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Kings shall fall down before Him,
And gold and incense bring; All nations shall adore Him,
His praise all people sing: For He shall have dominion O'er river, sea, and shore, Far as the eagle's pinion
Or dove's light wing can soar.
For Him shall prayer unceasing,
His kingdom still increasing,
A kingdom without end.
The mountain dews shall nourish
A seed in weakness sown, Whose fruit shall spread and flourish, And shake like Lebanon.
O'er every foe victorious,
He on His throne shall rest;
All blessing and all blest.
THE EFFECT OF DISOBEDIENCE ON THOSE WHO NEGLECT RELIGIOUS WORSHIP IN THE AGE TO COME.
FTER all we have said relative to the excellence and felicity of the age to come; no one at all acquainted with the prophetic Scriptures can expect perfection even then. For nothing is more evident than that, though acts of violence, and perhaps all that results from excited passion, will be suppressed by the Holy Ghost's power; yet, as "that which is born of the flesh" will still be flesh, and will have all its selfindulgent tendencies, though not excited by Satanic influence, so sins of omission will be conspicuous where sins of commission are not visible. And among the sins of commission will be, in the case of some, an occasional neglect of the means of grace in Sabbath observance, and religious worship; but this will be followed by disciplinary judgments.1
In Zech. xiv. 17, 18, we read:-"And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain, there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to
1 "The Second Advent," Rev. J. Bennett, p. 151.
keep the Feast of Tabernacles." Now by reference to ver. 16 it will be seen that this dereliction refers only to the Feast of Tabernacles, which is the grand festival of the age to come, and upon the due observance of which God attaches such importance, that in each and every case of its non-observance a temporal judgment will be inflicted; not upon Israel only, but "upon all nations." "Upon them shall be no rain"! a calamity indeed to a pastoral people, and in what we might, perhaps, call a pastoral age! But the warning is given, and this premonition will leave the people of that time altogether without excuse.
Nor should it be forgotten that the people of the age to come will be under a new covenant (Jer. xxxi. 31), on the fulfilment of the conditions of which much blessing depends. But then, as God gives to all who are under this new covenant a spirit and disposition to regard these conditions, and discharge the obligations, upon the fulfilment of which certain temporal blessings are contingent, they are left without excuse; for "no tempting devil," no extraneous influences can seduce them to such dereliction: therefore, "on such there shall be no rain," if they walk in the way of selfindulgent disobedience."
Nor need this apparently peculiar kind of moral government create any great astonishment; for even now, though not, perhaps, so uniformly, God acts in His providence in a similar way. For while God often rewards the pious and trustful husbandman who
1 "Palestine Re-peopled," Rev. J. Neil, p. 129. 2 Third series of "Aids to Prophetic Enquiry," B. W. Newton, p. 231.
"fears God and keeps His commandments," with a bountiful harvest, fruitful fields, and plentiful crops; yet He not less often inflicts some temporal judgments on those who "fear not God," and live in defiant rebellion of His will and laws; or, being His professing people, either through avarice and cupidity, or worldliness and self-indulgence, neglect the means of grace, and forsake the assembling of themselves together in order to "add house to house and field to field ""to buy, sell, and get gain."
And, perhaps, this is the case much more often even now than we discover. For though we cannot always trace the reverses and adversities which we see in others, and experience in ourselves, to any particular dereliction or transgression, yet there may be a connection, even where we do not discover it.
But, in the age to come, this will be the normal procedure of God. Then God will not fail to inflict "a just recompense or reward" upon every daring delinquent who neglects, except through personal or relative affliction, or "circumstances over which he has no control," to pay due regard to the observance of the great Feast of Tabernacles:—
"From all that dwell below the skies
Eternal are Thy mercies, Lord;
Eternal truth attends Thy word:
Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore,
Possibly, also, we may be right in deducing from this a general principle of divine procedure-viz., that God will require that those who are privileged to live in that pacific age, when each "shall sit under his own vine and fig-tree, none daring to make him afraid," a due and punctual observance of all His rites and ordinances without fail, and according to His Word.
We infer this from Isa. lvi. 4: "Thus saith the Lord to the eunuchs that keep My Sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and take hold of My covenant —even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer," etc. Here the time is Millennial.
Again, in Ezek. xliv. 24, we read, where the reference is to the worship in the Millennial temple: "And they shall keep My laws and statutes in all Mine assemblies; and they shall hallow My Sabbaths." And again, in Ezek. xlvi. 3, we read: "Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the doors of this gate before the Lord, in the Sabbaths, and in the new moons," etc.
But we infer that, though this dereliction will be possible, and perhaps occasional, yet that as "the people will be all righteous" (Isa. lx. 21, 22), "He will strengthen them in the Lord; and they shall walk up and down in His name (Zech. x. 12): this failure, however, will be of rare occurrence; for "all the ends of the earth shall fear Him":
"Oh, Thou whose sceptre earth and seas obey,
And skies, and stars, and suns, confess Thy sway,