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1st. “Seven times,” in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, was fulfilled in seven years. Nebuchadnezzar, for his pride and arrogancy against God, was driven among the beasts of the field, and was made to eat grass as oxen, until seven times passed over him, and until he learned that the Most High ruled in the kingdoms of men, and gave it to whomsoever he would. This being a matter of history, and as an allegory or sample to the people of God for their pride and arrogancy, in refusing to be reformed by God, and claiming the power and will to do these things themselves, – they, too, like Nebuchadnezzar, must be driven among the beasts of the field, (meaning the kingdoms of the world,) until they learn the sovereignty of God, and that he dispenses his favors to whomsoever he will. That, being a matter of history, , and a sample only, was fulfilled in seven years; but this, being a prophecy, will only be fulfilled in seven prophetic times, which will be 7 times 360 years, which will make 2520 years; for one half of 7 times, that is, 3 times and a half, is called, in Rev. xii. 6, 1260 days, (fulfilled in so many years.) See also Rev. xii. 14. xiii. 5. Forty-two months is the one half of 2520, for twice 1260 is 2520. Therefore the sum and substance of the whole is, that the people of God would be among the beasts, or kings of the earth, seven times, which is 2520 years, one half of which time they would be under literal Babylon, which means the ruling kings of the earth, viz. 1260 years; and the other half under mystical Babylon, the mother of harlots, the abomination of the whole earth, 1260 years; making in all 2520 years. Therefore seven times would the people of God be punished for their sins, to fill up the measure of the sufferings of Christ, before they would be delivered from all their enemies, and come into possession of the glorified kingdom which was prepared for them from the foundation of the earth. And Ezekiel alludes to the same “seven times,” Ezek. xxxix. 9, 10, “And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, Jerem. xv. 1–3, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, Jer. v. 14, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years; so that they shall take no wood out of the field, nor cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire; and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord God.” Ezekiel here gives us to understand that, by means of the people of God being driven out of their cities, and by the word of God, they would be enabled to destroy or be destroying their enemies, and to spoil those who had been spoiling them, and rob those who had robbed them; and this, too, would take seven years, or 2520 days; and, Ezekiel being commanded to reckon each day for a year, iv. 4–6, then it would be 2520 years. The proper question would now be, “When did those years begin " I answer, They must have begun with the first captivity of the tribe of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, in Babylon; for all the prophets agree in this thing, that Babylon would be the kingdom which would carry the Jews into captivity. See Jeremiah xv. 4. “And I will cause them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem.” Also let those who wish to read more on this subject, read Jeremiah, chapter 21st to the 29th, inclusive; and the prophecy of Ezekiel, from the beginning of the 1st chapter to the end of the 39th chapter; also the chapter in which is our text; — and we cannot for a moment doubt but that Babylon is the nation which was to make desolate Judah and Jerusalem. Then, if Babylon was the nation which was to scatter the people of God, and this, too, in the days of Manasseh, I ask, When was this captivity ? I answer, In the year 677 before Christ; see 2 Chron. xxxiii. 9–13; see also the Bible chronology of that event; this being the first captivity of Judah in Babylon. Then take 677 years, which were before Christ, from 2520 years, which includes the whole “seven times,” or “seven years,” prophetic, and the remainder will be 1843 after Christ; showing that the people of God will be gathered from among all, nations, and the kingdom and greatness of the kingdom will be given to the saints of the Most High ; mystical Babylon will be destroyed by the brightness of his coming ; and sin, and suffering for sin, will be finished to those who look for his coming. “And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad,” John xi. 51, 52. Yes, dear hearer, to them that look for his appearing, Christ will come the second time without sin unto salvation. “And can it be possible,” says the dear child of God, “that that day is so near as 1843? It is too good news for me to believe. Yet the evidence is very strong; it seems clear. I really believe I shall watch for it with a good deal of anxiety. And if it should not come, I shall, I feel now, be somewhat disappointed.” Yes, I am satisfied, this is the language of every Christian heart. “But,” says another, “it is all visionary. I do not believe it. And if I had any idea that it would be so, I could not take another moment's comfort of my life. What, the judgment day within seven years?” I cannot bear the thought? I will drive such thoughts from my mind. To you, whoever you are, whether professor or non-professor, who in your heart think such thoughts as these, I have one word to say. Your standing is desperate indeed. I am bold to tell you, you love not Jesus. Every moment, then, you delay coming to God through Jesus Christ, may be big with eternal consequences, even as the day of judgment, for aught you or I can tell. For instance, this may be the last moment the Holy Spirit will ever strive; it may be the last moment of reason; it may be the last moment of life; it may be the last moment of time; and you unprepared O God, reform these blinded souls, “who will not be reformed by thee, nor by these things,” or everlasting punishment will be their doom.
Who is th s that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved 7
THE text is a passage of divine inspiration, which strikes the mind of the hearer or reader with more than ordinary power and force; and is propounded by way of question, as though in the answer we might receive much instruction and useful knowledge. It is truly so; and may the Spirit of God assist us to gather honey from this beautiful flower from the wilderness. We find it in the Songs of Solomon, which are highly figurative and allegorical, and were when composed presented in poems or songs; but by reason of the translation they have come to us in prose.
Some have supposed, that when Solomon composed this Song, or Songs, they were composed for dramatical performances, either as preludes, interludes, or epilogues. But I am of opinion that it was composed for a prophetic song of Christ and his church. But be that as it may, they certainly do represent, in rich and beautiful figures, the character and love of Christ for his church; likewise, her character and love towards her divine Master, her connection to him, and her dependence upon him in this state of trial. That the church has been, and will be, in a state of trial as long as she remains imperfect, cannot be doubted by any man of common reflection, perception, or knowledge.
She has enjoyed her seasons of prosperity; and has been strongly tried in scenes of adversity. In tracing
s her history from the patriarch Abraham to the present day, we find her variable as the wind, and changeable as the weather. To-day, she is coming up out of the wilderness leaning on the arm of her beloved; to-morrow, “like a young ; leaping upon the mountains, and skipping upon the l]IIS. Now she is seen among the trees of the woods; next in a palace of silver inclosed in boards of cedar. There we saw her in the clefts of the rock; here we behold her in the broad way, in the streets of the great city. Again we find her among the foxes of the desert; and anon we perceive her seeking him whom her soul loveth. She is asleep on her bed by night; and the same night the watch finds her in the city. Behold her Lord, knocking at the door for admittance, while she is too indolent to arise and let him in. The next moment she is opening to her beloved; but he had withdrawn himself. At one time the voice of her beloved sounding over the hills, and echoing among the mountains like the roar of distant thunder, has no impression; next the soft whisper of love gains all her attention. Here blows the rough north wind and strong south wind upon her spices; yet they put forth no fragrancy. And there the lightest breeze makes her roses blossom, and all the air is perfume. o See her countenance to-day black as the tents of Kedar; and to-morrow comely as the daughters of Jerusalem, and fair as the purple curtains of Solomon. Today she is “a garden barred, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed;” to-morrow “a garden open, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.” Now she is weak as a babe ; a single watchman can “smite, wound, and take away her vail;” and then she is courageous and valiant, “terrible as an army with banners.” Today she is made to keep another's vineyard; to-morrow she is realizing a thousand pieces of silver from her own. She is truly a closeus being, carried about by the 23