Ezra 3* The altar and festivals. (1-7) The foundations of the templelaid. (8-13)1-7 From the proceedings of the Jews on their arrival, let uslearn to begin with God, and to do what we can in the worship ofGod, when we cannot do what we would. They could not at oncehave a temple, but they would not be without an altar. Fear ofdanger should stir us to our duty. Have we many enemies? Then itis good to have God our Friend, and to keep up communion withhim. Our fears should drive us to our knees. The sacrifices forall these solemnities were a heavy expense for so poor acompany; yet besides those expressly appointed, many broughtfree-will offerings to the Lord. And they made preparation forthe building of the temple without delay: whatever God calls usto do, we may depend upon his providence to furnish us with theneedful means. 8-13 There was a remarkable mixture of affections upon layingthe foundation of the temple. Those that only knew the misery ofhaving no temple at all, praised the Lord with shouts of joy. Tothem, even this foundation seemed great. We ought to be thankfulfor the beginnings of mercy, though it be not yet perfect. Butthose who remembered the glory of the first temple, andconsidered how far inferior this was likely to be, wept with aloud voice. There was reason for it, and if they bewailed thesin that was the cause of this melancholy change, they did well.Yet it was wrong to cast a damp upon the common joys. Theydespised the day of small things, and were unthankful for thegood they enjoyed. Let not the remembrance of former afflictionsdrown the sense of present mercies.
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