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boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.”I “ The seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew.” “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love : therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel : thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry. Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria : the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things.”
They shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden ; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together : for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord." “Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things. Be not afraid, ye beasts
i Zech. viii. 3-5.
2 Zech. viii. 12.
of the field : for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig-tree and the vine do yield their strength. Be glad, then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and
“Your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid."
“ The ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of My people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.” In all these prophecies there
' is a blessed vision of peace-a time of joy after sorrow, of freedom after bondage: every man calling his neighbour
« under the vine and under
1 Joel ii. 21-24.
2 Levit. xxvi. 5, 6.
3 Amos ix. 13, 14.
the fig tree.” And the symbols by which the goodness of the Lord is exhibited are corn and wine. “ It shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth ; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil ; and they shall hear Jezreel.' “Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil.” “Israel shall
“ dwell in safety alone, and the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine.”4
« How great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty! Corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids."
In all these passages there is a voice of joy, a grateful and festal gladness : the city “full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof;" the waste cities inhabited; virgins rejoicing
; rejoicing in the dance, “old men and young together.” As corn and wine are chief symbols of the Divine goodness, so the feast of harvest is a chief symbol of a divine joy. It is spoken of as the special token of gladness; and its taking away, as the special token of affliction. “ Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer the vine of Sibmah; I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon, and Elealeh ; for the shouting for thy summer fruits and for thy harvest is fallen, And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field ; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses ; I have made their vintage shouting to cease.”l And so, when God poured out blessings on His people, the prophet says, “ They joy before Thee according to the joy in harvest."
1 Zech. iii. 10.
2 Hosea ii. 21, 22. 4 Deut. xxxiii. 28.
3 Joel ii. 19.
Surely all this is not only history, but prophecy. All these visions of earthly blessing have their heavenly substance. They shew us the joy and the feast of the old creation ; God's people rejoicing under His benign Fatherhood, eating the fruits of the earth with a holy gladness. But what are all these,—the joy of God's people in Jerusalem, the holy mountain, the cities of peace, the fair lands, the fruitful vineyards, the corn and the wine, the harvest and the vintage, the shouting and the feast of ingathering,—what are they all but one great prophecy, a symbol and a sacrament, the old creation in its earthly festival witnessing and waiting for the new ?
In this same chapter, the prophet, by one word, lights up the whole mystery. “Rejoice greatly, 0 daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem : behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation ; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”l This reveals all. It is “the Israel of God," after long waiting and affliction, redeemed from death; the whole election, both the elder and the later, not of Israel alone, but of all nations, gathered into the city of God.
1 Isaiah xvi. 9, 10.
2 Ibid. ix. 3.
“When the eyes of man,” that is, of all mankind, “as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the Lord ;” “and all nations shall flow
" unto" Him.4 66 The Lord their God shall save them in that day as the flock of His people : for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon His land ;"5 that is, they shall be gathered to the Word made flesh; to the cross high and lifted up on Calvary ; unto which, by His love and power, He draws all hearts. What is this but the rejoicing of His mystical body, the Church, in all the world; the song of His saints : all kindreds and people coming up out of dark lands and the shadow of death, to the light of eternal life, worshipping “ the brightness of His rising ;” lifting up their oblations and their hands, with the voice of adoration : “ How great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty !”
It is a luminous prophecy of the Word made flesh, revealed first by personal manifestation upon
1 Zech. ix. 9.
2 Gal. vi. 16.
3 Zech. ix. 1.
4 Isaiah ii. 2.
5 Zech. ix. 16.
6 St. John xii. 32.