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King to his rebellious subjects, who are in arms against him, in which they are instructed, not that they have been pardoned, but that as many as avail themselves of an act of grace passed to that effect, shall be forgiven, whatever may have been the nature and the magnitude of their offences; an act, embracing within its benignant operation the ringleaders of the defection, as well as others; and containing no exceptions, by which the hope of any individual might be embarrassed.
The writer in “The Morning Watch ” employs a distinction, by which he means to avoid the difficulty arising from applying the term pardon to a person continuing under condemnation. He considers the term in question as including four things: First, “the grace of the king ;" then the promulgation of that grace ;" then its revelation to the culprit;" and lastly, “its acceptance by the culprit.” The writer says, that, in its ordinary use, pardon includes these four things ; and though he also admits that Mr. Erskine has used the term to denote a state of things, in which one at least of these requisites is wanting, he is yet bighly displeased with the Editors of the Magazines, for denying that there is any foundation in Scripture for the doctrine of Mr. E., that the human race is pardoned. It is true the writer says that only three at most of the elements that constitute pardon are in existence, as it respects the human race, namely, the grace of the king, the promulgation of the pardon, and its revelation; and therefore he is forced to acknowledge that Mr. E has chosen an unsuitable term to express his meaning : but, in truth, pardon is a thing quite distinct from all these ingredients of wbich the writer states it to be composed. Pardon is not the grace of the king, nor the promulgation of this grace, nor the revelation of it, nor the acceptance of it; nor is it all these together, nor does any one of them enter into its composition. Pardon is simply a remission of the punishment due to transgression. This is the sense in which it is understood between man and man, and this is its meaning when employed in Scripture to denote an act on the part of God signified by that term. If it be true, then, that God has remitted the penalty of sin, as it respects the human race, the term pardon may with propriety be applied to the transaction; but if this be not true, it is improper to say that God has pardoned the human race. Is this then a question of mere words ? By no means. But I must reserve for another letter what I have farther to say on this point, feeling that I may have already exceeded the limits which you can afford to allow to such a correspondent as Your humble servant,
ON THE RETURN OF THE TEN TRIBES.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER.
MR. EDITOR-A query in your June Number invites your prophetical readers to consider the subject of the return of the ten tribes to Jerusalem, and asks for any Scriptural evidence, subsequent to the captivity, that may disprove that return. I know not whether the result of my researches upon this topic may give satisfaction to your correspondent; but I think the subject interesting, and, so far as I have been permitted to see it, very generally misunderstood. My opinion is, that the Israelites returned to Palestine in the same sense as did the Jews—that they were very soon incorporated with them under one name, a name that became common to them, with those of both nations who did not return to Jerusalem- that they have since borne this name, whether in their own country or elsewhere—and that it is, therefore, à vain and useless waste of labour to search for the ten tribes as if they were lost, when they are, in fact, now identified with the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. I am aware that this view differs so materially from that usually held in the Christian world, that it will be received with great incredulity; but as I have been myself compelled to embrace it, in spite of long-rooted prejudice, I would submit the reasons that have swayed me-being most willing, at the same time, to relinquish my convictions, if these reasons be proved insufficient.
The first proclamation by which Israel was restored, was in the first year of Cyrus; claiming the authority of “the Lord God of heaven,” and calling upon “all his people to go up to Jerusalem." (Ezra i. 2, 3.) Can we suppose this addressed to the Jews only?
the universal tenor of the language and the nature of the subject alike forbid this supposition; it is addressed to all his people --it is published throughout all his kingdom—and the direction for assistance was universal, and was certainly intended to operate at a distance from Babylon, “whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth."--(Ezra i. 4.) By the overthrow of the Chaldean empire, which had succeeded to the Assyrian, Cyrus had become possessed of all the countries into which the Israelites had been carried, and to them, no less than to the Jews, was the proclamation directed, and the succeeding verse says, that "then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the Priests and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised,”appearing not to limit this impulse to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, whose rulers, dwelling at Babylon, were naturally most influential and active, but to extend it to others also. We may indeed admit, without hesitation, the improbability that so many of the ten tribes would go up as of the two; they had been more
habituated to the captivity; they had probably formed more connexions than their brethren the Jews had done; they were farther from the scene of action, and were naturally less disposed to risk their property and their persons in a distant and dangerous journey; but that very many did avail themselves of the permission, I think admits of satisfactory proof. The same universal extension of the decree is obvious in those of Darius and of Artaxerxes—the former repeats and confirms the purpose of Cyrus; and “ all they of the people of Israel, and of bis Priests and Levites, in my realm,” is the language of the edict issued in the seventh year of the latter sovereign--the niost remarkable, perhaps, of all, as from it Daniel's seventy weeks are usually reckoned. It would seem, too, that these proclamations produced their due effect: it cannot be doubted, that many of the ten tribes had left their tribes for their religion, and joined themselves to the children of Judah and Benjamin, before the captivity ; many, too, had continued in the land after the general captivity of Israel; these bad all suffered under the Babylonians, were taken captives by them, and, upon the decrees of general restoration, it may be supposed, returned with Judah. To these we may add many of the Israelites who were placed in Media and Persia—and hence we can account for the discrepancy* between the general number of those who returned, as given by Ezra and Nehemiah, and the sum of the particulars, which only included Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. Indeed there is scriptural evidence of the return of the Israelites, as distinguished from the Jews, that would seem to leave no room for doubt. We learn from 1st Chron. ix. 2, 3, that the Israelites, subsequent to the captivity, dwelt in their cities, and were even in Jerusalem with Judah and Benjamin— from Ezra ii. 70, iii. 1, and Nehem. vii. 73, that “all Israel, the children of Israel,” dwelt in their cities; and in these books the Jews and children of Judab and Benjamin perpetually occur, as descriptive of these peculiar tribes. The number of the leaders, too, of the first body that returned with Zerubabbel was twelve, according to the number of the tribes.-(Ezra iii. 2, comp. Nehem. vii. 7.) And at the feast of the dedication, beside an hundred bullocks, two hundred ram.s, and four hundred lambs, “ twelve he goats were offered, according to the number of the tribes of Israel, for a sin-offering for all Israel.”—Ezra vi. 17. And, again, when describing, in Ezra vi. 21, the children of the captivity, they are expressly called "the children of Israel”—distinguished alike from the proselytes from among the heathen, and the Israelites who had joined themselves in Canaan to the heathen, but had separated themselves from their worship on the return of their countrymen.
From the evidencet that has been adduced, I would say, that
• The general number both by Ezra and Nehemiah is 42,360 ; the particular sums in the former amount to 29,318, in the latter to 31,031.
+ To the places above quoted, I would add Ezra x. 5, and Nebenı, xii. 47.
it is rendered probable that the ten tribes were associated with the two on their return from the captivity, that they were regarded by Ezra and Nebemiah, as having returned in a united form, that gradually the name of the tribe of Judah obtained the ascendancy in the land, and that of Ephriam or Israel, as a distinct appellation, was absorbed in it, although occasionally preserved, and that such a change took place more rapidly among those who remained out of the promised land, than among those who returned. In the book of Esther, whose chronology, however disputed, was certainly long subsequent to the first return from the captivity, it cannot be supposed that the Jews who were dispersed through all the provinces in such numbers as to resist and slay their enemies, belonged to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin alone, but rather that the ten tribes, having lost all cause for jealousy, were incorporated with them, and all called by one name. That they were recognised as Israelites, distinct from the two tribes in Palestine, for a considerable time, is certain; for, in the book of Maccabees, they are expressly mentioned as dwelling in Gallilee and Peræa, (1 Macc. v. 9–24)—and, without claiming authority for the author of that book beyond the usual one of an historian, he must be allowed considerable weight.
If these statements be true, it is plain, that up to the captivity by the Romans, no loss was sustained of the ten tribes in any sense that would not be cqually applicable to the two; individuals of both divisions might have become corrupted by their residence among the heathen, but no great national apostacy to heathenism seems to have prevailed; the ten tribes gradually lost the peculiar name of Israelites, * and were known at length universally by that of Jews. Philo expressly speaks of the twelve tribes being in existence in his time, φυλαι μεν εν εισι το εθνος δωδεκα ; Josephus, though he has not gone all the length of the view we have been supporting, never hints that the ten tribes were lost in his time; and Justin Martyr, in his dialogue with Trypho, involves all the twelve tribes in the murder of our Saviour, plainly intimating, that, under the name of Jews, all were included. But high as is the anthority of Philo, Josephus, or Justin, there is superior, because inspired, evidence, that subsequent to the death of our Lord they were never considered to be lost. Beside the circumstance of Anna being a daughter of Asser, we find St. Paul speaking of the twelve tribes as all equally known, and refers to it as a well-known fact before Agrippa and the Jews then present, which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come,” (Acts xxvi. 7)--and .St. James directs his Epistle “to the twelve tribes that are scattered abroad."--And to this we may add, that St. John, in the symbolical sealing of the 144,000, mentions the tribes of Israel, without the least allusion to the disappearance of ten from among them. .
* Prideaux, in advocating this opinion, quotes Josephus, Antiq. xi. 5, § 7, and Euseb. Demonst. Evang. viii. I have not been able to trace the latter reference.
It must be unnecessary to remark, that this view acquires additional force from the ineffectual attempts of learned men to discover where these volatile tribes have taken' refuge. Tartary and China, Ireland and Africa, have been fruitlessly assumed as their asylum; one learned man finds them among the Afghans, another among the North American Indians--and hypothesis after hypothesis has been laboriously erected, and as laboriously knocked down. At present there is scarcely à part of our globe that has not been traversed by learned curiosity, with the exception of the interior of Africa and New Holland, where no credulity has yet placed these evanescent tribes; and we are compelled to confess, that either they have not disappeared, and are now to be found incorporated among the Jews, or that they are so concealed by divine power among the heathen, that all search for them is vain. That they do not exist under the character and with the worship of Israelites,* must be conceded; and if they have intermingled with the heathen, it must have been for a purpose that would be defeated by the gratification of our curiosity. Whether the view I have given be not probable, whether the promises of an union between the contending houses be not already fulfilled, I leave to your readers to decide-begging to refer them to the authorst I have quoted below, to prove, that whatever character my opinions may deserve, they are not original in error. The discussion may not be without its use ;
induce many to examine the grounds of the opinions they maintainto hesitate at giving implicit confidence to every one who offers to guide-to apply sobriety to the interpretation of prophecy, when they see well-grounded doubts flung upon what they have deemed most certain-and to beware of embracing, as articles of faith, views that may have the very same foundation as that opinion I have been combating--the theological dream of some vain and bigoted Rabbi.
HINTS ON CLERICAL DUTY. TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER. SIR-As you were kind enough to insert my “ Hints on Clerical Duty" in your Magazine, perhaps you will now add to the obliga
• It deserves attention, that not an intimation of any prospective union of the two contending nations, or of the loss of the ten tribes is to be found in the Propbets that wrote subsequent to the captivity, more especially in Malachi, who propbesied after the final settlement of the restored nation.
+ The very learned Prideaux holds this view—Prideaux Connec. iii, an. 536. Whitaker's History of Arianism, p. 159–160. Townsend, in bis Arrangement of the Old Testament, ii. 704, adopts them also from Prideaux ; and Jahn, in bis Hebrew Commonwealth, vol, 183, 184, gives the same as the result of his examination of the question. Basnage, absolutely denies the loss of the ten tribes, though he does not think they returned to Judea in a body, and he places ibeir descendants still in Media and Persia.