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ON THE FOURTH CHAPTER OF ISAIAH. No.3.

Verse 3,4: “And it shall come to pass that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem; when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.”

We have here a purer state of the gospel church mentioned as succeeding the period referred to in the preceding verses. But to arrive at this purity, the visible churches must be purged of God, from their filth and blood, or from their borrowed schemes, represented under the figure of vain female ornaments, in the latter verses of the 3rd chapter.

As the state of the church described in verse 3, is the result of what God will do to the daughters of Zion, as mentioned in verse 4, and consequently in the order of events, follows verse 4; I will notice the latter verse first.

Before speaking of the filth of the daughters of Zion, I will speak more particularly of what is properly intended by the daughters of Zion. In No.1, I represented them rather as corrupted or fallen off gospel churches, but on a further examination of the subject, I am convinced that we must understand gospel churches at large; that is, those constituted upon gospel principles and order, and still professing to be on that ground, whether fallen away in reality or not.

The terms daughter and daughters are frequently used in scripture, to denote a people, or people dependent on that which is represented as the mother, either in regard to government or by descent. Thus we read of the daughter of Babylon, of Edom, of Egypt, &c., denoting the community or people under those respective governments. So also we read of the daughters of Samaria, of Sodom, of Tyrus, meaning the different towns or cities dependent on the government of those metropolises. When the people of the Jews are meant; I think the term daughter in the singular is used, as the daughters of Zion, of Jerusalem, of my people, &c., and with propriety, for the Jews remain, as they ever have been, one peculiar people. But the term daughters is also used in reference to the gospel church, or that people of whom Christ is the Salvation and the King. As in Isaiah 62:11, “Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh;” and Zech. 9:9, “Rejoice greatly O daughter of Zion; shout O daughter of Jerusalem, behold thy King cometh unto thee,” &c. The term daughters of Zion is used only in this prophecy; that is, in this passage and in the preceding chapter, verse 16, 17; and in Song 3:11, and as before observed refers to the gospel church as divided into branches. In Song 3:11, considering Solomon as representing Christ, we can I think understand no other than gospel churches represented by the term daughters of Zion, and also by the term daughters of Jerusalem in the preceeding verse.

That the term in the passage under consideration cannot be designed to represent the Jews is to me evident. For 1st, if the passage be applied to them, in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, then the prophecy fails, for there were none left in Jerusalem, and those who were spared of them have not been holy in the special sense of our text. 2nd. If it were applied to them, as a scattered people, and in reference to what is future, I think the scriptures will not support such reference; for, not only does the Master speak of the days of God’s judgment upon them being shortened for the elects sake {Matt.24:22,} and the Apostle said that, “the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost,” {I Thes.2:16,} but their being left in unbelief is rather for the sake of the Gentiles, than for purging away their iniquities, see Rom.11:11-13. Besides, though according to the declaration, Lev.26:39, they are left to pine away in their sins, yet instead of being threatened with any future judgments for cleansing them, God has promised to cleanse them from all their filthiness, &c, by sprinkling clean water upon them, &c. Ezek.36:25-33.

The term daughters of Jerusalem, or of Zion, properly belongs to the gospel churches, not only as they are the descendants, in a strict sense, of the church at Jerusalem, but also the gospel church, in its visible form, lay in embryo and in type, in the Jewish church state. Hence Zion is represented as travailing in the birth of Christ and of the gospel church called a nation, Isa.66:7-12.

I therefore see no other place to look for the filth spoken of in the passage under consideration, than the visible churches of Christ, or those constituted according to the pattern in the mother church at Jerusalem.

In entering upon this part of my subject, I am admonished that I shall have to refer to portions of the scriptures and use allusions, which to the polite will appear unseemly. But whilst I would avoid an unnecessary use of expressions or allusions, which might offend the most delicate, I believe every figure, and every illustration, employed by the Holy Ghost to have been chosen with wisdom and propriety, and to be holy in their use; I therefore, dare not neglect on proper occasion, to bring forward the instruction thereby given, for fear of being thought impolite. The fact is, that if we could examine those texts of scripture, to which I shall have occasion to refer, with that sober mindedness of which I may again speak, instead of being offended at the indelicacy of the figures employed, we should only be disgusted at that wretched vileness of our own hearts, and with those awful pollutions which even the churches of Christ have contracted by their inconstancies, and which nothing short of such figures would represent.

I shall notice the term filth or filthiness, as the Hebrew word is more generally rendered, in two senses in which it is used in the scriptures, as being found in the visible churches.

1st. It denotes excremental uncleanness – see Isa.28:8. This figure strongly illustrates the vile eruptions of our hearts. Says the Psalmist, I hate vain thoughts, Psal.119:113. So I think every child of grace will say; and yet, in this day of declensions, instead of covering over these thoughts, as they arise from our hearts, according to the law relating to the figure, {Deut.23:13,} how many of us too often suffer them to flow disgustingly out to public view, in our conversation and actions. Addison, I think it is, has said, “If the minds of men were laid open, we should see but little difference between that of a wise man, and that of a fool. There are infinite reveries, numberless extravagancies, and a succession of vanities, which pass through both. The great difference is, the first knows how to pick and cull his thoughts for conversation, &c.” The same may be said in reference to a prudent christian, and others, with this exception, that vain thoughts and conversation indulged in, generally engender other thoughts and actions of the same, or a more corrupt kind. This course again leads others, with whom we have intercourse, especially if they have confidence in us, into the same habits. Upon this point, confident I am, from the information I have received, that persons who can look back with distinct recollection on the subject, see a very great difference between the baptist churches now in their outward acts, and those of that period, and also in the general walk of members now and then. There was formerly a regularity of deportment, a strict integrity, a sober mindedness, a separation from the world &c., manifested in the whole walk of the baptists, which is seldom seen at this day. Now we are much more assimilated to the world in our outward walk. I am no less confident that no christian can read the New Testament with attention, without feeling conscious that we fall very short of the pattern there drawn of the walk of a disciple of Jesus. I would not have it understood that I am an advocate for that sanctimonious face, and air, and voice which some assume on special occasions. I dislike a mask. I have thought that a disgust at these borrowed appearances, has been one means of leading some of us to indulge too much in lightness, and to lay too little restraint upon our vain thoughts from flying out. And the flowing out of evil thoughts, is that which defileth the man, see Matt.15:19,20. The fact is, that sober mindedness, whilst it restrains us from lightness and corruption, has a direct tendency to promote cheerfulness in mind and appearance. This is evident to the experienced christian. I have touched but one point of this subject. The corruption has spread its defilement over us as preachers. It has produced on us too much of worldly speculations, and ideas of worldly respectability, on our entering and pursuing the ministry. We are not reconciled to be accounted the filth of the world; we therefore defile our consciences by conforming too much to the notions and spirit of the world.

A similar contamination has been extended to the churches. It may be seen in our discipline and order, or rather in the manner in which they are maintained; in a disposition to construe scriptural doctrine and commands with as favorable a leaning to the prejudices of the world as we can, &c. My brethren generally may not view these things thus, or be perplexed with them as I am, but I think I speak the experience of some at least, when I complain of not being in any relation I sustain, what I believe the primitive disciples were; and I may add, that I find myself altogether inadequate to bring myself, in feeling and practice, to what I believe a disciple ought to be.

But perhaps this figure may more properly refer to such as Jude speaks of, as having crept in unawares, and whom he denominates filthy dreamers, and who instead of preaching the word preach their own speculations in religion, or the lucubrations of those, who in more senses than one, have studied out their systems of divinity by night.

The other sense which I shall notice, in which the filthiness is used in the scriptures, is its denoting the abominations of idolatry, as illustrated by the uncleanness of an elicit and debasing intercourse of the sexes. It is thus used, Ezek.16:36. The Lord frequently uses the figure of adultery, &c., to illustrate the baseness of his professed people in departing from him and his ways, and choosing their own ways and religion. Adultery is strictly the proper figure. In relation to national Israel, the covenant relation in which they stood to God was similar to the marriage of man and wife. For whilst God chose and redeemed them to be a peculiar people unto himself, he required them to have no other gods before him; to honor him as the exclusive object of their fear, their worship, their trust, &c. Hence he says unto them, I am married unto you. Jer.3:14. Although many who may admit the truth of these remarks as relating to national Israel, seem to have no sense of their just application to Christ and his church, yet the scriptures authorize me to say, that this relation in its fullest and strictest sense, even as in the case of Adam and Eve, exists spiritually between them, see Eph.5:22-33. Hence there is evidently a corresponding baseness manifested by the visible churches of Christ, when they depart from him as their only Lord, fear, trust, &c., and go after other lovers, or embrace systems, and practice forms of religion, which he has never instituted. Consequently the figurative language employed in Jer.2:33-36, 3:1-5, Ezek., chapters 16 & 23, Hosea chapters 1,2,3, and other places, serve to illustrate, as well the extreme vileness of the corrupted daughters of Zion, in tampering with false religions, as of the Jews in practicing idolatry. Does not the Apostle so teach us, when he says, “Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning?” Rom.15:4. Again he says, after naming some of the corruptions of Israel, “Now these things happened unto them for examples; and they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come.” I Cor.10:11. I will therefore briefly notice a few of the instances in which the daughters of Zion in our day, have like ancient Israel and Judah, defiled themselves, as shown by the Prophets above referred to. For instance, as Ezekiel charges Jerusalem, Ezek.16:25, so the baptist churches, for some years back, have to a great extent, welcomed to their embrace every stranger that passed by; have given countenance to every new religious society and religious scheme; have admitted to their pulpits, every one who came as a baptist preacher, whatever kind of a gospel he may bring; yea, they have manifested a fondness for new things, and a great partiality for the vermilion painted gentlemen {Ezek.23:14} of the schools, in preference to those plain gospel preachers, whom the knowledge of their own hearts, has made humble and unassuming, and whose knowledge of the preciousness of Jesus has made them solicitous, to know nothing, and to hold forth nothing, in their preaching, save Christ and him crucified. Again, as Ezekiel depicts the extreme baseness of Jerusalem, chap.16:32-34, so with the baptist churches; the strangers above mentioned, have not come to them, without their hire. The churches have lavished upon them their contributions of money. Had these been withheld, the strangers had not come to them. So, also like their type, other denominations and societies have not followed them to imitate their doctrine and order; but they have followed others, see Ezek.23:14-30. When they saw the church of Rome sending out their Jesuit Missionaries, they doted upon the missionary plans; when others formed their Home Mission Society for securing the whole West to themselves, they must also have to do with this scheme, and for the same object; when others turned Sunday Schools into a religious machine for discipling the children of the country sectarianly to themselves; they also must have in their embrace the lovely object; when the enlightened of France employed tracts to disseminate infidelity, they also fell in love with this scheme, and must have Tract Societies in their bosom. We might follow on the detail in reference to Theological Schools and other things, but enough has been said to show the filthiness of the daughters of Zion.

I will conclude this head with one other remark; the idolatrous Jews that went into Egypt, answered Jeremiah thus, “When we burnt incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?” Jer.44:19. So the mission baptists say, that since they have commenced practicing these new measures, their churches have increased much more rapidly than before. Yea, from time to time in their reports, they glory on this account over those churches which remain faithful to Christ and to his doctrine and institutions, and wish no increase, but such as have him for their Father. These mission baptists and churches also justify their connection with those babylonish strangers, to refer back to the figure of Ezekiel, on the ground that they are thereby converting the people, and increasing the family of Christ much faster than it would increase were they to remain faithful to him as their only Lord and Husband. But, alas, for those churches, when the Lord shall visit them with the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning! Will he then claim their base born children as his sons? No, they shall be burned up as stubble, and it shall be with such churches as with those Jews in Egypt, above referred to, according to the declaration of Jeremiah, verses 26-28, of the same 44th chapter, or like Jerusalem shall they be destroyed.

S.TROTT.
Fairfax Court House, Va., Feb.24th, 1837.

P.S. On looking over the 1st Number of my remarks on this 4th chapter as published in No.5 of this Volume of the SIGNS, I discover that I expressed myself in one instance, in a way quite contrary to my views of the subject. The instance is where I commence remarking on the 1st verse of chapter 4. I say, “And in that day, at that period, when it shall come, in which God shall thus visit these corrupted daughters of Zion for their abominations, they will have arrived at such a pitch of madness, &c.” From which expression it would appear that I meant to represent the seven women as the same with the daughters of Zion. It is true that I afterwards show that I consider them entirely different; which of course appears a contradiction to the sentence just quoted. I will therefore here say, as I shall have occasion hereafter to show, that the daughters of Zion, or those constituted according to the pattern of the mother church at Jerusalem, will, excepting in cases where they have gone clear off so as not to have any spiritual life or living members in them, he purged and kept distinct from the Beast or their Image. I ought therefore have said in that passage – And in that day, &c., in which God shall thus visit these corrupted daughters of Zion for their abominations, the various denominations or religious societies other than gospel churches, will have arrived at such a pitch of madness, &c. I will just remark that there can in reality, be but little difference between the various religious combinations, excepting in the enormities they practice, however constituted, if not constituted according to gospel order – that is, whether constituted on the basis of money, of birth-right or any other human devise, whether by law or otherwise. It is true, the scriptures make a distinction, in name, between the two later classes, representing the one as being wedded to the kings and governments of the earth, the other class as having or seeking to have intercourse with the governments of the world, but not established by law. Hence the one class are called queens, the other concubines, as in Songs 6:9. For these as might be showed, do in many instances praise the apostolic or gospel church, but only the daughters bless her.

S.T.