תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

where in the word of God any intimation that they should not?. We find none. And of those who will limit them, we demand the express“ statute of repeal.” “Explicit authority," as has been well said, “ for relinquishing a practice, being quite as indispensable as explicit authority for commencing one,' –if so in a practice, far more so in a principle and command. So far from there being any intimation of a repeal of these principles, it is manifest from many general maxims, that they are perpetual to all nations, so long as sun and moon endure, as-ordinances settled in heaven; thus in the passages already quoted:

Happy is the people whose God is the Lord-Righteousness exalteth a nation; sin is the reproach of any people-Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people whom he hath chosen for his inheritance." These expressions are general maxims; neither in form nor meaning, bearing to be limited to the Jews only.

3. Do the facts in the history of God's dealings with the Jews correspond with these principles, and do they give any lessons to other nations? That the facts correspond with

the principles, there can be no manner of doubt. Every reader of the Bible knows that the Jews, as a people, prospered just in proportion as they obeyed the voice of the Lord their God. Their whole history is an illustration of this truth, both direct and collateral. Of the collateral we have the case of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, hardening their hearts, and rebelling against God, and refusing to let Israel go, and receiving in themselves that recompense which was meet in their terrible overthrow. We find the Canaanites destroyed, as it is expressly declared, on account of their signal wickedness, Deut. ix. 4: “For the wickedness of these nations did God drive them out." And the same judgments are threatened upon the Israelites, if they followed their pernicious ways;* and when these nations were driven out, and God's people planted in their stead, we find that the national glory, freedom, happiness, and prosperity—that the national sun rose or fell exactly as they did, or did not do homage to the King of kings and Lord of lords. I need not recount to any reader of the Bible, the various instances in which God prospered them when they served him, or sent them war, famine, pestilence, and gave them into the hands of their enemies, to defeat, captivity, and slavery, when they signally despised and rebelled against him. Under the judges, he gave them repeatedly into the hands of the Philistines, who grievously oppressed them, because “they did evil in the sight of the Lord;" and when they confessed and bewailed their sin, God said to them, Judg. x. 13, 14. “Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods; wherefore I will deliver you no more.” We find them punished in the days of Saul, for their refusing to be under the immediate government of God, and demanding a king like the nations around them; Saul himself rejected from being a king; “because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king”-and that too when he was obeying, and because he obeyed the popular will. “ And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and thy words, because. I feared the people, and obeyed their voice;'* and at last he perished miserably, amid disaster and defeat, on the mountains of Gilboa-fell upon his own sword and died. Under David, the man after God's own heart, we find God dealing with the Israelites by the same unbending moral government. As the servant of God he was favoured with great success. But when, in distrust of the Almighty, and looking to the arm of flesh, he numbered the people, and God proposed to him the choice of any of three plagues, he chose the pestilence, choosing rather to fall into the hand of God than the hand of man, for his mercies are great." “ So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people, from Dan even to Beersheba, seventy thousand men." On account of the wickedness of Solomon the kingdom was rent and divided under his son. There succeeded a race of princes, generally speaking, remarkable for their wickedness; and God did bring successive wars and calamities upon Israel and Judah; and we read, 2 Kings xvii. 18-23: “ Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only. Also Judah kept not the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made. And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight. For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king; and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the Lord, and made them sin a great sin. For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them, until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.The Jews, though assailed, yet were preserved and blessed under good king Hezekiah. But successive prophecies are delivered threatening judgments, as 2 Kings xx. 16, 17: “And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord: Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord.” Also 2 Kings xxi. 10–17: “And the Lord spake by his servants the prophets, saying, Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with 'his idols; therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab; and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping its and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies, and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies; because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked' me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day. Moreover, Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; besides his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.” And those threatenings are fulfilled in the captivity of Babylon. They are afterwards, and when their iniquity was full, by their putting to death the Son of God, visited with most terrible destruction. Let any one glance at the lamentations and denunciations of the prophets, and the uniform and universal lesson is, that their calamities were brought upon them because they had forsaken and revolted against the Lord, regarded not the work of the Lord, nor the operation of his hands, and were a people laden with iniquity; and therefore God asked, “Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” And to see this, you have only to peruse, (which I earnestly request you to do,) the threatening—the curse in Deut. xxviii

* Josh. xxiii. 3-16.

* 1 Sam. xv. 23, 24.

. 45–68; and, without quoting from Josephus and other historians, I remark that this which was a prophecy in the time of Moses, was made literal history a few years after the ascension of our Lord, declaring in most awful terms that the Most High God ruleth among the kingdoms of men. - The concluding verses are so historically striking, that I cannot help quoting them at length. “And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: and thy life shall hang in doubt be

[ocr errors]

shalt say,

وو

fore thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: in the morning thou

Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see .it no more again; and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you."

If the principles we have laid down be correct, other nations must have experienced the same things. That they have done so is abundantly evident from history as well as from the word of God. We find Moab, Edom, Philistia, Egypt, and Zidon, were successively, as foretold, visited with desolation and destruction. Regarding Babylon and its utter desolation, we read that it was the doing of the Lord of hosts as a moral retribution, Isa. xiii. 19-22. Again, “How is Babylon become a desolation among the nations! I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware: thou art found and also caught, because thou hast striven against the Lord. The Lord hath opened his armoury, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation: for this is the work of the Lord God of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans." Jer. 1. 23-25.

The history of all nations declares that when they have fallen, they have "fallen by their iniquity"-by irreligion and impiety, profaneness, luxury, cruelty, injustice, covetousness, a base avarice that robbed even God, and left his house to lie waste-his worship to be slighted and degraded, while they themselves, as God by Haggai complains, “dwelt in ceiled houses," and wallowed in riot and dissipation; all virtue ceased; falsehood, venality, and every corruption prevailed, and they sunk under the just judgments of God. Peruse the history of nations, ancient or modern, and the same moral lesson is taught. The Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and

« הקודםהמשך »