Imágenes de páginas

that all they which pass by the way do pluck her ? The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it."

Have we not here the spirit of a child, humbly expostulating with a tender Father, and pleading his miseries in the ears of Divine compassion ? Then follows earnest prayer for renewed mercies.

" Return, we beseech Thee, O God of hosts : look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which Thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that Thou madest strong for Thyself. It is burned with fire, it is cut down : they perish at the rebuke of Thy countenance. Let Thy hand be upon the MAN OF THY RIGHT HAND, upon the Son OF: MAN, whom Thou madest strong for Thyself."

Who is this? Who is the Man of God's right hand ? Who is the Son of man whom He hath made strong for himself ?—strong enough to endure the hand of God, when it is laid upon Him, “to bruise Him,” to “make His soul an offering for sin"—when “the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all ?” Who can this be, but He of whom it is written, “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the MAN THAT IS MY FELLOW, saith the LORD of hosts ?” (Is. liii. 6, 10; Zech, xiii. 7.) Who is this Son of man, but the same who shall come

66 with the clouds of heaven,” and be brought near before “ the Ancient of days ? ” (Dan. vii. 13.) Is not this the same thing as praying, Let Thy hand be upon Him, for He can endure it: and turn away the hand of Thy righteous judgement from us, for we are not able to bear it?

“ So will not we go back from Thee : quicken us, and we will call upon Thy Name. Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause Thy face to shine ; and we shall be saved.”

In pouring out such prayers before God, you must rest all your hope upon the Son of man, the Man of His right hand. And you must say, with Daniel ; “ Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayers of Thy servant, and his supplications, and cause Thy face to shine upon Thy sanctuary that is desolate, FOR THE LORD'S SAKE.” (Dan. ix. 17.)






Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy water-spouts: all thy

waves and thy billows are gone over me.” (Psalm xlii. 7.) “ The Name of the Lord is a strong tower : the righteous runneth

into it, and is safe." (Proverbs xviii. 10.)



Rabbi Nehemiah. Peace be with you, my son! I am sorry to find you in bed, as it gives me reason to fear that you are much worse than when I last saw you.

Jabez. O Rabbi, much worse. My pain and sickness increase daily. My body grows weaker and weaker, and there is no hope of my recovery: and then what is to become of soul?

R. N. Why do you weep so bitterly ?

J. I remember the story of the famous Rabbi Johanan ben Zachai, which you once shewed me in the Talmud. When he was sick, bis disciples came to visit him, and, when he saw them, he began to weep. They said to him, “Rabbi, the light of Israel, why dost thou weep?” And he answered them, “If they were carrying me before à king of flesh and blood, who is here to-day, and to-morrow in the grave; who, if he were angry with me, his anger would not last for ever; if he put me in bondage, his bondage would not be everlasting; and if he condemned me to death, that death would not be eternal; whom I could soothe with words, and bribe with riches ; yet, even in these circumstances, I should weep. But now I am going before the King of kings, the only blessed God, who liveth and endureth for ever and ever; who, if He is angry with me, His anger will last for ever; if He puts me in bondage, His bondage will be everlasting; if He condemns me to death, that death will be eternal; whom I cannot soothe with words, or bribe with riches : when, further, there are before me two ways, the one to Hell, and the other to Paradise, and I know not to which they are carrying me: should I not weep ? "

R. N. A very affecting relation! You remember it very correctly.

J. Yes, for I have thought of it many a time since ; and if such a learned rabbi could not forbear weeping under such circumstances, how much more should such a poor sinner as I shed torrents of tears day and night!

R. N. Truly, my son, if the prospect of death is attended with considerations as solemn and as just as those which occurred to Rabbi Johanan, I cannot wonder at your tears. How many

of our nation have I known, who were very careless, and thought themselves very happy, in the time of health and prosperity ; but who began to mourn and trenible when death stared them in the face! Yet we must all die.

J. I know it, Rabbi; and therefore I am so deeply affected. If death could be avoided, that would be some comfort : but I know that, even if I should now recover, it would only be for a little while. After a few brief years,

I must still die. R. N. And why should you desire it to be otherwise ? Is there any thing so desirable in this world, that you should wish to stay in it for ever?

J. That is not my wish. I have had so much of sorrow and affliction, that I am weary of this world : but, alas ! I have no hope of a better. I am in so much pain and anguish, that life is a burden : but death appears yet more terrible.

R. N. Why so, my son ? “The righteous hath hope in his death." (Prov. xiv. 32.) There is no way into the joy of heaven ,but through the gates of death. Nor can yon, in any other way than by death, come into the light of His countenance, “ in whose presence is fulness of joy, at whose right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Ps. xvi. 11.)

J. But I have no such hope. I tremble at the very thought of beholding God's countenance. Even here, like Adam, I seek to hide myself from Him, and enquire Whither shall I fly from His presence ? for I am a sinner; and I can only expect that, after this life, He will destroy both my body and soul in hell. It is written, “ The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” (Psalm ix. 17.) Now I have forgotten Him days and hours without number, and therefore I am wicked : and it is written, “God is angry with the wicked every day.” (Psalm vii. 11.) And I think of those words of Rabbi Johanan: “ If he is angry with me, His anger

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