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I purpose, in the first place, to inquire what are the reasons for expecting the unchangeableness of the nationality of the Jewish people: and then, Secondly, to ascertain what confirmation of that reasoning may be drawn from the result of the hindrances that have hitherto been interposed in the way of such an expected course: and,
Thirdly, to draw a still further confirmation from the peculiar mode of God's past dealings with the Jews as a nation, as it bears upon their future prospects. And it will be seen in the course of this scriptural inquiry, that the text suggests the direction of thought which I desire to take.
Before, however, we proceed, it is necessary to remember, while we attempt to examine what God has revealed to us of his mind, that we can only discover it as God gives us his Spirit to do so. Foolish, indeed, are those, who enter upon such an examination in dependence on their own minds. May we ever be kept from such foolishness; and may God give us that wisdom which shall enable us to perceive and know, receive and feel, that which he has been pleased to reveal for our learning. May he, of his infinite mercy, give us the Holy Spirit. May he be present directing the mind and the words of his minister, and giving the people ears to hear, and hearts to understand. May God, at this time, for Christ's sake, be with us, giving us his Holy Spirit !
I. My brethren, it is a matter of fact, that at this moment there exists a people who have existed nearly four thousand years. We know their origin, and can trace their course. They are at this moment a nation—under circumstances the most extraordinary, circumstances irreconcileable with the habits and ordinary experience of man. This people have never lost their nationality; they have continued to exist as a nation under difficulties which would have crushed any other people—which have crumbled nation after nation, people after people, into dust. Empires have passed; kingdoms have risen and fallen so as to be known now only in history—have been forgotten as nations, and read of in legendary tales; but the Jews exist, and have outlived the course of every other nation of the earth. Yet, it may be said, that for ought that human wisdom can discern, possibly they may hereafter be utterly swept from the earth, unless there be something peculiar in their case, which might establish a clear warrant for expecting that they will unchangeably exist as a nation. When we look into their case, as shown in Scripture, we find, that there is a
peculiarity which warrants us at once to say, that they must remain a people while the earth endures.
We are justified in speaking thus strongly, from considering the final object for which they were originally selected, nourished, brought up, and matured into a nation. This is the first point in considering the nature of their case. And having observed this, we will look, in the second place, to the parties with whom it pleased God to make an especial covenant for
And then, in the third place, we will look to him who made the covenant, and consider how his character bears upon this great point—the unchangeableness of the Jewish nationality.
1. As to the final object for which the Jewish nation was raised, formed, and brought forth into the circumstances through which history traces them, we may look to the root of the matter, and state, in general terms, that the Jewish nation was made a nation in order to carry out the purpose of God in the restoration of fallen man-in the restitution of the world to the state in which it was when God said, “It is very good,”—and in disappointing the designs of Satan, so that he shall not have a triumph. What a triumph he would have in hell through
out eternity, if he could but have made the Almighty reverse his word, and blot out the fair earth which he had stamped with his approving“ Very good”! What a shout of victory might be expected from the fallen angels in the midst of their torments, if that could ever take place! But they shall have no such triumph. God will restore all things. And for this purpose he has chosen one people to be the especial means, through which, in various ways, this great object shall be accomplished.
When man fell, even then there beamed forth the dawning of a promise of restoration : in the wisdom of God it was not made as
a direct statement to Adam, but while God put the curse upon the woman, and upon the man, and upon the ground for man's sake, and a terrible sentence upon the tempter, he declared to the tempter as part of the sentence against him, that which, being spoken in the hearing of the punished man, opened the door of hope. Satan was, indeed, to bruise the heel of the seed of the woman, but “ it shall bruise thy head.” When afterwards it pleased God to define this promise more distinctly, and also to appoint the machinery by which it should be accomplished, he chose a man; it must have been some man, and it might have been any man, but it was
Abraham. He fixed upon him as the root, the stem, that should bear the branch, whose fruit should be the glorifying of the great God in the restoration of all things. It pleased God in his wisdom thus to arrange the means; and having chosen the man, Abraham, he made with him a covenant, which he confirmed by an oath, the obligation of which is expressed thus: “ In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed :” or as he afterwards repeated in the 22d chapter of Genesis, when he so sorely tried the faith of Abraham: 6 In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” At first, the seed of the woman was to bruise the serpent's head; now, it is the seed of Abraham-limited to him, fixed in him: and enlarged by the declaration, that 66 all families”—“ all nations” of the earth shall be blessed in him. Now, it is certain, that neither the first dawning promise to Adam, nor the covenant made with Abraham, have yet been fulfilled. It is not the character of God to excite a large hope and to meet it with a small fulfilment. It is not the character of God to, disappoint the heart rightly and legitimately permitted to expect much. Consider what is the fair expectation to be derived even from the very first promise opened to Adam. What is suggested to the mind by the expression to