Page images
PDF
EPUB

numerous progeny, which she wonders to behold. Now, we have had reason, from the prophecies which have already fallen under our notice, to think that this is not to be understood merely of the gathering of the living Jews and Israelites, but of the appearing also at this time of the blessed dead with Christ in glory. And this explanation is strongly corroborated by St. Paul's quotation and application of the passage before us.

He is pursuing the allegory of Hagar and Sarah :“ For this Agar," he says, “is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem that now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thow barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not ; for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband." *

This is most important as a key to the interpretation of these mysteries. “ Jerusalem,” the “ mother of all” the spiritual seed, is the symbol of a society “above:"and this society is distinguished from that people who then possessed the sacred city upon earth. The Jerusalem above must denote “ the church of the first-born written in heaven,” “ the souls of just men made perfect.” St. Paul assures us, that the symbol of the rejoicing mother of children relates to this Jerusalem ; but how it can relate to this blessed society, except in the view of their suddenly appearing to occupy, in some sort, the desolated mountains of Zion, I believe it were impossible to show. The Jerusalem above, if you have respect to her abode in heaven, can never have been a widow, or disconsolate, or as a barren woman that did not bear. This must be symbolical of the Israelitish church, and locally of the holy city, the now desolated Zion and Jerusalem. She must be the barren that did not bear, who shouts for joy to see herself on a sudden the mother of a numerous progeny. But if, as we are assured, at this very time she becomes identified with the Jerusalem above, the mother of all the believing seed of Abraham: then that “new Jerusalem must come down out of heaven;" and what follows must relate to the church in its triumphant and glorified state; and it is confirmed that its locality, in some sort, is to be on those very mountains of Israel now desolate : and this is the favour which God bestows in the last days upon his people and upon his LAND.* Here, too, is the fulfilment of the promise “ to Abraham and to his seed," that he should be “ heir of the world”— that “in him and in his seed should all the families of the earth be blessed,”—and that “the land of Canaan" should be given him “ for an everlasting possession,” given to him in the character of “the father of the . faithful;" which, as a type or symbol, is equivalent “ to Jerusalem," “ the mother of all” true believers. Most important, then, to every Christian believer, in this point of view, is the prophetical description which follows; for if we believe in Christ, then are we Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

* Gal. iv. 25, &c.

* Deut. xxxii.

1 « This sense of the prophecy, lennium, in the form in which it as describing the prosperity and was taught by some of the ancient pre-eminence of the Hebrew church, heretics, made St. Jerome, and is so very manifest, that no other other great men of antiquity, stuexposition would ever have been dious to interpret every thing in invented, had not a just abhor- the manner that might be the most rence of the doctrine of a mil

contrary to it.”—Horsley.

2. Enlarge the space of thy tent,

Let the curtains of thy dwellings be extended.

Spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes, 3. For on the right hand and on the left shalt thou burst forth.

And thy seed shall inherit the nations,

And they shall cause the desolated cities to be inhabited. 4. Fear not, for thou shalt not be confounded;

Be not abashed, for thou shalt not be put to shame:
For thou shalt forget the reproach of thy youth,
And the shame of thy widowhood shalt thou remember no

more.

5. For thy Maker is thine Husband,

Jehovah Sabaoth is his name.
And thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,

Shall be called the Elohim of all the earth.
6. Truly, as to a woman forsaken and grieved at heart,

Hath Jehovah called to thee;
And as to a wife of youth when she had been rejected,

Hath thy Elohim addressed thee.
7. For a small moment I forsook thee,

But with great affection will I take thee again.
In a little anger, I hid my face for a moment from thee,
But with eternal tenderness have I loved thee.

We may remark, all that the people or the land has endured for so many ages is but a little—“ for a moment," in comparison of “the eternal weight of glory” that " is to be revealed.” I say “people and land,” for such is the style of Scripture, and used, as we have seen, not without reason, in respect of what is to take place hereafter.

We should bear in mind that in present circumstances it is not, individually, the unbelieving Jew that is interested in these promises; they are “ the branches of the

olive” “ cut off,” “ the children of the kingdom" "cast out.”— Believers among the Gentiles are the only church that now is, and they individually are partakers of these promises : they are “ the holy people,” “ the Israel of God,” “ scattered abroad :"— only that, as they know from prophecy, the “ casting off of the natural branches” was the occasion of the kingdom of God being given to them at first; so they know that all their most glorious, expectations are fixed on that era when the God of Israel, now waiting among them, “shall have mercy on his land and his people.”

The eternal duration of the prosperity of the new Jerusalem is next clearly stated :

Thy Redeemer, Jehovah, hath said,
8. Surely, as the waters of Noah is this to me;

As I swore,
That the waters of Noah should no more overflow the earth :

So have I sworn,

That I will not be displeased with thee, nor rebuke thee. 9. For the hills shall be removed,

And the mountains shall be overthrown;
But my tender love shall not be removed from thee,
Nor shall the covenant of my reconciliation be overthrown.

No scenes, such as have been so often exhibited, of the people of God chastened for their sins, can ever occur again. In respect of such a reverse of prosperity, the church will be situated, as this present world is, with respect to a flood of waters, similar to that which in the days of Noah overwhelmed the earth. The Lord was pleased to stipulate, and solemnly to swear over the symbolical sacrifice of Noah, that he never would again destroy the earth by a flood : so that the waters of Noah can flow back no more, being barred by the oath and covenant of Jehovah. So does he swear with respect to his glorified church, which is hereafter to be identified in some manner with Jerusalem restored, that she shall never more endure the marks of the divine displeasure, or the rebuke of her God :— not even that displeasure and rebuke which the chosen family, the spiritual Israel, is now exposed to, for the enforcing of godly discipline, under the correction of a loving Father, “ scourging every son whom he receiveth.”

Such will be the state of celestial perfection the church will then have attained, that the rod of correction will be no longer necessary. It is this celestial perfection and glory that is symbolized by the figurative language that follows:

Jehovah, who loveth thee, hath said, 11. O afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted,

Behold, I lay thy stones of alabaster,'

And thy foundations of lazulus;
12. And I will make thy pinnacles of sparkling gems,

And thy gates of shining stones,
And all thy barriers of precious jewels.

Surely, whatever this figurative language may import, this can be none other but that “ city” in “ the heavenly country,” which the ancient patriarchs sought and expected, -"a city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God!” This city, with all it's blessed inhabitants, we shall find hereafter, is one day to come down from God out of heaven, to be the glory of the renovated earth. Again we read:

Gypsum intelligit Gussetius."-See Simon.

« PreviousContinue »