« AnteriorContinuar »
19. He will turn again, he will pity us, he will cover our iniquities; Ay, them wilt cagt all our sins in the depth of the sea.
Thou wilt show faithfulness to Jacob, kindness to Abraham,
Remarks on the First and Second Chapters of Joel.*
The description of the plague of locusts, which runs through the two first chapters of this prophet, has somewhat divided the opinion of expositors. Their reasonings, however, are, I think, by far the strongest, who explain it in a literal sense, as foretelling, in the first instance, a plague of these insects, one of the calamities that was to complete the destruction of a guilty nation. But we have evidently, after the wonted manner of prophecy, a higher theme mingled all along with these immediately predicted judgments; and every now and then the mightier "burden" bursts through the thin guise of the typical allegory: —" alas, for the day — for the day of the Lord is at hand:" —" The day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning," or rather, " as the dusk of evening spread upon the mountains," &c. An effect far beyond the devastation of locusts is intimated in the usual style of prophecy: "The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars
• Supposed to have prophesied between (be yeqrs 697 and 660 before Christ.
withdraw their shining; and Jehovah shall utter his voice before his army; for his camp is very great; for he is strong that executeth his word; for the day of Jehovah is great, and very terrible, and who shall be able to bear it?" All this ultimately points to the destruction of the last enemy of the God of Israel, whose fall, as we have seen so often before, leads to the final re-establishment and eternal felicity of the chosen nation.
18. Then will Jehovah be jealous for his land, And will pity his people:
19. And Jehovah will answer, and say to his people, Behold, I will send unto you the corn,
And the wine and the oil, so that ye shall be satisfied there-
And I will no longer give you up,
20. And I will remove far from you the northern ' army,'
His van towards the eastern sea,
And his smell shall come up, and his stench shall arise,
21. Fear not, O land, be glad and rejoice,
For Jehovah hath magnified himself to act.
22. Fear not, O ye cattle of the field,
For the tree beareth its fruit,
And the fig-tree and the vine yield their wealth;
23. And, ye sons of Zion, exult,
And rejoice in Jehovah, your God, &c. &c.
This might, perhaps, be immediately applicable to the removal of the plague of locusts, though the direction, "from the north," is an unusual course for these insects. But " Judah no longer to be a reproach" will hardly apply to the situation of the country before the captivity. The mystic storm, too, of the twenty-ninth psalm, with what is said of the inroad of the great enemy in the sixtyeighth psalm, seem to trace the same line of devastation till the predicted enemy comes to his end. The destructive foe enters the Holy Land on the north; he is drawn towards the desert on the south: the spreading of his wings extends the full width of Immanuel's land, from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea; and it is mysteriously said, "he magnifieth himself to act," or he maketh himself great, or vaunteth himself, in order for action. This corroborates the exposition of the sixty-eighth psalm. He has succeeded on his southern expedition: chiefs come with him out of Egypt: Ethiopia is precipitated against the Almighty. But one stronger than he has also " magnified himself to act,"—" he hath taken to him his great power;" and the congregated armies of the nations fall.
The prophecy in the twenty-eighth verse of the second chapter, in the same manner we have so often noticed in the visions of Isaiah, transports us to the season of the first advent, and from this epocha leads us to trace the approach of the promised kingdom of Christ: —
28. And it shall come to pass hereafter,
And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
29. And also upon the men-servants and on the hand-maids, In those days, will I pour out my Spirit.
As this is applied, by the Holy Spirit himself, to that extraordinary dispensation of primitive Christianity which commenced with the day of Pentecost, we need not seek for a further exposition. The expression " all flesh" may, indeed, create some difficulty; but we must confine the universality of the expression by the subject and the facts. The Spirit was poured on all sorts and descriptions of human beings: even a miraculous effusion of the Holy Ghost rested, not on the priests or special messengers of Jehovah alone, or on their kings and elders, but, as the amplification of the prophet which 'follows,' shows, on both sexes, on all ages, on every condition of mankind. This, the account given us in the Acts of the Apostles of the effusion of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost fully explains to have been the case with respect to these extraordinary and miraculous gifts, which were vouchsafed when the great Comforter on that day publicly took possession of his charge and office.
And the same rule He is pleased to follow still in the pouring forth of his ordinary though more important influences, in his sanctifying of the elect people of God. What happened on the day of Pentecost, indeed, was only a more visible display and indication of the commencement of that dispensation which was to continue to the end. For though, in a way less subject to the observation of man, the Holy Ghost,—then first personally sent from the Father,—was to carry on his supernatural operations in the hearts of the people of Christ, until his second coming: and these heavenly influences which illuminate, and sanctify, and gladden the heart with holy joy, are still, in this sense, poured out on " All flesh." Persons of each sex, of all ages, in every condition of life, are visited by this heavenly inspiration, not to dream dreams or see visions, indeed, but " to give them" the knowledge of salvation in the remission of their sins, to enable them to make their calling and election sure, to reveal to them "things which eye hath not seen nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive," " the things which God has prepared for them that love him."
This mission of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, was one event to take place " before the great day of the Lord should come." Another event to take place was great political changes, attended with destructive wars and devastations, among the rulers and nations of the earth, to an extent unknown before. This is symbolized, as usual, by changes in the heavenly bodies: —*
30. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, Blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into
This is as much as to say, the subversion of the governments and empires of the world — the world as it concerns the people of God —must take place before the emphatic day of Christ shall arise. The Gospel-day, therefore, was. not this great and emphatic day. The fourth empire was then in meridian splendour; but the great and terrible day of Jehovah awaited the removal of the governing powers of the earth. The Jewish subordinate authorities which remained may be considered as included in the prediction; but the greater and higher authorities of the Roman empire which then governed the world, are the proper subjects of the
• Isaiah, xiii. 9, &c.; xxiv. 19, &c.; xxxiv. 4; 1. 2, 3; li. 16; Ixv. 17, &c.