« PreviousContinue »
which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner : this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.") And he shall bring forth the typical head-stone thereof “ with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it!"
It is recorded, Ezra iii. 8, 9, 10, that in the second year of the return of the children of Israel from the Babylonish captivity,“they,” Zerubbabel and Joshua, and the remnant of their brethren, the priests and the Levites, “began to set for. ward the work of the house of the Lord.” “And when the builders laid the foundation-stone of the temple of the Lord (on which, as Josephus informs us, was written Tetragammaton, or the ineffable name of God,) they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel. And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house was laid.” Thus fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah unto Zerubbabel, namely, that he should bring forth the typical head-stone with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace, unto it! But when Almighty God brought forth the blessed true head-stone, then the celestial hierarchies enraptured pealed his praise. The glory of the Lord shone round about the shepherds of Judea, instructing the angel that talked with them, to speak good words and comfortable words unto them, (as before had the angel
distilled by the blessed Physician of souls, and his blessed coadjutor, into intelligents, can mollify the most obdurate nature, soften the hardest heart, and transform the most degenerate sinners into regenerate saints-fulfilling them with grace and heavenly benediction.
This most sublime and magnificent type appears to us eminently to illustrate how Deity can concentrate in himself three persons, forming one ever-glorious Trinity, one ever-blessed God, by exhibiting to the eye of the mind a portraiture, conveying ideas by material similitude, not only of his nature as Father of all lights and benignant source of good ; but also of the manner of his existence, the agents to whom He is conjoined, and through whom He pours his blessings down. In it we behold the great I Am, whose open eyes in all directions watch over us for good-two branches branching forth, indissolubly joined by an eternal union to the parent root, whence they derive full participation of its nature, power, and virtue ; branching upwards, branching downwards, shedding around them blessings, dividing amongst all their heavenly gifts and graces. The right hand Branch, who, in his divine nature, branches forth from God-in undissolved union vesting himself within the human nature, that branches forth from out the stem of Jesse, and which now, spiritualized and glorified, and thus conjoined to Deity, mediates with the Father; for it is through the blessed Redeemer, all who pray have an access by one Spirit to the Father;
and, through his unfailing mediation, our prayers are ever answered by one Spirit, ministering consolation to our oft-afflicted hearts.
This glorious triune symbol is most aptly and beautifully illustrative of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, diffused through the intellectual system of the boundless universe. That this magnific symbol was designed as illustrative of the Trinity, and of the manner of God's existence, is also confirmed by considering the occasion on which it was displayed, and the consequence it was intended to produce; for it is highly probable, that Deity would illuminate his favoured servant, the prophet Zechariah, with the knowledge of his nature and the manner of his existence. He and the prophet Haggai were the instruments whom God employed for the encouragement of Zerubbabel, Joshua the high priest, and the elders of the Jews, (Ezra v. 2 ; vi. 7,) in the rebuilding of the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem, (which had been destroyed,) after the restoration of the Israelites from the Babylonish captivity. And as Moses had, without doubt, been enlightened with a knowledge of God's nature, and the manner of his existence, previous to the formation of the portable temple in the wilderness; and also David and Solomon, previous to the erection of the permanent one at Jerusalem—it was in perfect consonance with God's former dispensations, and must indeed have been essential to the success of the undertaking, to very fully illumine those prophets, through
whose prophesying the elders of the Jews builded and prospered. And the history informs us, that the elders of the Jews builded and prospered, through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo. (Ezra vi. 14.)
This book commences by stating the fulfilment of the prophecy of Jeremiah, by the Lord stirring up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, to proclaim throughout all his kingdom, and also to put it in writing, saying, “ Thus saith Cyrus, king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth ; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people ? his God be with him; and let him go up to Jerusalem, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the Lord, which is in Jerusalem. And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem. Then stood up Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt-offerings thereon; and they also kept the feasts, as it is written in the law of Moses, the man of God. They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters, and meat and drink, and oil unto them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia. Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua, the son of Josadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the Lord. Then stood Jeshua with his sons and bis brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites. And the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord.” (Ezra iii. 1-10.)
« Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the Lord God of Israel; then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him. But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, You have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us. Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building; and hired counsellors