on Zechariah 8 :21
I will go also - This is the answer of the person invited. It is a good work. We must have God for our friend. We cannot expect this unless we seek him: and as we know not what an hour may bring forth, let us go speedily.
on Zechariah 8 :21
The inhabitants of one city shall go to another - It is one unresting extension of the fairly, the restlessness of faith and love. Osorius: "They shall not be satisfied with their own salvation, careless about the salvation of others; they shall employ all labor and industry, with wondrous love, to provide for the salvation of others as if it were their own." It is a marvelous stirring of minds. Missionary efforts, so familiar with us as to be a household word, were unknown then. The time was not yet come. "Before the faith" in Christ came, the Jewish people were not to be the converters of mankind. They were to await for Him, the Redeemer of the world, through whom and to whom they were to be first converted, and then the world through those who were of them. This mutual conversion was absolutely unknown. The prophet (see below on Zechariah 9:12) predicts certainly that it would be, and in God's time it was. "From you," Paul writes to a small colony in Greece, "sounded out the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad" 1 Thessalonians 1:8. "Your faith" Romans 1:8, he writes to the pagan capital of the world, "is spoken of throughout the whole world."
Within eighty years after our Lord's Ascension, the Roman governor of Bithynia reported, on occasion of the then persecution, that it spread as a contagion. Pliny ad. Trajan Eph. x. 97: "The contagion of that superstition traversed not cities only but villages and scattered houses too." Before the persecution, the temples had been desolated, the solemn rites long intermitted, the sacrificed animals had very rarely found a purchaser. An impostor of the same date says, , Pontus is full of atheists and Christians." "There is no one race of people," it was said before the middle of the second century , "whether Barbarians or Greeks or by whatsoever name called, whether of those wandering houseless tribes who live in wagons or those pastoral people who dwell in tents, in which there are not prayers and Eucharists to the Father and Creator of all things, through the name of the crucified Jesus." "The word of our teacher," said another, , "abode not in Judaea alone, as philosophy in Greece; but was poured out throughout the whole world, persuading Greeks and barbarians in their several nations and villages and every city, whole houses and each hearer individually, and having brought over to the truth no few even of the very philosophers. And if any ordinary magistrate forbid the Greek philosophy, immediately it vanishes; but our teaching, immediately at its first announcement, kings and emperors and subordinate rulers and governors with all their mercenaries and countless multitudes forbid, and war against us and try to extirpate; but it the rather flourishes."
The second century had not closed, before another said, , "We are a people of yesterday, and yet we have filled every place belonging to you, cities, islands, castles, towns, assemblies, your very camp, your tribes, companies, palace, senate, forum! We leave you your temples only. We can count your armies; our numbers in a single province will be greater." "People cry out that the state is beset; that the Christians are in their fields, in their forts, in their islands. They mourn, as for a loss, that every sex, age, condition, and now even rank is going over to this sect." : "On whom besides have all nations believed, except on Christ who hath already come?" Then having enumerated the nations mentioned in the Acts Act 2:9-11, he adds, "And now the varieties of the Getulians, and the many tracts of the Moors, all the bounds of the Spains, and the divers nations of the Gauls, and places of the Britons, unreached by the Romans but subdued to Christ; of Sarmatians, Dacians, Germans, and Scythians, and of many remote nations, and many provinces and islands, unknown to us, and which we can scarce enumerate. In all which places the name of Christ, who hath already come, reigneth, seeing that before Him the gates of all cities are opened and none are shut against Him, before whom "the bars of iron are broken in pieces and the gates of brass are opened" Isaiah 45:2.
In all these places dwelleth a people called by the name of Christ. For who could reign over all, save Christ the Son of God, who was foretold as about to reign over all nations forever?" Then having contrasted the limited rule of Solomon, Darius, the Pharaohs, Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander, "the Romans who protect their own empire by the strength of their legions and are unable to extend the might of their kingdom beyond these nations (Germans, Britons, Moors, Getulians), he sums up, "but the kingdom and the Name of Christ is extended everywhere, is believed in everywhere, is worshiped by all the nations above enumerated. Everywhere He reigns, everywhere is adored, is given everywhere equally to all. With Him no king hath greater favor; no Barbarian inferior joy; no dignities or birth enhance the merit of any; to all He is equal; to all, King; to all Judge; to all, God and Lord." A little later, a pagan owns, while calumniating, , "Those most foul rites of that impious coalition are growing throughout the whole world, as bad things come up most luxuriantly, evil ways creeping on daily." The Christian answers . "That our number increases daily, this is no imputation of error, but a testimony to praise. For in a good mode of life, its own persevere, aliens accrue to it."
Let us go on and on - Perseveringly, until we attain "to entreat the face of the Lord." It is not a Theism or Monotheism, but the God, who had revealed Himself to Israel, who, when our Lord came, was worshiped in Jerusalem, to which those invited say, "I too would go with thee." Yet not so, but the words seem to speak of that which is a special gift of the Gospel, continued progress, "forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, to press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us go on and on" Philippians 3:13-14; whence it is a Christian proverb, , "not to go on is to go back." : "The whole life of a good Christian is a holy longing to make progress." "The one perfection of man is, to have found that he is not perfect." : "If thou sayest, It sufficeth, thou art lost." : "To be unwilling to increase, is to decrease."
on Zechariah 8 :21
8:21 I will go also - The invited, shall with as much zeal embrace the motion, as others made it.