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“ to do in this great work, do it with all your “ might.” The time is short. 66 The end of all
things is at hand. Behold, saith Christ, I come
quickly, and my reward is with me. Then they “ that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the “ firmament, and they that turn many to righte
ousness, as the stars, for ever and ever.”
THE SALVATION OF THE HEATHEN NECESSARY
EZEKIEL XXXVII, 1-10.
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was
full of bones,—And caused me to pass by them round about ; and behold there were many in the open valley ; and lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest.- Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, o ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.
Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones, Behold, I will cause breath to enter into
shall live,—And I will lay șinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you ; and ye shall live, and ye shall know that I am the Lord.—So I prophesied, as I was commanded ; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bonc.And when I beheld, lo, the si news and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them.
Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, Son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God, Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied, as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
It pleased God to speak unto the Jewish Church by the prophets, at sundry times, and in divers manners. Sometimes Divine revelations were made by symbolical language and actions, which were immediately explained, or easily understood; at other times they were left in the obscurity of figurative representation, in order to excite humble enquiry, or to try the faith and patience of his people. In the
In the passage which I have now read, the prophet Ezekiel relates a vision of a very striking, affecting, and instructive nature. He is not himself permitted to remain a moment in doubt of its intention, nor does he conceal it from the people. The solemn moving scene, divinely exhibited to his imagination, and the inspired interpretation, evidently refer us to the history of Israel in her captive state, and determined deliverance. But the description is throughout so applicable to the circumstances of the heathen world, the design of God respecting it, the means proper to be used for its salvation, and their final efficacy, that the accommodation of it to that subject appeared to me natural, and may be useful on this very interesting occasion.
Both in the sacred and in profane writings, we find such transference of subject not unusual,
and the application when correctly made, comes home generally with a power peculiarly impressive. We are particularly warranted in thus improving the history of the Jews, as we are taught in scripture to consider them in a typical character.
Being this day met then for the express pur. pose of uniting our prayers that the heathen may be converted and eternally saved, of uniting our praises for the divine grace and truth which
promise salvation to them as well as to us, and of uniting our benevolence and exertions to send to them the gospel of this great salvation, I think this portion of scripture cannot fail to bring that object before us in all its importance, and both direct and encourage us in prosecuting it with honest unwearied zeal. Let us therefore take a more particular review of it, and collect its various instructions under a few plain remarks.
Observe then in the first place, the state of Israel in captivity, as strongly descriptive of the state of the heathen, verses 1, 2, 11.
" The “ hand of the Lord,” says the prophet,
upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of “ Lord, and set me down in the midst of the