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I cannot reverse it. He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel.” Their history presents a continued series of iniquities and perversenesses, but their transgressions were forgiven, their sins were covered. “The Lord their God is with them, and the shout (the joyful sound) of a King is among them. Happy art thou, O Israel! who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and the sword of thy excellency.”
Of their character and conduct among men, we read, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful: but his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, and he shall be blessed upon the earth.
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. In keeping the commandments of God, there is great reward. If we know these things, happy are we if we do them.
If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God; and whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things which are pleasing in his sight.”
Of their individual feelings and dispositions and tempers, we read,
“ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek: the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Blessed are the merciful: the pure in heart: the peace-makers. Happy is the man that feareth always; that trusteth in the Lord; and whose strength the Lord is. Blessed are all they that wait upon the Lord, they shall renew their strength: they shall mount
up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. They shall live, not by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord, and all necessary temporal things shall be added unto them. When they seek water and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs
of water. They shall drink, yea drink abundantly and be satisfied; and the water that I shall give them shall be in them a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Concerning their trials and sufferings, we read, “
“ Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord! and teachest him out of thy law. It is good for me that I have been afflicted. Before I was afflicted, I went astray; but now have I kept thy word. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Ye greatly rejoice though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye: for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. Blessed are ye when men shall hate you,
, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day and leap for joy:
for behold, your reward is great in heaven. And when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, thus shall he speak: Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
Well may the redeemed of the Lord, therefore, in all ages and nations, appropriate the apostolical thanksgiving, " Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; having chosen, adopted, accepted, and redeemed us in him, according to the riches of his grace!" These are the glad tidings of great joy, which in the boundless mercy of Almighty God have been proclaimed to fallen sinners: and blessed, thrice blessed is the people that know the joyful sound.
I. This expression of our text, appears to be borrowed from the institution of the Jubilee, of which we read in the book of Leviticus; and which contained a beautiful and expressive type of the Gospel of Christ. “The Lord spake unto Moses saying, speak unto the children of Israel and say unto them. Thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, and the space
of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound,
ye shall hallow the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto
ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family."
Thus the poor Israelite who had fallen into poverty, sold his possessions and contracted debts which he could not pay, was, on the sounding of the trumpet of the jubilee, restored freely to all the forfeited privileges of citizenship. This trumpet blown on the day of atonement, sent a joyful sound through the land of Israel: apt emblem of the Gospel proclamation, declaring the great atonement of the Lamb of God, in virtue of which, the true Israelite is freely forgiven a load of debt which he had in himself no possibility of paying, and freely invested with an unspeakable fulness of possession.
In the manner of its institution also, the jubilee resembled the Gospel. It was not an invention of man in whole or in part, but the direct appointment of God. The Lord spake
. unto Moses, saying, &c. And the Gospel is not of man or by man, neither receiveth it assistance from man in any stage or in any the smallest degree; but it is the purpose, power, and wisdom of God exclusively unto salvation to every one that believeth.