Ezekiel 1** Ezekiel was one of the priests; he was carried captive toChaldea with Jehoiachin. All his prophecies appear to have beendelivered in that country, at some place north of Babylon. Theirchief object appears to have been to comfort his brethren incaptivity. He is directed to warn of the dreadful calamitiescoming upon Judea, particularly upon the false prophets, and theneighbouring nations. Also to announce the future restoration ofIsrael and Judah from their several dispersions, and their happystate in their latter days, under the Messiah. Much of Christwill be found in this book, especially in the conclusion. * Ezekiel's vision of God, and of the angelic host. (1-14) Theconduct of Divine Providence. (15-25) A revelation of the Son ofman upon his heavenly throne. (26-28)1-14 It is a mercy to have the word of God brought to us, and aduty to attend to it diligently, when we are in affliction. Thevoice of God came in the fulness of light and power, by the HolySpirit. These visions seem to have been sent to possess theprophet's mind with great and high thoughts of God. To striketerror upon sinners. To speak comfort to those that feared God,and humbled themselves. In ver. #4-14|, is the first part of thevision, which represents God as attended and served by a vastcompany of angels, who are all his messengers, his ministers,doing his commandments. This vision would impress the mind withsolemn awe and fear of the Divine displeasure, yet raiseexpectations of blessings. The fire is surrounded with a glory.Though we cannot by searching find out God to perfection, yet wesee the brightness round about it. The likeness of the livingcreatures came out of the midst of the fire; angels derive theirbeing and power from God. They have the understanding of a man,and far more. A lion excels in strength and boldness. An oxexcels in diligence and patience, and unwearied discharge of thework he has to do. An eagle excels in quickness and piercingsight, and in soaring high; and the angels, who excel man in allthese respects, put on these appearances. The angels have wings;and whatever business God sends them upon, they lose no time.They stood straight, and firm, and steady. They had not onlywings for motion, but hands for action. Many persons are quick,who are not active; they hurry about, but do nothing to purpose;they have wings, but no hands. But wherever the angels' wingscarried them, they carried hands with them, to be doing whatduty required. Whatever service they went about, they went everyone straight forward. When we go straight, we go forward; whenwe serve God with one heart, we perform work. They turned notwhen they went. They made no mistakes; and their work needed notto be gone over again. They turned not from their business totrifle with any thing. They went whithersoever the Spirit of Godwould have them go. The prophet saw these living creatures bytheir own light, for their appearance was like burning coals offire; they are seraphim, or "burners;" denoting the ardour oftheir love to God, and fervent zeal in his service. We may learnprofitable lessons from subjects we cannot fully enter into orunderstand. But let us attend to the things which relate to ourpeace and duty, and leave secret things to the Lord, to whomalone they belong. 15-25 Providence, represented by the wheels, produces changes.Sometimes one spoke of the wheel is uppermost, sometimesanother; but the motion of the wheel on its own axletree isregular and steady. We need not despond in adversity; the wheelsare turning round and will raise us in due time, while those whopresume in prosperity know not how soon they may be cast down.The wheel is near the living creatures; the angels are employedas ministers of God's providence. The spirit of the livingcreatures was in the wheels; the same wisdom, power, andholiness of God, that guide and govern the angels, by them orderall events in this lower world. The wheel had four faces,denoting that the providence of God exerts itself in all parts.Look every way upon the wheel of providence, it has a facetoward you. Their appearance and work were as a wheel in themiddle of a wheel. The disposals of Providence seem to us dark,perplexed, and unaccountable, yet are all wisely ordered for thebest. The motion of these wheels was steady, regular, andconstant. They went as the Spirit directed, therefore returnednot. We should not have to undo that by repentance which we havedone amiss, if we followed the guidance of the Spirit. Therings, or rims of the wheels were so vast, that when put inmotion the prophet was afraid to look upon them. Theconsideration of the height and depth of God's counsel shouldawe us. They were full of eyes round about. The motions ofProvidence are all directed by infinite Wisdom. All events aredetermined by the eyes of the Lord, which are in every placebeholding the evil and the good; for there is no such thing aschance or fortune. The firmament above was a crystal, glorious,but terribly so. That which we take to be a dark cloud, is toGod clear as crystal, through which he looks upon all theinhabitants of the earth. When the angels had roused a carelessworld, they let down their wings, that God's voice might beplainly heard. The voice of Providence is to open men's ears tothe voice of the word. Sounds on earth should awaken ourattention to the voice from heaven; for how shall we escape, ifwe turn away from Him that speaks from thence. 26-28 The eternal Son, the second Person in the Trinity, whoafterwards took the human nature, is here denoted. The firstthing observed was a throne. It is a throne of glory, a throneof grace, a throne of triumph, a throne of government, a throneof judgment. It is good news to men, that the throne above thefirmament is filled with One who appears, even there, in thelikeness of a man. The throne is surrounded with a rainbow, thewell-known emblem of the covenant, representing God's mercy andcovenanted love to his people. The fire of God's wrath wasbreaking out against Jerusalem, but bounds should be set to it;he would look upon the bow, and remember the covenant. All theprophet saw was only to prepare him for what he was to hear.When he fell on his face, he heard the voice of One that spake.God delights to teach the humble. Let sinners, then, humblethemselves before him. And let believers think upon his glory,that they may be gradually changed into his image by the Spiritof the Lord.
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