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THE DEW OF ISRAEL, AND THE

LILY OF GOD.

Hosea xiv. 5. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily.

The Lord's voice crieth to his people, “Return, return, O Israel ;” and the promises added to encourage them to return are most sweet and beautiful : "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely : for riae anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel : he shall grow as the lily". At this last promise we pause : we are invited to inquire into its import, and to consider

I. CHRIST, AS SET FORTH BY THE DEW UNTO ISRAEL.

II. HIS BRIDE, THE CHURCH, WITH EVERY PARTICULAR MEMBER OF IT, AS THE BLOOMING

LILY.

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1. I will be as the dew unto Israel.” Jehovah himself as the dew! How soft is this similitude, and how agreeable! How exactly suited to improve and comfort the heart! Is not one and another of us ejaculating to Him in secret,

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“Be it so unto me, blessed Jesus, my Lord; be it unto me according to this thy word! Be thou as the dew of the morning unto me; let thy own blessing rest upon me, as the soft and gentle rain."

The dew, that precious boon bestowed upon the natural world, is often referred to in the Scripture by way of similitude. Sometimes it represents great temporal benefits. Thus Isaac, prophetically blessing Esau's posterity, said, “Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above." At other times, spiritual blessings are compared to the dew. Thus in Deuteronomy, chap. xxxiii. 28, “Isrąe! shall dwell in safely alone; the fountain of Jacob: shall be upon a land of corn and wine : also hiş.beavens: share drop down dew." Again ; the sure yard-of prophecy, in its exuberant richness and refreshing power, is commended to us by the same similitude : “My doctrine shall drop as the rain: my speech shall distil as the dew.The dew is also an emblem of human grace or favour : “ The king's favour," saith Solomon, “is as dew upon the grass.” It is likewise an emblem of peace and unanimity: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, and went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon

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the mountains of Zion; for there Jehovah commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." The children of God themselves, the people who are born again, are called the dew; because they are born from above; born of God: because a beam of Divine light shines through them, and the image of the eternal Sun of Righteousness is reflected in them: because they are jewels of the earth's attire, like the drops of dew; a graceful decoration and refreshment spread over the great field of human nature : also because the day will arrive, when, like the dew-drops, they shall be found a great multitude that no man can number: and, lastly, because, imperceptibly and mysteriously, they are begotten and brought forth as in the night, unnoticed and unobserved by the world. Thus it is written of Christ and his church in Psalm cx., “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning : thou hast the dew of thy youth.” And again, in Micah, chap. v. 7, “ The remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from Jehovah.” Very frequently also the Holy Spirit, with his manifold powers, gifts, and operations, is in Scripture compared to the dew ; for He is to the soul what the dew and the rain are to nature. “Awake,” saith the prophet, “and sing, ye that dwell in dust : for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead," Isa. xxvi. 19.

And now, if the Lord, as here by the prophet Hosea, style HIMSELF the Dew, can we be either surprised at it, or mistake its meaning ? He who sends the dew, is also himself the Dew: He being that Spirit, of whom the apostle speaks, “ Now the Lord is that Spirit,” 2 Cor. iii. 17; and again, “ We all, as with unveiled face, beholding, as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Lord the Spirit,” ver. 18. When Christ enters into the soul, he enters by the Spirit; and when the Spirit is thus imparted to us, Christ is hereby glorified in us; and shows himself a living Saviour towards us and in us.

“I will be as the dew unto Israel.” What Divine humility and condescension ! For it cannot imply that he will become this for any benefit to himself: it is merely for the benefit of those dry pastures that need his refreshing. Verily, the King of kings and Lord of lords, He who hath all power in heaven and earth, having all things to be put under his feet, He it is who is now minded to be as the dew unto us; or like a reviving rain, poured out upon the parched wastes of revolted human nature. Think of this Divine condescension--this unutterable love!

He will be as the dew! This promise implies that there is a dry and withered field somewhere, upon which he will shed forth abundantly his fructifying influence; and this field are we, in so far as we are not yet partakers of his life. We may search and look long enough for any verdure in the soul that is a stranger to Jesus, who alone is the Source from which it springs. Alas! every thing therein is not only withered, but burnt up by the heat of temptation and sin. Oh! how is that beautiful Eden, which God planted within us, become a wild, a desolation ! A fire has been kindled beneath it—a spirit of rebellion against God, and has consumed or withered every green thing. The soul of man is a wilderness—a barren heath-the place of dragons and vipers—the seat of unholy imaginations and fleshly lusts. Search and seek in it for the noble plant of love to God; lo, it has all withered and died away. Look in it for any bud of child-like confidence, heartfelt devotion, or secret delight in prayer. Trace in it, if you the

grace of true humility, that sweet lily of the valley.) Inquire in it for the herb patience, if there be a flower of it left. Look for the twining evergreen of communion with God, whether a blossom of it appears : in a word, whether the soul of man retains any strength, or disposition, or desire to do the will of our Father which is in heaven ; whether there be any heavenly mindedness, or any affection for things above. Ah ! how is there nothing of all this to be found in it ! What a dry desert ! In the most awful sense does that saying of the prophet apply to us, " Thou daughter that dost inhabit Dibon, come down from thy glory, and sit in thirst,Jer.

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