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earth. A fiery stream shall issue and come forth before him; thousand thousands shall minister to him, ten thousand times ten thousand stand before him; the judgment shall sit, and the books be opened, and all people, nations, and languages shall serve him. And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Such was the sublime portrait God had shadowed dimly on the mighty canvass.
This Being, soon to be revealed in form, stood there already revealed in description, type, and shadow, and had stood for four hundred years since the voice of Malachi died away.
Yet, when he came into his own land, his own people received him not!
Wonderful contrast between the prophetic oracle and the popular expectation, yet not unaccountable, not unnatural.
The kingdom and the glory, earliest spoken of, oftenest repeated, in greatest prodigality of language, assumed a corresponding prominence in their desires. The humiliation breathed in after and between whiles, like some forgotten Eolian, pouring unbidden murmurings behind the full bursts of an orchestra. There was an underplaint of woe, but strange, wild, concealed, and so neglected.
Faith did not neglect it. Penitent piety, then as now, received the atonement. Impeni. tent masses similarly rejected it.
Consider also their circumstances. Let us stand in their stead. Oldest nation of the world, possessors of the only revelation of the true God, let us imagine our fathers were led, ages ago, by Jehovah, in visible majesty, to their present land, and exalted to unprecedented moral and civil dignity. Oppressed successively by the haughty Assyrian, Persian, and Greek, we have lived to see them go down to Sheol with the uncircumcised, where Pharaoh and his multitude are comforted over them. The scepter has departed from Judah, but not the lawgiver from between his feet. And though the house of David be like a tree cut down to the ground, yet we know that from his root a tender shoot must spring.
Still, our haughty spirits swelling with the dignity of a past career, we feel upon our soil the dark, advancing shadow of that Western power, dreadful, and terrible, and strong exceedingly, already subjecting us to, tribute, placing an Idumean on the throne of David, and threatening to trample under iron feet the remnant of our glory. Prophetic numbers indicate the era of deliv.
We look for our king. We demand, through him, immediate aggrandizement and ample vengeance. Messiah must lift the lionstandard of his tribe, gather the dispersed of Judah, the outcasts of Israel, and go forth to battle.
These visions of grandeur, cherished from infancy, sacred by faith, augmented by suffering, distil venom within our souls, quite exiling the contemplation of a sacrifice, a baptism of sorrow that must precede.
And now, to our thus prepared minds, the hour brings the Man, who, whatever he may propose in future, at present resolutely eschews every office we expect at his hands, and overwhelms our orthodoxy with incredible denunciations.
Can we fail to conceive the consequence ? Can we wonder at their conduct? Had we been stationed at the rolling in of such a great cycle of human destiny, might not we have done the same ? Must we not tremble to find ourselves, in imagination, prompt actors in every scene of hostility against the presumptuous aggressor upon all our cherished expectations ?
Ceasing, then, to reproach what we might have performed, let us seek, rather, calmly to comprehend, in its widest range, the posture of humanity, and proceed to lift the curtain from the drama.
MOUNTAINS OF JUDE A. It is the close of a day in June; the fierce heats of a tropical sun are past, and cool winds come gently, breathing odors from the western vales, which slope away toward the dim horizon line of the great sea. To the north, wild mountain ridges stretch forward, swelling in billows of dark verdure, interrupted by sunlit cliffs of dazzling white.
Southward, in a fertile vale, rise, amid embowering orchard, grove, vineyard, and garden, the antique walls of Hebron.
Upon our left, westward winds the Eleutheropolitan military road, and we descry thereon, just emerging from a distant defile, the purple cloaks, gleaming armor, and glancing spears of a Roman cohort, while the hoarse clangor of their brazen trumpets rises faintly on the breeze.
Beneath a huge oak, at a point commanding the entire landscape, we behold an aged pair. The tunic of the one, a venerable personage of
, threescore and ten apparently, is of dark purple, its ample folds confined by a silken girdle. His muslin trowsers are of brilliant whiteness, and around his shoulders floats the graceful fringed robe of silk. His lofty turban, by its richness, might seem to indicate the sacerdotal office of the wearer. Sandals, bound with leathern thongs, defend his feet from the flinty road.
Leaning against the oak, his hand extended, and his eye kindling as it rests upon the advancing soldiery, he seems uttering some prediction to the attentive matron at his feet.
“ Yea, daughter of Aaron, the day is at hand. Not long shall yonder heathen triumph insulting! An undefinable presentiment weighs upon my spirit. I go up to-morrow to the temple as never before. Forty years have bleached these locks since first I was consecrated to this holy service, and twice forty times have I stood to minister among the sons of Abia, but never before with that forecasting, earnest spirit that now fills my breast.”
“ Doth not the spirit of prophecy,” replies Elizabeth, "awake once more in Israel, to tell the coming of the latter day—the downfall of Idumean Herod ?"
“ The days of Herod," answers the priest, " full well I wot are numbered. From a child