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P. 101.1. 10. Conclusion.-The blessed,' &c.— God blessed Israel, and Balaam wanted to curse them; and it is here insinuated that St. Paul, and Christians approving his argument in' the text which has been considered, imitate Balaam in this conduct. But neither the apostle, nor his expositors, nor well-informed Christians, so much as attempt to shew that Israel, or unbelieving and disobedient Israelites, are "under the curse," in any other sense than all other unbelievers and impenitent sinners are; or than they themselves were, till "they fled for refuge" to the covenant of grace, the righteousness of faith, and the salvation of the gospel. Yet Moses, or God by Moses, addressing Israelites exclusively, both in the chapter from which the text is quoted, and in other places, hath gone much beyond this in pronouncing a curse on disobedient Israelites. 2 And, so far was the apostle, and so far are we, from desiring, with Balaam, that Israel should be cursed; that it may confidently be said, that even Moses himself did more earnestly desire "that "Israel should be blessed" than the apostle did : 3 and we would zealously endeavour to imitate his example. I am conscious, in the sight of God, that this is my prevailing motive in this publication; and I cannot doubt that it is that of the London Society, and of all its best friends.
But where, in the books of Moses, or in the Old Testament, is the blessing engaged to Israel merely as having the law given them,' without
'Gal. iii. 10.
2 Deut. xi. 26-28. xxvii. 14-26. xxviii. 15-20. xxix. 19-21. 3 Ezek. xxxii. 32. Rom. ix. 1-3.
any respect to their obedience or disobedience? In the face, however, of the awful curses on those who broke particular precepts, and did not confirm the law by doing it; as well as many other passages to the same effect; Mr. C. seems to take for granted that the blessing, contained at the close of Moses's prophecy concerning the tribes of Israel, belongs to every individual Israelite and every proselyte, however rebellious and hardened in impenitence! But this subject will again require our notice." Keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that "keep his commandments." This was Daniel's view of the subject.2-There are some sentiments, charged on different descriptions of men, which it is very difficult to believe they really maintain. When the apostle expostulates with his countrymen, "Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest "in the law, and makest thy boast of God; and "knowest his will, and approvest the things that "are more excellent, being instructed out of the "law and art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind; a light of them which are "in darkness; an instructor of the foolish; a "teacher of babes; who hast the form of know"ledge, and of the truth in the law. Thou there"fore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest, A man should not "steal; dost thou steal? thou that sayest, A man "should not commit adultery; dost thou commit adultery? thou that makest thy boast of the "law; through breaking the law, dishonourest
Deut. xxxiii. 29.
2 Dan. ix. 4. x. 4.
"thou God?”1 In reading this, I say, it is difficult to conceive, that the apostle could be combating an opponent, who avowed such sentiments. It is scarcely credible, that men should "trust in "the law," " boast in God," and keep up that confidence, while guilty of the grossest and most scandalous violations of the law! Yet this was the case in the apostle's days, and in that of the prophets.2 And we may therefore be the less surprised, at hearing a similar confidence avowed in our days. The words before noticed may perhaps recur to the reader's mind, on this occasion. 'Israel is still Israel;' the same as in ancient days. (P. 79. l. 13.) The gentiles may be saved by keeping the precepts of Noah, but Israelites and proselytes by receiving the law of Moses.
P. 101. 1. 22.
'Question respecting the disper'sion of Israel.'-P. 102. 1. 18. To convert all the gentile world,' &c.-Then the whole world will at length be converted to the true worship of the only God of Israel. This I believe; and likewise, that the dispersion of Israel will eventually be overruled as one grand means of accomplishing this most blessed object. Mr. C. however, before denied, that this would ever be the case. (P. 89. 1. 21.)
P. 103. 1. 31. In this night was burnt the first ' and second temple.'-This I suppose is learned from tradition, and it may be true for any thing I know to the contrary.
P. 104. 1. 20. That is, 490 years,' &c.-Daniel's prophecy was delivered nearly seventy years after
1 Rom. ii. 17-24. 2 Is. xlviii. 1-5. Jer. vii. 7-10
the destruction of the first temple; but this subject has repeatedly been considered.
P. 105. 1. 13. Spoke with them face to face.'-— This was peculiar to Moses; as Mr. C. has before stated.
P.105 . l. 16. As for the rest,' &c.—It is not clear how this statement of the oral law being given to Israel, in general, can accord with what went before; p. 94. The oral law, however, is now no secret, for it is written in books;' and any man may learn the secret, who has money to purchase, and time and patience to read those books. P. 105. 1. 24. Ye shall be to me a kingdom of 'priests.'-It should be noticed, that this was spoken before any part of either law was given.'
P. 105. 1. 28. 'The ministers,' &c.-When it is clearly stated, what is here meant by the word ministers; whether servants simply, or ministers of state, or ministers of religion; it may be requisite to give some answer to the passage. The Israelites in general were not ministers of religion: indeed none of them but the priests of Aaron's family; the Levites, their assistants; and the prophets who were occasionally raised up. And we read in Isaiah, concerning the gentiles, "will also take of them for priests and Levites, "saith the Lord."2 The words of Malachi also are of great importance in this argument. Speaking to the priests, he says, "Who is there even "among you that would shut the doors for
nought? Neither do ye kindle a fire on my "altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you,
2 Is. lxvi. 19-21.
'Ex. xix. 6.
"saith the Lord of hosts; neither will I accept
an offering at your hand. For, from the rising "of the sun to the going down thereof, my name "shall be great among the gentiles; and in every "place incense shall be offered unto my name, "and a pure offering: for my name shall be great 66 among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts." But perhaps the word is used in some other sense. No doubt, Israel has been very honourably distinguished among the nations of the earth: but, alas! that people has been as much distinguished by rebellion against God, and persecution of his true ministers, even his holy prophets, as by external privileges. It is, however, cordially allowed, that converted and restored Israel will have a high preeminence among the Christian nations of the earth. I fully believe, that they will have all that distinguished honour among the nations, which a spiritual mind would be even willing to accept: and that they will cease to desire that domination over other men, to which they now aspire. But when" all the ends of the earth shall remember "themselves, and turn unto the Lord; and all the "kindreds of the nations shall worship before "him;" are these unnumbered millions to have no spiritual pastors and teachers? or none but Israelites? If this is to be the case, a new and more extensive, though more honourable, dispersion of Israel must take place, than any which has ever yet occurred.
P. 106. 1. 8. Idolatry taken away from Israel.' -L.20. If Idolatry had not been taken,' &c.—
Mal. i. 10, 11.