Christianity on dating
The whole history of the Jews as detailed in the Old Testament is seen, when read in the light of other events, to be a clear though gradual preparation for the preaching of Christianity.In that nation alone, the great truths of the existence and unity of God, His providential ruling of His creatures and their responsibility towards Him, were preserved unimpaired amidst general corruption.The ancient world was given to Pantheism and creature-worship ; Israel only, not because of its "monotheistic instinct " (Renan), but because of the periodic interposition of God through His prophets, resisted in the main the general tendency to idolatry.Besides maintaining those pure conceptions of Deity, the prophets from time to time, and with ever increasing distinctness until we come to the direct and personal testimony of the Baptist, foreshadowed a fuller and more universal revelation — a time when, and a Man through Whom, God should bless all the nations of the earth.Its prophets are reckless, faithless persons; its priests have profaned what is sacred, they have done violence to the law. Every morning he renders his judgment, each dawn without fail; but the unjust knows no shame.I have cut off nations; their battlements are in ruins; I have laid waste their streets so that no one walks in them; their cities have been made desolate, without people, without inhabitants.For I will leave in the midst of you a people humble and lowly.They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD— the remnant of Israel; they shall do no wrong and utter no lies, nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths.
At that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord.The fact that, eventually, the Jews misinterpreted their oracles, and identified the Messianic Kingdom with a mere temporal sovereignty of Israel, cannot invalidate the testimony of the Scriptures, as interpreted both by Christ's own life and the teaching of His Apostles, to the gradual evolution of that conception of which Christianity is the full and perfect expression.Mistaken national pride, accentuated by their galling subject to Rome led them to read a material significance into the predictions of the triumph of the Messias, and hence to love their privilege of being God's chosen people. Paul's metaphor ( Romans ) was then grafted upon the stock of the patriarchs in place of those rejected branches, and entered upon their spiritual inheritance.But a much more marked predisposition to Christianity may be noticed in certain prominent features of the Roman religion after the downfall of the republic. In their stead Greek philosophy occupied the minds of the cultured, whilst the populace were attracted by a variety of strange cults imported from Egypt and the East.Whatever their corruption, these new religions, concentrating worship on a single prominent deity, were monotheistic in effect.
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And thus it has been remarked that Israel alone amongst the nations of antiquity looked forward to glories to come.