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of language which characterizes the preceding chapters, the judgments detailed in which have been inflicted with the utmost minuteness. The prediction is extensive. It embraces the whole period of Israel's history till the present and future times--as the verses quoted, (which form its conclusion, evidently refer to their final restoration. The Babylonish captivity is. not however overlooked. It is foretold in a preceding part of this remarkable prophetic narrative in terms sulficiently distinctive : “ The Lord shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known.” (xxviii. 36.) This then clearly refers to that captivity when, " in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it; and the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand.”—“ Against
liiin came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon.”. “ And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths ; none remained, save the poorest sort of the land.”
2. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 6. 2 Kings xxiv. 14. This then was the captivity to which Israel with their “ king" were to be subjected. This part of the prediction had at that time its complete fulfilment, while it cannot at all apply to the captivity which afterwards followed their overthrow by the Romans—for they had then no king to be carried captive.
But we have also another distinctive mark by which the prediction in the above verse is fixed to the Babylonish captivity, and by which it is also rendered inapplicable to that which they afterwards suffered. They, together with their king, were at this time to be carried only into “ a nation," while the restoration promised in the conclusion of the prediction must refer to their subsequent dispersion, which is afterwards predicted. It is a restoration « from all the nations," * from the utmost parts of heaven." (xxx. 3, 4.) Besides, having foretold their being carried captive with
Dan. i. 1,
their king into one nation, the prophet had therefore declared that “ the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other.” (xxvii. 64.) There is no mention of their king as participating in this wide dispersion, an omission which exactly corresponds with the circumstances attending that captivity which followed their overthrow by the Romans. They had then no king, and it was not till then that they were dispersed “among all people.” The Romans are evidently the scourge here described. They are strikingly characterized by Moses to his brethren, as “ a nation whose tongue thou shalt not
, understand ; a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young." (xxviii. 49, 50.) An account of the aggravated horrors of siege to which the Jews were subjected by them, forms part of the inspired detail, including even the mention of the revolting fact of delicate mothers eating their own children. Both captivities are, therefore, predicted ; and it is “ when all these things” are come upon them, and when they shall call them “to mind, among all the nations whither they have been scattered," that they are to be restoredi. This therefore is a prediction not merely of their restoration from Babylon, though that is included, but clearly is the restoration succeeding their last and greatest captivity, and from which they yet remain to be rescued.
It is instructive to attend to such distinctive marks, given relative to events of a similar nature. Such an exact fulfilment of the threatened curse, should surely teach us in what manner the promised blessings are to be received ; and as the judgment of dispersion, with all its attendant miseries, has been literally fulfilled, can we doubt that their restoration will be equally so? It is added, that after this return to the land of their fathers, the Lord "will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers”-a promise which, while it cannot apply to their return from Babylon, perfectly corresponds with other prophecies concerning their future restoration.
Were there no other prediction in the inspired volume from which the literal restoration of Israel could be proved, this alone ought to be regarded as sufficient to decide the question. In the estimation of faith, it will weigh against a thousand speculations of erring reason about the expediency, and utility, and necessity, of such a thing. Ah! there is surely something greatly wrong, when, ere the declared purposes of God can be believed, Inspiration must be arraigned at Reason’s bar, and the wisdom and utility and certainty of Heaven's decrees must be submitted to her decisions !
But clearly and distinctly as Moses thus foretells lsrael's restoration, his is no solitary prediction. On the contrary, if there be a single fact to which ALL the prophets have borne testimony—from the time of Moses, and before his day, down to the incarnation of the “Prophet like unto Moses," and beyond His stay on earth, even until after Patmos isle had received his most-loved and longest-surviving apostle—that attested fact is, Israel's future restoration to Palestine. “For thus saith the Lord,” by the prophet Jeremiah, “Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations ; publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people, ihe remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them (to Zion) from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child, and her that travaileth with child together ; a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping and with supplications will I lead them." Jer. xxxi. 7-9. That this promise is not to the church, but to the literal Israel, is obvious from its also including other blessings, which relate exclusively to the land of Palestine : “ Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria; the plant. ers shall plant, and shall eat them as common things," ver. 5. Besides proving that the only application of such
passages is to the house of Israel ; it is also necessary, however, that attention be given to the time to which they relate. Those who deny any future restoration, assert of all such predictions, that they were fulfilled in the return of the Jews to Babylon, if it should
be found impossible (even with the aid of a most convenient system of interpretation) to transfer them to the church. That restoration was indeed divinely predicted also, as we have already reinarked, but in the present selection of passages, none are inserted except such as are, from their context, evidently future. And such is the case in the prediction above quoted; for when this restoration is enjoyed, " they shall not sorrow any more at all." ver. 12. But, since their return from Babylon, they have had more cause to “sorrow” than they ever had before. They are now more widely scattered, and more cruelly dealt with, than when under the power and within the dominions of Nebuchadnezzar: and the only captivity of Israel since that period, is that from which they are not yet recovered. “And is their restoration to be considered less real, because it is future? The Lord will undoubtedly perform this his promise in their favour, and “gather them from the coasts of the earth.” Nor can this restoration be confounded with their conversion, which is here predicted as an accompaniment. In coming from the coasts of the earth, “ they shall come,” saith the Lord, “ with weeping; and with supplications will I lead them. ver. 9.
Ezekiel records a similar prophecy : “ Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God, I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Ísrael.” Ezek. xi. 17. To the same period, obviously,
” does this promise refer. It is the pledge of recovery, not from one land alone, as was that from Babylon, but of their rescue from “ the countries” into which they have latterly “been scattered.”
“ been scattered.” And those who are so desirous of investing the Gentile church with the various promises given to Israel, will do well to observe how this is secured to them. Addressing the Hebrew prophet, the Lord calls those to be thus gathered, “thy brethren, even thy brethren, the men of thy kindred,” whom He had “cast far off among the heathen." ver. 15, 16. Nor is this to be explained as predicting merely their conversion, which the Lord 'im
mediately promises in addition ; "I will put a new spirit within you, and will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh.” ver. 19.
Again, “ Thus saith the Lord God, by the same prophet, “ Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep and bring them out, as a shepherd seeketh out this flock, in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered ; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day; and I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel, by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be ; there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed, upon the mountains of Israel.” Ezek. xxxiv. 11-14. These sheep, it is added, “are men,” and “they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord.” ver. 31, 30. That they are the literal Israel is also evident, as they are to be gathered from the countries and brought to their own land,” to the “ mountains of Israel," and to “ all the inhabited places of the country," ver. 13, 14. This restoration has not yet been enjoyed, for, after it they shall no more be a prey to the heathen," " neither bear the shame of the heathen any more," "but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid." ver. 28–31.
Once more, by the same prophet, “ Thus saith the Lord God, Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name.... when I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them, in the sight of many nations ; then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them ; for I have poured out my