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Consecration of the Church at Voorburgh, 1726.
EZEK. xi. 16.
Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall
THE cause of our assembling to-day, my brethren, is one of the most evident marks of God's powerful protection, extended to a multitude of exiles whom these provinces have encircled with a protecting arm. It is a fact, that since we abandoned our native land we have been loaded with divine favours. Some of us have lived in affluence; others in the enjoyments of mediocrity, often preferable to affluence; and all have seen this confidence crowned, which has enabled them to say, while living even without resource, In the mountain of the Lord, it shall be seen; in the mountain of the Lord, he will there provide.
But how consoling soever the idea may be in our dispersion of that gracious providence, which has never ceased to watch for our welfare, it is not the principal subject of our gratitude. God has corresponded more directly with the object with which we
were animated when we were enabled to bid adieu, perhaps an eternal adieu, to our country what prompted us to exile was not the hope of finding more engaging company, a happier climate, and more permanent establishments. Motives altogether of another kind animated our hearts. We had seen the edifices reduced to the dust, which we had been accustomed to make resound with the praises of God; we had heard the children of Edom, with hatchets in their hand, shout against those sacred mansions, down with them; down with them, even to the ground.-May you, ye natives of these provinces, among whom it has pleased the Lord to lead us, ever be ignorant of the like calamities. May you indeed never know them, but by the experience of those to whom you have so amply afforded the means of subsistence. We could not survive the liberty of our conscience; we have wandered to seek it, though it should be in dens and deserts. Zeal gave animation to the aged, whose limbs were benumbed with years. Fathers and mothers took their children in their arms, who were too young to know the danger from which they were plucked each was content with his soul for a prey, and required nothing but the precious liberty he had lost. We have found it among you, our generous benefactors; you have received us as your brethren, as your children; and have admitted us into your churches. churches. We have communicated with you at the same table; and now you have permitted us, a handful of exiles, to build a church to that God whom we mutually adore. You wish also to partake with us in our gratitude, and to join your homages
with those we have just rendered to him in this new edifice.
But alas! those of our fellow-countrymen, whose minds are still impressed with the recollection of those former churches, whose destruction occasioned them so much grief, cannot taste a joy wholly pure. The ceremonies of this day will associate themselves, with those celebrated on laying the foundation-stone of the second temple. The priests officiated indeed in their pontifical robes; the Levites, sons of Asaph, caused their cymbals to resound afar; one choir admirably concerted its response to another; all the people raised a shout of joy, because the foundation of the Lord's house was laid. But the chiefs of the fathers, and the aged men, who had seen the superior glory of the former temple, wept aloud, and in such sort that one could not distinguish the voice of joy from the voice of weeping.
Come, notwithstanding, my dear brethren, and let us mutually praise the God, who in the midst of wrath remembers mercy. Hab. iii. 2. Let us gratefully meditate on this fresh accomplishment of the prophecy I have just read in your presence; Though I have cast them far off among the heathen, and among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come. These are God's words to Ezekiel : to understand them, and with that view I attempt the discussion, we must trace the events to their source, and go back to the twentyninth year of king Josiah, to form correct ideas of the end of our prophet's ministry. It was in this year,
that Nabopolassar king of Babylon, and Astyages king of Media, being allied by the marriage of Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabopolassar with Amytis daughter of Astyages, united their forces against the Assyrians, then the most ancient and formidable power, took Nineveh their capital, and thus by a peculiar dispensation of providence, they accomplished, and without thinking so to do, the prophecies of Jonah, Nahum, and Zephaniah, against that celebrated empire.
From that period the empire of Nineveh and of Babylon formed but one, the terror of all their neighbours, who had just grounds of apprehension soon to experience a lot like that of Nineveh.
This induced Pharaoh Nechoh, king of Egypt, who of all the potentates of the east, was the best qualified to resist those conquerors, to march at the head of a great army, and make war with a prince, who for the future, to use the expression of a prophet, was regarded as the hammer of all the earth. Jer. 1. 32. Pharaoh took his route through Judea, and sent ambassadors to king Josiah, to solicit a passage through his kingdom. Josiah's reply to this embassy even to this day astonishes every interpreter; he took the field, he opposed the designs of Nechoh, which seemed to have no object but to emancipate the nations Nebuchadnezzar had subjugated, and to confirm those that desponded through the fear of being loaded with the same chain. Josiah, unable to frustrate the objects of Nechoh, was slain in the battle, and with him seemed to expire whatever remained of piety and prosperity in the kingdom of Judah.
Pharaoh Nechoh defeated the Babylonians near the Euphrates, took Carchemish, the capital of Mesopotamia, and augmenting the pleasure of victory by that of revenge, he led his victorious army through Judea, deposed Jehoahaz son of Josiah, and placed Eliakim his brother on the throne, whom he surnamed Jehoiakim. 2 Kings xxiii.
- From that period, Jehoiakim regarded the king of Egypt as his benefactor, to whom he was indebted for his throne and his crown. He believed that Pharaoh Nechoh whose sole authority had conferred the crown, was the only prince that could preserve it. The Jews at once followed the example of their king; they espoused the hatred which subsisted in Egypt against the king of Babylon, and renewed with Nechoh an alliance the most firm which had ever subsisted between the two powers.
Were it requisite to support here what the sacred history says on this subject, I would illustrate at large a passage of Herodotus, who when speaking of the triumph of Pharaoh Nechoh, affirms, that after this prince had obtained a glorious victory in the fields of Meggido, he took a great city of Palestine, surrounded with hills, which is called Cadytis: there is not the smallest doubt but this city was Jerusalem, which in the scriptures is often called holy by way of excellence; and it was anciently designated by this glorious title. Now, the word holy in Hebrew is Keduscha, and in Syriac Kedutha. To this name Herodotus affixed a Greek termination, and called Kadytis the city. that the Syrians, or the Arabs call Kedutha, which