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ere on the passages already you Ezekiel xxxviii. of a partial ucut of the Jews in Palestine, splay of Divine vengeance on .........ch leads to the fulfilment of ...... and the glorious appearance ... in his kingdom, I would pro
whether the Scriptures throw any ...cter and condition of this people whom the last invader looks upon as and this, I think, we may discover
Newer character and condition, that whatemoral change and political reformation they
have undergone, they are not as to the bulk hematuly religious people, and much less a People I think we may discover that a bject formality, a pharisaical superMay, marks their character in the
last visitation of God's afflictive judgment; and it is on this account he suffers their subsequent depression, and brings upon them the times of the last invader, in which their chastisements prove heavy indeed. At any rate, they appear not as yet to have entered into the new-covenant relations with their God. If they have "remembered" "Horeb,"* they have not thought on Calvary.
We discover this to be their character from the fiftieth Psalm. The great God is there described as coming to judge the world of living men-not at the last day of judgment, after the general resurrection of the dead; in that judgment, there are no "living" arraigned; but to "judge the nations upon earth.” Three classes and descriptions of persons are contemplated, as standing before him: "his saints," -"beloved ones" or "the objects of his grace❞— these are first commanded to be gathered. They stand in that everlasting covenant, which the sacrifice of the death of Jesus has consecrated; these consist of true believers of all nations, "redeemed out of mankind," "a kind of first fruits of his creatures," "and the heavens declare his righteousness, for God is judge himself."+
But, besides these, there are two other classes of men, Israel, his acknowledged people; ‡ and "that wicked," "who hateth instruction," and casteth "God's words behind him," and yet presumes "to declare his statutes," and "take his covenant in his mouth." This last, I doubt not,
* Malachi iv. 4. ↑ Ver. 5, 6.
Ver. 7, &c. § Ver. 16, &c.
"commanded the clouds of heaven, that they rain no rain upon his vineyard." He may then return to his former care for that land, and "his eyes be always upon it, from the beginning of the year, even unto the end of the year." It is well known in all these countries, what prodigious changes would be wrought by a more copious supply of moisture.
Respecting this land, we read in the Psalm before us:
36-38. "There he maketh the hungry to dwell that they may prepare a city for habitation: and sow the fields and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase. He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly, and suffereth not their cattle to decrease."
This, at any rate, does not seem to depicture fully the final felicity predicted of restored Israel; but it answers exactly to the description of that "people, brought back from the sword" and " gathered out of many peoples," which, according to Ezekiel, the last invader finds upon "the mountains of Israel,”* and esteems as his easy prey.
Thus in the Psalm it immediately follows:
39. "Again they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow."
A description by no means agreeing with the final happiness and undisturbed repose of restored Israel; but clearly leading us to contemplate in this last invasion of the enemy the cause and in
* Chap. xxxviii.
strument of their troubles, after that first and partial return, which we think we have made out from prophecy. And this guides us to the interpretation of the following verse of the Psalm. We see, in these last invaders of the Holy Land, who the princes are that are put to shame by the judgment of God:
40. “He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way."
But God, the God of Israel comes to rescue his oppressed and afflicted people: "yet setteth he up the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock." From this epocha of depression it should seem begins to be developed the never changing felicity of the restored tribes of Jehovah. The Psalm itself bespeaks the deliverance final: "The righteous shall see it and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth." The closing verse of the Psalm calls upon mankind to fix the deepest attention upon this prophecy, as though its accomplishment would disclose the finishing of the great mystery of God's grace and providence : "Whoso is wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of Jehovah."
SCRIPTURE, OF THAT PART OF ISRAEL WHICH IS FIRST
GROUNDING my belief on the passages already quoted, and especially on Ezekiel xxxviii. of a partial restoration and settlement of the Jews in Palestine, before the grand display of Divine vengeance on the last invader, which leads to the fulfilment of the ulterior promises, and the glorious appearance of him that cometh in his kingdom, I would proceed to examine whether the Scriptures throw any light on the character and condition of this people first restored, whom the last invader looks upon as his easy prey and this, I think, we may discover respecting their character and condition, that whatever moral change and political reformation they may have undergone, they are not as to the bulk of them a truly religious people, and much less a Christian people. I think we may discover that a heartless or abject formality, a pharisaical superstition or hypocrisy, marks their character in the