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captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray towards their land which thou gavest unto their fathers, and the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name; then hear thou from the heavens, from thy dwelling-place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee."
In connexion with this, as the general principle of the divine dealings, and in further support of the position now before us.
III. I appeal, in the third place, to the histories of the past deliverances of the Jews, whether the first great deliverance of the whole nation, in all its tribes, from Egypt, or the subsequent and smaller deliverances of parts of the nation, out of their respective distresses. In the case of Egypt, we read in the book of Exodus, ii. 23, a It came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died; and the children of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came vp unto God by reason of the bondage; and God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and God looked upon the children of Israel, and had respect unto them." And in chap. iii. 7, 8, 9, "The Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry hy reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows, and I am come down to deliver
them Now, therefore, behold the cry of
the children of Israel is come unto me.'."
vi. 5, "I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; andl have remembered my covenant." To guide us in our interpretation of this transaction, we have it thus recited by Moses in the book of Numbers, xx. 14? 15, 16, when he sent to the king of Edom to solicit his permission to pass through his territory: "Thus saith thy brother Israel: thou knowest all the travel that hath befallen us; how our fathers went down into Egypt, and we have dwelt in Egypt a long time; and the Egyptians vexed us and our fathers: and when we cried unto the Lord, he heard our voice, a?id sent an angel, and hath brought us forth out of Egypt"' . The national cry precedes the national deliverance: yea, it is so stated, as if the groaning of the captives had reminded God of his covenant with their fathers, which for a season was forgotten.
After the death of Joshua, and of all the elders who overlived Joshua, and who had seen all the works of the Lord which he had done for Israel; the nation rebelled, and incurred the righteous anger of their heavenly King,, for the Lord was their king. For this they were delivered into the hands of their enemies, to be in subjection to one conqueror after another; Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia, and Eglon king of Moab, and Jabin king of Canaan, and the king of Midian, and the king of the Philistines, who oppressed the Israelites for various periods, from seven years to forty years at a time.* Under each of these calamities it is recorded of the nation, that they cried unto the Lord for deliverance; and it was in answer to their cries that he raised up Othniel, and Ehud, and Deborah, and Gideon, and Jephthah, and Samson. To appreciate this reference to their history, the whole Book of Judges should
* If our present object were to draw practical instruction from this history, much that is deeply important might he observed upon the manner in which Israel's transgressions commenced, They had received commandment from God utterly to drive out the nations of the land before them; but they disobeyed: Judges i 21, 27, 29, 30, 31, 33. Thus the beginning of their iniquity was a culpable omission of a troublesome duty. Such omissions serve but to increase diffidulties; for such duties are never so easily performed after they have been for some time evaded. Procrastination paralyzes the energies of cheerful obedience, and, in the mean time, the neglected duty becomes a snare. The people of the land, thus spared in Israel's neglect, became the fruitful sources of Israel's idolatry. Judges ii. U, 12.
be carefully perused. See particularly chap. x. 10—16. The best comment I can offer upon all this, as applying to the subject before us, is the 107th Psalm, the burden of which is, Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses: the national cry still preceding the national deliverance.
The national calamity next in order, took place after the rebellion of the ten tribes against the royal family of David, and their establishment as a separate kingdom. They were given up for their idolatry into the hands of the Assyrians, carried away from their land, and scattered among the heathen, where they continue unto this day. Their cry for deliverance has not yet been uttered.
In the history of the kingdom of Judah, we have another instance in corroboration of our argument. The example of the ten tribes was throwrn away upon her. "I saw, saith the Lord, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also." Jer. iii. 8. For this the two tribes were given up into the hands of the Chaldeans, to be captives in Babylon by the space of seventy years. Here, again, the national cry of penitence preceded the national deliverance from captivity. This was predicted by Jeremiah, (xxix. 10—14.) "Thus saith the Lord, After seventy years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord; thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me; and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord, and I will
turn away your captivity "In the histories
of Daniel and Nehemiah, we have most signal instances of the fulfilment of this prophecy, as the appointed time drew near. Daniel ix. Neh. i.
If these histories had been left wholly without application to the present dispersion and future restoration of the Jews, yet still they would afford us strong analogical confirmation of the view we have taken of the language of the prophecy: but this confirmation is rendered direct and explicit, when we find the deliverance from Egypt set forth by the Holy Ghost as the grand exemplar of the final redemption of the whole nation. (Isaiah xi. 11—16; Micah vii. 15.) And when by the prophetic prayer of the 83rd Psalm, we are taught