« PreviousContinue »
mised upon their repentance, and therefore their conversion must precede." True, God expects their repentance; but repentance and conversion do not always go together. There never will be conversion without repentance, but there may be repentance without conversion. Surely their repentance cannot mean that of a converted soul-such godly sorrow, such repentance as flows from a renewed heart; for this condition is to be performed before they return to their own land, but the change of heart is promised as succeeding their restoration. Deut. 30:1-6; Ezek. ch, 36, &c. It is, however,” says a son of Abraham in the Jewish Expositor, “ by no means true, that the patriarchal promises were conditional. The terms in which they were given are as absolute as can possibly be conceived; the blessings are most evidently made to depend, not on the conduct of men, but on the sovereign will and power, the eternal foreknowledge, and the unchangeable faithfulness of Jehovah : he does not say, if thou, or thy seed ; but, I have given~by myself have I sworn, I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. It is true that the covenant of Sinai was condi. tional; but this was only of temporal duration : even while it was in full force, the prophets foretold that the days were coming when the Lord would make a new and an uncon. ditional covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah ;' (Jer. 36, &c.) and with this, as contradistinguished from the other, the Holy Spirit has explicitly identified the patriarchal covenant, for he has taught us by a prophet of the New Testament, that 'the covenant which was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred years after, could not disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect; for if the inheritance were of the law, it would be no more of promise, but God gave it to Abrabain by promise.'" (Gal. 3.)
There is but one objection more that I shall notice, viz. " that if the Jews are to return to Canaan before their con. version, then it is needless to make exertions to promote their conversion.” Does it follow, my dear Benjamin, that because we do not expect the national conversion of our people till after their restoration to Canaan, that therefore no individuals may be converted before that time? Tha Apostle Paul said and believed that our dear people would continue under the influence of spiritual darkness until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in, yet that did not prevent him from going into the synagogue every Sabbath day, and reasoning with them from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Who hath despised the day of small things ?"
But I have, already mentioned that a considerable num ber of our brethren will be converted before the nation re. turns, and that these will not return with them, but be carried thither afterwards, agreeably to Isa. 18th. On this, as well as on all the other parts mentioned in the first section of the third letter in this part, I intended to have greatly enlarged; but I am compelled to close, at least for the present,* the subject of the second advent of Christ, to leave some room for the last part proposed, viz. The coming of the Messiah to judge the world. Farewell.
* The restoration of the Jews, and other subjects connected with the millennium, will necessarily be considered in the future numbers of the Jewish Intelligencer.
MESSIAH THE JUDGE OF THE WORLD.
THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.
My Dear Benjamin,
Having in the preceding part given you a brief statement of the second advent of the Messiah, I will now invite your attention to his coming to judge the world, which solemn transaction will be preceded by the general resurrection of the dead, and which is proposed as the subject of the present letter.
$ 1. By the resurrection, is meant the restoration, by the power of God, of the same identical body which died, in all the essential and integral parts of it, rendering it, in a reunion of, or with the soul, immortal, or of an eternal duration in blessedness or misery.
This doctrine is a fundamental article of faith with our people, as well as Christians. You will recollect the 13th article, which reads thus: “I believe with a perfect faith, that the dead will be restored to life, wben it shall be so ordained by the decree of the Creator ; blessed be his name, and exalted be his remembrance for ever and ever.” And the apostle placed it among "the principles of the doctrine of Christ.” Heb. 6: 2. And we are not so sure to rise out of our beds, as we are to rise out of our graves. But as there are still some Sadducees amongst our people, and too many
infidels amongst Christians, who do not believe this doctrine, I will endeavor to prove it.
§ 2. There are probably but few who will deny the pos. sibility of a resurrection. Surely all things are possible with God. His knowledge is infinite.
It is easy for God to give to every one his own body.
If it be possible for a gardener that has 30 several seeds in his hand, to be able to distinguish between seed and seed; and for a chemist to extract the elements out of an herb and separate them one from the other; and for a watchmaker to take a watch in pieces, and unite the pieces together again as before; much more is it possible for the omniscient God to distinguish one particle of dust from the other, as well as one man from another, and one stone from another.
03. God is also almighty in power. He can more easily raise the body out of the grave, that we can raise a man out of sleep
He that believeth the first article of the creed, that God is almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, will believe this article also, viz. that God can raise the dead. For if he car make a body, being nothing, out of the dust of the earth, he certainly can repair it out of the dust when it is something. It is as easy for God to restore a body to a soul at the re surrection, as to breathe a soul into the body at the creation. God has an unlimited power, and raises the dead, not according to natural laws and measures, but according to the efficacy of his own will, which does not stand in need of any to accomplish what he pleases.
Nor is there any thing connected with this subject that is absurd or contradictory. Farther, my dear Benjamin, consider that a resurrection is not only possible, but highly probable. This may be argued,
$ 4. From analogy of both inanimate and animate objects. The constant vicissitudes that are in the world preach
to us a resurrection ; such as the revolution of seasons, the dying and reviving corn, and the various changes in creatures that have life. Both philosophers and divines write of the phoenix, that first she is consumed to ashes by the heat of the sun, that after
rds of her ashes arises a young one, which is the same phoenix risen from the dead. The apostle tells us, that the corn must first be cast into the ground, and then die and rot, before it will spring up; which showeth that a resurrection from the dead is possible even in nature. Add to this, that swallows, flies and worms, which lie dead in the winter season, revive again in the spring by virtue of the sun's heat. What is every night but the grave (as it were) of the daylight, and the morning but the resurrection of the day? What is the winter but the death of the fruits of the earth, and the spring but the resurrection of them? What is death but the pulling down of the house of the body? And what is the resurrection, but the rebuilding of the same house? And why then should any one think it a thing incredible for God to raise the dead? It may further be argued,
§ 5. From the view of man, as the proper subject of reward and punishment. If, therefore, the body did not rise, it would have no part either in reward or punishment. Hence the justice and the mercy of God require the resurrection of the body. The former requires that the wicked should be punished in the same bodies that they sinned in; and the latter makes it necessary that the righteous should be rewarded in the same bodies in which they performed their good actions; and therefore, in order to these different ends, the bodies of both must rise again. Hence
the apostle, “We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every man may receive the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it is good or bad.” 2 Cor. 5 : 10. But I will proceed to show that the resurrection is not only possible and probable, but,