Ezra 1** The history of this book is the accomplishment of Jeremiah'sprophecy concerning the return of the Jews out of Babylon. Fromits contents we especially learn, that every good work will meetwith opposition from enemies, and be hurt by the misconduct offriends; but that God will make his cause to prevail,notwithstanding all obstacles and adversaries. The restorationof the Jews was an event of the highest consequence, tending topreserve religion in the world, and preparing the way for theappearance of the Great Deliverer, the Lord Jesus Christ. * The proclamation of Cyrus for the rebuilding of the temple.(1-4) The people provide for their return. (5-11)1-4 The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus. The hearts ofkings are in the hand of the Lord. God governs the world by hisinfluence on the spirits of men; whatever good they do, Godstirs up their spirits to do it. It was during the captivity ofthe Jews, that God principally employed them as the means ofcalling the attention of the heathen to him. Cyrus took it forgranted, that those among the Jews who were able, would offerfree-will offerings for the house of God. He would also havethem supplied out of his kingdom. Well-wishers to the templeshould be well-doers for it. 5-11 The same God that raised up the spirit of Cyrus toproclaim liberty to the Jews, raised up their spirits to takethe benefit. The temptation was to some to stay in Babylon; butsome feared not to return, and they were those whose spirits Godraised, by his Spirit and grace. Whatever good we do, is owingto the grace of God. Our spirits naturally bow down to thisearth and the things of it; if they move upward in any goodaffections or good actions, it is God who raises them. The callsand offers of the gospel are like the proclamation of Cyrus.Those bound under the power of sin, may be made free by JesusChrist. Whosoever will, by repentance and faith, return to God,Jesus Christ has opened the way for him, and raises him out ofthe slavery of sin into the glorious liberty of the children ofGod. Many that hear this joyful sound, choose to sit still inBabylon, are in love with their sins, and will not venture upona holy life; but some break through all discouragements,whatever it cost them; they are those whose spirit God hasraised above the world and the flesh, whom he has made willing.Thus will the heavenly Canaan be filled, though many perish inBabylon; and the gospel offer will not have been made in vain.The bringing back the Jews from captivity, represents theredemption of sinners by Jesus Christ.
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