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Thoughts on Deuteronomy 30:6

(Continued from page 402.)

No. IV.

If these proofs are not sufficient, we have still, if this is possible, proofs infinitely stronger. Let the people of the restoration themselves testify what is their spiritual life. Observe the lan<<440>>guage of the afflicted and penitent Jews who speak in the 63rd and 64th chapters of Isaiah. Mark if the speakers are not the restored Israel, or rather, if they are not enjoying the first joyful rays of the commencing restoration. Mark their abhorrence of their own righteousness,—the impossibility of expressing our views in stronger terms than those which they use. “O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear?” “The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.” “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” “Thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us because of our iniquities.” Let God himself speak, and let man be silent. Is. 43:22-25, “But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense. Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices; but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities. I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Zech. 12:10, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son.” The following remarkable verse of the 16th chapter of Ezekiel, gives us the great end of God in the afflictions of his people;—“That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified towards thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord.” Well  did the greatest of all the disciples of Rabbi Gamaliel, with bitter tears, represent his own beloved people as ignorantly and madly rejecting God’s righteousness, and “going about to establish their own righteousness.”

We now revert, according to our promise in the last letter., to Is. 54:4: הן אתה קצפת ונחטא בהם עולם ונושע. In that letter we <<441>>submitted the view that this eternity is the eternity of sinning and suffering, of which Moses speaks in the curses, and that the suppliants here attribute to the grace of God their salvation from this hopeless curse. We find a different view of the verse in the commentary of Kimchi. His words are, בהם עולם ונושע בהם היינו סמוכים כל ימי עולם. כלומר בכל דור ודור שהיו בהם צדיקים והיינו נושעים בהם שהיו מתפללין לפניך בעדנו אבל עתה בגלות אפסו החסידים והצדיקים וכלנו אנחנו כטמא איך דבר אלא שתעשה אתה למען שמך׃ “On them we were leaning all the days of old; that is, in every generation there were among them righteous ones, and we were saved through them, because they made supplication before Thee for us; but now, in the captivity, the pious and the righteous have ceased, and we all are as an unclean thing: there is no reason but that thou shouldst work for the sake of thine own name.” What a tribute to our views! It is a grand thought that the support of Israel, in the days of their glory, rested on such men as Jacob, and Moses, and David, and Daniel, men who knew no righteousness of their own, whose faith rested entirely on pure mercy; and that God still preserves his ancient people to display more signally his pure mercy, and to humble all flesh.

Yours, very truly,

(To be continued.)