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SERVICE DONE FOR GOD REWARDED.
EZEK. xxix. 17-20.
And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year, in the first month, in the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every bead was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled; yet had he no wages, nor his army for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it: therefore thus saith the Lord God, behold, I will give the Land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army. I have given him the Land of Egypt for his labour wherewith he ved against it, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord God.
SURELY the Lord will do nothing, "but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." When he would bring in the flood upon the ungodly world, he divulged his purpose to
Noah. From Abraham he would not hide the thing he was about to do in the destrustion of the cities of the plain. When by his judgments he resolved to punish the house of Eli, he lodged the heavy tidings with Samuel. To Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, he announced the revolutions and doom of the surrounding nations.
Now this was done, first for the honour of these distinguished servants of God, by fhewing the confidential friendship with which he favoured them; and secondly, for the conviction and confirmation of others. The truth of these predictions would increasingly appear in their successive accomplishments. The inference was obvious and undeniable. Who could draw back the veil which conceals futurity? Who could pierce through the obscurity of ages and generations, and foretell things to come? He, and He alone, "who declareth the end from the beginning, "and from ancient times the things that are not yet
done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do "all my pleasure."
The burden of the prophecy which is to engage your present thoughts, is the donation of Egypt to the king of Babylon for his trouble in taking Tyre.
Tyre was a place famous for navigation, merchandize, and riches. Our prophet calls it, "The mart of
"nations," and enumerates the various countries in whose commerce it traded. But trade is perpetually changing its residence. It passed from Tyre to Alexandria, from Alexandria to Venice, from Venice to Antwerp, from Antwerp to Amfterdam, from Amfterdam to London. And if there be any truth in
history, an abundance of commerce has generally, if not universally, proved the ruin of the countries in which it has prevailed. It pours in wealth; wealth is favourable to every species of wickedness; and wickedness, by its natural tendency, as well as by the curse of God, brings in calamity and misery. So it was with Tyre. Luxury, pride, insolence, licentiousness of manners, indifference to the diftresses of others, presumptuous confidence in their resources, all these abounded among them and foreboded the evil day; "Therefore thus said the Lord God: Behold "I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many "nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth "his waves to come up. For behold, I will bring upon Tyrus, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and "much people. He fhall slay with the sword thy . daughters in the field: and he fhall make a fort "against thee, and caft a mount against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee. And he fhall set engines of war againft thy walls, and with his axes he "fhall break down thy towers. And I will make "thee like the top of a rock; thou shalt be a place to "spread nets upon; I the Lord have spoken it."
This prediction was now accomplished. Tyre had fallen, but not without immense labour and loss.Thirteen years Nebuchadrezzar besieged it with a large army. Toiling for so many seasons, night and day, summer and winter, the soldiers endured incredible hardships; 66 every head was bald; every shoul"der was pealed." For the walls were deemed im,
pregnable, and the place being open to the sea could easily receive fresh supplies of provision and of men from the various colonies which they had in the Mediterranean. But its fate was determined. At length a breach was made; and further resistance became useless. But numbers of the Tyrians escaped in their vessels, after taking their most valuable articles on board, and throwing the rest into the sea; so that Nebuchadrezzar when he entered, inftead of a rich booty to indemnify him for his losses, found nothing but empty houses and ruins. This was no small mortification. Ezekiel is therefore commissioned to insure him the acquisition of a country, where he would find less difficulty and more recompense; a country abounding in corn, in cattle, and all kinds of riches. "And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth 6c year, in the first month, in the first day of the "month, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, "Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon "caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made bald, and every shoul"der was peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his ar66 my, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served 66 against it: therefore thus saith the Lord God, "Behold, I will give the Land of Egypt unto Nebu"chadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her "multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; "and it shall be the wages for his army. I have giv❝en him the Land of Egypt for his labour wherewith "he served against it, because they wrought for me, "saith the Lord God."
These words furnish us with three reflections.
1. The disposal of ftates and nations is the work of divine Providence. II. Men may serve God really, when they do not serve him by design. III. We shall never be losers by any thing we do for God.
I THE DISPOSAL OF STATES AND NATIONS IS THE WORK This DanDIVINE PROvidence. iel confessed when he said, "Blessed be the name of "God for ever and ever for wisdom and might are "his and he changeth the times and the seasons : "he removeth kings, and he setteth up kings: he 'giveth wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to them "that know understanding." He rejected Saul, and gave the Kingdom to David an obscure fhepherd. He took the ten tribes from Rehoboam, and transferred them to Jeroboam originally an inferior officer in his own service. It was occasioned indeed by the imprudence of the king in refusing the advice of the old men, and following the rash counsel of the young; but "the thing," so it is expressly remarked, "the
thing was of the Lord." Thus He takes Egypt from Pharaoh-hophra, and adds it to the possessions and territories of the Babylonish monarch. Nothing could be a greater judgment upon a country than to be laid open to the horrors of invasion, and delivered up to the despotism of an unprincipled tyrant, who considered them as his property, used them as his tools, degraded them as his vassals, disposed of them as his victims; so that "whom he would he slew, and "whom he would he kept alive;" but "the Lord gave it to him."
Do we examine this dispensation in reference to the