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testimony of Jewish history, it seems that the standard that floated over the royal tribe of Judah, and which was always planted before the door of the tabernacle towards the rising of the sun, when the camp was at rest, and which led the van of the tribes in the march, was a lion. Hence the Lord, who sprang out of Judah, being the Son of David by descent, was thus announced in the Book of Revelation, to John: “Behold the lion of the tribe of Juda; the Root of David hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” And John, looking for the Lion, “ beheld there a Lamb as it had been slain,” (Rev. v. 1—6.) But, as I before said, POWER is the characteristic of the lion, and therefore the emblem is continually used in this sense.
The righteous are bold as a lion-strong in the Lord, in the power of his might; they need not fear anything-neither life, nor death, nor principalities, nor powers; but, covered with the panoply of God, they are more than conquerors through him that loved them. (Rom. viii. 37—39.) And thus they are spoken of in God's word, not only as clothed with robes of white, but palms of victory in their hands. (Rev. vii. 9.)
At times when the Lord is revealing himself as coming to punish Israel, then the fierceness and power of the lion are awfully introduced,—“For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear, and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him. I will go and return to my place,
till they shall acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.” (Hosea v. 14.).
But the lion is more frequently used to denote the tremendous power and vigilance of the great enemy of souls. He is represented as going about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. v. 8;) continually watching mankind as his prey! It is a fearful figure. Oftentimes, in a moment unlooked for, he springs on his victim, and too fatally succeeds. But the eye of God's children must be to the Lord; and so shall they with Paul be enabled to say, “I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion; and the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2 Tim. iv. 17, 18.) And thus, in Isaiah, when that kingdom is revealed, it is beautifully said, “No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away,
” (Isa. xxxv. 9, 10.)
Satan, in the twofold character of the cunning serpent and terrific lion, is set forth also in the ninety-first Psalm as subjugated under the Messiah's power,—“ Thou shalt tread upon the lion; and the adder, the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under thy feet," (v. 13.)
In the last days, when Israel shall rise into power, and shall be (though a blessing to the world at large) as God's avengers on the nations that have despised his Gospel, they are thus spoken of:-“The Remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, in the midst of many people, as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goes through, both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.” (Mic. v. 8, 9.)
The Wolf, also, is an animal very frequently chosen in the book of God by way of illustration; but, (excepting in the blessing of Jacob on Benjamin,) it always sets forth cruelty, and an insatiate appetite for blood. Remember, in Livonia, its fearful power of destruction, and the force of the illustration will be strongly before you.
The wolf is said to be the most rapacious in the evening; and thus the figure is used in Jeremiah, when the prophet is mourning over the rebellion of his people, and speaks of the desolation coming upon them :-“Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them; a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces : because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased.” (Jer. v. 6.)
So, also, the prophet Habakkuk, under this emblem, describes the terrible army of the Chaldees, about to come down on Israel :-“Their
horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.” (Hab. i. 8.)
When the prophet Zephaniah would set forth the debased state of his people, how striking the imagery! “Her princes within her are as roaring lions ; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow.” The power of royalty, so good when exercised for the welfare of the people, was turned to cruelty. The uprightness and justness of the judge-a nation's blessing—was changed for rapacious violence. (Zeph. iii. 3.)
In the New Testament, also, our blessed Lord frequently alludes to this image. The great enemy of souls is the wolf, ever prowling about the sheepfold of God. False teachers are wolves in sheep's clothing; and Paul calls them grievous wolves entering in among them, not sparing the flock. (Acts xx.) Satan, as in the case of the young woman whom he possessed at Philippi, will even at times enter in as an angel, seeming to favour the Gospel; for he could say, when Paul and Silas crossed over from Asia to Europe, at the call of the man of Macedonia, “ These men are the servants of the Most High God, which show unto us the way of salvation.” But the Lord did not need such aid ; the evil spirit was rebuked by Paul; and then it was he changed his character to that of a ratening wolf. But the Lord was above all; for He sitteth above the water-floods. He had created the
smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for destruction, and He had created the waster to destroy, (Isa. liv. 16, 17;) and when he had done his work, then the Lord stayed his hand; and the earthquake shook the prison-house of his children, and the jailer and his house were added to the church at Philippi. (Acts xvi. 9–40.)
The Wolf also, as well as the lion, is most blessedly introduced in the 11th of Isaiah, as feeding with the gentler animals, during the reign of the Messiah—David's Son and David's Lord.
The Bear is an animal proverbially attached to her young; and this is the image introduced with exceeding force in Prov. xvii. 12; for when speaking of the pernicious tendency of the society of fools --that is, of the unwise, who know not Christ, the Wisdom of God, Solomon says,—“Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man rather than a fool in his folly.” Yes, my dear children, far better to lose one's life by the infuriated bear, than to fall into the hands of the ungodly. Look at this figure again and again; for it is most striking.
The third of the four terrific beasts that rose up from the tempestuous ocean, in the vision of Daniel, was like unto a bear; setting forth the Medo-Persian empire. (Dan. vii. 3.) And the beast of Revelation xiii. 2, seems to be a compound of the four beasts of Daniel, whose feet were as the feet of a bear.
It was a she bear that the Lord used in judgment on those despising children that mocked his servant Elisha. (2 Kings ii. 24.) A