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priests imagined that the reverse which they now lamented in the prosecution of their dark undertaking was repaired, and that the cause of Jesus was at length overthrown and prostrate,—when the cry, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” “Blessed be the king of Israel,” was exchanged for the murderous shout, “Crucify him, Crucify him," “ Not this man but Barabbas !"-when he who now rode forth with the honours of a monarch, and the applauses of a conqueror, was hanging on the accursed tree, dying the ghastly death of a felon and a slave. Vain boast and premature ! For soon again they found that he whose power they thought they had for ever crushed into the dust of a dishonoured grave, had, through that very act, been elevated to a seat of might and majesty where “all power was given to him in "heaven and in earth,"—that the cause which they imagined they had overwhelmed with final and complete discomfiture, had drawn from what they reckoned the exterminating blow a fresh vitality and vigour,—that it was a cause which could neither be destroyed nor checked, and before whose resistless march all the individuals, and the nations, and the hosts of being that set themselves in opposition, must finally be trampled down in utter and irreparable ruin. O that all those who are, either in their secret hearts or in their open conduct, the adversaries of Christ and Christianity, might be persuaded to bethink themselves in time that, persevering in their present course of thought, of feeling, of endeavour, they must one day, in the bitterness of their disappointed enmity, upbraid each other like those baffled Pharisees,“ Perceive ye how ye have prevailed nothing ?" or, with the apostate emperor, compelled by strong necessity, confess, “ Thou hast conquered, Galilean !” O happy they,--only happy and only safe, whose individual interests and desires are so bound up with the progress and the triumph of the Saviour's cause, that, with all the sympathies of their hearts, they can rejoice in the contemplation of its progress and the assurance of its triumph, and that, when the King of Zion rideth forth in mercy or in judgment, as when he came to Jerusalem in the garb and equipage of a pacific royalty, or else as "he who saw the Apocalypse ” beheld him,-seated on his white horse, and followed by the armies of heaven, while, with his vesture dipt in blood, “he went forth conquering and to conquer," they can exclaim, with the loudest accents of their exulting voice, “ Hosanna: Blessed be the king of Israel !"_“Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most Mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty: And in thy majesty ride prosperously, because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.”—“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.”—“The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion : rule thou in the midst of thine enemies !"
EZEKIEL, üi. 16, 17.—“ The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man,
I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from
THESE words contain a message from Jehovah to his Prophet explaining the relation in which, by the appointment of the former, the latter stood to the children of Israel, and the duty which he was expected to perform on their behalf. The office of the Prophet in ancient times was twofold,- partly to predict, and partly to instruct, in the name of God, to announce, on the one hand, the divine revelations which concerned events of the future, and to inculcate, on the other, those which related to the duties of the present. It is in denoting the public proclamation of religious truth and duty that the term “ prophecy” is generally used in the New Testament,
* This and the following Discourse,-
both of which are on the subject of the Christian Ministry,-indicate themselves to have been preached, the one at the introduction of a friend to a ministerial charge, and the other at the opening of the Synod of Lothian and Tweeddale.-ED. VOL. II.
and very frequently in the Old ; and it is as a prophet in this sense that Ezekiel receives the intimation here recorded. For it appears from the following context, as well as from the thirty-third chapter, which contains a similar oracle expanded into much greater detail, that the revelation to which the text is prefixed refers, not to the dispensations of God's providence in future time, but to the principles of his government in all time,--the requisitions and the sanctions of his eternal law. The description of the text, accordingly, applying as it does to Ezekiel, not as sustaining the extraordinary function of a divinely-inspired seer into futurity, but as bearing the more ordinary character of a divinelycommissioned teacher of righteousness, is equally applicable to all who share the latter character along with him, and therefore to those who hold the sacred office of the gospel-ministry. Hence, we find the very same description here given of the prophetic office in the Jewish nation, and in the New Testament, of the character and duty of faithful office-bearers in the Christian Church :-"Obey them that have the rule over you; for they watch for your souls as they that must give account."
But what is the particular duty which the representations of the text describe as incumbent on a Christian minister in relation to his people ? From the passage in the thirty-third chapter where the figure of the text is illustrated at large, it appears that the watchman to whom he is compared is one of that particular description who, in a time of war and threatened invasion, is appointed to observe the symptoms of an enemy's approach, and give timely notice to the endangered land and city to provide for its own security :-"Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman : if, when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people ; then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning ; if the sword come and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning ; his blood shall be upon him : but he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned ; if the sword come and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel ; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity ; but his blood will I require at thine