صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

shall be showers of blessing. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase; and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them." Ezek. xxxiv. 26, 27. This is so manifestly the literal Isracl, that we deem it altogether unnecessary again to refer for proof to its context, formerly considered. Nor has the promise been yet fulfilled, for then they shall not "bear the shame of the heathen any more." ver. 29.

"And I will cause the captivity of Judah, and the сарtivity of Israel to return, and will build them as at the first. And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise, and an honour before all the nations 16 of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them; and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness ze and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it." Jer. xxxiii. 7-9. And will it not excite a burst of surprise from those in the church, who ought from the word of God to be previously aware of the Lord's designs of "goodness" and prosperity" to His ancient people? Why should that which God himself declares shall be to Him a name of joy, a praise, and an honour," be so obstinately rejected or so reluctantly received by any of His chosen?

[ocr errors]


"I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: All that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.... For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth be fore all people." Is. lxi. 8-11. This shall be when they "repair the waste cities, the desolations of many genera tions," when they shall rejoice in their portion," and when, for the "shame" they have endured, "in their land they shall possess the double." ver. 4-7.

[ocr errors]

"And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse

among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing." Zech. viii. 13. This being subsequent to the restoration of both kingdoms from "among the heathen," proves clearly that it is yet unaccomplished. "But now, I will not be unto the residue of this people, as in the former days, saith the Lord of Hosts; for the seed shall be prosperous, and the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things." ver. 11, 12. "And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men." Micah v. 7. This shall be after their restoration, and when their last oppressor shall be destroyed; when the "Ruler in Israel" shall deliver them from 66 The Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders;" when they shall "raise against him seven shepherds and eight principal men, and they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword;" (ver. 2-6) which is generally acknowledged to be at the period of their future restoration.



UNDER every aspect in which it can be viewed, the coming Millennium forms matter of delightful anticipation. Uniting with its bright manifestation of the glory of God the general holiness and well-being of men, the heart which desires it not must be pronounced destitute alike of the principles of Piety and the feelings of Philanthropy. In considering some of the prophecies concerning its holiness and happiness our views are at once carried back to the early scenes of Eden's bliss, and we recal the delightful remembrance of unfallen man surrounded by the various tribes of animate creation sporting in peace and undisturbed security. Who that witnesses from day to day the sufferings of useful animals, under man's oppressive toils and outrage

ous cruelty, desires not ardently the time of their release? The pangs they are made to endure from these and other causes have been entailed upon them by man's transgression. Until Paradise was defiled by sin, harmony and love universally prevailed. Before corruption entered the human heart, ere the Wicked One acquired his dire ascendancy over the lord of this lower creation, the inferior animals possessed not even their destructive and offensive tendencies. Till then, those which are now distinguished by untameable ferocity, without reluctance acknowledged man's supremacy, and submitted to his sway. But Sin wrought a woeful change. Man himself having rebelled against his bountiful Creator, Heaven made him read the reproof of his ingratitude in the dread, and insubordination, and fierce defiance of animals which were wont to yield unto his will. And thus it has continued. Successive generations have passed away, and the same features of rebellion characterize man towards his Maker, and the lower tribes toward their lord. But thus it will not always be. Heaven hath decreed a better day as yet to dawn. Satan shall shortly be despoiled of his usurped dominion; and the blessing of the Lord shall again descend upon a regenerated earth. "Times of the Restitution of all things" He hath purposed from eternity, and announced to His church "by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." When man shall be brought into subjection to the blessed Saviour, the Inferior animals shall also be restored to that state of submissive docility in which they originally were in Eden's garden, when, Heaven-directed, they came to Adam, each and all, to receive their names. Then shall their mutual antipathies be destroyed, and harmonious association with man restored--a felicity which shall extend to the various tribes of beasts, birds, and creeping things.

[ocr errors]

This is represented to us by the Prophet Hosea, as the result of " a covenant" made by the Lord in favour of His people, when he shall have taken away their transgressions : "And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord," referring to the period of their restoration, "that thou shalt call me Ishi, [my man-husband;] and shalt call me no more Baali, [my lordly husband,] for I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. And in that day


And in

will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; and with the creeping things of the ground; and I will break the bow, and the sword, and the battle, out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely." Hos. ii 16—18. The evil propensities of man, and the antipathies of the lower creation will be destroyed together in that day." So, it is elsewhere predicted, in the Millennial day men "shall beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." the prediction before us, it is the promise of the Lord that when the time of his "covenant" with the inferior animals in favour of his people shall arrive, He shall also “break the bow and the sword and the battle," from the earth. Instruments of war shall be rendered unnecessary as war itself will not be practised. Neither will "the bow" be handled against the lower creation. God having made a covenant with them, "for" his people, so also will he break the bow that these animals may be allowed to "lie down safely." But if they are to be secure against the aggressions of men, so also will the peace and safety of men be uninterrupted by their attacks, and unthreatened by their opposition. God's covenant is "with" them, "" FOR "his people. This covenant is not confined to one class of animals, but embraces at once "the beasts of the field," "the fowls of heaven," and "the creeping things of the ground." All the tribes which men are made to fear, are thus included. How perfectly distinct is the prediction! yet its truths are disbelieved. Beasts, birds, and reptiles, are all supposed by many to be only "wicked men.' But God makes no "covenant" with "wicked men." the contrary, He every where threatens to destroy them. And it deserves to be noticed how precise is the language employed above. He will "make a covenant with the lower creation-beautifully expressive at once of their continued existence, and the cessation of their enmity; but the instruments of war and of cruelty He threatens to "BREAK" "out of the earth." They shall altogether cease to have existence.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


A similar prediction, concerning the same time and expressing more fully the change upon the natures of the

Inferior Animals, is given by the prophet Isaiah: "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of His roots.... and righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' [adder's, marg.] den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea," Is. xi. 1—9. In the prophecy already considered, it is predicted that the various animals shall "lie down safely." This might have been considered as proof of the destruction of their mutual antipathies toward each other, as well as that of their fear of and enmity to man; for unless the former were also removed, they could not lie down "safely." But in the prediction last quoted, their mutual cordiality is explicitly foretold. The meekest and the most ferocious, the least suspecting and the most crafty, the unresisting and the most courageous-all mingle here in harmonious concert. The ravening wolf shall cease to injure the innocent lamb, and the forest-prowling leopard to tear the kid; the cow and the bear shall graze together; and the king of the forest, no longer glutting in blood, shall partake of oxen's food; the venomous asp and adder shall become harmless, and children without dread engage them in sport.-And how beautifully introduced is the reason of all this: "FOR the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." As the sin of man, in departing from the living God, was the cause of all the discordance introduced into this lower world, so when he is brought again to the allegiance due to his Maker-when the knowledge of the Lord shall become universal, and man everywhere submits to the sceptre of His Son-then shall the curse of enmity be removed, and all be restored to happiness and peace. As man's rebellion unfitted him for properly exercising power over the Inferior creation-when he would F

« السابقةمتابعة »