As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah.…
1. The Church, like a parent of a family, gives a volume into the hands of those who join her communion, bidding them receive it as Divine, and study it as the word which can alone guide them to glory. And her members, like the children of the household, have no better reason, at first, for receiving the Bible as inspired, than because they have heard so in the city of the Lord. They yield so much of respect to the directions of their authorized teachers, or to the impressions which have been graven on them from infancy, as to give their homage to a volume which is presumed to bear so lofty a character. But then, though it may thus be on hearsay that they first receive the Bible as inspired, it is not on hearsay that they continue to receive it. We speak of those in whom the Word has "wrought effectually"; and we confidently affirm of them, that, though at one time they believed in the inspiration of the canonical Scriptures, because their parents taught it, or their ministers maintained it, yet now are they in possession of a personal experimental evidence, which is thoroughly conclusive on this fundamental point.
2. But there is yet a more obvious application of the words of our text. It is said of God by Solomon that He "requireth that which is past." He seeks again that which is past, recalling, as it were, the proceedings, whether in judgment or mercy, of departed ages, and repeating them to the present generation. And it is on this account that there is such value in the registered experience of the believers of other days, so that the biography of the righteous is among the best treasures possessed by a church. It is, in one sense at least, a vast advantage to us that we live late in the world. We have all the benefit of the spiritual experience of many centuries, which has been bequeathed to us as a legacy of more worth than large wealth or far-spreading empire. We have not, therefore, to tread a path in which we have had but few precursors. Far as the eye can reach, the road we have to traverse is crowded with beckoning forms, as though the sepulchres gave up their host of worthies that we might be animated by the view of the victorious throng. And this is an advantage which it is hardly possible to overrate. You have only to add to this an acquaintance with the unchangeableness of God, and there seems all that can be needed to the encouragement and. confidence of the righteous.
3. If there be one passage of Scripture which we venture to put into the lips of redeemed men in glory, it is our text; in tiffs instance we may be confident that the change from earth to heaven will not have made the language of the one unsuited to the other. Oh, as the shining company take the circuit of the celestial city; as they "walk about Zion, and go round about her," telling the towers thereof, marking well her bulwarks, and considering her palaces; who can doubt that they say one to another, "as we have heard, so have we seen in the city of our God"? We heard that here "the wicked cease from troubling," and now we behold the deep rich calm. We heard that here we should be with the Lord, and now we see Him face to face. We heard that here we should know, and now the ample page of universal truth is open to our inspection. We heard that here, with the crown on the head, and the harp in the hand, we should execute the will and hymn the praises of our God, and now we wear the diadem, and wake the melody.
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah.