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“ I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the Lord.”* The great day of the Lord is near, it is near and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord; the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, &c.” What a merciful warning is given to the Lord's people in the second chapter : “ Seek ye the Lord all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment : seek righteousness and meekness; it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger.” The concluding chapter of the Prophecy is full of comfort to those who find refuge in New Jerusalem, previous to the guilty nations being punished : “ Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! She obeyed not the voice ; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God. Her Princes within her are roaring lions ; her Priests have polluted the sanctuary ; they have done violence to the law. Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey; for my determination is, to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them my indignation, even all my fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, my suppliants, even the daughters of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering. In that day, shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me; for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride ; and thou shalt no more be haughty in my holy mountain. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies ; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.”
* Zephaniah, i. 2, 14, 15.
The Prophet Daniel was told that his prophecy would not be understood until its fulfilment was near. He thus expresses the mystery in which it should remain. “And I heard, but I understood not; then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things ? And he said, go thy way Daniel ; for the words are closed up, and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly : and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.”* Does it not appear from this prophecy, that the spirit of persecution was to exist until “ Babylon the Great,” was destroyed, and as the time approaches, should we not individually ask ourselves the question am I amongst the wicked, or amongst the wise ? am I amongst those who pay “blind leaders of the blind,” to instruct me in religion, or amongst those to whom God has promised to give the Holy Spirit, if it is prayed for in sincerity ? In comparing the approaching destruction of the world by fire, with the former destruction of its inhabitants by water, it is remarkable that the name of Noah, means rest or comfort, and the Holy Spirit is called by our Saviour, “ The Comforter.” Thus as we may expect to be taught by that spirit, where the Lord's people are to be preserved, how important is it for us to obey St. Paul's precepts, “ Pray without ceasing. Quench not the spirit. Despise not prophesyings.”+ Such was the exhortation of this Apostle to the Church at Thessalonica, after he had foretold the second advent of the Saviour.
* Daniel, xii. 8, 9, 10.
+ 1 Thessallonians, v, 17—19, 20.
In drawing a comparison between Old Jerusalem, in its present state, and the city which St. John describes in the 21st chapter of the book of Revelation, let us first inquire what is the meaning of the name ? Translated literally into English, it is "an inheritance of peace.” The ancient city, the capital of Palestine, was part of the inheritance of the descendants of Abraham, when they came out of Egypt, but it was not originally built by the Lord's people, it was planned by idolaters, and built with a wall round it, as all cities in those days were, when it was customary to accumulate wealth in them, and to protect that wealth by a defence, which it would take their enemies much time and trouble to throw down, when they coveted treasure, thus accumulated. The wealth which was from time to time amassed within the walls of Jerusalem, was frequently coveted by the kings of Babylon, who were permitted by the Almighty to punish his people for their propensity to laspe into idolatry, by seizing their wealth, destroying the beauty of their city, and carrying them captive to Babylon. But in the school of affliction they were taught a lesson of repentance, and David beautifully expresses in the 137th Psalm, how they wept by the rivers of Babylon, when they thought of their own beautiful city.
By the waters of Babel we sat down and wept,
When, Zion, we thought upon thee;
Then silently hung on the tree.
Derided our sorrows and wrongs ;
Required one of Zion's old songs.
While our conqu’rors stand tauntingly by?
Shall we lift up our voices on high?
And think not, oh Salem, on thee;
Long, long be forgotten by me.
If ever, dear land of my birth ;
Be effaced in the season of mirth.* By the severity of the chastisement they were cured of their propensity to worship false gods; and never again, as a nation, relapsed into idolatry. Jerusalem fell before Titus; it was, when he conquered it, one of the most beautiful cities of the earth ; and so strongly fortified, that its conqueror, who was master of the whole civilized world beside, said, on mounting her bul. warks, and admiring her towers, “surely we have God for our assistance in the war, for what could human hands do against these towers !"
“ Proud Cæsar's plough-share, o'er her ruins driven,
The above lines were given to me by a lady, who is one of my most valued friends in Sydney; they were written by one of her cousins. H. V. B.
Various were the sins of the inhabitants of Jerusalem against their God, but their most heinous offence was crucifying the true Messiah. This was the sin for which they have been, and are still, visited with the most severe affliction ; outcasts from the land of their fathers, and scattered through all lands : but the nations whose rulers have been instruments in the hands of their God to punish them, are all doomed to destruction. Ancient Babylon was conquered by Cyrus, and is a type of all the cities which are ultimately to suffer punishment for the manner in which they have persecuted both Jews and Christians for the last 1850 years; and in this general destruction must Palestine be included, as it is situated in the midst of Idolaters and Mahometans, who, with the Anti-christian nations of Europe, are all included under the name of “Babylon the Great.”
King David, who was a prophet himself, and all the other prophets, predict a great destruction of the enemies of the Lord by fire; but whenever this is the subject of their prophetic warnings, there is a place of refuge spoken of for the redeemed or the righteous. In the 144th Psalm we find it thus written :
" Bow thy heavens O Lord and come down ; touch the mountains and they shall smoke. Cast forth lightning and scatter them : shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them. Send thine hand from above; rid me, aud deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children ; whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood. That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth ; that our daughters may be as corner-stones, polished after the similitude of a palace; that our garners may be full, affording all manner of store; that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets. That our oxen may be