The Church the Rallying Point of Nations
Ezra 2:65-70
Beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven…

The temple and its worship marked the last days of the kingdom of the Jews anterior to their captivity, and formed the point around which the returning wanderers gathered at their restoration to the home of their fathers. So around the Church, the events of all successive empires have gathered since the day of Pentecost.

I. Every STATE OF IMPORTANCE, alike in ancient, mediaeval, or modern history HAS GATHERED ROUND THE CHURCH, AND HAS RECEIVED ITS SHAPE AND DEFINITENESS FROM HER. Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Greece, and Rome each became important in their different times in proportion as they were able to bless or to chasten the Church of God. The long dynasties that ruled on the banks of the Nile; the invasion of the Hyksos; the vast undertakings of Rameses or Amasis; the gigantic records of antiquity which rise in such sepulchral magnificence in Egypt from amidst her waste of sand; the high philosophy of one Ptolemy and the literary research of another, proclaim one after the other in successive generations the splendour of an empire whose principal end of existence was to aid in the throes of the early Church; to give a home to the famine.stricken patriarchs; to be a scourge in the successive invasions of Shishak, Pharaoh Hophra, and Pharaoh Necho, and to be the probation of the Jews when God ordained the Chaldean captivity. All these seem to have been the main objects for which Egypt existed as a nation. So in each successive period in after-history the Church became more and more the central body which gave shape to the kingdoms of the world, alike in mediaeval as in modern history. The vast multitudes from the north-east of Europe which swept like a bankless flood over the fertile plains of Italy, arrested by the walls of Constantinople or of Rome, or diverted by the intercession of or Gregory, became at length themselves children of the Church whom they had persecuted; and the imaginative genius of the Goth lent mellowness, sublimity, and tone to the architecture and service of the Church. Men who came to persecute remained to pray, and the Gothic invasion formed an era in ecclesiastical history. The kingdom of France beheld a repetition of the acts of in the conversion of ; and Clotilds and her husband resembled in the story of their conversion , king of Kent, and Bertha his wife. followed in the passage of years, in family as well as name mixed up with those who were giving protection to while they received their own definiteness from the Church of Christ. And the gifts of Pepin became a record to a long after-day of the power which the Church had to give shape to the early civilisation of Europe. From the death of Charlemagne throughout eight following centuries, the interests of Europe became synonymous with those of France or Germany, while they oscillated in alternating supremacy, each of them seeking the recognition of the Church for their claims. The Great Reformation which broke out over Northern and Western Europe bore upon the billows of its tempestuous sea the vessels that carried the destinies of Spain and Austria, France and England, and many of the minor states of Germany; while religious questions became the direct causes which shook the dynasty of the Stuarts, and agitated France through the illustrious periods of Catharine de Medici and Henry the Great and the imbecile reign of Louis XIII; while the names that have rendered so many pages of French history interesting — the Hugonot and Coligni, Conde and Turenne — were immediately brought out by questions connected with the doctrine and discipline of the Church in defence of which each one of them was brought before the notice of history.

II. THE CHURCH HAS IN HER THAT PRINCIPLE OF VITALITY WHICH GIVES HER THE POWER TO REKINDLE LIFE WHERE IT HAS BEEN EXTINCT, AND TO RECONSTRUCT THE SHATTERED PORTIONS OF FABRICS WHICH HAVE FALLEN TO DECAY. The children of Israel, leaving their patriarchal government at Goshen to enter upon that developed state of their history which was to issue in the kingly line of David, preserved their nationality and drew together their otherwise scattered forces around the tabernacle, the priesthood, and the lawgiver; and the Church of God became in the wilderness of Sinai the source and fountain of national life and existence to the tribes reseeking their home. A second time the chosen people were called upon to bewail their sins in a long captivity; a second time their national distinctiveness bid fair to be lost, but the voices of Daniel and Ezekiel sounded loudly to penitence and prayer by the Chebar and in Babylon. These were the voices of the Church of God — these represented that eternal principle around which national and individual existence might coil and find compactness. These were the forces from within which kept together the people of the captivity, and were the means of restoring them in their national integrity to their homes. Forlorn and orphaned indeed must the returning tribes have felt; like men who in the chill of the morning wander amid the fading flowers of the banquet of yesterday. At that moment the Church again became the centre of their national revival and around the foundation stones of the temple the scattered people again became a nation.

(E. Monro.).

Parallel Verses
KJV: Beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women.

WEB: besides their male servants and their female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty-seven: and they had two hundred singing men and singing women.

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