Page images
PDF
EPUB

ber, that to secure it He gave that brow, now surrounded with glory, to be encircled with thorns; and that we might cry “ Abba Father” in the spirit of adoption, He uttered the piercing cry, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?–My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark xv. 34.) “He was made sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. v. 21.) I know not how to stop on this subject. The love of Christ is infinite; it has lengths and breadths and depths and heights which pass

knowledge. Eph. iii. 19. “ Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2 Cor. ix. 15.)

How fertile the fields looked the other day after that long and painful drought. The rain came down the previous night, and we could almost see the arid and parched field change its colour as we gazed on it. Such is the blessing of the word of God when ministered by God's Holy Spirit to the soul. His gracious presence is like the showers upon the mown grass! How beautiful the language of Moses,—“Give ear, 0 ye heavens, and I will speak: and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.” (Deut. xxxii. 1, 2.) And again in that most interesting chapter of Isaiah,—“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater; so shall my word be

that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I send it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle-tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” (Isa. lv. 10–13.) Here the illustration is exactly the same as in Deuteronomy, and though the ultimate extent of the prophecy looks forward to a period when all shall be joy—the times of the restitution of all things, when Creation, delivered from the bondage of corruption, shall rejoice in the reign of its rightful King who has redeemed it—the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, yet doubtless now there is an earnest of it in those who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, (Rom. viii. 23,) for where the Holy Spirit dwells, the brier and the thorn, the angry and cruel passions, are exchanged for the myrtle and the fir-so beautifully emblematic of the fruits of the Spirit, (see Gal. v. 22, 23,) for though sin is not eradicated, it is subdued; and God's Holy Spirit, and not Satan, has the dominion, and reigns in, and over the new-born child of God. (Rom. vi. 14.)

Another beautiful figure in nature is the Dex, and none is more frequently used—but I will mention three especial allusions to it. Do you remember the other morning, in our drive to H., it would have

been in vain to have sought to count the glittering dew-drops of the morning: the sun was up, and every drop seemed a radiant gem upon the indescribable beauty around. I thought of that multitude which no man could number, and it seemed to me at once to expound the sublime description in Psalm cx. “thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.” Hebrew scholars say the word “willing” is used in the highest degree, it is MOST WILLING, and the last clause is literally “thy progeny shall be as dew from the womb of the morning.” Bright and glorious will be the morning of the Resurrection of the just: then the Sun of Righteousness shining on the dew, every drop shall glisten and be resplendent in His brightness. But not only is the dew thus used, but it has also a second order of illustration; when speaking of Israel's captivity being turned, in Hosea xiv. 5th verse, the Lord says, “I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow (or blossom) as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon." Last

year,

if you remember, I told you of my visit to the great synagogue in Duke's Place, London, at the feast of the Passover; and how I was struck with astonishment at the number of the prayers offered to the Lord as the Father of the Deu, entreating him to be as the dew to Israel. I asked an aged Jew by me what it meant, and he said it was all a figure, but I said of what? and he looked at me as if disinclined to answer. Poor Israel ! yes, you shall again be visited by the dew, the Lord shall indeed return to Jerusalem with

mercies, (Zech. i. 16,) he will yet be as the cloud of dew in the heat of harvest; for Israel, with the Spirit poured out from on high, shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. (Isa. xxvii. 6; Micah v. 7; Zech. viii. 12, 13.) There is yet one more use of this gracious figure; it occurs in Psalm cxxxiii., and sets forth the love that brethren in the Lord should have one to the other; the scene of the Psalm is supposed to be “the whole Levite family attending in the service of God.” “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” The dew of Hermon descended upon all the mountains of Zion; the little hill, the Mizar, received it, as well as the lofty Lebanon; so in the sweet offices of brotherly love, the least disciple is not to be overlooked, and the gracious One that watches the whole family, says that a cup of cold water given in the name of a disciple, shall not be forgotten of Him. It was the remark of a Pagan nobleman, that the early Christians sang hymns to Jesus as God, and that they loved one another; blessed testimony to their faith and practice; for truly where the Lord Jesus is not acknowledged as one with the Father over all, God blessed for ever, THERE IS NO SAVING FAITH: and where brotherly love is wanting, there is no evidence that the Faith is genuine.

It is a singular fact, that when the manna fell on the ground around the tents of Israel, it fell on the deu, (Numb. xi. 9,) and when the devo was exhaled or drawn up by the heat, (Exod. xvi. 14,) the manna remained in sight, to look upon like the coriander seed-small as the hoar-frost. I do not attempt to explain at large, dear children, the connexion between the dew and the manna, but it seems beautifully to set forth, that we only know Christ as the True Manna, by the teachings of the Holy Ghost given to us; thus when the poor leper was brought into the camp at peace with God, the blood was put on his right ear, right hand, and right foot, and the oil was put over the blood, setting forth the same truth, for so the Spirit of God consecrated him to serve God. (Lev. xiv. 14—18.)

The Clouds are often used in the Scripture as the symbol of the presence of God: thus it was in the cloudy pillar that the Lord manifested himself to Israel in mercy—to Egypt in judgment. It was the cloud of his presence that overshadowed the camp. (Exod. xiii. 21; Ps. cv. 39.) Clouds and darkness are also said to be about him.The Lord ascended from Olivet, and a cloud received him out of his people's sight. He was brought in the clouds of glory to the Ancient of days, (Dan. vii. 13,) and he shall come again in the clouds of glory. (Matt. xxvi. 64.) When, then, you look on the clouds, dear children, think of those wondrous scenes, and of that day, especially called the day of the Lord. (Luke xvii. 24; 2 Pet. iii. 12.) In the Epistle of Jude there is a figure used concerning the clouds, that I am not aware

« PreviousContinue »