Psalm 87:5
And it will be said of Zion: "This one and that one were born in her, and The Most High Himself will establish her."
Sermons
Fragrant Memories of Spiritual Birth-PlacesBishop Phillips Brooks.Psalm 87:5
The Church of To-DayZ. T. Dowen, D. D.Psalm 87:5
The Church's FruitfulnessS. Charnock.Psalm 87:5
The Church's StabilityS. Charnock.Psalm 87:5
Zion a Type of the ChurchEssex RemembrancerPsalm 87:5
A Material Portrait of the Spiritual ChurchHomilistPsalm 87:1-7
The City of GodJ. O. Keen, D. D.Psalm 87:1-7
The Glory of the ChurchC. Short Psalm 87:1-7
The Habitation of GodS. Conway Psalm 87:1-7


Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. In this joyous exclamation the poet of Hezekiah's time gathers up the joy of the kingdoms round Palestine, which were relieved of their anxiety by Jehovah's humiliation of Assyria. Jerusalem became the praise of everybody. It had become the champion deliverer of the nations. Its God had brought it glory. To it every eye was gratefully turned. We may think what things were then said; and let them suggest things that may rightly be said now of our "city of God."

I. GLORIOUS THINGS WERE BEING SAID OF THE CITY ITSELF. Events had turned everybody's eyes towards it, and everybody began to see that "beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion." Give account of the very striking position of the city; its remarkable hills, precipices, and valleys; and, according to the taste of the age, the architectural grandeur of its temple, its palaces, and its towers. When we feel kindly towards a place or person, it is astonishing what excellent and lovely things we can find in them. The church building in which we worship may really be a very plain and poor building, but if it proves the house of God to us, we soon think it beautiful, and almost worship its very stones.

II. GLORIOUS THINGS WERE BEING SAID OF THE GOD OF THE CITY. Recall the idea of the age, that the gods were limited to particular cities and countries. So outsiders associated Jehovah with Jerusalem and the Israelites, and, in recognizing the deliverance which came to them through Israel, recognized it as the work of Israel's God. See by way of illustration, how Nebuchadnezzar demands praise of Jehovah, when some mighty work has shown his superiority to all surrounding gods. Work out what things the nations round were likely to say of the God of Hezekiah. His power was declared. His concern for his people was declared. His sovereign rights were declared. His mercy was declared. God as Deliverer and Redeemer was declared. So now, if the attention of men is directed to us, to our example, our enterprise, our energy, our success, it should be our supreme anxiety that the glorious things they say of us should really be said of our God, and of his grace in us. Observe this, too, that the triumph over Sennacherib was not something which Hezekiah's people had accomplished in their own strength, but something which Jehovah had accomplished through them and for them. They had, therefore, no right to take the "glorious things that were spoken" to themselves. Nor have we. Look as we may on what has been accomplished, we are compelled to say, "What hath God wrought?" And all the glorious things spoken of us we turn away, and have spoken of him. - R.T.









And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her.
I. THE CHIEF WORK AND TRUEST DIGNITY OF THE CHURCH LIES IN HER REGENERATION AND SAVING ENERGY. In imitation of the example of her Lord, she has reached, and is reaching now, those whom philosophers and poets, statesmen and even philanthropists, had designated "the lapsed and incorrigible classes." Where schools of philosophy and codes of law have utterly and ignominiously failed to kill the virus of some moral epidemic, the religion of Christ has succeeded, the Gospel of Christ has proved an unfailing remedy.

II. THE CONVERSION OF MEN SHOULD BE THE FIRST AIM OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.

III. THIS SHOULD BE THE GREAT AIM OF ALL RELIGIOUS EFFORT. We need more of the spirit of the sainted Alleine, who said "he was insatiably greedy for the salvation of souls"; or of Matthew Henry, who said "he would deem it a greater happiness to gain one soul to Christ than thousands of gold and silver."

IV. THE DIGNITY AND WORK OF THE CHURCH LIES WITH ITS INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS — "THIS AND THAT MAN." The Church of every age can boast of names whose loss would be a loss to mankind. Time would fail to tell of Paul, the eloquent apostle of the Gentiles; , the faithful disciple of John; , the great defender of the faith; , Luther, Wycliffe, Knox, Wesley and Whitefield, and a host of others, of whom we say with pride, "this and that man," etc.

V. THE TRUE INSPIRATION IN THE CHURCH IS SPIRITUAL AND SUPERNATURAL, I have seen an unfilled balloon lying limp and useless on the ground. I have seen the same material expanded and floating gracefully far away above the toil and sin of earth. So have I seen the Church lying limp and lifeless, an object of loathing to some and pity to others. I have seen the same Church filled by the breath of God warm and full, no longer pitied, but admired as the centre of life and hope for a weary world.

(Z. T. Dowen, D. D.)

Essex Remembrancer.
Contemplate Zion in regard to —

I. HER CONVERTS. They are born, as it were, into a new world. The subjects of this change have new attachments and aversions; new joys and sorrows; new fears and hopes. They are actuated by new motives; and having experienced such a change in the inward man, they will manifest it in the whole of their deportment.

II. HER PERPETUITY.

III. HER FINAL TRIUMPH. We may infer this from —

1. The faithfulness of God to His promises.

2. The firm basis on which religious liberty rests in our day, and the growing intelligence of the age respecting the spiritual nature and the Scriptural means of supporting the Church of Christ.

3. The more abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit with which we believe God will bless His Church.

4. The prayers offered and the efforts made for the religious interests of the neighbourhood.

(Essex Remembrancer.)

1. In regard of the eminency of her births, she is not wholly barren; she bath her births of men, and worthy men. The carnal world hath not exceeded the Church in men of raised intellectuals; Zion hath not been a city of fools.

2. In regard to the multitude of them; "this and that man," of all sorts and conditions, and multitudes of them, so that "more are the children of the desolate than of the married wife." The tents were prophesied to be enlarged, the curtains of the habitations of Zion to be stretched out, and her cords to be lengthened, to receive and entertain that multitude of children that should be brought forth by her after the sacrifice of the Son of God (Isaiah 54:1, 2); for that exhortation follows upon the description of the death and exaltation of Christ (Isaiah 53.).

(S. Charnock.)

There is nothing strange in the halo of dearness which, to every Christian, hangs around the scenes with which the beginning of his new life is associated. The place where two friends first met is sacred to them all through their friendship, all the more sacred as their friendship deepens and grows old. Only the last day shall tell how much of earth is hallowed ground. This is what makes the old churches holy with an accumulated sacredness which surpasses their first consecration. Who can tell how many this church of ours will find among the blessed to honour and treasure her for ever, that she may not be forgotten when the birthplaces of souls are remembered?

(Bishop Phillips Brooks.)

And the Highest Himself shall establish her
I. THE EXPLICATION.

1. This stability must not be meant of any particular Church in the world. Particular Churches have their beginnings, progresses, and periods. Particular Churches have been corrupted by superstition and idolatry, rent by heresies, and scattered by persecutions, Zion hath stood, though some synagogues of it have been pulled down; it hath, like the sun, kept its station in the firmament, though not without eclipses and clouds to muffle it. The Church is but one, though it be in divers countries, and named according to the places where it resides, as the Church of Ephesus, the Church of Sardis, etc. If you obstruct the light of one beam, or lop off one branch, or dam up the stream, yet the sun, root, fountain remains the same.

2. Though God unstakes the Church in one place, yet He will not only have a Church, but a professing Church in another. It is a standing law of Christianity that a belief in the heart should be attended by confession with the mouth (Romans 10:9). And the Church is a congregation of people sounding the voice of Christ, as He was preached and confessed by the apostles. While there are believers, there will be professors in society together; some ordinances settled in being during the continuance of the world, as the supper (1 Corinthians 11:6).

3. This Church or Zion shall have a numerous progeny. The spiritual Israel shall be "as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered" (Hosea 1:10), which was the promise made to Abraham (Genesis 22:17), and renewed in the same terms to Jacob (Genesis 32:12). The Church is a little flock in comparison of the carnal world, yet it is numerous in itself, though not in every place.

II. GOD HAS HITHERTO ESTABLISHED ZION.

1. This is testified by its present standing, when other empires have sunk by age or violence. She bath borne up her head in the midst of earthly revolutions, and met with her preservation or resurrection where carnal interests have found their funeral.

2. No society but the Church ever subsisted in the midst of a multitude of enemies.

3. The violences against her, which have been fatal to other societies, have been useful to her. This bush hath burned without consuming, and preserved its verdure in the midst of fire; not from the nature of the bush, but the presence of Him that dwelt in it.

4. When she has seemed to be forlorn and dead, God has restored her. When Israel was at the lowest, a decree issued out in Egypt to destroy her males and root out her seed, deliverance began to dawn; and when a knife was at her throat at the Red Sea, and scarce a valiant believer found among a multitude of despairers, God turned the back of the knife to His Israel, and the edge to the throat of the enemies.

5. God never wanted instruments for His Church in the due season. If Nebuchadnezzar be the axe to hew down Jerusalem, Cyrus shall be the instrument to build her up; when His time is come, He will not want an Ezra and Nehemiah to rear her walls, nor be wanting to them to inspire them with courage and assist their labour, in spite of the adversaries that would give checkmate to the work. If Stephen be stoned by the Sews, He will call out Paul, an abettor of that murder, to be a preacher of the Gospel, and he that was all fire against it shall become as great a flame for the propagation of it: one phoenix shall arise out of the ashes of another.

III. WHY IT MUST NEEDS BE SO.

1. It is necessary for the honour of God. Those societies may moulder away, and those religions grow feeble, which have drawn their birth from the wisdom of man and been settled from the force of man, but a Divine work must needs have a Divine establishment.. It is so —

(1)If you regard it as His main design in the creation of the world.

(2)As He hath been the author and builder of Zion.

(3)As He hath been the preserver and enlarger of her to this day.

(4)In regard of the cost and pains He hath been at about Zion.

(5)In regard of faithfulness, His veracity is engaged.

(6)In regard it is the seat of His glory.

(7)In regard that it is the object of His peculiar affection.

(8)In regard of the natural weakness of the Church.

2. It is for the exercise of the offices of Christ that Zion should be established. He is prophet, priest, and king, which are all titles of relation. Prophet implies some to be instructed, a priest some to offer for, and a king some to be ruled; put one relation, and you must necessarily put the other. If there were no Church preserved in the world, He would be a nominal prophet without any disciples, a king without subjects, and a priest without suppliants to be atoned by Him upon earth.

3. The foundation of Zion is sure. It is founded upon Christ, the corner stone.

IV. THE USE,

1. Information.(1) If the Church hath a duration and stability, then ordinances and ministry are perpetual. Ministers may be thrust into corners, clapped up in prison, hurried to their graves, but the sepulchres of ministers are not the graves of the ministry.(2) The doctrine of the establishment of every member of Zion is clearly established. The same blood that is the cement of Zion, the same hand that built her, the same head that influenceth her, secures every one of her true-born children. They are all in the same posture and upon the same foundation with Zion herself.(3) How great is the folly of Zion's enemies! They judge of her by the weakness of her worldly interest, and not by the almightiness of her guardian.(4) What a ground is here for prayer! No petition can more comfortably, no petition can more confidently, be put up, than for Zion's establishment. Prayers for particular persons, or for ourselves, may want success; but supplications for Zion never miscarry.(5) What a strong ground is here for trust! Look not so much upon the condition of Zion's walls as upon her foundation; not upon her present posture, as upon her promise-charte; not upon her as a weak vine, but under the hand of the Highest as the vine-dresser. Look not upon the feebleness of the flock, but upon the care of the shepherd; nor upon the fierceness of the lions, but upon the strength and affection of her guardian.

2. Comfort.(1) In the confusions and troubles of the world.(2) In persecutions.(3) In the deepest designs of her enemies. If He be the Highest, and employs Himself as the Highest, there is none so high as to overtop Him, none so high as to outwit Him. Though their union be never so close, and their projects never so deep, yet God's being with the Church is curb enough for them and comforting enough for Zion (Isaiah 8:9).

3. Exhortation.(1) Take heed of apostatizing from Zion.(2) Let us love Zion.(3) Let us desire the establishment of Zion more than our own private establishment.(4) Let us endeavour the establishment of Zion.

(S. Charnock.)

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