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shall know that I the Lord have poured out my fury upon you,'' (chapter xxii. 19—22). And again, "I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes;" and it is added, "and they shall know that lam tlie Lord, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them," (chapter xxv. 7). Does not this point out the merciful end and design of his chastisercents? That the awful judgements of God, are in tender mercy, and will issue in good,. to the subjects of jt, is evident: for, when it is said by this Prophet (chapter xiv. 10.), "They shall bear the punishment for their iniquity;" Wherefore is this punishment ?—for what purpose inflicted ?—It is, "that the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be polluted any more with their transgressions, but that they may be my people, and I may be tlieir God." And again; I will cause you to pass under the rod, and / will bring you unto tlie bond of the covenant," (chapter xx. 37). But his fatherly chastisements are not confined to the house of Israel; for it is afterwards said, "And I will execute judgements upon Moab; and they shall know tliat I am the Lord," (chapter xxv. 11). Again—"I will set my glory among the /ieathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgements that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them—And all the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity—According to their uncleanness, and according to their transgressions, have I done unto them." But, in the following verse, we read, "Thus saith the Lord God: Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;" notice the following expression, "after they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses, whereby they have trespassed against me—tfien shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity," &c. "neither will I hide my face any more from them," (chapter xxxix. 21—29). From all which declarations, we may believe that to be a truth for which I am contending, in vindication of the Almighty, namely, that "he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men," but "for their profit, that they may be partakers of his holiness;"—and that this will apply to his every act of punishment, and to all mankind, without exception;—to "the heathen" as well as to his "chosen Israel."
From the frequent mention of the Gentiles, and all people, and nations, it must surely now be admitted, that the promise of these blessings are not confined to the Jews, or any other his peculiar people: especially as people and nations are not only mentioned, generally; but the Moabites, and Ammonites, and Edomites, and others, particularly. But, least any one should say (for what will not men say in order to support an opinion once formed) that all these judgements, and subsequent restorations, have reference only to this life, —that they are temporal calamities, and restorations to temporal bliss, any such objection must be for ever silenced by the following reference, made by this Prophet to the Sodomites, who were said to be wicked above all others. These were a people long ago extinct. Their temporal history is the most awful of any upon record, to which a reference is often made in the scriptures. But this is not all; for we are informed by Jude, that they “are set forth, for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Here: we would naturally say, and our common systems do say, that all hope concerning them is at an end. But not so with God, “whose thoughts are not as our thoughts, nor his way as our ways." For, by the mouth of this Prophet (Ezekiel) he classes those very Sodomites with his people the Jews; and, in language so plain, as to admit of no misconstruction, declares, that the Jews themselves, and Sodom, whom he styles “their younger sister,” and Samaria, whom he styles “their elder sister,” shall all be restored together. “They, the Sodomites, were haughty, and committed abominations before me; therefore, I took them away, as I saw good. But thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they, and hast justified thy sisters in all thy abominations which thou hast done. Thou also, which hast judged thy sisters, bear thine own shame, for thy sins which thou hast committed, more abominable than they; they are more righteous than thou; yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters.” But how glorious the end of all these punishments and sufferings! For, in the very next verse (63) it is said, “When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters; then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them” (verse 16–53). So we see that even the Sodomites (and if ever there were a people known and declared to be in hell, it was them), are to be restored to blessedness. Now, if all these people and nations are extinct, and abandoned to the curses and damnation denounced against
them, what kind of a restoration, or return from captivity, ran be here intended? If they are (as all agree) with the damned in hell, their restoration can be no other than a restoration from hell and damnation. I would like to hear what you would say in opposition to this, and speak the language of common sense; but I well know that this is impossible. Therefore, they either have already been, or shall be restored from hell; or the Lord is declaring a falsehood by the mouth of his prophets. But, farther;—of Sodom, it is said unto Israel (chapter xvi. 49), "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness," &c. And respecting the Jews, it is said, "Thy sister Sodom was not mentioned by thy mouth, in the day of thy pride, before thy wickedness was discovered." And it follows, "Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting' covenant. Then thou shall remember thy ways, and be ashamed when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger; and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant. And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt .know that I am the Lord: that thou mayest be confounded,'and never able to open thy mouth any more" to boast thyself in thy pride, and to censure others, "because of thy shame, when I am pacified towards thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God." Now, upon such expressions, I shall make no comment, but merely ask—Have words any meaning? If the answer is in the affirmitive, my point is gained. And here, by the bye, I would just remark, that our
christian friend G—— S , whom I employed to copy
this letter for you, returned it to me with the following note: "Notwithstanding all you hare said, I am inclined to think, that many of the passages you quote,. refer to this life, and must yet remain to be fulfilled; but, with regard to 'Sodom,' I am nonplused, and cannot understand the prophecy respecting them, unless I assent to your doctrine."—This is somewhat candid.
But the most interesting part of this prophecy, and that which is most decidedly to my purpose, is yet to come. At chapter xl. commences Ezekiel's vision of the New Temple, and of the Holy City, the description of which occupies nine chapters, and with which he closes his prophecy. People are often fond of spiritualizing passages in which it is difficult to perceive any spiritual meaning; but it would be difficult to temporalize those chapters, so as to apply to the Jews in Canaan, after their return from the Babylonish captivity, or in any way to “refer to this life.” When he says, “a new heart will I give you, (chapter xxxvi. 26.) and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh: and I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgements and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers, and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God;"—and again; “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore,” (chapter xxxvii. 26).-It is evident from their history, that this could not apply to them in their temporal inheritance of Jerusalem, after their return from captivity. Such expressions must, therefore, have some meaning, and that can be no other than a restitution from a worse than Babylonish captivity—namely, the captivity of satan. But, again, it is said, (verse 24.) “David, my servant, shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd.” “I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be,” (chapter xxxiv. 14). “I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever,” and “this is the law of the house; upon the top of the mountain, the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy,” (chapter xliii. 12). Now, all this is after they are said to be “consumed with flaming fire.”—And, “the flaming flame which shall not be quenched; and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein. And allflesh shall see that I the Lord have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.” (chapter xx. 47). ‘As all these blessings, I say, are declared to succeed their miseries which are denounced in such awful terms; one would think it impossible to read those passages and not perceive that the Prophet is speaking of “better things to come,” namely, of a “better and more enduring substance,” or “inheritance.” But how shall I enter upon the latter part of this prophecy, which describes the Holy City and the Temple? I cannot do it without transcribing more than my limits will allow, and must, therefore, refer you to the last nine chapters themselves. Here you will read that “the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east; and his voice was like the noise of many waters; and the earth shined with his glory,” (chapter xliii. 2). P
—Here you will read of Waters which "issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea; which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed,''
(chapter xlvii. 8) Here you will read that "by the river, upon
the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months —the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine," (verse 12).—Here you will read a description of the Holy City and Temple, which was to be their portion and inheritance, after their restoration from all the damnation and misery to which they were accursed, and that "the name of the city from that day shall be The Lord Is There." Now, who can read all this, as I said before, and not see that another than a Babylonish captivity; and that a restoration to another than an earthly Jerusalem and temple are here alluded to? That many of these expressions may have a twofold meaning, and primarily "refer to this life," I firmly believe. But it is very evident, that their full accomplishment must refer to another state of things, and to "a better country, that is an heavenly," (Heb. xi. 16).—Again:—
The Lord, by the mouth of the Prophet HOSEA, very plainly intimates, also, that though he will punish sin, he will ultimately redeem the sinner. When he says, "I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel," (chapter i. 6.) we should evidently supply "until my judgements have effected my purpose," for it is added, in the very next verse, "I will have mercy on the house of Israel, and will save them by the Lord their God." And, it is said, (verse 9.) "Ye are not my people, and I will not be your God," but it follows, next verse, "And it Bhall come to pass, that in the place where it was said to them, ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, ye are the sons of the living God."
Again, "I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgement, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies," (chapter ii. 19). "And I will say to them which were not my people.—Thou art my people; and they shall say,—Thou art my God." And when it is said, "I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings;" —" Ephraim is joined to his idols, let him alone;"—" The pride of Israel doth testify to his face; therefore shall Israel and Ephraim