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trate, and then point out our immediate concern in the subject, and the practical improvement we all ought to make of it.

The first thing that occurs is the call to repentance, verse 12. “ In that day did the Lord of Hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth.”

The day here referred to was a season of abounding iniquity, as we learn from the first chapter of this book of prophecy, which begins with a heavy charge against the nation of the Jews, published with awful solemnity by God himself, in the following words : “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken! I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah, sinful nation! a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers, children that are corrupters. They have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger, they have gone away backward.” Accordingly the prophet, in bespeaking their attention to the message he was about to deliver, addressed them, in terms of severe reproach, ver. 10.“ Hear the words of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.” And the lamentation he utters, verse 21. shows with what jus

tice and propriety those titles of ignominy were applied to them. “How is the faithful city become an harlot! It was full of judgment, righteousness lodged in it, but now murderers. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water. Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards."

Their boldness and impudence in sinning are particularly taken notice of, as high aggravations of their guilt, chap. iii. verses 8, 9. “ The show of their countenance doth witness against them, and they declare their sin as Sodom; they hide it not. Their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eye of his glory.” Neither was this accusation limited to the men of that age; for, ver. 16. even the daughters of Zion are represented as “haughty, walking with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they went,” under the cumbersome load of tinkling ornaments, chains and bracelets, and the many other superfluous articles of dress, of which a catalogue is left on record from the 18th verse downward, till, at the 24th verse, the fantastic inventory is closed with that humiliating doom: “ It shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell, there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle, a rent; and instead of well set hair, baldness; and burning instead of beauty.”

This leads me to mention another circumstance,

by which the day referred to in my text is distinguished. It was a day of sore rebuke, as well as of abounding iniquity. “ Look away from me,” said the prophet, ver. 4. of this chapter, “will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people ; for it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity, by the Lord God of Hosts in the valley of vision.”

Such was the day in which the Lord God of Hosts did call to weeping and mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth, i. e. to the deepest humiliation on account of their sins, to the most unfeigned repentance, and amendment of life. That this is the true import of the call, appears from a similar exhortation, Joel ii. 12. where, after the Lord had given commandment to blow the trumpet in Zion, and to sound an alarm in his holy mountain, that all the inha. bitants of the land might tremble in the prospect of that day of darkness and gloominess, which was soon to be spread over them; he addresses them in these words: “ Turn ye even to me with all your heart, with weeping and with mourning, and -rent your hearts and not your garments, and turi unto the Lord your God.”

In every age, and in every climate, weeping and mourning are the natural expressions of inward sorrow. In the eastern countries, and especially among the Jews, when grief rose to a great height; VOL. III.

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tears of lamentations were usually accompanied with rending their clothes, plucking out their hair, and covering their bodies with sackcloth. And though these outward signs are only the trappings of woe, which are no further acceptable than as they truly express the sorrow and contrition of the heart, yet, in the case before us, they are expressly required of that impudent and hard-hearted people, that as their tongue and their doings had been against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory, so their shame and sorrow might be proclaimed as openly as their sin, and their penitent return to God might be no less apparent than their proud and insolent revolt had been.

Having made these remarks upon the import of the call, and the state of the Jews in the day it was published to them, let me now,

II. Lead forward your attention to the account that is given us of the reception it met with, ver. 13. “ And behold!" It is introduced, you see, with a note-what shall I call it ?-Whether doth it bespeak our admiration or astonishment? The object must surely be wonderful, either for beauty :or deformity, to which the great God himself demands our attention with such solemnity.

Say then, my brethren, were you not already acquainted with what follows, would you not expect to see a multitude of humble penitents, prostrate on the ground, and covered with sackcloth,

while, with weeping and mourning, they say one to another, in the language of genuine repentance, “Come, and let us return unto the Lord, for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.” But what do we really see? Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid. Instead of mourning and weeping, behold joy and gladness; instead of baldness and girding with sackcloth, behold every kind of riotous excess, slaying uxen and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine.

There is no room to suppose that they had given no attention to the message delivered y the prophet. It would rather appear that they had attended to it with accuracy, nay, studied its meaning, on purpose to counteract it; for a contrast so minutely exact, a scheme of contradiction so completely adjusted, could hardly have been stumbled upon by mere accident. And indeed the latter part of the verse puts this beyond all doubt, “ Let us eat and drink,” said they, " for to-morrow we shall die.

We are not to imagine that these words were spoken seriously by one of those presumptuous and boasting rebels. The most daring amongst them must have been conscious, that the aspect of the king of terrors, at their most sumptuous entertainments, would leave them no appetite for flesh or wine. They meant it as a scoff, a witty saying, for turning into ridicule the warn

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