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tiles, how much more their fulness !" If their departure from God has been the occasion of good to others; what inestimable blessedness will accompany their return? Behold the resurrection of dry bones in the extensive valley! Awake and sing, O ye prostrate seed of Abraham, who dwell in dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
But the Apostle, while considering the Jews as branches of the covenant tree, subjoins: "And if the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, were graffed in among them, boast not against the branches." For if the natural branches are separated in consequence of bearing no fruit, what will be the condition of barren and fruitless grafts? Having thus shewn the Gentile converts that nothing short of unremitting obedience could prevent their rejection, he opens and leads us into. the most extensive field of duty and admiration.
The great design of the connexion is too manifest to be misapprehended. He teaches the Gentiles, not only to contemplate the restoration of the Jews, but the sovereign method by which it will be accomplished, "For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree; how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?" It is God's design to reinsert the natural branches. "For, I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your
own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written there shall come out of Zion the Deliverer and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob, For, as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief; even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy." How mysterious the operations of providence! God's thoughts are very deep!
In fine; is it not as manifest from the connexion that the signal restoration of the Jews will yet be effected by the ample reformation of the Gentiles, as it is that the partial calling of the Gentiles had been occasioned by the partial apostacy of the Jews? If so, the doctrine is supported: For it only pleads that in reclaiming the world God makes the conversion of the Gentiles preparatory to the
restoration of the Jews.
Secondly. Let us attend to the course of providence. in reclaiming the world. To ascertain all the means and instruments which God will use in the course of his administrations to effect his great design, is manifestly impossible. For a minutę state of facts the world must wait and consult the opening volume of futurity. But as no miracles are expected, and as God is uniform in his operations where the scripture is silent, we shall care fully recur to the analogy of providence.
1. Then, we observe, that preaching the gos
pel is one of the principal means which God uses to reclaim the world. No method is more frequently inculcated nor more highly estimated. "Go," saith the Lord to his first missionaries: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." At a different time, while illustrating the fulness of the gospel preparation for all descriptions of men: "Go," says he "into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." The apostolic missionaries, fired with zeal to promote the salvation of souls, readily obeyed the injunction. The consequence was glorious. For under the direction of the heavenly leader they resolutely attacked the strong holds of the enemy, and in the course of a few years carried the victorious standard of salvation through a great part of the eastern continent. Let us ever thank and praise the faithful spirit of inspiration for the finished commentaries of those soldiers of Jesus Christ. The writings of the apostles are full of the precious trophies of grace. But what says the great apostle of the Gentiles while directly attending to the subject under consideration? From his inspired lips, these words drop like the rain. "For the scripture saith, whosoever calleth on the name of the Lord shall be saved." In the next words the uniform, constituted method of salvation is presented. "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how
shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent ?" The golden links of this chain are distinctly marked. Salvation is connected with praying, and praying with believing, and believing with hearing, and hearing with preaching and preaching, let us, my Fathers and Brethren, remember, is connected with being sent by the Holy Spirit. The Apostle concludes this constituted connexion by alluding to the early, primitive position of public speakers, and says; "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!” May we not add, how very desirable the elevated position of gospel Missionaries while surrounded by thousands of listening heathens! O that the far distant mountains were covered with the feet of gospel preachers! But not to anticipate reflections.
2. As general peace among the nations was necessary to the success of the first gospel preachers, so the noise and distress of war must cease previously to the extensive influence of the gospel at the present day. The weapons of a carnal and spiritual warfare are very diverse. Swords must be beaten into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks, the ambitious and bloody Cæsars of the world must quit the field of battle, and bow to the Prince of Peace, before the various nations can embrace the gospel and rest under the banner of salvation. The present cessation of war, amid the potent nations of the earth, who have lately waded
through rivers of blood, we consider as a token of good to the church. For when peace prevails, the friendly intercourse between nations and kingdoms opens the way for the heralds of grace to visit the remote habitations of pagan ignorance, and to enlighten thousands who are perishing for lack of vision. Let the children of Zion then pray that peace may extend like a river, and righteousness like an overflowing stream. For the flames of war are destructive to the interest and prosperity of the church. But
3. As the salvation of souls in primitive times depended not merely on the preaching of the gospel, but on the united exertion and pious example of christians indiscriminately; so, at all times the prospect of Zion's enlargement depends on the same instruments. The interest of souls is a common interest; and when ministers and all other christians are devoutly and harmoniously united to promote it, the prospect is bright and glorious. It was manifestly the heavenly spirit of primitive brothers and sisters, whose names are carefully transmitted by the faithful spirit of inspiration, which extended the limits of Christ's kingdom. Characters of this description, both in public and private life, were the chosen instruments whom God delighted to honour. For not satisfied with general and common endeavours to diffuse the knowledge of the cross, they conjointly exerted their abilities in all eligible directions with a fixed determination to cooperate with Christ, and were