Sermon 2764. The Cloud of Doves
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, FEBRUARY 2, 1902.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, OCTOBER 12, 1879.
"Who are these who fly as a cloud, and like doves to their roosts?" Isaiah 60:8.
WE believe that, in the latter days, according to the Word of God, men will flock to Christ and to His Church in far greaternumbers than they have ever done. At present, we have to go to them, but, by-and-by, they will come to us. Now we have tosearch them out, like lost sheep in a cloudy and dark day, but, in those days, they will feel a gracious drawing towards theirGod and His Church-and they will come in vast multitudes to worship with the people of God-yes, they will themselves becomethe people of God and bow down before the feet of Emmanuel, the Prince of peace! Why should it not be? Why should we not expectit and why should not the expectation greatly encourage us in laboring on through these weary years, being well assured thatthey that sow in tears shall one day reap in joy?
Yet, even at that time when, through the full preaching of the Gospel and the effectual working of the Holy Spirit, men shallcome flocking to Christ in troops, even in that hour the Church will be astonished at the result! She will lift up her hands,and say, "Who has begotten me these?" She will cry, in the words of our text, "Who are these who fly as a cloud, and likedoves to their roosts?" For, alas, God's people are often very unbelieving. We have seen something of this spirit even inour own time. There are certain good old Christian people who, if they see a convert added to the Church, now and then, arepleased and satisfied. But if there should be a score added in a month-if there were to be a hundred-they would hold up theirhands and say, "This cannot be the work of God! There are too many, it is all excitement!" And they would take counsel togetherand try to stop it. "Surely," they say, "it cannot be the work of God because it is so great."
Now my argument is that if we are to judge a work by its size, I should say that a little work was not the work of God. Mymethod of reasoning would be this-the greater the work, the more likely is it to be of God. I do not insist upon that alwaysbeing the case because God is in the least conversion-if there is but one, as much as in the conversion of thousands-but still,if a Brother begins to throw discredit upon a work in any place because large numbers are converted, I am ready to meet himand to prove that he is wrong! Pentecost was not the conversion of some one old woman in a chimney corner through readinga sermon-Pentecost was not the bringing in of one dear child of a deacon, one who had been in the Sunday school all his life-butPentecost was the conversion, then and there, of three thousand sinners of every sort, through the preaching of the Word ofthe Lord! And I expect that where God is especially manifested, and where He gives His Churches, Pentecosts, we shall havethousands born in a day, multitudes flocking to Christ as the doves to their roosts!
Let us begin to enlarge our expectations. Already, in this house, we have had the prophecy fulfilled on a small scale. Seehow, these many years, the multitudes have pressed and thronged to listen to the Gospel! What other attractions have we had?We have not even that wonderful box of music with which men praise God with wind-we have nothing but the most plain possiblesinging. I am certain that the crowds do not come to hear that and, as for the preaching, I have purposely laid aside allthe graces of oratory that I might have had-and tried to make my message as plain and simple as possible. One good man, whois going away from us, said to me, this morning, "I shall miss the plain preaching to which I have been accustomed. No doubtthere are some rich people who would like to have it put very finely, but, you see," he
said, "I have no education and I am glad you have preached so that I could understand you, because the other people can dothe same if they like." Yes, and they must, too, if they come here, for I will never get away from the simple preaching ofJesus Christ, as plain as I can make it! My one work is just to talk of Jesus Christ and of His blessed Gospel, as plainlyas I can. And is there anything like it, in all the world, to draw the multitudes, to hold the multitudes, to impress themultitudes? Yes, and to lead them to fly, like doves, to Jesus' wounds to find salvation there?
Now, coming to our text, I think that the passage refers, first of all, to the Israelite who sees multitudes coming to Jerusalemto worship the one living and true God. He stands on the top of Carmel and he looks across the Mediterranean and he sees theships of Tarshish coming in such great numbers across the sea, scudding along before the wind, that he says, "Who are thesewho fly as a cloud?" Seen from a distance, the great fleet of vessels seem like a cloud, and as they come nearer, those longtriangular sails which we who have been along the coast of the Mediterranean remember so well, suggest to him the second figure,"Who are these that are flying like doves to their roosts?" It was the promise being fulfilled, "the ships of Tarshish first"-themen from the far-off lands hurrying up that they might worship with the multitude that kept holy day in the sacred city!
Now we may leave both these figures and use the text as the exclamation of the Church of God when she expresses her wondermentat what God is doing in the conversion of sinners-"Who are these who fly as a cloud, and like doves to their roosts?"
I. First, WHO ARE THEY THAT THEY SHOULD BE SO MANY-that they should "fly as a cloud," like doves in flocks?
The answer to that enquiry is another question-Why should they not be many? There are a great many sinners in the world-whyshould not a great number be converted? When many souls are brought to Christ, they are only relatively many. Usually, alas,they are relatively small! We have sometimes rejoiced greatly when we have had as many as a hundred added to this Church ina month, yet I have gone away and said to myself-"What is that hundred, after all? It is not sufficient to keep pace withthe increase of the population." It makes us very sad to know that the increase of sinners far exceeds the increase of theconverts to God. At present, they do not "fly as a cloud." They come in scores, perhaps, and we are thankful for that, butthey do not come as a cloud, and like a flock of doves flying to their roosts! But why should they not do so one of thesedays? Why should they not do so very soon? If the Gospel is but faithfully preached, and the power of prayer is fairly andfully tried, and the Spirit of God is working mightily through the Gospel, why should they not come like a cloud?
There are plenty of them all over the world. Look at the millions all around us in this nation-city-scarcely to be calleda city-for it is a very world for multitude! Think of the millions of inhabitants in the British islands who still remainunconverted. There is no fear of our nets being drawn to shore empty because there are no fish! We may be bad fishermen, butthere are plenty of fish. When we fire in among the birds, the coveys are large enough. There is no reason, except bad marksmanship,why we should not hit some among them, for there are plenty of them! When I hear of a minister fearing that his congregationwill suffer because another chapel is brought near his, I feel ashamed of him! Go and build a whole street of chapels, ifyou like! If the Gospel of Jesus Christ is faithfully preached there, you will fill them! If it is not, you will not. Youneed not fear however many preachers come near you in such a city as this, so swarming with people as it is. And why shouldthey not be converted in swarms, as there are so many of them? Why should they not "fly as the doves to their roosts"?
Has not Christ brought into the world a great redemption When I see Him dying upon yonder Cross, I cannot sit down and watchHis amazing sufferings and then think that He died only for a few and that, as the result of the travail of His soul, therewill be just a few very respectable people redeemed with His precious blood! If you can believe it, you must-but I cannot.I claim for Christ a great reward! I expect that His Father will so abundantly reward Him that when He makes Him to see ofthe travail of His soul, and to be satisfied, it will be with unnumbered and innumerable millions of redeemed men, women andchildren who shall look unto Him and live! Up till now the passion of Christ has only been very partially rewarded. The Crosshas not, as yet, brought forth its full crop of blessed fruit. Jesus-that precious "grain of wheat" that was cast into theground to die, and so to bring forth fruit-has not yet yielded the wondrous harvest which shall surely come of that marvelousseed-sowing!
O Beloved, by the blood that fell upon the sterile earth and made it fruitful, look for great sheaves and abundant harvestsand begin to already sing the harvest home song in anticipation of that great ingathering! Yes, Christ's converts must "flyas a cloud, and like doves to their roosts," for He has bought, with His precious blood, a multitude that no man can number!They must come in great multitudes because He has attractions which they cannot resist. Let Him but be made known to themand they must come to Him! Well has it been said-
"His worth if all the nations knew, Surely the whole world would love Him, too."
"But they are blind," says one. I know they are, but cannot He open their eyes? "They are deaf," says another. That also istrue, but cannot He unstop their ears? "But their hearts are hard," says a third. Yes, so they are, but cannot He soften them,or take them away and give them hearts of flesh? Oh, with such a Christ as ours, I must believe that sinners must come toHim in vast crowds! He must have the heathen for His inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession.God always works according to scale-He never made a great cause to produce a little result-and when He Himself becomes Incarnate-whenHe Himself bleeds and dies-when He gives Himself up as a Sacrifice for sin, I must expect that men will come to Him "as acloud, and like doves to their roosts."
And why should they not come in crowds when the Spirit of God is quite able to lead them to come That same Holy Spirit whoconverts one, can just as easily convert a hundred! The Gospel, applied by the Spirit of God to a dozen souls, can manifestlyconvert a thousand, or a million! Spiritual force is like fire-give me but one spark and I can set a city all ablaze! Onelittle lamp, overturned by a cow, caused Chicago to be swept away in flames. One match could cause a prairie conflagrationof almost immeasurable extent. There is, practically, no limit to fire, and there is absolutely no limit to the power of theSpirit of God. He has but to work, and the same Truth of God which converted one soul, today, can convert ten thousand orten millions tomorrow! Why, then, should He not make them willing in the day of His power, so that they should "fly as a cloud,and like doves to their roosts"?
Once more, let us remember, that Heaven is very great and the preparations which Grace has made are very large. That is amost gracious sentence in Christ's parable of the great supper, "Yet there is room." If we could enter Heaven, at this moment,I guarantee you that we would not hear the angels or the redeemed from among men talking of the place being overcrowded! Ifwe went down its shining streets, we would see many mansions furnished and prepared, and the destined inhabitants must occupythem. There is many a sacred joy laid up in store and those for whom it is intended must have it. Heaven is not a place preparedin vain, which will, at last, prove to be a failure! You may build a city, but you cannot fill it with inhabitants at yourown pleasure. I saw, in the South of France, part of a city with street after street of well-built houses-with fountains anda cathedral-but the streets were green with grass, the fountains were full of filth and the houses were inhabited by the poorestof the poor, or else were standing empty! But Heaven, at the last, shall not be like that. Oh, no! The wedding shall be furnishedwith guests. At the great King's banqueting table, there will not be one empty seat! No David will be missing in that day!The Lord shall gather in all His elect from the East, and from the West, and from the North, and from the South-and they shall"fly as a cloud, and like doves to their roosts."
II. Now, secondly, WHO ARE THEY THAT THEY SHOULD FLY?
As the light cloud before the breath of the tempest, so they come to Christ. As the doves fly with swift wings, to their roosts,so do they speed to the Savior-but why do they come to Him in such a hurry? These new converts are not to be kept back! Oldsaints preach patience to them, but they will have none of it. They tell them to wait a while, but they feel that they cannotwait-so they "fly as a cloud and like doves to their roosts." Why do they fly?
The first answer is they fly to Christ because they are driven and cannot help flying to Him. When the Spirit of God layshold upon a man-and like the wind, He blows where He wishes-I guarantee you that that man must fly to Jesus! He can hold outno longer. He must repent, he must believe, he must have Christ and he must have Him now! Look, there he is, on his knees!He cries to God for mercy and he adds many tears to his earnest entreaties. He cannot wait for the blessing and he will takeno denial! He cries, "Give me Christ, or else I die!" And well he may, for the blessed Spirit, like a strong North wind, isblowing behind him and making him to be one of those who fly like a cloud!
Why do they fly? They may well fly because they are in danger. Do you wonder that a man is in a hurry to escape when he seesthe gulf of Hell yawning before him? These sinners who are in such haste to fly to Christ are like doves pur-
sued by a hawk. Satan is after them! Sin is pursuing them! Death is drawing near them and Hell is close at their heels-sothey are rightly alarmed and distressed. Do not tell me about seeking Christ calmly and quietly-you cannot do it if once yourconscience is thoroughly aroused! If you realize that sin is upon you, that God condemns you because of your sin and that,by-and-by, you may be where hope and mercy can never come to you-
"In flames that no abatement knows, Though briny tears forever flow"- why, you must fly! That is not the time for roostingor resting! You must fly like a dove to its dovecot when you have a true sense of the danger in which you are placed throughyour sin!
Besides that, these flying sinners have strong desires within them. The dove flies to her dovecot because she wants to bethere and she will not be happy until she gets there. I sometimes see a man throw a pigeon up into the air, that it may findits way home. It usually wheels about for a little while, as though it were uncertain which direction it should take. But,presently, its quick eye catches sight of some familiar landmark, or by instinct it knows which is its way home and then,away it goes! There is no turning to the right, or to the left, but, straight as an arrow shot from a bow, it flies towardsits roost! So is it with a soul that the Spirit of God has once quickened! It longs for Christ, it pines for Christ. It mayhesitate and look about to find the way it is to go to find Him, but, at last, it says within itself, "There He is," and awayit goes, like the doves to their roosts! Do you wonder that it does so when the sacred instinct, the holy desire, is so strongwithin it?
Why do they fly? Well, they may well fly because they have such a short time in which to reach the Savior. I cannot tell-forI am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet-but I may be addressing someone who will never see the sun rise again. Theremay be an unsaved soul in this place who must be saved before 12 o'clock shall come round, or that soul will be lost forever.We have had deaths, before now, while the service was proceeding in this Tabernacle-and such a thing may happen again-andstrike us with sudden sorrow as well as with deep solemnity. But, in any case, mortal man has but a short time to live andsome-we know not to which among us this may relate-have a very, very short time to live. The Rabbi's answer to a foolish questionwas a wise one. When he was asked, "How many days before he dies should a man repent?" He replied, "One day before he diesand, as he may die today, or tomorrow, he had better repent at once." So, as we sang, a little while ago-
"Come, guilty souls, and flee away Like doves to Jesus' wounds"- using all possible haste-because the day is far spent andthe night is at hand in which you will not be able to find your way to the shelter of perishing sinners which is now availablefor you!
III. A third question is-WHY DO THEY FLY AS DOVES-that is, all together-in a covey-in a flock, so that they look like a movingcloud?
Well, the first reason is, because they are all in one common danger and, usually, when persons are in that condition, theygive up their bickering against one another and join heartily together! Each one, as he becomes anxious for himself, alsofeels a similar anxiety for his fellows, so they band themselves together and "fly as a cloud, and like doves to their roosts."Souls convinced of sin have no time or inclination to quarrel! When a man feels that he must "flee from the wrath to come,"he does not notice that someone else is not respectful to him. No, he thinks of himself as a lost sinner- and lost sinnersmust not be so foolish as to stand upon their dignity, nor even to insist upon their rights and privileges! At such timesthey are willing to stand in the aisle, or to be crowded up in a corner anywhere, so long as they can but hear the Gospel-andthey will bear anything from their fellow men if they may but find Christ! It is wonderful what communion of spirit springsup among them.
One, who has himself been under conviction, has seen another weeping on account of sin and has said, "Well, if I do not findChrist, myself, I hope that young man will do so. If I am never to be saved, I do hope that poor woman, whom I saw in suchan agony of spirit, may soon find joy and peace in believing." And, sometimes, when they hardly dare to pray for themselves,they will pray for one another! And when they scarcely have any hope for themselves, they will entertain very kind desiresconcerning those who have sat next to them, who have been under impression. They are too much taken up with the solemnitiesof their condition before God to have time or wish for contention and, therefore, they do not quarrel and fight, as a numberof hawks might do, but they fly together in one band, as a company of doves might be expected to do.
Besides that, they fly together, because they are seeking one common Refuge. They seem to say to one another, "Are you seekingthe Savior? So am I. Are you anxious to get rid of sin? So am I! Are you desirous to be washed in the precious blood of Jesus?So am I. Do you want the Spirit of God to renew you? So do I." So, in these various points, they are so closely bound togetherthat they fly as a cloud! Besides, the Holy Spirit has already changed their nature to such an extent that they are all seekingthat which is holy. Once they were like the hawk, the bird of prey-they were of an angry spirit and they strived with oneanother. But penitence imparts to those who possess a dove-like character. When sin is being mourned over, pride lies low.When transgression and iniquity stare a man in the face and humble him, he becomes gentle, tender and patient. He mourns likea dove without its mate and he seeks the Savior in the hope that, finding Him, he will also find peace and comfort of heart.
For all these reasons, convinced sinners, when God is dealing with them, get close together and they "fly as a cloud, andlike doves to their roosts." I would like again to see such a cloud of them here as we have sometimes seen. When I came backfrom my holiday two years ago, and met the 150, or thereabouts, who had sought and found the Savior during the special services,it was a pleasant thing to listen to their hearty singing and to hear them talk in their own simple, earnest style of theway in which Christ had met with them! It was indeed cheering to my heart to see these doves thus flying as a cloud! Oh, foranother such flight! May the Lord send it to us speedily! Let us believingly pray for it-then shall we have it-for He is sureto grant us the desire of our hearts.
IV. There is only one other question which I will try to answer. Let me remind you that we have already had these three enquiries-Whoare these converts that they should be so many as to fly as a cloud? Who are they that they should fly so fast, like a flockof pigeons or doves, hurrying to their dovecots? Who are they that they should fly together, so as to make one cloud, oneflock of doves? Now, lastly, let us ask-WHO ARE THEY THAT THEY SHOULD FLY THIS WAY? I mean, what makes them fly to Christ?What makes them fly to His Church? I can understand that when they are in danger, they should fly, but why do they fly thisway? The answer is because it is the dovecot of souls! Christ Jesus is the Owner of this dovecot-no, more than that-He Himselfis the Dovecot!
So, first, like a flock of doves they fly this way because they are seeking safety and there is no safety for them exceptin the Lord Jesus Christ. What is the safety that is in Him? It is this. It is inevitable that God must punish sin, but Hesent His Son into the world and laid on Him the iniquity of all who will ever believe on Him. He punished Christ instead ofthem and, therefore, He cannot and will not punish them, for, to punish the same offense twice would not be justice! To exactthe penalty of sin first at the hand of the Divine Surety and Substitute, and then to exact it again at the sinner's hand,would not be right-and the Judge of all the earth will always do right. So, because God has exacted, at the hand of His dearSon, the ransom price for our iniquity, therefore all for whom Christ died are forever clear of all liability- and if youbelieve on Him, you have the mark of those for whom He died! If you trust Him, you have positive proof that you are one ofHis! If you rely upon the merit of His blood and righteousness, that is clear evidence that He gave His life as a ransom foryou and you can never be sent to Hell! You cannot be punished for your sin, for Christ has borne the punishment of it. Yourguilt was laid on Him and all your sin is gone forever-it cannot be brought against you, period! This is the comfort of allBelievers and, therefore, these people come flying to Christ to get this safety. Like doves, they fly to the dovecot thatthey may be in safety there.
But they need more than safety. They also need rest and a dovecot is a place of rest to a dove. I went, some time ago, intoone of those old dovecots which used to belong, by a sort of right, to large estates. A man must have a considerable amountof property before he was allowed to possess a dovecot. With my guide, I entered a square building and I saw that up the fourwalls, which were very lofty, there were almost innumerable places made for the pigeons-and they all seemed to be full. Wecould not stay very many minutes in the place, but we could see tiers upon tiers of nests of pigeons, all occupied by thesoftly-cooing birds. That is just what is meant here. When the doves are pursued by the hawk, they fly to the dovecot andthere they find both safety and rest. It is their home-there, they enjoy themselves to the fullest. And oh, what a sweet restwe have in our Divine Dovecote, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! We are so protected and preserved in Him that we rest inperfect security!
Jesus Christ is the "home, sweet home" of His people. We find ourselves completely at home when once we get to Him. Whereverwe wander, there is no place like this home. A swallow has two homes-one here, in the summer-and another in the sunny South,in the winter. I bade the swallows. "Good-bye," a week or two ago, but I daresay that I shall
soon see some of them again in their other home. But a dove has only one home. Winter or summer she lives in the same dovecot.So is it with a Believer-he has only one home and that is His Master's bosom! He loves Jesus, He rests in Jesus and Jesusis, therefore, the home of his spirit.
Now, in closing my discourse, shall I tell you why some of you love to come to Christ's House as well as to Christ Himself?I think, first, that you like to come where God's people assemble because your food is there. It must be one main part ofthe business of the minister, on the Sabbath, to feed his people. And if he does that, they will be sure to flock around him.Did you ever stand in the square of St. Mark at Venice, as the clock struck two? If you have ever done so, you have seen thepigeons come flying down in such flocks that they cover all the ground! You may even walk among them and they will not mindyou. Somebody always feeds them at two o'clock and they know it-and they come then because they are fed. I will be bound tosay that if I were to employ a musician to go there tomorrow at two o'clock, and to play on a flute to them, but to give themno barley, they would not come! And if he were to go there dressed in the particular robes adapted to St. Monday, or whatever"saint's day" it is tomorrow, the pigeons would not come if his hands were empty-but if he gives them barley, they will come,however he is dressed, and whatever music he may play! And we love to come to the House of God because, like doves, we haveappetites and we like to be fed! And if the finest of the wheat is scattered in the form of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, weare sure to be there, to eat and to be satisfied.
We love to be there, next, because our companions are there. The doves fly to their roosts because there are other doves therethat they love. And we sing with Dr. Watts-
"My soul shall pray for Zion still, While life or breath remains. There my best friends, my kindred dwell, There God my Saviorreigns."
In the midst of the Lord's people we have formed associations that will outlast all the ties of blood, for, in that land wherethey neither marry, nor are given in marriage, ties formed here will endure forever there. Fathers in Christ will still befathers there. Mothers in Israel will continue to be mothers there. Friends in Christ will be friends forever there. If theGospel had done nothing else for some of us but introduce us to dear friends to whom we are knit for eternity, it would havebeen an everlasting blessing to us! We fly, like doves to our roosts, because there are other doves there and we wish to bewith them.
Some of us fly there because our young are there. No dove flies so swiftly home as that mother dove that has young ones awaitingher return. And there is, I think, no man who loves the Church of God better than he does who has young children in it. Rememberhow the Psalmist wrote, "Yes, the sparrow has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young,even among Your altars, O Lord of Hosts, my King and my God." Blessed be His holy name, He is my father's God! He was my grandfather'sGod! He was my great-grandfather's God! He was the God of all my ancestors as long as we have any record of them and I amglad to say that He is the God of my sons, too! So I must love Him and rejoice in Him. Fathers and mothers, I hope you willall have this tie to the Church of God, for it is a very tender one and, also, a very strong one. May you come to love theChurch of God because your children are there!
Last of all, we fly to Christ and to His Church because our All is there. Mr. John Wesley used to sing-
"No foot of land do I possess, No cottage in this wilderness"- and he had not any-when the good man came to die, all the wealthhe had in the world was less than Â£10. When he was asked how he would dispose of his plate, he said that he had only two silverspoons, one at York, and one in London, for everything else had gone into the great cause of his Master! And we best provethat we love Christ when everything we have is given up to Him and all our wealth, all our strength, all our joy and everythingelse is found in Him, so that Christ is All, and in all! When He is all to you, you will fly to Him as a dove flies to itsroost. God help you all to do so, for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: ISAIAH60.
This is a chapter full of good news, a prophecy of the bright days that are yet to come to this dark world. These dull daysare not to last forever. The reign of wickedness will come to an end and earth shall have the bright sunlight of Jehovah'sPresence. The words are addressed to the Church of God-it little matters whether to the Jewish or the Gentile Church for,now, they are all one in Christ and there is no distinction in the message to both Jews and Gentiles.
Verses 1, 2. Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the Glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For, behold, the darknessshall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon you, and His Glory shall be seen uponyou. We have had abundant proof of the darkness and of the grossness of that darkness, for these many centuries. Now we areto look-and I trust that we can already see it in part-for the arising of the Sun of Righteousness, first upon the Church,and then upon the whole world!
3, 4. And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes roundaboutand see: all they gather themselves together, they come to you: your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall benursed at your side. Or, rather, "shall be carried as by a nurse upon her side." The strong ones-the sons-shall come walking.The weaker ones-the daughters-shall be carried like children who need to be nursed, but they shall all come. Today, the Churchof Christ has to go. The message to Christ's disciples still is, "Go you into all the world, and preach the Gospel to everycreature." The Church must send her heralds far and wide to tell the good news, but a blessed change will be worked when thenations will come to hear the story, flocking in crowds to listen to it, and Christ will be sought by those who never soughtHim before-
"O long-expected day, begin!
Dawn on these realms of woe and sin!"
5. Then you shall see, and be radiant, and your heart shall fear, and be enlarged. First, the blessing shall seem too greatto be real, and the Church shall tremble with fear. But, afterwards, she shall believe in it, and rejoice in it, and so herheart shall be enlarged.
5. Because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto you-The sailors shall come to Christ in great numbers! And whenthey are converted, they will be the best of missionaries. Each boat shall be a floating Bethel and every port at which theytouch shall be the gladder for the good news they will have to tell-"The abundance of the sea shall be converted unto you."
5. The forces of the Gentiles shall come unto you. The soldiers, as well as the sailors, shall enter the service of the Kingof kings! Oh, what a happy day it will be when every soldier shall have enlisted beneath the banner of peace! Then they willbe able to fight the good fight of faith every day and to be the means of saving multitudes of precious souls. According tothis verse, great importance is attached to the conversion of sailors and soldiers-God grant that some of us may live to seethis prophecy fulfilled!
6. The multitude of camels shall cover you, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah. Wealthy nations of the Oriental type, whoride upon camels and dromedaries, and who have long been under the sway of the false prophet, Mohammed, shall yield allegianceto the Son of God.
6, 7. All they from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and incense and they shall show forth the praises of the LORD.All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto you, the rams ofNebaioth shall minister unto you: they shall comeup with acceptance on My altar, and I will glorify the house of My Glory. Pastoral people-travelers from place to place inthe wilderness-shall come to Christ. There shall be no untamed nation, no barbarous people that shall continue to oppose thecoming of that glorious Kingdom of the blessed God in those happy, happy days! As for the Church, she shall be so astonishedthat she shall cry out-
8. Who are these who fly as a cloud, and like doves to their roosts?Or, "to their cotes."
9. Surely the isles shall wait for Me, and the ships of Tarshish first. Tarshish was some country far away from Palestine.It is difficult to say exactly where it was, but the Phoenicians made their most distant voyages there. It may have been thisvery island in which we live-and we know that they came here for tin. It is a very remarkable thing that islanders have usuallybeen the first people to be converted to Christ. If you will, at this moment, think of any places where true religion is strongand dominant, you will naturally think of islands. Then, the mention of ships shows what regard God has for sailors when Hesays, "The ships of Tarshish first."
9, 10. To bring your sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD your God, and to theHoly One of Israel, because He has glorified you. And the sons of strangers shall build up your walls. And it is so today.Some, who were total strangers to God and to His Grace, have now become the most earnest ministers of Christ-"The sons ofstrangers shall build up your walls."
10, 11. And their kings shall minister unto you, for in My wrath I smote you, but in My favor have I had mercy on you. Thereforeyour gates shall be open continually. No alarms of war will cause them, then, to shut the iron gates.
11, They shall not be shut day nor night. There shall be free access to Zion, to the Church, and to Christ, Himself, at alltimes.
11-17. That men may bring unto you the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdomthat will not serve you shall perish; yes, those nations shall be utterly wasted. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto you,the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I will make the place of Myfeet glorious. The sons also of them that afflicted you shall come bending unto you; and all they that despised you shallbow themselves down at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you, The City of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One ofIsrael Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through you, I will make you an eternal excellency, ajoy of many generations. You shall also drink the milk of the Gentiles, and shall milk the breast of kings: and you shallknow that I the LORD am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. For brass I will bringgold, and for iron Iwill bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron. You see, it is better, and better, and better, for that is God'sway with His people-to bless them, and then to bless them over again, and again, and again, giving them Grace upon Grace,Grace to qualify them to receive yet more Grace!
17-22. I will also make your officers peace, and your exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in your land,wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise. The sun shallbe no more your light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto you: but the LORD shall be unto you aneverlasting Light, andyour God your glory. Your sun shallno more go down, neither shallyour moon withdraw itself for the LORDshall be your everlasting Light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended. Your people also shall be all righteous: theyshall inherit the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shallbecome a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: The LORD will hasten it in His time. Oh, that "His time" were come! Thehappy period is hastening on and it will come at the right time. We ought not to be dispirited by delays, for it will surelycome-it will not tarry a moment beyond the time appointed by God, blessed be His holy name! Amen.
HYMNS FROM OUR OWN HYMN BOOK-436,494,607. HYMNS FROM "OUR OWN HYMN BOOK"-136, 494, 607.