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ZECHARIAH IV. 7.
Who art thou, O great mountain ? before Zerubbabel thou
shalt become a plain : and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace
The Lord's work will always meet with opposition. Those who engage in it should count the cost. They may expect trials from every quarter; but the Lord will stand by them. Satan and the world combine to oppose the Lord's interest. We have an instance of this in the building of the second temple. After the heathen princes, secretly influenced by Jehovah, permitted the Jews to return to their native land, and rebuild their city and temple; they met with remarkable opposition in Judea, where it might have been least expected. Tobiah, Sanballat, and others, employed every art which malice could dictate, or policy invent, to obstruct and retard the work. However, it went on. Nehemiah is perhaps the most shining and unexceptionable character recorded in the Scriptures. He was zealous, steady, and indefatigable. He endured great hardships with patience.
By every possible method he animated the builders, and encouraged them by his example. Aware that much depended on one in his station, and possessed of such endowments, he despised opposition, and said, should such a man as I fly? He was undaunted, and immoveable as a rock. Zerubbabel had a distinguished share in the work, and was greatly discouraged. In the name of the Lord, Zechariah encouraged his heart and strengthened his hands. He assured him in the preceding verse, that though the return of the Jews was not accomplished by great force, or with the pomp of a victorious army, brought about in a way more safe and honourable, by the Spirit of the Lord. He restrained the hearts of enemies, and inspired the returning captives with fortitude. By the good hand of God upon them, they reached the holy city. In the text, Zerubbabel is encouraged by a Divine assurance that the temple would be finished in spite of opposition, and the last stone brought forth with triumphant shoutings. The verse is introduced as the address of Jehovah to the enemies of the work, and expresses his majesty and power, his indignation against his enemies, and contempt of all their devices. Should they appear huge and immoveable as mountains, and stable as the rocks, before Zerubbabel the Lord shall make them a plain. The text is concluded with an assurance that, however discouraging the prospect might be at present, Zerubbabel should bring the work to an happy and honourable conclusion. Both parts of the text were designed to inspire the builders with courage; and, by the Lord's blessing, they produced
the gracious effect. The builders took courage, and persevered. The work prospered. The head-stone was brought forth, and the Jews shouted, and praised Divine
grace. With some propriety, Zerubbabel has been reckoned a type of Christ. Till his second coming, the Redeemer will be employed in building his great spiritual temple. Mountains of opposition will be continually reared up to obstruct the work. They shall all be made a plain. His hand shall never be a single moment from the work till the head-stone be brought forth. Then the redeemed, with endless praise, shall shout and sing, Grace, grace!
In discoursing from these words, we propose to open the import of both clauses, and apply the subject.
I. It was proposed to take notice of some truths implied in these words, Who art thou, O great mountain ? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain. Without restricting this clause to the immediate opposition against the building of the second temple, it imports,
1. That God has his eye upon those who oppose his work, and observes all their devices. He as it were calls them by name, and makes a home charge. Here he says, Who art thou, O great mountain ? He is always equally acquainted with every enemy. His foes vainly imagine that “ the Lord shall not see, nor the God of Jacob regard." He knows every individual among them, and all that is in his heart.
When they collect and combine, he is acquainted with their numbers, designs, and machinations, and shall defeat them all. On this head the 83d Psalm may be consulted. He knows their opposition before they are acquainted with it themselves. He watches their progress, and, in the most unexpected season, brings their counsel to nought. Plots devised with the utmost secrecy and subtlety never escape his notice. The eyes of the Lord run throughout the whole earth in behalf of his people, and are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. He knows every device of Satan, and all the motions of the sinful heart.
2. That what would be a total hinderance to Sion and the believer is nothing to Christ. So potent and mighty were the opposers of the second temple, that they reckoned the few builders would as soon move the surrounding hills as defeat their counsels. In an unbelieving hour the builders might be of the same opinion. The Redeemer intimates in the address that these enemies were nothing before Him. The question, who art thou ? at once expresses his own dignity and their insignificance, his power and their impotence. Often he accepts his enemies in similar language. Remarkable are those words, Isaiah xlii. . 13—16, “ The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. I have long time holden my peace, I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy, and devour at once. I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their
herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools.”
Every obstacle in the Christian's way to heaven, at some time or other, appears to him wholly insurmountable. Guilt stares him in the face. In point of magnitude it is like a great mountain. In respect of number, his iniquities are like the sand on the sea shore. The power of sin is strong and prevalent. The world frowns. The opposition of Satan, that strong man, is most formidable. The saint trembles. Instead of expecting victory, sometimes he looks on the cause as lost. So insignificant and unavailing are these ills of opposition before Christ, that he speaks of them with contempt and indignation. About every saint, in his own time, he addresses the mountain, and it is removed. If, with faith as a grain of mustard seed, the believer can say to this and that mountain, be thou removed and cast into the sea; with infinitely greater ease can the Author of faith cast them all away, and make them a plain. In this as well as in another sense, if he touch the mountains they vanish into smoke. If he cast forth his lightning, they are scattered ; and if he shoot out his arrow, they are destroyed. His enemies can go no farther than they are permitted. Satan is chained. The human heart is under his control. All power in heaven and earth is given unto him.
3. It imports, that if the greatest opposition can be easily removed, the Lord's people have no reason to fear that which is less. A great mountain is addressed, and enemies of less influence had reason to fear. When the eyes of the blind man were so far