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heaven for its security and peace : and God heareth him always, answers him with good and comfortable words ; for in him ihe Father is ever well pleased.

4. Whatever opposition may be made to the church, God can easily defeat it. There are many confederate against it, many horned beasts, powerful and formidable enemies, are pushing at it; but he is still zealous for its support. Be the horns ever so many or strong, he can raise up a sufficient number of instruments to oppose and defeat them." Let us, after the example of Christ, be earnest intercessors for the church in its lowest state ; and encourage ourselves with all those comfortable words which God has spoken concerning it ; and thus stir up ourselves to promote its interest. It is the cause of God, and the gates of hell shall never prevail against it.

CHAP. II.

Contains further encouragement to the people to go on building the

temple and the city. 1 T LIFTED up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a 2 1 man with a measuring line in his hand. Then said I,

Whither goest thou ? And he said unto me, To measure Jeru

salem, to see what [is] the breadth thereof, and what [is] the 3 length thereof; that it may be rebuilt as before. And, behold,

the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel 4 went out to meet him, And said unto him, Run, speak to this

young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited (as) towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein ; the limits of the old city, though so great, shall not be able to contain the number of the people that shall be desirous to dwell there ; but it shall be inhabited like unwalled towns, that is, the suburbs shall extend far beyond the limits of the walls, 80 as to become

greater than the city itself, as is now the case with many po5 ulous cities in our own country.) For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, as travellers, or shefherds made fires round about them at night to keep off beasts of prey (a beautiful allusion ;) as Jerusalem was yet without walls, God promises to be its defence, and will be the glory in the midst of her; though the Shekinah is gone, my gracious presence

shall be an equal honour and benefit. 6 Ho, ho, (come forth,] and flee from the land of the north,

from Babylon, saith the Lord : for I have spread you abroad

as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD, and am 7 willing you should be gathered together again. Deliver thyself,

o Zion, that dwellest (with) the daughter of Babylon ; make use of the liberty you enjoy, and return to your own country,

that you may enjoy Jerusalem's mercies, and escape Babylon's 3 calamities. For thus saith the LORD of hosts ; After the

glory which has been foretold, that is, the restoration of Jerusaa lem and the temple, hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you, to denounce judgment against your chief spoilers,

the Chaldeans ; for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of 9 his eye, or, mine eye ; it affects me in the tenderest part. For, * behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall

be a spoil to their servants ; the Persians, who once were subjects and servants to the Babylonians, shall subdue and plunder

them : and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me.* 10. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion ; for, lo, I come, and 11 I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. And many

nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people ; many shall become proselytes to the Jewish religion :

and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know 12 that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee. And the

LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and

shall choose Jerusalem again ; he shall give visible tokens, that 13 they are still his peculiar and favoured people. Be silent, O

all flesh, before the LORD : for he is raised up out of his holy habitation ; a reference to the respectful silence usual in a public assembly, when the king ri&es from his throne to make a speech to them; 80, when God gives signs of his appearance, 10 cxecute judgment or mercy, the most profound reverence and submission is highly becoming..

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XTE learn hence, what is the most important blessing

that we can implore for our country, viz. that God will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and the glory in the midst of her, v. 5. that is, a sure impregpable defence. Our walls of water, and wooden castles, are nothing without this. The continuance of our liberty, and of gospel ordinances, in their purity, is our greatest glory : and it should be our earnest prayer that this glory may continue, and that upon all this glory God would create a defence.

• This refers to a remarkable event mentioned by heathen historians. In the reign of Darius, in his fifth year, (three years after this time) Babylon, which had been taken by Cyrus, and was become subject to the Persian monarchs, revolted. The Babylonians laid in a stock of provisions for several years, declared war against the king of Persia while he had a viceroy among them, and trusted to the strength of their walls. To cut off all unnecessary mouths, they destroyed most of their wives and children and all that could not bear arms; but a courtier of Darius' got into the city by a stratagem, and let his army in. Upon this, three thousand of the principal citizens were put to death, and the walls in a great measure destroyed. God gave the Jews who staid there a solemn call by this prophet to come out ; and hereby their lives were preserved, and they prevented from the necessity of bearing arms againsi Darius, who had been so kind to them, and which might have been of bad consequence to Jerusalem. So great was the goodness of God in sending then this call. Thus Christ commanded his disciples to flee from Jerusalem before the Romans attacked and destroyed it. Herad. iii. seot. 220. Justin i. il.

have been of bading arms against Dacir lives were pressraid there a sole and the walls in

is call. Thus Chrise to Jerusalem. So erbeen so kind to the prevented from the

2. Let us observe and adore God's condescension and kindness to his people, v. 8. he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine gye ; the tenderest part of the most sensible organ in the human frame. How kindly does he speak of them ! how graciously interest himself in their concerns ! And how should this raise our esteem of God's people ; and lead us to forsake Babylon, that is, all the tents of wickedness, and join ourselves to them. Let us be careful never to injure or reproach God's people ; for this is, in effect, hurting the Lord, and making war against heaven : and let us earnestly pray, that God would keep us individually as the apple of his eye.

3. The presence of God with his people is the firmest ground for joy and praise. If he dwells in our land, we shall be secure and happy : if he dwells in our churches and our houses, we have the best security, and the truest glory : if he dwells in our hearts by his spirit, we have a solid foundation of joy, and ought to abound in his praise. Let us earnestly seek and highly value his presence, and be careful never to do any thing to forfeit it.

4. Let us respectfully wait for all the manifestations of God's presence and power, v. 13. There have been, and still are, many remarkable displays of it, which ought to be adored. Let us believe his promises, wait their accomplishment, and leave it to him to work in his own time and way, and by his own instruments ; neither prescribing to him, nor objecting against his methods of proceeding ; but, with the greatest submission, adora ing them : for he is greatly to be feared in the assembly of his saints, and to be had in reverence of all that draw nigh unto him.

CHAP. III.

This chapter contains further encouragement to the Jews, notwith

standing some defects and irregularities found among them.

1 AND he, that is, the angel that talked with me, showed me

IT Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him : an allusion to the custom of witnesses standing at the right hand of the prisoner : thus Satan is represented as pleading the sins

of the priests and people, as a reason why they should be still % under the power of their adversaries. And the LORD, that is,

Christ, ( as most understand it) or, the angel of the Lord, (as the Syriac reads it, compare Jude 9.) said unto Satan, The LORD will rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chos. en Jerusalem for his special residence, will rebuke thee : [is] not this a brand plucked out of the fire ? a small remnant , re. markably preserved ? therefore God will excuse their infirmities,

3 and spare them. Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments; the old, mean, polluted garments of a captive, to represent the many sins of the people, especially in taking strange wives,

of which Joshua's own 80n8 had been guilty : and he stood 4 before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that

stood before him, 10 the angels in his retinue, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment, in token of pardoning mercy, and of restoration to prosperity and honour. The vision

imports, that the priestly office was to be resumed and exercised 5 with decency and splendor. And I, the prophet, being desirous

of the purity and prosperity of the people, or rather, the angel of the Lord, said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head, in token of God's reconciliaton to the priests, and of his confirming Joshua and his family in their office. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by, 10 approve and encourage what

was done. 6 And the angel of the LORD protested, solemnly and earnestly 7 affirmed, unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts ;

If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by;* a title to, and in due time possession of, the heavenly mansions among the blessed angels. Heb. xii. 22. % Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee; not merely the priests, but all thy assistants in council and government, Zerubbabel and others : for they [are) men wondered at ; or, typical men, whom I will make use of 10 typify my church under the Messiah : for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH ; that is, the Mes.

siah, who shall spring from the root of Jesse, and bring forth ex9 cellent fruit for my glory, and the happiness of the world. For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua, a corner stone, ( which the prophet saw in vision such as it was usual 10 carve heads or flowers upon ; upon one stone (shall be] seven eyes ; to denote the extraordinary wisdom of the Messiah, who should have the Spirit without measure : behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts ; I will qualify him for his work, and make him appear honourable in his office ; and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day ; I will do

that in one day, by the atonement of Christ, which all the sacri. 10 fices of the law could never do. In that day, saith the LORD of

hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree ; peaceful times shall be established, and friendship and love eminently prevail.

See Mr. Orton's Practical Discourses, vol. I. Disc. xviii.

REFLECTIONS.

1. I ET us often reflect on the delightful view here given us

L of the intercession of Christ. Satan is still the accuser of the brethren ; he stands as it were before God, to oppose all good designs and zealous men. But Christ interposes for his church and people ; stops the mouth of this accuser ; pleads God's free choice of them, and the great mercy he has shown to them ; they are a brand plucked out of the burning : it is no wonder therefore that there are many imperfections among them. Happy is it for us to have such a friend and advocate in heaven. In his name wo may come boldly to the throne of grace, 10 seek mercy, and grace to help in time of need ; seeing that Jesus Christ the Son of God is passed into the heavens for us.

2. See what a happy change divine grace makes in the state of men. This is beautifully represented in the case of Joshua ; his filthy garments were taken away ; change of apparel was given, not only for cleanliness, but for splendor. Thus sanctifying grace works upon the mind : thus are we to put off the old man, 10 put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and to keep our garments unspot. ted. But much more perfectly shall this change take place in the future world. Pollutions here will cleave to us ; but, hereafter, we shall put on clean linen, pure, and white, the righteous. ness of the saints ; such as is fit to adorn the favourites of God. This should encourage us amidst our present imperfections, and engage us to long for the day of final redemption and triumph,

3. Let us own, with pleasure and thankfulness, the accomplishment of the prophecy in the latter part of this chapter. The Branch hath sprung up, spread wide, and borne excellent fruit. We have a precious corner stone, firm, and immoveable. In Christ are lodged treasures of wisdom and knowledge ; God hath furnished and qualified him for his work. He hath made a coma plete atonement for sin ; and his servants enjoy that peace which is the consequence of faith in his gospel, even peace of conscience, and mutual good will and love, as far as it prevails. This stone God hath laid and engraved. Though the builders refused it, yet it is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.

CHAP. IV.

Contains further encouragement to the Jews, especially to their leaders,

that their temple should be finished, and their affairs be prosperous. 1 AND the angel that talked with me came again, and wak

ed me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, though not actually asleep, but in a pleasing reverie, musing 073

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