« ZurückWeiter »
And is he not the spirit of grace? Who convinces of sin, enlightens the mind, quickens, regenerates, converts, sanctifies, consoles, and produces in us all the fruits of righteousness? the Holy Ghost.
Well then is he called the Spirit of Grace. O may you feel its truth in your own heart!
Equally also is he the SPIRIT OF SUPPLICATION. All real prayer is entirely his work in the heart. “We know not what to pray for as we ought; but the Holy Spirit helpeth our in, firmities, and maketh intercession for us." This he does in a vast variety of ways, first shewing us our great sinfulness, need, and danger; then shewing us what fulness of grace there is provided for us. He it is who discovers to us the throne of grace set up for us, and with what freedom grace may be obtained on asking; he enlarges our desires after he has thus prepared our hearts, --supplies us with cries and fervent desires, -puts words, and pleas, and arguments into our mouths, and strength into our souls, to continue seeking. O may you know, my dear brethren, each in your own heart, what "the fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man is!” —what it is to receive faith, and waiting, and longing, and striving in prayer for him; in short, what it is to "pray in the Holy Ghost!”
His OUTPOURING ON ISRAEL.—Many are the gracious promises thus made, particularly to the Jews. See especially Isaiah xliv. 1-5, “Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant, and Israel whom I have chosen. Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; fear not, O Jacob, my servant, and thou Jerusalem whom I have chosen; for I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground. I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing on thine offspring." And then there follows a description of the blessed effects produced by it. So again, Joel ii. 23, “Be glad then ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain in the firstmonth.” But there is here a more special application of the promise to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and no doubt this will also have a literal fulfilment. In the time mentioned both in Ezra (ii. 63) and Nehemiah (vii. 65), “when the priest shall stand up with Urim and Thummim," the genealogies of the families shall all be divinely revealed, and the house of David clearly distinguished from others as the royal line of princes. The inhabitants of Jerusalem, also, as dwelling in the chief city, and most exposed in the last trials of the Jews, seem to be the first blessed.
What a type has the Divine Spirit here furnished us with of those brought
into the family of the Messiah. See the sons of David, Amnon, Absalom, and Adonijah; and see the first followers of David, “every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him;" i Sam. xxii. 2: and learn the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to us sinners. Truly of our Lord Christ was it said, “this man receiveth sinners and eateth with them.” And what were the inhabitants of Jerusalem when our Lord was crucified. Those who said, “Away with him, crucify him, his blood be on us and on our children.” O wondrous grace, that for such our Lord prayed on the cross, and on such the Lord should pour out of his spirit, and bestow the riches of his grace! Let us never think there is a Jew so prejudiced, so guilty, as to be beyond the reach of this infinite love. Let us never think our sins have placed us beyond the reach of his pardoning mercy, and the fullest outpouring of his grace.
THE TIME OF ITS FULFILMENT IS YET FUTURE.- First fruits there were indeed of this on the day of Pentecost, when 3000 souls were "pricked in their hearts, and said, Men and brethren what shall we do?” and were baptized in the name of Christ. But the large mass of the nation rejected him. The full outpouring of the Spirit is yet to come.
Our prophecy also is clearly connected with other times yet unarrived; when all nations, as we read in the former verses, “shall come against Jerusalem;" when Jerusalem shall be “a burdensome stone to all people, and all that burden themselves with it shall be cut to pieces.” The Jews are yet to be restored, restored mainly in an unconverted state. The nations of the earth are yet to join together in a war against the Jews, and in a future siege of Jerusalem, and their armies to perish there. These things are fully described here, and in the 38th and 39th of Ezekiel, and in the 3d Joel; as also in their heavenly aspect in the book of Revelation. This is the war of Armageddon, as described in the 19th of Revelation. And at this time, probably now very rapidly approaching, shall be fulfilled the prediction Ezek. xxxix. 28, “Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen, but I have gathered them into their own land, and have left none of them any more there,” (not one Jew ungathered from the heathen.) “Neither will I hide my face any more from them, for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God.” Nothing can be more clear than that these predictions have yet to be accomplished. In every Jew sojourning in a Gentile land, we behold it unfulfilled.
2. THE OBJECT OF ISRAEL'S CONTEMPLATION.
“They shall look on me whom they have pierced.”
As soon as the Spirit is given to them, at once they look to Jesus. This corresponds to the office of the Divine Spirit, as described by our Lord, John xvi. "If I depart, I will send the Comforter to you. And when he is come he will convince the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you." Notice,
1. THE PRESENT OBJECT OF THE Jews' EXPECTATION.How low are they fallen! On what grovelling objects do they now fix their minds? “They all look to their own way, every one for his gain from his quarter.” They are a proverb and a bye-word for their covetousness, and degradation, and miserable employments. The "precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter.” They desire still a merely visible kingdom, and an earthly glory, and to have a worldly pre-eminence above all nations. Spiritual blessedness, righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, is little in their thoughts. Their guilt in rejecting the Messiah is yet wholly unacknowledged by them as a nation. They still count Jesus, their own Messiah, a deceiver. When they are again in part restored also, they will still be in a self-righteous state. They are regarded in the 66th Isaiah as building a temple, and glorying in it; as making their sacrifices, and trusting in them; “Yea they have chosen," says the Lord by Isaiah, “their own ways, and their soul delighted in their abominations; I also will choose their delusions, and bring their fears upon them." Following their false christs, false teachers and leaders, and expecting mere carnal and earthly glories, their last troubles come upon them, exceeding even their former troubles, so that two-thirds are described as cut off, and the third part only brought to a real repentance, in this last furnace of affliction, at length call on the Lord, and are fully saved from their enemies.
2. THE ENTIRE CHANGE WHICH IS HERE FORETOLD.-It begins in the spirit of prayer, arising from the greatness of their trouble. As Jeremiah predicts, “Alas for that day is great, so that none is like it; it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it;" Jer. xxx. 7. And he afterwards (xxxi. 9) tells us how, saying, “They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them.” As they first rejected Moses, and then he became their deliverer and their glory, when they put themselves under his charge; so
will it be as to our Lord Jesus Christ. He who is now counted as a deceiver, is yet to be the glory of his people Israel. His kingdom now is disregarded, because it is an inward kingdom, veiled and hidden from the eyes of men, and which, without conversion, cannot be truly discerned; "except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” It will then be seen in its real excellence, full of spiritual blessedness and heavenly glory, for the Jews will have the stony heart removed, a heart of flesh given; a new heart and a new spirit put within them. O what a veil of darkness will be removed, what scales of darkness will fall from their eyes, when they behold the long rejected and despised Jesus as their own, their true, their ever-glorious Messiah! How it will open all the beauties and glories of the divine character to them! What a reality it will give to their types and sacrifices! What a view of the abomination of self-exaltation, of self-righteousness, and pride! What a preparation for their being “a peculiar treasure unto God above all people, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation!” And then how great the glories of their future state! The Scriptures labour for figures and expressions to describe it. “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Thou shalt be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. I will make you a name and a praise among all the people of the earth.»;
THEIR VIEW OF Christ's ATONEMENT is, however, specially pointed out as the great object of their contemplation. And no wonder. Jehovah himself says, “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced.” Where can a sight be beheld comparable to this. The Lord of all worlds in a human form! What grace and condescension thus to humble himself! The Lord of all worlds, in this form, nailed to the tree by his own creatures, his own people, whom he came specially to save and to bless, to exalt and to honour! This object, then, attracts every eye; just as in the time of the deep trouble of the brethren of Joseph in Egypt, their conscience flashed in their faces, and they said one to another, “We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he besought us, and we would not hear, therefore is this distress come upon us.” But O how much more will it affect them when, not a brother merely, but their own eagerly expected and long waited for Messiah, their Lord and their King, as well as their brother, whom they valued at thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave (Exod. xxi. 32), and crowned with thorns, beat with stripes, spit upon, reviled, stripped naked, and fixed with nails to the tree, and thus pierced, and scorned,
and crucified, they killed the Prince of Life-when this despised one is seen to be their God, their own God and Saviour.
And then they contemplate all this suffering on his part as a sacrifice to put away their sins. While they gaze on their once wounded Saviour, at length they will say, “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” They will behold a full atonement made for their own sins, and for all sin of all men. They will say, what the beloved disciple who stood by the cross while he was pierced has said, “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Their memory of national guilt will then be deep, abiding, humbling, and quickening. How often in the Scriptures is this view of Israel brought before us. The goodness of God humbling them, and effectually at last bringing them to true repentance. “That thou mayest remember and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord;" Ezek. xvi. 63. “Ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed;" Ezek. xx. 43.
O brethren, what a lesson is this to us Gentiles, not to neglect Christ and his salvation, as the Jews have done, lest our guilt be greater than theirs, and our punishment and our misery parallel with theirs. Remember how, in allusion to this very piercing of Christ, it is foretold, not only with reference to the Jews, but to all nations, “Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, they also which pierced him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” The world's redemption is not by its goodness, but in the conviction of its vile ingratitude towards its only and Divine Saviour.
3. THEIR GODLY SORROW.
“And they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for his first born."
THE SOURCE OF This GODLY SORROW is a pierced Immanuel, a view of Christ crucified applied to the heart by the Spirit of Grace; and none other but a pierced Saviour can realize this promise to Jew or to Gentile. Jesus of Nazareth nailed to the tree and pierced, is therefore clearly the Messiah predicted here. He alone is God and man; he alone is the Son of David who was pierced by the Jews. They shall see this, they shall feel this; and O what compunctions of heart will the