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manner in the motions of a monkey, as in the "conges” of a French dancing master. It was the dance that murdered the great forerunner of the Christian faith, and led an infatuated Herod to behead “ John the Baptist.” Its virtues are few; its seductions and vices many. A creature of inquity in its origin, it still walks abroad, and with its mazy “waltz" and voluptuous "gallopade,” conducts its deluded votaries far within the fatal precincts of sin and folly. If they do not all become willing victims to the crime of “ David" and the “Corinthian,” it is because of the mercy and preventing grace of God.
A question arises out of these premises which we shall not discuss, but simply propound, leaving the answer with those who are involved. Can a Christian, no matter what may be his peculiar creed, if he be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, can he, within the pale of his privilege or his safety, justify himself in being a patron of any of these things; or visiting any of these places. And does he not compromise both his honor as a man and his integrity as a Christian in their indulgence, either on his own behalf, or theirs over whom he may hold rule ? An angel of heaven, in the midst of hell, joining with devils in their “dance around the pit of Acheron," and mingling his voice with theirs in loud exultations over the fall and ruin of the damned, would hardly be more out of place, or be guilty of a greater indiscretion, than a member of the church of God at a theatre, a profane concert, a circus, or a dance house.
By the Rev. T. V. MOORE, Richmond, Va.
(CONTINUED FROM P. 136.)
Vision IV. Ch. 3.
Joshua the High Priest before the angel of Jehovah.
1. And he showed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel 2. of JEHOVAH, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And JEHOVAH said to Satan.
JEHOVAH rebuke thee O Satan!
Is not this a brand plucked from the fire ? 3. And Joshua was clothed in filthy garments and stood before the angel. 4. And he answered and spake to those who stood before him, saying,
Take the filthy garments away from him; and he said to him, (Joshua)
Behold I take away from thee thy sins, and they shall clothe thee 5. with festal garments. Then I said, let them place a clean tiara upon
his head; and they placed a clean tiara upon his head, and they put
garments upon him, and the angel of JEHOVAH was (still) standing 6. (there.) And the angel of JEHOVAH answered to Joshua, saying, 7. Thus saith JEHOVAH of hosts,
If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my laws,
And I will give thee guides among these that are standing here. 8. Hear, I beseech thee 0 Joshua, the high priest,
Thou and thy colleagues who sit before thee,
For behold I bring my servant, BRANCH.
Upon this one stone shall there be seven eyes,
And I will remove the sin of the land in one day. 10. Io that day, saith Jehovah of hosts,
Ye shall call every map to his neighbor,
This vision is of less obvious interpretation than the preceding, perhaps for the reason that its truth lies nearer the deepest throbbings of the human heart. A sense of sin, and a feeling of hopeless ill-desert, is one of the deepest emotions of a heart that has been touched by the Holy Spirit. It is the ever recurring state of the human heart, both individually and collectively, because it rests on the ever during relations that connect man and God. A sense of sin fairly awakened produces despair, if we are thrown back on the resources of reason. We cannot hope in God, for we tremble before his justice. Thus it was with the Jewish church at this time. They felt that they had sinned and hence had no ground in themselves to hope for God's favor. They knew that their priests had also been unfaithful, and hence they had no hope in them. Why then go forward with the temple, when both priest and people must defile rather than hallow its courts? Was it not presumption to expect that their labor would be accepted ? These were the suggestions of Satan to their hearts, to deter them from their work, suggestions with which the people of God are alas! too familiar to this day. God will not accept so vile and faithless a heart, so lame and mutilated a service as you render him, says the tempter, therefore you had better abandon it all, and enjoy sin at least if you cannot enjoy holiness. This brings us to the heart of the vision. It is designed to show the people of God, that their personal demerit is no ground for distrusting the mercy of God, for he receives them not because of their own righteousness, but that of another; and that at this particular period, the unworthiness of the priesthood was no reason for their destruction and the overthrow of the temple, as they were typical, and the end of their institution was not yet served. Such is the general purport of it.
The scene is laid in the temple. Joshua the high priest is seen standing before the Divine angel performing the functions of his office. He is not as some suppose arraigned for trial, with Satan as his accuser, but is standing in his official character to represent the people and the priesthood. He represents the people in his character as priest, and the priesthood in his character as high priest. This representative character must be carefully noted, as it contains the essence of the vision. He stands as the representative of the theocratic people, and the priestly order as then existing. But he is clothed in filthy garments, the common symbol of sin. Both people and priesthood feel that they are sinful and unworthy, and hence fear to hope for a blessing from a holy God on their labors. Satan then stands to accuse them in the person of their representative, representing thus these suggestions of the tempter to which we have alluded. “You are not fit to appear before God, and there is nothing in you that can be pleasing to him, therefore abandon his service, which you are only polluting, and act out your character in your conduct, by indulging openly in sin and rebellion."
Here then God gives his answer to the tempter. “Begone, false fiend! Blacken not the glorious gospel by such lying suggestions! It is not Jerusalem that chooses Jehovah, but Jehovah that chooses Jerusalem. It is not the burning brand that plucks the hand, but the hand that plucks it. Hence though Jerusalem, the people of God, whom Joshua represents, are all covered with sin as with a garment, I have chosen them in spite of this sin, not that they should continue in it, but that they should be freed from it."
Then to show that it was not their righteousnesss but another's that was the ground of their acceptance, and that it was not to encourage them in sin, but to remove it, the divine angel commanded v. 4, that these filthy garments (the symbol of sin,) should be removed, and festal robes, (the symbol of imputed righteousness,) should be put on him, thus setting forth the great and consoling doctrine of a gratuitous justification because of the merits of the Redeemer. This and this alone can comfort the heart of the penitent, whether a solitary monk, weeping and striving in the convent of Erfurth, or a desponding people brooding in discouragement over the ruins of Jerusalem.
Here then the prophet interposes, (v. 5,) to bring to view . the second main thought of the vision. The first had reference to Joshua representing the whole people, who are assured that God will not destroy them because of their unworthiness. But now for their more immediate comfort, to quell their fears as to the priesthood, the prophet desires a token to be given of the continuance and official purity of this order, and hence asks that a clean tiara or priestly mitre be placed on his head, to indicate that this purification was complete, both in its nature and in its extent. This was done, (v. 5,) whilst the angel of the Lord was standing there, to show his approval of, and interest in this process. Vs. 6, 7, show the conditions annexed to this forgiveness. It was a salvation from sin, not in it; and connected with obedience. This obedience then was connected with a promise of reward. This reward was judging God's house and guarding his courts, which included supreme authority in sacred things, such as was assigned to the priesthood. The last clause of the verse is worthy of special note. Mahalakeim,* means those who cause to go, who guide or lead, and as the allusion is to the angels who are standing by, it is a promise of angelic guidance and aid in the path of duty, such as we find elsewhere in both the Old and New Testament. The cheering encouragement of this, every trembling heart can understand.
V. 8, presents another reason for encouragement. The priesthood would not be destroyed because of its typical character. Anshee-mopheth, means, men of omen, men who shadow forth something future, (see Isa. 8: 18, 20:3:) in other words typical men, whose office foreshadows something to come. What this was is then declared, “my servant BRANCH." These are undoubted appellations of the Messiah. He is called “servant” in such passages as, Isa. 42:1, 49:3, 50: 10; Ezek. 34: 23, &c.; and Branch, in Jer. 23:5, 33: 15. This designation is given to him to indicate his original obscurity, and the gradual development of his character. The type then would continue until the coming of the anti-type, the order foretokening the Messiah would not cease until he
* It is the Chaldaic form of the Hiphil participle of Hälak.