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as wholly his own s. Often also have the wicked been employed as instruments of deliverance to the Church. The kings of the Medes invaded Chaldea, with no other design than to gratify their ambition or revenge. But it was the purpose of the Most High to break in pieces the proud empire of Babylon, that his captives might be delivered. He therefore describes the plan, preparations, warlike operations and success, as proceeding wholly from himself: and, to express the absolute certainty of the event, although at the distance of some centuries, he employs such language as if he rather declared what was past, than foretold what was future. He appears as a sovereign leader, issuing forth his orders to his vaffals, which they must necessarily execute ; nay, as an invisible, but all-powerful'agent, influencing all their counsels. “ Make bright the arrows; “ gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up “ the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his “ device is against Babylon, to destroy it ; be“ cause it is the vengeance of the Lord, the ven
geance of his temple.—The LORD of Hosts hath “ sworn by himself, saying, Surely I will fill thee “ with men as with caterpillars.-Set ye up a “ standard in the land, blow the trumpet among “the nations, prepare the nations against her: “call together against her the kingdoins of Ara-,
rat, Minni and Ashchenaz, appoint a captain
against her, cause the horses to come up as the “rough caterpillars. Prepare against her the na
s Isa. X. 5.-7.
- tions with the kings of the Medes, the captains “ thereof, and all the rulers thereof, and all the “ land of his dominion t." Observe how he describes the cruel Medes and Persians, and the other heathen nations whom he was pleased to employ in this work :-“ I have commanded my sanctified “ones, I have also called my mighty ones for “ mine anger, even them that rejoice in my high“ ness. The noise of a multitude in the moun“ tain, like as of a great people: a tumultuous “ noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered toge“ ther: the Lord of bofts mustereth the hosts of “ the battle. They come from a far country, “ even the Lord and the weapons of his indig“ nation to destroy the whole land.”
His own people may justly be reckoned among his hofts. The typical Israelites are denominated “ the hosts of JEHOVAH w.” This name especially respects the Church under the New Testament, consisting of converts belonging to every kindred; and therefore called “the goodly heritage of the “ hofts of nations." The Church appears “ ter“ rible as an army with banners." All her genuine members have been “ volunteers in the “ day of his power.” They have enlisted under his banner. He employs them in his wars. He teaches their hands to war, and their fingers to fight. He manages them in a different manner from that in which he exercises his power over the wicked. He works in them, not in opposition to their own intentions, but according to the habitual inclinations of their hearts, as renewed by his grace. They obey his will on earth, in resemblance of the holy army above. Like the angels of bliss, they in their inferior degree are “ his hosts, his ministers, that do his pleasure.” It is therefore their daily prayer ; “ Thy will be “ done on earth, as it is in heaven.” They have “ a leader and commander,” who conducts them to certain victory. They “ overcome Satan,
u Isa. xiii. 3.-5.
w Exod. xii. 41,
t Jer. li. 11. 14. 27. 28. : Jer. iii. 19.
through the blood of the Lamb, and the word “ of their testimony.” They also overcome the world. And, what is more than either; they are conquerors over themselves. Employing them as his hofts, he brings glory to his name by the warfare itself, and by its happy termination.
This character is in a peculiar sense conferred on his servants in the ministry.
ministry. When the Levites were admitted into the service of God, they were said to “enter into the host," and to “ war “ the warfare.” Hence this very language is adopted by the apostle Paul, when addressing Timothy?: and the ministers of the New Testament, in declaring the glad tidings of salvation, are described as a great host or army : ЈЕно“vah gave the word : Great was the army of “those that published it a.”
The fame designation is given to the heavenly bodies. Hence are they so often called “ the host “ of heaven ;' not merely as fignifying their number, but their order, beauty, and constant obe
dience y Num. iv. 3. 23.
2 1 Tim. i. 18.; 2 Tim. ii. 3. 4.
a Prel. Ixvii. II.
dience to the divine command. It deserves our attention, that as not only the heathen worshipped the heavenly bodies, but the Israelites discovered a strong attachment to this species of idolatry, God, in revealing himself to his Church, often afferts his abfolute dominion over this hoft, and also occasionally declares the foundation of this dominion. He announces himself as their Lord, because they are all the work of his hands : “ Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath “ created these, that bringeth out their host by ple had avenged themselves on their enemies ; “—for Jehovah fought for Israel c.” Deborah, it is probable, in her song of triumph, alludes to fome extraordinary circumstances not recorded in the history of the defeat of Jabin's host : “ They
number : he calleth them all by names by the
greatness of his might, for that he is strong in "power; not one faileth.-I, even my hands have “ stretched out the heavens, and all their hoft have “ I commanded b." He hath made the “ lights “ in the firmament of heaven, for seasons :" and as he is pleased to dispense their influences, he either blesses ihe inhabitants of the earth with abundance, or punishes them with want; he preserves them in health, or visits them with fickness. Hence he connects this name with a declaration of his dominion over the host of heaven, in relation to the earth : “ Thus faith the LORD, " which giveth the fun for a light by day, and * the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for
a light by night, which divideth the sea when “the waves thereof roar; The LORD of Hofts is “ his name !.” He hath at times given more aftonishing displays of this dominion. « The fun “ stood still, and the moon stayed, until the peo. VOL. II. E
ple b lla. xl. 26.; xlv. 12.
c Gen. i, 14. d Jer. xxxi. 35.
fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera f."
The elements are also his hofts. “ Fire and “hail, snow and vapour, stormy wind fulfil his “ word g." He swept away an ungodly world with a deluge of water. He destroyed the Philiftines with thunder h; and sent fire from heaven on the messengers of the king of Israel, who came to take the prophet Elijahi. He made the earth to open and swallow up the rebellious company of Korah. When the haughty Pharaoh refused to acknowledge and obey the God of heaven and earth, he armed all the elements in his quarrel. He " sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along
upon the ground k.” He turned their water into blood. That very river, on which Egypt depends for the means of life, became an inftrument of death! The earth rose in arms against its guilty inhabitants. Every particle of dust was furnished with a sting, and caused at once pain and self-abhorrencem. The atmosphere became too gross a medium for transınitting the light of heaven That air, which formerly supported life, was found to be merely a vehicle for the per
e Joshi. X. 13, 14. i 2 Kings i. 12. 10,!?.
f Judg, v. 20. Pla. cxlviii. S. h i'Sam. vii. 10. k Exod. ix. 23. 1 Exod. vii. 19.-21.
m Excl. so n Exod, . 21.--23.