At that time the Book of Moses was read aloud in the hearing of the people, and in it they found the passage stating that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God,
I. THE TRUE RELIGIOUS REFORMATION, both negative and positive.
1. Abuses must be vigorously attacked and cleansed away. The house of God has to be purified of strangers. The neglect of discipline a terrible evil. Unfaithful ministers the curse of the Church. The "mixed multitude" is no strength to Jerusalem, but weakness. The observance of the sabbath. To the Jew a typical commandment, which represented obedience altogether. While days cannot possess the same place under the new dispensation, there is guardianship of the day of rest which is absolutely necessary for the life of religion. In all active efforts of reformation personal caprice and mere self-assertion must be renounced. The open Bible must be the strong basis of operations, the unfailing armoury from which the weapons are taken. On that simply dependent, the true reformer can be bold, energetic, uncompromising, intolerant of evil, driving out the violators of God's law and defilers of his temple. We have a great example of consuming zeal in the Lord himself.
2. All really religious reformation will be constructive as well as destructive. The evil driven away will come back finding "the house empty and garnished" unless it be possessed by the spirit of active obedience. The only principle upon which we can keep out abuse is that of the right use of the things before abused. This applies to the service of God's house, to the observance of the sabbath, and to the purity of communion among God's people. Nehemiah re-established the true order of religious life. The safety of the Church lies in its activity and development according to the word of God. All living growth is defence against attack and decay.
II. THE TRUE MEMORIAL BEFORE GOD AND MAN. "Remember me, Lord, for good."
1. We should cast ourselves on the faithfulness of God. Men forget one another. God rewards his servants.
2. To hold a place among the honoured names of God's word, to be in the line of the great succession, is more than all that this world can offer us.
3. God's blessing descends to future generations. We build a monument in the characters and lives of those we leave behind us. - R.
And both the singers.
I. The ministers were more careful than they had been of their work. Ii. The people were more careful than they had been of the maintenance of their ministers. The surest way for ministers to recommend themselves to their people, and gain an interest in their affections, is to wait on their ministry, to be humble and industrious, and to mind their business; when these did so, the people thought nothing too much for them to encourage them.
1. Care is here taken for the collecting of their dues.
2. Care is taken that, being gathered in, it might be duly paid out.
For in the days of David and Asaph of old.
Homiletic Commentary.I. NOTHING IS NECESSARILY GOOD BECAUSE IT IS OLD. "Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?" Habit, education, tradition, prejudice, play an important part in history.
II. THAT WHICH IS OLD IS PRESUMPTIVELY VALUABLE. Good lasts. Truth is as old as the hills. Application: Prove all things. Despise nothing. The present is a huge borrower from the dead past.
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