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28 strength of the grain. Bread (corn) is bruised; because
he will not ever be threshing it, nor break (it with] the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it [with] his horfemen; bread corn must be bruised in a mortar, or ground in a mill,
because other instruments are not capable of making it small 29 enough. This skill in husbandry, or rather, this judgment
and consumption, also cometh forth from the Lord of
of drunkenness. It overcomes men, deprives them of their reason, stupifies their understandings, leads them into fatal errors, and exposes them to the practice of every iniquity. Of all drunkards, those of Ephraim were the worst; they were God's professing people, had been better instructed than others, and should therefore have fet an example of temperance and sobriety. The word of God pronounces a woe upon such ; and the new Testament assures us that they shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Let us all therefore be warned, and take heed to ourselves, left at any time our hearts are overcharged with gluttony and drunkenness, and that day of judgment come upon us unawares,
2. We learn how graciously God condescends to teach men their duty; he gives precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little ; he gives his instructions in a plain, concise manner; and they are often repeated; both to help our memories and impress our hearts. Thus should parents teach their children, and not overburden their memories and confound their judgments. Thus also should ministers teach their hearers; give them short, plain, familiar views of their duty; and frequently repeat their admonitions, even tho' some nicer hearers may nauseate them. The design of all is to afford present refreshment, and lead to eternal rest. But if men will not hear, they will be broken, and snared, and taken; and the word will be a favour of death unto death to their souls.
3. Let us regard the Lord Jesus Christ as a sure foundation stone, and trust in him. The sixteenth verfe is expressly applied to him in the new Testament. He is a corner stone, which unites and supports the whole building ; precious in the sight of God and all true believers: he is a fure stone, that cannot be broken or removed. He that builds his final hopes on this foundation shall not be confounded; but whatever else we build upon, it will be a refuge of lies, which the hail will fweep away.
There is no fecurity but in Christ; and blessed are all they that trust in him.
4. We see the danger of making a jest of the word of God. There were scornful men in Jerusalem, who ridi. culed the prophet's reproofs and admonitions, therefore God made their bands strong; and gave them up to their hearts' lusts. They were held in fetters of iniquity, as well as made captives by the Assyrians. We should be particularly cautious against this fin.
If what ministers say should not be quite agreeable to our inclinations, or their manner to our taste, we should not be mockers. Serious things must not be turned into a jest; for God and his word jest with no man. What is honestly intended oughti to be well taken, and what is seriously spoken ought to be feriously regarded. When men despise the word, and become fermon-proof, sin gains dominion over them; and whether they heed and believe them or not, the threatenings of God shall be executed, and the consumption determined shall destroy them.
5. God is to be acknowledged in all the skill and fagacity of mankind ; and in the different circumstances and conditions of human life. The business of the husbandman seems to require no great instruction or discretion, but in reality it does ; and it is to be wished, that farmers would not plod on in the way of their fathers, without considering how far it is right; but endeavour by reading, experience, and observation to improve upon it. Especially should they ask instruction and discretion from God in their business, and give him praise for their success. Let the different dispensations of providence to us, to our friends, and to the world, be considered as the appointments of
him who is wonderful in counsel; that we may not mourn and complain, but in patience polless our fouls, and cheerfully commit all events to God, who gives men all their wisdom and understanding, and must himself be infinitely wise,
CHA P. XXIX. This prophecy refers to the Asyrian invasion. It contains pro
mises and threatenings, reproofs and encouragements, according to the character of the people. W ye ,
OE to Ariel, to Ariel, the city (where] David dwelt! Y add
ye year to year ; let them kill facrifices; go up regularly to your solemn feasts, and kill fa
crifices as usual, but all will be in vain while you continue 2 hypocritical ; for Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall
be heaviness and sorrow; notwithstanding this your formal worship, wherein you confide so much, both city and temple Shall be brought into great straits: and it shall be unto me as Ariel; both “Jerusalem and the neighbourhood about it soall be like the altar, filled with the bodies of dead men;
many shall be killed in sallying out, and many die within the 3 city. And I will camp against thee round about, and
will lay fiege against thee with a mount, and I will raise 4 forts against thee. And thou shalt be brought down,
[and] Thalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech thall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath, a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust; thou shalt
be very humble, and speak low, thro' faintness or fear of 5 the enemy; yet God will deliver thee. Moreover the
multitude of thy strangers shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones [shall be) as chaff that
passeth away : yea, it shall be at an instant suddenly; re6 ferring to the destru&tion of the Assyrians. Thou shalt be
visited of the Lord of hosts with thunder, and with VOL. V.
earthquake, Ariel fignifies, the Lion of God; it means Jerusalem, and has a particular reference to the altar of burnt offerings there, which consumed the sacrifices,
earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, 7 and the flame of devouring fire. And the multitude
of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that
fight against her and her munition, and that distress her, 8 shall be as a dream of a night vision. It shall even be
as when an hungry [man] dreameth, and, behold, he eateth ; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty (man) dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, (he is] faint, and his soul hath appetite : so Thall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion; their hopes shall be disappointed; they think to enrich themselves with its Spoil, and swallow it up in their imagination, but they shall
be deceived, and their disappointment be the more grievous. 9 Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry:
they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but
not with strong drink; referring to the stupidity of the peo10 ple in the midst of these alarming providences. For the
Lord hath poured upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered; that is, God hath given them up to a stupid, heavy, senseless temper, and permitted
the eyes of their understanding to be covered, because they II would not consider. And the vision of all is become unto
you as the words of a book that is sealed, which [men]
deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray 12 thee: and he faith, I cannot; for it [is] sealed: And
the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. Tho' the learned know it to be a book that is a prophecy, and an important one too, yet they are not desirous nor willing to read it; and the unlearned complain that it is dark and obscure, above their capacities, and therefore they give themselves no concern about it; thus the prejudices of the learned,
and the ignorance of the unlearned, will defeat the end of the 13 prophet's instructions. Wherefore the Lord said, For
asmuch as this people draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men, by false prophets, or tra- =
14 ditions of their teachers, as our Lord explains it: There
fore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, [even] a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise [men) shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent [men] shall be hid; because they will not understand, they shall not; their fins shall be their punishment : and this shall be a marvellous thing, the people Mall lose their understanding in
a wonderful degree, especially those who are now famous for 15. it. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their coun
sel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Woe to the politicians who think God does not know their schemes, and who have formed them without any regard to his word, his prophets, or his providence; who know their
counsels are not agreeable to his will, and therefore 16 conceal them. Surely your turning of things upside
down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work fay of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding ? Their inverting the order of things, and leaving God out of their politicks, without whom they have no more power to do any thing than clay has without the potter, is in effet denying him to be their creator, or deny
ing his wisdom. 17 [Is] it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall
be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest ? A proverbial expression of a great and surprising alteration, and is applicable both to the
happy consequences of Sennacherib's defeat, and Hezekiah's 18 forwarding a reformation among them. And in that day
Thall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes
of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of dark19 ness. The meek also shall increase (their) joy in the
LORD, and the poor among men fall rejoice in the
humble fouls shall learn God's will, shall do it, and rejoice in 20 it.
For the terrible one, the Assyrian enemy abroad, is brought to nought, and the scorner, at home, is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity, for opportunities