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INJUSTICE which has been done the Jews by Christian nations. I need not repeat the histories of their sufferings, to which I briefly adverted in a former part of this discourse. I refer to them here, and to the guilt which Christians have contracted by the part they have borne in them, in order to observe that it is not merely the call of mercy which, invites us to raise the fallen tabernacle of David, but the cry of justice which demands from us some reparation of the wrongs which we have inflicted. Self-complacency and indolence are the last dispositions which become those who, as a body, have for eighteen centuries been loading the wretched Jew with hatred and persecution.
And why need I further urge you to compassion on the ground of the INCOMPARABLE BLESSINGS which the Jews have been the means of diffusing through the world? Why should I remind you, that to them pertained the adoption and the glory and the covenants, and the giving of the law and the service of God and the promises? Why should I remind you that salvation was of the Jews? Why tell you, that through them shone forth to you the very light, which we now call on you to restore; that the very means and capacity of diffusing the grace of the adorable Saviour came from those same Jews, who now wait, as it were, to receive back the boon from your hands?
But I pass over these considerations, nor will I do more than hint at the DEEP INTEREST which, as Gentiles, we have in promoting the conversion of the Jews. If the Jews are to be the riches of the world, the least we can do is to be active in gathering in the treasure. If the fulness of the Gentiles is, as we trust, coming in, who can be backward in advancing the salvation of the chosen people, who are to be the instruments of the consummation of that glorious event? In fact, it is not perhaps too much to say, that the various schemes of mercy now on foot in this country, wait at this moment for the Jews as their auxiliaries. At least we may safely assert, that the universal diffusion of the Gospel, which our Societies for the dispersion of the Bible, and for the encouragement of Missionary exertions have in view, would not only be rapidly and inconceivably promoted by the salvation of the house of Israel, but can never have its entire accomplishment till that salvation has first taken place.
And what can be said more? Shall I say that THE PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE TIMES appear greatly to favour the attempt? I think I may do so with perfect truth. Surely every thing around us invites us to proceed. The contempt and hatred for the Jew has long been lessening throughout Christendom. The attention of Christians has been directed to the great
question of their conversion. The rising piety of this country has produced a surprising interest in their welfare. The Jews themselves begin to inquire into the evidences of Christianity. The transactions of the assembly of the Jewish Deputies and Sanhedrim in Paris a few years back, were calculated to call off the Jews from their vain traditions, and to fix their regard on the Mosaic writings. The education of their youth has of late been more attended to. Persons of candour and liberality have appeared in their body. Jews have permitted their children to attend Christian schools, and have themselves become subscribers in various Associations for distributing the Holy Scriptures.
In the mean time, the most able and considerate divines agree in thinking, that the great prophetical period of 1260 years must, on every calculation, be near its close; that is, that the permitted hour of the power of darkness is fast hastening to its termination, and the full conversion of the Jew and Gentile rapidly approaching. I ask then, if these are the circumstances under which Christians should draw back from the duty of compassion to the wretched outcasts of Israel, a duty which would be incumbent on them, if every one of these favourable circumstances was reversed?
Need I add, then, in order to touch more expressly on the particular Society for which I
appear before you, that all the topics we have been reviewing in this discourse-the present state of the Jews-their future prospects-and our consequent duty, unite in recommending the efforts of that Institution which is expressly engaged in this great work. I do not ask for a DISPROPORTIONATE OR EXCESSIVE ATTENTION to this branch of Christian benevolence. I ask only that this Society should share your labours, and partake of your prayers and support. I ask, that the Jew may not be neglected in the general ardour for spreading the Gospel. I ask, that while you are sending your Bibles and your Missionaries to the most distant shores, you should not pass over a people, many of whom are dispersed in your own land, and around your very dwellings.
And in asking this, I should be the last to
countenance ANY RASH OR INCONSIDERATE MEA
SURES. These would inevitably defeat the design which you have in view. On the contrary, the Society for which I plead is desirous of proceeding with the utmost circumspection. The very state of the Jewish nation, which we so much deplore, requires this. Those who labour for the conversion of the Jews,' says Basnage, 'ought to be especially cautious, and not to trust to any instances of conversion, except where they appear to be altogether voluntary. It is not enough that they have proceeded from fear