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James Comper Gray.

The Biblical museum : a collection of notes, explanatory, homiletic, and illustrative, on the Holy Scriptures, especially designed for the use of ministers, Bible students, and Sunday school teachers (Volume 9) online

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kno\Mi to have a predilection for cedars, which are the loitiest
trees in the forest, and therefore more suited to his daring temper
than any other. La Roque found a number of large eagle's
feathers scattered on the ground beneath the lofty cedars which
still crown the summits of Lebanon, on the highest branches of
which that tierce destroyer occasionally perches.''

7 — 10. (7) anotlier . . eagle, this represents Pharaoh Hophra,
king of Egypt, bend . . him, Zedekiah, inclined to favour the
Egyptian alliance, furrows, etc., i.e. " Erom the furrows w'here
it wa,s planted to briug forth fruit for another, it shot forth its
roots to him."" (8; great waters, comp. v. 5. {[)) shall it
prosper ? in such manifestly unfaithful ways, he, i.e. the in-
sulted Nebuchadnezzar, spring, or growth. (10) east wind,
in the E., as with us, so injurious to vegetation.''

'The eaijle. — The rca.son of the figure must be obvious to every
reader : the erect and majestic mien of the eagle point him out
as the intended sovereign of the feathered race ; he is therefore
the fit emblem of superior excellence, and of regal majesty and
power. Xenophon and other ancient historians inform us that
the golden eagle with extended wings was the ensign of the
Persian monarchs. long before it was adopted by the Romans ;
and it is very probable that the Persians borrowed the symbol
from the ancient Assyrians, in whose banners it waved, till
imperial Babylon bowed her head to the yoke of Cyrus. If this
conjecture be well founded, it discovers the reason why the
sacred writers, in describing the victorious march of the Assyrian
armies, allude so frequently to the expanded eagle. Referring
still to the Babylonian monarch, the Prophet liosca proclaimed
in the ears of Israel, the measure of whose iuiijuities was nearly
full : '• He shall come as an eagle against the house of the Lord. '
Jei-cmiah predicted a similar calamity to the posterity of Lot :
" For thus saith the Lord, Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and
shall spread his wings over Moab;" and the same tigure is
employed to denote the sudden destruction which overtook the
house of Esau : " Behold, he shall come n-p and fly as the eagle,
and spread his wings over Bozrah." The words of these inspired
Prophets were not suffered to fall to the ground ; they received a
full accom]ilishment in the irresistible imijetuosity and complete
success with which the Babylonian monarchs, and particularly
Nebuchadnezzar, pursued their plans of conquest. Ezekiel deno-
minates him wuth striking propriety, ''a great eagle with great
wings ; '' because he was the most powerful monarch of his time,
and led into the field more numerous and better appointed armies
(which the Prophet calls, by a beautiful figure, his wings) than
perhaps the world had ever seen.'=

11—15. (11, 12) king of Babylon, i.e. the great eagle. (1.3)
king's seed, i.e. his uncle. Zedekiah. oath, of allegiance, on
condition of wh. oath Zedekiah was giVen the throne. (14)
base, as a dependent kingdom : tiibutary to Babylon, lift
itself up, in rebellions. (15) sending . . Egy^Jt, cnnqj. 2
Ki xxiv. 20; 2 Chr. xxxvi. 13 ; Je. xxxvii. 5 — 7. prosper, in
violating his oath to Nebuc. and sinning against God's commands,
De. xvii. IG.



cited by rngo, ha
ll-U upon tlie In-
diuuaaJ tiirehim
to piecL'S. I'aision
rebouibies that
lio u." — liiUical
Treasury,

d Paxlun.



a " Zeilekiah waS
courting tlie

favuiir uf Egypt
while he owed
his very position
to tlie bounty of
Assyria."— jS/^i'.
Cum.

b " The Prophet
compares the
Clialdoian army
to a parching
wind that blasts
the I'riiits of the
earth, wiihers
the leaves of the
trees, and makes
everytliiiig look
naked and bare."
— Lowlh.

" All the fresh
leaves of her
siiruuting shall
wither."— iroj ds-
uorlh.

'■ Passion is the
great mover and
spring of the soul.
^V' h e n men's
passions are
strongest, they
may have great
and noble eflects ;
but they are then
also apt to fall
into the greatest
m i scarriages." —
a^rat.

c Paxtott.



V. 15. F. n. But'

Ion, 87.

•■ Passions direct-
eU to their right
cud may fail in
their manner but
not in their mea-
sure. When the
suliject of our
hatred is siii, it



282



EZEKIEl.



[Cap. xvii. 16-21,



cannot be too
dei>p : wlien the
object of our love
Is Cioil. it cannot
l)Pt(ii)higli. yUi-
floratiou may
become a fault.
To be but warm
when God com-
niamU us to be
hot is sinful. We
belie virtue by
the constant ilul-
nes-i of a nieilio-
crity."-/V///((iOT.

" When head-
strong passion
gets the reins of
reason, the force
of nature, like too
strong a gale, for
■want of ballast,
oversets the ves-
sel."— //i(/!/""'.
a Sigourtteij.



a " This cere-
mony was espe-
cially used when
an inferior made
profession of his
subjection to liis
superior."-J^oi»/A.

Is. xli. 13.

r. IG. /. Weemse,
i. 152.

Tlie conquests of
Alexander the
Great could not
satisfy him ; for
■when he bad
conquered the
whole of one
known world, he
sat down and
wept because he
knew of no other
world to conquer.



I Marslon.



a Reckon with
him.

" Lowliness is
young ambition's
ladder, whereto
the climber u))-
Wards turns his



The conqueror. —

Ilistory hath spt her crown

Upon the conqueror's head,
And bade the awestruck world bow down

Belore his banner's head.
So down the world hath bow'd,

Upon her letter d pa^e.
And the wild homage of the crowd

Swell'd on from age to age.

What miseries mark'd his way,

How oft the orphan wept,
How deep the earth in sackcloth lay,

Faint trace her annals kept.
Though like a torrent's flow

The widow's tears gush'd out,
The current of that secret woe

Quell'd not the victor's shout.

The Gospel's sacred scroll

A different standard shows :
Its plaudit on the humble soul,

And contrite, it bestows.
To men of holy life

Its glorious crown is given.
Who nurse, amid this vale of strife,

The peaceful germs of heaven."

16—18. (10) sliall die, comp. ch. xii. 13. (17) neither,
etc.. Je. xxxvii. 7. mounts . . forts, as defences ; or as modes of
attacking the Chald;ean besiegers of Jerusalem. (IS) despised
the oath, v. 13. given his hand," and so pledging his troth
and fealty.

Unfruit/iiJne.1.1 of amhition. — I have often been astonished at
the softness in which other minds seem to have passed their day :
the ripened pasture and clustering vineyards of imagination :
the mental Arcadia in which they describe themselves a< having
loitered from year to year. Yet, can I have faith in this per-
petual Claude Lorraine pencil — this undying verdure of the soil — •
this gold and purple suffusion of the sky— those pomps of the
palace and the pencil with their pageants and nymphs, giving
life to their landscape ; while mine was a continual encounter
with difficulty, a continual summons to self-control .' A march,
not unlike that of the climber up the side of Etna ; every step
through ruins, the vestiges of former conflagrations ; the ground
I trode, rocks that had once been flame : every advance a new
trial of my feelings or my fortitude ; every stage of the ascent
leading me. like the traveller, into a higher region of sand or
ashes : until, at the highest, I stood in a circle of eternal frost,
with all the rich and human landscape below fading away in
distance, and looked down only on a gulf of fire.*

19 — 21. (]'.)) mine oath, bee. God was working His purposes
through the action of Nebuchadnozzar. who was, in some sense.
His representative. (20) sjDread my net, comp. cli. xii. 13,
xxxii. 3. plead with him, or bring him into judgment." (21)
fugitives, those belonging to him who would try to escape :
ch. Xli. 1-1.



Cap. xvil. 22-24.]



EZEKIEL.



283



Sir Walter Ealclgh. — Fuller, in liis Worthies, gives the follow-
ing account of Sir Walter Raleigh's first rise in life: — ''This
Captain Raleigh," he says, •' coming out of Ireland into the
English Court in good habit (his clothes being then a consider-
able part of his estate) found the queen walking, till meeting
with a dirty place, she seemed to scruple going over it. Presently
Raleigh cast and spread his new plush cloak on the ground,
whereupon the queen trod gently, rewarding him afterwards
with many suits for his so free and seasonable tender of so fair a
foot-cloth. An advantageous admittance into the first notice of
a prince, is more than half a degree of preferment. WTien Sir
"Walter found some hopes of the queens favour reflecting on him,
he wrote on a glass window obvious to the queen's eye —

' Fain would I climb, but fear I to fall.'

Her majesty, either espying or being showed it, did under write —

' If thy heart fail thee, climb not at all.'

How great a person in that Court this knight did afterwards
prove to be, is scarcely unknown to any." *

22—24. (22) highest branch, many think the reference in
this V. is to Messiah, tender one, conip. Is. xi. 1, liii. Used
in reference to the low estate of the family of David when
Messiah was born. (23) mount, etc., first reference to Mount
Moriah, as a fig. of the exulted jDlace found for Messiah, bring
forth, cte., indicating the gro^\i:h of the Christian Church or
kingdom. (2f) trees . . field, other, and worldly kingdoms."

ihn-l of evrry n-inr/ (n. 24). — The cedar a royal tree. Christ
the true cedar, and all people are the birds that lodge in its
branches. 1. The young may come ; 2. The aged may come ;
3. The very bad. the outrageously sinful, may come ; 4. All
the dying may find their nest in this goodly cedar.*

I'tin-l of erer;/ n-'nifj. — The cedar of Lebanon is a royal tree. It
stands six thousand feet above the level of the sea. A mis-
sionary counted the concentric circles, and found one tree thirty-
five hundred years old — long-rooted, broad-branched, all the
year in luxuriant foliage. The same branches that bent in the
hurricane that David saw sweeping over Lebanon, rock to-day
over Lhe head of ths American traveller. This monarch of the
forest. Vt'ith its leavy fingers, plucks the honours of a thousand
years, and sprinkles them upon its own iiplifted brow, as though
some great Hallelujah of heaven had been planted upon
Lebanon, and it were rising up with all its long-armed strength
to take hold of the hills whence it came. Oh ! what a fine
place for birds to nest in ! In hot days they come thither — the
eagle, the dove, the swallow, the sparrow, and the raven. My
text intimates that Christ is the cedar, and the people from all
quarter: are the birds tha', lodge among the branches. " It shall
be a goodly cedar, and under it shall dwell all fowl of every
wing." As in EzokieUs time, so now. Christ is a goodly
cedar : and to Him are flying all kinds of people, young and
old, rich and poor : men high-soaring as the eagle, those fierce
as the raven, and those gentle as the dove. "All fowl of every
wing."«



face ; but when
he ouce obtains
the u t most
rouuri, he then
unto the ladder
turns his back,
looks in the
clouds, scorning
the bare degrees
by which he did
ascend." — Hhuke-
speaye.

" Strong passions
work wonders,
when there is a
greater strength
of reason to curb
XX\en\."— Tucker.

b I'crcy Anec.



a " Christ's king-
dom shall by
degrees exalt
itself above all
the kingdoms of
the world ; and
shall at length
put an end to
them, and itself
continue unto all
eteniity."-io!£7/i.
Da. iv. 35, 44,
vii. 27 ; Lu. i. 33;
1 Co. .\LV. 24.

I'!'. 22—24. J.
Ailing, Op. ii. 4,
139 ; F. Allix,
325 ; Dr. It. Go)-
dvn, iv. 2U7.

r. 24. Dr. J. Owen,
.w. 415.

b Dr. Talmage.

" Wliat profits us
that we froni
heaven derive a
soul immortal,
and with looks
erect survey the
stars, if, like the
brutal kind, we
follow where our
passions lead the
way ? "—Drydm.

c Dr. Talmage,



284



EZEKIEL.



[Cap. xviii. 1— 9.



U " It is nowhere
saiil in O. T. or
N. T. that God
visits tlie in-
iquities of the
fathers upon the
childreu, except
wliore the cliil-
drou ohstiuatoly
persist iu iiuitat-
iuf? the ini(iuity
of tlie fathers."
— Wordsworth.

v.\. Dr. R. Gierke,
389.

V. 2. Dr. W. Lan-
don, 1 10.

v. 4. //. Worth-
ington, 1G9 : E.
G. Marsh, 115.

6 G. in Homillst.

" God drawetli
straight lines,
but we think
and call tliein
crooked. Dzek.
xviii. 2,')." — Uath-
er/ord.

" When passions
glow, tlie lieart,
like heated steel,
takes each im-
pression, and is
work'd at plea-
sure." — J'OMWi/.

« Cheever.



a De. xii. 2; Eze.
vi. 13, xvi. IG,
24. XX. 28 ; 1 Co.
X. 21.

" The humblest
trade has in it
elbow-roi.'u for
all the cirtues.
That ■ huckster
can be true and
honest and hon-
ourable : what
more can Roths-
child be ? The
excellence of a
circle lies in its
roundr.ess, not
its bigness. The
rim of a three-
penny bi'„ is a
true circle, and
would not be
tueuded, but only



CHAPTER THE EIGHTEENTH.

1 — 4. (1, 2) concerning . . Israel, i.r. in reference to its
desolations, fathers . . edge, the present generation suffers
for the sins committed by previous generations." (;^) not . .
use, bee. God will plainly punish this generation for their own
sins ; and they will not be able to shift the blame on to their
fathers. (4) all . . mine, imi^lying direct and individual dealing
with each.

77/r entail of suffcr'tnq (v. 2). — I. The fact is indi.-sputable.
II. The procedure maybe vindicated. II f. The use of the proverb
shall cease. 1. An acquaintance with the rules which guide the
Divine judgment of transgressors shall prevent men from using'
this proverb ; 2. The common relation which all men sustain to
Him may well prevent us from attributing iniquity to Him ;

3. The true spirit of penitence which a knowledgt; of His equity
and His love shall excite, shall in a similar manner acquit Him;

4. If any darkness yet seem to hover around these truths, the
dawn of the last day shall assuredly dispel it.*

An vnfaitliftd fatlicr. — A father who had a son in college
requested a minister who was going through the town where he
was to call on him and converse with him in reference to the
salvation of his soul. The minister called, agreeable to the request
of the father, and introduced the subject of religion. He alluded
to the feelings and request of the father, who wished him by
all means to attend first to the salvation of his soul. The young
man replied, " Did my father send such word as that .' " " He
did,' was the reply. '-Then,'' said the young man, ''my father
is a dishonest man." " But why do you say he is dishonest .' "
said the minister. "Because."' replied the student, "he has
often advised me, in regard to the cotirse he would have me
pursue in life, how to gain the riches, honours, and pleasures of
the world, but he is not the man that has ever manifested any
interest in regard to the salvation of my soul, any more than if
I had no soul ! " «

5 — 9. (")) just, comprehensive term for all moral rightness.
(G) eaten . . mountains, sharing in the sacrificial feasts on
the high places, where are the idol-shrines." (7) oppressed,
etc., Ex. xxii. 25, 2C> ; De. xxiv. 12. given . . hungry, De. xv. 7.
(8) usury, Ex. xxii. 2.5; Le. xxv. 36, 87 ; De. xxiii. li) : Ps. xv. 5.
(il) truly, obediently, faithfully, and kindly, live, or preserve
his life. Such a man comes into no Divine judgment.

Character — fione lefore. — A young man's character was such
as to excite universal disap]irobation. He could no longer resist
the pressure of jiublic sentiment. He disposed of his property,
and attempted to resume business in a distant part of the country.
But his character, or rather his reputation, had gone before liim.
Men regarded him with suspicion. He was unable to secure the
confidence and countenance necessary to success. In this case
his sins went before him to his new place of residence. The
sins of men go before them still further. They go before tliem
to the judgment, and will be rcaily to meet tliem there. "What
a fearful m acting 1 How impossible to escape from their



Cap. xviil. 10-18.1



EZEKTEl.



2S5



Bccusings and consequences. It is related of a prisoner that,
after he had toiled for months in constructing a mine from
his dungeon, by means of which he hoped to escape, when at last
he broke ground and let in the light of day which he had so
fondly hoped to enjoy, the first object he saw was an armed
jailer waiting to arrest him ! That jailer struck far less dismay
and despair to the heart of the prisoner than meeting with his
sins will strike to the heart of the sinner at the day of judg-
ment.*

10—13. (10) robber, or " breaker up of a house." (11) any of
those, described in vv. 5 — 9. (12) lifted . . eyes, in adoration
or supplication. (13) blood, or death. ''His destruction is
owing wholly to himself.""

InconKhtcnc]/ of 'parents. — Parents, to do them justice, are
seldom sjiaring of lessons of virtue and religion, in admonitions
which cost little and which profit less, whilst their example ex-
hibits a continual contradiction of what they teach. A father, for
Instance, will, with solemnity and apparent earnestness, warn
his sou against idleness, excess in drinking, debauchery, and
extravagance, who himself loiters about all day without employ-
ment, comes hone every night drunk ; is made infamous in his
neighbourhood by sjme profligate connection, and wastes the
fortune which should support, or remain a provision for his
family, in riot, or luxury, or ostentation. Or he will discourse
gravely before his children of the obligation and importance of
revealed religion, whilst they see the most frivolous, and often-
times feigned excuses, detain him from its reasonable and solemn
ordinances. Or he will set before them, perhaps, the supreme
and tremendous authority of Almighty God ; that such a Being
ought not to be named, or even thought upon, without senti-
ments of profound awe and veneration. This may be the lectui'e
he delivers to his family one hour, when the next, if an occasion
arise to excite his anger or his surprise, they will hear him treat
the name of the Deity with the most irreverent profanation,
and sport with the terms and denunciations of the Christian
religion as if they were the language of some ridiculous and
long exploded superstition. Now, even a child is not to be
imjiosed upon by such mockery. He sees through the grimace of
this counterfeited concern forvu'tue. He discovers that his parent
is acting a part, and receives his admonitions as he would
hear the same maxims from the mouth of a player. And
when once this opinion has taken possession of the child's
mind, it has a fatal effect upon the parent's influence in all
subjects, even those in which he himself may be sincere and
convinced.*

14 — 18. (14) if he, i.e. the utterly bad man, who brings
destruction down upon his own head, considereth, layeth it
to heart, not such like, not any of the evil things. (1.5 — 17)
comp. vr. 5 — 9. not . . father, but judgment shall spend itself
on the sinful father." (18) his brother, i.e. his brother-man.

I'arcnt,^ .tliouhl iiot drceire f/wir cJiildren — The fan- ii and the
leopard. — In a German fable a doe warns her youthful offspring
to beware, as she skips abcut the forest, of that dangerous animal
the leopard. '• And what is the leopard like .' "' inquires the
fawn. '• Oh, it is a dreadful-looking monster ; its eyes glare and



magnified, if
swelled till it
equalled in size
the tire of a cart-
wheel, or dilated
till it toiiclied
the outline of a
plauet."-6; Coley.

b Dr. Jeffers.



a " ITpon his own
head, but not ou
the heads of his
children, if they
do not imitate
liim." — ^Yords•
uoi-lh.

A house took tire.
The mother was
busiest of all
saving her trin-
kets. The fire
spread rapidly.
The mother, try-
ing to enter the
house a second
time, was stop-
ped. She shrieked
in anguish ; for
her babe lay ia
its cradle in the
burning build-
ing. At what a
cost had she
i-aved lier trifles!
Should she not
have rescued tlie
child first ? Is
not this true of
our children's
souls now in
danger of eternal
fire?

"A man's own
heart must ever
be given to gain
that of another."
— GoldsmL.h.

b Paley.



a It is never-
theless true that
1 ereditary dis-
al.ilities do fol-
low on parental
wrong - doings ;
but rather on
parental rii-eiand
immii7-alitU'st\ian.
(Ill such acts of
unkiudness, in*



285



EZEKIEL.



[Cap. STTiii. 19-26.



justice, and iilol-
atry sis are dealt
with by Kzekiel.

1'. 14. D. .S. Dey-
ling, iii. 5U7.

" Govern ynur
passions.or other-
wise tbey will
govern you." —
Horace.



m 2 Ki. xiv. 6 ;
3 Clir. XXV. 4 ;
Je. xxxi. 29.

h Je. xxxi. 34 ;

Am. viii. 7.

c 1 Ti. ii. 4 ; 2 Pe.
iii. 9.

V. 20. /. Jlinks,
343.

V. 23. D. Featley,
"in ; T. Mimlon,
V. 1008 ; /'. Dit-
snulov, 117 ; S.
Roberts, ii. 221.

" No man's body
is as strong as
liis appetites, but
Heaven has cor-
rected the bound-
lessness of his
voluptuous de-
sires by stiiitina:
his strenptth and
contracting his
capacities." — Til-
loison.

d Dr. Burns.



a Comp. 2 Pe. ii.
21.

" Such a one
sins against a
clearer light and
greater convic-
tions, and witlial
is guilty of the
greatest ingrati-
tude, in doing
despite unto the
Spirit of grace."
—hnclh.

b '• It was really
their way tliat
was unequal,
since living in
Bin they expected
to be dealt with
as if they were
jigliteous. Goil's
way was invari-
ably to deal with



its jaws drop blood." The fa,wn goes off to roam the wood,
and in the course of her rambles espies, at some distance ia
the long grass, a graceful creature with beautifully spotted
hide ; its movements are elegant and even playful ; its asjject
betrays no sanguiuaiy stain nor fiercejae.'-'s of purpose. " \Vell,
this cannot be the leopard," says the fawn ; " this is not tho
creature which my parent described. I must go and make
acquaintance with it." She accordingly advances to meet the
new-found friend, and — but one need not stop to mention the
result. How often do well-meaning but unwise parents deceive
their children to their destruction I

19 — 23. (19) "wYiy ? i.e. is it not a common proverb that
the son bears the father's iniquity .' The Jews appeal to their
own experience, wlien, etc., implying that if the Jews of that
generation had done right, they would not have been punished
for their ./?/('//(";■.?' sins of the previous generations. (I'O) soil,
ctG., comp. De. xxiv. lii." (21) turn . . sins, then he shall not
be dealt with on the ground of the forsaken sins, but on the
ground of the new obedience. (22) not be mentioned, being
forgiven they shall be forgotten.* (23) any pleasure, the
frequency of prophetic denunciation might produce such an
impression."

God's conduct to the jJOfiteritj/ of the n'iched (r. 20). — I. See if,
and in what sense, children bear the evils of their parents'
iniquities. 1. The mind and body exert a remarkable influence
on each other ; 2. Children are greatly influenced by the position
their parents occupy ; 3. They are powerfully influenced by their
parents' example ; 4. They partake directly of the evil doings
of their parents. II. Does God inflict this penalty ui^on them
for the parents' sins? Ezekiel says '• Xo." 1. It would be
opposed to goodness and mercy : 2. To justice ; 3. To fact ;
4. To individual responsibility. III. To reconcile the teachings
of Moses (Ex. xx. 5) and Ezekiel — 1. God punishes rebellious
parents; 2. Children hating Him learn — (1) God's government
is the reflection of His goodness and holiness : (2) Every man
is individually accountable ; (3) Men will hs judged according
to their circumstances ; (4) Jesus is a universal Saviour for all
sinners.''

24—28. (24) righteous, etc., this is the answering side of
the truth of God's dealings declared in re. 21, 22." turneth
away, in utter apostasy. Ileference is not to the temporary
failures and fallings of the godly, mentioned, taken into
account as a mitigation of sentence. C2'>) not equal, or
weighed out, balanced ; properly adjusted to the several ca.ses.*
(2r.) his iniquity, i.e. you need go no further for explanation
than the fact of his own sin.

The .'^mlter .vnitten (r. 2.")). — Take in conjunction with this text
Acts viii. 3, xiv. 12, ix. 1. xxiii. 12 ; Gal. i. 13 : 2 Cor. xi. 23,
xxvi. 10. xvi. 23 ; Gal. vi. 7. All these experiences were under-
gone by the same person. The persecutor was persecuted, etc.
By these facts we are taught — I. That a man's life comes
back upon him. II. That a man's Christian experience mu.«t be



Online LibraryJames Comper GrayThe Biblical museum : a collection of notes, explanatory, homiletic, and illustrative, on the Holy Scriptures, especially designed for the use of ministers, Bible students, and Sunday school teachers (Volume 9) → online text (page 49 of 67)