Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

heads at the daughter of Zion." Yet was she freed from the rod of the oppressor, and rebuilt and beautified. In a certain degree this prediction was fulfilled, as it respects the temporal Zion: it will be more strikingly fulfilled, when the nation of the Jews, so long exiled and dispersed, shall be gathered to the Christian fold, and dwelling again in their own land, shall, agreeably to another prediction of this prophet, "build the old wastes, and raise up the former desolations;"* and when, released from the bondage of sin and unbelief, and constantly employed in God's service, they shall be "named the Priests of the Lord, and shall be called the Ministers of our God."

But more illustriously still will this prediction be fulfilled, in those days when the Lord, having mercy upon the Christian Zion and her faithful members, now in this state of trial and suffering under the opposition and persecution of the ungodly, shall exalt them above the scorn and malice of their enemies, giving them peace and triumph; so that all nations being united to her spiritual fold, he will make her "an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations."

The prediction is continued in the next verse"Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."

The accession of the Gentiles, and the affection and devotion of the converted nations to the church, are here, and in many other passages, expressed by their wealth and power being made tributary to

*Isaiah lxi. 4.

her service-"Thou shalt suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings."Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and queens thy nursing mothers."-" The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense."-" Ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves."-" I will extend peace to her as a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream." These figurative predictions were in part fulfilled, when, at the coming of Christ, salvation was proclaimed to the Gentiles, who, as well as the Jews, were admitted into covenant with God. These shall be more illustriously accomplished when, the Jews being come in with the fulness of the Gentiles, all the kingdoms of the earth shall become the kingdoms of God and of his Christ; and enjoying his protection, his favour, and his salvation, shall know that "he the Lord is their Saviour and Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."

As in the days of Solomon the king of Israel, gold and silver were in such abundance that "the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were all of pure gold, and silver was in Jerusalem as stones;" so in those days of that greater than Solomon, whose kingdom that of Solomon prefigured, the prosperity and glory of the church are denoted by these emblems of worldly wealth and grandeur

66

[ocr errors]

"For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron."

The peace and purity which should prevail in the spiritual reign of the Messiah, and the righ

teousness which should distinguish the officers of his kingdom, are set forth in the next words of the prediction

"I will make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders."

In those days of peace and prosperity which prophetic vision discloses, all internal commotion shall be entirely subdued in the spiritual Zion: the desolation and wasting of foreign war shall cease; violence shall no more be heard in the land; and the protection and defence of Jehovah, more impregnable than walls and bulwarks, shall surround her; and instead of the noise of war and tumults, the voice of praise shall be heard at her gates; so that "she shall call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise."

The exalted blessings which the church should enjoy from the grace and favour of her God, are displayed in most sublime and beautiful imagery

"The sun shall be no more thy light by day: neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended."

The most beautiful imagery is here employed to denote the spiritual prosperity and felicity of the church. What dazzling glory is poured upon the face of nature by the luminary of day, when its rising beams disperse the shades that concealed her beauties! How soft and soothing the

prospect on which the luminary that gladdens the night sheds her mild radiance! But superior in majesty and lustre will be that glory which will shine in the spiritual Zion when the days of her mourning are ended. This glory will be perpetual as it is splendid; for it is the glory of a sun which never goes down, and of a moon which never withdraws itself: "for the Lord will be an everlasting light to this his Zion, and her God her glory."

The prophet proceeds to describe the character and privileges of the members of the Christian church in this her state of prosperity

"Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified."

"

Christians, planted in the church at baptism by the hand," by the grace and power of God, nourished and guarded as the "work of his hands," by the influences of his Holy Spirit, may become righteous, and glorify God by thus letting their light shine before men. And when the church, during her sojourn upon earth, shall attain that state of holiness and blessedness which is the subject of this glowing prediction of the prophet, her members shall be all righteous, and God shall then be fully "glorified" in them.

The rise and rapid progress of this kingdom are predicted in the concluding verse of this passage

"A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time."

This prediction is already in part fulfilled. The cross went forth from Jerusalem borne by a little band of fishermen of Galilee, and the nations en

listed under this despised banner. The heralds of salvation, "little" as it regards numbers, learning, wealth, or power, proclaimed the words of the everlasting Gospel unto all lands, and gathered unto their Master a great flock in all parts of the world. The humble, the despised Jesus of Nazareth, "little" to the eye of carnal reason, as it regards parentage, station, and power, received, as the Head and Ruler of a kingdom that never shall be moved, power, and might, and majesty, and dominion; "a little one has become a thousand, and a strong one a great nation." More gloriously is the prediction yet to receive its accomplishment in those days, the joyful hope and expectation of God's people, when the Lord's house shall be exalted as on the tops of the mountains, and all nations shall flow into it; and when the little "stone" spoken of by the prophet Daniel, shall become "a great mountain, and fill the whole earth." "A little one shall thus become a thousand, and a strong one a great nation:" for Jehovah hath said "I the Lord will hasten it in his time."

Having thus explained to you this sublime and beautiful prediction, let me call your attention to the observations which occur.

1. And, in the first place, we should be impressed with wonder and gratitude at the view of the distinguished blessings which God vouchsafes to his church, and the glory and prosperity which he designs for her.

From all eternity it was resolved, that for the church, for all those who should believe in his name and submit to his statutes and ordinances,

« AnteriorContinua »