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When a subject presented itself so large and shapeless, and dry and thorny, that few men's fortitude could face, and no one's patience could grapple with it; or an emergency occurred demanding, on a sudden, access to stores of learning, the collection of many long years, but arranged so as to be made available at the shortest notice then it was men asked where Lawrence was.
In a sermon preached at Fenwick in 1663, William Guthrie told his congregation: 'If you be not ashamed of Him and His word, He shall not be ashamed of you. We are in the case of the Gileadites, sore oppressed; and Christ is Jephthah. He may say to us, as Jephthah did, Did you not hate Me, and expel Me out of My Father's house? Why now come you to Me in your distress? We must take with the charge, and put ropes on our necks, and still press our point on Him. Well, He says, if He deliver us or right our matters, shall He then be Head over us? Let us all lay our hand to our heart this day. Dare we say as Gilead said, The Lord be witness between us if we do not according to Thy words? Well then, here is the Covenant, and here I take instruments, and do append His seal to the Covenant. Now take your Sacrament upon this.'
Thomas Boston, in his Memoirs, describes a lengthy fast in which he reviewed his past life and renewed his vows to God. In the middle of the work, being exhausted, he desired some tokens from God of acceptance. Two, he observes, 'were somewhat relieving unto me. One was that God knew the acceptance of His covenant, as above expressed, was the habitual bent of my heart and soul.... Another was that Scripture brought to my remembrance: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the Lord in Mizpeh. So I closed the work betwixt three and four o'clock in the afternoon.'
'Now you read poetry, I daresay what you call poetry,' said the old Dissenting preacher in The Revolution in Tanner's Lane. 'I say in all of it all, at least, I have seen nothing comes up to that. She was his only child: beside her he had neither son nor daughter. The inspired writer leaves the fact just as it stands, and is content. Inspiration itself can do nothing to make it more touching than it is in its own bare nakedness. There is no thought in Jephthah of recantation, nor in the maiden of revolt, but nevertheless he has his own sorrow. He is brought very low. God does not rebuke him for his grief. He knows well enough, my dear friends, the nature which He took upon Himself. He does not anywhere, therefore, I say, forbid that we should even break our hearts over those we love and lose.... He elected Jephthah to the agony he endured while she was away on the hills! That is God's election, an election to the cross and to the cry, "Eli, Eli, lama Sabachthani". "Yes," you will say, "but He elected him to the victory over Ammon." Doubtless he did; but what cared Jephthah for his victory over Ammon when she came to meet him, or indeed for the rest of his life? What is a victory, what are triumphal arches and the praise of all creation, to a lonely man?'
References. XI. 35. J. Keble, Sermons for Lent to Passiontide, p. 328. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxiii. No. 1341.
It is perhaps significant of Japanese married life that a Japanese bride goes to be married in a pure white mourning robe, which is intended to signify that henceforth she is dead to her old home and her parents, and that she must henceforth look upon her husband's people as her own. But to the bride I think it must have a deeper significance. It must mean that she has said good-bye to all freedom and all family devotion, and to most of the pleasures of life: and that she has been disposed of to a man of whom she probably knows nothing, for him to use and abuse as the good or evil in him dictates. If ever the Japanese as a nation take to reading our Bible, the Japanese girl will make a god (not a goddess) of Jephthah's daughter. A Japanese is called upon to perform the sacrifice of Jephthah when his daughter is married.
Miss Norma Lorimer in More Queer Things About Japan.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Judges 11". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20