(J. L. Adamson.)
1. The individual exertion of every Christian. We shall indeed see something more than natural agency, but this is to contribute to it.
2. The Church has within her a living influence. This must expand and grow.
3. The great hope of the Church is the second advent of Christ. When He shall come, then shall the mountain of the Lord's house be exalted above the hills. We know not when Jesus may come.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
2. In the chapter immediately preceding this passage God denounces the severest and most unsparing judgments upon a guilty people. The text is couched in the language of promise. In order to cheer those on whom God was about to pour many and merited judgments, He gives them — not a precept, which would only depress them; not another threatening, for that might overwhelm them; not an invitation, for that they might not be able to obey — but a promise, causing the future to unbosom rays of light for the comfort of the present. From this prophecy, see that the last days of the Gospel are predicted as the brightest. Divisions and discords have been the history of the visible Church from its cradle downwards to the present hour. Notice the epithet. The Church of Christ is here called "a mountain." This symbol is taken from the fact that the sacred site of the temple at Jerusalem was a mountain — Mount Moriah. It suggests that the Church of Christ shall be exalted above all the obstructions or impediments of the world; principalities and powers bending before it. Notwithstanding then all the difficulties, discords, divisions, heresies, Schisms, errors, misconstruction, and misapprehensions that prevail amid the Church of God, not one of them is retarding in the least degree the ultimate and glorious outburst. The Church is beautifully and suitably symbolised by a mountain. A mountain is a fixed and stable thing. In Scripture strength and stability are represented by mountains. A mountain most suitably represents the varied climacterics of the Church of Christ, from this circumstance, that it is sometimes covered with clouds, and thereby involved in darkness, and swept by the hurricane, while at other times it basks and spreads its bosom before the uninterrupted and meridian sunbeams. This is precisely the history of the Church. A mountain is a place of safety or retreat. The true Church becomes a place of retreat, in which there is found the Rock of Ages, and the shadow of those wings beneath which there is safety. A mountain is a source of streams and rivulets. The dews descend from heaven upon it; those dews collect into streams, which irrigate and refresh the valley below. The Church of Christ is the great preserver of the earth. A mountain is the spot, standing on which we can see to the greatest distance. In this is shadowed one of the great functions which the Church of Christ is meant to discharge, namely, to enable the believer to see the Sun of Righteousness more clearly and distinctly. A mountain was selected in the ancient economy for those who sounded the trumpet of jubilee. And the "acceptable year of the Lord" ought to be proclaimed in the pulpits of every true and apostolic Church. It is predicted that this mountain "shall be established in the top of the mountains." "Establishment" is not to be understood as popularly applied to certain modern Churches. The passage does not mean that the Church is established or built upon Peter. There cannot be two foundations. If Christ be the foundation, there can be no room for another; whatever comes next must be laid upon the foundation, and must be part of the superstructure, and not the foundation. The Church is established on Christ, the Rock of Ages. This is a tried foundation. It is Called "precious." It is called a living rock, and the cornerstone. This foundation is an everlasting foundation.
(John Cumming, A. M.)
Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.II. A DESCRIPTION OF THE CHURCH. Such phrases as "the mountain of the Lord's house," and "Zion," signify, in such connection as this, the Church of God. The visible Church has, from "the beginning, always had an existence; but its boundaries have generally been very limited, and its situation has often been very obscure. But the Church shall be conspicuous to all; as on the top of the mountains. She shall be exalted above the hills. And philosophy, idolatry, superstition, and errors, shall no longer obstruct her view, or obscure her glory. And she shall be established. She has been tossed about by Commotions. One day she shall be no longer oppressed by persecutions, or disturbed by the arm of human power.
II. A DISPOSITION IN ALL TOWARDS THE CHURCH. "All nations shall flow into it." Their movements shall he characterised by friendly cooperation. By a definite and sacred object. By proper intentions and correct views. By right dispositions. By confidence in the excellency of the Divine instructions.
III. THE BLESSINGS RESULTING FROM THESE CIRCUMSTANCES. Taught from above, then, nations generally will own the authority of God, acknowledge His right to judge, and submit to His laws.
IV. THE PERIOD OF THESE GREAT EVENTS, "In the last days." The Church of God has had her days; and these days have been somewhat commensurate with the progress of time, and with the limited or more extended population of the earth. Day of patriarchal Church was a day of small things. But patriarchs and prophets spoke of another day, of other days, which they called the "last days." Evidently the prophet referred to the days of the Gospel. Improvement —
1. Let our spirits be cheered though so few have hitherto embraced real Christianity.
2. We may well be excited to renewed exertions in rendering Divine truth conspicuous to all.
3. Let this prospect call forth the gratitude of all who already participate in the blessings of redemption.
(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)
I. THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT IS AN UNIVERSAL LAW. Adapted to all men, in all circumstances, and in all times. Because it is the announcing of eternal principles, accompanied with Divine power to enforce them.
II. HENCE ITS PREEMINENCE OVER ALL LAWS. It absorbs and expresses the truth of all other laws. All nations recognise it as something higher, deeper, more complete than their previous revelation or religion.
III. MARK ITS EFFECTS.
1. In judgment (ver. 3). It is the conviction of right and wrong, good and evil. It is the conviction that right will be maintained and vindicated, and wrong put down. This must be the foundation of all real moral and spiritual life.
2. In producing obedience (ver. 2). Not mere conviction, but submission.
3. In working love. The real root of obedience. Leading men to mutual respect, and to a care for each other's good.
4. In producing safety and security, This can never be fully attained by mere external law and restrictive measures. The best laws will be obeyed only when men's hearts are in harmony with their requirements. The true way to safety is by the spirit of love and mutual consideration. The great lesson of Pentecost is this, — When love is universal, discord of acts and words and purpose will cease.
(William R. Clark, M. A.)
I. THE CHURCH'S HOPE. "In the last days." etc. Who can interpret these words? Not the man of mere dates. The world has not seen its brightest day yet. The light is still struggling — not meridian glory. This world has a rich promise hidden in its heart, like the snow drops of winter — anticipatory of spring. Death is now in the majority. It shall not always be so. The Church, like youth, lives in hope — of brighter days to come — of what it is to be. Thou livest in the infinitive mood!
II. THE CHURCH'S REVIVAL. "And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain. of the Lord...and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths," etc. (vers. 2, 3). Then shall the Church illustrate the fulness of meaning contained in the Saviour's words: "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Souls shall be enfranchised, and know the liberty of infinitude, etc.
III. THE CHURCH'S SECURITY. "They shall sit every man under his vine, and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid" (ver. 4). The history of human progress has been written in fear. "For fear of the Jews" the disciples had to move about cautiously, and assemble in quiet and concealed places. Not until "the doors were shut" could they worship with any sense of security. And through all subsequent ages the history of religious progress has thus been illustrated. In the fastnesses of the wilderness and fissures of the rocks, the low murmurings of sacred song have been heard by God alone, "for fear" of the persecuting hand; as in the days of the Covenanters, Lollards, and others. But behold, the days come — "the last days" — when doors shall be no longer shut, when bolts shall be all withdrawn, every gate thrown wide open, and no barrier intervene between the soul and its perfected liberty.
IV. THE IMPROBABILITY OF ALL THIS. Looked at in the light of the present state of the world, this bright perspective is a dream — an extravaganza — insanity's wild vision. Look at the corruption of the world; look at a Church dying of doctrine; and see whether such a future be probable. Apart from "the Word of the Lord "it is not; but the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it" (ver. 4). What are the improbabilities of a frozen river, or field, in winter? Shall the waters ever flow again, or the field wave its ears of corn again? Yes. What is the guarantee? "The mouth of the Lord" that says: "seed time and harvest, summer and winter, shall not cease." The text speaks of a life flowing upwards "all people shall flow unto it" — to the "top of the mountains." Who ever heard of water flowing upwards, or fire burning downwards? You say to one unacquainted with electricity: "I can send a message to a friend in India, and get an answer in the course of an hour or two." "How utterly absurd," is the reply. There are laws that defy gravitation; a life sublimer than science, and more eloquent than music. Sceptical science says: "This thing cannot be." Faith says: "It shall be, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."
(Joseph Parker, D. D.)
Homilist.The "last days" means the times of the Messiah.
I. THE TRUE RELIGION ON THE GOSPEL AGE WILL BECOME A GREAT POWER. The temple was the greatest thing in the religion of the Jews; it was the "mountain" in their scenery. The true religion is to become a mountain. The true religion, where it exists, is the biggest thing. It is either everything or nothing.
II. THE TRUE RELIGION OF THE GOSPEL AGE WILL BECOME UNIVERSALLY ATTRACTIVE. "And people shall flow unto it." "This is a figurative expression, denoting that they shall be converted to the true religion. It indicates that they shall come in multitudes, like the flowing of a mighty river. The idea of the flowing of the nation, as of the movement of many people towards an object like a broad stream on the tides of the ocean, is one that is very grand and sublime" (Barnes). In this period the social element will be brought into full play in connection with true religion,
1. They will study its laws, in order to obey them. "He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths."
2. They will study its laws at the fountain head. "For the law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
III. THE TRUE RELIGION OF THE GOSPEL AGE WILL BECOME POWERFUL TO TERMINATE ALL WARS.
1. Here is the destruction of war. "Beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks."
2. Here is the establishment of peace. "Shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree." Most incredible must this prediction have been to the men of Micah's time; but it will be accomplished, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it. If He has spoken it and it does not come to pass, it must be for one of three reasons —
(1) (2) (3) (Homilist.)
(2) (3) (Homilist.)
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Monday Club Sermons.The world has always had its dreams of a Golden Age. A better state of things than that which exists, has been felt to be not only possible, but normal, and so men have reasoned that what ought to be, either has been in the old time, or will be in the new. Either as a memory or a hope, this idea has done much to reconcile men to the confusion and contradictions of life. To the vagueness and mist of that human dream Scripture gives the sharpness and substance of fact. It speaks with positiveness. The Golden Age has not passed. Humanity is on the way to the realisation of its long hope. The Scripture idea, however, differs from the human in the importance which it attaches to the spiritual element. The transformations in society, which must precede the ushering in of the golden age, are moral, not material. Betterment of laws, advance in knowledge, multiplication of industrial arts, increase of wealth — these things cannot transfigure humanity. It is the established and recognised sovereignty of Christ and His truth on which the desired blessed ness depends. It is important to emphasise this truth at the present time, when religion is depreciated in the popular estimate. There is a prevalent idea that it is weak and on the wane. It has recently been said that "fifty years hence no one will go to church except for culture." Note that the function of religion is not limited to the regeneration of a single man. It works through the individual, upon the organic life of the race. And it employs varied methods. Sometimes it sparks on the surface of history; sometimes it works out of sight. There is a river in Kentucky that, after unrolling its silver thread through leagues of verdant meadows, suddenly disappears. The earth swallows it up. But though lost to view, its flow is not checked. It channels its way through the hidden rocks; it hollows out the vast halls and the glittering galleries of the Mammoth Cave. It springs the arches of that grandest of cathedrals, and inlays the rocky roof with stars, after the pattern of the heavens. The sculpture of the silent waters outstrips the skill of human artists. The weird and the beautiful, the quaint and the sublime are clustered in groupings, whose impressiveness is eloquent of the wonder workings of the Divine hand. So Christ's religion has its epochs of disappearance from the surface of life. But it works nevertheless, works persistently, works mightily. Divine truth never comes to a standstill. In sight, or out of sight it is forever busy. Standing at the easement of prospect, let us note some of the glories of the coming kingdom.
1. The acknowledged supremacy of the Christian Church (ver. 1).
2. A universal desire to know and obey the truth (vers. 1, 2). Till now, religious truth has had to be carried to men and pressed upon their attention.
3. An adjustment of international relations on the basis of righteousness (ver. 3). The two forces which men have always used for the regulation of international affairs, are diplomacy and war. The cunning of intrigue or the edge of the sword is employed to untangle or cut every knot of dispute. By and by righteousness shall be both the basis and substance of the international code.
4. Safety of life and property secured by individual piety (vers. 4, 5). One principal office of organised society is to surround with safeguards the individual man. Barbarism is every man for himself; communism is the rule of the caprice or frenzy of a mob; civilisation is the effort of all for the good of each; and yet the efficient agent in these widely diverse types of society is the same, — brute force. In the coming kingdom individual character is to be the security of society.
5. The elimination of the elements of weakness in society (vers. 6, 7). What is to be done with the dependent and dangerous classes? What society cannot do, God can, and by and by He will. The value of such an outlook as has been now attempted is incalculable. It gives men the inspiration of a great expectation; composure of mind in the midst of discouragements; and the true ideal of life. This blessed consummation, whether near or far off, is not so near but what it needs our help; it is not so far off but what we can make ourselves felt as a force in it. We need to clothe our selves in workman's garments, not in the ascension robes of those who sit down and dream about the second advent.
(Monday Club Sermons.)
(J. H. Jowett, M. A.)
He will teach us of His ways
(E. B. Pusey, D. D.)
The law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem
1. Some of the more distinguishing elements and attributes of the Gospel denominated in our subject, with distinctive significance, the law and Word of Jehovah.(1) The source of its origination is Divine.(2) The great object of the bestowment of the Gospel was the happiness of mankind.(3) The excellence of its matter — the subject matter of its revelations — vindicates the conclusion to which we have arrived.(4) Christianity is a system exhibiting in its nature, evidence, and claims, not only an uncompounded oneness, but a most striking distinctive uniqueness of character. The Gospel appeals to the mind and heart with an illumination and efficacy unknown to any other system, or in any other department of inquiry. It exerts a remarkable influence on the character and destiny of man. It is not more Divine in theory than Godlike in issue.
2. The extent of the provisions of the Gospel, and its corresponding publication. Glance at a few of its provisional adaptations.(1) Christianity stands pledged for the destruction of the great primal curse.(2) Of ignorance and error.(3) Of violence and wrong in the structure and relations of government and society.(4) Of national war and bloodshed.(5) The conversion of the Gentiles ranks high among the provisions of the Gospel.(6) Universal and unmolested brotherhood between man and man, nation and nation, is equally a promise of the Gospel.
3. The agency and means by the operation and instrumentality of which the Gospel was to go forth from the place of its first publication, and, disdaining all locality, diffuse itself among the nations. Providence will prepare the way. Divine influence will prepare the heart. Divine truth — the Bible — shall be the grand exclusive instrument. The spread of the Gospel will receive its direction from the purposes, and its impulse from the energy of heaven, while the pulpit, press, social inter. course, and the force of example, shall secure its acceleration.
4. What will be the effect of the whole? An incalculable enlargement of the Church, both in extent and influence — a boundless multiplication of its numbers and blessings. Consider also its more distinctive influence upon —
(1) (2) (3) (Bishop H. B. Bascom, D. D.)
(2) (3) (Bishop H. B. Bascom, D. D.)
(3) (Bishop H. B. Bascom, D. D.)
(Bishop H. B. Bascom, D. D.)
And He shall judge among many people, etc
(J. Llewelyn Davies, M. A.)
For all people will walk every one in the name of his God, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever
1. That there shall be a general confluence to the true religion and worship of God.
2. That this great and conspicuous society of the Church shall enjoy peace and tranquillity.
3. That internal zeal and devotion shall accompany all this external glory and happiness. That all these would admirably become the Christian Church cannot be doubted.
I. ALL NATIONS AND PEOPLE GENERALLY HAVE SOME GOD AND RELIGION OR OTHER. Atheism is contrary to the common sense of mankind. It will be very hard, if not impossible, to find any nation or people that have lived without a God.
II. ALL THOSE NATIONS AND PEOPLE THAT HAVE ANY BELIEF OF A GOD, HAVE ALSO SOME DEVOTION, AND PAY SOME REMARKABLE REVERENCE TOWARDS THE DEITY. The nature and notion of God is so great that it cannot ordinarily miss of affecting men with the greatest seriousness. If any man acknowledges the true God, and has ripe notions of Him, he then apprehends a mighty majesty, invested with infinite power, wisdom, justice, and goodness. He that can think of such a God without a religious reverence must have either something below a human folly, or beyond a human hardiness.
III. THE GREATER THE GOD, AND THE TRUER THE RELIGION, THE MORE OUGHT TO BE THE DEVOTION. It is most genuine, natural, and reasonable, that the best religion should be attended with the greatest devotion, and the most holy lives. Show —
1. The excellency of our principles, and how much the religion which we profess is better than any other. Represent four things
(1) (2) (3) (4) IV. WITH THE MORE ARDENT ZEAL AND DEVOTION WE SHOULD TREAT THE TRUE GOD AND THE TRUE RELIGION. 1. We ought to be more steadfast and unmovable in our religion than other people are. 2. We ought to outstrip them in good life, in zeal and fervency, as much as we do in our principles and advantages. (J. Goodman, D. D.)
(2) (3) (4) IV. WITH THE MORE ARDENT ZEAL AND DEVOTION WE SHOULD TREAT THE TRUE GOD AND THE TRUE RELIGION. 1. We ought to be more steadfast and unmovable in our religion than other people are. 2. We ought to outstrip them in good life, in zeal and fervency, as much as we do in our principles and advantages. (J. Goodman, D. D.)
(3) (4) IV. WITH THE MORE ARDENT ZEAL AND DEVOTION WE SHOULD TREAT THE TRUE GOD AND THE TRUE RELIGION. 1. We ought to be more steadfast and unmovable in our religion than other people are. 2. We ought to outstrip them in good life, in zeal and fervency, as much as we do in our principles and advantages. (J. Goodman, D. D.)
IV. WITH THE MORE ARDENT ZEAL AND DEVOTION WE SHOULD TREAT THE TRUE GOD AND THE TRUE RELIGION. 1. We ought to be more steadfast and unmovable in our religion than other people are. (J. Goodman, D. D.)
IV. WITH THE MORE ARDENT ZEAL AND DEVOTION WE SHOULD TREAT THE TRUE GOD AND THE TRUE RELIGION.
1. We ought to be more steadfast and unmovable in our religion than other people are.
(J. Goodman, D. D.)
I. JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU; THE TOWER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. Any shelter we can rear is a tower of sand — a citadel of bulrushes — that will leave us naked and defenceless in that solemn hour which is to try every man's work, and every man's righteousness, of what sort it is. Christ hath finished transgression, and made an end of sin, and made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness. To attempt aught of our own by way of supplement or addition to the merits of the Divine surety, would be to seek to gild refined gold, or holding up the taper to help the sunlight.
II. JEHOVAH-SHALOM; THE LORD MY PEACE. This spiritual tower of peace stands side by side with the tower of righteousness. "The work of righteousness shall be peace." "Having made peace, through the blood of His Cross." What a repose this Gospel peace gives amid all the petty troubles of life! It "keeps the heart," as in a citadel or garrison. A calm elevation is imparted to the present, and the future can be contemplated undismayed. All that belongs to the Christian; his duties; his engagements; his very cares and difficulties are softened and mellowed with this calm tranquillity; just as in nature the setting sun transforms and metamorphoses the whole landscape into gold.
III. JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH; THE TOWER OF THE DIVINE PRESENCE. God is everywhere. It is a blessed thing for the believer to bear constantly about with him the realised sense of the Divine nearness, and it is his peculiar privilege and prerogative to do so. He is the living God in nature and in providence, guiding and supervising all. But there is a nobler and preeminent sense in which His covenant people can flee into this strong tower. Walking in the name of their God, they can say, "The Lord of hosts is with us." "Our fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ."
IV. JEHOVAH-NISSI; THE TOWER OF DEFENCE. We are still in an enemy's country. He that is for us is greater than all that can be against us. The Lord is our defence.
V. JEHOVAH-JIREH; THE TOWER OF TRUST. A conquering army must keep near its supplies. And the Christian has His promises of assured help. Each apparently capricious turn in life's way, all its accidents and incidents are the appointments of infinite wisdom; and "they that know Thy name, shall put their trust in Thee." Trust is a staff not for level plains and smooth highways. It is the alpenstock, the pilgrim prop for the mountaineer, for the rugged ascent, for the slippery path, for the glacier crevasse. God is a rich, sure, willing, and wise Provider.
VI. JEHOVAH-ROPHI; THE TOWER OF HEALING. He proclaims as His name, "I am the Lord that healeth thee." He is the true "healing tree," which, cast into your bitterest Marsh pool, will make its waters sweet.
(J. R. Macduff, D. D.)
(Henry Mevill, B. D.)
Homilist.It is trite to say that man has a religious nature. This verse suggests the wrong and the right development of this nature.
I. THE WRONG DEVELOPMENT. Idolatry. Polytheism proper is, and generally has been, the most popular religion in the world. Whence comes polytheism? The one great cause, which comprehends all others, is depravity. Which —
1. Involves moral corruption. What are heathen gods, as a rule, but the deification of the lower passions and vices of mankind?
2. Involves carnality. Hence they want a god they can see and handle and touch.
3. Involves thoughtlessness. Polytheism cannot stand reasoning.
II. THE RIGHT DEVELOPMENT. What is that? Practical monotheism. "We will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever."
1. This is rational. The one God is the sum total of all moral properties, the Proprietor of all resources, and the Bestower of all existences and all the blessings therewith. What can be more rational than to walk in His way?
2. This is obligatory. No man is bound to walk in the name of an idol; nay, he is commanded not to. But every man is bound to walk in the name of the Lord — bound on the ground of His supreme excellence, His relations to man, and the obligation springing therefrom.
3. This is blessed. To walk in His name is to walk through sunny fields abounding with all beauty and fruitfulness.
The Lord shall reign over them in Mount ZionI. THE CHARACTER OF THE ASSEMBLY.
1. The halt.
2. The banished.
3. The afflicted.From this gather the ruined condition of man.(1) The halt — incapable of any spiritual movement. Hence the corruption of the understanding, will, affections, memory; the whole man.(2) Driven out; banished; expelled from God. Condemned by the law. Subject to God's wrath. Allied to God's enemies.(3) Afflicted, that is, grievously distressed. Afflicted with blindness, lameness, deafness, dumbness, leprosy; and by sin, Satan, etc.
II. THEIR GRACIOUS ADVANCEMENT AND HONOUR. "I will make her that halteth a remnant." A remnant is a small quantity or number. A definitive or proportioned remnant. An eternally saved remnant. A gathered or collected remnant. A prosperous or happy remnant. A holy and righteous remnant. An opposed remnant. Yet finally a successful remnant. "And her that was cast far off a strong nation." Strong by reason of its situation; its fortifications; its judicious and good laws; its military skill; its ruler's wisdom. Consequently a blessed nation. "And the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth forever." They are made submissive to Christ. Christ reigns in the Church generally. He reigns in the Church's officers. He reigns in the Church members. He reigns in the understandings of His people. He reigns in their will, subduing them. He reigns in their hearts. This reign is by the power of Divine grace.
III. THEIR POSITIVE AND INFALLIBLE SECURITY (ver. 8). Represented by a flock of sheep, denotive of feebleness, and liability to danger. But Christ is their tower of defence. A high and lofty tower, and a strong and safe tower. "The stronghold of the daughter of Zion." By the word daughter is meant the Church. This stronghold denotes that we have enemies. It is a hiding place for the Lord's prisoners. "Unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion." An eternally decreed dominion, over sin, Satan, the world, death. "The kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem." The kingdom of God's power; grace; glory. Improvement —
1. This subject teaches us man's total depravity and utter helplessness.
2. It also further proves that our salvation is entirely of grace.
3. It evinces the final security of all true believers.
(T. B. Baker.)
Homilist.Whether the subject of these verses is the restoration of the Jews after the Babylonish Captivity or the gathering of men by Christ into a grand spiritual community, is a question on which there has been considerable discussion among biblical scholars, and, therefrom, should preclude anything like dogmatism on either side.
I. IT EMBRACES AMONGST ITS SUBJECTS THE MOST WRETCHED AND SCATTERED OF MEN. "In that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble [gather] her that halteth [that which limpeth], and I will gather her that is driven out [that which was thrust out], and her that [which] I have afflicted; and I will make her that [that which] halted [limps] a remnant, and her that [that which] was cast off a strong nation: End the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth, even forever." Christ was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:6), and His invitation was to all that are "weary" and "heavy laden." The Church of Christ from the beginning has comprised those who were the most afflicted, the most scattered, and the most distressed of mankind.
1. Christ's moral monarchy knows nothing of favouritism. Every soul to Him is a matter of profound practical interest.
2. Christ's moral monarchy is remedial in its design. It brings all the miserable together in order to rid them of their sorrows.
II. IT ESTABLISHES ITSELF AS THE GUARDIAN OF MEN FOREVER. "And thou, O tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion," etc. The watchtower spoken of by Isaiah is most likely the tower here referred to by Micah. Flock tower is a good expression, inasmuch as it indicates the watchfulness of Christ as a moral Shepherd, the great Shepherd of souls. What a Guardian, what a "Bishop of souls" is Christ!
1. He knows all His sheep.
2. He has ample provision for all His sheep.
3. He has power to protect all His sheep. Thank God this moral kingdom is established on our earth. Because it is moral, men have the power of resisting it.
I. REASONS DRAWN FROM THE NATURE OF NATIONAL GLORY. The glory of the Jewish nation cannot be what is generally considered as the glory of nations.
1. Because the glory of common nations is inseparable from unrighteousness. Self is the moving power of the machine, interest and vanity form its mainspring.
2. Because it leads to war and bloodshed, to wretchedness and misery.
3. Because it may consist with infidelity.
II. REASONS DRAWN FROM WHAT IS REVEALED RESPECTING THE JEWS.
1. Because the Jews, when brought back to their own land, will be a righteous nation.
2. It will be a peaceful, happy nation.
3. A nation of faithful worshippers of the one only living and true God. What then will be her glory? It will consist in righteousness, penitence, godliness, purity, and devotion.Lessons —
1. A political lesson. The duty of the Christian is submission to the powers that be, patiently waiting for the time when righteousness alone shall prevail.
2. A religious lesson. How should this subject enhance the importance of being snatched out of the vortex of this present state, and of becoming so established as to be able to sing, by anticipation, the songs of joy which are here set to be sung by the ransomed of the Lord in Zion.
Homilist.I. THE STATE OF MANKIND REQUIRES IT. "Is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished?" It was more serious for the Jewish people to be deprived of a king than for any other people, for their king was theocratic, he was supposed to be the Voice and vicegerent of God. The prophet means to say, that when the Chaldeans would come and carry them away, they would have no king and no counsellors. Now, men in an unregenerate state —
1. Have no king. A political ruler is to man, as a spiritual existent, only a king in name. He does not command the moral affections, rule the conscience, or legislate for the inner and primal springs of all activity. Such a king is the deep want of man, he wants some one to be enthroned on his heart, to whom his conscience can render homage. No man in an unregenerate state has such a king; he has gods many and lords many, of a sort, but none to rule him, and to bring all the powers of his soul into one harmonious channel of obedience.
2. Have no counsellor. Society abounds with counsellors who proffer their advice; but some of them are wicked, most of them worthless, few, if any, satisfactory, that is, to conscience. What the soul wants, is not the mere book counsellor, — though it be the Bible itself, — but the spirit of that book, the spirit of reverence, love, Christlike trust.
3. Have no ease. "Pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail." The unregenerate soul is always liable to consternation, remorse, it often writhes in agony. "There is no peace, saith my God, for the wicked." Now, moral regeneration brings the man a true King, a true Counsellor, a true Peace — a peace "that passeth all understanding."
II. IT IS OPPOSED BY FORMIDABLE ANTAGONISTS. The nations referred to are those that composed the army of Nebuchadnezzar. What formidable opponents there are to the conversion of man!
1. The depraved elements of the soul. Unbelief, selfishness, carnality, etc.
2. The corrupt influence of society. Custom, fashion, amusements, pleasures!
III. IT IS GUARANTEED BY THE WORD OF ALMIGHTY GOD. The enemies of the Jews were utterly ignorant of God's purpose to deliver His people from Babylonish Captivity.
1. Man in ignorance fights against God's purpose.
2. Man, in fighting against God's purpose, brings ruin on himself.The nations thought to ruin Christianity in its infancy, but it was victorious over them!