« AnteriorContinuar »
ture saith, “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....... When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory."* He hath not forgotten the city where his honour dwelleth. Her walls are continually before him. “ For in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.” + “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows with agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.”
If, then, we see such minute attention to these details of fulfilled prophecy, can we imagine that God will be less minute in the accomplishment of what remains. If he has performed what is comparatively the lesser, shall he not much more accomplish what is larger and fuller, because he delighteth in mercy. But, again, So far from the end of Israel * Psalm cii. 13. 16.
+ Micah iv. 1, 2. | Isaiah liv. 11.
being a state of judicial apostasy, the end of Israel is blessing. This forms the bulk of the prophetic writings. Blessings in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Blessings by the mouth of David and all the prophets. Blessings by New Testament Prophets, Zacharias and Simeon. Yea, and by our Lord himself, in whom all the seed of Israel shall be justified and shall glory. Whereever servitude or punishment is foretold, there is a chronological limit affixed to it. As with Abraham. His seed were to be in servitude 430 years. So with Judah, the Babylonish captivity was to last for seventy years. So with Israel, from the time of their bondage to their deliverance, a “ seven times,” or about 2,500 years. The most exact register is kept of the day and hour when their troubles begin, and when they shall end, but where is the limit to their glory? Their kingdom, and dominion, and glory shall be established for ever and ever, they shall not be moved again world without end. Have we not seen some of these specified periods clearly and distinctly terminated ? have we not stirring evidence around us as to the termination of another period ? And what is this but a pledge of returning mercy to Jerusalem.
But, further, the course pursued by the Lord towards Israel is exactly that which is suited to
prepare the way for their return to him. “ Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the Lord. Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be in that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi (my husband); and shalt no more call me Baali” (my lord).* They shall accept the punishment of their iniquity, and although not in a truly converted state, yet their proud hearts shall be humbled, and they shall acknowledge that the Lord hath walked contrary unto them, and they shall remember the Lord afar off, and Jerusalem shall come into their mind. “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God. Surely after
* Hosea ii. 6, 13—16.
that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.”*
Here every step in the process of return is noted; first, a turning; then a sense of sorrow and acknowledgment of sin; then instruction; then deep, godly, and genuine contrition, as in Ezekiel xvi. 63. But I must not enlarge.
I have one argument before I close. The admission of the Gentiles being the fulfilment of prophecy is a sure pledge of Israel's return; first, because the stranger nation is intended to provoke Israel to jealousy, and thus bring about a moral revolution; and secondly, because the riches and power and influence of the Gentiles shall be actually employed in their literal restoration. Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified
* Jer, xxxi. 18-21.
thee. And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee.”* And, oh! what an appeal does this make to that portion of the Jewish nation who are absorbed in worldly gain, and fixing their interests more entirely in lands not their own. We do not read of Joseph or his brethren petitioning the Court of Pharaoh to be admitted to high office in the state; on the contrary, Joseph was raised by the overruling providence of God to effect a special purpose, but would not allow his bones to remain out of the land of promise, and the people were an abomination to the Egyptians by reason of their separate habits. The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; but now, Joseph's posterity seek for their advancement, from the world. We do not read of Daniel, Mishael, and Azariah, seeking preferment in Nebuchadnezzar's government; they refused to defile themselves with the king's meat, or to obey the king's command to worship the golden image their eye was fixed upon Jerusalem, and they were never so happy as when they were looking towards the holy temple. How then can the modern Jew who really reads and prizes
• Is. lx. 9, 10.