Your heart grew proud of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor; so I cast you to the earth; I made you a spectacle before kings.
I. THE OCCASIONS OF SIN.
1. We may discover what may be called material occasions of sin, in the wealth and prosperity, the fame and renown, the beauty and splendor, of Tyre. Circumstances of very different kinds may yet agree in suggesting evil thoughts, desires, and habits. Men lay the blame upon circumstances, but this is a very shortsighted method of proceeding.
2. There are moral promptings to sin which may spring out of the former. The heart is lifted up with exultation; a not unnatural confidence in possessions and resources springs up and asserts itself.
II. THE MANIFESTATIONS OF SIN. "Thou hast sinned' is the reproach addressed by God to the guilty city; and it is the reproach addressed to every nation and to every man that has yielded to temptations which should have been withstood, repelled, and mastered. The forms which sin assumes are innumerable, and vary with varying times and with varying states of society. The context refers to:
1. Iniquity, or the violation of Divine laws regulating men's relations among themselves and to God himself.
2. Violence, such as the powerful, willful, and haughty are given to exercise in their treatment of their inferiors.
3. Corruption and defilement, such as are certain to prevail where God is not honored, and where selfish ends inspire men's conduct.
III. THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN. This is:
1. By the decree of God. He is the Speaker throughout this passage. He claims to bestow privileges, and to call men to account for the manner in which those privileges are used. Whatever be the agency or instrumentality of chastisement and correction, it is by the Eternal Wisdom and Righteousness that it is inflicted.
2. In the case of national sin, the penalties are put in force through the instrumentality of neighboring nations. A barbarian horde, or a mighty sovereign and conqueror, has again and again been used as a "scourge of God." It would be wrong to attribute any moral superiority to the victorious people; they may be merely the rod, the sword, in the hand of the Lord of hosts.
3. Where the offence has been heinous, the visitation may be one involving complete destruction, as in the case of Tyre. The terms of threatening here recorded are of the strongest and most unsparing. "I will destroy thee;" "I will cast thee to the ground;" "I will bring forth a fire from the midst of thee; it shall devour thee." Such punishment is sometimes regarded as inconsistent with the attributes of a just and merciful King and Judge. But, whilst it may not be in our power to vindicate all the ways of God, it is certainly not for us to question the acts of him who is omniscient, and whose righteousness is without a flaw. There is nothing in Scripture to support the opinions of those who think that, because God is benevolent, therefore there is no such thing as punishment. There is a moral law which the Sovereign Judge will surely maintain and vindicate.
4. The punishment inflicted upon sinners shall be published far and wide. What is done by God in the exercise of punitive justice is done in the sight of all, and all shall be astonished. This publicity may surely be explained as an arrangement intended for the universal good - to impress upon the minds of all mankind the heinousness of iniquity, that they may "stand in awe, and sin not." - T.
Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God.
I. THE OBLIGATIONS ARISING FROM HER POSITION. "Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth," etc. If this glowing and magnificent description was true of Tyre, it can lose nothing in its application to Britain. In arts and in arms, in commerce and in agriculture, in facility of local position and fertility of soil — secure from invasion, prolific in produce, rich in cultivation, replenished with merchandise, powerful in political relations, redundant in population — above all, unrivalled in religious advantages; all these secured by a civil constitution peculiar to herself, balancing the national interests, and destroying the elements of internal discord and division: what more can be enjoyed to give national prosperity and preeminence? But whence flows the tide of greatness? and to whom is Britain indebted for her supremacy? It is not self-produced; it cannot be self-sustained: "I have set thee so." Not to know, not to feel, not to acknowledge this, is the source of national decay and ruin. We are exalted to sovereignty, and entrusted with dominion, that the parent state may be to her widely spread and numerous colonies "the anointed cherub that covereth." She owes them political protection, to gather them under her wings, like the eagle: but she owes them also religious instruction; she should engage in a holy traffic, infinitely advantageous to them, and, for the wealth which they pour into her bosom, repay them with durable riches and righteousness.
II. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF HER VAST EXTENT OF TERRITORY. The statesman may contemplate this prodigious dependency upon the crown of his country with unmixed emotions of pride and exultation; I see in it, primarily, a corresponding magnitude of national responsibility. It were superfluous here to recount the names and localities of her dominions; but it is of importance to call to mind that the colonial territory of Britain has put under her responsibility not only so many more bodies, but so many more souls; that it is not over inert matter, but over spirit and life, that she rules; that a population vastly surpassing her own is of equal value with her own; that one immortal spirit of all these millions is of more worth than the material universe, and must remain indestructible, in happiness or misery, when the heavens are no more; and that the present all-fluctuating, transient, uncertain existence is the only period to fix its destiny irreversibly and forever. Her responsibility is heightened by the moral condition of that vast extent of territory over which she rules; and which, participating the depravity of fallen nature, common to all presents peculiarities of corruption or of destitution characteristic of the particular states in which they are respectively placed.
III. THE REPARATION DUE FROM OPPRESSORS. "Iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned." Ambition has been charged, and justly charged, with trampling upon the rights and liberties of mankind, turning the fruitful land into barrenness, beating down with unsparing force and cruelty whatever withstood its advance, outraging every principle, if expediency required its sacrifice, wasting human life remorselessly in furtherance of its plans, and deluging the earth with blood. What has Commerce to say, in answer to the accusation, should every one of these imputations be alleged against her? Have her crimes been fewer? Have the injuries inflicted upon society been less aggravated, and has the love of money been less powerful than the love of fame? Has the lust of dominion been more persevering and reckless than the cupidity of accumulation? Let the colonies of Britain, even Christian Britain, stand forth and give their testimony, in vindication of the sentiment of the text. It is true, much is without remedy: the early victims of oppression are out of the reach of the oppressor; even a nation's repentance cannot recall a single departed spirit from its dreadful abode; but the children are in the place of the fathers. A debt of crime is incurred which the consecrated energies of the nation alone can repay; let the inheritors of the wrongs of their ancestors remove and redress all their grievances in the ample compensation which the parent state has it yet in her power to effect, in sending to them the glad tidings of salvation. The slave trade has been abolished in vain, and in vain are you now proclaiming liberty to the captive, if this great obligation be neglected. You have not given freedom to the slave thoroughly until you have given him the Gospel; heavier, invisible, infrangible chains remain when you have taken the yoke from his shoulders and struck the fetters from his limbs.
IV. THE SENTENCE PRONOUNCED AGAINST NATIONAL GUILT. "I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God," etc. This judgment proceeds on two principles. The one is a personal degradation: "I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God." It is national irreligion. The privileges of the Gospel have been neglected or despised; they shall be removed; they shall be insulted no longer; the prosperity that made them of no account shall be withdrawn also. The other principle on which judgment proceeds is relative, commercial, colonial, bears expressly upon the point discussed. "Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries," etc. Every part of this sentence is full of meaning. It is the soul that has been trifled with; it is the blood of souls that is required; it is the blood of the souls of "poor innocents," who knew not what they did, abandoned to ignorance, to negligence, to misery. The negligence is palpable, multiplied; the consequences deplorable; yet insensibility and security fortify the guilty city, even in the midst of impending retribution; and they justify themselves under the scrutiny of that eye from which nothing can be concealed. The judgment threatened is just. Again, as in a glass, the crimes, the danger, and the duty of the country are alike apparent, and the religious claims of her colonies depicted. Jerusalem is not, because of these oppressions, combined with this other neglect of the souls of those depending upon her; and shall we altogether escape?
V. AN IRRESISTIBLE APPEAL TO HER CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES. "Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God." This is the highest of all possible distinctions; the greatest of all possible blessings. And if it were but a presumptuous imagination in the heart of the king of Tyre, or a figure the strongest that could be imagined, of security and felicity, it is unquestionably a reality with us, a reality in respect to privilege; whether a reality in respect to principle, remains to be perceived, and will be determined by the hold which the appeal, So irresistible in its own nature, made to these principles in reference to these claims, shall have upon the conviction, the concurrence. and the energies of the nation at large, and upon the hearts, consciences, and exertions of professors of religion in particular. For it is the work of the nation, and it is the work of the nation in her magnitude, and it has wherewithal to occupy all the labour and talent that can be brought to bear upon it. Here differences should be merged in the prominent object of general concernment, of universal utility, and faithful allegiance to our common Lord. Here, if ever, all envy and strife, all doubts and surmisings, all malice and evil speaking — at all times so unbecoming the Gospel of Christ, so unworthy Christian character, so hateful in themselves, so pernicious in their effects, so opposed to the spirit of our Master — should be laid aside; remembering, that during the time that is consumed in contention the work of God must stand still. Here there should be no emulation, but such as should call forth holy ardour and brotherly affections and stir up to love and to good works.
(W. B. Collyer, D. D.)
PeopleDaniel, Ezekiel, Jacob, Zidon
PlacesSidon, Tigris-Euphrates Region, Tyre
TopicsAccount, Beautiful, Beauty, Behold, Brightness, Cast, Corrupted, Evil, Exposed, Feast, Gaze, Ground, Hast, Heart, Kings, Laid, Lay, Lifted, Low, Proud, Reason, Sake, Sin, Spectacle, Splendor, Threw, Wisdom
Outline1. God's judgment upon the prince of Tyrus for his sacrilegious pride
11. A lamentation of his great glory corrupted by Sidon
20. The judgment of Zion
24. The restoration of Israel
Dictionary of Bible ThemesEzekiel 28:17
5033 knowledge, of good and evil
Text: Philippians 2, 5-11. 5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; 8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; 10 that …
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II
The Doctrine of Satan.
Sign Seekers, and the Enthusiast Reproved.
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