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sanctuary, in " their hearts are the ways of them." Again. By the protraction and the repetition of the services they would be more noticed, and more remembered by the people, and especially by their children. To which we may add, That thus an equal honour would be put upon each tribe. Each had his own standard in the army, each had his precious stone in the breastplate of Aaron, and each had a separate day for the presentation of his offering, accord ing to the order in which they were to move, or encamp, beginning with Judah, and ending with Naphtali.
Thirdly, The account of each dedication is expressly given, and repeated in the very same words, without the least variation or abridgement. This swells the chapter to a great length. In reading it perhaps we have sometimes been ready to think the sameness tiresome; and to say, this might easily have been avoided if the sacred historian, after the recital of the offering of the first prince's offering, had said, and “ so did the remaining eleven." But there is no vain repetition in the Scriptures. God would show that he was no respecter of persons; that he is not unrighteous to forget our work and labour of love; that a book is written before him, in which he records the services of every individual,
DECEMBER 14.--" And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." ---Heb. v. 9. 4. We are made perfect as sin is subdued in us, as nonness prevails, as we love the law of God, and find his service our delight. It is . thus we are transformed by the renewing of the mind; and are changed from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord. But this was not the case with the Lord Jesus. He was the Holy One of God. He had in him nothing to mortify, nothing to eradicate, nothing to convert. And the term here does not refer to his personal perfection, but to his official. He stood in a peculiar relation to us, as the accomplisher of our recovery from the Fall; and for this a certain kind of process was necessary, by way of qualification; including his incarnation, abasement, and suffering. This is fully expressed in an earlier part of the Epistle, where it is said he was mnade “perfect through suffering ;" and that “it behoved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren.” The same is more than implied in the words before rs: “ Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things he suffered ;” and, in this way, 66 being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." And it is by his poverty we are enriched ; it is by his stripes we are healed; it is by his death we live. He was our Redeemer in order to be our righteousness and strength. He procured on the cross all that he applies on the throne.
The author of a work is very distinguishable from the means. And this is peculiarly the case in the work before us. The Scriptures, ministers, ordinances, providences, may all aid us in attaining salvation ; but he is the author; neither is there salvation in any other: no man cometh unto the Father, but by him.
To be the author of some works is a disgrace; to be the author of others is a very little honour; but there are works which have
gained for their performers the admiration and praises of nations, and of ages. To be the author of salvation, is to surpass every other agent, more than the sun differs from a glow-worm. All the angels of God, and they are good judges, exclaim at the sight of it with a loud voice, “ Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." All other deliverers and benefactors are as much below him in kindness and efficiency, as the body is inferior to the soul, and time to eternity.
He is the author of eternal salvation. Eternity wculd add dignity to a trifle. But what an importance does it attach, what a crowning glory and happiness, when it is added to our wishes and our hopes! What the world promises the votaries of riches, fame, and pleasure, is uncertain, short, vanishing: and they set their heart on that which is not. But you, O Christian, have chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from you. You have a better and an enduring substance. Your salvation shall be for erer. For ever-absolutely. All other salvations are everlasting only by comparison. The various deliverances of the Jews terminated in fresh ruin; and they were again conquered, spoiled, and enslaved. But the believer is passed from death unto life, and shall never come into condemnation. The crown he obtains is a crown of glory, that cannot fade away. His portion is without any qualification of the term perfectly endless-His song will always be new: his blessedness always beginning. For ever--emphatically. Tbe presedi system is too narrow and too short for its developement and realization. There must be new heavens and a new earth. There must be an immortality of duration. It is to eternity this salvation principally looks. Eternity is the grand sphere of it. There its glories are to be displayed: there its treasures are to be possessed; there its blessings are to be enjoyed. And so shall we be for ever with the Lord.
But who will be the partakers of this salvation?“ All," says the Apostle, “that obey him." Does he mean then to exclude from hope those who have hitherto been disobedient? Who then could be saved ? Christians themselves will acknowledge, that thes themselves were sometimes foolish and disobedient; and that it was after this the lovingkindness of God their Saviour towards them appeared. And is not the language of the Gospel addressed 10 such ? "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." But the Apostle would intimate, that the salvation is a holy salvation; that though its blessings are derived entirely from grace, they can only be enjoyed in a state of obedience; that though this obedience is not the cause of the salvation it is the accompaniment, and characterizes all those who are the subjects of it.
Do we then obey him ? How reasonable is this obedience ? But how necessary is it!
We cannot be ignorant of his will. We know that he commands us to believe on his name, to deny ourselves, to take up our cross, to follow bim, to seek ulose things which are above. What is our
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DECEMBER 15.--"But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.''-2 Kings ni. 15.
We have here a narrative of the expedition of Jehoram king of Israel against Moab. He drew into the enterprize not oniy the king of Edom, but Jehoshaphat the king of Judah; a good man, but who was here led into temptation, for which he would have perished, if the Lord had dealt with him after his desert. We are not to hate the irreligious, or refuse to do them good as we have opportunity; but with regard to unhallowed intimacy and alliances, we are to remember that evil communications corrupt good manners, and that as for such as turn aside to their crooked ways, the Lord will lead them forth with the workers of iniquity. This was not the first time Jehoshaphat had erred in the same thing. He had some years before joined with Ahab the father of Jehorar, and had paid dear for his folly. The proverb says, a burnt child dreads the fire. Even an animal, who has once suffered, will avoid the cause for ever after. But men are not equally wise-"Why will ye be stricken any more? Ye will revolt more and more."
To return. “So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom; and they fetched a compass of seven days journey: and there was no water for the host, and for the catile that followed them. And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!” But was it the Lord's doing? The distress was from him, but not the cause. But so it is; "the foolishness of man perverteth his way, and his heart fretteth against the Lord.” Yet å godly man' will differ from others, even in a common mistake or calamity; and “Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may enquire of the Lord by him ?" He should have consulted before he took a step, both as to the war itself, and the direction they were to take. It was thus David always did, and prospered. Yet it was better done late than entirely neglected. We have also here an image of what frequently takes place. God's servants are not thought of in ease, prosperity, and health : but when conscience is alarmed, when trouble comes, when sickness and death threaten-then where is the minister ? Send for the minister!
But how came Elisha here? In such a place! In such company! He was not here as the king's chaplain, or the army's chaplain ; he was deemed hy both the troubler of Israel. It is probable, as God designed to put honour upon him, that he was there by a divine impulse. However this may be, he was there : for “one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here is Elisha, the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah." Upon this Jehoram is silent. But Jehoshaphat commends him, and says, “ The word of the Lord is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king
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of Edom went down to him. And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.”
It seems surprising that Jehoram did not resent this. But his haughty spirit was bowed down, and his conscience sided with the man of God.
It is a character of a citizen of Zion, how much more of a nessenger of Divine truth, that in his eyes a vile person is contemned, while he honours them that fear the Lord. What a difference is there between the righteous and the wicked! And we should feel it, and show it in our conduct-But we must show it properly. And here some distinction is necessary. Elisha does not here speak as a subject ; there is a respect due to a sovereign officially, whatever be his character ; and therefore Paul retracted an exceptionable expression, remembering that it was said, “ Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.” But it was the prophet who here spoke in the name of the Most High God. Yet something of nature, it would seem, mingled with it; so that he was irritated and ruffled, and was rendered for the time unsusceptible of the prophetic inspiration. And what does he ? “Bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.”
Minstrels were persons who played on the harp, and also sung, and sometimes with dancing. They are now unusual; but they were very common formerly, in most countries. There were many of them in Israel.
The love of music is generally reckoned a sign of a good tem. per, and the use of it may help a bad one. The indulgence of it may be carried to excess, and be abused; but upon the whole, it is one of the most innocent, as well as agreeable employments. It has often been called in to inflame unhallowed mirth; but the Moravians, and Luther, and Calvin, and a thousand more, have proved that it is not only consistent with devotion, but aidful of it. It is founded in human nature. God has constructed us alive to it. Pythagoras used it always before he retired to bed. Plato recommends the use of it in the laws of his republic. David, by his harp, often chased away the evil spirit from Saul. It was much practised by the students in the schools of the prophets : hence Samuel said to Saul, at a certain place “thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a labret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: and the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man." And here we find Elisha called in a devout Levite, to play and sing before him, to calm and raise his spirits, to receive the message of the Almighty.
Who thinks sufficiently of the dependence of spirit on matter? Does not every thing religious first address itself to the senses ?
But let us derive an example from Elisha. Let us serve God without distraction. Let us lift up holy hands without wrath and doubting. Let us cherish in religious exercises serenity, and love, and gentleness of mind, and feeling
"The Spirit like a peaceful dove,
Flies from the realms of noise and strife;
Who seals our souls to heavenly lise 3"
# DECEMBER 16.--"Ah Lord God! behold thou hast made the heaven and the
earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and THERE IS NOTHING TOO HARD FOR THEE."--Jer. xxxii. 17.
Much of true godliness consists in our holding communion with God not only in his relations, but in what we call his stributes or the perfections of his nature. We should especially do this, as our circumstances and experience render the exertion of any one of them in particular peculiarly needfuland reasonable. This might be exemplified with regard to our misery and his mercy, our guilt and his grace, our ignorance and his wisdom. But what is the practical use we should make of the truth before us? a truih vin all will readily acknowledge in speculation? “Nothing is cord for thee.”
Why then surely we should flee from his wigs and seek an interest in his favour. Who would not dread the displeasure of Omnipotence? Who knoweth the power of his anger ? It is a fearful thing to fall into the hand of the living God. His wrath is almighty. It can arm every creature against me, from an insect to an archangel. It can operate immediately upon my mind without the intervention of instruments. It can reach me, where no mortal foe can touch me, beyond death and the grave. Hence, said the Saviour, “Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear : Fear him, which after he hath killed bath rower to cast into hell ; yea, I say unto you, Fear him." But if he can be an almighty enemy, he can be an Omnipotent friend. He can cause all creatures to be at peace with me; and make all things to work together for my good. If he loves me and provides for me, the providence, the love is attended with infinite means and resources : and e; e hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
* And can this mighty Lord
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My Father and my Friend?” He has rendered it more than possible. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” He waits to be gracious, and is exalted to have mercy upon us. He has established a ministry of reconciliation. By his servants God himself beseeches you to be reconciled unto God!
If nothing is too hard for him, let me depend upon him for the renovation of my depraved nature. Indeed when I consider myself, and think of the work that is to be accomplished, that it is not a mere change of opinion, a reformation of manners, but a transformation by the renewing of the mind, I should see no medium between utter despondency and that hope which leads me to this rock which
is higher than I. He is the God of all grace. He can enlighten · this understanding, dark as it is. He can soften this heart, hard as it ( is. He can render my duty my privilege; my work my pleasure.
He can put his Spirit within me, and cause me to walk in his sta