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establishment of what could never be invalidated ?
And if they should even be found to belong wholly to the class of plausible errors—must they not appear like so many warning beacons, to deter men from entering paths so devious and unprofitable? We do not then regret having given a place to Mr. Wolff's peculiar opinions. We rather rejoice, that we have allowed him to speak freely for himself. And of this we are certain, that the cause of truth will not ultimately suffer, if it should not be materially benefitted, by his speculations.
But the chief act of injustice towards Mr. Wolff, and that which involves the commission of every other, consists in either contemptuously despising, or heedlessly overlooking, the great object of his mission. With characteristic boldness, he has proclaimed aloud, that his grand object has been to discover, if possible, the remnant of the ten lost tribes of Israel. Hereupon, all scoffers, all nominal professors of religion, and all ignorant pretenders, turn round and exclaim : “How frivolous, how unprofitable, how delusive, how fanatical !" When challenged to the proof, instead of facts and arguments to substantiate charges so gratuitously preferred, they insult their own understandings, by pouring out a fresh torrent of abusive epithets.
Leaving the offenders to digest the liberality and good sense of such dealing, let us briefly revert to the facts of the case. The illustrious founder of the Jewish nation, when called on by heaven to become an exile from his native land, “ went out, not knowing whither he went;" and contrary to all reasonable probability,“ there sprang even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea-shore innumerable.” “ This innumerable offspring has produced a succession of prophets and patriarchs, of sages, of legislators, of judges, of princes, of priests, of apostles, whose reputation has filled the whole earth, during a series of almost four thousand years. Their history exhibits a nation of the most singular character, and in every possible singularity of condition ; from the extreme of feebleness to the plenitude of power ; from splendour and affluence the most unbounded, down to the lowest state of indigence, misery, and oppression ; in all the respectability of wisdom and goodness, and in all the arduousness of profligacy and vice*."
But it is not the celebrity acquired by the descendants of Abraham, from the number and variety of national vicissitudes, through a duration so extended, that constitutes the strength of their claims on Christian attention : No. Apart from the most memorable of all facts, that of them, “ according to the flesh, has Christ come, who is God over all, blessed for ever,”—it is the circumstance that for ages they were appointed as the sole depositaries of the oracles * Dr. Hunter on the Fulness of the Gentiles.
be saved : as it is written. “There shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.'
“ The Apostle here very justly explains Zion and Jacob of the Jews; for these are the natural sons of Jacob, natives, citizens of Zion: and then also he speaks of those with whom the Covenant was made, as it is said in the text, “This is my covenant with them; but that Testament and Covenant belong to Israel, whose are the covenants and promises.' Rom. ix. 4. Lev. xxvi. 44, 45. Moreover Zion and Jacob denote not some few of Israel, but the whole body of that nation, as Gen. xlix. 1. The deliverer is promised to Zion. The Redeemer, as in Isa. lix. 20. The work of this Redeemer will be to turn away iniquity from Jacob. In the Hebrew, it runs, 'He shall come to those that return from defection. The meaning is the same: he will impart his grace and salvation to those, who by a true faith and repentance shall return unto God. And as they cannot give this repentance to them. selves, the Redeemer will bestow it upon them. Acts v. 31.
“We are to expect the general conversion of the Israelites in time to come, not indeed of every individual, but of the whole body of the nation, and of the twelve tribes. We choose not to multiply minute questions, either out of curiosity, or incredulity, concerning the time, place, manner, means, and the like circumstances of this mystery, which God has reserved in his own power. Let us maintain the thing itself, and leave the manner of it to God." Our Calvin, as his manner is, speaks with prudence and gravity,
Whenever the longer delay is apt to throw us into despair, let us recollect the same mystery, by which Paul clearly puts us in mind, that this conversion is not to be in the ordinary or usual manner; and therefore they act amiss who attempt to measure it by their own private sentiments.'
“ To this restoration of Israel shall be joined the riches of the whole church, and, as it were, life from the dead. Rom. xi. 12. 'Now, if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them, the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fulness?' And, ver. 15. “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead.' The Apostle intimates, that much greater and more extensive benefits shall redound to the Christian church from the fulness and restoration of the Jews, than did to the Gentiles from their fall and diminution: greater, I say, intensively, or with respect to degrees, and larger with respect to extent.
“As to intenseness or degrees, it is supposed, that about the time of the conversion of the Jews, the Gentile world will be like a dead person, in a manner almost as Christ describes the Church of Sardis. Rev. ii. 1, 2. Namely, both that light of saving knowledge, and that fervent piety, and that lively and vigorous simplicity of ancient Christianity, will, in a course of years, be very much impaired. Many nations, who had formerly embraced the Gospel with much zeal, afterwards almost extinguished by the venom of Mahometanism, popery, libertinism, and atheism, verify this pro phecy. But upon the restoration of the Jews, these will suddenly arise as but of the grave; a new light will shine upon them, a new zeal be kindled up; the life of Christ be again manifested in his mystical body, more lively, perhaps, and vigorous, than ever. Then, doubtless, many Scriptural prophecies will, after their accomplishment, be better understood, and such as now appear dark riddles, shall then be found to contain a most distinct description of facts. Many candles joined together give a great light; a new fire laid near another gives a greater heat; and such will the accession of the Jews be to the Church of the Gentiles.”
Dr. Gill, in his Body of Divinity, when treating on the spiritual reign of Christ, observes :
“One great step to the increase and enlargement of Christ's kingdom and government in the
world will be the Conversion of the Jews. “ By this means, the conversion of the Jews, and the settlement of them in their own land, a way will be opened for the great spread of the Gospel in the eastern nations, and for the enlargement of Christ's kingdom there; for the protestant princes, who will be assisting to the Jews in replacing them in their own land, will carry their victorious arms into other parts of the Turkish dominions, and dispossess the Turk and his empire ; which will be effected by the pouring out of the sixth vial upon the river Euphrates, which will be dried up-an emblem of the utter destruction of the Ottoman empire ; whereby way will be made for the kings of the East, or for the Gospel being carried into the kingdoms of the East, not only into Turkey, but Tartary, Persia, China, and the countries of the great Mogul, which, upon the passing away of the second, or Turkish woe, the kingdoms of this world, those vast kingdoms just mentioned, will become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ. Rev. xvi. 12. and xi. 14, 15. And now will the fulness of the Gentiles be brought in, and those vast conversions made among them, prophesied of in Isa. xi.”
Dr. Whitby remarks, that
“ There is a double harvest of the Gentiles spoken of in this chapter (Rom. xi.), the first called their riches (ver. 12), as consisting in preaching the Gospel to all nations, whereby indeed they were happily enriched with divine knowledge and grace; the second, the bringing in their fulness, which expresses a more glorious conversion of many to the true faith of Christi. ans in the latter age of the world, which is to be occasioned by the conversion of the Jews.”
Mr. Locke gives us the substance of the eleventh chapter of the Romans in a few words.
“St. Paul in this chapter goes on to shew the future state of the Jews and Gentiles as to Christianity, viz. that though the Jews were for their unbelief rejected, and the Gentiles taken in their room to be the people of God, yet there was a few of the Jews that believed in Christ, and so a small remnant of them continued to be God's people, being incorporated with the converted Gentiles into the Christian Church. But when the fulness of the Gentiles is come in, see ver. 25, 26. the whole nation of them shall be converted to the Gospel, and again be restored to be the people of God."
From the tenor of these remarks, it is clear that we are confidently to expect a national conversion and restoration of the Jews. Their first dispersion constitutes an infallible proof of the divine authority of Scripture, by fulfilling many of its clearest prophecies. And the continued existence of the dispersed of Judah renders their restoration possible : yea, more, their preservation under circumstances so peculiar, so wholly unparalleled, seems to heighten the possibility into a probability. For why is it that they should be so miraculously preserved, if it be not to afford room, for the accomplishment of some glorious purposes of wisdom, mercy, and love, entertained towards them by eternal Providence ? But what are we to say of the dispersed of Israel? For ages and generations, they have been relatively to our knowledge without “ local habitation and a name.
How then in their case can the prophecy be fulfilled ?
To this question it is not very difficult
to return a satisfactory reply. We have simply to bear in mind that it does not follow that, because at present unknown to us, the remnant of the ten tribes no where exists. This we could not assert, till every region of the globe had been thoroughly explored by us. The continued preservation of the remains of these tribes must therefore be held to be possible.
from the anticipations naturally excited by ancient prophecy, many sound and enlightened men have pronounced their continuance to this day, as a distinct people, highly probable. Some of the reasons usually adduced in favour of the supposition, that they still exist in the East, are briefly summed up by the learned Mr. Basnage, in his History of the Jews, to the following effect :-1. Shalmanaser had placed them upon the banks of the Chaboras, which emptied itself into the Euphrates. On the west was Ptolemy's Chalcitis and the city Carra ; and therefore God has brought back the Jews to the country, whence the patriarchs came. On the east was the province of Ganzan, betwixt the two rivers Chaboras and Saocoras. This was the first situation of the tribes : but they spread into the neighbouring provinces, and upon the banks of the Euphrates.-2. The ten tribes were still in being in this country when Jerusalem was destroyed, since they came in multitudes to pay their devotions in the temple.-3. They subsisted there from that time to the eleventh century, since they had their heads of the captivity and most flourishing academies.-4. Though they were considerably weakened by persecutions, yet travellers of that nation discovered abundance of their brethren and synagogues in the twelfth and fourteenth centuries.-5. No new colony has been sent into the East, nor have those which were there been driven out.-6. The history of the Jews has been deduced from age to age, without discovering any other change than what was caused by the different revolutions of that empire, the various tempers of the governors, or the inevitable decay in a nation, which only subsists by toleration. We have therefore reason to conclude, that the ten tribes are still in the East, whither God suffered them to be carried. If the families and tribes are not distinguishable, it is impossible it should be otherwise in so long a course of ages
and afflictions, which they have passed through. In fine, if we would seek out the remains of the ten tribes, we must do it only on the banks of the Euphrates, in Persia, and the neighbouring provinces.
The subject may now be reduced within a very narrow compass. Certain mighty purposes in the evolution of the schemes of Divine Providence and Grace are to be accomplished by the national restoration of the Jews :-purposes inseparably linked with the establishment of the authority of Scripture—with the fulfilment of ancient prophecies—and with the introduction of that splendid era, when streams of grace shall descend like rain upon the new mown
grass, or showers that water the spring ; when one bond shall unite and one feeling animate all nations ; when all kindreds, and tribes, and tongues, and peoples shall raise one song, one universal shout of grateful hallelujahs, to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever.
Now, the present anomalous condition of the scattered fragments of Judah, by demonstrating their restoration to be an event not only possible but highly probable, tends mightily to strengthen the faith, and confirm the hopes, of true believers. But to render the faith and the hope absolutely triumphant, we ought to know something definite respecting the lost tribes—the exiles of Israel. Do they still exist as a distinct race, and where ? After what has been stated, this question can no longer be blended with meanness, or vain curiosity, or downright fanaticism. Consequently, the attempt to give it a practical solution ought to be for ever exempt from such unfounded charges. And this is the very attempt which the Rev. J. Wolff, with unwonted energy, has resolved to make.
Let but some relic be supposed to be buried under the mouldering ruins of an ancient edifice, and the antiquarian who volunteers to remove the rubbish will be applauded for his laudable zeal, curiosity, and disinterestedness. Let but a passage be supposed to lie concealed amid the snows and icebergs of an arctic circle, and the navigator who braves the horrors of such a region will be extolled for his skill and daring intrepidity. Let but a rare species of animal or of vegetable form be supposed to exist in some remote waste, or unvisited wilderness, and the naturalist who eagerly undertakes to leave no corner unexplored, will be loaded with the praises of an enlightened people for his ardour and his enterprize. What then ?--do we repudiate the propriety of bestowing such encomiums ? Far_otherwise; we might be the first to join in conferring them. But whether we would or not, we have a right to ask, in reference to a subject of infinitely greater moment, in the scale not merely of temporal but of eternal magnitudes,—When there are good grounds for believing, that a remnant of the most extraordinary people that ever appeared on the stage of time, still exists in some province of the Eastwhen it is almost indisputable that their continued existence may be subservient to the consummation of the Almighty's magnificent dispensations of providence and redemption :-is it reasonable, is it consistent to point the finger of scorn or of ridicule at the man who has made so many sacrifices and encountered so many perils, in order to effect the discovery of the exiled remains of such a people -a people, so intermixed with the moral history of mankind, and so peculiarly linked with the development of the counsels of the Eternal
And if it be irrational and inconsistent to despise the great object of Mr. Wolff's mission, it cannot be less so to overlook that object in