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“ to the Lord of the whole earth.” So that the Jews must not only be delivered from their enemies, but must be the destroyers of them that continue enemies ; and that will be not a few, but many peoples." But whenever had the Jews, since their first captivity, such prosperity, such victory, such a kingdom, and such a conquest ?

ZEPHANIAH.

Chapter iii, 8—20.

In this place three things are prophesied. I. The restitution of the Jews, both in a way of conversion unto God, and of establishment in a glorious church state in their own country. II. The vocation of the Gentiles, both unto an effectual conversion unto God, and a most harmonious union with the rest of the Church. III. The subversion of the enemies of the Jews and of the church of Christ.

I. The restitution of the Jews (as to the first part thereof, viz. their conversion,) we have in verses 10—13, “ From beyond the river of Ethiopia, my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.” My suppliants(i. e. those who call upon my Name,) are expounded to be even the daughter of my dispersed* there;" which plainly means the Jews. That they shall bring their offering implies, that they shall worship God in a right manner : though this place does not prejudice the glorious Christian state of the Church, integrated of Jews and Gentiles, and intended by all the prophecies we produce. For take this as a rule, for this and all other similar places : that though in Moses' time they were taken according to the letter to signify material Levitical sacrifices; yet in regard to after-times, not only the apostles of the New Testament, but the prophets of the Old, by offerings, sacrifices, altars, &c. did signify unto us spiritual oblations, compatible and correspondent to the Gospel. These are examples out of both :

* The Hebrews in their Chaldee Paraphrase translate - Ethiopia by 9717 India ; where Rabbi Menasse Ben Israel saith, (in his book de spe Israelis,) multitudes of Jews are. There are indeed three opinions touching Ethiopia, and the river beyond it. 1st, That it signifies Egypt, which is beyond the river Nilus, which riseth in Ethiopia, and flows thence unto Egypt. 2ndly. That it is Ethiopia sub Egypto, i.e. Abyssinia, for this was near to the Jews, and by that name well known to them ; and so the Africans, and all inhabiting with them, were “beyond the rivers of Ethiopia” in respect of Judea and Egypt : so that here also may be understood all the countries beyond the sea, viz. Brazil, Peru, the West Indies, &c. 3dly. That it is the East Indies unto Japan and China : for Tigris and Euphrates are called the rivers of Ethiopia ; which slide first by or through Chaldea ; (where reigned Nimrod the son of Chus who gave name to Ethiopia ;) then by or through Mesopotamia ; and afterwards through the midst of Arabia, (which sometimes in Scripture is called Chus ;) and beyond these rivers lie all Asia and India. And therefore the Chaldee Paraphrase inclines to expound this of the Indians, as if Indian Ethiopia were here meant ; whence the Sabeans are also Indians, as Pererius asserts out of Beroaldus and Dionysius on Gen. xxv, 5. And indeed Seba and Havilah, the sons of Chus, dwelt towards India ; so that Cyril, Theodoret, and Procopius call the country of Sabea, by the name of Indian-Ethiopia. The sum of all is, that the Prophet intends, that all the Jews and Israelites, dispersed into the remotest countries, should be converted unto Christ.

Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay thy vows, &c.”—“Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me.”y—“ The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.”z—“ Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.a “ Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously, so will we render the calves of our lips."b" Offer (or present) to God your bodies as a living sacrifice.—" To do good and to communicate forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”C——“If I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, &c.”d—“ And another angel came and stood at the altar having a golden censer, and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which was before the throne."e

Thus you see how the tenth verse sets forth the conversion of the Jews; which is further amplified in the eleventh :-“In “that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein “thou hast trangressed against me? For then will I take away is out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and

thou shalt be no more haughty, because of my holy mountain.” This is also evidently spoken of the Jews, in that the Lord promises to take away their sins; and in particular, their pride of the Temple, in which they had greatly indulged :f nor was it removed in our Saviour's time ;8 and therefore this text was not then fulfilled.

Again, " I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.” (v. 13.) This last clause of trusting in the name of the Lord, contains the very life and power of godliness : and for the first clause, whoever can well weigh the Hebrew will confess, that the words may equally and better be rendered, “ I will cause to remain in thee a people that is humble and meek or poor in spirit," as Arias, the Septuagint, and the Syriac and Arabic render it. , This verse is aptly opposed to their pride in the former verse, and is the ready way to that which follows in verse 13. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies, neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; for they shall feed, and lie down, and none shall make them afraid :" that is, they shall there abide, because there shall be no danger ; and they shall be so holy, because they shall have grace within, and no temptation from without.

y Ps. 1, 14, 23. d Phil, ii, 17.

z Ps, li, 17. a Ps. cxli, 2. b Hos. xiv, 2. c Heb. xiii, 19. e Rev, viii, 3. f Jer. vii, 4.

g Matt. xxiv, 1.

without. 2. For the second part of the Jews' restitution, (namely, their reversion into their own country) we have it in verses 16-20, “ In that day it shall be said

to Jerusalem, Fear thou not, and to Zion, Let not thy hands

be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; “He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy, He will rest in his love, (a high and glorious expression !) He will joy over “thee with singing. I will gather them that are sorrowful for

the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burthen.” At that time I will bring you again, even " in the time that I gather you. For I will make you a name, and

a praise among all the people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.” All this can signify no less than a glorious visible church state, making them a spouse unto their Lord Christ.

II. For the second general head, the vocation of the Gentiles, both an effectual conversion unto God, and harmonious union with the rest of the Church; we have it in the ninth verse : “ For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may call upon

the name of the Lord, to serve him with consent :" more literally it might be rendered, " I will convert in the peoples a pure lip, that they may call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one shoulder.” It is express, that the peoples, nations, or Gentiles are here spoken of, who upon their conversion should be exempted from the ruin on the nations named in the eighth verse, and should return with the dispersed

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Jews, as in the tenth verse. Then their profane lips should be purified; and their idolatrous and blasphemous words before their false gods should be turned into holy prayers to Jehovah ; and they should serve him not only with one consent of mind, but with one way of practice,-as when many lift, as with one shoulder, to move a thing the same way; or draw equally in the same yokes, fastened to the same chain or traces.

III. The third thing is, the destruction of the enemies of the Church, contained in verses 14, 15, 19. These three heads, observe, are all interwoven, to signify that the whole of this visible glory comes together." Sing O daughter of Zion, shout O Israel, be glad and rejoice with all thy heart, O daughter of

Jerusalem. The Lord hath taken away thy judgement, he hath “ cast out thine enemy. The king of Israel is in the midst of thee, even the Lord ; you shall not see evil any more.-“Behold, at

that time I will undo all that afflict thee, and will save her that

halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them “a praise and fame in every land, where they have been put to

shame.”

Thus you see the full extent and intent of the text, insomuch as never to this day can be found an adequate fulfilment thereof; and therefore it waits for its turn to be performed by our God that cannot lie." Others, the stream of whose opinion runs a contrary way, do nevertheless intimate this. For example, Dr. Mayer :-"I will turn to the people a pure

language, intimates the conversion of the Gentiles; but lest, “ when judgements should come upon all peoples by Nebuchad“ nezzar, they should despair of any such work to be wrought " among them, he saith,--My determination is to gather the

nations, to pour out mine indignation upon them ;-meaning, " that great destructions should before this pass through all "countries, &c. after which the conversion of the nations to the “ Gospel should follow.” Calvin and our new Annotations say, , that “ this prophecy is extended unto the time of the Gospel ; “when not only the Gentiles shall come into the Church, but

also the Jews shall return into their own country, that they

may make one body with the converted Gentiles." Observe how many parties are here mentioned, that must have a share in the fulfilling of this prophecy, when ever it be fulfilled : first,

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the Gentiles, (v. 9,) secondly, the two tribes called Judah, expressed in the words, Zion and Jerusalem, (vv. 14, 16,) thirdly, the ten tribes, called by their name Israel, (v. 14.) Observe also the things to be shared among those parties : conversion to the true God, congregating of them into a christian church, and destruction of all that hate them, as you have heard. Now when did all these parties jointly share in all the mercies here promised ? Certainly not at the return from Babylon, as will be very evident from the holiness described in verses 9 and 13, compared with the pollution and abomination charged on some of them, in Ezra ii, 62 ; Neh. vii, 64 ; xiii, 3. Observe, all these must, at the great time of fulfilling them, be extant at once; for though in the discuss I distinguished them into parts, according to their nature and sense, yet the prophet, according to place and order of sentences, did interweave and windingly wreathe them one within another ; to the intent that no man might separate what God had joined together, but might behold them as a goodly coin, which, though there be a distinction of the parts of the impressions on it, makes but one image of Cæsar. All those parts are but the several sculptures of one and the same entire character of that glorious period of the Church, yet to come on earth : for hitherto the said three parties never enjoyed the afore-mentioned three parts together, but generally speaking they have been visibly, to the eye of the whole world, under a contrary condition. For, observe, the high expressions the God of truth gives forth touching the glory of the state, to be enjoyed by the said parties at the time when this prophecy shall be fulfilled ; viz. that the peoples, or Gentiles shall have pure lips, wherewith to call upon the name of the Lord, as it is in verse 9. That Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies, nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth, verse 13. That they of Zion and Jerusalem, and Israel, shall be glad, and rejoice with all their heart, verse 14; for it follows, (vv. 15, 16, 17, the Lord shall so take away their judgements, and cast down their enemies,—and, instead of them, he himself, as king, will be so in the midst of them,—that they shall not see evil any more, nor shall their hearts fear, nor their hands faint.

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