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But we must not even here terminate our survey of the fate and fortunes of this misguided, but remarkable people, as if then they ceased to exist, as if they could no longer be traced amidst the inhabitants of the earth. We may follow them from kingdom to kingdom, and from century to century, till we come to look upon the times in which we ourselves live, and traverse the cities and kingdoms through which our race is distributed. In these, the Pagan, the Mahometan, and the Christian, partake of the general characteristics of their several countries and manners. The conquerors and the conquered become assimilated to each other. All other distinctions change and cease, except those by which the Jew is known, amidst every revolution, and in every age, country, and nation; the same in his religious and civil peculiarities, in his person, and in his sufferings. It is not enough to say, that all this is unprecedented; it is a miracle, which has hitherto been lasting and universal, and which appears destined to continue for ages yet to come; for there is yet little appearance of its cessation. The Jew as yet retains his infidelity, and, therefore, his distinguishing characteristics. His ancestors rejected the lesson taught them by those miracles which were a counteraction and suspension of the laws of nature, and therefore the laws of providence, which mould and affect the destiny of all other
nations, are still, since the Christian era, as well as before it, suspended with respect to them; that they may be a standing miracle, obvious to the view and apprehension of every people, and nation, and language. And what does it testify, but that truly they have been so separated, and so governed, and so preserved, by a divine council and design, for important and still progressive purposes; for purposes which respect every nation of the earth, since in all are they present, and to all they may establish the same truths? They hold in their hands the oracles of ancient revelation, delivered by Moses and the prophets, and they account them divine. We also hold in our's the writings of the Evangelists and Apostles, and them also we account divine. The antiquity and divinity of both is proved by their unbelief and marvellous history, for these are an exact and abiding fulfilment of what Moses and the prophets, of what Jesus and his Apostles, have foretold. Although they deny that Jesus is the Christ, although they "would not come to him that they might have life," yet by what they believe and by what they disbelieve, by what they do and by what they suffer, they condemn their own infidelity, and they justify our faith. This we believe to be "eternal life, to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent." The oracles of God committed to the Jews, and which they
themselves received as the record and charter of eternal life, did "testify of Jesus." The same testified also of their infidelity, and of its punishment; and their prejudices, their peculiarities, and their fortunes, remain unaltered after the lapse of near two thousand years, and are, therefore, proved to be not transitory, but abiding. This is a fact, which at once bespeaks the interposition of God in the ages that are present, and evidences both his interposition and foreknowledge in the ages that are past, and the more remarkable consequences of which are reserved to be seen in ages yet to come.
Behold, then, the solitary individuals of that nation, who in almost every town offer themselves to your observation. Behold them congregated in your metropolis. Cross the sea, and see them in still greater numbers inhabiting the metropolis of Holland, and the cities of Poland. See them abiding alike under Christian, Mahometan, and Pagan dynasties in every quarter of the globe; sometimes restricted, persecuted, and oppressed, sometimes enjoying a portion of liberty and prosperity, but still unmixed and readily recognized. Ask yourself what, and of what original, is this strange tribe, whose fortunes and peculiarities form one solitary exception in the history of mankind. One people alone is found destitute of those affinities, by which men of like faculties, and opportunities,
and pursuits, are ever amalgamated, and united in the same political and social relations? The drama, the fictitious narrative, and the historical annals of our own and other nations, shew the universal belief and experience, that such as they are, such have they long been. If we search the records of classical writers, and those which the sacred and ordinary writers of their own nation have handed down to us, we identify the same people, then subsisting as a nation, and then as remarkable in their theology, and character, and fortunes, as they have since been. The fact admits of no denial; the conclusions drawn from it are certain and satisfactory. The infidel cannot either refute, or weaken the argument. He rather directs his attention to one particular period of the Jewish history, and contends that their rejection of the Gospel is a valid objection to the claims of Jesus, and to the reality of the evidences in favour of Christianity. Now we contend that, in some respects, the case is completely the reverse of his representation, and that he cannot, in any respect, establish the validity of his inference.
We undoubtedly grant, that the infidelity of the Jews is an astonishing, and, in some respects, a mysterious fact. Of course the entire body of the Jews of the present day are characterized by a rejection of the Gospel. But we cannot say so of those who lived in the reign of Augustus, and
who heard the instructions, beheld the miracles, and were witnesses of the crucifixion of Jesus. Great multitudes, in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in the other countries in which they were dispersed, did embrace the Gospel, and no longer were ranked with their unbelieving fellow-countrymen, but with the Christians. The numerous and increasing society, which received that title first at Antioch importing their convictions that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, consisted, for many years, only of believing Jews; who are, therefore, not incompetent, but admissible witnesses of the miraculous works of Jesus and his Apostles. The reality of these miracles was not indeed denied, even by those who remained in unbelief. We know that these unbelieving Jews did not admit that the prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus. But we must still bear in mind that a very large proportion of the nation thought otherwise; and that more of those in power were not of that number, renders the argument which is supplied by the conviction of others, more satisfactory. For the circumstance, that those who had the disposition, had also the power to persecute the early Christians, is a very decisive demonstration of the assurance and sincerity of that belief, which impelled men to join the standard of the cross, when the warfare to which it engaged them was so hazardous, and even when the hottest fire of persecution was