Verse 12. Walk about Zion; often beat her bounds, even as Israel marched around Jericho. With leisurely and careful inspection survey her. And go round about her. Encircle her again and again with loving perambulations. We cannot too frequently or too deeply consider the origin, privileges, history, security, and glory of the church. Some subjects deserve but a passing thought; this is worthy of the most patient consideration. Tell the towers thereof. See if any of them have crumbled, or have been demolished. Is the church of God what she was in doctrine, in strength and in beauty? Her foes counted her towers in envy first, and then in terror, let us count them with sacred exultation. The city of Lucerne, encircled by its ancient walls, adorned with a succession of towers, is a visible illustration of this figure; and as we have gone around it, and paused at each picturesque tower, we have realised the loving lingering inspection which the metaphor implies.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 12-13. In a spiritual sense the towers and bulwarks of Sion are those doctrines of the true faith, which are the strength and glory of the church, which are to be maintained in their soundness and stability against the assaults of heretical teachers, so that they may be transmitted unimpaired to following generations. Origen and Theodoret, quoted by Wordsworth.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- What is to be understood by the preservation and protection of the church?
- What is meant by searching into, and considering of, these causes and means of the church's preservation?
- What are those causes and means of the church's preservation, those towers and bulwarks which will not fail?
- What reason is there why we should thus search into and consider these causes of the church's preservation and protection?
- What is the testimony which we have to give concerning this matter to the ensuing generation? John Owen's Sermon.