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and that he will have to retrace his steps. No; we recognise with reverence the Bible that is in his hands, and we say, “As far as you follow that message you are right; and as far as you follow these prophets you are right.” You will never move the Jew from his system ; therefore grant at once all that you can grant with truth. Do not denounce him; do not say he is wrong altogether. Say he is right as far as he goes with the Scriptures, as he follows Moses and the prophets. But ask him, “Why do you linger here? for there is something better and brighter further on, and not much further on.” When you go to the heathen, you have to tell him right out that he must burn his sacred books ; that he must burn his gods, or throw them away, or fling them in the river, or cast them to the moles or the bats. But when you meet the Jew you must take him by the hand, and say, “Let me lead you to the end of this narrow lane, and I will bring you out into the expanse where there is room for both Jew and Gentile to walk abreast, and where the promises meet their fulfilment. Mosaism is the bud; Christianity the full-grown flower, whose fragrance is intended to be wafted on every breeze to every land, and to be shared in by every creature, Jew or Gentile. Mosaism is a narrow river cutting its way through a continent into the sea of Christianity, the waves of which wash every shore with salvation. There is a beautiful propriety, then, on this ground, in calling the Gentiles wild olive branches, an equally beautiful propriety in calling the Jews natural branches, and a power in this inference that Paul draws, " If thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree : how much more shall these which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits.” It is called a mystery, but a revealed mystery, because we are not to be ignorant of it. What does this mystery mean? To understand, it will require a little thonghtful and prayerful attention; but when we have given it that thoughtful and prayerful attention we shall comprehend it; so that we need not remain ignorant of it. We shall fall into mischief if we remain entirely ignorant of this mystery, because we shall be “wise in our own conceits.” Now it appears to me there has been a mystery, one referring both to Jewish and Gentile matters, but that 1800 years ago the mystery was cleared up to the mind of the Apostle Paul, and to the Jewish Christians generally. The Jews 1800 years ago had no idea at first that the blessings of the Gospel were intended for Gentiles ; or, if they acknowledged them to be so, they had scarcely any faith in the conversion of Gentiles. But the mystery was cleared up to the mind of the Apostle Paul, and was cleared up to St. Peter, as you will remember, by the vision of a sheet let down from heaven. I need only refer you to that, for we have no time to look at it: you can do so when you get home, by turning to the tenth chapter of the Acts. Then the mystery was cleared up to the mind of the Apostle Paul. In what way?' He speaks about the mystery that had been hidden for ages and generations, and which is now made known unto the holy apostles and prophets. By the Old Testament Scriptures ? No. By the Spirit ; that is, God revealed these things. God revealed this. He had the whole plan from all eternity, but He waited to see what the Jews would do with the Messiah; whether they would crown Him as their King, and set Him on the throne of His father David, or whether they would crucify Him, before He let them know about his parenthetical dispensation ; and then God cleared up the mystery to the minds of the Apostles; and so we have Paul speaking about a mystery as having been hidden for ages, but as being now made known. What is this that was made known? What was the mystery ? “ That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs and of the same body, and partakers of God's promise in Christ by the Gospel.” So all through this dispensation there is to be partial conversion amongst the Jews and partial conversion amongst the Gentiles. The partial conversion amongst the Jews during this parenthetical dispensation is called the “remnant according to the election of grace." The partial conversion amongst the Gentiles, during this parenthetical dispensation, is spoken of as a “people taken out for His name.” If you refer to the fifteenth chapter of Acts, you will see a reference to this parenthetical dispensation. This dispensation then is parenthetical, as coming between a manifestation of God in humiliation, and a manifestation of God in glory; between a suffering Messiah and a reigning Messiah.
The Saviour said to the Jews, “ Ye shall not see Me henceforth until ye say, ' Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.' I have come as your King ; I was born King of the Jews; it was written on My cross, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews; I am your King, I have a right to David's throne, and I shall one day reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before the ancients gloriously: and the Lord shall be King over all the earth : in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one.' You sent me back again to my Father. Now some of you think that because you are near to Jerusalem, the kingdom of God is immediately to appear. I say it is now in parable: I am as a 'nobleman going into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. His disciples wished to make Him a King. Satan wished to make Him a King: “If Thou wilt worship me, all shall be Thine.” But Jesus has been sent back to the Father, and He waits till the Father gives Him the kingdom, and until then, He will keep His disciples praying on, “Thy kingdom come, in order that Thy will may be done upon the earth as it is in heaven.” We are now, then, in that parenthetical dispensation; and if anybody dreams of converting the world by the development of this dispensation and before the coming of the Lord, let me tell him it is but a dream : it is not in the Book: “until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in."
It is frequently found that the idea is entertained of the Jewish nation, that they have been cast off and turned out of Palestine and scattered to the four corners of the earth, and then that, after the closing of the times of the Gentiles, the Jews will come home again to Palestine, and that the nation subsequent to that return will be converted. The mystery here, thus answering to the mystery cleared up to the minds of the converted Jews and to the mind of St. Paul, is, I believe, simply this : the nation cast away, the nation fallen, the nation turned out of Palestine, but the spiritual interests of the nation as individuals, not affected by the national fall, or by that national turning out, or by that national casting away. Now that is a most important distinction; a distinction between a national rejection and an individual rejection. St. Paul says, not only hath God cast away His people, but He has occasioned great blessings to the Gentiles by that casting away; not only are the Jews fallen as a nation, but great blessings have resulted to the Gentiles by that fall. And yet in answer to both questions he says, “ Hath God cast away His people ?" No. Have they fallen? No. Have they stumbled ? No. How is this? Why, the spiritual interests of the individual Jew have not necessarily been affected by the fall and the casting away of the nation. The fall and casting away of the nation has simply affected national interests, temporal interests, turned them out of Palestine; but the Jews have stood, as individuals, during the whole period of their dispersion, in the same relationship to the whole range of salvation by Jesus Christ as they would have done if they had been in Palestine to-day and never had left it. Hence, feeling that, do you not see the inference that it has been the duty, the uniform, the constant duty of all who know Jesus as their Saviour, during the Jewish dispersion of nearly two thousand years, to offer the blessings of the Gospel to the individual Jew to secure his conversion to Christ ? We have fallen into an error, and we have got wise in our conceits. We have thought that we are entitled to spiritual blessing because we are Gentiles, and do not belong to that unbelieving nation, when, in fact, the fall of the Jew has only affected his temporal interests. We have been for a long time ignorant of that mystery, and we have become wise in our own conceits : and now there are perhaps few grown-up Christians who have not sung something in harmony with this erroneous thought of the destiny of the Jew. For the last fifteen or twenty years, I have spoken to hundreds and thousands of the rising generation on behalf of God's ancient people ; and I have found in some schools, to my great pain and even horror, the children singing such words as these : “ I thank my God I was not born & heathen or a Jew.” Shocking, shocking! They have got wise in their own conceits. They have been ignorant of the mystery ; they have thought that because the Jews are cast off as a nation, their spiritual interests as individuals have been affected by that casting off ; whereas they have not been necessarily touched in the slightest degree. When the times of the Gentiles close, we believe this fulness will have been gathered in. We believe it refers to all who will embrace the Gospel, and hold fast to the Gospel during the times of the Gentiles.
We read in Acts xv., after, “ I have taken out from them a people for My name,” “I will return.” What does " return” mean? You went, some of yon,
from this place this morning, and you have returned this afternoon. The return is very simple ; it is as easy as the first three letters of the alphabet to the unsophisticated thought; there is no doubt as to what is meant by “I will return."
Christ has gone.
Has he gone literally? Yes. Is He to come literally and visibly? Yes, if He went literally and visibly; for we read, “In like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven, so shall He come." I shall never forget how my soul was thrilled when, little more than twelve months ago, I sat on the slopes of Olivet, one Sunday afternoon, and a dear brother in Christ read with me, under the shadow of olive tree on that mountain, the account of the Lord's ascension. As we read the narrative, how our hearts thrilled at the words, “ He shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go." We bent our knees on the slopes of Olivet, a mountain to which the Master bad often retired to pray. And I recollect that, after our
prayer, and as we were returning towards Jerusalem to dine, I opened my pocket-Bible and read the account of the Lord's ascension, and pondered on that announcement, “ In like manner as ye have seen Him go, so shall He come,” connecting it with the words in Zechariah xiv., “ And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives wbich is before Jerusalem on the east;" and as, in retracing our steps, we turned round on Mount Zion and stood gazing on Olivet, and my friend read the words I have just quoted, the whole scene came vividly before our minds ; for there we had Jerusalem, and on the east the mountain under our eye. And to say that this occurrence is not to take place literally, but that it is to be spiritualised, is to make the passage meaningless.
“ And the mountain shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
“And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains ; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal : yea, ye shall flee like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah : and the Lord my God shall come and all his saints with thee.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark :
“But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
* And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem ; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea : in summer and in winter shall it be.
" And the Lord shall be king over all the earth : in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one."
After this,"_after I have gathered out & people for My name, answering to the fulness of the Gentiles in this passage, —" after this I will return;" after partial conversion among the Jews and partial conversion among the Gentiles, I will return. And what to do? “ Build again the tabernacle of David that has fallen down, and heal up the breaches thereof." What for ? « That the residue of men may seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom My name is called, saith the Lord who doeth all these things.”
" Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world,”- the whole plan is spread out before Him; He won't be hurried, but He will give food for sanctified intelligences to all eternity in sounding the infinite depths of wisdom, mercy, and love as involved in the economy of redemption and as unfolded in the history of the Jew. “And so all Israel shall be saved ; as it is written, there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob : for this is My covenant unto them.” “As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes; and as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes." There is no other people in the world called beloved for anybody's sake, while in a state of enmity, save the Jews; “for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." The gifts of Palestine and the calling of Abraham will never be abrogated; God will never change His mind. “ For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even so ”-notice these words“even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may cbtain mercy.” It is “ as," "so.” “ As you had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy, even so have these now; that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy." Have you found God's mercy in Christ Jesus; and are you of Gentile origin ? I doubt not we are all of Gentile origin here, and have largely found God's mercy in Christ Jesus. Will you bear with me if I faithfully and affectionately press home to you these words: We have had theory, that is, we have doctrinal teaching, but now we come to the practice for one moment ;-have you showed the Jews mercy ? How can I show them mercy ? You can show it, either by a contribution to any society in existence for converting them, or you can show it by your prayers, by your sympathy, at the throne of grace, either at your family altars, or in your closets, or in your social gatherings; and you can show it even when you come in contact with a son of Abraham, be it an “Old clothes man,” as he comes to your door to buy. If you speak a kind word to him, and then show the Jew mercy, you will be carrying out the doctrine of the text. “ The remnant according to the election of grace" must largely be won to Christ by Gentile mercy. The Jews have had cruelty enough ; they have had neglect
ough ; we have done a world of mischief by our coldness and indifference and persecution, and by our unjust laws to the Jews in ages past.
And let me say a word here, in order, if possible, to take a stumbling block out of the way of Gentile kindness towards the Jews. I do not suppose any one here would be open to the charge ; but you will have friends and neighbours who are open to it. I refer to the custom of wearing crosses as an ornament in these days. May I ask you,—whether those crosses are hung round the neck of beauty, or whether they hang on the gentleman's waistcoat, -may I ask you to take them off in the interest of the Jew? Why so ? The Jew, in the middle ages, you know, when religion was corrupted and made Popish, when he saw the crucifix carried along in the street, would run a mile in any direction rather than be in its way, because if he met it he was obliged to bow down before it, and that was an abomination to him. The Jews in the middle ages, called it Tolu: and they call it Tolu to this day. What is that ? An idol, an image. You say he ought to know better. I tell you facts. I tell you he regards every person he meets with the cross hanging before them, as an idolater, as a worshipper of that cross; and you little know how you are damaging the cause of Jesus in the eyes of the Jew by this practice. Neither can you help honouring the Jew for hating idolatry. In the Christian Church we honour him as God-fearing and God-believing. You can scarcely get faith out of a Jew. You cannot find Jewish athiests or Jewish sceptics, or Jewish idolaters ; and the Church would find converted Jews very helpful now in rescuing persons from infidelity on the one hand, and Popery on the other.
“ That through your mercy they also might obtain mercy." we come to a beautiful thought as a climax. " For God has concluded them all in unbelief.” The Greek runs thus: “ God hath shut them all up together for disobedience.” “The Jew first;'" he failed nationally. The Gentile comes in and looks down upon the Jew as unbelieving, as abandoned, as under the curse of God. God tells us that the Gentile Church will fail too. He tells us that in the last days” perilous times shall come, when men shall be lovers of themselves; and He goes on to sum up all by saying, “ Having the form of godliness but denying the power thereof." When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the