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The following course of Lectures owes its origin mainly to the extraordinary interest which has been excited in the public mind respecting the Jewish nation by the late occurrences in Palestine.
The prominency given to that people by the almost unparalleled cruelties inflicted upon them at Damascus and Rhodes, the revival of ancient prejudices by Roman Catholics, and the prospect of the emancipation of the Holy Land from the tyranny of Mahomedan rule, has attracted the attention of all the nations of Europe to the Jews, and called forth every variety of conjecture as to their future destiny. Thus the press has abounded with conflicting opinions, and a state of feeling, approaching to enthusiasm, has been produced. At this moment, then, it seemed to be the privilege, as well as duty, of those whose office it is to give a sanctifying direction to such topics, to make a public declaration of their views, and a course of Lectures, by clergymen
of the Church of England, was arranged, as the best means of eliciting an unprejudiced statement of the scriptural bearing of the question.
These Lectures may be considered as the independent testimony of twelve clergymen, who without previous concert have united in one harmony of interpretation respecting the past, present, and future aspect of Israel, remarkably illustrating the tendency of this subject to produce the fulfilment of that prophecy in Isaiah lii. 8, “ Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring
The aim of these Sermons is not to enter upon uncertain speculations, but rather by arguments, based upon the grammatical and obvious interpretation of prophecy, to enforce upon the Church the great practical lessons of the subject, which the harmony of Scripture warrants.
It is of much importance that the reader should bear in mind that this is the revival of a long neglected truth; and modern students, grateful for former labours in this field, and sensible that they are arrived only at the elements of the
volume of prophecy, are tremblingly alive to the necessity of caution, watchfulness, and humility. And this suggests a very solemn reflection; for the signs of the times, in all their threatening reality, have come unexpectedly upon professing Christians—who, having neglected the diligent study of the Word of Prophecy, have not kept pace with the progress of events in the world. The subject is so practical and so intimately connected with the hopes of the Gentile Church, that we cannot but desire it may excite an increasing interest; * and to guide this interest in the right channel, becomes an object of great
* We would venture to suggest whether the precedents set in Glasgow, Liverpool, and London, of a course of Jewish Lectures, might not be followed by many other towns in England; especially in those where an interest for Israel has already been manifested. We might mention Bath, Bristol, Birmingham, Brighton, Cambridge, Oxford, Derby, Hereford, Hull, Ipswich, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Plymouth, Sheffield, &c., &c. Lectures in these places, by clergymen who have studied the subject, would bring before the public a mass of scriptural truth, and valuable research, which would be eminently calculated to produce sobriety of judgment concerning those great events which are coming on the earth, and prepare both Jew and Gentile for the advent of Messiah.
importance at the present moment. There is danger on either hand—not only from entire neglect of the Jews, but also from a false and unscriptural liberality, alike pernicious both to Jew and Gentile. The effects of this latter spirit may be traced too plainly in the tone adopted of late with regard to the Jewish disabilities, which displays great ignorance of the peculiar state and prospects of the nation of Israel, in regard of their past guilt in the crucifixion of our Lord, their present national rejection, and their future restoration and glory, and which opens the door to a wide-spread apostasy from the faith.
It is hoped that these Lectures will tend, under the Divine blessing, to check this growing evil, and direct the Church to the Word of God, as the only sure and safe guide for individuals and nations.
W. R. FREMANTLE.
Milfield-lane, April 29, 1841.