Page images
PDF
EPUB

prophetic indications of an approaching glory, when Jerusalem shall again be the world's metropolis, and Palestine once more a land overflowing with milk and with honey.

Whilst Jerusalem is thus laid low, and trodden by the hoof of the Mameluke and the naked foot of the monk, it is however reserved for a day of restoration spoken of contemporaneous with the fulness of the times of the Gentiles. It shall be trodden under foot, but not for ever,-"until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

In the prophecy of Micah, at the 12th verse of the 3d chapter, there is first narrated the desolation of Jerusalem : “Therefore shall Zion for your sake be ploughed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.”. Then notice what follows in the next verse,—or the 1st verse of the 4th chapter: “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain"- what mountain ? the mountain of Jerusalem — " of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob: and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths : for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” And when shall this be? It shall be when “Christ shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off: and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks : nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig-tree; and none shall make them afraid : for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it." Here we find a clear and irresistible prediction of the restoration of Jerusalem as the queen of capitals, the glory and the beauty of the whole earth; and we, who now treat the Jew with scorn, use his name as a by-word to point a tale, or give interest to a play, shall then be so exalted by the moral magnificence of his restoration, that we shall go from afar up to Jerusalem, to worship and hear the praise of Him who there was crucified, but then glorified there as our God, by Jew and Gentile, the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.

Zechariah, in his 8th chapter, says, “ Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes ? saith the Lord of hosts. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; and I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness." These words were written by Zechariah, not during the captivity in Babylon, when one might possibly say that the restoration to their own country was something like a portion of the fulfilment of it. This was predicted by Zechariah after the restoration, and in relation to a future and an unfulfilled restoration, when the Jew shall be carried on the shoulders of the Gentiles, - our locomotives shall carry them, and our money shall be expended in doing it. I have this hope of our native land, that England, or, as I must now, as my countrymen correct me, say Britain, shall play the most illustrious part in the restoration of the Jews to their own land, and in establishing them in the country where their fathers dwelt before them.

The Jews therefore will go to Jerusalem before their conversion, build their temple, revive the sacrifices of Levi; and in the midst of all, their minds will be enlightened, and their hearts will be converted to the Lord.

The time when this shall take place is called " when the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled.” As preparatory to this, we may expect, as an inci

pient sign of the approaching restoration, what is called the budding of the fig-tree. We have seen that it has been during the last thirty years only that the Jew has been suffered to live within the walls of the city of his fathers. This is a movement in the direction of their fulness. Among the Jews themselves there is now a movement, and an impulse unpredecented in depth, intensity, and spread. “They,” says Zechariah, “shall remember me in far countries; and they shall live with their children and turn again.” Then he represents them very strikingly: “ They shall call upon me, and I will hear them; and I will say, It is my people.” How exquisitely beautiful is that! “They shall call upon me;" and as if I had just discovered them that had been buried amid the nations of the earth, I will instantly, when I hear their cry, look down upon the petitioners, and I will exclaim, in a burst of joy, “This is my people.” The Jews at this moment are less immersed in Rabbinism than they ever were. The Rabbinism of the Jew is the Popery of the Christian; but their ablest minds are becoming detached from it more and more: a spirit of inquiry grows among them, as their newspapers indicate, such as has never been before. Their hearts at this moment are beating more intensely towards Jerusalem; and their desire for political power in this country is only indicative of their thirst for power and political supremacy, where it is their everlasting right. And should they obtain that power amid the rations of the Gentiles which they desire, it will only stimulate their appetite for their true nationality and restoration to Palestine, and citizenship in Jerusalem. Hence Isaiah says, “ They shall come from the four corners of the earth ;” and again, “ They shall flee on the shoulders of the Philistines towards the vest," as if large companies of Jews were in the east. “ They shall come from the land of Sin”- that is, the land of China. It is not impossible that the Ten Tribes may be scattered amid the Chinese at this moment; and, contemporaneous with the drying up of the Euphrates in the East, and the disorganization of the Chinese empire, that vast and hitherto impenetrable territory, may be the breaking up of the nations of the earth, in order that the imprisoned captives of Israel may begin their homeward march from the Danube, and from the borders of the Euphrates, and from every land, east and west, encouraged and borne by us to their native home, where, in their own sweet sunshine, and upon their own consecrated hills, they shall worship the Prince, the Messiah.

There is clearly predicted, in ancient prophecies, a movement amid the nations of the earth preparatory to this. “Since thou," says God, in Isaiah xliii., speaking to the Jews, “wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to

« PreviousContinue »