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they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon, [where, on the death of the good king Josiah, all Judah and Jerusalem made great lamentation, 2 Chron. xxxv. 24, 25.] And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimeï apart, and their wives apart; all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart. In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.” Zech. xii. 10–14. xiii. I. Their national conversion will be sudden and general, when it takes place. But as many have already been converted to the faith of the gospel-and individual conversion we trust shall be greatly increased—so does Prophecy foretell great future destruction as still awaiting them. In the appointed time, however, God's gracious promise will be fulfilled ;_"I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.” Zech. iii. 9. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God."* Isaiah x. 20, 21.
* Although in these precious spiritual privileges, Christians, as pertaining to the spiritual Israel, have an interest, yet are the promises given directly to the literal Israel, whose restoration to their own land is indeed principal theme of most of the predictions from which we have quoted. That, however, being the subject of the following Section, we have wholly abstained from introducing it in this, although from the intimate connection with which both are predicted, the quotations are often made at the expence of an unnatural rending from the context-a feature which characterizes more or less nearly all the earlier sections of the work. Our design, of concentrating in so limited a space as much as possible of the direct Scriptural Evidence bearing inmediately upon the particular doctrines discussed, has rendered this
“ Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them ; sɔ shall they be my people, and I will be their God.” Ezek. xxxvii. 23. In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the trutlı may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” Isaiah xxvi. 1-4. The 12th chapter of Isaiah is a similar song of joy and salvation, prepared to be sung by them at the same time : “ And in that day [in the day spoken of in the concluding verse of the preceding chapter, when there shall be an highway for the reinnant of his people which shall be left, from Assyria, like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt,']—And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry
is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation ; I will trust, and not be afraid : for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall we draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call
declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord ; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion : for great is the Holy One of Israel.” unavoidable ; but, except in the present section, we have always studied to obviate the evils which would result from forming a julgiment on mere detached fragments, (a mode by which, alas! the word of God is often grievously perverted,) by audlucing such parts as are calculated to show the general bearing of the whole. Still we would entreat the reader to study with care the contexts of all the passages referred to.
* Much of the book of Psalms also, is the inspired matter of Is. rael's praise, containing the most decided references to the period of their Conversion and Restoration. By attending to the fact, that a
Although we learn from the prophetic scriptures, that their national conversion will be preceded by great and important events, still we trust it is to be realized at no distant day. Those strong prejudices against Jesus of Nazareth, which formerly prevented their examination of the evidence for the truth of Christianity, are passing rapidly away; and the Hebrew New Testament is now diligently perused by multitudes, with candor. From the numerous instances in which their inquiries have been followed by a perception of its heavenly origin and inestimable value, we look forward to the time, as near at hand, when the love of God shall be more generally shed abroad in their hearts, preparing them for the joyful welcome of the Saviour, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Mat. xxiii. 39. Then the harp so long unstrung, or only waked to breath forth Israel's plaint, shall again be attuned to the heavenly melody of the Redeemer's praise-infidelity shall give place to a lively faith-and instead of their proverbial covetousness, “ Holiness unto the Lord" shall be inscribed on all their gains.
large portion of these songs are not designed to celebrate past events, relative to David or any other individual, but are rather prophetic compositions applicable to Israel as a nation, and relative to future times, (as is in general obvious from the internal evidence they contain,) much of the obscurity so skilfully thrown around them by Expositors instartly vanishes, and their beautiful significancy becomes apparent. Do not the systematic perversions of the divine word by commentators too often justify the comparison, aptly made, of their being “spectacles which, instead of aiding an imperfect vision, create a vitiated one?"
RESTORATION OF ISRAEL TO PALESTINE.
In all the prophecies of spiritual blessings given to Israel, believing Gentiles, as belonging to the spiritual Israel, have an interest. This privilege is not, however, obtained by any transference having been made of these promises from Israel to the Gentile church. But the literal Israel being the “good olive tree,” of which “ some of the branches are broken off,” believing Gentiles, as branches, are “ graffed in among them; and with them partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree"—the Israelites on their conversion being “graffed into their own olive tree.” (Rom. xi. 17–24.) On this ground the members of the Gentile church, though not directly addressed, are entitled to take to themselves the consolation of those promises of spiritual enjoyments contained in the preceding Section. But there are other promises given to God's ancient people, peculiar to themselves, and which, from their very nature, can by no means be applied to any Gentile race.
For example, to return from the atmost parts of earth, can belong only to those who have formerly been removed thither, which a “ return” implies--there can be no gathering from among different and distant nations, except of those who are previously scattered into them and those only can be brought to the land of their fathers who are the descendants of its former inhabitants. These are, however, some of the privileges promised to Israel, and of which attempts have been made, either altogether to deprive them, or, by changing the nature of the blessings promised, to render their interest in them very equivocal. When such efforts are made, by an unauthorised appropriation, to claim as ours, promises which never were given to any Gentile people, and which never can be realized in their favour, it becomes an imperative duty to vindicate the purpose and promise of God towards the objects of His special and sovereign good
ness, by showing that the only legitimate, nay the only possible application which can be made of such predictions, is to the lineal descendants of faithful Abraham.
Before Israel was at all admitted to the promised land, Moses gave them a prophetic narrative, or prospective history of all that should befall them—the blessings the Lord should bestow-their future apostasy--the captivity of themselves and of their king-the destruction of their city—the unparalleled sufferings to which they should be exposed--and their dispersion into all nations. Deut. xxviii. xxix. And having thus predicted with fearful minuteness, the calamities by which they have since been overtaken for their sins, as the inspired servant of God he left them the gracious assurance that their wanderings and misery should ultimately terminate, by their being re-admitted to the favour of God and restored to their own land : “ And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, and shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice, according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart and with all thy soul ; that then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return, and gather thee from all the nations whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out into the utmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee. And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.” Deut. XXX. 1-5.
Of the correctness of the application of this promise to God's ancient people, there can be no doubt. And if so, what reason can be assigned why such a pledge of the love and faithfulness of God should not be literally received ? It is recorded with all that simplicity