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The Burden in Word and in Wear

The Burden in Word and in Wear

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. JOSEPH ODELL

The burden of the Word of the Lord." — Zechariah xii., 1.
BY REV. JOSEPH ODELL

The burden of the Word of the Lord." — Zechariah xii., 1.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 10, 2014
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THE BURDE I WORD AD I WEAR. BY REV. JOSEPH ODELLThe burden of the Word of the Lord." — Zechariah xii., 1. What wonderful men those ancient prophets were ; how lonely, solemn, honest and fearless ! God's men, possessing within them the inspiration of a Divine call, and hot with the action of a Divine fire, they went forth with commanding might and majesty to do God's work. As we read their prophecies in these distant days the men start up before our minds and seem to live again. There is Isaiah, grown snowy white with age. He has seen kings die ; priests fall at the altar ; people of two generations pass away; yet he appears to grow young with whitening years and fresh- ens for his work with age, while in a foreign city and in the trials of captivity he moves from street to street, a grand example of open-air preaching, as with trumpet voice he tells the people of their sins, and points them to the coming Deliverer. There is Jeremiah also — that man of grief, that weeping seer ; he grew so full of sorrow at the approaching doom of the people that he could not tell it all ; — his preaching would have been choked by sighs and groans, so, taking a new parchment scroll, he writes God's message, and putting the ominous document under his arm, with downcast looks he ascends the temple steps and nails his message up ; then with streaming eyes and breaking heart he re- turns in loneliness to his home, awaiting the judgments of his God. And Ezekiel too, he began his work in the morning of his days, yet how manly and mature he looks ! he employs no half measures to convey God's truth ; he is very practical withal ; his faith is fully shown by his works, for having told his message, he moves all his goods from his house and then awaits in patience the visi- tation of the Lord. In this text Zechariah appears before us. The picture is a gloomy one ; he has seen better days ; when a 122 UDER CAVAS. young man, he took part in those stirring scenes of the return
 
from bondage and the rebuilding of the temple ; he has now fallen on evil days, and in his old age too ; for the people have forgotten their former mercies, they have deserted the temple and dishonored God. The good old man cannot endure this ; the bur- den of the Lord rests heavily upon him ; he cannot refrain ; his summons to reform falls with threatening, ominous tones upon the people; the heads of the nation were alarmed, but the people generally were so persistent in their course, that rather than re- form they mocked the messenger of God, and he, burdened with the word of the Lord, went sadly to his grave. These were the men ; they carried Divine truth with them ; this gave them their burdens : nor does it reduce their lives as examples for us, to say they were supernaturally endowed; it was this endowment that made them strong to meet the flood-tide of evil and scale the mountain barriers of idolatry. God gave them their hope and proved Himself their amulet and glory. The ministry of this day ought not to be regarded as so en- tirely dissimilar from those ancient prophets. Without the pro- phets' mien or garb, and without the prophets' miraculous power, we are, notwithstanding, called to as great a work ; and we have certainly the greater opportunities and the greatest privileges; supported by the accumulated experiences of the past, sustained by the Holy Spirit of God, carrying the solemn saving message of the Lord, we should feel like men wrapt in garments of flame. Ours should be words that would flash as the lightning, roll as the thunder and distil as the dew, and invariably as we weep be- tween the porch and the altar we also should feel the burden — " The burden €>f the Word of the Lord." ow, praying that this sense of responsibility may be mine ; conscious of the presence of beings from other worlds to watch the issues of this service, and oppressed with the knowledge that the delivery of this Word may decide your position in the scale of moral, intelligent and saved beings for evermore, I present to you " the burden of the Word of the Lord." We study the subject, first, as the burden in word. The word "burden" is of very simple and general application;
 
it cannot well be misunderstood ; it is often used by the prophets ; the meaning there varies according to the relation the word sus- tains. For instance, the responsibility that the prophets felt in their reception of the Word from God, and their official obligations made a burden for them ; the announcement and continued de- livery of the Word was a very burdensome duty to them ; the thought of the hardness and guiltiness of the people imposed a burden on them also ; the people too had their burdens; the law of God, the repetition of warning, the demands of righteousness THE BURDE I WORD AD I WEAR. 123 the people so frequently regarded as burdens ; the simple and faithful acceptance of the messages from God led to burdens of condemnation for past sins that none but God could remove ; hence, it seems perfectly natural for us to read of the burden in word. To some, however, there may appear a strange paradox in the burden of a word. What can be lighter than a word ? Words so quickly spoken and so soon forgotten ; a word is but a vibration on the air, it may be but a simple sound, — an articula- tion; where can be the burden of this AVord? Such, however, is but a partial view of the subject ; even small words may impose great burdens ; words have been uttered that have electrified the nations ; seas have bent beneath the weight of navies, and the thunder of artillery and the clash of warlike implements have drowned the thunders of the skies, and all has started by a few short words. The message wired from the President of this great commonwealth to all the States might paralyze the country for a time ; a few words, — just strokes of the pen from the Admiralty of Great Britain might close the naval yards of the country and desolate the homes of multitudes of families ; a few words spoken in Berlin and repeated in Paris, gave us all the shocking scenes of the Franco-German war. If such may be the weight of words spoken by mortals, what must be the burden of the Word of the King Eternal, Immortal, Invisible ? We now present you with a ponderous fact. We have a Word from the Lord! There is no clear ground for doubt upon the subject. Our Bible has stood the test of logical, critical, sceptical and friendly investigation ; fiend-

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