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possession, “ shall be fully come,” we shall be claimed by him as his property, his portion, his inheritance for ever.]
2. How solicitous is God to counteract the folly and wickedness of man!
[A subordinate end of the Jubilee was, to counteract the cupidity of some, and the prodigality of others. But it is a very principal end of the gospel to remedy the miseries, which men have entailed upon themselves.' Well might God have said to the whole human race, “ Yc have sown the wind, and ye shall reap the whirlwind:” but instead of that, He says, « Ye have sold yourselves for nought, and ye shall be redeemed without money:'n “I have no pleasure in the death of a sinner, turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die?” Let not then these gracious declarations reach our ears in vain; Behold, “ the year of the Lord's redeemed is come;" 6 the perfect law of liberty” is now proclaimed: the Lord himself now preaches " deliverance to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound:"p he says to the prisoners “Go forth and shew yourselves.” The Lord grant that none may put from them these words of life, or receive this grace of God in vain!] i 3. How blessed are they who embrace the glad tidings of the gospel!
[We can easily conceive the blessedness of one, who is in an instant restored from poverty and cruel bondage to the possession of liberty and affluence. But who can estimate aright the happiness of those who are freed from the curses of the law, the fears of death, the bondage of sin, and the damnation of hell? Who can fully appreciate the joy of a trembling and condemned sinner, who by the sound of the gospel is enabled to call God his Father, and heaven his rightful inheritance? Well does the Psalmist, in reference to this very ordinance of the Jubilee, exclaim, “ Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound.”q Surely there is no state on earth to be compared with this. May we seek it as our supreme felicity; and may we all enjoy it as an antepast of heaven!].
CXXVII. ZION A TYPE OF THE CHURCH.
Ps. cxxxii. 13–16. The Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath de
sired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will also clothe her priests with salvation; and her suints shall shout aloud for joy.
THE efficacy of fervent prayer is strongly marked in the holy scriptures: there is scarcely a saint, respecting whom any information is given us, who may not be ad duced as an example of God's readiness to answer prayer. Solomon, if, as some suppose, he was the author of this Psalm, records the answer which God vouchsafed to the supplications he had offered at the dedication of his tem. ple; and it is worthy of observation; that the very language of his petition was made the vehicle of God's promise.a
In considering these words we shall notice 1. God's love to his church
Mount Zion must be numbered among the most distinguished types, not only because its very name is given to the church of Christ, but because God's love to his church was represented to the world by the favours conferred on that chosen hill. As formerly on mount Zion, so now in the Christian church, God 1. Dispenses his ordinances
The Jews were not suffered to present their offerings in any other place: there alone were the sacrifices to be slain; and there alone were the means of reconciliation with God to be exhibited before their eyes. Thus in the church of Christ, and in that only, have we the way of life and salvation fully opened. Among the heathen world we behold no traces of that path marked out for us in the gospel: but wherever God has called a people to the knowledge of his Son, and appointed over them a faithful shepherd, there his word is preached with power; there the atoning blood of Jesus flows: the administration of the sacraments is not there an empty ceremony, but a lively and impressive exhibition of the doctrines of grace.]
a Compare ver. 8-10. and 2 Chron. vi. 41, 42. with the text and the verse following it.. ..
2.- Vouchsafes his presence · [When the ark, which had long abode in a moveable tabernacle at Shiloh, was brought to Zion, its residence was fixed; and the deity, whom it represented, called that place his “rest.” From that time his visible glory was revealed there: he dwelt between the cherubims; and was accessible to all through the blood of the sacrifices, and the mediation of the High Priest. In the church also is his glory seen, even " the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Whatever may be known of him in the works of creation and providence is darkness itself, in comparison of that light which shines in his gospel. To those, who seek his face, “he manifests himself, as he does not unto the world;" and often constrains them to cry out with astonishment, “How great is his goodness! how great is his beauty!”] 3. Communicates his blessings,
[When the high priest had finished his work within the vail, he came forth to bless the people: and his word was confirmed by God to all penitent and believing worshippers. So now in his church does God bless his people with all spiritual blessings. He imparts pardon to the guilty, strength to the weak, consolation to the troubled: whatever any stand in need of, they are sure to obtain it, if they come to him in his appointed way.b This thousands can attest; this thousands yet unborn shall, in every succeeding age, experience.]
But his love to the church will yet further appear by considering II. The promises made to her
These, as has been observed, precisely accord with the petitions offered. In them God assures his church that he will bestow abundant blessings 1. On the ordinances
[There may be in the text some reference to the assembling of all the males three times a year at Jerusalem, when it was probable that the conflux of such multitudes to one place might produce a scarcity of provisions and thereby distress the poor. This effect God promises to counteract by giving them abundant crops. But certainly we must understand this as relating also to spiritual food: and how delightfully is it verified under the ministration of the gospel! The word, dispensed in one short hour, has like the bread multiplied by our Lord, been food for thousands; and though simple, and unadorned, has, like the pulse given to Daniel and his companions, been
more nutritious than all the dainties sent from the monarch's table.c]
2. On those who administer the ordinances · [The priests, who served in the temple, were clad with linen, to denote the purity that was expected of them. But they, who minister under the gospel, provided they walk worthy of their high and holy office, shall be “ clothed with salvation” itself: “ in watering others, they themselves shall be watered;" and “ in saving others, they themselves shall be saved.” Nor is this a blessing to themselves alone; for, in proportion as ignorant and ungodly ministers are a curse to those over whom they are placed, the superintendence of pious, intelligent, and faithful ministers must be esteemed a blessing.] 3. On those who attend the ordinances
The request made by Solomon was, that “the saints might shout for joy:" and God tells him that they shall shout aloud for joy: thus does God on numberless occasions give us more than we either asked or thought. A faithful dispensation of the ordinances is a source of joy to many souls. The saints especially, who receive the truth in the love of it, are often enabled by it to “rejoice with joy unspeakable and glorified.” And this is a blessing, not to themselves only, but to the whole church. By this they adorn, and recommend the gospel; and are stimulated to diffuse the savour of it all around them.) INFER
1. How little reason have mere formal worshippers to think that they belong to the church of God!
[The enjoyment of these promises is inconsistent with habitual formality; either therefore God falsifies his word (which it were the vilest blasphemy to imagine) or the formalist is yet, an “ alien from the commonwealth of Israel.”
2. How impotent are all attempts to destroy the .church!
3. How strong is the Christian's obligation to serve and honour God! . [Does God so delight in his church as to make it his rest, and to load it with so many benefits? Surely every member of it should testify his gratitude by a cheerful and unreserved obedience.]
c Dan. i. 12, 13. #Ps. cxxv. 1. and xlviii. 12, 13. and xlvi. 5. and Matt. xvi. 18.
CXXVIII. THE TEMPLE A TYPE OF CHRIST AND HIS
1 Pet. ii. 4, 5. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, dis.
allowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. .
stature of order that he spiring after.
AS in the natural life, so in the spiritual, a state of maturity is attained by a slow and gradual progression; but every one should be aspiring after a further growth in grace, in order that he may reach the full measure of the stature of Christ. For this end the apostle exhorts those, who had tasted that the Lord is gracious; to covet the sincere milk of the word; and to come continually to Christ, in order to their more abundant edification in faith and love. His allusions to the material temple are worthy of our attentive consideration: he compares Christ to the foundation-stone, and believers to the other stones built upon it; thereby shewing, that the temple had a typical reference to them, I. In its foundation
Christ is here represented as the foundation-stone on which all are built
[When personally considered, Christ is represented as the temple itself, in which dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead:a but, as considered in relation to his people, he is the foundation-stone, that supports the whole edifice. The quality ascribed to this stone is indeed singular, but it is perfectly suited to him of whom it is spoken. Christ is called “ a living stone, not merely as being of distinguished excellence (as he is also the “living bread,” and “living water”) but as having life in himself, and being the author of life to all who depend upon him: a quickening energy proceeds from him, which pervades and animates every part of this spiritual fabric.] In this situation He is precious to all who know him
[He has indeed in all ages been“ disallowed of men,” who, blinded by Satan and their own lusts, neither “saw any beauty in him for which he was to be desired," " nor would come to him that they might have life.” The very persons appointed
John ii. 19–21.
Isaj. xxviii. 16. 1 Cor. iii. 11.'