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dowed with an apostolic spirit, and with the various qualifications requisite to enable them to meet the diverse circumstances, as well as national and inherent prepossessions, of those whom they seek to enlighten and save. It will also readily occur to most, as a discouragement of no ordinary kind, that the instances of deception from among professed Jewish inquirers have been so numerous, as to invest the whole subject, in the estimation of many, with an air of ambiguity, if not of hopelessness. Indeed, to the eye of mere reason, no undertaking can appear more unpromising, than that in which the Church of Scotland now proposes to engage. For, judging only by human probability, who will expect that a people who have so long withstood, should at last yield, to the evidences of the Gospel--that the bitterest enemies of the cross should become its devoted adherents—and that a nation sunk in crime—the scorn and offscouring of the world—should undergo such a transformation, as to become the benefactors of the human race, and the ornaments of that religion which they have hitherto rejected?
But let obstacles be what they may, the Christian believer, having the sure word of prophecy to rest upon, will not be discouraged; but, on the contrary, will view them as designed to call forth a more vigorous exercise of faith, and greater earnestness of prayer. This leads me to notice the recommendation contained in the Act; to which I respectfully entreat your special attention:-“That: ministers, in their preaching and public prayers, more frequently avail themselves of opportunities of noticing the claims of the Jews.". In expounding Scriptures, many opportunities occur of noticing what is due, in gratitude to the Jews, as the former depositaries of divine truth, and as the instruments of conveying it to us-of observing the fulfilment of prophecy in their present fallen and unhappy condition_rendering them at once objects of profound interest and tender compassion—and of pointing to those better times yet in reserve for them, when they shall return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and shall fear the Lord and his goodness
in the latter days.” By this means the attention of the members of the Church of Scotland will be drawn to the subject. They will see, that to endeavour to bring the Jews to the knowledge of Christ, is no fanciful speculation, but an attempt founded on the word of God. Their interest will thus be excited and their affections engaged in the work: and I need not add that it is only by combined and well-sustained exertion, on the part of the entire Church, that we can reasonably expect that an enterprise of such magnitude and importance, will, to any considerable extent, be successful.
On the necessity of prayer it is superfluous for me to enlarge. It is the breath of faith; and therefore if faith discovers from the word what should be our duty and expectations in regard to God's ancient people, it cannot fail to give utterance to the feelings and desires thus awakened, in prayer. Besides, are we not commanded to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem ?" Have we not the inspired example of the Apostle for our imitation in this matter—"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved?" Nay, higher still, may we not regard the prayer of our Lord himself upon the cross, “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," as in part designed to instruct us to intercede for that guilty people; and as furnishing a strong motive to the duty, in the pledge and assurance, which, as coming from the Great Intercessor himself, it supplies, that that great national crime to which it refers will one day be removed, when," looking on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn?”
Allow me only to add, that the Committee, to whom the Assembly has entrusted the management of this important business, claim a special interest in the prayers of the Church. They have need to be guided by Divine wisdom, and to enjoy the Divine blessing, so that all their inquiries and measures may accomplish the end of their appointment, and terminate in the advancement of the glory of God by the salvation of Israel.
III. You will observe that the Committee are au
thorized “ to receive and prudently expend any contributions which may voluntarily be made by indivi. duals, associations, and parishes," towards the object in view. Nearly two hundred pounds have already been received by the Committee; and there is little doubt that opportunities will occur in the course of the year, for laying out a considerable sum in the way contemplated by the Assembly. May I therefore request that, among the other objects of Christian benevolence which are aided in your neighbourhood, the claims of our Committee may not be overlooked.
Lastly: You will observe, that a leading design in the appointment of the Committee, is the collection of information respecting the state of the Jews, and the means to be employed for their conversion. I need scarcely say, that if at any time you can furnish facts of importance, or suggest hints that may be useful in these respects, their communication to the Committee will be gratefully received. I remain, Rev. Sir, With great respect, yours faithfully,
STEVENSON MACGILL Con. Since then two baptisms of converted Jews have taken place, one in Edinburgh, the other in Glasgow, and various important steps have been adopted by the Committee, the chief of which is the appointment of a deputation, consisting of four Ministers and an Elder, to visit the Holy Land and the Continent of Europe, in order to make inquiries respecting the Jews, preparatory to the establishment of a permanent mission to that people. The Deputation left this country under the most favourable auspices in the beginning of April, and so far as their progress is known, the smile of the God of Abraham seems to continue to rest upon them. But it is unnecessary to enter upon these topics; they will doubtless be fully brought out in the Report of the Committee to the General Assembly, now convened, and will afterwards be given to the Church and to the public.
With regard to the lectures now published, under the sanction of the Western Sub-Committee, it is unnecessary to say more than that the great object was not so much to instruct and convince Jews, as to arouse and interest Christians in their behalf. Hence the absence of controversial discussion and the fulness with which those points are dwelt upon which are fitted to draw the attention of the Christian Church, and awaken her to her duties towards Israel. It affords the Publisher much satisfaction to have it in his power to state that the object more immediately contemplated has been realized, far beyond the most sanguine expectations of the friends of the Jewish cause. The Lectures, from the beginning to the close, excited the most general and profound interest among all classes of the Christian community, so much so, that it was found necessary to have them redelivered in a different part of the city. Since then the call for their publication has been extensive and decided. And though they have been detained longer in the press, from various causes, than could have been wished, yet he cannot doubt, when it is remembered that this is the first course of Lectures which has been delivered in this country in connexion with the salvation of Israel that much of the information contained in the Lectures, and many of the books referred to, are inaccessible to the general reader—that the conversion of the Jews is a hinge upon which many of the most important prophecies of the word of God to the Christian Church turns, and that the interest in behalf of Israel is growing, not only in Scotland, but throughout the British empire and Christendom at large, as if some great event in their history were drawing nigh: when these things are remembered, the Publisher cannot doubt that the Lectures will be generally hailed by the Christian Church as an interesting contribution to its literature and instruction. It is his earnest prayer that the best blessing of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, may rest upon the volume, and that it may in the hands of the Spirit prove eminently useful in arousing the Church to attempt great things for the conversion of God's ancient people.
LECTURES ON THE JEWS.
BY STEVENSON MACGILL, D.D.,
To the Jew first, and also to the Greek.-Romans i. 16.
The apostle Paul was distinguished for his zeal and his labours in converting the gentiles to the faith of Christ. In this epistle, he addresses the citizens of Rome, who had been called to be Saints. And he declares his wish and intention to come unto them, even as he had come to other gentiles.
66 For I am not ashamed,” he writes, “of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation; to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
It is the great means which God hath appointed for bringing salvation to every one who believeth, whatever be his nation. To the Jew, he adds, first, and also to the Greek. To the Jew first. The expression is singular, and demands our attention. “There is a noble frankness," Dr. Doddridge observes, in his note on this passage, as well as a very comprehensive sense, in these few words of the apostle; by which, on the one hand, he strongly insinuates to the Jews their absolute need of the Gospel; on the other, while he declares to them, that it was also to be preached to the gentiles, he tells the politest and greatest of these nations, to whom he might come as an ambassador of Christ, both that their salvation de