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Christ's disciples as of himself: and then be it noted, that as he is the one foundation now and evermore, and there are twelve foundations to the new Jerusalem, having the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb (Rev. xxi. 14); so is it to be inferred most clearly, that as there are twelve
gates of the New Jerusalem, and each gate is a several pearl (Rev. xxi. 21), He is the One Pearl of great price, in this parable, who elsewhere declares “I am the door.'
“ Again : the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net which was cast into the sea and gathered of every kind : which, wben it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be in the end of this world (awwroc): the angels," &c. &c. (vers. 47-50).
I venture to remark, in the first place, on this parable, that it is clearly no general judgment of all men which it intimates ; because the net” catches not all the fish, but only " of every kind.”. And secondly, it concerns not the judgment of any men after their resurrection; because the net was not cast among the dead, nor is any part of it in the separate state : thence, therefore, it can be implied to bring nothing, if there be the least exactness in the similitude. The “sea " I should suppose to mean here, what it means in Dan. vii. and elsewhere, the Gentile world, all restless and tumultuous, as it has been ever. And it would be no difficult thing to shew how often the Scriptures contemplate Israel as the “shore” of this sea. I suppose, therefore, our Lord by the parable to have intimated how the word of God, which had for so many ages abode in Jerusalem and Mount Zion, was about to go forth thence ; and at length, having accomplished the thing whereto it was sent, was to return again thither, drawing with it its " quick” contents to judgment. For the simple idea presented to us is of a net taken from some shore, and (having caught enough fish) drawn back to’ the same. And I think we should not be slow to perceive, from history and prophecy conjoined, whence came forth the word which bath caught men; and whither it shall return, and where it shall rest in judgment: for there is a place where the Lord shall sit to judge all the Heathen; and there is a people from whom, as a net cast into the sea, their own Scriptures have been taken and cast among us, by “fishers of men” sent forth on purpose. Not on the blank leaf of the Book, but on almost every page, is the name of its owners inscribed, with the promise that it shall be restored to them, and they to their own land, and the nations gathered thither to judginent. And “when the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall be sit upon the throne of his glory, and before him shall be gathered all the Gentiles ;” and not only shall he separate them (nations) one from another, &c. as in Matt. xxv., but individually, it would seem, from this parable, shall cause division to be made between the righteous and the wicked ; causing the latter to be cast away, the former to be set, like " the solitary in families," as fish of a kind are gathered severally into vessels.
“ Jesus said unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore [if ye have indeed understood them] every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old” (vers. 51, 52). The Householder is God the Father, whose purpose, apparent from these parables, is twofold: to gather for himself a people, the church of the firstborn, out of the Gentiles; and yet to accomplish the things written of old concerning his people Israel, in the day when the kingdom of heaven shall indeed appear. Therefore is every scribe, rightly instructed and instructing others, like unto him.
ON THE RESTORATION AND CONVERSION OF THE TWELVE
TRIBES OF ISRAEL. To adduce all the Scriptures which hold out the expectation and the certain hope that the scattered tribes of Israel shall be yet gathered, and again put in possession of the land given to their fathers, would be to quote a large portion of the writings of the Prophets, which teem with such predictions. It may be sufficient for the present purpose to refer to that clear and comprehensive prophecy on this subject in Ezek. xxxvii. 16–28; which seems to place the fact beyond all dispute, as it respects the two great divisions into which the descendants of Jacob were separated after the reign of Solomon. Some theological writers, who have denied that the numerous blessings promised to Israel in the Old Testament are yet to receive a literal fulfilment; and who, nevertheless, finding those promises as frequent and express as they are incapable of other than a literal interpretation, cannot but admit that they must have such an accomplishment; have asserted that all such prophecies were fulfilled, in respect to Israel, when a small portion of the Ten Tribes, which clave to Judah, returned with her from the Babylonish captivity. The extent and the duration of those promised blessings are such, that no ingenuity can prove their accomplishment in the return of the Jews from Babylon. But the subject is not left in uncertainty: the instruction given to Ezekiel, in the chapter above referred to, shews clearly that the restoration of Israel, as well as Judah, to their own land, is still future, and that the inestimable blessings connected with it follow as a consequence. In that prophecy the portion of the Ten Tribes which clave to the house of Judah is introduced as distinct from the great body of the nation of Israel; yet the latter, it is declared, are destined to be restored as well as Judah, and the two nations to form again one kingdom in their own land. Thus one stick in the Prophet's hand represented “Judah, and the children of Israel his companions ;" the other “ Joseph, or Ephraim; and all the house of Israel, his companions. These sticks became one in the Prophet's hand, in token of the two nations becoming one kingdom in their own land;
even upon the mountains of Israel " " in the land that God gave unto Jacob his servant, wherein their fathers have dwelt: and they shall dwell therein, they, and their children, and their children's children, for ever : and David shall be their prince for ever. There an everlasting covenant of peace shall be made with them ; Jehovah will be their God, and they shall be his people (vers. 16-27). But whence are the Ten Tribes to come, it
be asked ? Where are they now situated ?_That the Ten Tribes shall be restored, as it has been supposed, from some one spot or country where they are now congregated, seems a point very difficult to be established from Scripture; on the contrary, the expressions respecting them contained in the Prophets indicate rather their recovery from an extensive dispersion over all the countries of the earth. The Prophet Amos (ix. 7), speaking in the name of the Lord, exclaims," Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt?” which evidently includes the Ten Tribes : and immediately afterwards (ver. 9), “Lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel (including still the Ten Tribes, if not, with reference to the sinful kingdom" threatened in the eighth verse, exclusively designating them) among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve." And Ezekiel, after the two sticks had been joined in his hand speaks of the whole as having been taken from “among the heathen” or, as he amplifies the term in xxxvi. 24, “gathered out of all countries”-to be brought into their own land. So again the same prophet, as do others of the sacred writers, speaks continually of Israel as being “scattered” over various countries. See Ezek. xxxiv. 6; "My flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth :” and vers. 12, 13, “I will deliver (my sheep) out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day; and I will bring them out from the people, and gather thein from the countries, and will bring them to their own land,” &c. So the Prophet Jeremiah, in the xxxth chapter, records these words “concerning Israel and concerning Judah” (ver. 4): “I am with thee, saith 'the Lord, to save thee. Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scuttered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee” (vers. 10,11).
In respect, then, to the present state of this people, the most accurate conclusion seems to be, that the descendants of both
divisions of the nation are scattered over the earth, and are distinguishable from other nations, bụt are not clearly distinguishable from each other.
Two or three important inquiries, connected with the unaccomplished purposes of God toward the seed of Jacob, demand especial attention : such as, In what state of mind they will be restored ? When, and by what means, their conversion to the faith of Christ shall take place ? and, In what order the events connected with their restoration are to be placed? The consideration of the two former points are first requisite, as they have an important bearing on the last.
On the first point there seems a pretty general agreement in the church that the Scripture describes them as being restored in a humble, repenting, and obedient state of mind (Deut. xxx. 1–5; Jer. xxxiii. 3; Hosea iii. 5); but whether in a state of conversion to Christ or otherwise, there is still difference of opinion among serious and enlightened men. I am not prepared to contend that none among the restored tribes will be converted to the faith of Christ; or that many individuals, so converted, may not accompany them, and be witnesses for Him in the midst of them; but as to the large body of the nation, Scripture, either by direct declaration or in a way of analogy and clear inference, appears to place their conversion in order subsequent to their restoration. I request attention to a few proofs and arguments in favour of the position here advanced.
And, 1. As it respects the direct testimony of Scripture.
It seems to have been committed to the Prophet Ezekiel to record and predict, with greater particularity than any other inspired writer, the events that befel, and are still to befal, the people of Israel. Not only is the fact of their conversion to God expressly predicted in the following passages, but the order in which it occurs seems distinctly pointed out. In Ezekiel xxxix. 27, 28, after the attack and overthrow of the armies of Gog are predicted, it is added, “When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' land, &c. then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land." xxxvi. 24, 25; “I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness and from all your idols will. I cleanse you,” &c. And again, xxxvii. 22–28; “I will make them one nation in the land, and one King shali be king to them all.” This is first promised : afterwards other blessings are promised : “Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with any of their transgressions ; but I will cleanse them; so shall they be my people, and I
will be their God. They shall walk in my judgments, &c. I will make a covenant of peace with them. My tabernacle shall be with them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” See also xx. 42, 43, and xxviii. 25, 26.
To this agree the words of the prophet Zechariah, xii. 9, 10: “In that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem [which clearly marks the time of which the prophet speaks, that assemblage against Jerusalem being always the precursor of the last judgments on the nations); and I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem,” &c. See also Zeph. iii. 8, 9, 13; Ezek. xliii. 7, 9.
2. Clear as these Scriptures appear to be, it has been objected against the admission of the conclusion, as if there must be some fallacy in it, that the Jews were cast out of their own land for the rejection and crucifixion of our Lord ; and therefore cannot, consistently with justice or equity, be reinstated in it till they have acknowledged their offence, and have submitted to him as the only and true Messiah.
Without in the slightest degree depreciating the guilt of that flagrant crime, it cannot, in the first place, be admitted (what this objection implies) that the rejection of Christ at his first advent was so great and heinous an offence on the part of the Jews as to outweigh and cast into the shade all the rest of their provocations, and occasioned their ejection from their land; because the Scriptures do not so represent it. Had they known and received him as Messiah, and then rejected him, the case would have been different; but the word of God informs' us that they knew him not, and in that ignorance rejected him. While, therefore, to deny and to condemn him was a grievous aggravation of guilt-as appears in the parable of the Husbandmen, in the threatening against those who should not hearken to that Prophet who should be raised up unto them (Deut. xviii. 19), and in other Scriptures-it did not constitute the full measure of their iniquity; nor is it any where stated to be the immediate cause of their captivity. . Many years elapsed after that crime was consummated ere they were cast out. Something more, therefore, was requisite to fill up the cup of wrath. “ The blood of all the prophets,” we know, as well as our Lord's, "was required of that generation;" and the heavy and long accumulation of crime charged upon the Pharisees and the lawyers, and those who followed them, by our Lord in his discourses, and yet persisted in notwithstanding his gracious warning, doubtless contributed to the result. Judah worshipped the temple, and the gold of the temple, and the forms of godlinessas the professing church is prone to do now—and she consequently recognised not the high office of the meek and lowly Jesus, in whom all the excellency shadowed forth in the temple and its rites were concentered. Her not knowing the day of her