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other nations, it is true, enjoyed these privileges; but they did not enjoy them, without becoming incorporated with the Jews, the seed of Abraham. Of course they enjoyed these privileges on the ground of adosition. He, who so often declared himself to be the God of Abraham, was bound by his own covenant to distinguish the seed of this faithful servant, and to own them for his peculiar people as long as they walked in his commandments. Obedience to his laws would have prevented their rejection ; and then they would have stood in the way of the great and distinguishing privileges, which have come upon the Gentile world. But the holy Sovereign of the universe had important purposes to answer, by suffering the Jews to fall into great obstinacy and unbelief, and by casting them off from being his people. That he gave them a fair opportunity to secure his favour and to perpetuate their privileges must be acknowledged; yet it was according to his eternal counsel, that they should be given up to blindness of mind and hardness of heart. He designed that their history, which is a part of the sacred oracles, should be to all succeeding ages a faithful record of the nature and depth of human desiravity. That people were left to break covenant with God, that he, by cutting them off, might display, in this world, his hatred of iniquity. On account of their obstinate rejection of the gospel, God, in righteous judgment, hath rejected them ; and he hath done it in favour of the Gentiles. He caused their fall to be “the riches of the world, and the di
Vol. III. No. 9.
minishing of them the riches of the Gentiles.” The great and interesting event of the rejection of the Jews did not take place, until the patience and long suffering of God towards them were fully and unquestionably manifested. While they retained their standing in his vineyard, and experienced his cultivation, they received a treatment from God, which perfectly corresponded with the promise to Abraham. The Gentiles were left uninstructed. Being joined to idols, God let them alone. Accordingly, when the Saviour sent out his twelve disciples to preach his gospel, “he commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not : But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” From this charge to his disciples it appears, that the divine Saviour had not, at the time of delivering it, visibly rejected the Jews, because proof was not fully exhibited, that they were determined, at all hazards, to reject him. On this ground he confined his own ministry to them, as appears from what he said, when the woman of Canaan cried unto him in behalf of her afflicted daughter; “I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” The woman, willing to acknowledge herself a Gentile, an outcast, and fitly represented by a dog, said, “Truth, Lord ; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs, which fall from their master's table. Then Jesus answered, and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith , be it unto thee, even as thou wilt.
And her daughter was made " whole from that very hour.” The conversion of this woman and that of the centurion were probably designed, as carnests or tokens of the future triumphs of the grace of Christ among the Gentiles; but this divine Teacher was careful to signify that he was particularly sent to the Jews, and that his ministry was to be spent among them. " No sooner had the Jews made it fully manifest, that they would not reverence the Son of God, which they did by maliciously crucifying him, than they were, as a nation, rejected. The door was then opened for the gospel to be proclaimed among the Gentiles. The following prediction of Isaiah was remarkably accomplished ; “I am sought of them, that asked not for me ; I am found of them, that sought me not. I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation, that was not called by my name.” This scripture was opened and explained to the apostles; particularly after Peter's call to go to the house of Cornelius, who was a Gentile. Accordingly, when Paul and Barnabas received a mission to go to the Gentiles, having witnessed the envy and blasphemies of the Jews, they “waxed bold, and said, it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you ; but, seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” From this time it appeared, that
there was the greatest harvest of
souls among the nations, which had not known God. The door being opened, by the rejection of the Jews, for the word of life to be preached to the Gentiles, the Holy Ghost descended, and great numbers of the elect were called into the kingdom from among them. It is important to be observed, that there was a remnant of Jews in the church, after their nation in general had rejected Christ, and were themselves rejected by him. Among the descendants of Abraham God had an elect number, and by the power of his Spirit he was continually calling them into the kingdom of his Son. The apostle Paul signified that it was in his day, as it was in the days of Elijah ; God had not left himself without faithful witnesses among the Jews. He urged, with great force of argument, that, though the rejection of Israel was general, according to their own prophecies, and attended with astonishing blindness and hardness, yet it was not total ; there being still a happy number of believers among them. “I say, then, hath God cast away his people 2 God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people, which he foreknew. Wot ye not, what the scripture saith of Elias 2 How he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him : I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. present time also there is a remnant, according to the election of grace.” Again he saith, “Israel (meaning the nation of Israel) hath not obtained that, which he seeketh for ; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” In another place he saith, “blindness in far: is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” Under the preaching of the gospel the first harvest of souls was among the Jews. The three thousand, who were converted on the memorable day of Pentecost, were descendants of Abraham. Probably there has been a small remnant of believers among the Jews from Christ's time to the present day. Among the religious intelligence, communicated to the public, in the periodical works of our own time, we may notice, as highly interesting to the friends of Zion, accounts of some hopeful conversions to the Christian faith among the descendants of Abraham. We are warranted to believe, from respectable authority, that considerable numbers of this people, especially of the younger class, are inclined to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. Intelligence of this kind presages something imsiortant ; that God is on his way, and that the scriptures are fulfilling. In consequence of God’s regard for faithful Abraham, and of promises, which he was pleased to make to him, the Jews, as a nation, will be recovered, and converted to Christianity. . This great event will astonish the world; and in view of it infidelity will hide its head. In the language of the apostle Paul we
Even so, then, at this,
may say, “if the casting away of them were the reconciling of the world ; what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” We have an explicit warrant to indulge the animating thought, that the Jews will be grafted again into their own olive tree ; not into another, but into their own, into the same, in which they once stood ; and will again partake of its root and fatness. “Blindness in fart is happened to Israel,” and for a particular time, “ until the fulness of the “Gentiles be come in.” The time is fast approaching, when the whole of the twelve tribes of Israel will be gathered from their present dispersed state. They all will be again fixed in a state of covenant favour with God. Unliappy as is their present situation, they are represented as being beloved for the fathers' sakes. The glorious event of their return is to take place in consequence of God’s gracious regard to the memory of their pious ancestors, and in fulfilment of particular promises, which he made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In consequence of God’s faithful regard to these promises, he remembered them, when they groaned under their heavy bondage in Egypt; when they were captives in Babylon ; and when the plot was laid to destroy them by wicked Haman. His faithful and sacred regard to the same promises will lead him to remember them in their present scattered state. In his own time he will gather them from among all nations, tongues, and languages; and he will be their God, and they shall be his people.
Many prophecies clearly favour the idea, that the Jews will be conducted to their own land, the land given to Abraham's seed by firomise ; and the remarkable preservation of them, as a distinct people, for so many centuries of years, renders such an event very probable.
The return of the Jews, and their being grafted again into their own olive tree, will unquestionably establish the important truth, that God’s church has ever been one and the same 5 that “there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all.” It may now be remarked, and to all pious minds the remark cannot fail of appearing weighty, that the conversion of the Jews is an event, for which we ought fervently to pray, when we draw near the Father of mercies. They are the natural branches, and their return will be connected with great good to the Gentile world, yea, far greater than was their rejection. If, therefore, we love the prosperity of Zion, we shall think of the seed of Abraham in our public prayers, and in our more private addresses to the throne of grace. H.
SURVEY OF NEW ENGLAND CHURCHES.
Continued from page 359.
It is the design of this number to suggest a few remarks on erferimental religion. The subject is at all times very important to Christians, both as it respects their own spiritual interest, and their treatment of oth
ers. At the present day it is peculiarly important, as there is no subject on which both the learned and the unlearned entertain greater and more pernicious errors. By erherimental religion is here meant the whole internal exercise of Christian holiness, in connexion with the efficiency of divine grace. It implies the gradual acquaintance with divine things, which the penitent attain ; their knowledge of themselves as sinners, and of Jesus Christ as a Saviour; their repentance, faith, love, hope, and joy ; their constant struggle with indwelling sin, and their progressive improvementin Christian virtue. When pious persons and evangelical writers speak of eafterimental religion, they generally have a special reference to the Holy Spirit, as the cause of all true goodness, and to the usual method, in which that Spirit operates in renewing and comforting the people of God. There is a class of men at this day, not contemptible in point of number or talents, who doubt the existence, or at least deny the necessity of what Christians have denominated eacherimental religion, and sometimes treat all pretensions to it as weakness and enthusiasm. Persons, stamped with this extravagance of error and impiety, would deserve less notice in this Survey, were they not frequently found within the pale of the church. This circumstance gives them increased influence, and renders their opinions more dangerous. Without enlarging on this branch of the subject, I would ask, what the scripture means by representing believers, as the subjects of such
powerful divine operations, and personal religion, as consisting in such deep and tender impressions, such clear, spiritual views, and such lively, cordial exercises 2 Set aside exherimental religion, and you set aside that which is supported by the most perspicuous and forcible expressions, as well as by the general tenor of God's word, and by the uniform testimony of the most enlightened Christians in all ages, and which agrees with every correct view of the nature of the human mind, and of divine objects. When rational, accountable creatures, who have been blind to the glory of God, inattentive to the everlasting interest of their souls, estranged from a life of piety, and immersed in the concerns of the world, at length open their eyes upon their own debasement and guilt, upon the divine glory, the work of the Saviour, and the judgment to come; we should naturally expect such a train of impressions and feelings, as constitute what we call exherimental religion. You will, therefore, consider, brethren, that those, who reject experimental religion, not only reject the work of God's Spirit in dictating the scriptures and sanctifying the heart, but manifest great ignorance of man’s intellectual and moral nature. Carefully avoid all such, especially if invested with the sacred office. A minister of this description is sufficient to blast the growth of religion in a whole church. But your greatest danger arises not from those, who openly deny or oppose experimental retigion, but from men who profess to be its zealous friends, and to
be earnestly engaged in promoting it. In our land there are multitudes who answer this description, who yet entertain very inadequate and erroneous, and, in some instances, the most wild and extravagant ideas of the nature and fruits of religion. Such men are doubly dangerous. They are wolves in sheep's clothing. While their high professions and their appearance of pious zeal impose upon undiscerning minds, and steal the confidence of many real Christians ; the errors of their faith, and the irregularities of their conduct, render their influence baleful to the cause of religion. The exposure of the church from this quarter is great, and calls upon her watchmen and friends to plant a safeguard around her, In compliance with this call, I shall briefly mention a few marks of true erferimental religion, by a faithful consideration of which error and delusion may be discovered, and fatal danger averted. The task is arduous and momentous. He, who undertakes it, should remember his responsibility, and keep close to the infallible standard. Let it, then, be observed in general, that erferimental religion must agree with the Christian scrifitures. The Bible teaches that religion, which is pleasing to God, and profitable to men. While attending to this subject, it is a maxim of serious consequence, that the Holy Shirit, ofterating in the hearts of men, always firoduces a religion conformed to that sacred book which he inshired. The Spirit of God is not bound by rules of human invention ; but he cannot contradict himself. His work in re