Ezra 3

* The altar and festivals. (1-7) The foundations of the temple

laid. (8-13)

1-7 From the proceedings of the Jews on their arrival, let us

learn to begin with God, and to do what we can in the worship of

God, when we cannot do what we would. They could not at once

have a temple, but they would not be without an altar. Fear of

danger should stir us to our duty. Have we many enemies? Then it

is good to have God our Friend, and to keep up communion with

him. Our fears should drive us to our knees. The sacrifices for

all these solemnities were a heavy expense for so poor a

company; yet besides those expressly appointed, many brought

free-will offerings to the Lord. And they made preparation for

the building of the temple without delay: whatever God calls us

to do, we may depend upon his providence to furnish us with the

needful means.
8-13 There was a remarkable mixture of affections upon laying

the foundation of the temple. Those that only knew the misery of

having no temple at all, praised the Lord with shouts of joy. To

them, even this foundation seemed great. We ought to be thankful

for the beginnings of mercy, though it be not yet perfect. But

those who remembered the glory of the first temple, and

considered how far inferior this was likely to be, wept with a

loud voice. There was reason for it, and if they bewailed the

sin that was the cause of this melancholy change, they did well.

Yet it was wrong to cast a damp upon the common joys. They

despised the day of small things, and were unthankful for the

good they enjoyed. Let not the remembrance of former afflictions

drown the sense of present mercies.

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