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the Scribes and Pharisees had been so careful to keep shut, and invited all the people of the earth to assemble therein.
He was a light to lighten the Gentiles and to guide into the way of peace those who sat in darkness, and in the shadow of death. His sound was destined to go into all the earth, and his words unto the ends of the world.
By the other sheep mentioned in the text, is therefore meant those believers among the Gentiles, who were not of the Jewish nation or church. These, Jesus tells his hearers, should hear the glad tidings of the gospel of peace, and should be admitted into his fold, should hear his voice and follow him. The bringing in of these sheep, in other words, the conversion of the Gentiles, had been long ago predicted by the prophets, and spoken of in terms of rapture and sublimity, as an event which was to take place in the reign of the Messiah. Το correct the inveterate prejudices of the Jews ; to destroy that narrow spirit of bigotry wherewith they were animated ; to expand their ininds to more liberal views of the divine
ways, was the object of our Lord in many conversations which he held with the Scribes and Pharisees. His own ministrations indeed were in
a great measure confined to the Jews; for as he himself says, he was not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. That he might not violently shock their prejudices and unnecessarily lay a stumbling block in their way, he did not at first openly teach their rejection, and the admission of the Gentiles to the same rights and privileges, but wrapped up his doctrines on that head in allegories and parables. But when he had finished the work which was given him to do; when he had come to his own, and his own received him not; then he determined to bring in his other sheep, to try if they would hear his voice, and he commissioned his apostles to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, Through their instrumentality salvation was brought to the Gentiles. In obedience to their Master's command, they dispersed themselves into the various regions of the earth, seeking and bringing in Christ's sheep, teaching that circumcision or uncircumcision availed nothing, that God is no respecter of persons, but
, that in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted of him. And such was their success; so great was the number of sheep whom they brought into the Re
deemer's fold, that it might be truly said, that, they became a people who were no people ; that a little one became a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. In short, the change was so great, and the revolution so complete, that they who before were excluded from God's flock now became the only true flock, and the ancient flock were rejected from the fold.
2. As at the time when our Lord addressed the Jews he meant by this fold, the Jewish church, and by his other sheep, the Gentiles
-and by saying that these other sheep should hear his voice and be brought in, he meant that the Gospel should be preached to the Gentiles, and that many of them would be- . lieve and receive it; so in the present days, when we say that Christ has other sheep, who are not of this fold, but who shall hear his voice and shall be brought in, we mean, by this fold, the Christian church—by his other sheep; 1. The Jews who refuse to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah ; 2. The Mahometans who acknowledge Jesus to have been a great prophet, but yet have suffered themselves to be deluded by the vain pretensions of an enthusiastick impostor ; and 3. The heathen nations, of whom we may say with Isaiah, “ darkness covers the earth, and
darkness " the people.” And when we say, that, these other sheep shall hear his voice, and be brought in, we mean that the Jews shall at last yield to the force of truth, lay aside their prejudices, and believe that Jesus is the Messiah; that the Mahometans shall perceive their errours, and acknowledge no other prophet but Jesus of Nazareth; in short, that, the glory of the Lord shall yet arise upon those who now sit in darkness, and their light shall come,
The conversion of the Jews to the faith of Christ, is an event generally expected to take place in the latter days. For this they seem to be miraculously reserved by divine providence. For notwithstanding innumerable persecutions, captivities, changes and revolutions; in spite of many attempts to incorporate them with the nations among whom they have lived, they still remain a separate and distinct people, professing their ancient
, national faith, and governed by their own peculiar customs and manners; and this unfortunate nation still remains separate and distinct from all the nations of the earth, a dispersed, persecuted and despised race, a standing proof of the truth of revelation, a striking instance of the divine vengeance against infidelity and disobedience, and we trust, a fit subject for the display of the divine glory in their conversion and restoration. For that the rejection of the Jews is not final and perpetual we have the authority of many plain and certain predictions interpreted by an infallible apostle. The prophet Isaiah, after foretelling the advent of the Messiah and the glories of his reign, thus describes the conversion of the Gentiles and the subsequent restoration of the Jews. “ In that
day there shall be a root of Jesse which shall “ stand for an ensign to the people: to it shall “ the Gentiles seek; and his rest shall be glori
And it shall come to pass in that day, " that the Lord shall set his hand again, the “ second time, to recover the remnant of his “ people which shall be left. And he shall set “ up an ensign to the nations, and shall assem“ ble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together “ the dispersed of Judah from the corners of “ the earth.” The apostle Paul likewise '
says, “ I would not that ye were ignorant of this, " that blindness in part has happened 10 Israel “ until the fulness of the Gentiles be come " in, and then all Israel shall be saved.” When or how this desirable event shall take