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122

THE FATHER'S CARE FOR HIS OUTCASTS.

them on account of widely-extended connections with other parts of the globe, by commerce or colonization.The island we inhabit, would, to many another people, have been a magazine of mineral treasures in vain. Neither the people, the place, nor the occasion, was the production of chance; but each is fitted to the other, according to the arrangement of eternal and infinite wisdom. Truly that word hath been verified with regard to the people who were supposed to be lost in the depths of the sea, Ps. cxxxix 9, 10— “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold

me."

God of Israel. An insular position was the best fitted for protection against immediate assault, or the needless interference of neighbouring states; and for the giving them the advantages of the deep that coucheth beneath. It was also of importance that they should be placed so as to receive whatever advantages were to be derived from the old world, whilst they can also afford the most convenient depot for the productions of the new.Their position leads them to an acquaintance with the south; and equally, a sympathy with the inhabitants of the north. The Baltic and Mediterranean were equally accessible, upon which they might try their youthful power of navigating. But now they have launched forth into the wide ocean on all sides; and that not as the sport of the winds, as of old, but with a direct course, and with wonderful precision as to time. In order to possess this power to the fullest extent, it was needful that we should not only possess the chief things of the ancient mountains (such as the oaks of Bashan), but that we also should have at hand the chief things of the lasting hills—the rich, because most useful, mineral treasures, with which our God hath stored this islandthe place prepared for the people, that he intended should act so important a part in the affairs of the world—east, west, north, and south—at the time these minerals should be so remarkably in requisition ; and without which England could not fulfil her mission. The iron was necessary to the formation of railways, and especially for the production of machinery; and abundance of coal, for the putting that machinery in motion; and for availing ourselves, to the fullest extent, of steam power, both for production, as in our manufactures, and for transmission by land or by water. And with these we required to have an intelligent and industrious population, capable of making use of these materials to the fullest extent:—And also having the greatest occasion to use

When the Lord laid the foundations of the earth, he had in view the people who were to dwell upon it.—And when the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. When He was casting them out of the Land, He was no less leading them, to make to himself a glorious name, than when He was leading their fathers out of Egypt. He was bringing the outcast woman into the wilderness, that he might bring her into the place which had been prepared for her, and where her Lord might lead her forth; as setting his right foot upon the sea, and his left upon the earth. And, having given her those wonderful facilities for traversing both, which he hath given, we cannot doubt but at length he will accomplish to her his promise of bringing her seed from the east, and gathering her from the west, with all that vast accumulation of means, whereby, as having received the promised anointing from on high, the chosen people are appointed to herald his second and glorious advent, unto every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.

Some entrance has been made into the strong foundations of the earth; but although their treasures have in a measure been laid open, and it is now

THEY MAY WELL DECLARE THEIR FATHER'S LOVE.

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becoming apparent for what they have been there placed, yet they have not been, nor can they be, searched out. How strong is the assurance of Jehovah! How plain the word! and yet how ignorant, or how unbelieving, man has been with regard to it! Thus saith the Lord, If heaven above can be measured, or the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord." It is not the Jews who are here referred to, but that house which was called the whole house of Israel, all the seed of Israel, or All Israel—the great body of the people, as contrasted with the remnant of Israel, the Jews. It is Jezreel, the seed of God, that the Lord cast out of the land, but that were so cast away in order that they might be sown among the nationsthat the seed might be in many waters —where they were to spring up as willows by the water-courses. They were to remember Him in far countries

to live with their children and turn again, bearing with them the wealth of all nations as an offering to the Lord.

It was the people who had done all that we know Israel to have done, as to forsaking the Lord and abusing his mercies — neglecting his word, and persecuting his prophets, and ascribing that glory to themselves, or their idols, that belonged to the only wise God, their strong Deliverer It was the seed of this people, and not people of altogether another race in their room, that the Lord promised to preserve, forgive, and bless. This is the people who were to appearance cast off, and in whose casting off the inhabitants of Jerusalem appear to have rejoiced. Long before Jeremiah prophesied, they had been carried out of their land, and conveyed away into what themselves seem to have thought hopeless captivity; when accordingly they gave themselves up, to be merged among the Gentiles. But the thoughts of the Lord were not as man's thoughts, nor

his ways as man's ways. The Lord was hastening his word to perform it, and that even as to the mercy promised unto their fathers. And the evidence of their not being cast off will be given, not only in favours out of the land, but in the fulness of a blessed return. As truly as the Lord caused the captivity of Judah to return from Babylon, so truly will He cause the captivity of Israel to return, as at the first. Truly a people so recovered may be well prepared to declare the forgiving grace of God unto others, when themselves have been made such a signal example of divine mercy. They will sympathise with the apostle of the Gentiles, when he said, " This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me, first, Jesus Christ might shew forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe in him unto life everlasting."

Truly may Israel say, as in Psalm ciii. 10, 11, 13, 17, “ He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities: For as the heaven is high above the earth, great is his mercy towards them that fear him." "Like as a father pitieth his children, the Lord pitieth them that fear him." “ The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him; and his righteousness unto children's children."

Israel might be lost as to their earthly parentage; but being begotten again unto a lively hope by the gospel ;—being born again of the incorruptible seed of the Word ;--Christ having become to them the Author of eternal life—they were at length to he found exclaiming, “ Though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not, yet doubtless thou art Our Father, Thy Name from ever. lasting." "In thee the fatherless findeth mercy."

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Jerusalem, whose Name means the Sight of Peace, but which heretofore has been the

scene of such trouble, shall be re-built as it never yet has been. Then shall the Prince of Peace sit upon the Throne of his father David. Then shall Zion be holy unto the Lord, and Salem be worthy of its Name.

“ Behold, the days come, saith the Lord,

That the city shall he built to the Lord,
From the Tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner.
And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it,
Upon the hill Gareb,
And shall compass about to Goath.
And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes,
And all the fields, unto the brook of Kidron,
Unto the corner of the horse-gate toward the east,
Shall be holy unto the Lord;
It shall not be plucked up,
Nor thrown down, any more for ever."

The Lord, as the God of Providence who hath wrought so wondrously in judgment with regard to both his people and their land, has, as we have seen, pledged himself that he will, through grace, work as wondrously in their behalf—in behalf of both Israel and Judah ; and, having recognised them as the children of those very fathers whom He redeemed from Egyptian bondage, and who broke the covenant He then made with the chosen nation—He has promised to receive these, the descendants of those undeserving fathers, into the enjoyment of his counsel of peace. The privileges of the New Covenant, promulgated in the Gospel, are, therefore, more especially theirs. Having also referred to his mighty power as directing, upholding, and controlling, the various movements of creation, whether in heaven or upon the earth, He hath given his word, that the people for whom the covenant was provided, and who to the eye of man seemed to be lost, will be preserved unto the performance of the promises made unto them. And, having alluded to

the immeasurable height of the heavens and the unsearchable foundations of the earth, He has declared his mercy to be equally unexhaustible with regard to Israel; who, indeed, seemed to be cast off, but who will yet be able to inderstand the word that He hath spoken, “ I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away."

Yea, although we have sinned against him, times and ways without number, his fatherly compassions have been great towards us still. Although we had wandered far from him, and had utterly forgotten our resting place, we were never hid from the eye of our

and He hath been overruling even the physical changes on our globe for our advantage; and He hath been instructing us in the laws according to which the operations of nature are conducted, that we might avail ourselves of his knowledge in the production of works, whereby to manifest the power of the life we have in Him. And especially hath he, with as constant a course as that whereby the laws of nature proceed, sent the offers of New Testament grace unto his

God;

THE PRESENT AND FUTURE POINTS OF CENTRALIZATION.

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people who have been led into the place prepared; and, together with his word, hath he also sent or provided the means, whereby his truth may be declared unto others, as well as enjoyed by themselves, so far as is fitting in their present position out of the land, which He gave unto our fathers, and upon which He hath promised yet to build and to plant both the house of Israel and the house of Judah.

The distinguished maritime position, which the Lord's chosen people have been given out of the land, was the best fitted for the time and circumstances. In no other situation that we know, could they have been so well prepared, or could they have acquired such a variety of means, or could they have been so free to use these means, of going forth for the encompassing all nations, for colonizing all the ends of the earth, for sowing the seeds of peaceful industry in every variety of soil, among every people, and under every clime. If there hath been unfaithfulness, it hath been on the part of man, not on the part of the Father of Israel: who, while Ephraim was yet a great way off, hath met and dealt with him as his first-born. And equally faithful as He hath been in the past, will He be in the future unto his promising word. It shall not return unto him void. It will bring back the people after whom it was sent. They will return with it in their hands, their understandings, their hearts, and their mouths. From all the ends of the earth will they return unto that land, which hath been lying desolate without them, to their central inland position; from which branch out the great continents of the old world, together with seas between, whereby maritime communication may still he freely held with the coasts of these continents, north or south; and, as well, with the more newly discovered portions of our globe, in the east and the west. This, with the blessing of the Lord, will be found as eminently fitted for the being a radiating centre, in the tune and circum

stances which are approaching, as has been their present abode in those that are past, for their being sown over the earth—for the depositing their seed in many waters.

God hath been overruling their working: The merchant and manufacturer sought their gain, and the soldier his glory, and the politician aimed after power. Even among those whose service might be expected to be more directly towards the Lord, there have not been a few who have been looking "every man for his gain from his quarter." Many have been seeking to gratify their own whim, or have merely been indulging a restless spirit of adventure : But God hath been overruling it all. His purpose shall stand, and He will do all His pleasure.

This manner of proceeding, however, in which men have been building for themselves, and planting for themselves, is not that which is to be: a great and important change is to be effected in the motives of men, powerfully influencing their conduct, and resulting in the greatest good to man, and much glory to the Supreme Dispenser of blessing. The rule which Christ taught his disciples, but wh hath been so long neglected, is now to be followed, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." They shall seek righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost: and, acknowledging their sins, and the sins of their fathers, for which they were cast out of his inheritance, they shall lay hold upon his strength: He had said they may make peace with Him; yea, He hath said, 56 They shall make peace with Me." The place of His throne hath long borne the name of Peace in vain; yet there will He command the blessing as at the first; and joy in the Holy Ghost shall abound, so that sorrow and sighing shall flee away. And all those things shall be added which are necessary or good, even for the physical enjoyment of the people of God. When Israel, as Israel, are in the case described—not seeking first the corn,

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WILL THE LORD CHOOSE JERUSALEM AGAIN?

and the wine, and the oil, the young of the flock, and of the herd, but that God may be honoured in all the earth, and especially in the place of his appointment, then shall all things be added unto them.

The Lord calls attention to what he here declares; and well may those who have ears to hear, reiterate the call, to "Behold" this avowal of the divine purpose. It is a thought which few of the disciples of Christ seem as yet to entertain, that they should be engaged in any such work as that which the Lord hath here described. Many seem to think that the Lord hath so utterly forsaken the place of the soles of his feet, as that he has little or no regard to what may be done there; as that He will no more make it the place of his throne, and the place where He will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever ;—As that our King, the son of David, according to the flesh, will not sit upon the throne of his father David, according to the promise. They seem to regard as a command the prediction of our Lord, “ The time cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father." That certainly was not a general command with regard to mount Gerizim or Jerusalem. He himself frequented Jerusalem after that saying, even although it cost him his life, and he told his apostles not to depart therefrom, until they were endued with power from on high. Nor were his disciples to desert that city, until they saw it encompassed with armies, and when their numbers could of course only aggravate the horrors of the siege. The words of our Lord as to the cessation of spiritual worship, of the worship of the Father, on his Holy Mountain at Jerusalem, were most certainly not intended to convey a command to those who arc everywhere to lift up holy hands without wrath and doubting. They contained a prediction which has been most literally verified. The Mahommedan worship, which alone is tolerated on the site of the temple at Jerusalem,

most pointedly denies that God is a Father. The Father hath not there been worshipped in any way, neither on Gerizim have men been worshipping Him in spirit and in truth. But is this state of things always to continue? No. The Lord, having found what he hath been so long seeking—a people to worship Him in spirit and in truth,

the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the Holy Land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.

There are others who admit that the word of prophecy will be found literally true that God will at length accomplish his promising word with respect to Jerusalem. But they say that all this will be after the Lord's second advent—that what we regard as the sign of his coming, the preparation of the bride, will not be before the return of the bridegroom—that the place of his feet is not to he prepared that Jerusalem, whom He will choose again, is not to make herself readythat his people will not, and should not, wait for him at the place appointed—that they should rather flee away from Zion than seek to comfort her. But did not the disciples already flee out of Jerusalem? And has not Jerusalem been trodden under foot of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled? And is not the word clear and uniform, that at the end of this long desolation, so soon as the people should come to a knowledge of themselves, and of the occasion of their being cast out among the Gentiles, whilst the vilest of the heathen would be given to dwell in their empty heritages, they should begin to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and to seek her good? Jerusalem is directed to loose herself from the bands of her neck. She is to be instrumental in her own release; Zion is to put on strength; Jerusalem is to put on her beautiful garments, and be

“the Holy City," through the being active in her own purification, and glorious preparation for the coming of her Lord. It is of the Lord's power and holiness, that she is to be made pure and glorious It is

come

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