« AnteriorContinuar »
THE FIRST NAME,
disappointing them in their plans of opposition to his goodness, in order that He might work for them good in their latter end. The dispensations of his providence, however painful, have all been tending towards the benefit of those who have been rightly exercised thereby; and shall be consummated in glory and blessing, full and everlasting.
As the Wonderful, the God of Providence, He watched over “to pluck up” his people, even the whole house of Israel, that He planted in the good land He had promised to their fathers. It was with a mighty hand that He brought them out of Egypt, and cast out the nations before them, and gave them to inherit a land flowing with milk and honey. But they forgat the hand that fed them, and misused the favours he bestowed upon them: so He plucked them up, and cast them far off among the Gentiles, and dispersed them throughout the countries; and they were to appearance lost to that land, and even to themselves; and so have they remained until the end of the seven times, during which Israel was to be outcast from the land, and Judah in painful subjection to the Gentiles.
As the Counsellor, the God of Redemption, also, He hath been watching over them" to break down." He hath broken down the middle wall of partition that stood between those that were cast afar off among the Gentiles, and these, the Jews, that were left near. The ordinances which were commanded to be observed, according to the covenant which was made with their fathers when they came up out of Egypt, have been removed. There has, for about eighteen centuries, been .no opportunity of fully attending to them, even by those who were the most inclined to trust in them.-Haying rejected Him who is the fulfilling of the law, the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth, the Jews have, in the providence of God, been deprived of all national ground of trusting in their
own righteousness, according to the law. May they soon see for what purpose it is that they have been thus dealt with; and know the kindness of our God, in breaking down that wall which they would have made a wall of separation, not only between themselves and the Gentiles, but between Moses's disciples and the Redeemer of Israel.
As the Mighty God, the God of Creation, also, He hath been watching over them “ to throw down” the images, the work of men's hands, which not only by ancient Israel were set up, but by their modern descendants, called Christians. Along with their idols, how utterly cast down, have become those idolaters, professing Christianity, in the very land of Israel itself! They also have been cut off, or are trampled under foot, by the proud Mahommedan oppressor; who was given a commission, not only to throw down the idols of the heathen, but to pour contempt upon the shame of those who profess to have salvation through the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ ; but whose trust is not in " the Mighty God” who made heaven and earth; but in a god which themselves have madema wheaten god—a wafer-the work of men's hands,-before which they bow, and upon which they call for deliverance: which, in the mass, is said by the Romanists to be offered up for them in sacrifice-a sacrifice for the sins of both the living and the dead! After which, this god is swallowed by them as is a morsel of bread. This deep degradation hath not only been the casting down of nominal Christians in the land, but of many nations out of it. Again and again hath the Mighty God visited this insult to his divine majesty, with the throwing down of our own nation, even as He hath honoured our open protest against all such abominations, by exalting us, since that protest, above all the nations of the earth. May God forbid that our fall should be with Babylon! Certain it is that the idols He will utterly abolish. May our experience
GOD WONDROUS IN HIS JUDGMENTS.
in the past be for safety in the future !
He who promised to be as a Father to Israel, hath yet been watching over them, as if“ to destroy" even his firstborn Ephraim, and make all the memory of him and his companions to perish. They were carried away into a land of forgetfulness. They have been sought for, and could not be found; or if it was thought they were found, as in the North American Indians, or the Nestorians, it was as perishing from off the face of the earth -as being manifestly in a state of destruction. The hope of finding the lost children of Rachel, the fatherless, who were to find mercy in the eve lasting arms, hath ever, as it was approached, fled from the grasp of the anxious inquirer : or, if it could satisfy the individual discoverer, it could satisfy but few beside. The Jews were known, but evidently under severe rebuke; and as perishing, both in Ibe land and among the Gentiles, in much misery, and generally in deep disgrace, with, seemingly, no smile of their Heavenly Father shining upon their weary way. The people bearing the name of Israel have not known the love of Him who said, “I am a Father to Israel;” and the people of whom the everlasting Father saith, “ Ephraim is my first-born” have been called “the Lost!”
The Prince of Peace, the King of Salem, hath also seemed to be, as the God of Providence, watching over only “to afflict,” and that the very capital of his expected kingdom.Truly Zion hath been afflicted and smitten evermore. Of all cities, it nath, perhaps, the least seen that which is expressed in the name Salem, Peace. What affliction from without, and mutual destruction from within, were there at the time of its being besieged by the Romans! And then again how entire was its destruction by the Persians! The Christians, as they were called, had only time after that destruction to prepare it as a prize for the Saracens; and then came the Crusaders, establishing their
kingdom of Jerusalem: since which it has once and again been lost and won by the kings of the south and the north; and now the place appointed to be the throne of the Lord, is still in a position the most critical. The oppressor is the judge—the hand to defend, is that which would spoil her. Her inhabitants are of too heterogeneous a character to give any great promise of internal prosperity or peace; and there is as little of it from without. Plunder, oppression, and strife, have been fast desolating the land, and wearing out the inhabitants.
Thus did the Lord pluck up the whole house of Israel, break down the Jewish economy, and cast down the idols. Thus hath the name of Ephraim perished among the heathen, out among whom they were cast; and thus has the place of the name of the Lord of hosts been of all places the most afflicted evermore. But is it to continue so always? No. The mystery of all this wondrous working is to be disclosed. It is to be seen that the plucking up of Israel was, that, being planted in other lands, their seed being in many waters, they might spread out unto all the ends of the earth, and fill the face of the world with fruit.The breaking down of the Jews, and depriving them of the means of observing that ceremonial law, in which even the disciples of Christ were too disposed to trust, and the dispersing them among their brethren who had been cast afar off, was that He might make of the twain one new man, so making peace. The throwing down of the idols, and therewith of idolatrous Christian confederacies, whether in the east or the west, has been that Israel might exalt their King, the God of heaven and earth; and might, with Him, be exalted—Searching into His works, in place of worshipping their own, they were to acquire power for the production of works of usefulness: “ He hath shewed His people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen."
The making of the name of Ephraim to perish, the depriving them of
THE PROMISED CHANGE OF DISPENSATION.
their crown of pride,their presumptuous glorying, as being the first-born, upon whose head—upon the crown of whose head, the blessing was to fall, was, that they might, in all humility as common Gentiles, and as having no confidence in the flesh, take refuge in Christ, and find their title to blessing only in Him to whom all praise is due. And the afflicting of Zion as in rebellion against her King, or as seeking refuge under other lords, makes more manifest the truth of our Messiah's claim to the throne of his father David; and the folly of refusing to allow that claim, either on the part of Jew or Christian. And the contrast, of that afflicted state of Zion, to her condition as inhabited by a people waiting for the coming forth of the King, and presenting unto Him their willing homage, and prayers for his return, will bring out into still more striking manifestation the sons of the Living God, as witnessing of his grace and his glory, in appointed time and place, the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the Mount Zion.
God hath indeed wrought wondrously in accomplishing the threatened judgments; and this he gives as a pledge that the promises will be fulfilled with equal verity and fulness of accomplishment; so that, however wondrous the things may he which He hath promised to do for his people in their latter end, we need not doubt of their literal fulfilment. In that land which hath been so long lying waste, the promise shall be found good to the people that were supposed to he lost, Joel ü. 26. "And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you; and my people shall never be ashamed." Yea, and better than all, the fulness of the blessing shall be poured upon the whole body of the people, as truly as on the few disciples upon whom the Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost. Many dark days have come since; but all these were foreknown and foretold. The desolations are accomplished : this cannot be denied. As undeniably
must the promise stand sure, “ So will I watch over you to build and to plant, saith the Lord."
Then the sin of Backsliding Israel, in seeking to be like the nations around them, will no longer be visited upon their posterity, as being left undistinguished among the nations: but " All that see them shall acknowledge them that they are the seed the Lord hath blessed!" The sin of treacherous Judah, in denying their King, and through that denial courting the favour of a heathen monarch, will no longer be visited upon their children, by their being dealt with treacherously by all the heathen powers, among whom they have been wandering in judicial blindness. Israel shall be acknowledged of the Lord, and Judah shall acknowledge their King : and this shall be in Zion. "He will in this mountain destroy the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.—He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken." So shall it come to pass that, “ In those days they shall say no more, the fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge." But still there shall be no cause for presumptuous rebellion against the divine government:
- The individual sinner shall be punished, although his posterity shall escape. Sin shall be immediately punished in the person of the guilty, so that it will not contaminate the nation, nor be propagated from sire to son, as before—"But every one shall die for his own iniquity." So will He purge out the sinners from among them. Every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge." As truly as the Providence of our God hath proceeded according to the word in the former dispensation, so will it in that which is to succeed. Israel then will live as immediately under the eye of their God.
THE NAME. .
THE COUNSELLOR," THE GOD OF REDEMPTION.
The God who accomplished Hit purpose in bringing Hit People out of Egypt; who
then made a Covenant with them, which they broke, and wrote for them Hit Law in Tables of atone, now engages Himself to see fulfilled all the terms of His new and everlasting Covenant, with the house of Israel, and the house of Judah; and to write His Lam in their Hearts, and bring them into immediate Fellowship with Himself, through the full Reconciliation which is to be enjoyed, by the Counsel of Peace.
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord,
That I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel,
Having brought both Israel and Judah into the land, and purged out the sinners from among them—every soul that will not hear that prophet being cut off from among the people, the Lord will again enter into national covenant with them. The call to behold—"Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah," seems to indicate that what is here expressed is something surprising, unexpected, or worthy of note; and undoubtedly it is all this. It is surprising that, after
both houses had so dishonoured Him with regard to the former covenant, after they had proved so backsliding and treacherous, He should yet condescend to enter into covenant with them anew. It is also unexpected, for few among the families of Israel have looked for such a national covenant. Many among them have happily sought for and found individual salvation according to the terms of the new covenant; but it has seldom if ever entered their thoughts, that they, together with the believing Jews, were to be recognised by the Lord, as his one nation, upon
THE NEW COVENANT CONTRASTED WITH THE OLD.
the mountains of Israel; of which they are to be given possession, according to the terms of this new covenant. By this also their national councils are to be regulated, equally with their private and personal concerns. And as to the Jews, they have generally looked to the old national covenant, which they have not kept, and do not keep, and according to which they can never regain possession. nouncement of a New Covenant is, indeed, worthy of note, first by the Jew, that he may be made to look for that which is presented in the gospel.—Its newness is to be remarked by also the outcasts of Israel: for it is not new as to individual salvation. In this respect it is older than the former national covenant made with Israel; inasmuch as it is the same which had been hundreds of years before, declared unto Abraham: who was justified by faith, as were all the children of God both before and since. They were, and are, all individually saved according to the terms of the new covenant. As to individual salvation, it therefore, is not new, in contrast to the covenant made with Israel at Mount Sinai; but it is new as a national covenant—as a covenant according to which Israel and Judah are to be received into the land, and be accepted by Him there as his nation, they taking the Lord himself as their King—the King whom all Israel rejected in the days of Samuel, four hundred and ninety years before their being outcast; and whom Judah procured to be crucified forty years before their dispersion. This King Eternal, the Jews will acknowledge as the King Immortal—and they will earnestly cry for the return of our risen Lord And this King immortal, Israel will joyfully submit to as their Ruler, while He is yet invisible: whom having not seen they love—in whom, though now they see Him not, yet believing, they rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Both Israel and Judah, repenting at length of their folly and wickedness, shall submit unto Him as the only wise God; and seek to
be saved by His grace, and directed by His truth.
There is a clear distinction drawn between this covenant and the former national one.
The contrast is drawn by the Lord Himself. This is “ Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake: Should I have continued an husband unto them, saith the Lord?" He had espoused Israel unto Himself, engaging, upon their submitting to Him as their Guardian and Governor, to be their God—to lead them into the land of promise, and protect them in the possession thereof. In token of their subjection to Him, certain services, as those of the ceremonial law, were to be performed by them. These they neglected; and they lightly esteemed the Rock of their salvation; and at length the great body of the people sought to be relieved from what they esteemed to be a yoke too grievous to be borne; and the Lord gave them their request.—He gave Israel a bill of divorce, and sent her away. She
be married to Him again according to that covenant; neither does He propose that she should. "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: after those days, saith the Lord."—After the days of separation, during which both the contracting parties would have died, that so they might lawfully be united in the newness of life. He took to Him a human body, fulfilled for her the law which she had broken; died for his people's sins, and rose again for their justification. She hath passed through a national death during the predicted seven times, or until the third day of a thousand years; and He promised that on the third day He would raise us up, and we should live in his sight, — be brought back to dwell before him in His own land,—in a land which is to be emphatically the land of the living; and upon which will be the eyes of the Lord from the beginning of the year unto the end of