Imágenes de páginas

publication and preaching of the word, and the accompanying influences of the Holy Spirit ;) to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgments written : this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord.

As the just and holy principles of the Gospel constitute at once the revealed will of God, and the only imperishable standard of morality, the vast amount of opposition which these principles excite, engage empires and kingdoms in wars and civil commotions, to an extent which is only limited by the physical and other providential obstructions which God himself interposes. These troubles have more or less caused the destruction, and will ultimately subvert the power of all the wicked and factious among mankind; of ungodly kings and their subjects alike.

“ The desolations which will overspread apostate Christendom, the seat of the fourth beast, will be more dreadful by far than those which overwhelmed the Jews. , , . The desolation will be more extensive; that was confined chiefly to a city and wholly to a province, but this awful whirlpool will involve in its vortex great and mighty nations. We may expect it likewise to be attended with more dreadful circumstances than even the war of Titus. ... Have we not sinned against greater mercies and under a nobler dispensation than the Jews did? We have. And have not the European nations hatred truth, ... trampled under foot the afflicted Jews,-made religion a pretext for unjust and bloody wars,—a stepping-stool for ambitious men, and a tool of the state ?"*

We further learn from the preceding Psalm that the extermination of incorrigible sinners is the honour which God confers on his saints, though they are not implicated in the issue of his providence or righteous judgments. Their prayers, on the contrary, continually ascend for the conversion of their bitterest enemies, and the most cruel foes of the human race; yet the holiness of their lives has an invariable tendency to produce either the renovation, punishment, or destruction of the ungodly. The last Psalm is peculiarly expressive of the grateful joy of the saints at this most momentous season; and instruments of music are called in, harmoniously to resound the great Creator's praise.

* Cox.





To obtain a satisfactory understanding of any obscure or complicated subject, a patient investigation of its several aspects and combinations becomes absolutely requisite. Now so far as this may be realized from the page of unaccomplished prophecy, the interesting predictions before us claim peculiar attention. So numerous and diffusive are they, that a necessity for their classification is immediately perceived, to preserve in our minds something like a connected view of God's future designs towards his people. And such an arrangement though necessarily imperfect, is not the less desirable, as it leads us at least to a more correct and just conception of the providences, mercies, and glorious manifestations which he has reserved for his elect, whether Jews or Gentiles; redoubling their happiness in the proportion of their past sufferings; Isai. LXI. 7. Notwithstanding these happy prospects, almighty faithfulness and truth forbid the omission of God's just denunciations against those who madly resist his invitations and threatenings,—and the assurance of those dreadful tokens of his providence which he will display against sinful nations, whose principles and practices are at variance with the predicted establishment of his kingdom.

We have hitherto dwelt, for the most part, on the promises vouchsafed to the seed of Abraham, and the means whereby God will accelerate their first exertions towards restoration, gradually destroying the ungodly from among them, while proofs of special protection are afforded to his servants. These judgments and this distinction are emphatically declared in Isai. lxv. 1–16.

We may suppose that they will now have reached their destination in considerable numbers, and will have found present consolation under God's protection, though as yet distant from a final establishment. The grand concern of the converted remnant, will be, we think, the general conversion, not only of their own body, but of the whole world. Indeed we have every reason to suppose that they will make a mighty and unanimous effort to accomplish this, in due time. It would not be consistent with the practice of Christ's true followers to remain at any time inert; but now, overflowing with gratitude for the gracious deliverances vouchsafed, -conscious, from prophecy, of the position which they occupy,—and confiding in God for the final issue,—they are inspired with a holy zeal for the universal salvation of the human race, as their highest temporal and eternal interest. Accordingly we find many indications of the increasing conversion of the Gentiles. Whether amid the multitudes of Israel already restored,—whether among those who have not yet reached their desired country, or those who still remain among the Gentile nations, a remnant exists who strenuously and undauntedly publish the Gospel, and who, as faithful “watchmen, will not keep silence, until Jerusalem become a praise in the earth.”

Isaiah xlix. 5—12. And now saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD; and my God shall be my strength.

The preceding part of this chapter, together with a portion of the above, are prophetic of the birth, doctrines, and preaching of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The subject of our quotation commences at ver. 5, in the person and language of God the Father, that though Israel were not, or, shall not be all gathered, yet the conversion of the Gentiles shall form a glorious result of the Saviour's sufferings. At ver. 6, the Father thus continues :

It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel : I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my sal. vation to the end of the earth.

The 7th verse brings us conversant with the Christian dispensation.

Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, (or, to him who is despised in soul,) to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.

Let us consider the great end signified by this unspeakable gift of Christ. That He was to be given for a covenant of the people, to establish (or, “ raise up") the earth, or renew the face of the world,—to “cause to inherit the desolate heritages,” or, replenish the desolate churches with his Spirit,—to liberate those who are in the prisonhouse of sin; and to cause them to be fed in the high and varied pastures of redeeming grace.

Ver. 10. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.

These blessed promises are parallel with those of Rev. vii. 16, 17; and afford an introductory view of the spi

« AnteriorContinuar »