King's Business - 1912-01

written in " t he Lamb's book of life" (Ex. 32:32; Rev. 20:15). (2) The friends would name him a f t er his father, and fathers should preserve a name better "than great riches" (Pro. 22:1) to pass on to their boys, but the heavenly F a t h er reserved the right to name this one "John," as the angel had said (v. 13), and his mother insisted. (3) They appealed to Zacharias by signs, for he was deaf a nd dumb (vv. 20, 62), and he wrote on a tablet "John," "the Grace-of-Je- hovah." Then (6) t he dumb spoke. The reality hadi ocme and the sign ceased: as he laid down his pen he found his tongue and "praised God." There is no better use for a tongue, first a nd last, t h an that. The Rabbig said t h at there were seraphim cre- ated to u t t er one word of praise before the Throne and perish. B ut we believe God's creatures are all made to praise H im and they t h at praise H im shall never perish. Thank God for a tongue to thank Him. (7) And "fear came on all." Such super- natural portents filled them with awe, and wonderment, and they "noised" it abroad, laid it up in h e a rt to ponder on, saying, "What manner of child shall this be?" And these wonders came to pass for t h at very purpose, to prepare the people to hear the Messenger. But every child is a miracle and a mystery, with an unwritten history. Wh a t t h at shall be his p a r e n ts and teachers, the church and the state, should consider deeply, for they are much concerned in the m a t t e r; and have much to .do with "what manner" of man ior woman It shall be. (8) Happily for this child, "The hand of the Lord was with him" (v. 66). II. THE BENEDICTUS. 1. We tooted in our last the long lonely ages without an "angel visit." So there were silent centuries during which no prophetic voice was heard. B ut Jesus was coming, and now ,/the dumb tongue of Inspiration, like t h at of Zacharias, began to sing. The hills of J u d ea were full of music, and r a ng with the . strains of the Magnificat, the Be- atitude, the Benedlctus, the Nunc Dimmitls, and the Gloria in Excelsis; as Mary, Elisa- beth, Zacharias, Simeon, and the chorus of angels pour forth their glad new songs'. And though n ow the blind and dumb years roll on and on the angels shall come again and the Voice, of the Beloved shall be heard (So. So. 2:8) and o ur eyes shall see and hear better and sweeter things t h an our fathers. 2. "And Zacharias, filled with the .Holy Ghost prophesied." Zacharias was no longer dumb. , He opened his mouth and God filled it (Psa. 8:10). He w a s the organ and t he Holy Spirit w as the b r e a th of it. B ut t h at breath is living, intelligent, and sovereign. The a n t h em was of g r e at doctrines of sal- vation, and of things to come, all beyond the ken of mortal man, and Zacharias, as a holy man of God, spake as he was moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Pet. 1:21), thus add- ing to t h at Scripture which is "inspired of God and profitable" (2 Tim. 3:15). 3. The structure of the song. The words of Zach- arias are poetic and a re so printed in the R. V. Critics divide t h em into four verses, or "strophies." Lofty thought t h at stirs the deeps of our n a t u re and passion are best and naturally, expressed in me a s u re and rhythm. Much of the prophets is in verse as* the R. V. makes clear to us. 4. The burden of the song. (1) The singer was versed in the kingdom of God and brought out of the treasury "things new and old" (Matt. 13:52). Follow the marginal refer- ences a nd see how full of the old this n ew song is. (2) "Blessed-God" true prophecy always glorifies God. His name, His prom- ise, H is mercy, a re the theme of the song

eternal and universal. (3) "He hath visited and redeemed." " H e hath visited," by His angel, the birth of\ John, the gift of prophecy. " He hath redeemed," these ear- nests of approaching redemption led faith, like its Author, to speak of "those things which be not as though they were" (Rom. 4:17). (4) "Raised up a horn (power) of salvation." (For "horn" see Dan. 7:7, 8; 8:3, 5; II Sam. 8:1, 10; 2 Sam. 22:3). (5) "of David." Jesus, the Son of David," was not y et born, b ut Zacharias k n ew the story of Mary and of Gabriel's visit to her (vv. 39-45). This was a reference to "the sure mercies of David" (Isa. 55:3); and ac- cording to the Davidic Covenant in 2 Sam. 7:12-17; of which t h at great king s a ng him- self with so (much confidence, in Psa. 89:34- 36; and which w as renewed to Mary, a prin- cess of the House of David, by the Angel of the Annunciation (vv. 31-33). Of which the prophets had often spoken (Jer. 23:5; 33:15, 26;t Ezek. 34:24; 37:24, 25; Hos. 3:5; Amos 9:11; Zech. 12:8; 13:1), and so ancient- ly, "since the world began" (Gen. 3:15; 49: 10; Deut. 18:15; Num. 24:17). (6) This sal- vation so early and so often, and so fully proclaimed, w as all sealed by solemn oath, "that we might have a sure consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us (Heb. 6:18). Little is made of this oath of God of which so much is ma de by the Scriptures. Amo ng men an oath is t he end of controversy (Heb. 6:16) and God's oath should settle forever beyond dispute t h at God Will fulfill to Ab r a h am and his seed all He has promised concerning the land, a nd the people, the throne and the Kingdom, the blessing and the being blest. (See Gen. 22:16; 15:8-17, where the oath was ratified by a solemn sacrifice; Psa. 89: 35-37, where the stability of the heavens is taken to witness; Acts 2:30; 7:17; Heb. 6:13, 16; <7:21). (7) The contents of the oath, a. It is all of grace, "He would grant us," this was "that the promise might be sure to all the seed" (Rom. 4:16), since its blessing did not depend on their works and ability, b. Deliverance from enemies. F r om the Romans, and f r om Herod; but more from Satan, the great enemy of us all (Rev. 12: 9, 10); a nd from sin (Rom. 11:26; Jer. 31:34). In order t h at they "might serve the Lord. H pw happy they were when free f r om op- pression—they served God in the holy ser- vice a nd festival (2 Chron. 30:21-27). No imagination is more beautiful than the pic- ture of t h at "happy people whose God Is the Lord," on whom the heavens smile, and round whom the fertile and blooming land rejoices, d. "Holiness and righteousness." It is for these ends t h at God delivers us from our enemies, from Satan a nd sin, from sorrow and death, t h at we should serve H i m; t h at we should be holy; t h at we should be just a nd deal justly, e. "All the days (of our life," t h at is, forever, for amo ng the enemies to be destroyed is Death (1 Cor. 15:53-58), and we "shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever" (Psa. 23:6). (8) Apostrophe to John. a. "Prophet of the Most High" Jesus a f t e r w a rd said, "More than a prophet" (Matt. 11:9). H ow great He mu st be Who was heralded by so g r e at a prophet! The Lord Jesus is the MOST HIGH, for John was His prophet, b. "To prepare His ways." By giving "knowledge of salvation," i. e., t h at it was at h a nd (Matt. 3:2), t h a i it was in Jesus (Jno. 1:29), t h at it demanded repentance (Matt. 3:2), a practical repentance (Luke 3:10-14), t h at there was w r a th to come for the impeni- t e nt (Luke 3:7), t h at all hindrances of sin unconfeSsed and unforsaken mu st be got out of the way (Matt. 3:6; L u ke 3:9). o. Salva- tion (a) "through the tender mercies of our

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