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they could at any time, or in any place, prevail with to receive the knowledge, or give up themselves to the worship of the God of Israel; but of converting people or nations to his obedience, they never entertained the least hopes.
3. It is manifest to all the world, that upon the coming of Jesus, and by virtue of his gospel, all the old idolatry of the world was destroyed; and that the whole fabric of superstition, which Satan had been so many ages engaged in erecting, was cast to the ground, and those gods of the earth, which the nations worshipped, utterly famished. Hence it is come to pass at this day, that no people or nations under heaven continue to worship those dunghill gods, which the old empires of the world adored as their deities, and in whose service they waged war against the God of Israel, and his people. And had it not been for Jesus Christ and his gospel, the true God had been, most probably, no more owned in the Gentile world, at this day, than he was at his coming in the flesh; and yet these poor blinded creatures can see no glory in him, nor in his ministry.
4. The Lord Jesus Christ, by his Spirit and word, did not only destroy idolatry and false worship in the world, but also brought the greatest and most potent nations of it to the knowledge of God; so that, in comparison of what was past, “it covered the earth as “the waters cover the seas."
5. The way whereby this knowledge and worship of the true God was dispersed over the face of the earth, spreading itself like an inundation of saving waters over the world, was, by such a secret energy of the Spirit of Christ, accompanying his word and the ministration of it, that it wholly differed from the operose, burdensome, and, for the most part, ineffectual
way of teaching, which was used by the priests, Levites, and scribes of old; there being much more of the efficacy of grace, than of the pains of the teachers, seen in the effects produced, according to the words of promise, Jer. xxxi, 34.
6. In this diffusion of the knowledge of God, there was way made for the union, and joint consent in worship, of those that should receive it. For the partition wall between Jews and Gentiles was removed, and an holy and plain way of spiritual worship was prescribed to all that should embrace the law of the Messiah.
7. Notwithstanding all that hath been already accomplished; yet there is still room and time remaining for the farther accomplishment of these predictions; so that before the close of the kingdom of the Messiah, not one tittle of them shall fall to the ground. And thus also the open event, known to all the world, manifests the due and full accomplishment of these promises, making it unquestionable, that the Messiah is long since come, and hath fulfilled the long-designed work.
$6. Neither are the exceptions of the Jews of any force to invalidate our application of these promises. We have shewed already, that these and the like predictions are to have a gradual accomplishment, not all at once, in every place. It is sufficient, that there is an everlasting foundation laid for the destruction of all false worship, which having had a conspicuous and glorious effect in the most eminent nations of the world, sufficient to answer the intention of the prophecy, shall yet farther, in the appointed seasons, root out the remainder of all superstition and apostasy from God. For what concerns Christians themselves, it cannot be denied, but that many who are so called have corrupted themselves, and contracted the guilt of that horrible iniquity which they charge upon them. But this being the crime of some certain persons, and not of the professors of Christianity at large, ought not to be objected to them. And I desire to know, by what means the Jews suppose that themselves and the nations of the world shall be kept from idolatry and false worship in the days of the Messiah?' If it be, because their Messiah shall give such a perfect law, and such full instructions concerning the mind and will of God, that all men may clearly know their duty; we say, that this is already done in the highest degree of perfection conceivable. But what if, notwithstanding this, men will follow their own vain reasonings and imaginations, and fall from the rule of their obedience into will-worship and superstition, what remedy have they provided against such backsliding? If they say, they have none but only an endeavor to press upon them their duty to the words and institutions of God; we reply, that we have the same, and do make use of it to the same important end. If they shall say, that their Messiah will kill them, or slay them with the sword; we confess, that ours is not of that mind; and we desire them to take heed, lest, in the room of the holy, humble, merciful King, promised to the Church, they look for a bloody tyrant, that shall exercise force over the minds of men, and execute his unhallowed revenge on those whom he likes not. And with respect to the multitude of sects, which every where spring up, we reply, that as all agree
in the worship of the God of Israel, by Jesus Christ the Messiah, which contains the sum of their religion; so, their profession itself is not to be measured by the dectrines and conceptions of some amongst them but
by the scripture, which they all receive and acknowledge.
87. Thirdly, They insist upon the promises which concern themselves, and these, of all others, they most mind and urge against their adversaries. Nothing, they say, is more certain and evident in the scripture, than that the people of Israel shall be brought into a blessed and prosperous condition by the Messiah, at his coming, and in particular, that by him they shall be brought home into their own land. But now, say they, instead of this, that whole people is scattered over the face of the earth, under great misery and oppression for the most part, without the least interest in the country promised to them. And from hence it is, that they most obstinately conclude, that the Messiah is not yet come; for until they are rich, wealthy, and powerful, they will not believe that God is faithful.
In the consideration of these promises, we must carefully distinguish between those which had their full, at least their principal accomplishment in the return of the people from the captivity of Babylon, and those which have a direct regard to the days of the Messiah. It is known, that the prophets do very usually set out that merciful deliverance in metaphorical expressions, in order to set off the greatness of the mercy itself. But the present Jews, who look for the accomplishing of all the most strained allegories in a literal sense, do wrest them all to the times of the Messiah, when they hope they shall receive them in full measure; for they reckon of all things according to their outward gain and profit, and not according to the manifestation of the glory and love of God therein.
But let them know, that whatever is foretold and promised concerning themselves in the days of the Mes
siah, they have no color of reason to expect, until they receive him, own and submit to him, which, to this day, they have not done. When Moses went out to visit them of old in their distress, and slew the Egyptian that smote one of them; yet, because they refused him, and would not understand, that it was by him God would deliver them, and endeavored to betray him to death, their bondage was continued forty years longer. Nevertheless, at length, by the same Moses were they delivered. In like manner, although the Jews have refused and rejected him who was promised to be the Savior, and so continue to this day in their captivity, spiritual and temporal; yet it is He, by whom, in the time appointed, they shall be delivered from the one and the other. But this shall not be done until they own and receive him; and when God shall give them hearts to do it, they will quickly find the blessed success thereof. But all this, we say, must come to pass, when the veil shall be taken from before their
eyes, and they shall look on him whom they have pierced, and joyfully receive him whom they have sinfully rejected for so many generations. And when, by his spirit and grace, they shall be turned from ungodliness, and have their eyes opened to see the mystery of the grace, wisdom, and love of God, in the blood of his Son, then shall they obtain mercy from the God of their forefathers, and returning again into their own land, Jerusalem shall be inhabited again.