Page images

the nations. Convinced by ocular demonstration that God doth indeed reign in Zion, and at once divinely impelled and enabled both to seek out from among them and to find the long-lost sheep of the house of Israel, they will bring by land, in vast caravans, all the brethren of Judah for an offering unto the Lord, as the great maritime power had already brought the converted Jews for a present unto the Lord to his holy mountain. Then shall the stick of Joseph be united for ever with the stick of Judah: Ephraim shall be no more a separate people: but the whole house of Jacob shall become one nation under one king, even the mystic David, Jesus the Messiah.

The various prophecies, which speak of the restoration of the ten tribes, certainly cannot relate to the restoration of those detached individuals out of them, who returned with Judah from the Babylonian captivity. This is manifest, both because their restoration is represented as perfectly distinct from the restoration of Judah, and because it is placed at once subsequent to that event and to the overthrow of Antichrist. In fact, the converted fugitives from the army of Antichrist are described as being greatly instrumental in bringing about the restoration of the ten tribes. Hence their restoration is plainly future: and hence we cannot, with any degree of consistency, apply the predictions which foretell it to the return of a few indiwiduals from Babylon with Judah.

" It is sur

prizing," “ prizing,” says Bp. Horsley, when treating of one out of the many prophecies, that explicitly declare the future restoration and union both of Judah and Israel*;

“ It is surprizing, that the return of Judah from the Babylonian captivity should ever have “ been considered, by any Christian divine, as the

principal object of this prophecy, and an event “ in which it has received its full accomplishment. " It was indeed considered as an inchoate accom

plishment, but not more than inchoate, by St.

Cyril of Alexandria. The expositors of anti" quity, in such cases, were too apt to take up with

some circumstances of general resemblance, without


critical examination of the terms of a prophecy, or of the detail of the history to

[ocr errors]

* Hosea i. 10, 11. « Nevertheless the number of the « children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which

cannot be measured, and cannot be counted ; and it shall “ be, that, in the place where it was said unto them, No:

people of mine are ye, there it shall be said unto them, “ Children of the living God. And the children of Judah « shall be collected, and the children of Israel shall be “ united, and they shall appoint themselves one head, and come up

from the earth. For great shall be the day of “ Jezrael”—That is to say, as Bp. Horsley remarks very justly, “ Great and happy shall be the day, when the holy “ seed of both branches of the natural Israel shall be pub

lickly acknowledged of their God; united under one head, " their king Messiah; and restored to the possession of the

promised land, and to a situation of high pre-eminence among the nations of the earth.” D 3




“ which they applied it. The fact is, that this

prophecy has no relation to the return from

Babylon in a single circumstance. And yet the “absurd interpretation, which considers it as ful“ filled and finished in that event, has of late been " adopted. But what was the number of the re“ turned captives, that it should be compared to “ that of the sands upon the sea-shore? The num“ber of the returned, in comparison with the “ whole captivity, was nothing. Then Judah and Israel shall appoint themselves one head-Zoro

babel, says Grotius. But how was Zorobabel “ one head of the rest of Israel, as well as Judah? “ A later critic answers, After the return from Babylon, the distinction between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah ceased. But how was it, this “ distinction ceased ? In this manner, I apprehend, The kingdom of Israel had been abolished above “ 180 years before ; Judah alone existed as a body

politic; and the house of Judah returned under “ their leader Zorobabel, with some few stragglers “ of the captivity of the ten tribes. And no sooner

were the returning captives settled in Judèa, " than those of the ten tribes, joining with the “ mongrel race which they found in Samaria, se

parated themselves from Judah, and set up a " leader and a schismatical worship of their own. " Was this any such incorporation, as the pro

phecy describes, of Judah and the rest of

" Israel

Israel under one sovereign * ? To interpret the

prophecy in this manner is to make it little better " than a paltry quibble; more worthy of the

Delphic tripod, than of the Scripture of

[ocr errors]

o truth t."

Of the Jews, who were carried away captive to Babylon, only a very small part, according to Houbigant | not more than a hundredth part, returned to their own country. Those, who were left behind, 'will doubtless, at the time of the second advent, be brought back along with their brethren of the ten tribes; just as those individuals of the ten tribes, who returned with Judah from Babylon, and (adhering to him notwithstanding the Samaritan schism) were afterwards scattered with him by the Romans, will be brought back with their brethren the Jews. So far, but no further, the otherwise distinct restorations of Judah and Joseph will in some measure be mingled together. This circumstance is very accurately noted by Ezekiel, even when predicting the two-fold restoration of Judah and Joseph, and their subsequent union under one king. He speaks neither of Judah nor Joseph simply; but styles the one division Judah and the children of Israel his companions, and the

* This two-fold return and incorporation of Judah and Israel is yet more definitely predicted by Ezekiel than by Hosea. See Ezek. xxxvii. 15-28.

+ Bp. Horsley's Hosea, p. 59, 60.
1 Cited by Bp. Horsley.


other division Joseph and all the house of Israel his companions * : thus plainly intimating, that some of the children of Israel shall return with Judah; but that members of all the tribes, not of the kingdom of the ten tribes only, but of all the tribes, shall return with Joseph.

And here we cannot but observe the strict justice of God in arranging the manner of this two-fold restoration. Judah, with many more advantages than Israel, sinned nevertheless yet deeper than he did. They were both equally guilty of idolatry: but Judah, that is to say, that part of Judah which returned from Babylon, added to all his former iniquities the deep guilt of rejecting and crucifying the Lord of life. Hence we find, that, while he is restored, partly in a converted and partly in an unconverted state, through many wars, perils and afflictions, and during a time of unexampled trouble: Israel, and his companions of Judah, to whom the Saviour had never been offered, return after the destruction of Antichrist, wholly in a converted state t, escorted honourably

* Ezek. xxxvii. 16. + This is manifest from Isaiah's declaration, that they should be brought an offering to the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord. See Chap. lxvi. 18, 19, 20. The phraseology is perfrctly parallel to that of the two passages, wherein the restoration of the converted ilirision of Judah, by the great muritime power, is predicted. See Isaiah xviii. 7. and Zephan. iii.

9, 10.


« EelmineJätka »