« ZurückWeiter »
unto us." It must be the one labour of our lives to be " sincere, and without offence, until the day of Christh.”] ADDRESS1. Mark well the beginnings of declension
[": Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith,” says the Apostle: “prove your ownselves i." Let the first symptoms of spiritual declension be carefully noted by you, and be made an occasion of augmented diligence in your heavenly course. Many evils will you avoid by such watchfulness. Happy would it have been for David, if he had marked the first risings of desire, which the sight of Bathsheba excited in his soul. And happy will it be for us, if we determine, through grace, to abstain, not from evil only, but from the first motions of it, yea, and even “ the very appearance of it,” whether in heart or lifek.] 2. Avoid the means and occasions of it
[Our Lord teaches us to pray, that we may “not be led into temptation." In truth, if we willingly subject ourselves to temptation, we cannot expect to be kept. We must“ take heed to our ways," and shun the scenes of vice and folly; and avoid the company, and conversation, and books, and sights, that would ensnare us, if we would be preserved "holy and unblameable and unreprovable in the world." If we “come out from among the ungodly, and touch not the unclean thing, then will God be a Father unto us, and we shall be his sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty!."] b Phil. i. 10.
i 2 Cor. xiii. 5. * 1 Thess. v. 22.
1 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18.
DCLXX. THE RESTORATION OF THE JEWS. Ps. cii. 13–15. Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion :
for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come : for thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof. So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.
AMIDST all the personal afflictions with which a Child of God can be encompassed, he will be filled with consolation, if he hear glad tidings concerning Zion. The interests of God and the welfare of mankind are nearer to his heart than any of the concerns of time and sense. Hence Paul, when complaining that he “suffered trouble, as an evil-doer, even unto bonds,” consoled himself with this, that “the word of
God was not bounda:” yea, his very bonds themselves were an occasion of joy to his soul, when he saw that they were overruled for the establishment of Believers, and the augmentation of the Church of God. Thus, in the psalm before us, the writer, whether speaking in his own person, or personating the Church of God, was in a most disconsolate condition"; --- but the thought of God's speedy interposition for his Church and people comforted him. He saw Jerusalem lying in ruins; but he felt assured that the time was near at hand, when it should be rebuilt, and God's glory be manifested in it as in the days of old. To the Gospel Church also he had a further reference in his own mind: for though the restoration of the Jews from Babylon attracted some attention from the neighbouring states, it was far from being attended with those effects which are here foretold as following from their yet future restoration to their own land, and their final union with the Church of Christa.
In considering this event, we shall notice, I. The time fixed for itGod most assuredly has mercy in store for Zion
[The Jews shall not always continue in their present degraded state: they shall be gathered from every quarter of the globe, and be brought back again to their own land. We must almost cease to assign any determinate meaning to words, if we explain in a figurative sense only the numberless declarations of God on this subjecte --- As to their restoration to the Divine favour, it is impossible for any one who believes the Scriptures to doubt of it. Though God is angry with them, he has not cast them off for ever. There is yet among them “ a remnant according to the election of grace,” who shall be again engrafted on their own olive-tree, and enjoy all the riches of the Gospel salvation ---]
For the conferring of “these favours,” there is a time fixed in the Divine counsels
a 2 Tim. ii. 9. Phil. i. 12–18. c ver. 3—11.
a That the writer looks forward to that period, will appear by comparing ver. 25-27. with Heb. i. 10–12.
• Ezek. xxviii, 25, 26. and xxxvii, 1–28. f Rom. xi. 5, 25, 26.
[“ Known unto God are all things from the foundation of the world:” and every thing that is done, is done according to his deterniinate counsel and fore-knowledge 8.” The deliverance of the Jews from Egypt was foretold to Abraham four hundred and thirty years before it took place; and it was accomplished on the self-same day that had been then fixed h. In like manner, their deliverance from Babylon was fixed; nor were they detained one hour there beyond the seventy years that had been assigned for their captivity. Thus is the period fixed for their present dispersion. It is to terminate one thousand two hundred and sixty years after the establishment of the Papal tyranny and of the Mahometan delusion. Other thirty years are added to that time for completing of that glorious work, and forty-five more for the full introduction of the Millennium, when all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christk. Respecting the exact time from whence these several periods must be dated, Commentators are not agreed; nor is it our intention to enter into that part of the question: we only mention these things to shew, that “God has reserved the times and the seasons in his own power," and that the time for the future restoration of the Jews is as determinately fixed in the Divine counsels, as any other event that ever occurred.]
We think too that we may already see, II. The signs of its approach
When our blessed Lord came to establish his kingdom upon earth, there were many signs whereby a candid observer might ascertain that he was really come'. An expectation of him had prevailed both among Jews and Gentilesm; his forerunner, John the Baptist, had come to prepare his way": and his own miracles had evinced, that he was indeed the person whom he professed to be'. Thus the Psalmist intimates that there are signs, whereby the future manifestations of his love and mercy to his people Israel shall be discerned, previous to their full accomplishment : “ The time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come; for thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof." We say
& Acts ii. 23. and iv. 28.
h Exod. xii. 41. i Jer. xxv. 12. and xxix. 10.
k Dan. vii. 25. and xii. 7, 11, 12, with Rev. xi. 3, 15. and xii. 6, 14. and xiii. 5.
Matt. xvi. 3. m Luke ii. 25, 38. ©Matt. xvii. 9—13. o John v. 36.
notice regarded conversiones have pa
then that the approach of that blessed period is now evidently marked by, : 1. The concern that is now felt for the Jewish people
[How many centuries have passed without any efforts made for their conversion to the faith of Christ! They have been regarded by the Christian world as utterly unworthy of notice : or rather, have been treated by them with all manner of indignity, oppression, and cruelty. But now Christians begin to feel how basely they have acted towards them; and are combining their efforts to rend the veil from their hearts: and by all possible means to lead them to the knowledge of that Messiah, whom their fathers crucified P -----]
2. The expectation which the Jews have of their approaching deliverance
[The Jews even of our own country, and still more upon the Continent, have a persuasion that their Messiah is speedily to appear, and to vindicate them from the oppression which they have so long experiencedo. And though they do not at present know what kinds of blessings they are destined to enjoy, (for they look no further than to a temporal deliverance,) yet the circumstance of their “ looking for redemption" as fast approaching, may justly be regarded as a sign of its actual approach.]
3. The work that has already been effected among them
[Many have been converted to the faith of Christ: and though, as in the first ages of Christianity, many have dishonoured, or renounced, their holy profession, yet many have held fast their faith amidst the heaviest trials, and have adorned the Gospel by a holy conversation. We cannot, it is true, boast of thousands converted at once: nor were the efforts of John, and of the Lord Jesus Christ himself, very successful for a season: even after all the labours and miracles of our Lord, his disciples amounted only to five hundred; the greatest part of those who were convinced by him for a season having gone back from him: but the seed sown by him grew up on the day of Pentecost, and brought forth fruit an hundred-fold : in like manner we have only fruit sufficient at present to encourage our continued exertions; but we hope that Pentecostal fruits
p. The attention paid to the study of prophecy in this day is remarkable. . a Persons conversant with India have assured us, that both Mahometans and Hindoos have an expectation also that a great change is about to take place in the religions which they profess.
will yet be found, and that too at no distant period. At all events we have evidence enough to shew, that God is with us in our labours of love, and to assure us, that we shall not labour in vain, or run in vain. The very circumstance of so many heralds being stirred up to prepare their way, is a strong ground of hope that ere long “ the valleys shall be exalted, and the mountains and hills be made low, and the crooked be made straight, and the rough places plain; and that the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together?."]
Nor are we left in uncertainty about, III. The effects of its arrival-To the Jews themselves the effects will be glorious
[Such prosperity, both temporal and spiritual, will they enjoy, as was but faintly typified in the days of Solomon--“ The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun seven-fold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound 8”---]
To the Gentiles also it will be the commencement of inconceivable and universal happiness— .
[This is particularly marked in our text; “So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord :" yes, the restoration and conversion of the Jews will be “ as life from the dead" to the whole Gentile world. Their deliverances from Egypt and from Babylon attracted the attention of the nations which were round about them; but this deliverance will fill with surprise and astonishment all the nations upon earth: for the Jews are scattered through every country under heaven : and in every country there will be a simultaneous motion of the Jews towards their own land, and a turning to that Saviour, whom now they hate. This will carry conviction to the minds of all, that Jesus is the true Messiah, the only, and all-sufficient Saviour of the whole world. Then will all the great ones of the earth, the highest kings, no less than their meanest subjects, behold the glory of God in the face of our adorable Saviour; and all, both Jews and Gentiles, become one fold under one Shepherd " --However incredible this may appear, it shall assuredly be effected in due season ; for the Lord hath promised; and not a jot or tittle of his word shall fail.] ADDRESS —
1. Have compassion upon Zion