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nation. But with christian nations, the descendants of the christian fathers, and with the professed and most evangelical part of them, it is true, in all the earth, as it were, they have become a proverb, a by-word, and a hissing; say, far more so than in case of the consistent and unwavering Jews. But this reproach has not befallen the christian church, or Israel, by reason of her consistent Christianity; but by reason of her present hypocrisy, in continuing her high profession and outward show of all her religious forms and possessions as public as possible, in every way. And yet, she has so far left her first love, and cast away the spirit of primitive Christianity, in giving place, as she has, to an almost nameless host of popular and gross sins and abominations in common with a political wicked world, also calling themselves christian, that it must be allowed, though it is humiliating in the extreme, that this fulfilled prophecy of Israel's becoming a hissing, &c., is a hundred fold more appropriate to the truly devoted christian, than to the natural Jews.
And as it respects the alleged present literal fulfilling of prophetic curses against the Jews, for their fathers' sins, as analogous to their soon expected literal return; there are certainly in it, some points which are objectionable and unscriptural.
(1.) It is quite aside from scripture, that "the children's teeth” shall be " set on edge because their fathers have eaten sour grapes ;' or that they should ever be cursed for their fathers' sins. (2.) It is considered grossly unscriptural to say that the penal curses of God's law are executed upon Jews or other sinners while yet on probation; or in mere momentary afflictions or sufferings; while the entire opposite rather is true, viz., that such curses will be interminable at the close of probation, and in the world of wo. For while on probation, though the wicked suffer, and though the Lord afllicts, he does it “not willingly, nor grieves the children of men.” And during the period of probation, God is certainly pouring out his mercies upon them, and not the vials of his curses and wrath, so that it is of his mercies that sinners are not already “consumed.”
And as to these afflictions, observation tells us, that the righteous have the fullest cup of them, while the scripture also says, “ Many are the afflictions of the righteous," and they are plagued all the day ;" while the wicked rather are those who prosper in this world,” who “increase in riches," having " more than heart could wish.” So it is also that the wicked rather have their “ good things” now, and the righteous their sevil things." All this hinders the understanding of the prophetic curse as now literally fulfilled upon the heads of the still living Jews.
And further, it is not admitted that, in any sense, the Jews, as a nation, are suffering above all others the afflictions of this world. The black and red men of America, immensely more numerous than the four or five millions of Jews in the world, it is too well known, to our shame, have, for two hundred years, suffered a hundred fold more from inhuman hands, than the Jewish nation has suffered from all quarters; though the black and red men have so suffered, exclusively, as it appears, because of the peculiar characteristics of their respective nations. And why shall it be said that the Jews, as a nation, are suffering peculiar afflictions or privations ? They say themselves that it is not so ; while, if they please, without changing their religion, they can enjoy equal civil and political rights among the christian nations. True Christians, certainly, cannot persecute and oppress them for their unbelief in Christ; and being of the world, the world, which loves his own, cannot hate them for their unbelief. And besides, we see that they are not an oppressed, cast down and greatly afflicted people, as a nation; while rather we count them, nationally, or generally and proverbially, "rich” in this world's goods; or why do we make so much use of the long-standing proverb, “As RICH AS A Jew?" Then, where is the present literal fulfilment of the prophetic curse upon the Jews, either nationally or individually? And where is the burden of the argument from their present sufferings, that they must yet literally return to Palestine to prepare for the soon coming of the Messiah to reign gloriously ?
3. Many of us have doubtless been strengthened in the expectation of the natural Jews' literal return, at no distant period, by the late frequently alleged and popular argument, that there are of late, among the Jews themselves, greatly increased and increasing anxieties, movements, and prospects of a general and speedy return of the nation to Palestine, together with special expectations among their leading men of the appearance of their long-expected Messiah soon. It is true, that for some time there have been special movements among Christians, and christian societies, especially in England, in favor of christianizing the Jews, and procuring their removal to Palestine as soon as practicable. And very much has been publicly said and published on the subject, and many meetings held to excite a public interest in the enterprise, which are certainly good things, so far as tending to the Jews' conversion. But of late, I have been led, by new facts developing, to question the strict correct-, ness of some of the popular supposed facts in the case, and to conclude that there are no special and recently commenced anxieties and movements among the Jews themselves for soon going generally to Palestine.
It may be proper here to state facts not long since come to my knowledge, by which I have been persuaded, that many of the public and popular reports and statements, that the Jews are now specially excited, and on the move, soon to inhabit Palestine, to build Jerusalem, the temple, &c., are either groundless altogether, or unjustifiably exaggerated.
I have taken pains to visit and inquire of many of the mercantile Jews of New York, and have seen and learnt considerably of them; there being about 10,000 of them in the city. On seeing so much of them, I was led to inquire in my mind whether they did, as a people, really wish to return to Jerusalem, and to ask the question of one of them when trading with him, to which he very promptly replied, “ What should we want to go there for? We have here all the privileges we can ask,-here is a good place for our business, but not there. If we wished to go, we could have gone before now; we have means sufficient to procure a conveyance, and to purchase the country if we wanted it.” On learning this, I was naturally excited to continue my inquiries more fully of others of them from store to store in Chatham street, where many of them are located and engaged in clothing stores. They were alike on this question; and exceedingly averse to Christianity; and in some cases, with open and shocking blasphemies against Christ, pretending to no piety themselves, though they affirmed that a few of their number and their priests were pious. Since then, I have become familiarly acquainted with their priests, who did appear pious, so far as could be, with their disbelief in a Messiah already come in the flesh. They told me, that there were no special movements among their people for a return to Palestine; and no desires, nor willingness to go, if they could; and that the many reports to the contrary were not true. More than this, they stated, that as a people they never expected, nor desired, to go to inhabit and cultivate the natural soil of that country, and would have me understand that their views of Messiah's final corning were very different from what has been commonly supposed of them. And though different individuals of their learned priests may give different statements on the subject, for aught I know; these in particular would have it understood, that the informed Jews were looking for a Messiah to come; but not to move them to Jerusalem, nor to Palestine, as a worldly country, literally to eat, and enjoy its natural productions; but suddenly, at his coming, to destroy all his and their enemies, and to remove them, and all his saints, to dwell in a “heavenly Jerusalem” forever. They also admitted their conviction that many Christians would enjoy the same at Messiah's coming; though they fix no time. But living so long among Christians, and feeling so much dependence on them, in their own weakness, it is doubtless a fact, that they act and speak differently on these points from others of their numbers in different countries.
And why should the mercantile and secular-minded Jews desire to return to Palestine ? For if they go there as a nation, they must, as a nation, and as individuals, change their occupation mostly; and become farmers, generally, instead of merchants. There they must cultivate the soil, and live by the sweat of their face, rather than on the profits of trade. And do they not love their present mode of moneymaking too well to exchange it away for the slow profits and toils of agriculture? And would it not require something like a miraculous influence, so to change their second nature-habits and feelings, as to procure their general consent to remove, as a nation, soon to the occupation of the soil of Palestine; and that, too, before being converted to Christianity? And should they first be converted, they would be no longer Jews, to inherit the Jewish promise; but Christians, to have no earthly portion, nor here any continuing city. Then, of course, they would not naturally wish to go to partake with unbelieving Jews in an earthly inheritance; but would, rather, like Abraham, the father of believers, seek a city having “ foundations, whose builder and maker is God."
In further showing that there is a misapprehension in the popular arguments for the natural Jews' literal return, which represents them as already on the move themselves, with prospects of having the business soon accomplished; I am prepared to prove that the reports are not to be accredited, which tell us that the astonishing wealth of the Rothschilds, and some others of that people who possess their multiplied millions of Jewish gold, are being moved to appropriate it all for the return ;-that Jerusalem and Judea are now fast filling up with Jews returned ;—that many thousands more are just about to go ;-that they are now looking so confidently for their Messiah very soon, that they threaten becoming believers in Christ, unless their long-expected Messiah shall come within a year. This point, I am aware, is an important one, on this whole question; and that I have now assumed a position which, to very many, was not expected ; and that much very authentic testimony on the subject will be demanded.
This point, most truly, is momentous in its bearing on the whole subject; and one of extreme delicacy to be touched, because of the entire discrepancy of opinion upon it, of thousands of the dear saints who are also now looking for their Lord at hand. In assuming this probably surprising position before the public, against so many generally a imitted and long standing Jewish reports, I would do it only with the greatest deference, and with the kindest feelings towards our dear transatlantic brethren especially, to whim, doubtless, we are much indebted for their more early and indefatigable labors, as the means of awaking us, this sii'e the waters, to look for the Lord nigh at hand. Under these circumstances, it is reasonable that they should demand somo palpable and authentic testimony, and that other advocates of the natural Jews' return should do the same. According. ly, as a specimen of the spirit and bearing of these popular reports, I will first give an extract of an address by the Rev. J. H. Stewart," "at a meeting of the Liverpool Auxiliary Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews; held on Monday, 16th September,'' 1839.
Mr. Stewart said :
" The Jewish Rabbis (ministers] were now ready to enter upon the discussion of the prophecies relating to the return of the Jews to their native land, not in a spirit of bitter opposition, but in a spirit of kindness and affection. The Rev. gentleman then read an interesting letter from Mr. Herschell, the Chief Rabbi [high priest] of London, expressive of the satisfaction which he felt in witnessing the interest shown by the Jewish Society in the restoration of the children of Israel to the land of Judah. The letter strongly asserted that the Jews were now looking with earnest expectation for the appearance of the Messiah to rule over his chosen and ancient people. A day had been recently appointed, as a day of especial intercession for the return of the Messiah. That day of prayer would be on Wednesday next, when a service would be read in the Jewish synagogues on this interesting subject. The Rev. gentleman then suggested the propriety of setting aside the same day among the Christians of Liverpool as a day of fasting and prayer. He apologized for occupying so much time, but as he felt that there was a very great crisis in the present condition of the Jews, he felt that he could not avoid offering the observations in which he had indulged.”
Here follows a letter from MR. HERSCHELL, the said CHIEF RABBI, designed as an immediate contradiction to the above