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is clear and undeniable, “ the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” It is equally obvious, and equally admitted, that this language applies to them, during the following four centuries of their history. The flattering privileges, conferred upon them by Alexander of Macedon, could not seduce them into any amalgamating compliance with the habits of the heathen. The blood-thirsty persecutions of Antiochus of Syria, could not extirpate the heaven-protected race; although repeated by the tyrant avowedly for that purpose. After a brilliant, but short-lived, struggle for their independence, under the Maccabees, they sunk into comparative insignificance in the political world, and were soon added to the conquests of the then victorious Romans. But though
But though tributary, they continued separate; maintaining their distinguishing peculiarities, without the smallest relaxation, till the time when Jesus of Nazareth was born among them.
Here we reach a period of their history, at which an important difference of opinion concerning them, has existed, and does exist, in the Christian church. It is alleged by some, that the peculiarities of the Jews as a separate people, terminated with the promulgation of the gospel ; since which, they have been in no sense the peculiar people of God, but are totally cast off, in a national point of view ; to be called, indeed, as individuals in common with the heathen, to the true knowledge of Jesus Christ; but no longer recognized as a separate nation, to be distinguished from the Christian church. This is a common opinion. It has been handed down among us Gentiles, from generation to generation ; and although some of the most learned expositors of prophecy, in every age of Christianity, have opposed it on scriptural grounds, and demonstrated its falsehood ; yet, still it maintains its hold, firmly rooted in Gentile prejudice ; from a misapplication, it would seem, of the language of the apostles, respecting the unity of the church in Christ. It is adopted without examination, referred to as a matter of course, and asserted without proof. Now, in opposition to this, we think that the scriptures assert a perpetuity of separation; we maintain that the language of our text, put by the Divine Spirit into the mouth of Balaam, describes the state of the Jewish people, as a nation, kept separate by the hand of God, not merely till the time of Christ, but absolutely, without limitation or interruption, till the end of the world. This is of vital importance, in its connexion with other themes of prophecy, afterwards to be considered ; I now, therefore, proceed to give such reasons, and advance such arguments as appear to me satisfactorily to establish it; and I shall endeavour to simplify the proof, as much as possible.
In order to avoid ambiguity of expression, in following up this subject, it is necessary carefully to remark, First, The distinction between Israel and Judah ; and, Secondly, The distinction between Judah, considered nationally, and certain individuals, selected out of that nation, in each succeeding age.
I. The distinction between Israel and Judah is a plain matter of history. In the latter part of the reign of Solomon, who was king over all the twelve tribes; the prophet Ahijah met in a field alone, Jeroboam, one of Solomon's generals : and he had clad himself with a new garment; and Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces : and he said to Jeroboam, “ Take thee ten pieces, for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee. Howbeit, I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life, for David my servant's sake, whom I chose ; because he kept my commandments and my statutes : but I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. And unto his son will I give one tribe, (in addition to his own tribe of Judah,) that David my servant may have a light always before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.” Accordingly, we read, that immediately after Solomon's' death, when Rehoboam, his son, ascended the throne, ten of the twelve tribes revolted from him, at the instigation of Jeroboam ; that Rehoboam sent a messenger to remonstrate with them; that they seized his messenger, and stoned him to death; that Rehoboam then “ assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, a hundred and four-score thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, the man of God, saying, Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, (whatever individuals of the ten tribes had adhered to the cause of the royal family of David,) saying, Thus saith the Lord, ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren, the children of Israel : return every man to his house ; for this thing is from me.a” Thus was the distinction established, between Israel and Judah ; and we read of them for three centuries afterwards, as distinct kingdoms, under distinct lines of kings.
This distinction is fully recognized by the prophets. Thus saith the Lord, by his servant Hosea,
Though thou Israel play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend.” And after Judah had offended,
* 1 Kings xi. and xii.
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the Lord said to Jeremiah, “ Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? . 1. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it; and I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery, I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.” The same subject is dilated by the prophet Ezekiel, xxiii.; where the names Aholah, and Aholibah, are given to the two kingdoms. their names; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem, Aholibah.” And Isaiah is very clear, and says, “ The Lord shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel ; and gather together the dispersed of Judah, from the four corners of the earth.”
The predicted dealings of God, with these two kingdoms, are widely different. Concerning Israel, it was declared that they should be outcasts; totally cut off from all visible interposition in their behalf; not only put away from their divine husband, but divorced also; not only scattered among the nations, but also losing one important feature of their distinguishing identity, in that they would serve the strange gods of the nations, wood and stone: yet still, with a final clause, that in the end, God, who seeth not as man seeth, will bring them back again. Concerning Judah, on the contrary, it was declared, that they should be dispersed only, not outcast; put away only, not divorced ; scattered indeed among the nations, but never losing the distin