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PROPHECIES OF HABAKKUK COMPARED WITH OTHER SCRIPTURES.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. When imaginations, or reasonings, and all high thoughts are cast down before it, in due homage to its Divine authority; and when heed is given, as commanded, to the sure word of prophecy, as it testifies of the power and coming of the Lord, it is ever seen to be as a nail in a sure place, fixing immovably the thing which it reveals. Whether recorded in the writings of Moses, or in the Psalms, or in the books of the Prophets, or in the Gospels, or the Epistles, or finally, and not less truly and faithfully, in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, it is ever seen, as scripture is compared with scripture, to be the word of the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. If it enter into the heart, and glance not merely across the mind, its native property, as in part its purposed end, is to form and fix the day-star there, by the clear light of the testimony, and the firm conviction of the reality of things revealed, as appropriated by the believer of God's own word. It is an Almighty hand which has riveted it to the thing to which he sent it, come when it may. And the words of God, which kings as well as others have, however unconsciously, to fulfill till all be finished, are not bubbles sent down from heaven to be blown to and fro by the breath of human lips. How the private interpretation of some prophecies of Scripture has been adduced in support of the private interpretation of others; and how the testimony, which itself is entire, has been attempted to be torn asunder, as if it had neither any cohere nor fixed meaning, will begin to be seen ere the close of this volume, as Scripture supplies its own vindication, and prophets mutually maintain the integrity, when impeached, of the word of the Lord by whom they spake.
But the testimony, in one continuous description, of another prophet to the power and coming of the Lord, may here supply additional illustrations how word answers to word, as scripture is compared with scripture.
The apostle Paul, after testifying to the Jews at Antioch, that they who dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew not Jesus, nor yet the voices of the prophets, which were read every Sabbath-day, fulfilled them in condemning him—and after showing, as written in the Psalms, that Christ was raised from the dead, thus continued to address them, “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached upto you the forgiveness of sins : and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore, lest that come upon you which is spoken of in the prophets : Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish : for I work a' work in your days, a work which' ye will in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you."
This warning, spoken of in the prophets, is not restricted by the apostle to days and evils that had then long passed away. The first words of the prophet who gave it, raised a question which is not yet resolved. He looked, as alike comprehended in his vision, from the invasion of Judea by the Chaldeans to the time when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even, cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! dost thou show me iniquity, and cause (me) to behold grievance ? for spoiling and violence are before me; and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth : for the wicked doth compass about the righteous: therefore wrong judgment proceedeth. Behold ye among the heathen and regard, and wonder marvelously : for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.
After beholding in vision the invasion and the ravages of the Chaldeans, the prophet returns to his perplexing problem, which the word of the Lord alone can solve, ere he resolved to stand upon his watch and hear what the Lord
The Chaldean attributed his power unto his God; but the prophet of Israel asks, Art thou not from
everlastiny, O Lord my God, mine Holy One ? we shall not die. O Lord, thou hast ordained them for judgment : and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction. Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he? And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things that have no ruler over them? They take up all of them with the angle, they cateh them in their net, and gather them in their drag therefore they rejoice and are glad. Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous. Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations? I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved (marg. when I am argued with). And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed tîme, but at the end it shall speak and not lie : though it tarry, wait for it: because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him : but the just shall live by his faith.
Such was the beginning of the answer given by the Lord to the prophet, as he resolved to stand upon his watch, and set him on the tower, and watch and see what the Lord would say unto him. And as the Lord Jesus Christ, when manifest in the flesh, warned his disciples to watch, and take heed to themselves, lest at any time their hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon them unawares, and plainly told them the fate of the evil servant that should smite his fellow-servants—the word of the Lord to the prophet farther shows the end of the proud oppressor, and denounces woe to the man that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house—woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity-woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that putteth his bottle unto him—and woe to him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise.
of the judgments plainly written in this 1 Hab. i. 12-17; il. 1-4.
vision, which at the end shall speak, though it be for an appointed time, it is written, Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his ! how long ? and ladeth himself with thick clay-all the remnant of the people shall spoil theewoe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house —thou hast sinned against thy soul : For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shull answer it (11)-woe to him—that buildeth a town with blood !-Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts that the people shall labor in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity? for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea (14)—woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink—and maketh him drunken also—the cup of the Lord's right hand shall be turned unto thee (16)—woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake.—But the Lord is in his holy temple ; let all the earth keep silence before him (20) At the end the vision, like all the other counsels of the Lord, which are faithfulness and truth, shall speak. In the appointed time, when iniquity shall have an end, and the wicked shall no more devour the man that is more righteous than he, the vision shall speak, and not lie—it will surely come, it will not tarry. All the earth shall keep silence before the Lord, and the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of his glory. In the answer of the Lord to the plaint of the prophet, are renewals of testimonies that before had been given, and that were again repeated.
The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. The prayers of David ended in these words, Let the whole earth be filled with his glory.—God spake the same thing in the same words by the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. xi. 9. John heard every creature in heaven, and on the earth, ascribe glory to the Lord. Rev. v. 13. And when the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb are sung by those that have gotten the victory, no negative is interposed to the universal praise which their words imply, Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name; for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.-— Thy will be done in earth as it is heaven, is a petition as large as this repeated promise of the Lord. For assuredly heaven is full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.-All these prophecies, and hundreds more, alike associate the judgment and the glory, as they speak of the coming of the kingdom.
Let all the earth keep silence before him, are the last words of the answer of the Lord, followed by this prayer
of Habakkuk. And thus it is written, in immediate connection with final judgments, He maketh war to cease unto the end of the earth.-Be still, and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared and was still, when God arose to judgInent, to save all the meek of the earth. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me to the nations that spoiled you.--And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be silent, Oʻall flesh, before the Lord : for He is raised up out of his holy habitation. Zech. ii. 8, 12, 13.
“ The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see,” is closed with his “prayer," in the third chapter, which forms a third part of his prophecy; and shows how that burden will fall upon all the nations at last, and all the earth-all flesh—be silent before the Lord, when He is raised up out of his holy habitation.—The prophet was one of those who tremble at the word of the Lord. When he heard his speech—though in answer to his questions, touching the justice and holiness of the Most High, which impatience would impeach because of the long triumph of the wicked, and the long endurance of those who are more righteous" than those who oppress them-he was afraid. And ranked as his prayer is among the songs of Zion, addressed as it is, like many of the psalms, to the chief singer, or musician, his lips quivered ere its close, and he trembled in himself, that he might rest in the day of trouble—the day in which the mystery shall be finished, as the Lord hath declared to his servants the prophets. By comparing it with other Scriptures, most of which frequent repetitions may have already made familiar to the reader, as they ever form themselves into new combinations, while new things are added unto old—it will be seen how all violence on earth shall cease, and all flesh shall at last be silent before the Lord. 1 Psalm xlvi. 9, 10.
2 lxxvi. 8, 9.