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retard, one instant, immutable promises ; that confederacies, conspiracies, secret designs, powerful armics should have no effect; that all those who attack the weak kingdom of Judah, should be overcome; that the whole universe united should not be able to effect any thing against it: and that the circumstance which would render it invincible, was, God's being with it, or, which is the same thing, because Emanuel was his protector and his king, and that his interest was the present concern, rather than that of the princes he was to spring from.

Numberless obstacles opposed Zerubbabel's design of causing the temple of Jerusalem to be rebuilt; and these obstacles, like so many mountains, seemed to defy all human efforts. God only speaks, but with the voice of a sovereign, and the mountain vanishes: Who art thou, O great mountain ? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain.

Every one knows with what energy the Scriptures make the impious man vanish, who a moment before seemed, like the cedar, to raise his proud head to the skies. [9] I have seen the wicked in great power; and spreading himself like a green bay-tree : yet he passed away, and lo, he was not : yea I sought him, but he could not be found. He is so completely annihilated, that the very place where he stood was destroyed. M. Racine has translated this passage as follows:

a

J'ai vu l'impie adoré sur la terre,

areil au cédre, il cachoit dans les cieux

Son front audacieux.
Il sembloit à son gré gouverner le tonnerre,

Fouloit aux piés ses ennemis vaincus,
Je n'ai fait que passer, il n'étoit déja plus [r].

[ Englished. “I've seen the impious wretch ador'd'on earth, " And, like the cedar, hide his daring front

High in the heavens. He seem'd to rule at will [9] Psal. xxxvii. 35, 36. [r] Esther, Act v. scène derniere.

.' The

" The forked thunder, and to crush his captives. I only past, and lo! he was no more.”

Such is the grandeur of the most formidable princes, when they do not fear God; a smoke, a vapour, a shadow, a dream, a vain image: [s] Men walketh in a vain shadow,

But, on the other side, what a noble idea do the Scriptures give us of the greatness of God! [t] He is He who is. His name is The Eternal ; the whole world is his work. The heaven is his throne, and the earth his footstool. All nations are before him but as a drop of water, and the earth they inhabit but as a particle of dust. The whole universe is before the Almighty as though it were not.

His

power and wisdom conduct it, and regulate all the motions of it with as much ease as an hand holds a light weight, with which it sports rather than bears it. [u] He disposes of kingdoms as the absolute sovereign of them, and gives them to whom he pleases; but both his empire and power are infinite.

All this appears to us great and sublime, and is indeed so when compared to us. But when we speak to men in words they are capable of understanding, what can we say that is worthy of God? The Scriptures themselves sink under the weight of his majesty, and the expressions they use, how magnificent soever they may be, bear no proportion to the greatness, which alone deserves that name.

This, Job observes in a wonderful manner. After having related the wonders of the creation, he concludes with a very simple, but, at the same time, a very sublime reflection : [x] Lo, these are parts of his ways : but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his pouer who can understand ? The little he discovers to us of his infinite grandeur, bears no proportion to what he is, and nevertheless surpasses our understanding. He stoops, and we [s] Psalm xxxix. 6.

[u] Dan. vi. 14, 31. (1) Exod. iii. 14. Isa. Ixvi. 1. (*) Job xxvi. 14. xl. 12, 15, 17,

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cannot

of his

cannot rise to him, at the time that he descends to us.
He is constrained to employ our thoughts and ex-
pressions in order to make himself intelligible ; and
even then, we are rather dazzled with his brightness,
than truly enlightened. But how would it be, should
he reveal himself in all his majesty ? Should he lift
up the veil which softens its rays? Should he tell us
who he is, what ear could resist the thunder of his
voice? What eye would not be blinded by a light so
disproportioned to their weakness? But the thunder
power

who can understand ?
VII. TENDER AND AFFECTING PASSAGES.

One would not believe, that such great majesty would descend so low as to speak to man, if the Scripture did not give us some proofs of it in every page. The most lively, the most tender things in nature, are all too faint to express his love.

[y] I have nourished and brought up children, says he by the mouth of Isaiah, and they have rebelled against me. The or knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.

[2] And now, 0 inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwirt me and my rineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyad, that I have not done in it? Wherefore when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?

[a] They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? Shall not that land be greatly polluted ? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers, yet return again to me, saith the Lord.

[6] Hearken unto me, 0 house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me, from the belly, which are carried from the womb. And even to

And even to your old age I am he, and even [y] Isa. i. 2, 3.

[a] Jer. iii. 1. (z) Ibid. v. 3, 4.

b] İsa. xlvi. 3, 5

to

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to hoary hairs will I carry you : I have made, and I will bear, even I will carry and will deliver you.

[c] As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem,

[d] But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can

a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb ? Yeą, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

Though these comparisons are vastly tender, they yet are not enough so, to denote his tenderness and solicitude for men who so little deserve it. This sovereign of the universe does not disdain to compare himself to a hen, who has her wings perpetually extended, in order to receive her young ones under them; and he declares, that the least of his servants is as dear to him as the apple of his eye. [e] O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not ! He himself, speaking of his people, says thus; [f] He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of my eye.

Hence come these expressions so usual in Scripture; and it is surprising, that creatures should dare to use them when they speak of God: [8] Keep me as the apple of thine eye; hide me under the shadow of thy wings. To what

To what man, O my God, could I speak in this manner, and to whom could I say that I am as precious as the apple of his eye? But you yourself inspire, and enjoin this confidence. Nothing can be more delicate or weaker than the apple of the eye; and in that respect it is the image of myself. Be it so, O my God, in every thing else; and multiply thy succours with regard to me, as you have multiplied the precautions with regard to that, by securing it with eyelids. Keep me as the apple of thine eye. Mine enemies

[c] Isa lxvi. 13.
id Ibid. xlix. 14, 15:
(c) Mat. xxiji. 37.

[f] Zech. ii: 8.
[8] Psal. xvii. 8.

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surround surround me like birds of prey, and I cannot escape them, if I do not fly for shelter to thy bosom. You taught callow birds to withdraw beneath the shelter of their mother's wings; and have inspired mothers with a wonderful care and tenderness for their young ones. You have represented yourself in your own works, and have exhorted mankind to have recourse to you, by all the testimonies of your goodness, which you have diffused in the animals and over nature. Let me presume, O my God, to put a confidence in thee, proportionate to thy goodness for me.

Hide me under the shadow of thy wings.

Nothing can be more ati'ecting than the admirable story of Joseph; and one can scarce refrain from tears, [h] when we see him obliged to turn aside in order to dry his own, because his bowels yearned at the presence of Benjamin ; or when, after having discovered himself, he throws himself about the neck of his dear brother, and folding him in the strictest embrace, mingles his tears with those of Benjamin, and discovers the same affectionate tenderness for the rest of his brethren, over each of whom it is said he wept. At that instant not one of them spoke, and this silence is infinitely more eloquent than any expressions he could have employed. Surprise, grief, the remembrance of what was past, joy, gratitude, stifle their words: the heart can express itself no other ways than by tears, which would, but cannot sufficiently express their thoughts,

When we read the sad [i] lamentation of Jeremiah over the ruins of Jerusalem ; when we behold that city, once so populous, reduced to a dreadful solitude; the queen of nations become as a disconsolate

a widow; the streets of Zion weeping, because no one assists at its solennities; her priests and virgins plun-ged in bitterness, groaning day and night; her old men, covered with sackcloth and ashes, sighing over the sad ruin of their country; her famished children

[b] Gen. xliii. 30. xlv. 12, 14, [:] Lament, i. 1-4. ii. 10. ir. 35.

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