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spoken of, is the valley of Achor—of trouble. The offence of Achan brought guilt on the camp of Israel, see Joshua vii.—the people fell before their enemies; they could not prosper whilst the accursed thing was concealed and retained. "He that covereth his sins shall, not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall find mercy," Prov. xxnii. 13. As soon as the burdened conscience is made to realize the expiation of sin, the valley of Achor becomes '' a door of hope."
"A place for the herds to lie down in." To lie down, this implies peace; peace within and without; peace of conscience; peace with each other, a dwelling together in unity, not thrusting with side and with shoulder, Ezek. xxxiv. 21. but a bearing and forbearing with each other;—peace without, the wild boar of the forest being, by the vigilance of the herdsman kept at a distance; and the roaring lion who walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, being chained down, the church sits under her vine, and under her fig-tree, none making her afraid. Micah iv. 4.
To lie down, conveys also an idea of rest; the herds have, perhaps, been harassed and hunted from place to place, they have been led a long and wearisome journey through a barren wilderness, and are now arrived at a place of rest. This rest is not sloth, but the state so happily described by Bunyan, when his pilgrims arrive at the land of Beulah.
To lie down, also implies continuance. It is the duty and advantage of church members to fill up their places. The proverb says, 'a rolling stone gathers no moss:' and it certainly holds good in spiritual as well as temporal affairs; those who have itching ears, and wandering habits, seldom profiting much under the means of grace. Do not, gentle reader, conclude the writer to be a pastor who has to complain of such conduct in his hearers, he is merely a simple layman. The herds. Mark the definite article the; so expressive of indentity; nor the wild cattle of a thousand hills, but herds—the herds; known, selected, purchased and gathered together, corresponding with the expression, " my people," in the last clause of our text.
"My people that have sought me,'' this leads to three observations: First.—God's people will seek. It was said of Saul of Tarsus, wben he was brought visibly into the fold of Christ, "Behold, he prayeth!" Acts ix. 11.; and it is thus the Lord's people ever have sought, and will seek. They can no more refrain from crying to their parent, than the lambs of the flock can cease to bleat.
Secondly.—They must be God's people who truly do seek. Although there may be a form of prayer observed, and all the external exercises of religion attended to by thousands who have never felt the power of godliness, such as are described in Isaiah xxix. 13. yet it is those only who have a spirit of grace and supplication poured out upon them, who truly pray in prayer.
Thirdly.—God's seeking people shall find. This encourages to diligence and watchfulness in the use of the means. It is to his peoVol. VIII.—No. 98.] 3 D
pie who seek that Jehovah has promised those blessings; for although
he is engaged by covenant and oath to provide all needful good for
them, he has said, " I will yet for this be inquired of by the house
of Israel, to do it for them," Ezek xxxvi. 37.
Westminster. L •
(For the Spiritual Magazine.J
FROM THE QUEEN OF SHEBA TO THE CABINET MINISTERS OF HER LORD,
UNDER WHOSE CARE SHE IS LEFT, WHILE HE IS GONE TO PREPARE THE PALACE FOR HER RECEPTION.
Most illustrious and beloved guardians of my spirit,
Allow me to communicate to you the reflections of my sorrowful soul; and in the spirit of tenderness receive this testimony of my esteem for you, as the chosen of my august consort, your mighty Prince, Christ Jesus, who hath of his sovereign pleasure endowed you with gifts and graces above others, and counted you faithful, putting you into the ministry, who hath given you abundant revelations both of himself and of his most holy will, declaring through the medium of his affectionate letters to you and to myself how much he desires your attention to me, a poor, helpless, weak, and very sickly, though royal and dignified, woman.
Now, beloved, I am reduced to a mere shadow for want of wholesome food. I am very unhealthy for the lack of the proper use of the medicines my dear Lord has provided for me: my digestion has become bad. I am almost lame of my feet, and not able to run; yea, I can scarcely crawl. My poor hands are so defiled, that they look as if they belonged to a slave rather than to a queen. My eyes are so jaundiced, that I see nothing as it really is; and when I look in the glass I am frightened instead of being comforted; in fact, the "whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint." And now I am so sorrowful and wretched about my health, I cry day and night, 'O Lord, have mercy upon me, and deliver me from my sad state; revive me again by the power of thy grace, for I am ready to die.' But how came my health into this state? Has it not arisen, O my guardians, from your want of care? Have you not suffered me to eat and stuff of poisonous weeds? Have I not been allowed to become drunk with the wine of wickedness, in forsaking the true river of the water of life? and ye, who ought to have reproved me, did not so, but were fast asleep while I went astray from the pastures of my King. Was I not once a queen, arrayed in beautiful garments? Did not my lovely Lord continually rejoice to behold my glory which reflected his praise to a corrupt world? Was I not a candle lighted by his grace, and seen of all men? But now, I am verily darkness, and cannot be distinguished from the scribes and pharisees. I know you will say, my sickness is not unto death; you will tell me, that my Prince will soon come, and loose me, and let rae go; that he still loves me, &c. But I cry, being burdened, " Why am I as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit? Why have I not the presence and intimate communion of my dear Husband? Why does he deny me the kisses of hrs lips? O, is it not because I have treacherously forsaken him, my rightful spouse, and played the harlot with many lovers? Have I not departed from his commands, and taken part with this evil generation? Have I not hired to myself helpers from Egypt, and contemned the power of his almighty grace? O yes, I have: shame and confusion of face belongs to me; and ye are they who have not warned me of my ways; but ye have permitted me to dishonour my Lord and King; to partake of the abominations of this world; yea, ye have yourselves departed from your oaths and been faithless to your trusts; ye have been coveting the things of time, and seeking to patch up a peace between God and mammon, which are ever at variance; ye have done as the shepherds in Ezekiel's day; and my Lord cannot endure these corrupt doings. He has passed by the window of my apartment, and I saw his face was not towards me; but that he was not pleased with my ragged and dirty appearance. Oh, my heart was troubled, my soul was afflicted; I called after him, but he withdrew himself. What shall I do, 0 my watchers? I resolved to write, and tell you of my sorrow. I am pained at my soul; therefore, I beseech ye, hear the voice of my sore travail, and arise from the state of lethargy into which ye have sunk, and do the first works; for my Lord is not pleased with you, his cabinet ministers, and will no longer bear your contumely; he is determined to shake even the earth's foundations rather than allow his beloved to be judged with this evil world.
O then, beloved, convene immediately a cabinet council, and implore the attendance of the glorious Prime Minister of the gospel realm, even the Lord the Spirit, who has been Ion? offended at your evil ways. Oh beseech him to return to your midst; to revive you again, and ever give your souls for his service; to preside in all your transactions, and to influence all your doings and sayings; so shall you become what you once were, the servants of my Lord, without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, amongst whom you will shine as lights in the world; while the broken-hearted Sheba will be the constant care of your lives, and will soon be restored to her Lord's embrace, her household will become as before clothed in scarlet; and following her to the presence chamber of the Great King, where she has so often partaken his love, there will he again extend to her the sceptre of favour, and grant her every request, shielding her from the storms of this convulsed and unfriendly world, and keeping her from the pestilence which afflicts the rebellious and ungodly.
But 1 must say, farewell; and in so doing, let me intreat you, Oh my beloved watchers, to remember poor afflicted Sheba, and forget not your vows to her Lord, neither the sweet promises of his love, which have declared that blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh shall find ready to receive him; but awful the state of the sluggard in his ways. Again I say, farewell! may the grace of my affectionate Husband, Christ Jesus, raise you from this state of degradation and woe, give you activity in his cause, and grant the desire of my soul for my own and your welfare, and to his holy name shall be the praise, both here and hereafter. Amen, And believe me, my beloved guardians, yours, very afflicted and anxious,
(For the Spiritual Magazine.)
AN ESSAY TOWARDS AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PROFITABLE READING OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
BY SAMUEL EYLES PIERCE.
(Continued from page 366.,;
Pharaoh's command respecting this, is imposed by the taskmasters and officers, and exacted from the Israelites with words and blows. Hereupon the officers of the children of Israel complain to Pharaoh, requesting a mitigation of this bondage, but without success; and meeting just at that juncture of time with Moses and Aaron, they complain to them, and of them, as the causes of their heavy burthens and sore distress; upon which Moses expostulates with the Lord, complaining as though the end of his being sent was frustrated, the condition of the people made worse, and their affliction more greatly increased since he delivered the Lord's message to Pharaoh, and that the Lord had not yet delivered them as he promised. In answer to which, the Lord encourages Moses with a renewal of his promise by his name Jehovah, and the covenant which he had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the fathers of this people, who were acquainted with the name Jehovah, but did not experience the intent of the name, which signified his truth in the performance of his promises by his name Jehovah, true to his word, when he was about to effect the deliverance from Egypt, a type of the eternal redemption, wherein the truth of God in performing his first promise, is gloriously magnified. Moses is commanded to assure the Israelites that the Lord will deliver them from their bondage and burthens, and bring them into the land of Canaan, but-through their distress and anguish they hearkened not to him. Thus Moses is again commanded by the Lord to go to Pharaoh, and demand the dismission of the Israelites, which he seems unwilling to be engaged in; but the Lord charged both he and Aaron to go to the children of Israel, and Pharaoh, and bring them out of the land of Egypt,
A genealogy of the tribes of Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, is given; which some think is to shew that they were not rejected of God, though they seem rather cursed than blessed by Jacob; although the principal intent seems to be to shew the descent of Moses and Aaron. The Jewish chronologers say, that Levi, who was the last of the twelve patriarchs, lived in Egypt 94 years, and from his time to the going out of Egypt, were only 116 years. They further say, the bondage could not last longer than 116 years, nor shorter than 87. Bishop Usher places the death of Levi, A.M. 2385. Before Christ, 1617.
The means whereby the Lord effects the deliverance of his people, was by renewing his orders to Moses and Aaron to go to Pharaoh, requiring the dismission of them. But he informs them before hand that Pharaoh's heart would be hardened, that he would refuse to let the people go, until the Lord had stretched out his hand, and brought great judgments upon Egypt, after which they should go forth. Moses and Aaron, in obedience to the Lord's command, goes again to the king, and wrought the following miracles :—Aaron cast down his rod, or shepherd's staff, before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent or dragon; upon which Pharaoh called for the wise men and sorcerers of Egypt, the chief of whom were Jannes and Jambres, who cast down their rods also, which by their juggles and secret wiles and enchantments, became in form and appearance serpents also. But Aaron's rod prevailed over the sorcerers' rods, for Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods. But though this double miracle was wrought—a rod turned into a serpent, and a rod devouring rod, Pharaoh is not convinced by it, but remains hard and obstinate.
Moses was at this time 80 years old, and Aaron 83.
The Lord observes to Moses, that Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and orders him again to go, and demand the dismission of the Israelites, threatening in case of refusal to turn the waters of the river Nile into blood. God proceedeth from signs and wonders, to plagues and punishments; and brings ten sore ones upon Egypt, before the Israelites are let go out of the house of bondage. The hebrew doctors sum up these ten plagues, by the first ten letters of their hebrew names, which is given thus :—
"Blood, frogs, and lice, a mixed swarm,
Moses and Aaron, by the express command of the Lord, work miracles, that were plagues as well as miracles, and these were ten, called by way of eminency, " the plagues of Egypt."—The first was, the turning the water of the river Nile into blood, which lasted seven days.—The second was, the plague of frogs, which came up, and covered the whole land. Bishop Usher computes it, that the former plague of turning the waters into blood began on the 18th day of the sixth month, or Adar, part of February, and part of March, and