Zechariah 8* The restoration of Jerusalem. (1-8) The people encouraged bypromises of God's favour, and exhorted to holiness. (9-17) TheJews in the latter days. (18-23)1-8 The sins of Zion were her worst enemies. God will take awayher sins, and then no other enemies shall hurt her. Those whoprofess religion must adorn their profession by godliness andhonesty. When become a city of truth and a mountain of holiness,Jerusalem is peaceable and prosperous. Verses #4,5|, beautifullydescribe a state of great outward peace, attended with plenty,temperance, and contentment. The scattered Israelites shall bebrought together from all parts. God will never leave norforsake them in a way of mercy, for this he has promised them;and they shall never leave nor forsake him in a way of duty, asthey have promised him. These promises were partly fulfilled inthe Jewish church, betwixt the captivity and the time ofChrist's coming; and they had fuller accomplishment in thegospel church; but the full import must be as to the futuretimes of the Christian church, or the future restoration of theJews. With men this is impossible, but with God all things arepossible; so far are God's thoughts and ways above ours. In thepresent low state of vital godliness, we can hardly conceivethat so complete a change can be made; but a change thusextensive and glorious, can be brought to pass by the almightypower of the new-creating Spirit, in less time than he waspleased to employ in creating the world. Let the hands of allwho labour in the cause of the gospel be strong, serving theLord in true holiness, assured that their labour shall not be invain. 9-17 Those only who lay their hands to the plough of duty,shall have them strengthened with the promises of mercy: thosewho avoid their fathers' faults have the curse turned into ablessing. Those who believed the promises, were to show theirfaith by their works, and to wait the fulfilment. When God isdispleased, he can cause trade to decay, and set every managainst his neighbour; but when he returns in mercy, all ishappy and prosperous. Surely believers in Christ must not triflewith the exhortation to put away lying, and to speak every manpeace with his neighbour, to hate what the Lord hates, and tolove that wherein he delights. 18-23 When God comes towards us in ways of mercy, we must meethim with joy and thankfulness. Therefore be faithful and honestin all your dealings; and let it be a pleasure to you to be so,though thereby you come short of the gains others getdishonestly; and, as much as in you lies, live peaceably withall men. Let the truths of God rule in your heads, and let thepeace of God rule in your hearts. Thus the ancient servants ofGod drew the notice of heathen neighbours, whose prejudices weresoftened. A great increase to the church shall be made. Hithertothe Jews had been prone to learn the idolatries of othernations: what more unlikely than that they should teach religionto their conquerors, and to all the principal nations of theearth! Yet this is expressly foretold, and it came to pass.Hitherto the prophecy has been wonderfully fulfilled, and nodoubt future events will explain it further. It is good to bewith those who have God with them; if we take God for our God,we must take his people for our people, and be willing to takeour lot with them. But let not any one think that mere zeal,either for Jews or Gentiles, will stand in the place of personalreligion. Let us be living epistles of Christ, known and read ofall men, so that others may wish to go with us, and to havetheir portion with us in the realms of bliss.
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