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and intreated their Christian converts to assist them with their prayers.*
Can it be less necessary now to invoke Him, who is rich to all, who call on him in sincerity and truth. If we preach or send the gospel of salvation to heathen lands, let us believe and pray in the Holy Ghost. He alone can give effectual testimony to the word of grace; and by the prayer of faith, we carry along with us this Almighty power.
If he work, who can let? If he work, shall not effects be produced, corresponding to the agency of such a cause ?-Opposition is not only vain, but converted to his service.--Had the counsels or powers of Babylon continued inimical to the decree of heaven in favour of Israel's deliverance from captivity, foolishness and feebleness would have disgraced and destroyed them. But the Almighty displayed his wisdom and power in a very different manner. He turned the heart of the king of Babylon, like the rivers of water, and disposed all his influence to the advancement of the interests of his people, while with their restored liberty, he renewed their character.-In the
* Acts XX 81, 82, 36. Rom. xv. 30, &c. Bph. vi. 18-21.
same effectual and glorious manner will his wonderful grace bring salvation to all men.
This brings us to a fourth remark upon this prophetic vision :—That as the purpose of God and the means of his appointment, wrought a blessed and glorious change upon the state and character of Israel, so his grace and the means of it shall have a similar, yea, a much more wonderful effect upon the heathen world. The change made upon the state and character of Israel, is described by the prophet, verse 7-11,-a change which not only could not fail to answer the utmost wishes and highest expectations of the prophet, but conformable in all respects to the divine promise, to the natural tendency of the appointed means, and to the supernatural agency of the Eternal Spirit. It is represented by all the ex. cellence and glory of a complete resurrection.
In the fallen state of captive Israel, we not only see the mournful resemblance of a lifeless corpse lodged in the cold and silent grave, but of a body entirely dismembered, and all its bones disjointed and without moisture.
But behold now the glorious change produced, by the promise and Spirit of the Almighty.-A
noise is heard--the valley shakes—the bones come together, bone to his bone-a perfect human form appears—it is animated with true and perfect life. Is it a single man restored to life ?-Even that would be an astonishing sight, but nothing compared to the efficacy of divine influence exhibited in the scene before us. Lo! an exceed. ing great army stood up upon their feet. 'We see the thousands of Israel restored to a new, a happy, and glorious existence. To them as a nation, as a church, and as individuals, civil, moral, and religious life was restored. The Lord shewed wonders to the dead-the dead arose, and worshipped the Lord.
They are not only alive and on their feet, but all in motion to serve and glorify the God of their salvation_" For in those days, and in that time, “ saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall “ come, they and the children of Judah together, “ going and weeping, they shall go, and seek “ the Lord their God. They shall ask the way “ to Zion, with their faces thitherward, saying,
come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord, “ in a perpetual covenant, which shall not be “ forgotten."
They set out indeed with the tears of remembered sin and suffering, but these soon mingled with the joy of salvation, and with the growing prospect of future days of felicity, according to the promise, that “ they shall come, and sing in “ the height of Zion, and shall flow together to 6 the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for “ wine, and for oil, and for the young of the - flock, and of the herd, and their soul shall be “ as a watered garden, and they shall not sorrow
any more at all.” When we read these words; also the 14th, and from the 21st verse to the end of this chapter, with other parallel texts, and compare the actual history of the great event to which they refer, as related by Ezra and Nehe. miah; do not such promises to Israel, and the corresponding experience of that singular people, place a reality before us, equal in character to the bold, yet not unusual style of ancient prophecy, and oriental representation.
Do we not, in this great event, contemplate with wonder the superintending overruling power of Divine providence—an extraordinary divine influence on the mind of Cyrus, and on the hearts and hands of the released, revived captives of Israel? can we attend to the controlled opposition of enemies, to the renewed instances of Royal
favour, to the unanimity, cordiality, zeal, and persevering exertion of the people in returning to their land, in rebuilding their temple and city in confessing and forsaking their sins—in entering anew into solemn covenant with God, and as restored penitents, resuming all their original offices and functions, both civil and sacred, enjoying all the high advantages and honour resulting from them, and from the reconciliation of their offended God and Sovereign, and serving him with a new and cheerful obedience? can we, I say, attend to all these things, without perceiving such a renovation of state and character, as might be expected in the creation of a new people, or in an old extinct nation, raised from the grave of oblivion to its pristine or greater splendour ?
If Israel rescued from Babylon, and replaced in the Holy Land, with every mark of national religion, goodness, and prosperity, is like the resurrection of a great army from dry and withered bones; we shall find this put in a still more striking point of view, when we consider the effects of a successful gospel among the heathen. When the precious doctrine of Christ is carried to them not in word only, but in power, and