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had twice over to the boundless grace of God, and who had all secured to him by the certainty of that grace, to avenge himself or enforce the claims of justice on another? The Lord grant us, beloved, to walk towards each other, and toward all, in the deep and abiding sense of what grace has done for us; not saving grace alone, but restoring grace as well. .
But another scene invites our attention here. Mephibosheth, the son of Saul, whom David had taken into his house, and fed at his table, to shew the kindness of God to him, comes down to meet the king. Ziba, his servant, had belied him to the king. The provisions which Mephibosheth had prepared for the king when he was leaving Jerusalem, Ziba, his servant, had carried (taking advantage of his master's lameness), as though they were his own gift to the king, and, misrepresenting his master, had obtained possession of his master's inheritance. Now Mephibosheth comes out to meet the king. And it is the Holy Ghost, not Mephibosheth himself, that says, “ he had neither dressed his feet, nor
trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed, until the day he came again in peace. How affecting is this testimony! And what a specimen of what we should be, beloved, during the absence of Jesus. Rejected by his own people, and by the earth, as
. David was driven from Jerusalem, what joy can we, poor debtors to his love, find in anything here, till the moment of his return? “ Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come,” said Jesus, "when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them; and then shall they fast in those days.” Surely this is the period of the Church's fasting; and to the heart that knows the Bridegroom's love, what joy can be afforded by the world that once crucified and still rejects Him? Would that we were more constrained by the love of Christ, Mephibosheth-like, to value nothing, care for nothing, attempt to satisfy ourselves with nothing, short of meeting the Bridegroom on his return with joy. Mephibosheth now had what satisfied his heart. He had the king back again. He makes no complaint of Ziba, save in answer
to the king's enquiry. “Wherefore wentest thou not
" with me, Mephibosheth?” He says enough to explain the cause; but he leaves all in the king's hands. - He hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God; do, therefore, what is good in thine eyes. For all my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king; yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right, therefore, have I yet to cry any more unto the king:” Blessed reasoning! All that Mephibosheth had to look for naturally at the hand of David, was death. But David had shewn him mercy. He had not only spared his life, but set him at his own table, and treated him as though he had been his own
What right then has he to complain, or to cry any more to the king? Nothing slays the disposition to assert our rights and defend ourselves, but the knowledge of the grace which, when we had no right to anything but death and perdition, placed us amongst God's children at our Father's table. But there is something more blessed still. Not only does the sense of the degradation of his own natural condition, reconcile Mephibosheth to forego any vindication of himself; his joy, his delight in the king's presence, leaves him no motive for self-vindication, no wish for anything but what he has. The king says, “ Thou and Žiba divide the land; and Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house." Oh that there were more of this spirit in each of us, beloved. When Jesus actually returns, and we meet him in the air, how insignificant will all those things appear about which so many are so anxious now. And what is the province of faith, but so to realize in the present, what we know will be in the future, as to be enabled to act as though it were existent now.
The Lord grant us all that deadness to the world, that weanedness from its pleasures and its cares, which we should feel became us, if we were actually present with Jesus, and beholding His glory. He is as really ours, and His love should be as distinctly the one satisfying portion of our hearts, as though these eyes had actually beheld Him, and these ears heard His shouts of gladness, as He descends into the air to take His ransomed to Himself. Who are they that will participate of His joy in that day? Who but they that like Mephibosheth, have been waiting, with world-weaned affections, and longing eyes, and breaking hearts, for His return. Surely to such, that return will leave nothing to desire or ask.
One scene more is opened to us in this scripture to crown the triumphs of grace. David, in his exile, had not only a Mephibosheth behind him, whose love made him a stranger to all joy till he returned; he had those, who with equal love, ministered to his refreshment, and that of his followers, when they had crossed the Jordan. “ And it came to pass, when David was come to Mahanaim, that Shobi, the son of Nahash of Rabbah, of the children of Ammon, and Machir, the son of Ammiel, of Lo-debar, and Barzillai, the Gileadite of Rogelim, brought beds, and basons, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans, and lentiles, and parched pulse, and honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat; for they said, the people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness" (chap. xvii.
, 27—29). Before this, when the king was just setting out from Jerusalem, Ittai, the Gittite, came after him. “ Then said the king to Ittai, the Gittite, wherefore goest thou also with us? Return to thy place, and abide with the king; for thou art a stranger, and also an exile. Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? Seeing I go whither I may, return then, and take back thy brethren; mercy and truth be with thee." But Ittai could not be dissuaded. His attachment to David was independent of circumstances. It was an attachment to his person that made him covet a share in his sorrows and his toils, as much as in his honours and his joys. “And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be" (chap. xv. 19-21). What does all this remind us of, beloved. Surely there are lessons for us here. This is the period during which David's royal Son and Lord is rejected by Jerusalem and the earth, just as David was exiled and driven across the Jordan, by a rebellion of a great part of the nation in that day. An interval occurred between his journey from Jerusalem and his return to it in peace and triumph. Was his exile altogether unpitied and uncheered ? No, there was a Mephibosheth to mourn for him, an Ittai to accompany him, and Ammonites, Gileadites, and others, to minister to him. Is there nothing here to remind us of Jesus, cheered and refreshed during his exile from the earth, by the faith, the devotedness, the service, the longing of heart for His return, of poor sinners, chiefly of the Gentiles, like Ittai and Shobi, whose hearts have been won by His grace, and made to prize HIM, and covet to know HIM, and to serve HIM, even though it be in the fellowship of His sufferings; and in being made conformable to His death. And what is the issue of this on his return? “Now Barzillai, the Gileadite, came down from Rogelim, and wert over Jordan with the king, to conduct him over Jordan ... And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem.” Barzillai's reply shews clearly enough that it was love to the king, and the joy of ministering to him, which had been the spring of his service; not any selfish eye to a reward. Thy servant will go a little way over Jordan with the king; and why should the king recompense it with such a reward?" He asks that Chimham, his son, may go.
" And the king answered, Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good unto thee; and whatsoever thou shalt
that will I do for thee.” And will not Jesus, when He returns, have His rewards for those who have continued with Him in His temptations, who have shared the fellowship of His sufferings, and who, in the patience of hope, have waited for Him till then? Oh yes! Whether we view the Church as a stranger to all earthly joy, like Mephibosheth, her heart breaking for the return of her absent lord; or whether we regard her in the activities of affectionate service, like these honoured Gentiles, and others, who ministered
to David in his exile, the perfect answer to all will be found in His return. The heart that has sighed for HIM will find in HIM then the fulness of eternal joy. The cup of cold water administered to any in His name, will not fail of its reward then. They, who through grace, have known, and loved, and owned, and served Him, now, during his rejection, will be owned, and blest, and rewarded both by Him and with Him, then. May He Himself be more singly the object of all our hearts !
HEBREW PROPER NAMES.- It is almost impossible to study the writings of the Prophets without observing how the meaning of the name of the writer coincides with the drift of his writings.
Let us see this in a few of the more studied and better known books,
The name EZRA means “ help of Jah"; his book gives a spe.cimen of the “Lord's help," namely, His gracious aid to a little remnant to return from captivity and re-build the temple.
NEHEMIAH means “the comfort of Jah"; his book describes how a remnant having been made willing to seek the things of the Lord first (read Haggai), the Lord gave to them the comfort of their own things; and so the city and the wall were rebuilt.
Isalah means "the salvation of Jab.” What book has as its objects the exposition of salvation and its principles more manifestly than this ? Proof of this may be seen in the way it is constantly the hand-book (not only of the Jew in his conversion, but) to the Roman Catholic when seeking an answer to “What is Truth ?” and to the Protestant when seeking life.
JEREMIAH means “the Lord will raise"; the history is that of the upholding, by the Lord, of a poor servant, and the principles thereof. Type of something far deeper-heis humbled and broken, through the evil all around, yet sustained as set a witness for the Lord. 'Tis the book of those, now-a-days, who are in the battles of the Lord.
EZEKIEL means “the strengthening of God." His testimony is indeed a wondrous epitome of the ways, resources, and end of God, in removing obstacles to blessing and in strengthening the people of his love.
Daniel signifies “Judgment of God." His narrative is of the setting up of the Gentile dynasty in judgment against Israel, and then the judgment upon the Gentiles for the abuse of their privileges.
The same is true with the rest of the Prophets' names and writings. VOL.II. PT.III,