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and comets are : how else shall the appearing of our Saviour in the clouds of heaven, at his coming to judgment, ve seen at once by so many nations of the world? Mr. Mede adds, “Howsoever it be, I suppose it is no sin to conceive magnificence and retor?as of so great a work of God towards a people for whom he hath formerly shewn so many wonders ; especially this being to be the greatest work of mercy and wonder that ever he did for them, far beyond the bringing them forth of Egypt, and leading them in the wilderness*.” And, in another part of his works, he draws a comparison between St. Paul's conversion and the calling of the Jews, supposing the one to be a kind of type of the othert.
My objection to Mr. Mede's opinion, in the manner in which he has stated it, is neither its improbability nor its impossibility abstractedly considered ; but simply that it cannot be made to harmonize with the general tenor of the prophecies which treat of the restoration and conversion of the Jews. It is expressly declared by Zechariah, that the glory of the Lord shall be manifested in the midst of Jerusalem ; and that, after such manifestation, Jehovah sent by Jehovah shall go forth and execute judgment upon his enemies. All the other prophets agree in attesting the same ; that, whenever the Word of God is revealed, it shall be to pour destruction upon the rebel army of Antichrist. This glory will most probably be the same as the Shechinah that attended the children of Israel out of Egypt: a vast pillar of light, shooting up to an immense height in the air so as to be visible at a very great distance, and surmounted by a cloud ; thus causing Jerusalem to appear, as if encompassed and covered with fire. Now, if such a tremendous vision as this continu. ed to hover over Jerusalem (for that is the place assigned by the prophet for its appearance); and if the end of its manifestation were to attract the attention of the scattered Jews, and to effect their conversion, as Mr. Mede supposes : it is incredible, that Antichrist would ever dare to undertake such an expedition, as it is foretold that he shall undertake. Or, granting the utmost that can be
* Mede's Works, B. iv. Epist. xvii. P. 767. if Mede's Works, B. v. C. 2. P. 891.
granted to daring impiety; granting that Antichrist might harden his heart to attempt the conquest of Palestine, as Pharaoh did to seek the destruction of Israel at the Red sca, notwithstanding the fiery portent, increasing in apparent magnitude as he approached towards it, glared full before his eyes : yet we can scarcely believe, that he would be able to effect the conquest of all Palestine, to bestow Jerusalem upon a band of unconverted Jews, to subdue Egypt, to return from thence in his fury, and to sack Jerusalem ; if the glory of the Lord were all this time in the midst of the city. Yet such must necessarily be our conclusion, if we adopt unreservedly Mr. Mede's, opinion : for we are expressly told, that a part of the Jews shall be converted in Jerusalem, and that Jerusalem shall be sacked while in their possession. Of the two texts, which he cites from Zechariah and St. Matthew, the one seems to me by no means to prove his point, and the other to prove the direct contrary. I cannot think, that we have any warrant to suppose that the Jews, restored by Antichrist, will at the time of their conversion look upon him whom they have pierced any otherwise than spiritually, because their conversion precedes the sacking of Jerusalem ; whereas the manifestation of the Lord 'succeeds it, and immediately precedes the destruction of Antichrist. Then indeed they will literally look upon him whom they have pierced, but not till then. And this opinion is decidedly confirmed by the other text, which proves the very reverse of what Mr. Medeintended that it should prove. Our Lord assures the Jews, that they shall not see him, until they say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.' Whence it is manifest, that they must first say, Blessed is he that comėth in the name of the Lord ; and afterwards behold him, whom they have so long rejected. This is precisely what I have supposed that they will do : whereas Mr. Mede exactly inverts the particulars of the text ; and ar- .. gues, that the Jews will first see the Messiah, and afterwards acknowledge him*.
* Mr. Lowth supposes, like Mr. Mede, that the Jews will be converted in consequence of a supernatural manifestation of Christ. See his Comment. on Zech. xii. 10.
of tobaconably suppose than that their return irond by
On the whole I think it clear, that the revelation of God's glory over Jerusalem, will at once succeed the conversion and restoration of Judah, the whole expedition of Antichrist, and the sacking of the city ; that it will şud. denly take place, when the confederacy has reached the valley of Megiddo, and is on the point of overwhelming the troops of the maritime nation and the converted Jerus under its protection ; and that, immediately after it has taken place, the Word of God, issuing from the brightness of the Shechinah with all the armies of heaven, will descend with irresistible violence on his irreclaimable enemies, and thus stupendously conclude the great apostatical drama of 1260 years.
Since the Jews are to be restored in the midst of war and bloodshed, or, as Daniel expresses it, during a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, we may reasonably suppose that great numbers of them will
perish. Accordingly we find, that their return from the · countries of their dispersion is expressly compared by
Ezekiel to their ancient exodus from Egypt. "As God pleaded with their fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt ; so will he likewise plead with them, causing them to pass under the rod, and purging out from among them the rebels. It is probable indeed, that only a small part of the first generation of those that are restored will quietly sit down under their own vines and under their own fig-trees. One whole generation of the Israelites, that were brought out of Egypt, perished in the course of forty years in the wilderness : and there is reason to think, as we shall presently see, that the conversion and restoration of Judah, and the expedition and destruction of Antichrist, will occupy a period of not less than 30 years. The swift messengers of the great maritime power will begin the work of converting the Jews, that is to say such Jews as are scattered through the countries subject to their influence : Antichrist meanwhile will collect the uncon*verted Jews from those parts of the isles of the Gentiles, or the regions of Europe*, which are under his immediate control, for the purpose of bringing them back in an unbelieving state to their own country : but whether he, or whether the maritime power, will absolutely begin the work of restoring the ancient people of God, cannot, I think, be certainly gathered from Scripture*. His plan will be a plan of pure Machiavelian policy : and considering the frailty of human nature, it is much to be feared that the plan of the meritime power, strenuously as that power will exert itself in converting no less than in collecting the Jews, will be somewhat alloyed by worldly motives, and will not be adopted simply from a desire to promote the glory of God. Most probably politics will have taken such a turn at that eventful period, as to make it seem to be the interest of both those great powers to attempt the restoration of the Jews. At this time, namely at the close of the 1260 years, and when the last vial begins to be poured out, Europe will be agitated by the storms of war. The symbolical earthquake of some extensive political convulsion will divide the great city, or the Roman empire, into three parts; and the cities, or kingdoms, of the nations will fall, when the mystic Babylon is now about to come in remembrance before God to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. The division of the great city into three parts seems to denote a triple division of the federal empire of Antichrist, not improbably made in imitation of the three prefectures of the ancient Roman empire ; for Zechariah mentions three such parts as being engaged in the last war in Palestine *. In the midst of these wars and revolutions, Antichrist will begin his grand expedition for the purpose of conquering Egypt and the Holy land, and of restoring his vassal allies the unconverted Jews. Uniformly successful in the beginning of his project, he will apparently reach the place of his destination and fix the apostate Jews in Jerusalem, before the maritime power shall have been able to convert, to collect, and to bring by sea to their own land, the other great body of the Jews; although that power is represented as being foremost in the work of converting certain members of Judah, and as afterwards restoring them when they have been so converted. Thus doubly brought back by two mighty contending nations, and thus plunged into the midst of perils and of war during the space of thirty years (for so long a period will probably intervene between the first effusion of the seventh vial at the close of the 1260 years when they begin to be restored, and the destruction of Antichrist at Megiddo), the Jews must inevitably suffer many calamities; and we are taught accordingly by Ezekiel, that such will assuredly be the case. The whole of this is perfectly consonant with the ordinary course of the divine justice. National wickedness can only be nationally punished : and the long impenitence of the Jewish people will not at the last, even during the very time of their restoration, be either overlooked or unrequited:
* By the isles of the Gentiles the Jews understood all those countries which they could not reach from Palestine except by sea. Hence the name was given to Europe in contradistinction to Asia, which to them was strictly continental. See Mede's Works, P. 272. and Mr. Lowth's Comment. on Isaiah xi. 11. * That the maritime power, mystically termed by Isaiah the ships of Tarshish, will be the first, or (as the original expression is rendered by the Lxx. and in the Latin translation of the Arabic version) among the first, to attempt the conversion of the Jews ; and that they will afterwards bring back to Palestine such as shall be converted by their instrumentality, seems to be revealed with sufficient plainness : but it is no where, I believe, positively declared, that they shall begin the work of restoring the Jews. Since part of them are to be brought back by Antichrist in an unconverted state, and part by the mari. time power in a converted state, it certainly is possible that Antichrist may begin to restore the one division previous to the restoration or even the conversion of the other division. Most probably however the two events will be nearly, if not altogether, contemporary. The prophecy contained in Isaiah lx. 8, 9, relates solely to the restoration of the converted Fews, because they are declared to be brought unto the name of the Lord ; and we are taught that the ships of Tarshish shall be among the first to undertake this great enterprize.
When the army of Antichrist is miraculously overthrown, the Lord, who forgetteth not mercy even in the midst of judgment, will not make an entire end; but will spare some of the least guilty of his enemies, reserving them for the noblest purposes. Zechariah teaches us, that even so much as a third part shall be spared. These may be supposed to be less hardened in wickedness than their associates; and to have engaged in the expedition, either through the inveterate prejudices of a Popish education (the expedition having been blessed and sanctified by the false prophet), or through the tyrannical compulsion which we have already beheld Antichristian France
* I of course wish this to be understood as a mere conjecture. It is very possible, that the three parts engaged in the Antichristian war may have no connection with the three divisions of the great city.