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First. Let us attend to the doctrine. That God will reclaim the world at some future period is too manifestly supported by the general style of prophecy to require any particular explanation. It is the received opinion of informed christians, with which the best writers on prophecy promptly concur, that the peculiar fruits of the cross will be displayed by the reformation of the world. Though great things were effected for Zion's prosperity directly upon Christ's ascension, and during the successful times of the Apostles, and the subsequent days of reformation; though millions have been savingly enlightened since the christian æra, and Christ has seen of the travail of his soul, in every period of the church, to make up our mind on the ample ground of prophecy, he is not yet satisfied, and contemplates the latter day glory as the answerable reward of his death. For, on the fulfilment of prophecy, in the harmonious church of Gentiles and Jews, comprising the inhabitants of the earth, the veracity of God is pledged and the glory of inspiration depends. In a word, since the prosperity of Zion has never yet equalled the extent of God's covenant, we devoutly pray, confidently expect and patiently wait for better times. The Lord has promised, that his church shall embrace the nations; and while we suppress all unwarrantable confidence respecting the universal triumph of grace, the Prophets impel us to hail the approaching day when the temple of Christ will be com mensurate with the habitable globe,
The other proposition contained in the doctrine, which considers the conversion of the Gentiles the occasion of the reformation of the Jews, requires direct proof and elucidation. But, in reference to this point, it is at once obvious to every informed mind, that our advantages are circumscribed. For, the great restoration of the Jews in consequence of the ample reformation of the Gentiles, like some other interesting subjects of inspiration, is not often repeated, and confessedly has not many direct passages of revelation to support it. We yet believe it is clothed with light, and supported by sufficient authority. A few select scriptures seem to be appropriated to the subject without reserve. For, aside from this manifest import, we are unable to ascertain the object for which they were inspired.
The following passages, to say the least, we consider by no means impertinent. Thus says the Lord Jesus Christ, while pointing out the impending destruction of theJewish nation, which took place soon after his ascension. "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword and shall be carried away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem shall be trodden under foot of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
The times of the Gentiles are undoubtedly the protracted period of their superiority and oppressive influence. Though we dare not mark the termination of Jewish degradation, and affliction, yet we have some reason from the tenour of pre
diction to conclude, that they will continue till the fall of Antichrist, and the river Euphrates be dried up, to prepare the way for the kings of the East. When the Gentile nations commence the friends of God, they will also commence the friends of the despised Jews, whom they have signally oppressed nearly two thousand years; and the seed of Abraham, by divine influence, will also become devoutly jealous and emulate the lovely example, This as the Apostle expresses it will be life from the dead; like the resurrection itself.
To the same purpose James remarks, while attending to the conversion of the Gentiles; "And to this agree the words of the prophets, as it is written, after this I will return and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down, and will build again the ruins thereof, and will set it up, that the residue of men might seek after the Lord" The import of the passage is obvious. For after the course of God's gracious operations among the Gentiles he will remember his ancient covenant with Abraham, and restore his revolted posterity.
The inspired order of Simeon's devout expressions while embracing the infant Saviour, reflects light on the subject: For when celebrating his long expected advent, he styles him the light of the Gentiles and the glory of Israel. As Providence therefore has begun to expound and accomplish the prediction according to this arrangement, shall we not consider the Sun of righteousness as
rising only in the conversion of the Gentiles, but in his meridian splendor while restoring the Jews? The light of the morning, and the blaze of noon, happily illustrate the divine order and glory of these great events.
But waving texts and passages of this coincident construction, which are considered as a merė preface to the sequel, we will adduce others on which we confidently put the issue of the doctrine. We refer to the xi. chapter of Paul's epistle to the Romans, which he wrote about the year 60, not long before he terminated his successful ministry, and sealed the testimony with his own blood. the prediction, therefore, in the text was delivered after the most remarkable conversion of the Jews during the ministry of the Apostles, we conclude, on the ground of plain fact, that the ample restoration of the Jews, referred to in the text, and styled their fulness in the context, is yet future. For, instead of the salvation of all Israel either indeed before the Apostle wrote or since that period; the Jews in general, from generation to generation, have blindly and obstinately rejected Christ and the gospel of his grace. And what period since has discovered the general reformation of the Gentile nations? The prophecies relative to the signal reformation of both Jews and Gentiles are yet to be accomplished; and the Gentile must lead the Jew up to the gospel temple. But, O Lord, how long, how long shall the poor Jews wait for Gen
tile guides, in whom they may safely confide! For the Gentiles as well as the Jews are yet gener ally blind and desperately wicked.
But, let us examine the connexion. The apostle, while surveying the wretched and deplorable state of the Jews, puts this question: "Hath God cast away his people whom he foreknew?" Are the Jews all rejected? "God forbid. For I am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin." After alluding to the gross mistake of Elijah, who considered himself the solitary friend of religion in those dark times, he observes; "Even so then, at this present time also, there is a remnant according to the election of grace." To silence the rising pride of the Gentiles who early began to slight the Jews, he reasons in the following manner: "Have they stumbled that they should fall?" Is it the design of heaven that the seed of Abraham shall be finally erased from the book of promise? Can the covenant fail? By no means. "But rather through their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles to provoke them to jealousy." One gracious motive of the Lord in calling the Gentiles is to rouse up the Jews and provoke them to repent and believe. In this peculiar connexion, the Apostle unfolds the design. of the passage which considers the conversion of the Gentiles preparatory to the restoration of the Jews, and most devoutly pleads: Now, if the fall of the Jews be the riches of the world, and if the diminishing of them be the riches of the Gen