Page images


riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God: how unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out."

The prophecy relates exclusively to the Jewish nation, the seed of Abraham, the friend of God. It is this: The children of Israel shall abide many days, WITHOUT A King, AND WITHOUT A Prince; predicting very evidently the utter subversion of their civil institutions, the extermination of their political state: WITHOUT A SACRIFICE; alluding to the mediatorial service of the High Priest in the Sanctuary; a service, which commanded the highest veneration, as it included all their hopes of the divine favor, and blessing: WITHOUT AN IMAGE, AND WITHOUT AN EPHOD, and WITHOUT

This clause seems to be added to convey a more lively impression of the extent and aggravation of their ruin. It predicts a complete dissolution of their ecclesiastical establishment, a removal of all their sacred utensils, their idols, and indeed every object attached to their religious institutions. And is it not a remarkable fact, that during the present captivity, the Children of Israel have abode without an image, without any vestige of idolatry, even while urged to this sin by the most alluring temptations.

Afterwards THEY SHALL RETURN, be reinstated in all the privileges included in the covenant with Abraham, and be again a peculiar people, a royal priesthood, a chosen generation.

To such scenes and events this interesting prophecy refers. It must be the language of inspiration, the prediction of one, who was enabled to look through the vale of futurity, and describe, with minuteness, the designs of Jehovah. It is now more than eighteen centuries since this prophecy has begun to unfold; and it will continue to unfold, to an admiring world, until its accomplishment shall be complete, and triumphant; until the Jews shall be gathered in from their present dispersions, and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

But permit me to speak, more particularly, of the present captivity of the Children of Israel, of their final restoration, and of their claims upon the Gentile church.


After their hands were imbued in the blood of the Son of God, the judgments of heaven were not long suspended. In less than forty years, Jerusalem was given up to be plundered; the city was demolished, and a ploughshare drawn over it as a sign of perpetual desolation. On the 17th of July, A. D. 71, as testified by Josephus, the daily sacrifices ceased; and, as the temple was the only place for sacrificing, they have not been, and cannot be, renewed. On the 10th of August, of the same year, the Temple was wrapped in one general conflagration—the Sanctuary of God, the wonder of the world, was laid in ruins. Agreeably to the prediction of our Savior, not one stone was left upon

another which was not cast down. Mount Zion was literally ploughed like a field. As Lot fled from Sodom, so the followers of Christ fled from this city devoted to destruction. No prophet raised his voice of admonition, or of prayer.

The messengers of salvation preached their farewell sermon, and turned to the Gentiles. No angel was seen there with a message of mercy. The Holy Spirit departed from the maddened people forever. The God of their Fathers forsook

them. The door of hope was closed; the day of probation past; and these wretched beings were shut up

in the darkness of an eternal night.

0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem! how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, but ye would not.—BEHOLD YOUR


The remnant, who escaped this awful catastrophe, were utterly dispersed; their political existence was annihilated; and they have ever since abode without a king, and without a prince; have been a proverb and a by-word among all the nations of the earth.

Their lands in Judea were sold. They were reduced to abject slavery; exposed, in vast multitudes, to public sale; subjected to most rigorous corporeal punishment; and, at last, they were not permitted to tread upon that spot where Jerusalem stood; nor to shed their tears upon that ground, where they crucified the Lord of glory.

From that period, the condition of the Jews in Judea has been miserable beyond description. They have waited for the Messiah, but waited in vain. They have attempted to reestablish the religion of their Fathers, but every attempt has been marked with sword, bloodshed, and death. To this day they remain the objects of universal abhorrence, and contempt. Thus the blood of Jesus has been

them, and

upon their children; thus for ages they have been suffering the vengcance of an incensed Judge.

Time will not permit a particular detail of their sufferings in other countries. It will be sufficient to notice a few instruments employed in the execution of this memorable prediction.

[ocr errors]

In the east, "Divine Providence raised up the Mohammedan power, to be a tremendous scourge to the children of Israel. For a while, Mohammed


them every token of friendship, and -respect. But finding them inflexible, he changed his garb of friendship for the fury of a fiend. He filled his Koran with curses against them, armed his disciples, with the sabre tó extirpate them, obliged parents to instil mortal enmity into the minds of their children, besieged their cities, demolished their synagogues, drove them into exile, and forbade them to return upon pain of death. Little did the impious man think, that he was a minister of justice to accomplish the predictions of the word of God, and thus to stamp an eternal infamy upon his own religion. Surely the hearts of all men are in the hands of God, and he will cause even the wrath of man to praise him.

Under the influence of such a system, the wretched condition of the Jews may be easily anticipated. So long as Mussulmauns consider it a duty to persecute

artifice will be employed to increase their wretchedness, and to add horror to despair itself. Stripped of every religious and civil privilege, compelled to perform the most menial services, to yield submission to the meanest subject, they are preserved as a spectacle to angels and to men, of the just indignation of heaven.

And while one judgment has followed another in rapid succession; judgments which must have blotted out the existence of any other nation under heaven, the children of Israel have been continued by an invisible hand, as a standing monument of the veracity of God.

them, every

During this period, the condition of the Jews in the west was not less miserable, and affecting. I refer to the Crusades. Who can describe their consternation, when the pretended champions of the Cross waved their banners over Europe, with this motto inscribed upon them, “LET THE NAME OF ISRAEL BE NO MORE REMEMBERED." All hope of safety was lost. Parents were torn from their children, and families; their houses were consumed; their synagogues laid in ruins. Some fled to the caves and holes of the earth; others surrendered, and were immediately murdered by a furious populace; some escaped the sword by a pretended conversion to the Christian religion; others despairing of redress came to the horrid resolution of destroying themselves.

This crusade, was the commencement of a long series of inhuman and savage cruelties; the history of which, is but a detail of persecutions, proscriptions, banishments, and massacres. In Spain five hundred thousand were obliged to quit the kingdom, and leave behind them their tender children, under the age of fourteen, in the hands of their persecutors. How exactly does this correspond with the prediction recorded against them, Thy sons, and thy daughters shall be given to another people, and thine eyes

shall look, and fail for the longing for them all the day long." In Portugal, to reproach a man by the name of a Jew, was a crime punishable with death. In France, they were not permitted to appear in the streets of Paris, except by particular permission; were sold, as beasts, at public auctions; and during two centuries were banished and recalled no less than at five different times. In England, after suffering every species of

« PreviousContinue »