BY AN ASSOCIATION OF GENTLEMEN
FOR THE YEAR
PUBLISHED BY HOWE & SPALDING.
S. CONVERSE, PRINTER
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Subject: The Conversion of the Jews.
Editors note: The Christian Spectator magazine in the main contains articles from Reformed Christian sources. Timothy Dwight's Theology ( President, Yale) Princeton’s Instructor lists and similar items appear, along with general newsworthy subjects.
On the conversion of the Jews.
To the Editor of the Christian Spectator.
BELIEVING that the attention of christians ought to be more particularly turned toward the seed of Abraham, at this interesting period of the church, I feel a peculiar pleasure in communicating for your publication, the exertions which are making in --------to spread the triumphs of the cross among the Jews. Perhaps the example will "provoke others to emulation," and thus do extensive good to the church of God.
A number of pious ladies have long commiserated the deplorable situation of the Jews, and have been supplicating the God of Abraham for a blessing upon his once "peculiar people." Long have they wept over the desolations of Jerusalem, praying that Jehovah would "turn again its captivity." Their motto is, "Let my right hand forget her cunning, if I do not remember thee 0 Jerusalem; let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy." Nor is this all; they " show their faith by their works," and contribute "as God bath prospered them" for the extension of christianity among that benighted people.
Between forty and fifty ladies of this description, lately assembled before the monthly concert for prayer, using this language: "The dispersion and sufferings of the Jews, have for ages exhibited to the world an important proof of the divine authority of the scriptures; yet their situation calls for the tenderest commiseration of christians. And the "sure word of prophecy, which foretold their punishment for unbelief; has also assured us that its termination shall be "as life from the dead" to the Gentile world. Ardently desirous that this event should take place; and believing that it is to be effected by the divine blessing on human exertions; we form ourselves into a Society under the name of ‘The Female Auxiliary Society of — for the promotion of Christianity among the Jews.’
Without giving their Constitution, article by article, I proceed to mention the substance of their arrangements, which are peculiarly excellent, and calculated to excite a still greater interest in the accomplishment of their important object. This Society requires, of each member, the payment of one dollar annually; but it meets quarterly to pay one fourth of this sum; to collect and read all the information which can be obtained, concerning the Jews, from all parts of the world, and the exertions of christians in their behalf; and to pray for a blessing on these exertions, that God would now say to christians: "All ye inhabitants of the earth, see ye, when Jehovah lifteth up an ensign on the mountains (of Israel,) and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye !"
To excite others to the great duty of commiserating the miseries of the Jews, these ladies have invited them to attend their meetings, to hear what information may be read, upon condition that they will contribute something to the same object. And it will not be improper here to mention the interest, which the cause of the Jews is exciting, in this place, among all who love our Lord Jesus. At the two last monthly concerts, seventeen dollars were contributed for the conversion of the Jews.
Permit me now to urge on all christians their duty, to follow the pious examples of those who are already engaged in this work, and to regard these words of Jehovah, "comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God; speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished."
Christians; glance a moment at their history, and consider their existence as a nation, three thousand five
hundred and forty-seven years; a constant miracle, manifesting the finger of God. Other nations have risen and moved on the theatre of the world, and sunk again into their original nothing. Nation after nation, like wave following wave, has passed away, been blotted out from under heaven, and consigned to the dark calendar of oblivion, yet Israel has remained thirty-five centuries and an half, boldly challenging infidelity to dispute the authenticity of their scriptures, and overwhelming scepticism by the power of conviction.
During all the changes of their government, their captivities, their wars, their destruction as a body politic, and their consequent dispersion, they have remained distinct, and perfectly distinguishable from all the people that have surrounded them. It was prophesied that the "sceptre should not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come." Accordingly Judah ruled over Benjamin, until the destruction of their polity, by Titus Vespasian, more than seven hundred and ninety years after the ten tribes had been lost among the heathen.
Another prophecy was, " The Lord God shall scatter thee among all people, from one end of the earth to the other; and the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Accordingly, this prediction was accomplished, after one million one hundred thousand had perished in the siege of Jerusalem, and ninety-seven thousand carried captive by the Romans, in the year of our Lord 70; when "Jerusalem was ploughed as a man plougheth his field." From that day to this, the Jews have been "scattered from one end of the earth to the other," and they are found in all the large towns in the four quarters of the world. In 1753, a bill passed in the British parliament to naturalize the Jews; but the popular clamour was, "The devoted nation shall not be reckoned with us," and the law was repealed immediately.
It was also predicted; "Thou shalt become a bye-word, a proverb, and an astonishment, among all the nations whither the Lord God shall lead thee. Among all these nations thou shalt find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest." According to Dr. Buchanan, the Asiaticks use the same proverbs and bye-words, with respect to the Jews, as do those who remember their crime at Calvary. Their obstinacy, their avarice, and their property are an astonishment to all nations.
And that they have found no rest, will be evident if we observe, that until the latter part of the eighteenth century, the Jews were every where destitute of the common privileges of citizens, and that this is still their situation, excepting in two christian nations. They have been slaughtered, scattered, hated, cheated of their property, and driven to exile. In the reign of Adrian, five hundred and eighty thousand perished in a single conflict, while many were sold at the price of horses, and whipped into obedience by the lash of domineering masters. In the eleventh century the Turkish Emperor murdered them in vast multitudes, and by a decree banished the whole nation from his kingdom. In the thirteenth century, in France, many thousands were murdered by the fury of the enraged populace. In the same century the Council of Lyons, passed a decree, that all christian princes upon pain of excommunication, should compel the Jews to deliver up every farthing of their property, for the benefit of the Crusaders. About the same period, the Catholicks, slaughtered twelve thousand Jews, setting to their merchandize, and demolishing their city. In the fifteenth century, in Spain, the Inquisition destroyed many thousands, and banished one million and eight hundred thousand, from the kingdom. Just before this period, while an epidemic was raging in England, the Jews were accused of poisoning the wells and fountains, in consequence of which one million five
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hundred thousand were murdered. At other times, almost too numerous to be mentioned, they have been tortured, persecuted, and cheated, and once a decree was given, that every Jew should be murdered who could he found in Great Britain.
These are only specimens of cruelty which might be multiplied to a great extent, were it necessary. — They have generally been taxed more for the support of Government, than other subjects; while they have not been allowed a single privilege of citizens. Millions have been murdered by enthusiasm, cheated by avarice, or banished without being convicted of a crime. Their blood has crimsoned the fields of Europe, and their "bones have whitened amidst the winds of winter, unheeded by a christian’s eye.
Another remarkable prediction was, "The children of Israel shall abvide many days, without a king, and without a prince, and without an image, and without a sacrifice, and without an ephod, and without teraphim." They have been without a king or a prince for seventeen centuries.They have had no sacrifices nor chief priest since A. D. 70. And they have not been addicted to image-worship for two thousand years.
We cannot fail of seeing the divine authority of these predictions, and of that book which contains them; for not "one word hath failed of all that the Lord God bath spoken," concerning his chosen people. And we rest assured that "hereafter the children of Israel shall return and seek Jehovah their God, and Messiah their King; and shall fear Jehovah and his goodness in the latter days."
And do any ask when the many days end, and the latter days commence? Said Dr. Buchanan, "We have only to refer to the prophecies of Daniel and St. John, and the question is determined." "When shall the indignation against the holy people be accomplished?" The period of its continuance is to be "a time, times, and the dividing of time."
John points out the same period, or "forty two months" or "three years and an half," for the triumph of the beast, and the false prophet. By examination it will be found that these periods end at the same time. Nor can any one doubt that the indignation against Israel, the power of the people, and the Mohammedan delusion, are to end at the same time. I do not pretend that we can decide exactly when the one thousand two hundred and sixty years end, for most that has been written concerning them is " Theological Romance;" but the existing state of things shows that the day of triumph to the church has already dawned and the beams of the Sun of righteousness skirt the horizon.
And do not christians perceive, that, if these events are to be accomplished at the same period, they labor in vain, while they neglect one of them? The Jews must be converted, before the fullness of the Gentiles he come in. Their conversion is to be the great means of converting the Gentiles, as is evident from these words of Paul. For if the casting away of them (Jews) be the reconciling of the world, (Gentiles); what shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead," to the millions of the Gentiles? "Dispersed as they are in all countries, and understanding the language of all nations, when converted, they will form a body of preachers ready prepared, and they will need only say to the nations, "read our history, see the faithfulness and justice of Jehovah, and fear him all ye Gentiles."
If then, christians, you desire that the " kingdom, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, should be given to the people of the saints of the Most high God," you must recollect, that it is " through your mercy, that the Jews are to receive mercy, and that their conversion is to be the means of converting the heathen. "Israel must he gathered with weeping and with mourning, before the fulness of the Gentiles
be come in," and the Sun of righteousness must arise on the seed of Jacob, before his healing beams can reach the dark places of cruelty, and illume those who sit in the region and shadow of death.
Say not, "There are difficulties, insurmountable difficulties, in the way of their conversion." Grant that they teach their children every thing that can inspire them with hatred toward christianity; grant that they are destitute of common morality, and as void of religious feeling as the most hardened sinner: shame on the christian who has read the history of the fishermen of Galilee, and yet is disheartened! That same standard which passed through fire and sword, until it waved on the throne of the Caesars, shall yet wave in triumph over that people, who would not have him to reign over them, who was to be their king Messiah.
We grant that the moral degradation of Israel is great; yet there are pleasing intimations in providence, that that which was determined against Israel is nearly accomplished. The persecution against the Jews is relaxing in all parts of the world. They are receiving with avidity the Hebrew New-Testament in India, Malta, Sweden, Ireland, Prussia, Russia, Holland Germany and Great Britain. Many who have received are saying of Jesus, in the words of Thomas, "My Lord! and my God!" Some are preaching that faith which once they destroyed: others are giving up their children to christians to receive baptism, and the knowledge of christianity: many are joining the Bible Societies in all parts of Europe: and many, while reading the prophecy of Daniel concerning the seventy weeks, exclaim: "Messiah has come," "Jesus is the Shiloh."
And can there be a christian, who does not perceive his obligation to contribute for the conversion of the Jews, as some compensation for the hatred, the injustice, and the cruelties which have been exercised against them? Cannot gratitude excite them, when they remember that Jesus and his apostles were Jews ; and that thus they have received from Jews the words of eternal life ? I know not how others may feel; but for myself I dare not neglect the seed of Abraham! " 0 God of Israel, help! Ages have rolled by, while christians have persecuted thy chosen heritage. Soften their hearts, and take the veil from thy people ;" and may we all become one fold, under one Shepherd, Christ Jesus our king, Messiah !
A FRIEND OF THE JEWS.