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it in his time. In short, we may be as certain as if we had beheld it with our own eyes, that the matter really was as represented by the Evangelist, They went forth and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following, Mark xvi. 20.
But neither the prophecies concerning the Gentiles, nor those concerning the Jews, have yet received their full and entire completion. Our Saviour hath not yet bad the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession : Psal. ii. 8. All the ends of the earth have not yet turned unto the Lord: xxii. 27. All people, nations, and languages, have not yet served him: Dan. vii. 14. These things have hitherto been only partially, but they will, in time, be even literally fulfilled. Neither are the Jews yet made an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations, Is. Ix. 15. The time is not yet come, when violence shall no more be heard in the land, wasting nor destruction with. in their borders, ver. 18. God's promises to them are not yet fulfilled to the extent. Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone,
and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, even they and their children, and their children's children for ever, and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Ezekiel, xxxvii. 21, 25. Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, who caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen ; but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them, for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God, Ezek. xxxix. 28, 29.
However, what hath already been accomplished is a sufficient pledge and earnest of what is yet to come: and we have all imaginable reason to believe, since so many of these prophecies have been fulfilled, that the remaining ones will be fulfilled also: that there will be yet a greater harvest of the nations, and the yet unconverted parts of the earth will be enlightened with the knowledge of the Lord; and that the Jews will, in God's good time, be converted to Christianity, and, upon their conversion, be again restored to their native country.
The prophecy of Hosea we have already seen fulfilled in part, and there is not the least reason to believe but that the whole will be amply fulfilled in a proper course of time. The children of Israel, says he, shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image (or altar) and without an ephod (or priest to wear an ephod) and without teraphim (or Divine manifestations.) Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days, Hosea, iii, 4, 5.
Thus have we taken a summary view of those prophecies contained in the Old Testament which more imme. diately relate to the present state and condition of the Jews; and what stronger or more convincing arguments can be given of the truth both of the Jewish and the Christian religion?
The Jews were once the peculiar people of God; and (as St. Paul saith) Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. Rom. xi. 1. We see that after so many ages they are still preserved, by a miracle of Providence, a distinct people; and why is such a continual miracle exerted but for the greater illustration of the divine truth, and the better accomplishment of the divine promises, as well those which are yet to be, as those which are already ful. filled.
The great empires and powers which have heretofore, in their turns, subdued and oppressed the people of God, are all come to ruin; because, though they executed the Divine
purposes in oppressing the Jews, yet that was more than they knew, and their intentions in acting as they did were only to gratify their own pride and ambition, their own cruelty and revenge. And since such hath been the fatal end of the enemies and oppressors of the Jews, in former times, it should serve as a warning to all those who may, at any time, or upon any occasion here. after, be inclined to raise a clamor and persecution against them.
That the Jews are blamable for still persisting in their infidelity, after so many means have been taken to bring them to a sense of conviction, there is not the least
doubt; but this does not authorize us to proscribe, abuse, injure and oppress them, as Christians of more zeal than either knowledge or charity have, in all ages, been inclined to do. Charity is greater than faith; and it is worse in us to be cruel and uncharitable, than it is in them to be obstinate and unbelieving. Persecution is the spirit of popery, and in the worst of popish countries the Jews are the most cruelly used; but the spirit of protestantism is toleration and indulgence to weaker consciences.
It may be observed by some that shewing compassion to these unhappy people would be a means of defeating the fulfilment of the prophecies. But this is far from being the case; they were to be harrassed and oppressed only by wicked nations; the good were to shew mercy on them; and we should chuse rather to be the dispensers of God's mercies than the executioners of his judgments.
If we read the eleventh chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, we shall there see what that great apostle of the Gentiles (who certainly understood the prophecies better than any of us can pretend to do) saith of the infidelity of the Jews. Some of the Gentiles of his time valued themselves upon their superior advantages, and he reproves them for it, that they who were cut out of the olive-tree, which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive-tree, should presume to boast against the natural branches, Rom. xi. 18. 24. But what would he have said, if they had made religion an instrument of faction, and had been for stirring up a persecution against them?
Christians of all denominations should consider and reflect, that it is to the Jews we owe the oracles of God, the scriptures of the New Testament as well as the Old.. We should consider, that the glorious company of the apostles, as well as the goodly fellowship of the prophets, were all Jews. We should consider, that of them as concerning the flesh Christ came, the Saviour of the world; and surely some thing of kindness and gratitude is due for such infinite obligations.
Though the Jews are now broken off, yet they are not otterly cast away. Because of unbelief, as St Paul
argueth, they were broken off, and thou standest by faith ; be not high-minded, but fear, Rom. xi. 20. There will be a time when they will be grafted in again, and again be. come the people of God; for as the apostle proceeds, I would not brethren that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, (lest ye should be wise in your own conceits) that blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved, Rom. xi. 25, 26.
And which now, it may be asked, is the most likely method to contribute to the conversion of these unhappy people? which are the most natural means of reconciling them to us and our religion? Is it to be effected by prayer, argument, long suffering, gentleness and goodness; or by noise, invective, injury and outrage, the malice of some, and the folly and madness of more? They certainly cannot be worse now than when they crucified the Son of God, and persecuted his apostles. But what saith our Blessed Saviour himself? Father forgive them, for they know not what they do, Luke xxiii. 34. and what saith his apostle St. Paul? Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved, Rom. x. 1.
In conformity to these blessed examples our church hath also taught us to pray for them; and how can prayer and persecution consist and agree together? Those who encourage persecution of any kind are only pretended friends to the church, but real enemies to religion. All true members of the church, all true protestants, all true christians, will, as the apostle adviseth, put away all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, with all malice, Ephes. iv. 31. And they will all join heart and voice in that excellent collect-Have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Heretics, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy word: and so fetch them home, Blessed Lord, to thy flock, thut they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Of the Prophecies concerning the ancient city of NINEVEK,
once the metropolis of the Assyrian empire.
THE first great prophecies contained in the Old Testament, are those which more immediately relate to the Jews themselves who were once the peculiar people of God; and the principal subjects of those prophecies are the various changes and revolutions that were to happen in the Jewish church and state. But the spirit of prophecy is not confined to the Jews alone: there are other subjects occasionally introduced; and, for the greater manifestation of Divine Providence, the fate of other nations is also foretold, and more especially those which lay in the neighborhood of Judea, and had intercourse and connection with the Jews.
It is much to be lamented, that of these eastern nations, and of these early times, we have no regular histories, but only a few fragments which have escaped the general shipwreck of time. From these, however, we see enough to make us admire these wonders of Providence; and from these are clearly shown that the condition of cities and kingdoms hath been such as was long ago foretold by the prophets.
The first prophecies we shall notice on this subject are those relative to the ancient city of Nineveh, once the metropolis of the Assyrian empire, and whose inhabitants not only destroyed the kingdom of Israel, but likewise greatly oppressed the kingdom of Judah.
The prophet Isaiah, in denouncing the judgments of God against the Assyrians, says, 0 Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation, Isaiah x. 3. It was the will of Providence that those people should be employed as the ministers of his wrath, and executioners of his vengeance, against the perverse and obstinate Jews. I will send him against an hypocritical nation; and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge to take the spoil, and to take the