« AnteriorContinuar »
guage of the spouse, we should cry to him saying. Awake, O north wind, and come, thou south, blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out: let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits." We should neither resist nor oppose him. We should cherish his motions, and not quench them.
4. We may also see the vanity and wickedness of indirect and improper means for promoting the Lord's interest. These are too often tried; but always evidence a carnal heart. They flow from unbelief and distrust. They savour of self-importance; and betray a dependance on an arm of flesh. They greatly provoke the Holy Spirit. Schemes of carnal policy for advancing the Lord's work can never be helpful, but are always hurtful. They may appear to be useful for a while; but, if indulged, will discover their pernicious effects. Time and experience might wean the church from such refuges; but the carnal heart still goes astray after its favourite objects. With the Psalmist, Sion should have all her dependance on the Lord, and her language should be, "Wait thou only upon God: for my expectation is from him: he only is my rock and my salvation, he is my defence: I shall not be moved."
5. That about the prosperity of Sion, boasting and despondency are alike excluded. Boasting is excluded by the assurance that the Lord's work is never successfully promoted by might and power. Despondency is equally excluded when the Lord assures his people that his work is carried on by his Spirit alone. Let no man glory in man. He that
glories, let him glory only in the Lord. Every way has Christ given evidence of his love to Zion, and especially in committing her to the immediate care and tuition of the Holy Spirit, when his bodily presence cannot be enjoyed by her. This proves the reality and greatness of his love; and is replete with consolation to the church, and every individual member.
Believers, you should pray for the Spirit. Others need his quickening and converting grace. You still need greater measures of his influences for promoting your sanctification. Cry for him. Quench not his motions. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of promise by whom you are sealed to the day of redemption. You can never be comfortable without him. Never forget that your comfort in general will be in proportion to your holiness. Forget not Zion. Remember her depressed condition. Pray for a revival. Insist for the former and the latter rain. Such as are in a low situation, and think they can do little for the Lord's work, should recollect that much can be done on their knees. Give the Lord no rest. Pray that he may breathe on these slain that they may live. Be encouraged. Sooner or later your believing prayers will be heard. If they should not be answered in the manner you desire, or the exact season you expect, you cannot be losers. While there is a reward of grace awaiting all the saints hereafter, the Lord's service carries a present reward in its own bosom. This is signally true of prayer. Wrestling for Zion, the soul is a gainer. Grace is exercised and increased. Pleading the promises in faith, though
in behalf of others, comforts the heart. Of all his people, none are dearer to Christ than those who prefer Jerusalem to their chiefest joy. The influence the poor wrestling saint, whose name was scarcely known, had on the Lord's word, will at last astonish the world. Pray without ceasing.
ZECHARIAH IV. 7.
Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace
THE Lord's work will always meet with opposition. Those who engage in it should count the cost. They may expect trials from every quarter; but the Lord will stand by them. Satan and the world combine to oppose the Lord's interest. We have an instance of this in the building of the second temple. After the heathen princes, secretly influenced by Jehovah, permitted the Jews to return to their native land, and rebuild their city and temple; they met with remarkable opposition in Judea, where it might have been least expected. Tobiah, Sanballat, and others, employed every art which malice could dictate, or policy invent, to obstruct and retard the work. However, it went on. Nehemiah is perhaps the most shining and unexceptionable character recorded in the Scriptures. He was zealous, steady, and indefatigable. He endured great hardships with patience.
By every possible method he animated the builders, and encouraged them by his example. Aware that much depended on one in his station, and possessed of such endowments, he despised opposition, and said, should such a man as I fly? He was undaunted, and immoveable as a rock. Zerubbabel had a distinguished share in the work, and was greatly discouraged. In the name of the Lord, Zechariah encouraged his heart and strengthened his hands. He assured him in the preceding verse, that though the return of the Jews was not accomplished by great force, or with the pomp of a victorious army, it was brought about in a way more safe and honourable, by the Spirit of the Lord. He restrained the hearts of enemies, and inspired the returning captives with fortitude. By the good hand of God upon them, they reached the holy city. In the text, Zerubbabel is encouraged by a Divine assurance that the temple would be finished in spite of opposition, and the last stone brought forth with triumphant shoutings. The verse is introduced as the address of Jehovah to the enemies of the work, and expresses his majesty and power, his indignation against his enemies, and contempt of all their devices. Should they appear huge and immoveable as mountains, and stable as the rocks, before Zerubbabel the Lord shall make them a plain. The text is concluded with an assurance that, however discouraging the prospect might be at present, Zerubbabel should bring the work to an happy and honourable conclusion. Both parts of the text were designed to inspire the builders with courage; and, by the Lord's blessing, they produced