Take up a lamentation for Tyrus.
2. Outward excellences lift up men's hearts, beget vain confidences, and cause them to boast. This is the great wickedness of cities enriched by God, that they forget Him, and glory in external excellences.
3. No situation, strength, or outward advantage can secure proud cities.
4. Artists will put forth themselves to the utmost to show their skill. "Thy builders have perfected thy beauty"; they concealed not their art; what skill soever they had in architecture, they strove to manifest the same.
(W. Greenhill, M. A.)
(John Skinner, M. A.)
versus Jerusalem, — the case so limited, Jerusalem might go down; but so long as Jerusalem stands for godliness, the true worship, the right conception of things, he who offends Jerusalem has to fight Omnipotence. Can Tyrus fail? When Tyrus fails all the islands of the sea know of it: "Then all the princes of the sea shall come down," etc. Behold them all! — princes of Polynesia coming down from their thrones, stripping themselves, themselves folding up the garments and putting them away, and then replacing the garments embroidered and golden with garments of trembling. Why? Because famed Tyrus has fallen. Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen. We should learn from ruins. O vain man, poor boaster, you shall beg tomorrow! You that steep your arms to the elbows in gold shall write a begging letter ere the year closes. Riches make to themselves wings and fly away, and the great Babylon which you have builded is but a bubble in the air. Lay not up for yourselves riches where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: have riches in heaven; have riches in the word of God. See the uselessness of what is called environment. Tyrus had environment enough; her shipboards, trees of cedar; her masts made of the cedars of Lebanon; her oars of the oaks of Bashan; fine linen with broidered work from Egypt, blue and purple from the isles of Elishah; treasure upon treasure. So much for environment! We think if we had more pictures on the walls we should pray more; if we had a larger garden behind the house we should be more spiritually minded. It is not so. A man's heaven is in his heart; a man's hell is within. Moreover, what is environment? Who are we that we should define environment and say, Under such and such circumstances such and such moral issues would take place? Never! unless there be something more. Only the Spirit can make man right, and only Christ, according to the faith, to the Christianity which I solemnly accept, can get at the spirit with renewing and sanctifying energy. All other teachers are reformers. Christ is a Saviour. When Christ gets into a man's heart, all the rest follows — all the cleanliness comes the same day, and on the morrow comes music, and on the third day comes the dawn of heaven.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
(T. De Witt Talmage.)
I. COMMERCIAL ETHICS ARE ALWAYS AFFECTED BY THE MORAL OR IMMORAL CHARACTER OF THOSE WHO HAVE PRINCIPAL SUPREMACY. Officials that wink at fraud, and that have neither censure nor arraignment for glittering dishonesties, always weaken the pulse of commercial honour.
II. SO ALSO OF THE EDUCATIONAL INTERESTS OF A CITY. There are cities where educational affairs are settled in the low caucus in the abandoned parts of the cities, by men full of ignorance and rum. It ought not to be so; but in many cities it is so. I hear the tramp of the coming generations. What that great multitude of youth shall be for this world and the next will be affected very much by the character of our public schools. Instead of driving the Bible out, you had better drive the Bible further in.
III. THE CHARACTER OF OFFICIALS IN A CITY AFFECTS THE DOMESTIC CIRCLE. In a city where grog shops have their own way, and gambling hells are not interfered with, and for fear of losing political influence officials close their eyes to festering abominations — in all those cities the home interests need to make imploration. The family circles of the city must inevitably be affected by the moral character or the immoral character of those who rule over them.
IV. THE RELIGIOUS INTERESTS OF A CITY ARE THUS AFFECTED. The Church today has to contend with evils that the civil law ought to smite; and while I would not have the civil government in anywise relax its energy in the arrest and punishment of crime, I would have a thousand-fold more energy put forth in the drying up of the fountains of iniquity. The Church of God asks no pecuniary aid from political power; but it does ask that, in addition to all the evils we must necessarily contend against, we shall not have to fight also municipal negligence.
(T. De Witt Talmage.)
( M. Henry.)
Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kinds of riches.
(T. De Witt Talmage.)
(T. De Witt Talmage.)
Damascus was thy merchant in the multitude of thy wares of thy making
( M. Henry,)
These were thy merchants in all sorts of things.
2. Many of our business men are tempted to over-anxiety and care. From January to December the struggle goes on. Even the Sabbath cannot dam back the tide of anxiety; for this wave of worldliness dashes clear over the churches, and leaves its foam on Bibles and prayer books. This excitement of the brain, this corroding care of the heart, this strain of effort that exhausts the spirit, sends a great many of our best men, in middle life, into the grave. Oh, I wish I could, today, rub out some of these lines of care; that I could lift some of the burdens from the heart; that I could give relaxation to some of these worn muscles! It is time for you to begin to take it a little easier. Do your best, and then trust God for the rest.
3. Many of our business men are tempted to neglect their home duties. It is often the case that the father is the mere treasurer of the family, a sort of agent to see that they have dry goods and groceries. The work of family government he does not touch. A man has more responsibilities than those which are discharged by putting competent instructors over his children, and giving them a drawing master and a music teacher.
4. Many of our business men are tempted to put the attainment of money above the value of the soul. There are men in all occupations who seem to act as though they thought that a pack of bonds and mortgages could be traded off for a title to heaven, and as though gold would be a lawful tender in that place where it is so common that they make pavements out of it. Salvation by Christ is the only salvation. Treasures in heaven are the only incorruptible treasures.
(T. De Witt Talmage.)
Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters.I. This is truly applicable to SINNERS WHO ARE BEGINNING TO TASTE OF THE RESULT OF THEIR SINS — ungodly persons, who have chosen their own ways and followed their own devices, and now at last are finding that the way of transgressors is hard.
1. Certain transgressors are beginning to feel the result of wrong-doing in their circumstances. They have brought themselves from wealth to poverty by drunkenness, dishonesty, or vice.
2. Others who have not yet been afflicted by any outward providence are beginning to feel the sting of sin upon their conscience. This will, I trust, be used for their good.
3. O soul, thou art come now where thy sins compass thee about, and shut thee in on every side. Listen to me, while I speak to thee words which may seem harsh, but they are all meant in love to thee. If the waters be great today, what will they be ere long? If now thou canst not bear the wages of sin, what wilt thou do when they are paid thee in full? "What wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?" Learn, I pray thee, this piece of timely wisdom. Thy rowers have brought thee into no quiet waters; they have found thee no harbours of delight: shall they any longer be thy rowers? Do this one thing to thine own soul if thou hast any sense left, or any pity on thyself; cry out against those who are ruining thee. Oh, that the Spirit of the Lord may help thee to break the oars and cast the rowers into the sea! Remember, also, that they have rowed thee into the stormy waters, but they cannot row thee out of them. Thou canst find no rest by continuing in sin, neither canst thou save thyself from thy present forlorn condition. O man, cry mightily unto God. He will hear thee.
II. I see another ship. It is not black with the grime of the world; it resembles the gilded barge of a mighty prince; but still, for all that, its rowers have brought it into great waters. This represents THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS BROUGHT INTO DISTRESS. Many men are fondly persuaded that either they need no saving, or that they can save themselves. There is no end to the gallant show which self-righteousness can exhibit. No ship of Tyre can excel it. Yet to this glorious ship a trying voyage is appointed. Alas, my friend! thy rowers have brought thee into great waters. Think of the difficult journey which lies before you. The proposal is that you shall row yourself by your good works across yon sea of sin to the port of glory. Before you enter upon a matter it is well to count the cost. Do you not know that, if you are to be saved by obedience to the law of God, your obedience must be absolutely perfect? Look, sirs, you have been resting in your own righteousness; have you never sinned? Do you claim to have been absolutely perfect before your Maker from your childhood? Surely, you must have a brow of brass to make such a boast. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Verily, my friend, "thy rowers have brought thee into great waters." If thou art to be saved by thy works, see where thou art! Any one day thou mayest slip and stumble, and then what becomes of all thy past life? If this be thy style of standing before God, it is a poor standing indeed. Canst thou ever be sure that thou wilt be safe in an hour's time? Come, my friend, canst thou be sure that thou hast done enough, and felt enough, and prayed enough, and given enough alms, and gone a sufficient number of times to the meeting house, or to the church? Canst thou be sure that it is well with thee even now? The religion of self-righteousness never proposes such a thing as security. It does not give the quiet of faith, much less the deep repose of full assurance. "Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters." Uncertainty follows uncertainty, and the wind of fear tosses the billows of doubt.
III. There is a third case, THE ERRORIST IN HIS DIFFICULTIES. This is a very common sight in these wayward times. I might say to many a man who has ventured out to sea under the strong impulse of curiosity, trusting to his own proud intellect, "Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters." The only safe course for a thoughtful man is to trust in God, and to accept the Scriptures as infallible truth. There is our anchorage. But there are men who cannot abide this; and, first of all, I think that they begin to get into great waters when they resolve to be guided by their own judgment and their own intellect, without submitting to the teachings of Christ. O my wise and thoughtful friend, do you know what will soon happen to you? You will probably fall under the domination of another's intellect: you will become the shadow of some greater man. The man who will be guided by nobody is usually guided by someone more foolish or more knavish than himself. In the dogmas of modern thought there is not enough mental meat to bait a mousetrap: as to food for a soul, there is none of it; an ant would starve on such small gram. No atonement, no regeneration, no eternal love, no covenant: what is there worth thinking upon? "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him." They have taken away the light, the life, the love, the liberty of free grace, and they have given us nothing in the stead thereof but pretty toys, which they themselves will break before many days are past. How many who only meant to go a little from the old ways of truth have gone too far aside even for themselves! Truly, my speculative friend, "thy rowers have brought thee into great waters."
IV. Behold THE BACKSLIDER FILLED WITH HIS OWN WAYS. O wanderer from the Lord thy God, "thy rowers have brought thee into great waters." You know how it begins: first of all, that holy, joyful walk with God is lost. It did not seem much merely to lose rapturous enjoyment; but it was much in itself, and it meant more. Then there came a loss of relish for the means of grace. Secret prayer was neglected, and the Bible was unread. The forms of religion were kept up longer than the enjoyment of it; but there was no life, no power in them. After that there came a general fault-finding with brethren, a quarrelling with sisters, a constant cavilling at this and that. Then there came a distaste for Christian company: godly people were too common place and prosaic. The love of something "brighter" called them away from solid conversation. Songs other than those of Zion began to be relished, and teachings not of the Bible were listened to. At last it went further: it came to actual and open sin, and ruin followed. O friend, "thy rowers have brought thee into great waters." Oh, that He would come who owns thy barque, who shed His blood for thee! Oh, that He would step into thy vessel, and take the helm and turn thee round tonight by a great stroke of His almighty grace, and turn thy head to the port of peace!
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
The east wind hath broken thee in the midst of the seas
(F. B. Meyer, B. A.).