Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

tone; in other words, it was the third admeasurement, the third thousand cubits, and the water had reached the loins. If any one doubts the glorious manifestation of the Spirit during the prophetic age, let him read the prophecies; and if he reads with a single eye, he will be ready to exclaim, "It is a history and not a prophecy; it is the history of my Redeemer." Yes, Emmanuel is born; the day star hath arisen; the sun of righteousness with healing under his wings; it is the fourth admeasurment, the fourth dispensation, the fourth thousand cubits; and the waters became a river over which the prophet could not pass. The waters became so deep that they

could not be fathomed.

Hence the observation made by the primitive fathers, that the waters of the sanctuary were at first so low, that a little lamb might ford them, but at last arose to such a height, that an elephant might swim in them. And the Apostle Paul, with pious and holy rapture exclaims, "O, the depth, the unsearchable riches of the mercy of our God!" You will recollect that a day in the sight of your God is as a thousand years; you will remember that your Redeemer is accounted for a generation; you know, that the sun of the natural world, was called into being on the fourth day of creation, and you know the grand luminary of the mental world, was exhibited in the fourth thousand year, in the fourth admeasurement, in the fourth thousand cubits. You will compare these various testimonies, and I persuade myself, you will derive inexpressible consolation from the comparison. Yes, he of whom all the prophets have written, descended upon our globe on the fourth thousand year. This is the man, the God-man, who is described as a river.

"And the Spirit brought the prophet, and caused him to return to the brink of the river, and behold at the bank of the river were very many trees, on the one side and on the other." How divinely beautiful is the harmony, so conspicuous in scripture testimonies. Compare this passage with the commencement of the twenty-second chapter of Revelations :

"And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

"In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bear twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."

The prophet Ezekiel saw very many trees, on either side of the river, but not one of them deadly. The fruit they produced was not forbidden fruit. The waters from the throne of God were clear, they were not cistern waters.

But these waters issuing from the east country, go down into the desert. The glory of the Lord is from the east. I am always de lighted when I hear the Spirit speaking favourably of the desert. Isaiah said, It should blossom as the rose. Gratitude glows at my heart, when the Holy Ghost speaks of the improvement of the waste places. Such declarations are worthy of a God; indeed they become every wise and good being. The land-holder, although grounds may be rough and sterile, will however, be tenacious of his property; he will essay to turn it to the best possible account, and the more profitable he can render it, the greater will be his pleasure, his self-complacency.

These waters, these holy waters, not only refreshed the desert, but they passed into the sea, and wherever they came, they con veyed healing and life.

We cannot upon this occasion forbear recollecting, that our divine Master selected his disciples from the sea side, from their fishing nets, and assured them he would make them fishers of men. O, how great the magnitude of the grace contained in this prophecy! it is replete with the richest promises; yes, it is capable of enriching the religious miner with discoveries of incalculable value. No wonder that the Redeemer directs his disciples to search the scriptures: "For in them," said he, "ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me." No wonder that the Apostle preached the gospel according to the scriptures, and we should always remember, that these scriptures were the scriptures of the Old-Testament, for no other scriptures were then written.

But it may be well to consider the miry places thereof, and the marishes thereof, which were not to be healed, which were to be given to salt.

Salt is sometimes a figure of barrenness, and sometimes of fruitfulness. The disciples were not sent forth to render men barren, but fruitful. Yet our Saviour speaking to those, his sent servants, says, Ye are the salt of the earth. What then is intended by these marishes and miry places thereof? As these marishes and miry places thereof were attached to those places, which derived such healing benefit from the passage of the waters, it is manifest they

VOL. II.

24

are intended as figures of the carnal mind, which is enmity against God, which is not reconciled unto the law of God, neither indeed can be. This carnal mind, although found in, and belonging to the inheritance, is doomed to perpetual sterility.

Many of the children of God believe, that those miry places and marishes, intend the hypocrites and reprobates among mankind, and that they are doomed by the eternal purpose of an unchanging God, to endless death! But, alas! where dwelleth the person, who in the presence of God can say, "I am no hypocrite, I am perfect, for I have never in a single point committed a single offence.” No individual, acquainted with the magnitude and purity of the divine law, can thus think, can thus make appeal to God; and we know, if we have offended in one point, we are guilty of all. You never hear an Apostle say, "God, I thank thee, I am no hypoorite, no offender, no sinner." The testimony of Paul is the reverse of this vain boasting. He pronounces himself carnal, sold under sin, and he declares himself the chief of sinners, the least of saints. But many of the professed admirers of our Apostle declare, he did not thus conceive of himself, that he was merely like other good people narrating his experiences.

Alas, for us! Man in his best estate is vanity! Yet the foundation of the Lord standeth sure; he knows what he hath bought with a price; he is fully acquainted with the nature of his purchase; he knoweth what price he hath paid for his inheritance, and he will appreciate it accordingly.

man.

But the banks of the river is bordered on either side by trees; the fruit whereof is for meat, and the leaf for medicine; these trees shall bring forth new fruit according to their months, because their waters issued out of the sanctuary; neither shall the leaf of those trees fade, nor the fruit be consumed. Thus shall the hungry be fed, and the invalid restored. Such are the dealings of God with He administers food to the hungry, satisfying both the mental and corporeal cravings of his children. He is the good Father, who provideth for his children. He is the physician of value, who prepareth medicine for their infirmities. He is the alwise lawgiver, who will punish the deviations of his subjects, of his children, with a rod and with stripes, but his punishments are effectual to reform, not to destroy them; and his loving kindness, he will never take away, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail. In one word, the great Lord of the harvest, the Creator of men, will sustain and bless the beings

he has created, and that for his own name sake. Our great Master will do all things well. And in the completion of his all-gracious purposes, with regard to the human family, when the assembled world shall stand before him, then shall every individual be taught of God; and in consequence of this teaching, they will say, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created. Thou art worthy, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood; yea, every creature which is in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and such as were in the sea, and all that were in them, shall unite to say, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.

I had intended, as I observed, that a cursory view of these holy waters should close my communications to you, at least for the present; but glancing my eye upon the seventh and eighth verses of the eighth chapter of Isaiah's prophecy, I am forcibly attracted, by a striking contrast to the waters we have been considering; and if you will have patience with me, I will indulge a few reflections. upon this subject. Thus run the verses :

"Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory; and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks.

"And he shall pass through Judah, he shall overflow and go over; he shall reach even to the neck: and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel."

These waters are indeed unholy waters. I have frequently had occasion to observe the use, the spirit of our God makes of water, either in large or small quantities and water is undoubtedly very explanatory, as a figure of the great purposes of Deity, in providence and grace. We have listened to the teachings of the Spirit, through the instrumentality of the holy waters, issuing from the sanctuary in Ezekiel's vision. We have observed their gradual increase, from a shallow stream, to a river which no man could fathom. The contrast, so strongly marked through the book of God, is worthy of the most serious attention. Two characters are strikingly delineated. He who made the world, who created man, who redeemed the human family, who is the friend of the huma■

race, and who will preserve it. This is the first character, who is the God-man, the Child born, the Son given, the almighty Father, the Prince of peace, the King of heaven. The other character is the origin, the fabricator of evil, the sower of the tares, the author of confusion, of destruction, the adversary of souls, which, as a roaring lion, he is seeking to devour: such is the malicious, peacedestroying monarch of the infernal regions: such is the God of this world; who, through the sacred writings, exhibits a perfect contrast to the King of heaven.

It is by a careful attention to the distinguishing features of these deeply wrought contrasts, that we learn to separate the precious from the vile. The figurative language of scripture, was indeed the original language. Every part of creation, all things which were made, testify of the Maker. The creature was first exhibited in the image of the Creator-Let us make man in our own image: and he who was from the beginning the adversary of this image of God, seems to have left no effort unessayed for its destruction. He, the devil, is indeed an inveterate foe, and most maliciously industrious to destroy the works of God. It is thus, as I hinted, the contrast is exhibited-The destroyer opposed to the Creator, the enemy to the friend, the prince of darkness to the light of the world: the deceiver who blindeth the mind, to the luminous Spirit which giveth light to those who sit in darkness, which translateth the children of darkness from the power of Satan unto God.

Thus, in the early ages, there were prophets of the Lord, and there were false prophets and oh, how numerous were those false prophets! And, said the Redeemer and his divinely inspired Servant, "In the latter days there shall arise false Christs, who shall deceive many; and who, if it were possible, should deceive the very elect" but blessed be God, this is not possible, for therefore were they elected, to be worshippers of the true God, to be standing and abiding witnesses for God, invulnerable to deception.

The head of the adversaries of the children of Israel, was the Assyrian monarch: and what is very extraordinary, this chosen people of God, preferred the waters of the river, the great river, to Shilo, a brook that ran though Jerusalem, the city of God: yea, they thirsted for the waters of the Euphrates, the property of the adversary, choosing it before the refreshing stream which gladdened and fertilized their own soil; and this choice was the source of their destruction; it rose so high, and spread so wide, that it

« PreviousContinue »