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Mere power

them that oppress thee with their own sin has introduced be met? If mercy flesh, and they shall be drunken with triumphs, justice is tarnished ; if justice their own blood, as sweet wine;" i.e., prevail, man is overthrown for ever. He would cause them to destroy one

has no force in regard to another with as much eagerness as moral questions; it cannot make right half-famished men fall upon a well- wrong, or wrong right. To solve this furnished table; they shall hasten to question was a task for Omniscience : that banquet of blood with as much God dealt with it, and through Scripfervour as men hasten to a banquet of ture has made known to us its solution wine. The historian tells us that on (ch. liii. 5, 6; Rom. iii. 19-26, &c.; H. the night in which Babylon was taken E. I. 375–382, 396). Justice triumphs many of the Chaldeans fell off from in the death of Christ, and mercy Belshazzar and joined the standard of triumphs in the pardon of penitent Cyrus; they were themselves most sinners through Him. The very

idea forward in surprising the city, and of redemption turns upon this point. showing the way into the king's It means the buying back again of palace, where they slew him and all lost and forfeited good, by a compensahis attendants. Thus the promise of tive arrangement between the parties. ihe text was fulfilled by the over- In ancient times the lives of prisoners throw of the reigning government, taken in war were held to be at the and the introduction of a new dynasty disposal of the conqueror, and the to the throne. So completely was acceptance of a stipulated ransom was this done, that the captives were as

the established mode of buying back much overpowered by the greatness of

the lives and liberty of the prisoners. their deliverance as they had before The law of God, with all the forces of been confounded by the depth of the the universe behind it, must be in the calamity (Ps. cxxvi. 1).

end the conqueror of all who rebel Learn, then, how fully God can against it, and in the Gospel we are make good His promises, and disperse told that the ransom-price was the the worst fears of His people.

death of Christ, who gave Himself for Lord can clear the darkest skies." us and suffered in our stead (1 Pet. i. And He does it with as much tender- 18). The ransom was sufficient (H. ness as power (ver, 15). The captives

E. I. 377–381). feared more for their beloved families III. Apply the text experimentally than for themselves, as you do for to the Christian's deliverance from yours, and the promise respects them : sin. l. Jesus not only made atonement “And I will save thy children.” for our sins; He at the same time con

II. Apply it spiritually to man's tended with and overcame our worst redemption by Christ. To the con- enemies. Man was the willing servant victed sinner, human redemption has of the powers of darkness; not a forced often seemed incompatible with the captive, but a ready subject of Satan. inalienable claims of Divine justice, Biit, by dying, Jesus overcame him which seem

to demand that the who had dominion over our race (Heb. punishment of the transgressors should iv. 14, 15; Eph. iv. 8). He literally take its course. God cannot connive made good the promise, “I will conat sin ; and the law we have broken is tend with him that contendeth with holy, just, and good, as necessary to thee, and I will save thy children." the happiness of the universe as it is 2. In converting grace, the triumph essential to the glory of God; a law is the same; and in the experience of too good to be repealed, too sacred to the penitent sinner it is continually be trifled with; the abrogation of it renewed (Luke iv. 18, xi. 20-22). would dethrone the Deity, and pour Christ's people are pardoned and deanarchy through all the worlds" He livered from the power of sin in all its has made (H. E. I. 3157, 3188). How forms; in every conflict He gives them then shall the great dileinma which victory, and He will do so to the end



(Rom. vi. 14, viii. 37; H. E. I. 1099, question in the deliverance of the people 1106, 1112-1119).

of God from their captivity in Babylon, IV. Apply it prospectively to the It seemed impossible, but it was acblessed resurrection from the dead complished, and in precisely the promised to the people of God.- manner that God had predicted. Samuel Thodey

These things were written for our

learning! (a) “The lawful captive" has been rendered

III. There was

answer to this "the captive of the strong” (Herd.), of the stern or severe (Schult., Rosenm.), of the vic- question in the great work of human retorious (Mich., Beck), of the terrible, by a demption effected by Christ on the Cross. conjectural change of reading (Hitz., Lowth, That seemed the hour of Satan's vicKnob., Ewald), righteous captives, i.e., exiled

tory; it was the hour of his defeat Jews (Symm., Jareb., Aben Ezra, Hitz., Hahn), the plunder of the righteous, ¿.e., taken from

(Col. ii. 14, 15). them (Ges., Maurer, Umbreil). But the re- IV. There are answers to this quesceived version (Stier) gives the true meaning, tion in the conversion of sinners by the "the captive of one who has a rightful claim to keep another in bondage.” There is a

preaching of the Gospel. The glorious climax, seldom noticed, in the reply; and a

work of emancipation still goes on threefold gradativn, of a simply rightful, a (Luke iv. 18; 2 Cor. x. 4). powerful, and a terrible conqueror; of one V. There will be an answer to this who has a just claim, one who has also power to maintain it, and one whose power is so

question when our Redeemer returns terrible that resistance seems hopeless. Shall

with power and great glory. Then the prey of the mighty be taken away, or even death and the grave shall be coma captive justly claimed, though by one less pelled to give up their prey; and mighty, be delivered ? Not in the common

death and hell shall be “cast into the course of things, or by human justice alone. But God's grace has a higher law, and even

lake of fire."—W. Dransfield: Forty-six more than this shall be done : the prey of the Short Sermons, pp. 239-264. most terrible among Zion's adversaries shall be delivered.-Birks.

I. The enemy to be encountered. Both in providence and

providence and grace, Satan, an enemy that is mighty and “man's extremity is God's oppor

terrible. ]. In the nature of his intunity." Of this, the Jews needed fluence. On the intellectual and moral to be reminded. They had been man—the immortal soul. 2. In the taken into captivity, and were de- number of his agents. A legion tained there for the punishment of against one. 3. In the extent of his their sins. They had been assured territory. that God would deliver them in due II. The captives he retains. 1. Those time, but the difficulties in the way who are born where he reigns un. of the fulfilment of that promise rivalled. Idolatrous countries. 2. seemed so insuperable, that they des- Those who yield to his sway, though pairingly asked, “Shall the prey be deliverance is at hand. Pharisees. taken from the mighty, or the lawful Hardened sinners. captive delivered ?” To this question III. The prospect of deliverance. 1. Isaiah was authorised confidently to The price of their redemption is progive a reassuring reply (ver. 25). vided. 2. The agent that can make

1. To this question there was it effective. 3. The means answer in the deliverance of the Jewish operation to make the deliverance people from the tyranny of Egypt. The known. 4. Specimens of triumph history of what God did for their already obtained. fathers should have prevented the IV. The means to be employed. 1. Jews in Babylon from asking this

Fervent and importunate prayer. 2. question. But in every new extremity Free and extensive diffusion of the men are prone to forget the history of charter of liberty—"The Word of

God." - Studies for the Pulpit, part ii, II. There was answer to this


are in

the past.


p. 308.


(Missionary Sermon.)

xlix. 24, 25. Thus saith the Lord, dc. The Scriptures teach that sin com- wisdom which is from beneath; con. menced its reign on earth under the centrating the bad influence of all past auspices of a mighty fallen spirit; and systems. Popery is a system where that he, having seduced mankind from science and ignorance, refinement and their allegiance to God, has constantly barbarism, wisdom and stupidity, maintained his bad eminence overthem. taste and animalism, mistaken zeal They also teach, that the Son of God and malignant enmity, may sanctihas interposed to destroy the works moniously pour out their virulence of this spirit; and that He will ac- against the Gospel, and cry “Hosancomplish the object ; that the power na !” while they go forth to shed the of Satan shall be broken, and the blood and to wear out the patience of whole world be restored to loyalty and the saints. the favour of heaven. Other passages 4. The despotic governments of the allude to the success with which the earth. enemy of God has fortified his cause; 5. Crime in its vuried forms. A vast to its final overthrow; and to the amount of capital is embarked in enexultation and joy with which the terprises which, directly or indirectly, event will fill earth and heaven (chap. war against morality. All this, when liji. 12; Luke xi. 21, 22; Rev. xi. the spirit of Christianity shall prevail, 15, xix. 5, 6). An alienated world will be contraband, and be withdrawn. requires more moral power for its 6. A more liberal sort of religion restoration than that of simple law, which shall keep the opposition in counwhich proved insufficient to maintain tenance, and enable them to wield the its allegiance. It requires a new moral name and institutions of Christianity influence, so introduced and applied as against Christianity -- including so to corroborate law, and strengthen the much truth as may serve to beguile, loyalty of all the good, while rebels are but so litile as cannot avail to savereconciled and pardoned. Consider- sustained by such as live in pleasure,

I. THE WEAPONS AND RESOURCES and will not bow the knee to Christ. OF THE ENEMY.

7. The corruption of the purity of 1. At the head of opposition to the revivals of religion. Terrible, by the Gospel, in numerical power, must be power of revivals, as an army with placed idolatry. To banish from the

banners, the victory of the Church is earth all knowledge of God and His secure, unless fanaticism can be subgovernment, and substitute a worship stituted for pure religion, and her comcomposed of lust and blood, seems pact masses be broken and scattered most desirable to the great adversary, by the commotion of unhallowed paswhere circumstances allow it to be sions within. In this manner was the done; and this he has achieved in glory of the Reformation eclipsed, and respect to about six hundred millions vital religion, in the time of Cromwell, of the human family.

made a scoff and a by-word. The 2. Imposture. This was introduced same attempt was made in New Eng. by Mahomed.

It was a system ac- land early in the days of our fathers. commodated to the condition of a It was repeated in the time of Whitemingled population, composed of Pa- field and the immortal Edwards, with gans, Jews, and nominal Christians, lamentable, though with but partial all in a state of great ignorance and deep moral debasement.

8. All these great divisions of sys3. Papal superstition. This has been, tematic opposition to the Gospel have, and is still, the master-piece of that where circumstances allowed, been sup


And now,


plemented by the sword. Christianity, thousand to flight. The means and in her first attempt to disenthrall the efforts for evangelising the world must worlil, met the storms of ten persecu- correspond, however, with the magnitions, protracted through a period of tu le of the result. The idea that God three hundred years.

will convert the heathen in His own good such varied and time, and that Christians have nothing mighty resistance to the truth be

to do but to pray and devoutly wait, overcome ? Can the earth be en- is found in no canonical book. From lightened? Can the nations be dis- the beginning the cause of God on enthralled ? Can the whole creation, earth has been maintained and carried which has groaneil and travailed to- forward only by the most heroic exergether in pain until now, be brought tion. Christianity, even in the age of out of bondage into glorious liberty? miracles, was not propagated but by Yes; all this can be done, and will be stupen.lous efforts.

stupen.lous efforts.. And it is only by done. Our next inquiry then is, a revival of primitive zeal and enter

II. How SHALL EVENTS SO DESIR- prise that the glorious things spoken ABLE BE ACCOMPLISHED ?

of the city of our God can be accom1. By the judgments of heaven, in plished. which the Son of man will come upon But what cun be done ? There must the strong man armed and take away be in the church of God-1. More his armour. 2. By the universal pro- faith. 2. More intense love for Christ. purgation of the Gospel ; before the 3. More decided action. 4. More light of which, idolatry, imposture, courage.

5. New and more vigorous and superstition, will retreat abashed. efforts to increase the number and 3. By frequent, and at last, general power of evangelical churches in our revivals of religion; giving resistless lands. 6. Special effort is required power to the Gospel, as it is preached to secure to the rising generation an to every creature. 4. By the special education free from the influence of influence of the Holy Spirit.


bad example, and more decidedly evansimple presence of Christianity would gelical. 7. The vigour of charitable no more convert the heathen, than it effort must be greatly increased. 8. converts those where it already exists. The jealousies of Christians who are Were every family on earth now blessed united substantially in their views of with a Bible and a pastor, these, with evangelical doctrine and religion, and out the effusion of the Spirit, would not who are divided only by localities, maintain upon the earth an uncorrupt, and rites, and forms, must yield, and nominal Christianity for one hundred give place to the glorious exigencies of years. 5. By a new and unparalleled the present day. 9. We must guard vigour of Christian enterprise. Until against the dangers peculiar to a state then, the Church will have been the of religious prosperity. assailed party, and stood upon the CONCLUSION.—Will any of you,

in defensive; but thenceforth the word this glorious day, take side against the of command will not be “Stand," but cause of Christ? It will be a fearful “ March.” The gates of the holy city experiment. And woe unto him who will be thrown open; the tide of war contendeth with his Maker !-Lyman will be rolled upon the enemy; and one

Beecher, D.D.: Missionary Enterprise. shall chase a thousand, and two put ten Pr”. 121-142. (Boston Edition)


xlix. 25. And all flesh shall know, &c. I. God is the protector of the Church, God have been vain. Israel in Egypt, and no weapons formed against her in the wilderness, in Babylon, and shall prosper. The efforts which have under Antiochus Epiphanes. The early been made to destroy the Church of persecutions of the Christians in Judea,

“ The

in the Roman Empire. The persecil- III. The Church shall rise resplendent tion of the Waldenses in Switzerland; from all her persecutions, and shall of the Huguenots in France; and of Prosper ultimately, just in proportion to the Reformers in England.

their efforts to destroy it. The effect of gates of hell shall not prevail against all shall be the diffusion of the Gospel her" (H. E. I. 1246–1251).

among all nations, and to bring all II. The Church's enemies shall be men to acknowleilge that He who thus distracted in their counsels, and left to protects His Church is the true and anarchy and overthrow. God will fill only God—the Saviour, the Redeemer, the ranks of His foes with confusion, the mighty One of Jacob.-Adapted and suffer them to be torn and dis- from Burnes' Commentary. tracted with internal strifes.


xlix. 25. I will save thy children. This promise of salvation for the children here placed before us as the :hildren has made the heart of many crowning glory of Christ's Church, à pious parent thrill with delight. when she is in the full tide of her “The father of the righteous shall prosperity? Is it not made to you, greatly rejoice.” In fact, worldly and and on behalf of your children? even wicked parents are often glad to Let each pious parent at once put see their children religious. They in his claim, “Lord, Thou hast speciadmire and approve in them that ally promised to save my children; religion which they know, to their now fulfil Thy gracious word. Let sorrow, they are neglecting them- me see them holy, useful, and happy selves. If an appeal were made to here; let me hereafter meet them in the adult members of an ordinary heaven. According to Thy word, I congregation as to whether a minister look for this. While I pray, watch, ought to urge religion upon the atten- and work for the salvation of my tion of children, all as with one voice children, I am expecting Thee to would respond, “By all means try to verify the truth of Thy promise and save the little ones.” This blessed to save them.” Those parents who promise, “I will save thy children," connect with this spirit of prayerful will be regarded by such as one of the expectation a godly and winsome most precious in the Bible,

example, will soon see their children I. TO WHOM THIS PRECIOUS PROMISE happy in God. IS MADE. The verses which cluster II. LET US TRY TO REALISE, IF WE around it possess more than common CAN, ITS FULL IMPORT. The word interest. They depict scenes radiant “save," when linked to the souls of with the glory of Zion's successes our children, is indeed “a gem of and triumphs. In the midst of all purest ray serene." Its price is above these glorious triumphs, this heart- rubies. Who can fathom its import? cheering promise comes in, “and I And who can rightly realise the will save thy children.

terrible antithesis, one's child unViewing those words in the light saved ? capable of conversion, old enough thrown upon them by these sur- to understand and experience real roundings, may we not safely say, This religion, and yet UNSAVED! Illustrate is a part of the heritage of God's the spiritual condition of such. (a) Church? And are we not to expect Save! Nothing less than the unthat the Lord will fulfil His promise searchable riches of Christ. Health in a special manner at a time when for the soul, complete liberty from the His church is reviving and multi- bondage of sin, “the glorious liberty plying? Is not the salvation of the of the children of God." These four

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