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be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Affyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem ; referring to Cyrus's proclamation for liberty; or the general alarm and fummons to the congregations of Israel, who were gathered together by trumpets, and has a reference to their conversion in the latter day.
R E F L E C TI ON S.
E have reason to rejoice in God's care of the
church, amidft all its dangers and distresses. It is valuable in itself, and dear to him. Many attempts have been made to hurt and destroy his vineyard, or to prevent its fruitfulness; but he guards it with a watchful eye, and waters it by his ordinances, his word, and fpirit, without which it would wither. If its enemies combine against it, he has a great and strong sword with which to punish them. We should therefore triumph in the security of the church, and encourage ourselves in the Lord its God, when it seems to be in the greatest danger; and earnestly pray, that that part of the vineyard with which we are connected may be daily kept and watered by him.
2. We see what encouragement there is for finners to return to God. They are enemies to him, and he is angry with them: but peace may be made, and it is of the utmost importance that it be made in time. It becomes them to humble themselves before God, that the stroke of his mighty hand may be averted, and his strength employed for their defence and happiness. Fury is not in him, or who could stand ? He is willing to be reconciled; so that if finners continue enemies to him, it is their own fault, and he will destroy them as easily and entirely as fire does briers and thorns. Agree then with thine adversary quickly, and be at peace, and thereby good shall come unto thee.
3. We are again taught the nature and design of affliction. The end of God in his corrections is to take away fin, to lead men to put away their iniquities with shame and deteftation, and never return to them any more.
Then our aficions do us good when they purge away our int.
quity : and therefore when we are afflicted we should fearch and try our ways, and turn again unto the Lord. To good men God moderates afflictions, prunes them in measure and mercy, and tempers the fury of the storm.
the fury of the storm. Afflictions are quite different in their effects upon good and bad men; they are not smitten alike, tho' it may seem so to us. God's intentions to his children are friendly; all shall issue well, and work together for their good.
4. How vain are all those hopes of finners which are only grounded on the mercy of God and his being their creator. It is very common for men to express a hope of being saved because God is their creator, and because he is merciful; while they go on in their trespasses, and are destitute of repentance and faith. But if that mercy be not earnestly fought, and those fins put away which disqualify them from being the objects of it, they will not find it: and tho'God formed them, yet as they do not answer the end for which they were made, but daily affront their Maker, he will show them no favour. Let us then not de. ceive ourselves, but labour to be wise, understanding what the will of the Lord is, and be stedfast and immoveable in our obedience to it.
CH A P. XXVIII. The prophecies in this and the following chapters, to the thirtieth,
relate principally to the invasion of Judea by Sennacherib; but are not arranged in the order they were delivered.
O E to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of
Ephraim, whose glorious beauty [is] a fading flower, which [are] on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine! that is, woe to the proud kingdom of the ten tribes, among whom drunkenness much prevailed; Samaria, so beautifully fituated on a hill,
with a fine vale below it, shall be destroyed by the Asyrians. 2 Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one,
(which) as a tempest of hail [and] a destroying storm, as a food of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down
to the earth with the hand; as easily as an earthen vessel 3 is dashed to the ground. The crown of pride, the drun4 kards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet: And
the glorious beauty, which [is] on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, (and) as the hasty fruit before the summer ; it shall be as easily and quickly destroyed as early fruit; or it may be rendered, the glorious beauty on their head, that is, the garland, shall be a fading flower, and the fat valley shall be as hasty fruit, that is soon ripe and foon destroyed: which (when) he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it
up. 5 In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of
glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of
his people, Judah Mall enjoy his favour and protektion, 6 And for a spirit of judgment to him that fitteth in judg
ment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate ; Hezekiah and his counsellors shall be wise, Mall repet the invaders, and carry the war into the country of
their enemies. 7
But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; Judah also is guilty of this detestable crime of drunkenness; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed
up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble [in] 8 judgment; they neither teach nor judge aright. For all
tables are full of vomit [and] filthiness, (so that there 9 is) no place [clean.] Whom shall he, that is, any man,
teach knowledge ? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? (them that are] weaned from the milk, [and] drawn from the breast; notwithstanding their ad
vantages they are but like children learning their first rudi. Io ments. For precept (must be) upon precept, precept
upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little; the fame things must be often
inculcated upon them, in the plainest manner, and yet all in 11 vain: For with stammering lips and another tongue
will he speak to this people; he will send foreign enemies 12 among them, whose language they shall not understand. To.
whom * The apostle applies this to the abuse of the gift of tongues, which made that a curse which was intended for a blessing.
whom he said, This [is] the rest (wherewith) ye may cause the weary to rest; and this [is] the refreshing; tho' he had told them their duty often and plainly, had given
then great encouragement, and had promised them rest ana 13 refreshment, yet they would not hear. But the word of
the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken; re
je&ting God's word and despising his methods of instruction, 14 will be the cause of their calamity. Wherefore hear the
word of the Lord, ye- fcornful men, that rule this
people which [is] in Jerusalem ; ye chief magistrates, that 15 Scorn my threatening s. Because ye have said, We have made
a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; 3 we have taken as effe&tual methods to secure ourselves from
danger, as if we had done so ; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood, that
is, idols and foreign alliances, have we hid ourselves. 16
Therefore thus faith the Lord God, I will direct you to a surer refuge, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner (stone,] a fure foundation : he that believeth shall not make haste;
Shall not hurry to and fro, fall not be confounded. 17
Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet; that is, I will deal with you in strict justice; an allufion to builders : and the hail thall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow
the hiding place; my judgments Mall be like a storm of hail, 18 or a flood that carries all before it. And your covenant
with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge
shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by 19 it; it shall suddenly overwhelm you like an inundation. From
the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night. and it shall be a vexation only [to] understand the report; when
you think you have put it by, it shall turn again with greater fury: even the report of its coming upon others
Jhall Mall vex you, and occasion painful fears. Some render it,
nothing but vexation will make you understand instruction.' 20 For the bed is shorter than that sa man) can stretch
himself (on it:) and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself (in it.] A proverbial expression, as
if he had said, All your stratagems and confederacies fall 21 fail
. For the Lord shall rife up as (in) mount Perazim, where David New the Philistines, he shall be wroth as [in] the valley of Gibeon, where Joshua destroyed the Canaanites, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act; when God's profeffing people are hypocrites, he will treat them as he used to do their enemies; though this is strange work, disagreeable
to him, and such as his people hath not been used to feel, yet 22 it is necessary. Now therefore be ye not mockers,
left your bands be made strong; left you be brought under a foreign yoke : for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth, or the whole land, that is, against the two remaining tribes, as well as the ten which I have prophesied against before. The prophet then concludes with a beautiful parable; which is designed to show, that as the husbandman has times and methods for ploughing and manuring the ground, sowing and threshing the grain, and the like, so God has seafons of mercy and judgment, and takes different measures for amenda
ment or destruction. 23
Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear 24 my speech. Doth the ploughman plough all day, or
every day, to fow? doth he every day open and break the 25 clods of his ground? When he hath made plain the face
thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley, or, the wheat in the principal place, and
barley in the appointed place, and the rye in their place ? 26 For his God doth instruct him to discretion, [and] 27 doth teach him. For the fitches are not threshed with
a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about
upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod; different kinds of threshing instruments are used, according to the kind and