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Ezekiel 5:1-2 . Son of man, take thee a sharp knife a barber’s razor. Clip thy hair, and shave thy beard. Then divide and subdivide the hair into twenty four parts, and take eight parts, precisely the third, and burn the hair within thy beautiful configuration or model-city. Cut the second portion in pieces, to designate the slaughter of the people by sword and famine. Scatter the third part in the wind, towards Egypt and the southern nations, after whom I will send the sword of the Chaldean, as stated in the latter chapters of Jeremiah.
Ezekiel 5:3-4 . Thou shalt also take of the hairs a few in number sewed in the hem of thy toga, and carry them about, and burn the others, to portend the wanderings of the few remaining ten tribes, pursued by incessant calamities.
Ezekiel 5:5 . This is Jerusalem. I have set it in the midst of the nations. A city chosen of God, a city favoured above all with the victories of David, with the glorious peace of Solomon, and whose fame reached to the ends of the earth. It was grace that raised Jerusalem to glory; it was sin that covered her with shame. Pale and bloody was the wane of her moon.
Ezekiel 5:7 . Because ye multiplied more than the nations. The increase of the Hebrew population was great in Egypt; it was equally so in the time of David, and during the reign of Solomon. Reliance may therefore be placed in the characteristic blessings of the covenant, and all the promises of the everliving and faithful God.
Ezekiel 5:10 . The fathers shall eat the sons. This is noted in Jeremiah 19:9, and Lamentations 4:10. The hands of delicate women boiled their sons for meat. St. Jerome states, that the siege under the Romans was more severe than the siege under the Chaldeans. In these awful extremities the words of Moses were fulfilled. Deuteronomy 28:53.
The Lord is now lenient to christian ministers. We are not building models of sieges, nor baking our bread under hedges with dried dung. We are not lying like the devotees of India in doleful postures of penance. Ours, being halcyon days, let them be days of holiness, and of the most vigorous exertions in the ministry; and the more so, as we do not know how soon a cloud may over-spread our sun. Alas, we do but little for souls, compared with the battles and labours of the Hebrew prophets.
The Israelites, planted in the midst of the nations, and more blessed than they, are reproached as the most ungrateful of the humankind for apostasy. Is not this a voice to Britain? Alas, our auditories are crowded with backsliders. And as a nation, what are our mercies? The finest of countries, ranges of mountains full of mines and streams, of which the manufactories have taken possession, as of a soil congenial to their growth. Of the seas we have the controul, of commerce we take the lead, in colonies we abound. Our bankers and merchants, countless in number, are princes. Our manufacturers keep their equipage, while the poor are pressed, if not severely.
But what are our returns? In what respects is our moral character better than our continental neighbours? We surpass them in pride; in atheism we tread on their heels. In profanations, desecrations of the sabbath, and blasphemy, we excel. Our streets are crowded with harlots; our general character wanes to effeminacy, and to degeneracy in every form. If Jerusalem, once boasted by the prophets as the glory of the whole earth, was given up to fire and sword, what can the wicked expect! Oh let me run to duty, and like the ancient prophets, obtain a reprieve for our country.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezekiel 5". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20