Obrazy na stronie
[ocr errors]

out of the mouth of the Lord, and that the sufferings of the Jews have not been by chance, but by judgment? And when the Lord thus speaks unto thee, answer thou Him. And who dumb as not to make confession with the lips, that this is the Lord's doing and wondrous in our eyes; and that although the Jews would not observe his statutes to do them, nor fear the great and glorious name—the LORD thy Gon, their wonderful plagues, and the plagues of their seed, have clearly shown that, above all, his statutes have to be obeyed, and that his great and glorious name has to be feared above every other fear.

Here the most ignorant may learn that God will by no means acquit the guilty. And even those who think not of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, as exemplified to the universe in the sufferings of the Son of God, by which sin was condemned in the flesh, may look and see how great is the indignation of a thrice holy God against it, as visibly exemplified in the judgments which He has executed upon the Jews. Their punishment, like their sin, is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond. “How readest thou ?' If you cannot learn from thence, wherewithal can you be instructed ? Here the man whose idol is the world may learn how dreadful is the curse that cleaves to covetousness. Here the boaster of privileges which he abuses may cease to perver the right ways of the Lord, or to trust in unwarrantable hopes, when he thinks on the once chosen people of God looking for a Messiah, while his blood was upon their heads. Here the

G 3

pride of ancestry may be humbled, in beholding the seed of Abraham, whose lineage is traced to the creation, the offscourings of the earth and the revilings of all flesh. Here the profane swearer may learn whose great and glorious name it is that he takes in vain; and, if his sin be not washed away by the blood of Christ, what his punishment shall be when the Lord will not hold him guiltless. Here the scoffer at the threatened judgments of God may learn, from ten thousand facts, that His threatened judgments have proved true, and that none of them are ever to be mocked at: and had even he the wisdom, the feeling, and the grace, to consider perfectly the judgments which the Lord hath already executed in the earth upon a single people, not only would his ears tingle at the recital of such woes, but, looking from national to individual, from temporal to eternal punishments, from those which have fallen upon the Jews, to those which shall come on all the workers of iniquity,' his heart would quake, till the thought of his uttering another scoff at the religion of Jesus would be more fearful to his altered spirit, than the thought of all the accumulated miseries which the Jews have ever suffered. And here, at the sight of such temporal judgments, even the christian may not only learn the more to fear the great and glorious name of the Lord his God, but may also find new reasons to prize the blessings of redemption, and to flee, with renewed alacrity, from the wrath to come.

But national judgments, though heretofore most conspicuous in regard to the Jews, and though literally fulfilled respecting them, are not confined to them alone. And in the same true and holy word in which sentence was written against their iniquities wherever they were committed, it is recorded that the Lord, who hath now long left them to be a curse and a reproach throughout the world, hath a controversy with all nations, and will plead with all flesh, and hath appointed a year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion; a time to try all that are on the face of the earth. And we cannot call this truth to remembrance, and bear in mind, at the same time, the woe denounced against the false prophets and teachers among the Jews, who by healing the wound of the people slightly, and by saying, Peace! peace! when there was no peace, caused them to err by their lies, and by their lightness ; nor can we close our view, dim and contracted as it has been, of the judicial sufferings of the Jews, without urging the reader to think, in all seriousness, how awfully these judgments warn all to stand in awe, and sin not ; how they set forth sin before us, stripped of every disguise, that we may see it in all its abomination, as in the sight of God it appears ; in all its hideousness, as the child of hell, and in all its danger, to every nation now, to every individual hereafter, as linked closely to judgment, except its own fetters shall be broken, and redemption, through the Saviour, be timely found from its bondage. And where is the people, though the name of christian be upon them, to whom peace! peace! may be safely said ? Or who can tell that the time is not come, when those shall prove the warmest lovers of their race who give the loudest warnings of their danger? As the clay is in the hand of the potter, so is the house of Israel, and every other people, in the hand of the Lord.

At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, or concerning a kingdom, saith the Lord, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.'*

We have seen the judgments on the house of Israel. O that they would return unto the Lord, for he would have mercy upon them. Thus saith the Lord, If my covenant' be not with day and night; and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; for I will cause their captivity to return and have mercy on them.'t


* Jer. xviii. 7-10.

ļo Jer, xxxiji. 25, 26


Prophecies concerning Judea and the adjoining


Judea, the country of the Jews, of which Jerusalem was the capital, and which was also called Canaan, Palestine, and the Holy Land, was so exceedingly fertile, that, according to Volney, an infidel writer, whose evidence will be largely adduced to prove its desolation, it was ranked by the Greeks and Romans among the finest of their provinces. Celebrated ancient authors bear the most decided testimony to the great number of towns and villages with which it was overspread, to the eminence of several of its cities, the excellence of the climate, and the fertility of the soil, whereby it outrivalled Italy in the abundance of its fruits ; and to the very high degree of cultivation it had reached; from whence Syria, including Ammon, Moab, and Philistia, as well as Judea, was proverbially called a garden by the Greeks, who possessed a rich and beautiful country of their own.

So highly was the beauty and fertility of Judea esteemed, many centuries after the prophecies had described its future and long-continued desolation.

The earth is the Lord's; and as it was cursed for the sake of man, when he first sinned against God, the glorious land of Judea was likewise accursed, and · desolations of many generations'

« PoprzedniaDalej »