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perfection, and all his attributes, like the mountains round about Jerusalem, lend their strength for her support. Not on the sand of carnal policy, nor in the morass of human kingdoms, has the Lord founded his church, but on his own power and godhead, which are pledged for the establishment of his beloved church, which is to him the chief of all his works. What a theme for meditation is the founding of the church of God in the ancient covenant engagements of eternity: the abrupt character of this first verse indicates long consideration on the part of the writer, leading up to his bursting forth in wonder and adoration. Well might such a theme cause his heart to glow. Rome stands on her seven hills, and has never lacked a poet's tongue to sing her glories, but more glorious far art thou, O Ziona, among the eternal mountains of God: while pen can write or mouth can speak, thy praises shall never lie buried in inglorious silence.
2. "The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob." The gates are put for the city itself. The love of God is greatest to his own elect nation, descended from his servant Jacob, yet the central seat of his worship is dearer still; no other supposable comparison could have so fully displayed the favour which Jehovah bore to Jerusalem, he loves Jacob best and Zion better than the best. At this hour the mystical teaching of these words is plain. God delights in the prayers and praises of Christian families and individuals, but he has a special eye to the assemblies of the faithful, and he has a special delight in their devotions in their church capacity. The great festivals, when the crowds surrounded the temple gates, were fair in the Lord's eyes, and even such is the general assembly and church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven. This should lead each separate believer to identify himself with the church of God: where the Lord reveals his love the most, there should each believer most delight to be found. Our own dwellings are very dear to us, but we must not prefer them to the assemblies of the saints; we must say of the church
"Here my best friends, my kindred dwell:
Here God, my Saviour, reigns."
3. "Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God." This is true of Jerusalem. Her history, which is the story of the nation of which she is the capital, is full of glorious incidents, and her use and end as the abode of the true God, and of his worship, was preeminently glorious. Glorious things were taught in her streets, and seen in her temples. Glorious things were foretold of her, and she was the type of the most glorious things of all. This is yet more true of the church: she is founded in grace, but her pinnacles glow with glory. Men may glory in her without being braggarts; she has a lustre about her brow which none can rival. Whatever glorious things the saints may say of the church in their eulogies, they cannot exceed what prophets have foretold, what angels have sung, or what God himself has declared. Happy are the tongues which learn to occupy themselves with so excellent a subject; may they be found around our fire-sides, in our market-places, and in all the spots where men most congregate. Never let thy praises cease, O thou bride of Christ, thou fairest among women, thou in whom the Lord himself hath placed his delight, calling thee by that pearl of names, Hephzibah,-" for my delight is in her." Since the Lord has chosen thee, and deigns to dwell in thee, O thou city of beauty, none can rival thee; thou art the eye of the world, the pearl, the queen of all the cities of the universe; the true "eternal city," the metropolitan, the mother of us all. The years to come shall unveil thy beauties to the astonished eyes of all peoples, and the day of thy splendour shall come to its sevenfold noon.
"Selah." With the prospect before him of a world converted, and the most implacable foes transformed into friends, it was meet that the psalmist should pause. How could he sing the glories of new-born Tyre and Ethiopia, received with open arms into union with Zion, until he had taken breath and prepared both voice and heart for so divine a song?
4. "I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me." This shall be a glorious subject to speak of concerning Zion, that her old foes are new-born and have become her friends, worshipping in the temple of her God. Rahab or Egypt, which oppressed Israel, shall become a sister nation, and Babylon, in which the tribes endured their second great captivity, shall become a fellow-worshipper; then shall there be mention made in familiar talk of the old enmities forgotten and the new friendships formed. Some consider that these are the words of God himself, and should be rendered, "I will mention Rahab and Babylon as knowing me:" but we feel content with our common version, and attribute the words to the psalmist himself, who anticipates the conversion of the two great rival nations and speaks of it with exultation. Behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia." These also are to bow before the Lord. Philistia shall renounce her ancient hate, Tyre shall not be swallowed up by thoughts of her commerce, and distant Ethiopia shall not be too far off to receive the salvation of the Lord. This man was born there." The word man is inserted by the translators to the marring of the sense, which is clear enough when the superfluous word is dropped,- "Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopa; this was born there"-i.e., this nation has been born into Zion, regenerated into the church of God. Of the new births of nations we will make mention, for it is at once a great blessing and a great wonder. It is a glorious thing indeed when whole nations are born unto God.
"Mark ye well Philistia's legions,
Lo, to seek the Lord they come;
Tyre and Cush have found a home."
Many understand the sense of these verses to be that all men are proud of their native country, and so also is the citizen of Zion, so that while one of it said, "he was born in Egypt," and of another, "he came from Ethiopia," it would be equally to the honour of others that they were home-born sons of the city of God. The passage is not so clear that any one should become dogmatical as to its meaning, but we prefer the interpretation given above.
5. "And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her." Not as nations only, but one by one, as individuals, the citizens of the New Jerusalem shall be counted, and their names publicly declared. Man by man will the Lord reckon them, for they are each one precious in his sight; the individual shall not be lost in the mass, but each one shall be of high account. What a patent of nobility is it, for a man to have it certified that he was born in Zion; the twice-born are a royal priesthood, the true aristocracy, the imperial race of men. The original, by using the noblest word for man, intimates that many remarkable men will be born in the church, and indeed every man who is renewed in the image of Christ is an eminent personage, while there are some who, even to the dim eyes of the world, shine forth with a lustre of character which cannot but be admitted to be unusual and admirable. The church has illustrious names of prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, reformers, missionaries, and the like, which bear comparison with the grandest names honoured by the world, nay, in many respects far excel them. Zion has no reason to be ashamed of her sons, nor her sons of her. "Wisdom is justified of her children." "And the highest himself shall establish her"-the only establishment worth having. When the numbers of the faithful are increased by the new birth, the Lord proves himself to be the upbuilder of the church. The Lord alone deserves to wear the title of Defender of the Faith; he is the sole and sufficient Patron and Protector of the true church. There is no fear for the Lord's heritage, his own arm is sufficient to maintain his rights. The Highest is higher than all those who are against us, and the good old cause shall triumph over all.
The Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there." At the great census which the Lord himself shall take, he will
number the nations without exception and make an exact registry of them, whether they were by their natural descent Babylonians or Tyrians, or other far-off heathen. May it be our happy lot to be numbered with the Lord's chosen both in life and death, in the church-roll below, and in the church-roll above. Jehovah's census of his chosen will differ much from ours; he will count many whom we should have disowned, and he will leave out many whom we should have reckoned. His registration is infallible. Let us pray then for that adoption and regeneration which will secure us a place among the heaven-born. It was thought to be a great honour to have one's name written in the golden book of the Republic of Venice; kings and princes paid dearly for the honour, but the book of life confers far rarer dignity upon all whose names are recorded therein.
7. In vision the psalmist sees the citizens of Zion rejoicing at some sacred festival, and marching in triumphant procession with vocal and instrumental music;"As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there." Where God is there must be joy, and where the church is increased by numerous conversions the joy becomes exuberant and finds out ways of displaying itself. Singers and dancers, psalmists and pipers, united their efforts and made a joyful procession to the temple, inspired not by Bacchus, or by the Castalian fount, but by draughts from the sacred source of all good, of which they each one sing, "All my springs are in thee." Did the poet mean that henceforth he would find all his joys in Zion, or that to the Lord he would look for all inspiration, comfort, strength, joy, life and everything? The last is the truest doctrine. Churches have not such all-sufficiency within them that we can afford to look to them for all, but the Lord who founded the church is the eternal source of all our supplies, and looking to him we shall never flag or fail. How truly does all our experience lead us to look to the Lord by faith, and say, "All my fresh springs are in thee." The springs of my faith and all my graces; the springs of my life and all my pleasures; the springs of my activity and all its right doings; the springs of my hope and all its heavenly anticipations, all lie in thee, my Lord. Without thy Spirit I should be as a dry well, a mocking cistern, destitute of power to bless myself or others. O Lord, I am assured that I belong to the regenerate, whose life is in thee, for I feel that I cannot live without thee; therefore with all thy joyful people will I sing thy praises.
"With joy shall sing the choral train,
The minstrels breathe the answering strain:
O Zion, Zion fair, I see
The fountains of my bliss in thee.'"
WE have given an engraving of Victoria Chapel in the Wandsworth Road, hoping it may interest our friends. The London Baptist Association voted £1,000 towards this project, and a few friends at the Tabernacle purchased the freehold ground and presented it to the pastor. The chapel was built by Mr. Higgs at cost price, or less, and the pastor has now put the building in trust with a debt of £1,500 upon it, which the congregation will be sure to pay off. Our beloved friend Mr. Henderson, of our college, has met with a most encouraging measure of success during the first three months, and the nucleus of a very useful church has been gathered. We thank God and take courage. Would to God that in this vast city we could build a hundred such places, for they would soon be filled.
Leaves from Elim. By MARIANNE | The Book of Good Devices, with a
FARNINGHAM. James Clarke and Co.
PRETTY and pleasing. Not inferior, but not superior. Poetical when not poetry, and good though not great. Many will read these poems with pleasure, and find profit in so doing. What they have to do with Elim we cannot tell; the name puts one in mind of a place of much water, and suggests the idea of dilution. However, the well-known authoress always sings melodiously, and with good design, and therefore we wish her works success.
Kings of Israel and Judah; their History Explained to Children. Being a continuation of "Lines Left Out." By the Author of "Peep of Day," etc. Hatchards, Piccadilly. THE author of "Peep of Day" has a wonderful aptness for putting things plainly and prettily for children. We have read this History of the Kings with great profit, although at forty years of age we are a little beyond the mere peep of day. Boys and girls will read this well-told history, and remember it; they cannot help doing so. Every mother should have a copy, and teach her little ones from it. We consider the talent for writing such books to be far more precious than that which has given the world its statues and its pictures; and we trust the writer will long be spared to write so pleasantly and profitably.
Contrasts. Dedicated to the Ratepayers of London. Strahan & Co. AN exceedingly interesting book of very great practical value. It ought to suggest many reforms, and aid in sweeping away abuses. Our author's tribute to the Stockwell Orphanage greatly encourages us, though we fear he has done us even more than justice. He shows what different results arise from the careful management of charities, and from the lavish expenditure of irresponsible trustees and parish vestries, and gives our Orphanage as an example of the right kind. Every practical philanthropist should read this book.
Thousand Precepts for Practice. Edited by GODFREY GOLDING. Cassell, Petter and Galpin.
As thought-breeding a book as we have ever met with, wide in the range of its subjects, and yet judicious in its selection of extracts. The pages are encompassed with pithy, proverbial precepts, and many of the passages quoted are masses of terse, sententious utterance. It is altogether a live book, and a very beautiful one.
The Practical Philosopher; a Daily Monitor for the Business Men of England. By DAVID THOMAS, D.D. The Book Society; Hamilton, Adams, & Co.; and Dickinson & Higham. THIS is a ponderous volume, quite a monster in this age of little books, and may be regarded as a commentary upon the Book of Proverbs, in Dr. Thomas's characteristic style. He has generously devoted a large edition to the building of a new Congregational Chapel and Hall in the neighbourhood of Stockwell. We hardly think that many business men will read day by day the portions into which the work is divided, but for our own part we shall value it as a considerable contribution to the literature of the Proverbs, and after its own order, a work suggestive and instructive. Pulpit Notes with an Introductory Essay on the Preaching of Jesus Christ. By JOSEPH PARKER, D.D. Strahan & Co., 56, Ludgate Hill.
WE like this book better than anything we have seen before by Dr. Parker. It consists, we suppose, of notes of his sermons, and they are clever and sug gestive. The great ability here dis played makes us the more deeply regret that the Doctor should have occasionally uttered such worse than doubtful opinions, and should have given such occasion to enemies to vaunt themselves, and such offence to friends by accepting the Corporation pulpit. No straightforward Nonconformist minister ought ever to enter it, certainly not without a public protest.