Page images
PDF
EPUB

:

Away, then, with all needless anxieties and unbelieving fears! Whoever is able to receive the comfort of the more than maternal love of his God, let him receive it. The Lord forgetleth not one of his children, not one of those little ones that believe in Him: not one; not the weakest babe in Christ. “He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom;" and we may be sure that the poorest of the flock are in the hollow of his hand. But am I really one of them ? is the inquiry of many an anxious heart; and we reply, Indeed, indeed, you are, if such you are seeking to be found : if you are seeking it with humiliation and sorrow for sin, and this with all your heart and all your soul. If you are “hungering and thirsting after righteousness," if you are humbly longing for the full benefit of his atonement, namely, for pardon, justification, holiness, peace with God, perfect love to himself and to the brethren--if all this is sought after with a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart; if inward purification, through faith in his blood, be your most earnest desire, then indeed are ye born again by the word of God; beloved, then are ye the children of God. And although you may not be able, as yet, fully to rejoice in your adoption, or to feel the comfort of that more than maternal love of God our Saviour, still we exhort you to persist in believing all that he here declares concerning it; and the time for you to

taste how gracious he is will soon arrive. Sinoother and pleasanter paths would his love gladly assign us, were it not that the health and safety of our souls require a different treatment. You remember, in the history of the women who came before Solomon, the yearnings of the real mother over her own infant; and so you may rest assured, that whenever any mischief is near you, the Lord, with infinitely more wakeful tenderness than that of the best of mothers, will interpose for your deliverance.

But, oh! take heed not to presume upon this tenderness of everlasting love, if you are living in wilful transgression of the least of your Saviour's commandments. It is only the children of Zion that can be joyful in their King, Psa. cxlix. 2. Into this happy state we are not introduced by any virtues of our own, not by fastings or alms, not by “much speaking," or benevolent exertions. All that you are to bring and lay before Him is your own misery under the burden of sin, your poverty and helplessness, a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart. Then, if you can only utter, like the thief upon the cross, “Lord, remember me !"—if you can only smite your breast, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner;"_if you can sincerely mourn at the sight of Him whom your sins have pierced ; your very sighs will rend the heavens, will “enter into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth," and will verily reach his heart. May God renew this right spirit within us all! Amen.

THE ENCAMPMENT OF JUDAH.

NUMBERS ii. 3.

Judah shall encamp eastward toward the sun-rising, with

his banner and host; their captain, Nahshon, son of Amminadab.*

This chapter describes the manner of Israel's encampment, as Divinely appointed to be observed on their journey through the wilderness to the promised land. The whole of this appointment was very significant. For, as the nation of Israel was a type of the Israel of God, so the ordinances given to that people may be viewed as a shadow of higher and better things.

Let us notice, with a view of our spiritual im. provement,

a

I. THE TRIBE OF JUDAH. II. THEIR CAMP. III. THE DIRECTION IN WHICH IT IS SITUATED. IV. THEIR BANNER.

.

V. THEIR HOST.
VI. THEIR CAPTAIN.

* Lutheran version.

I. The tribe of Judah. It is well known that the tribe of Judah was one type of God's people under the New Testament dispensation. Very frequently in Scripture is the true church spoken of under the name of Judah Thus David, beholding in spirit the glorious coming of Messiah's kingdom, sings, “Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad,” Psa. xlviii. 11. Thus also the prophet Joel proclaims that “Judah shall dwell” for abide) “ for ever,” Joel iii. 20. The prophet Zechariah likewise saith, “The Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land 1," Zech. ii. 12. And we cannot easily mistake what was meant in the blessing of the patriarch Jacob by the words, “ Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise,” Gen. xlix. 8. The tribe of Judah was distinguished as the royal tribe ; and such is the true church of the living God: a chosen generation, all of whom are made kings and priests unto Him, 1 Pet. ii. 9; Rev. i. 6. For the saints shall judge the world," 1 Cor.vi. 2. “ The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High,” Dan. vii. 27. Judah was the tribe out of which sprang “ The Second Man," who is "the Lord from heaven." And lo, the church of God is the woman clothed with the sun," who“ travailed in birth, and brought forth the man-child," namely Christ, who was to rule all the heathen with a rod of iron.” The church, internally

[ocr errors]

considered, thus travaileth in birth, and bringeth forth by the power of the Holy Ghost overshadowing her; and, externally considered, she doth the same, by the testimony and preaching of the gospel. Judah was the tribe which occupied the hill of Zion and Jerusalem, with Moriah the place of the sanctuary. So the church is that royal priesthood which occupies the city of God, and goes in and out with freedom. The church is itself Jehovah's city and sanctuary. It has charge of the holy fire of the altar. The glory of the Lord filleth the whole house. The spiritual church is the real tribe of Judah.

The name of Judah signifies praise. “Now will I praise the Lord," said his mother Leah at his birth; and this was the occasion of his name, Gen. xxix. 35. Thus is the spiritual Judah established and made a praise in the earth, Isa. lxii. 7, to the glory of God, of whom it is born and made. This whole family in heaven and earth is named and appointed to be a continual praise to the glory of the omnipotent grace of Jehovah. For what was the spiritual Jerusalem once, and what the whole spiritual Judah ? Kings and priests as they all are,—is not each

a brand plucked out of the fire ?" Zech. iii. 2. Who are these ministers of the sanctuary? Were they not once without God in the world ? but they are brought nigh by the blood of Him“ who justifieth the ungodly;" and are now made holy, and consecrated to his holy service. Who are

« PreviousContinue »