Imatges de pàgina

by other sins, such as rapacity, or carnality, or idolatry, which were sure causes of ruin, these peoples nevertheless find the chief explanation of their doom in the “because, and the “therefore,” that in this vision connect their envy with their doom. (3) That these peoples would each suffer in the very sphere in which they cherished sin—Ammon in its cherished agriculture, Moab in its boasted forts, Tyre in its merchandise, Sidon in its thriving populations, first found the object of self-glorification, and then the very scene of their shame and suffering. (4) That these peoples' ruin would be more complete than that of the Jewish nation. For instance, Tyre would "never be found again," and Egypt, whose boast had been in power, the power that found emblems in a proud line of Pharaohs, could so utterly suffer in the coming retribution, that the kingdom would be as a broken-armed man, whose arm could not be set again.

The universal and permanent lessons of all this are clearlyI. THE INTEREST OF A TRUE MAN IN OTHER NATIONS BESIDE

The agony of Ezekiel about Jerusalem revealed a patriot's heart. His “dirge over the nations” proclaims the philanthropist. So it is with the genuinely godly. They are ever in some degree worthy of the title of this Hebrew seer“Son of man.” Every great soul breathes the spirit of Terence, Homo sum, et humani a me nil alienum puto." And most evidently none can be true followers of the Christ, whose favourite name for Himself was “ The Son of man,” who have not a deep sympathy with humanity in its world-wide struggles and destiny, rather than simply with its Saxon or Jewish developments.

II. THE UNIVERSALITY OF God's DOMINION. The Jehovah of the Jews was none the less the All-Father, the Universal King. And Tyre, and Egypt, and Israel, and all the people who were seen by the prophet to be under the reign of a Moral Governor, are but illustrations that all the nations that are, or are yet unborn, are girded with the iron laws of God's righteousness, and spanned by the heavens of God's love.



LANDS AND Times. The visions of the sins and penalties that were experienced by Israel and the seven pagan nations, serve to show the action of moral cause and effect, without any

distinction between the sacred and profane. And pages from the annals of Greece and Rome, and France and Spain, compared with these pages from the book of the old Hebrew prophet, show that in our study of moral sequences and divine laws we should


little heed to the artificial barriers of ancient and modern in history.

IV. THE DEGREES IN RETRIBUTION ACCORDING DEGREE OF Sin. There was still a holy seed in Israel; and, as we have seen, that prevented the extinction and pledged the recovery of that people. The nations that were corrupt in theory as well as practice, that knew no struggles to a higher life, no influential faith in Right, or God, or the Future, suffered irreparably. “If the righteous scarcely be saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear ?

?" Bristol.




The Preacher's Finger-Post.

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The text leads us to con-

I. His birth AS THE SON OF
Man. Two remarks-

First: He was born in ob-
scurity. “But thou, Bethle-
hem,” etc.

“ Bethlehem Ephratah," where Jacob says, “Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way when yet there was but å little way to come into Ephrath, and I buried her in the way

of Ephrath : the same is Bethlehem,” or“Bethlehem Judah,” so called to distinguish it from Bethlehem in

WHAT Christendom regards as the anniversary of our Lord's birth has come round again, and urges as ever upon

attention one of the grandest subjects of human thought.

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Zebulon. It is a few miles and influential opinion that south-west of Jerusalem. human dignity consists in Bethlehem means, the house birth and ancestral distincof bread : Ephrath means,

tions. fruitful. Both names refer- Secondly: He was born ring to the fertility of the according to Divine plan. Out region. Though thou be of thee shall He come forth little amongthough thou be unto Me~ Who? Jehovah. scarcely large enough to be The fact of His birth, the reckoned among, etc. It was scene of His birth, the object insignificant in size and popu- of His birth, were all accordlation; so that in Josh. xv. ing to a Divine plan. “ He 21, it is not enumerated shall be called Great, and among the cities of Judah ; the Son of the Highest." nor in the list in Neh. xi. 25. 6 Behold My servant whom Under Rehoboam it became I uphold, Mine elect in whom a city (2 Chron. xi. 6). “He My soul delighteth. He shall built Bethlehem.”

.come forth to Me. (1) AcThe Scribes' quotation of cording to My will. (2) To Micah, in answer to Herod's do My will. inquiry, prompted by the wise Thirdly: He was born to men of the East, who asked, an EMPIRE “ To be ruler in “Where is He that is born Israel.” He is the Prince of King of the Jews?" (Matt. Peace, on whose shoulders the ii. 6) seems

to contradict government is laid. He is a Micah, " thou art not the ruler, not a temporary ruler. least;” but the contradiction Temporary rule is but a is only seeming. What is shadow. He is to rule meant in Matthew is, that thought, intelligence, soul.

though thou art least in He is the greatest king who worldly importance, thou

governs mind; and no art morally greatest, inas

has obtained such a governmuch as thou art the birth- ment over mind as He who, place of the Messiah.” Why eighteen centuries ago,

the Illustrious One forth out of Bethlehem Ephthus born in such obscurity ? ratah." His kingdom is in. He had, what no other man creasing every day. ever had, the power of select- Thy sword upon Thy thigh, ing His own parentage and O most mighty,” etc. Speed birthplace. He might have the time when the “kingbeen born of royalty and doms of this world shall nursed in a palace. No doubt become the kingdoms of our there was the highest reason

Lord and of His Christ,' for this. It was a protest to etc. the ages against the popular II. His HISTORY AS THE SON

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OF GOD. “Whose goings forth

“Oh ! who can strive have been from of old, from

To comprehend the vast, the awful

truth everlasting ;” or, as Delitzsch

Of the eternity that hath gone by, has it, “Whose goings forth And not recoil from the dismaying are from olden time, from the days of eternity.” Micah does Of human impotence? The life of not announce here the eternal

Is summed in birthdays and in proceeding of the Son from

sepulchres; the Father, or of the Logos But the eternal God hath no befrom God, the generatio filii


He hath no end. Time had been æterna, as the earlier orthodox

with Him commentators suppose. Eter

For everlasting, ere the Dædal nal generation is a theological world fiction, a philosophical ab- Rose from the gulf in loveliness. surdity.

Like Him, “He who was before all

It knew no source ; like Him, 'twas

uncreate. time.” “I was set up from What is it then? The past etereverlasting," etc. - In the nity!" beginning was the Word.” “He was foreordained before the foundation of the world, Subject : A New Year's Adbut was manifested in these

DRESS. ALL FUTURITIES last times." "Glorify thou Me UNDER FATHERLY AUTHORITY. with thine own self, with

“ And He said unto them, It is the glory which I had with

not for you to know the times or Thee.”

the seasons, which the Father hath Whose goings have been put in His own power.”dcts. from of old, from everlast

i. 7. ing.' Goings forth !” What These words,-Amongst the for? To furnish immensity last words of the world's Great with innumerable worlds, and Teacher,-may be looked upon to people them with sentient in two aspects. and intelligent beings, to par

First : As a rebuke:. It ticipate in the infinite bounty was intended as a rebuke to of God. As the Son of God, His disciples, who, from a He has never had a begin- curiosity inspired by old prening, and has always been judices and worldly thoughts active. “ The Father worketh of wealth, grandeur, and emhitherto, and I work." His pire, desired to know whether activity explains the origin He was about establishing in and phenomena of the uni- Israel that material kingdom

“By Him were all which would make Jerusalem things created that are in the imperial mistress of the heaven or on the earth,” etc. world. “ Wilt Thou at this

time restore again the king

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dom to Israel ?” As if they of a Father, that He has all had said, “We know the king- | its waters in the hollow of dom will be restored sooner or His hand and all its winds in later: what we want to know His fist. This being the case, is, has the time come?" To we draw the following practithis Christ replies, " It is not


cal lessons : for you,” that is, it is not I. DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT your business to inquire into COMING TIMES. There is a such matters. Let the future tendency more or less in all to alone; it is a realm impene- antedate both their trials and trable to your vision. The their joys.

“ Take no anxious future will reveal itself in thought for the morrow,' history, time enough; your says the Teacher; and the daties are the present, out of reason Heassigns is—a fatherwhich your


grows. ly providence is over you. Do Live righteously in the present, not be anxious about (1) the and you will do well in coming needs of the future. Do not time. Would that modern distress yourself as to whether prophet-mongers would listen you shall have sufficient to to this rebuke!

carry you and your family The words may be looked through this old world or not. upon :-Secondly, as an Rest assured that the Lord will couragement. Theirencourage- provide. The same fatherly ment is, that the Father has care that has been over you in the future in His own power,

the past will superintend you under His own authority. through all future. Do not be How great is the future, anxious about (2) the trials of stretching on through inter- the future. Trials you will minable ages, involving the have, great and heavy: There histories of untold myriads of are storms ahead, severe and beings, worlds, and systems terrible; but remember, that

ocean illimitable, ever He who has the future under heaving, ever flowing, whose Him knoweth your frames billows are breaking ever on

and remembereth that you the shores of time ! When are dust, and He will give we attempt to think of our you strength according to individual future, all the your day. The Father hath probable events along the in His own hand every trial centaries and millenniums for


Not one will fall on through which are to pass, we you by accident, not one will feel confounded and

come on you with unkindness. whelmed. But that which Another practical lesson is :makes the future not only


II. DO NOT EXPECT ANY NEW tolerable but inspiring, is that CONDITIONS OF WELL-BEING IN all is under the management

The conditions



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