Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

IX. David is armed for the fight. 'And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put a helmet of brass upon his head: also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour.'-Ver. 38, 39.

X. David apparently inferior to Goliath. Thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.'-Ver. 33. See also ch. xvi. 7.

XI. Goliath's splendid armour. And he had a helmet of brass, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass, and a gorget of brass between his shoulders.'-Ver. 5, 6.

XII. David consulted use rather than show in his choice of weapons. 'And David said unto Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not proved them." And David

put them off him. And he took his staff. . . and five smooth stones ... and his sling was in his hand.' -Ver. 39, 40.

XIII. David is regarded with the utmost contempt by Goliath. And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth.'Ver. 42. See also Ps. xxii. 7.

[blocks in formation]

6 to

XIV. David obtains an easy victory by his superior agility. 'David hasted, and ran. meet the Philistine. And David took a stone and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead.'-Ver. 48, 49.

XV. The giant falls prostrate. 'And he fell upon his face to the earth.'--Ver. 49.

XVI. David spoils his fallen enemy. 'David ran, and stood upon

XIV. Manlius obtains an easy victory by his superior agility. Romanus, mucrone subrecto, quum scuto scutum imum perculisset, totoque corpore interior periculo vulneris factus, insinuasset se inter corpus armaque, uno alteroque subinde ictu ventrem et inguina hausit.'—Ch. x.

XV. The giant falls prostrate. 'Et in spatium ingens ruentem porrexit hostem.'-Ch. x.

XVI. Manlius spoils his fallen enemy. 'Jacentis inde corpus.

....

torque

upon the Philistine . . . and cut off his head, and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armour in his tent.'-Ver, 51, 54. · David returned with the head of the Philistine in his hand.'--Ver. 57.

6

XVII. Consternation and flight of the Philistines on the death of their champion. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines . . . . to. . . . Ekron. And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and spoiled their tents.' -Ver. 51-53.

XVIII. David, after his victory, is brought to Saul and Jonathan, who reward him. And as

David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul.'Ch. xvii. 57. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.'--Ch. xviii. 4. 'And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house.'--Ver. 2. • And Saul set him over the men of war.'--Ver. 5.

....

XIX. Triumphal songs in his honour. 6 And it came to pass ... that the women came . . . . singing and dancing.... with tabrets, and joy, and instruments of music. And the women answered one another, as they played, and said, "Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." --Ver. 6, 7.

XX. David's heroic act on this occasion served afterwards to distinguish him. 'Is not this David? .... did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying,

"Saul

[blocks in formation]

"Saul hath slain," ' &c.—Ch. xxi. 11; ch. xxix. 5.

XXI. David subsequently rose to the highest honours of the state. (He married the king's daughter, and at length ascended the throne of Israel.)

XXII. His domestic happiness was embittered by the death of a beloved son under most painful circumstances (killed in the act of rebelling against his Own father).

etiam familiæque honori fuit.'-Ch. x.

XXI. Manlius subsequently rose to the highest honours of the state. (He was chosen consul three times, and dictator twice.)

XXII. His domestic happiness was embittered by the death of a beloved son under most painful circumstances (put to death by order of his own father, for a breach of military discipline).

THE TRUE VINE.

(JOHN XV. 1-6.)

By GEORGE J. Walker.

[ocr errors]

'Axnevós is often used in contrast with something antecedent of an inferior and typical nature. My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven' (John vi. 32), which contrasts with the manna. The heavenly tabernacle is called 'the true tabernacle,' as opposed to the earthly one (Heb. viii. 2). Spiritual worshippers are called 'true,' as distinguished from those who used carnal ordinances (John iv. 23). The frequent use of this word and its cognates, andα, àλnons, àλntãs, in John's writings is characteristic of the Apostle, who pre-eminently sets forth the person of Christ, around which he makes in a peculiar manner every doctrine, discourse, and action to cluster, embracing every opportunity of placing Him as it were in the focus, where the converging rays of the revelations and types of the former ages all meet.

Thus in the Gospel of John we have Jesus presented as the Lamb of God, the taker awaya ( alpwv) of the sin of the world (i. 29); in ch. ii. 19 He takes the place of the temple; in ch. vi. of the manna. He is the antitype of the mystic ladder of Jacob (i. 51); of the brazen serpent (iii. 14), and of the paschal lamb (xix. 36). Although John the Baptist was 'the burning and shining lamp” (ὁ λύχνος ὁ καιόμενος καὶ φαίνων), v. 35, yet he only came to bear witness of the true light which coming into the world lighteth every man' (i. 9). Only in John have we the record of the flowing of the blood and water from the Saviour's pierced side; silently but beautifully proclaiming the fulfilment of the types of cleansing and atonement in his sacred person.

a With abstract reference to the universal aspect of his sacrifice, not to the actual extent of its resulting blessings.

There

There had been a vineyard planted by the Lord in the earth before Isaiah v., but wild grapes had been alone its produce. The vine proved to be of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah. The grapes were grapes of gall, their clusters were bitter; the wine was the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps (Deut. xxxii. 32, 33): God brake down its hedges, so that all who passed by the way plucked it. It was wasted by the boar out of the wood, and devoured by the wild beast of the field, Ps. lxxx. (compare also Jer. ii. 21; Ezek. xv. xix.). But by and by this vine will be visited by the Lord (Ps. lxxx. 14); they will sing of her A vineyard of red wine,' and Israel will blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit (Isa. xxvii. 2—6).

6

When our Lord said I am the true vine,' he doubtless spoke with reference to the former degenerate and temporarily rejected plant. In the preceding chapter he had spoken of his approaching departure to the Father; nevertheless he here unfolds a new relationship in which he was to stand towards his people, a relationship irrespective of his bodily presence, yet still a distinctively earthly relationship, for he reveals himself as the mystic vine planted in the earth, and of which his people are the branches.

It is important moreover to notice that he says, 'my Father' is the husbandman, for it still further distinguishes the present from the former Jewish vine planted and watched over by Jehovah; and enables us also to estimate the love and tenderness of the culture of which we are the present objects.

Verse 2 describes the actual dealings of the Father. The taking away of the fruitless as well as the cleansing or pruning of the fruit-bearing branches, are confined to our present state. The unity and consistency of the figure appears violated, and the natural meaning of the passage set aside, when, as is often done, the branches taken away are explained as mere professors, for on that supposition the fruitless branches would be left untouched till the judgment, as the express statement of many. scriptures (for example, the parable of the wheat and tares) is, that the separation between the good and the bad, between real and only nominal Christians, is reserved for the end of the age, and the coming of the Lord: neither does observation show that an unreal profession is ordinarily, much less universally, subjected to present divine judgment.

But could mere professors belong to the true vine? Could they be said to come under the dealings of the Father as the husbandman? and is not the notion derived from the passage that

b There is a paronomasia, but nothing more, in αἴρει and καθαίρει, καθαίρω being a primitive word, and as well as κaðapós, etc., having no affinity with alpw.

of

of continuous and successive excisions on the one hand, as of continuous cleansings on the other? Is the idea of a final act of cumulative judgment on those represented by the fruitless branches fairly suggested either by the comparison itself or by the language? The former presents a plant both perfect in its original state, and preserved by culture in that perfection during a certain protracted earthly period. The latter equally confines our thoughts to certain actings of the husbandman, in either case, whether of taking away or of cleansing, within, not without that earthly period. Not to say that if the figure of the vine and the branches be suited to our earthly state, and is not properly descriptive of a heavenly relationship, it would be difficult to see how the final excision of the branches involved any penalty at all.

By the branches that are cut off must, it is conceived, be meant real Christians, but who through worldliness or sin, or carelessness, have forfeited their interest in the peculiar relationship to Christ set forth in this Scripture. Divine life is not extinct in them, but it is more like embers smouldering under ashes than a clear bright flame. Their final safety is indeed ensured, but it will be unaccompanied by the special honours destined for those whose works as well as whose persons are accepted. In this view the excision of a branch may often be unattended by any marked outward manifestation in the circumstances of the individual whom it represented. Silently may the connection be severed on which depends the believer's fruitfulness, though not his salvation. He may lose some of the special rewards of heaven while its gates are still open to admit him. An outwardly respectable position in the (so called) religious world, and in the communion he happens to belong to, may still be his; the external mechanism, as it were, of piety may not be sensibly decayed; the very same actions may perhaps be performed as before, but without unction, without fervour, without vitality.

If it be borne in mind that the subject of the whole context is fruitbearing, not salvation, we shall be able to estimate its powerful bearing on the conscience of the believer, and we shall find little difficulty in the interpretation of the several verses.

The fruitfulness of the believer cannot be measured merely by what is open to the observation of others. Nay, he may even be unconscious himself of the real value of many a godly exercise of soul, appreciable nevertheless to Him who "seeth not as man seeth," nor looketh, like man, "on the outward appearance," but on the heart" (1 Sam. xvi. 7). Moreover the beautiful figure of the vine and its branches excludes the idea of fitful, impulsive actings, or of constrained and violent effort. Fruit-bearing in nature is the reverse of these: it is the necessary result of the uninterrupted

66

« ForrigeFortsæt »