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has been the utter loss of spiritual religion, of genuine repentance for sin, of lively concern for their eternal interest, and of just apprehensions of the glory of God and the obligations of man. And what renders all this blindness and obduracy still more fearful, is the consideration that it is not the ignorance and vice of the heathen who know not God, but of a people who profess to know him, who carry about the Scriptures which condemn them, guard the truth they disavow, and preserve those sacred writings for others which they make no right use of themselves.

These circumstances are indeed so deplorable, as to lead us to inquire if there be not something peculiar in the blindness which rests upon them. Such we shall find to be the case. THEIR BLINDNESS IS THE EFFECT OF THE ESPECIAL JUDGMENT OF GOD. Of them it was that the Lord spake by the prophet Isaiah, Go and tell this people, hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not; make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert and be healed: words of awful import, and repeatedly applied in the New Testament to the unbelieving Israel. I mention this affecting part of the case, because it seems necessary to a right under

standing of the subject before us. The judg ment of God abides on the fallen nation. Not that this forms any argument whatever against our using every means for their conversion; for God's secret purposes and judgments are not the rule of our duty, especially those judgments which he has declared he will remove, and which we ourselves may possibly be the instruments of removing; but I notice it as forming a motive for deeper commiseration, and as throwing additional light on their actual state.

Of this judicial blindness we may, I conceive, discern THE EVIDENCES in those darker features of their case, which most differ from the ordinary effects of spiritual obduracy. Of this their infatuated conduct towards the Roman authorities soon after our Lord's crucifixion, and which ended in the destruction of their temple and polity, was an evidence. The enthusiasm with which in every age they have wasted their time and labours on their puerile and really senseless Cabbala, on their oral law, their Mishna, and their Targums, is a similar proof. The mad rashness with which they have followed pretended Messiahs during the whole period of their present dispersion, notwithstanding the misery and destruction which have uniformly attended such pretenders, is not less to the purpose. In like manner the impenetrable obstinacy they have displayed to the most calm and


irrefragable arguments on the interpretation of their own scriptures, or the evidences of the Messiah's real advent; their insensibility to the confirmation which their present state affords to the truth of the very Christianity which they hate and contemn; the entire absence of even the appearance of devotion in their various religious observances; their comparative unconsciousness to natural ties and affections; their disregard to the fair esteem of moral virtue; the dissimulation and chicane by which they are too generally characterized, and the secret infidelity which has spread among them as a people, are so many tokens of a judicial obduracy inflicted on them for their wilful rejection of their true Messiah and King.

But we have not yet a full view of their state. TRACE THE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS DERELICTION OF GOD in their past history and their present condition, and you will discover an affecting scene which nothing can parallel. View them, though not finally rejected as a people, yet cast away for their sins, diminished, broken off, as branches from the parent olive, dispersed by the righteous judgment of the Almighty, and pursued by his indignation over the face of the whole earth. The word of prophecy has long become the most striking and correct language of historical fact: The Lord has sent upon them cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all they have set their hand unto. They have been

smitten before their enemies. The Lord has sent upon them madness and blindness, and astonishment of heart. They have only been oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man has saved them. Their sons and their daughters have been given to another people. The fruit of their land, and all their labours, have nations which they knew not eaten up, and they have been only oppressed and crushed always. Not to dwell on the scenes of carnage which were exhibited during their seven years' war with the Romans, and which are of a nature to astonish the humane and considerate mind, their whole history from that period has been almost one uninterrupted series of calamity. Into what country of the globe has not the unhappy Jew wandered? and where has he not been an object of persecution and contempt? Without a settled home, without a country, without laws, without education, without morals, without character, with neither the comforts nor the protection of regular society, the house of Israel has ever been an outcast and a reproach. It is mournful to follow them in their dispersions in the Eastern and Western world, and to recollect the confiscations, the banishments, the oppressions, the tortures to which they have been subjected. It is mournful to descend with the stream of time to the middle ages, and call to

2 Deut. xxviii.

mind the unrelenting hate which persecuted the children of Abraham in every part of Christendom. It is in fact only since the period of the Reformation that any considerable relaxation of this inveterate hostility has taken place. But even at the present moment, greatly as the condition of the Jews has been ameliorated, how pitiable is their condition! They are supposed to amount to between four and five millions in number3. Of these one million and a half reside in the Turkish Empire in Europe, and in Asia: 450,000 in Persia, China, India, and Tartary; and 2,550,000 in the rest of Europe, in Africa, and in America. Of this immense body of persons how abandoned is the moral and religious state! How far are they from God! How void of the knowledge of his will! How much below the ordinary condition of human depravity and vice! In all the countries of Europe, what race of people so mean and despised, so separated from human converse; the rich so sordid, and the poor so flagitious! Add to this consideration, that the implacable hatred of professed Christians to the wretched Jew, has been exactly calculated to strengthen all his prejudices, and confirm his hostility to the Christian faith. What an affecting spectacle is then presented of fallen

3 Basnage reckons them at 3,000,000; Gregoire, a late writer, at 4,500,000. Basnage wrote early in the eighteenth century.

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