The Christian Watchman
Ezekiel 3:16-17
And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying,…

I. THE OFFICE OF THE CHRISTIAN WATCHMAN IS TO WARN HIS PEOPLE OF THE DANGER TO WHICH, ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF GOD, ALL MEN ARE NATURALLY EXPOSED. From the "specular mount" on which the Lord hath placed him, he looks abroad upon the mighty plain where the busy generations of the world are engaged in a thousand different forms of labour, and pursuing a thousand different objects of delight, all alike undisturbed by the thought of the invasion of wrath which, ere long, is to "lay the land desolate, and to destroy the sinners out of it." Yet he can discern what they do not, — the ministers of vengeance ambushed in the very midst of them, and ready at a word to spring on their defenceless victims. And, perceiving all this, shall he keep silence? I am aware that the principle of ministerial duty which I have now stated has been objected to on various grounds. We are often told, for example, that to dwell much on such frightful and uncomfortable topics is in bad taste. But this is no question of taste; it is a matter of life or death, — of life or death eternal. Away, then, with such puerilities. Again, we are told that such a mode of dealing with sinners is ineffective, — that the true way in which men are generally brought to Christianity is through its soft and winning attractions, and that few comparatively are frightened into it by the force of threatenings and terror. But this maxim, we apprehend, is contradicted by experience. Conviction ordinarily precedes conversion. But it is a case that need not be thus argued to and fro; for hear what Jehovah hath denounced against those who, speaking in His name, keep back the message of His wrath against the sinner: — "Mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity," etc.

II. THE CHRISTIAN MINISTER'S OBJECT SHOULD BE NOT MERELY TO AWAKEN SINNERS TO A SENSE OF PERIL, BUT TO EXCITE THEM TO FLEE FOR REFUGE FROM THAT PERIL. Now, this defenced and consecrated city — the New Jerusalem, the Church of the Living God, has been erected as a city of refuge to the guilty. To it, therefore, the watchman of souls must point the sinner whom he has awakened with the alarm of danger, and, while he shouts, "Flee from the wrath to come," must add, "Turn ye to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope." He must hold it forth as the all-sufficient refuge "founded upon a rock," so that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The great object, then, of the faithful minister in pointing out to men the way of salvation, is, first, To exhibit Christ as the source and foundation of the sinner's hope, and then, secondly, To do what he may to lead men into this faith and this reliance, by displaying God's testimony in the Gospel as it is in truth, — "a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation."

(J. B. Patterson, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

WEB: It happened at the end of seven days, that the word of Yahweh came to me, saying,

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