a grand total of about twenty-four thousand Jews.*
The number, it is said, would be far greater, if the frequent recurrence of the plague, and the delay and expense of quarantine, did not interpose formidable obstacles to the return of the Jews.
In the meantime, what is the duty of the Christian public towards this singularly interesting and illustrious people?
No subject has been less understood than this controverted question. We have contemplated the Jew through the mysterious veil of the Divine purposes, instead of through the more intelligible and binding declarations of plain scriptural duty. We have suffered the emotions of Christian zeal, of sympathy for their misery, and gratitude for past obligations, to lie dormant; lest, in the exercise of these feelings, we should be found militating against the designs of Jehovah. We have permitted speculation to occupy the time that ought to have been devoted to action. We have even considered every effort of benevolence as visionary and useless, as if the time were not come, and
* This calculation is founded upon an estimate taken by the Rev. J. Nicolayson, Missionary to the Jews at Jerusalem.
DUTY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
when come, that the process of conversion was to be effected by God's sovereignty, and not by man's instrumentality.
Let us then inquire what is the plain path of duty, remembering that “ secret things belong to the Lord our God; but the things that he has revealed to us and to our children.”
“ Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned : for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins.” 6. For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake will I not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.”
“ I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night : ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.t
Ministers of the sanctuary! ambassadors of Christ! behold your Lord's commission! Pray for grace to fulfil it with fidelity and zeal; and give the Lord “no rest till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” * Isaiah xl. 1, 2.
+ Isaiah lxii. 1. 6, 7. | See also verses 10 and 11 of the same chapter.