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renewed vigour, shall praise him, and “
cry aloud from” among the nations. They have already glorified God amidst the greatest dangers and sufferings, even Israel's God, in the cities of the nations. See Psalm xlvi. 1–7.
In the 13th chapter of Isaiah we have a very impressive description of God's judgments both on ancient and modern Babylon. The 14th, in which the subject is continued, proves this with regard to the latter, as it connectedly transfers our views to the times of the restoration of Israel; and it is expressly added, at
Ver. 3. It shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, that thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city (or, exactress of gold) ceased! The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers.
He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, (Heb. a stroke without removing,) he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth. The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us. Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming : it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones (Heb. leaders or great goats) of the earth ; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we ? art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols : the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, (or, day-star,) son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, who didst weaken the nations ! For thou hast said in thy heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. How remarkably descriptive is this passage of the persecuting power and usurped authority of the “man of sin" over the nations, and over the church of God! But “ his pomp shall be brought down to the grave!" His blasphemous assumption of divine authority is thus further described :
Ver. 14. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, (or heavens,) [i. e., assume infallibility,] and be like the Most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms ; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners ?
And is it not natural to suppose that the civilized world will be filled with astonishment, when, through the light of the Gospel, they shall be awakened to a sense of the “ sorceries" by which this tyrant of tyrants has governed so many countries, and perpetrated such horrid cruelties on his unoffending species; especially in “the house of his prisoners,” the Inquisition ?
Ver. 21-23. Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers ; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities. For I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD.
Thus their extirpation is manifest, together with the desolations before predicted.
Some of the following Scriptures emphatically foreshow the rejoicing and triumph,—the gratitude and praise of the people of God, both Jews and Gentiles, for their deliverance from the oppression and sufferings which they so unceasingly experienced under the power and influence of antichrist :
Isaiah 4x11. 7-9. I will mention the loving-kindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving-kindnesses, For he saith, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them : in his love and in his pity he redeemed them.
In the same chapter, Israel addresses a prayer to God, replete with humiliation and penitence; yet with entire confidence in their Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
Ver. 17–19. O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while : our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. We are thine ; thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.
Psalm LxIx. 34-36. Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and everything that moveth therein. For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah : that they may dwell there, and have it in possession. The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein.
Psalm cxlIX. Praise ye the LORD. (Heb. Hallelujah.) Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints. Let Israel rejoice in him (Heb. THEM,) that made him : let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance: (or, with the pipe :) let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.
Thus the meek are identified as his people. In this, as in all-such instances, what a remarkable harmony exists throughout the word of God!
Let the saints be joyful in glory : let them sing aloud upon their beds, (or rather, couches.) Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, (i. e., the
publication and preaching of the word, and the accompanying influences of the Holy Spirit ;) to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron ; to execute upon them the judgments written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord.
As the just and holy principles of the Gospel constitute at once the revealed will of God, and the only imperishable standard of morality, the vast amount of opposition which these principles excite, engage empires and kingdoms in wars and civil commotions, to an extent which is only limited by the physical and other providential obstructions which God himself interposes. These troubles have more or less caused the destruction, and will ultimately subvert the power of all the wicked and factious among mankind; of ungodly kings and their subjects alike.
“ The desolations which will overspread apostate Christendom, the seat of the fourth beast, will be more dreadful by far than those which overwhelmed the Jews. The desolation will be more extensive; that was confined chiefly to a city and wholly to a province, but this awful whirlpool will involve in its vortex great and mighty nations. We may expect it likewise to be attended with more dreadful circumstances than even the war of Titus. Have we not sinned against greater mercies and under a nobler dispensation than the Jews did? We have. And have not the European nations hatred truth,
... trampled under foot the afflicted Jews,-made religion a pretext for unjust and bloody wars,-a stepping-stool for ambitious men, and a tool of the state ?" *
We further learn from the preceding Psalm that the extermination of incorrigible sinners is the honour which God
confers on his saints, though they are not implicated in the issue of his providence or righteous judgments. Their prayers, on the contrary, continually ascend for the conver. sion of their bitterest enemies, and the most cruel foes of the human race; yet the holiness of their lives has an invariable tendency to produce either the renovation, punishment, or destruction of the ungodly. The last Psalm is peculiarly expressive of the grateful joy of the saints at this most momentous season; and instruments of music are called in, harmoniously to resound the great Creator's praise.