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ciency of his preparations for their reception and entertainment, now first plainly and explicitly set forth to them: and in like manner, the eminent good-will of God to his ancient people, the magnitude and value of the privileges to which they would have become entitled by continuing in that relation, could not be fully understood, nor duly appreciated, until the true nature of the legal dispensation, though always typical of the Christian, had been declared and revealed by the open publication of the Gospel. The substantial graces of the one, which answer to the typical blessings of the other; the shadowy outline of the law filled up in the body of Gospel truth; eternal life in lieu of temporal promises ; spiritual privileges instead of carnal distinctions; fulness of light, and plenitude of knowledge, for indistinctness of vision, and imperfect apprehensions of duty; emancipation from the yoke of bondage into the glorious liberty of the sons of God; the Spirit of adoption, for the temper of the alien; filial confidence for slavish dread; Christ the plenary absolution from the curse of the law; reconciliation to God, and peace to the wounded conscience, relieved from the apprehension of wrath to come; a neverfailing ground of righteousness in the imputed merits of a crucified Saviour; the sanctifying graces and aids of the Spirit; the fruits of joy and peace in believing; the assurance of a resurrection to come; the prospect of immortality, and of a vast and inexhaustible fund of happiness, an exceeding and everlasting weight of glory, beyond the limits of the present life; these, and much more than these, though all involved in the relation of a member of the visible church on earth, and all embodied more
or less in the privileges of the elder dispensation, were first fully brought to light, and experimentally made known, by the preaching and promulgation of the Gospel; until which time, neither the good-will of God towards mankind, nor the inestimable distinction conferred upon the Jew, in offering the Gospel first to him, and for a time to none besides, could be duly comprehended, or duly appreciated.
The causes, which led to the failure of the second mission with the persons who had rejected the first overture to the same effect, so far as they agreed with what was assigned in the parable of the supper to account for the same effect, have been anticipated and explained in reference to that parable. But besides the simple rejection of the offer of the king, as produced by such causes; besides the general indifference to the honour which he designed them, and the general unwillingness to postponeany engagement of their own, whether of business or of pleasure, for the sake of keeping their word with him, which characterised the conduct of a part of the guests—the rest were represented as instigated by a much worse motive, an absolute dislike of his offer, and a personal hatred of the quarter whence it came; which not only led to its rejection, but to the abuse and illtreatment, the persecution and murder, of the messengers by whom it was made. That fact, in the history of the overture of the Gospel to the Jews, which answers to this representation, is not only the simple rejection of Christianity, but the hatred of the religion, the personal hostility to its founder, and the systematic ill-usage of his followers, which accompanied that rejection; instigated by which
feelings the Jews were not content merely to persist in infidelity themselves, but resented every attempt at their conversion, as a personal injury; they were not satisfied to reject Christianity in their own persons, but did the utmost in their power to prevent its reception by any others.
The penal consequences of the failure of this second overture to the same order of guests, considered as final and decisive, were twofold ; the alienation of the privilege intended for all, from that time forward, from all, and the addition of a special punishment upon that part of them who had been guilty of a further and a special offence. The former was no more than deserved by the order in common, because all had rejected the invitation in common; the latter was properly due to those, who, besides rejecting the overture, had put the bearers of it to death. In like manner, as a common punishment for the common sin of their infidelity, the whole nation of the Jews, from that time to this, have been involved in one sentence of rejection as the people of God; but the punishment of the sin of blood-guiltiness in kind, fell upon the heads of the generation who crucified our Lord, and not only rejected the offer of Christianity, but persecuted its preachers to the death.
This special punishment consisted in two things, the destruction of the murderers first, and the burning up of their city next; and the calamities of the Jews in general, and the fate of Jerusalem in particular, during the continuance of the days of vengeance, were analogous to this distinction ; the slaughter of the people by the sword both elsewhere, and in Jerusalem itself, having gone on at all periods of the war before, the demolition of the city and the temple being the last event, the catastrophe and conclusion of the whole. The agents in the infliction of his vengeance were the armies of the king; and the instruments in the destruction of the Jews, and of Jerusalem, were the arınies of Rome. Those armies were sent forth, not conducted, by the king; and the armies of Rome, though doubtless the ministers of vengeance on the infidel Jews, were still only unconscious instruments in the hands of the Divine providence, for the consummation of its own purposes m. Referred to the quarter, whence these armies were supposed to be sent, the murderers in question, though subjects of the king, dwelt by themselves, in a city or a country of their own; and so did the Jews, and more especially the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with respect to the quarter whence the ministers of Divine vengeance were ultimately to be dispatched against them, the seat of the imperial government at Rome.
The offer of the king's invitation to the second order of guests was the necessary consequence of its rejection by the first; and the offer of the Gospel to the Gentiles, entailing the present relation of members of the church on earth, and the reversion
m These armies are called in the parable the armies of the king, for the same reason that, in the prophecy of the seventy weeks, the armies of desolation, which mean the same thing, and whose ministry was to be just as instrumental in executing the dispensation there predicted, are called the people of the prince that should come; that is, the armies of Messiah the prince ; Dan, ix, 25, 26,
ary enjoyment of all the privileges attached to that relation in the church in heaven, was a necessary effect, humanly speaking, of its rejection by the Jews. The choice of this second order of guests could be determined by no such regard to personal fitness, as that of the guests of the first; and if the Jews were selected originally to be the people of God, because they were the natural descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and therefore presumptively the natural inheritors of their faith; the Gentiles could be substituted in their stead, in the same relation, from no such motive as that. To whatever degree too, the peculiarity of his relation bound the Jew, or qualified the Jew, beforehand, to embrace the offer of Christianity when made to him—to the same degree the Gentile, in consequence of the want of that relation, would neither be bound by the same obligation, nor predisposed by the same qualification, to act accordingly in the acceptance of the same offer. Yet the hereditary prerogative of the Jew was not sufficient to perpetuate his ancient relation, by preventing his rejection of Christianity; and the natural disqualification of the Gentile was no obstacle to his acquisition of a new spiritual character, by his acceptance of the Gospel.
The invitation transferred to the guests of the second order, was to all intents the same which had been offered to those of the first; and the servants acted as much by the command of their master in transferring it to the former, as in taking it away from the latter ; nor was the offer of the Gospel, as made to the Gentiles, a different thing, either in the present effect, or in the future consequences, of its acceptance, from the same offer as made to the