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On Ezra's arrival at Jerusalem complaint was made to him of the failure and sin of the people. What an appalling story it was, that during these sixty years, even though there had been no return to heathen idolatry, God's law against intermingling with the people of the land had been willfully broken, the chief offenders being the princes and rulers.
The picture of Ezra in the presence of this confession is very fine. It is that of a man so stirred with righteous indignation that he had rent his garments and plucked off his beard. As the storm of his passion subsided he sank in silent astonishment until the evening oblation. Then he fell on his knees before God, and poured out his soul in prayer. It was a wonderful prayer. Beginning with confession of his personal shame, he at once gathered into his outcry the whole of the people, identifying himself with them as he spoke of "our iniquities . . . our guiltiness," and so forth. He went back over all the history in imagination as he knelt before his God, and clearly saw that it had been one long story of failure and of consequent disaster. He then spoke of his consciousness of the grace of God manifest in making possible the return of a remnant of the people through favor of the kings of Persia. Then the surging sorrow of the new failure found expression in free and full confession, until at last, without any petition for deliverance, he cast the people before God with a recognition of His righteousness and of their inability to stand in its presence.
It is a fine revelation of the only attitude in which any man can become a mediator. There is first an overwhelming sense of sin. This is accompanied, and perhaps caused by, that deeper sense of the righteousness and grace of God. It finds expression in agonized and unsparing confession. The passion of the whole movement is evidence of its reality. No man can really know the righteousness of God, and in its light see sin, and remain quiet and calculating and unmoved.
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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Ezra 9". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13