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through them, the blessing may be extended to their brethren of the ten tribes, and ultimately to the whole world. This order of things, the subsequent prophecy seems to point out.
Thus, we have cleared our way one step. The kingdom of Israel is, in reference to our present subject, dismissed out of our view. They are lost to the eye of man, and were so, be it observed, many centuries before the time of Christ. God withdrew them from the recognized scene of his providence, and they are now nowhere to be found, except in the revealed purpose and plan of Jehovah, who has caused their name to be clearly written as co-heirs, in the prophetic entail of the land. But with Judah, it is far otherwise; they have been held forth, by the hand of God, to the observation of men in all ages: the curtain has never for one moment dropped, to hide them from the view of either the church or the world; but they have stood prominent from generation to genération, as God's witnesses, in the earth. Witnesses indeed, of the desperate iniquity of their fathers, and the infatuated obstinacy of the children; but witnesses also, whose testimony can never be invalidated, of the righteousness and truth of the Lord their God. It is admitted, that the language of our text was strictly applicable to the Jews, till the time of Christ; but Israel was carried captive by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, out
. • Ibid. i. 6. See note B in the Appendix.
cast and lost, seven hundred years before Christ ; consequently, during that interval, the language of our text was applicable to Judah only. Concerning Judah we now speak, and allege the perpetuity of this application, “Lo! the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.”
If it be urged, in opposition to this view, that, in the New Testament, the apostles speak of Israel, not Judah ; the answer, I think, is, that the ten tribes, as a kingdom, being lost sight of for ages; and individuals of many, perhaps of all of them, having come up with Judah from Babylon, or afterwards mingled among them; the general name of the whole nation, in its earlier ages, from Jacob to Rehoboam, is used generally, without any special recognition of a distinction between the two kingdoms, which had been long practically obsolete. A proof of this is, that St. Paul calls himself an Israelite, in the same sentence where he specifies the tribe of Benjamin as his paternal tribe. (Rom. xi. 1.) Similar is the answer to the objection, grounded upon the mention of the twelve tribes by the apostles. (Acts xxvi. 7 ; James i. 1.) That individuals of each tribe are intended, is clear, from the fact, that St. James, who addressed his Epistle to the twelve tribes, writes as to Christians throughout ; not arguing doctrinally, to convince his nation of the messiahship of Jesus ; but urging the experience and practice of true disciples of Christ. Will it be asserted that the apostle addressed his countrymen nationally, as confirmed believers in the Lord Jesus ? Surely not; and if not, to whom is his Epistle addressed ? obviously to individual believing Jews, of whatever tribe they might be; some, perhaps, of every tribe.
II. It is further necessary to our proof, to mark the distinction between Judah, considered nationally, and certain individuals selected out of that nation, in each succeeding age, since the promul. gation of the gospel.
The apostle Paul states this distinction pointedly, in Rom. ii. 28, 29. In one sense, all were Jews, who were circumcised in the flesh; they belonged to the nation : in another sense, those only were Jews who were circumcised in the heart also; they belonged to the election. This distinction between the nation and the election, is again strongly marked by the same apostle ; who, speaking of grace and salvation in Christ, saith, “ The nation hath not obtained the blessing ; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Again he saith, “ Hath God cast away. his people ? (without exception ?) God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” Then follows, in the next verses, the distinction between the nation and the remnant which God foreknew. This was not a novel distinction; it had existed at all times ; specially the apostle referred to the days of Elijah the prophet, when this
distinction is a clear matter of sacred history; the nation having been idolaters, with the exception of seven thousand individuals, who constituted the reserved remnant. The same distinction existed in the days of Paul; the nation being cast away from God, with the exception of a remnant, the number of individuals composing which, is not told us. This remnant formed the original stem of the Christian church-Jesus Christ, himself a Jew, being the root. This remnant composed, and still composes, some of the branches of the Christian tree. Into fellowship with this remnant, into participation with these branches, the first-converted Gentiles were admitted ; and all converted Gentiles have been successively introduced. There is no such thing as a Gentile church : there is no such thing as a Jewish church : but elect Jews and Gentiles compose one church in Christ.
This distinction being thus clearly and scripturally established; it will follow that many statements may be true concerning the nation generally, which, if applied specially to these selected individuals, would not be true : and, that many statements may be true concerning these individuals specially, which, if extended to the nation, would not be true. This will admit of a familiar illustration. We say concerning the British nation, that it is an educated nation ; and this is true: but if this be applied specially to certain individual Englishmen, who do not know the letters of the alphabet, it becomes false. Again, we say concerning cer. tain Englishmen, that they are ignorant; and this is true : but if this saying be extended generally to the nation, it becomes false. Now, substitute Judah for England, and separation for education, and you have these propositions. The Jews are a separate people ; true: but apply this to those individual Jews, who have been converted to Christianity, and it becomes false. Again, some Jews have received Jesus as the Messiah, believed the gospel, mixed with Gentile Christians, and lost their separate character; true : but extend this to the nation generally, and it becomes false. · This distinction meets, and, I think, fully answers, the objection already alluded to, grounded upon the language of the apostles respecting the unity of the church in Christ. · One of the peculiarities of the mystery, which St. Paul was specially commissioned to proclaim to the world, was, “ that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body (ovoowua) and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.” Accordingly, his language to Gentile converts is, “ Ye are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household
d Other individual Jews, besides those converted to the gospel, may have mingled with the surrounding population, without invalidating this statement: so that, granting those instances which Dr. Buchanan mentions to have been of the kingdom of Judah, still our general position holds good.---See Christian Researches.