« PreviousContinue »
· ven to their fathers. " And I will place them
“ in their houses, faith the Lord.” Here the fame circumstances are detailed, and Assyria re. · presented as the place of rendezvous.
The same circumstance is predicted by the prophet Micah, chap. vii. 12. “In that day “ also he (Israel) shall come even to thee “ (Jerusalem) from Affyria.” The time specified is that in which Ifrael “ shall arise from his « fall, and receive light from the Lord in dark" nefs," ver. 8.-in which he shall be made sensible of sin, and instructed in the righteous. ness of God. “I will bear the indignation of “ the Lord, because I have sinned against him, " until he plead my cause, and execute judg“ ment for me : he will bring me forth to the “ light, and I shall behold his righteousness,” ver. 9.-in which his enemies " ball be trodden s down as the mire of the streets,” ver. 10.-in which the national polity shall be restored, and the decree of their enemies for their destruction - shall be overturned, ver. 11.-At that time the nation shall come up from Allyria, to possess the fortified cities of Judah. Now all these circumstances can apply only to their future restoration. At that period, therefore, the nation comes in a colle&ted body from Assyria, io that Allyria must be the place of rendezvous.
That Assyria is the place of rendezvous, appears from Zech. X. 10. " And I will bring " them again also out of the land of Egypt, and “ gather them out of Affyria ; and I will bring 6 them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon, « and place shall not be found for them.” The passage of which this makes a part, is so obvi. ously descriptive of the restoration of the Jews, in the latter days, that it has been so applied by eminent commentators'. I shall not therefore spend time to prove it. Egypt is joined to Affyria, as in some of the parallel passages already mentioned, because the Egyptian Jews constitute the greater part of those gathered together; but still they are represented as “beat off," or “ outcasts from Egypt as a trembling bird,” pursued by its enemy, flying from Egypt; whercas they are gathered into Assyria, and from thence come up in an united body, to take possession of the land given to their fathers. From all which, I infer, that the wilderness in. to which they are gathered, in order to their conversion, is situated in Affyria, now called Curdistan.
(1) Sce Lowth's Commentary on the place.
The Jews are converted to Christianity in the Desert
where they are gathered together..
When the Jews are thus collected into the wilderness of Affyria, by the persecution carried on by the blafphemous king, when they are ready to perish for want, and their hearts, wrung by affliction, are poured out before the Lord, God manifests his mercy by their converfion, as a previous step to their restoration. The manner of it is distinctly represented to the prophet Ezekiel, in a vision, chap. xxxvii. 1.10. and the meaning of that vision is opened up, ver. 11.-14. (" The hand of the Lord was ups on me, and carried me out in the Spirit of “ the Lord, and set me down in the midst of 66 the valley which was full of bones," &c.).
That the primary and only meaning of this passage is to represent the conversion of the Jewilh nation, appears from the frequent use of this metaphor in scripture. Persons unconverted áre faid to be dead, while those that are converted are said to be made alive. So our Lord fays," Let the dead bury their dead;” Matt. viii.
22. Unless the term dead, as first expressed, fignifies fpiritually dead, it can have no mean. ing; but if it does, the meaning is obvious; that they were unconverted, did not incapacitate them to perform the funeral rites of one literally dead. Again, he says, “ Verily I say unto you, “ The hour now is, when the dead shall hear the “ voice of the Son of God; and they that hear · shall live," John v. 25. Our Lord could not refer to the general resurrection, since that great event is still a distant one, but evidently meant to affirm that the gospel was then preached, accom, panied with power to convert the unconverted, So the Apostle says, “ You hath he quickened “ who were dead in trespasses and fins;" Eph. ii. 1. Again, I find this metaphor expressly applied as here, to the conversion of the Jewish nation, both in the Old and New Testament. Thus, Ifa. xxvi. 19. “Thy dead men shall live to“ gether : with my dead body shall they arise. « Awake and ling ye that dwell in the dust; “ for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the «« earth shall cast out the dead." The address is to the Jewish church, at the period immedi. ately preceding their restoration from the great dispersion. It is as if God had said, Thy mem. þers, fo long spiritually dead, shall be revived, in consequence of my covenant relation to
them. them', they shall be converted. Awake and fing ye who are spiritually dead, in a hopelefs ftate, like those who dwell in the grave. Grace hall descend in abundance, and on the multitude as the dew upon the grass ; you shall be converted in a collected body, universally and instantaneously, as when the earth, at the general resurrection, shall cast forth the dead.
The Prophet Hosea seems to have their conversion in view, chap, vi. 2. “ After two days,
(1) I have followed in the paraphrase the sentiments of Lowth, in his Commentary, and of Bishop Lowth, in his Notes on his Translation of Isaiah. Both suppose “ my “ dead body" should be my dead bodies, and therefore the same with the “ dead men,” mentioned immediately before; only, whereas they are first represented as members of the church, they are afterwards represented as in covenant with God. But in regard the word is in the fingular number, as rendered by our translation, “ My dead “ body,” I shall offer another sense which the expression suggests, leaving it to the reader's choice. I suppose the words are spoken by the Meffiah, intimating the time and the mean of their conversion ; namely, when they are convinced of his resurrection, and in consequence of their belief in that truth. The Jews did and do believe that the body of Jesus is yet dead. So long as they retain those sentiments, their hope shall be buried in his grave; but when they are convinced that he is risen, together with that conviction, spiritual life shall be infused into their souls.