Page images
[ocr errors]

of Jehovah was kindled against Israel-not David especially, but David was used as an instrument; and to work upon David Satan was employed. In one sense, therefore, it was God who moved David to number Israel, but it was through Satan as the immediate instrument.

*We have another instance of God using evil things to bring about His judicial punishment in a coming day. We read that to those who will not hare the truth, God will send them strong delusions that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thess. ii. 11, 12.)

All this is in the moral government of God both in the case of those that are His own (as Job and David) and those that are not (as Ahab), and this entirely reconciles the two statements of the way in which David was moved.

There is still another question in what constituted the sin of numbering the people? That it was a sin is plain, for we read, “ God was displeased with this thing, therefore he smote Israel.” Even Joab said, “ Why be a cause of trespass to Israel ?" As one has well said, it is easy to see the flesh in another, while we are blind to it in ourselves.

It has been supposed by some that the sin was not in numbering the people, but in not offering the redemption money that accompanied the numbering in Éxodus xxx. But of that there is not a word in either of the passages.

I doubt not the sin was in the self-exaltation that the numbers of a large kingdom would gratify. David said, “ Go number Israel from Beer-sheba even to Dan: and bring the number of them to me that I


know it. David wanted to see of

how large a population he was the king. It was his own glory that was before him, and this was sin. It turned out to David's good; he confessed

. the sin as his alone, and God accepted his sacrifice and stayed the plague. He knew God so well that he desired to be punished by Him rather than fall into the hands of man.

There is still one more apparent discrepancy. 2 Samuel xxiv. 24, says, “ So David bought the threshing-floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver;" and 1 Chronicles xxi. reads, “So David gave to Ornan for the place, six hundred shekels of gold by weight." Fifty shekels of silver would equal about £6; and six hundred shekels of gold was perhaps £864 by reckoning gold to be worth twelve times as inuch as silver.

This is declared to be irreconcilable, but a little careful consideration will shew that there may be an explanation. If any error in copying, there must have been two mistakes ; six hundred for fifty, and gold for silver. But it will be seen that the passage in Samuel especially names the threshing-floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver whereas the passage in Chronicles says, “ David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight.' Now this, though including the threshing floor may have been a much larger portion of land, and whereon the future temple may have been built.

Let us take warning not to commit the sin of David. It has surely been repeated many times since. Persons have boasted of their numbers and their success, and God has blown upon the whole thing, and it has fallen to pieces. God must have the glory, and not we.




If you think this subject is worthy of observation in your excellent little issue, the " Sunday-school Worker,” I should be glad of your judgment, as I think it would be generally useful.

I have seen a Sunday school, where the ages of the children ranged from two to eighteen years, and as many as thirty, forty, and fifty in a class, and the number of classes in the school were so numerous and crowded that it was totally impossible to teach some of the large classes collectively, as the teachers' voices drowned one another, and this evil was multiplied by the classes being unmanageable.

It occurred to me that, however earnest and zealous the teachers might be for blessing to the children, their object would in a very great measure be lost, in consequence of the confusion and clamour of the school, and the utter impossibility of getting at the children in a serious

It also occurred to me that the teaching of the school would be rendered much more effective if the school were reduced to nearly half its present number, and as I observed that there were two or three classes of mere infants, I should certainly have sent them away in preference to the senior classes.

I would not overlook the responsibility of teachers in providing the necessary accommodation for the number of children presenting themselves, but if they are unequal to this, I think they are also responsible that overcrowding should be avoided.



[ocr errors]

[We think a school ought not to be allowed to become so overcrowded. Scholars should be formally “ admitted," and when the school is full, it should be stated that the school is full, and no more be admitted until vacancies occur. Under the circumstances above named, could not one or two of the teachers open Bible classes at their own houses for the elder scholars? The school would right itself in time if no more were admitted until there was room.-Ed.]


PLEASE explain this passage: “Who is blind but

" my servant? or deaf as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord's servant ?"

The first part of the chapter clearly refers to our Lord: "Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth ; I have put my spirit upon him ; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” Later on in the chapter, Jehovah goes forth “as a mighty man,” speaking to the blind, and to those who “say to the molten images, Ye are our gods. Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see.” Then follows the above passage.

We doubt not that allusion is made to Israel. Blind as were those who bowed down to molten images, Israel, as God's servant and messenger, because of turning the back upon the light, was still

Who so blind as those ? the word “blind" being repeated three times in the verse.

The only difficulty is in the word “perfect,” but some translate it differently. Lowth," he that is perfectly instructed;" Delitzsch, « who blind as the confident of God ?” The meaning of the verse is clearly the asking who is so blind as the one who was Jehovah's servant-the one brought into close connection with the God of Israel ? We have a similar passage in the New Testament: “ If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness !” There is just as strong an antithesis between light being darkness, as a perfect one being blind.



Can you throw any light upon Ephesians vi. 3 ?

. which connects that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth,” with “Honour thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise. Is this simply a quotation from the fifth commandment? And how does may be well with thee,” and “live long

" on the earth," apply to this dispensation ? If not, why is it here quoted ?

[ocr errors]

It must be remembered that affection of children for their parents, and obedience to them, is a natural thing apart from law; and “ without natural affection," is one of the signs of the last days. Therefore, for children to honour their parents, would have been a duty if there had been no law; and it was and is a duty where the light of scripture has never yet reached.

There can, however, be no doubt, that allusion

« PreviousContinue »