Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

21 of fin and mischief, are cut off: That make a man an

offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that re

proveth in the gate, and turn afide the just for a thing 22 of nought. Therefore thus faith the LORD, who re

deemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob

shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now 23. wax pale. But when he seeth his children, the work

of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall fanctify
my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and
shall fear the God of Ifrael; a new generation of the
faithful shall spring up, who fall be in covenant with God,

and shall fanćtify him, and all good men fall rejoice in the 24 progress of the reformation. They also that erred in spirit

shall come to understanding, and they that murmured
shall learn doctrine; those who were formerly prejudiced
shall become humble; those who said the word is hard, or the
law unreasonable, shall find it otherwise, and be made wise
and good by it.

[ocr errors]




ROM this chapter we are taught the vanity and

wickedness of hypocritical devotion. The Israelites in their degenerated state went on, year after year, to kill and offer up facrifices; but all was in vain while they remained impenitent and unreformed. Thus vain will it be for men to go on in a round of religious services, while they do things that are unjust, impure, and sensual. May we guard against that detestable character described in v. 13. To worship God, is to draw nigh to him with an intent to honour him; but if the heart be not engaged, if that be absent, or unaffected, and we follow the precepts and cuf. toms of men, and not the rules of scripture, God will be highly displeased. It is 110 uncommon thing for persons to get a kind of mechanical habit of hearing and praying,

without 2 Those who opposed Hezekiah's reformation, and mocked the prophets, were glad to find any defects and imprudences in good men, that they might wound religion thereby: for this purpose they strained every word, and were especially glad to find any thing amifs in magistrates or minifters. Many of these were perhaps llain by the Assyrians.

without attention or seriousness, till they become quite stupid, and incapable of receiving any religious impreslion. He that does not grow better by religious services, grows worse, and is hardened by the deceitfulness of fin.

2. We see the constant dependance of the human mind upon God for all its thoughts and operations. He can easily close men's eyes, and stupify their understandings; can puzzle their politics, and confound their devices. They can no more do what they contrive and intend without him, than the clay can form itself without the potter. He can, on the other hand, enlighten the most stupid, and bring those that have erred to understand doĉtrine. This therefore should teach us to improve our wisdom and skill for God, and to pray daily to him, that he would enlighten our understandings, and direct our steps.

3. The great advantages of a meek, teachable disposition of mind are here set forth; particularly, as it will promote our cheerfulness. Those who are meek, poor in spirit, humble and patient, will have joy in the Lord; and that joy will increase as those graces do. But paffion, pride, and impatience are the greatest enemies to the soul in which they are indulged, and deprive it of real joy. Let us therefore learn of Christ to be meek and lowly in heart, and in patience to possess our souls; that, whatever our poverty or afflictions may be, we may rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of our salvation.

4. We fee how odious to men and displeasing to God, the character of censorious and scornful men is. Too many who bear the christian name resemble the persons here defcribed; they watch for iniquity; take a malignant pleasure in discovering any blemishes in the characters of their neighbours, and reporting them to their disadvantage; they make a man an offender for a word; for a neglected compliment, a dubious expression, or a friendly admonition. They are particularly watchful to reproach a minister for a little impropriety of thought or expression in prayer or preach. ing; and are upon the watch to ensnare those who are appointed to reprove. However such men may pride themfelves in their wit and discernment, and think themselves persons of peculiar sagacity and penetration, the Lord calls S 3


them fcarners, and declares that they shall be consumed and cut off. Wherefore, my brethren, let every one of us be swift to hear, Now to speak, how to wrath.


CH A P. XXX. The Israelites here, as often before, are reproved for their con

fidence in Egypt, when the Asyrians came against them. !

O E to the rebellious children, faith the LORD,

that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit; they seek Shelter in Egypt, but not such a one as I have directed them

to seek; that they may add fin to fin, by trusting to one 2. alliance after another : That walk, that is, contrive and take

pains, to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at

my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of 3 Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt. There

fore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and 4 the trust in the shadow of Egypt (your) confusion. For

his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes ; the ambassadors of Israel met those of Egypt there;

they had a congress to settle the terms of the alliance : but 5 They were all ashamed of a people [that] could not profit

them, nor be an help nor profit, but be a shame, and 6 also a reproach, they were so weak or jo treacherous. The

burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence (come) the young and old lion, the. viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people [that] shall not profit (them;] the Israelites will send their wealth on asses and camels, as a subsidy, or to bribe

Pheraok's ministers and courtiers, thro' that wilderness 7' which lies between them. For the Egyptians shall help

in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, and published it aloud, that Their strength

[is] to fit still, in the use of regular means, and a humble, 8 quiet dependance upon God, who alone can help them. Now


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a
book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and

ever; publish it, and let it be recorded, as a warning to 9 future ages: That this [is] a rebellious people, lying

children, children [that] will not hear the law of the 10 LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the

prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things; this is the true meaning and intent. of what they say, while perfecuting and bantering the true prophets and encouraging the false ones, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits;

preach only that which may gratify our humours and our II lufts: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the

path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us; do not stop us in our sinful ways; do not preach up such strictness; do not mention the Holy One of Israel, (with

which the prophets usually introduced their reproofs and 12 warnings;) we are weary of hearing so much of it

. Wherefore thus faith the Holy One of Israel, whose name you do not like to hear, Because ye despise this word, and

trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: 13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach

ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant; your trust in Egypt

Shall be like a bulging wall, that falls suddenly and un14 expectedly. And he shall break it as the breaking of the

potter's vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water (withal) out of the pit; there shall not be a piece

big enough for any common use; this your confidence in Egypt, 15 and yourselves thereby, fall be shattered to pieces. For

thus faith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength; in returning to God and your duty, and an humble confidence in his power, pro

vidence, and promises, ye shall find strength and salvation: 16 and ye would not. But ye faid, No; for we will flee

upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; we will hire horses from Egypt to attack our enemies; therefore shall they that pursue you be





swift. One thousand [shall flee) at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee: till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill; one of your enemies shall chase a thousand, and your whole army shall flee before five, till so few are left that you Mall stand alone, like a beacon on the top of a hili.

And therefore, or nevertheless, will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, will exercise patience toward you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you, and exalt his power and glory in humbling and reforming you ; for the Lord [is] a God

of judgment: blessed Care all they that wait for him. 19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; or the

people of Zion shall dwell at Jerusalem; continue there in Safety, notwithstanding Sennacherib's attempts; and also afterwards return out of Babylon thither again: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will

answer thee; happy times Mall succeed the defeat of the 20 Asyrians by Hezekiah's reformation. And [though) the

Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers; tho' other afflitions may come, or some be continued, yet the priests Mall come again to Jerusalem, (which they could not

during the fiege) and you sall have prophets and know how 81 to value them: And thine ears shall hear a word behind

thee, the admonitions of some faithful friend, the diftates of conscience, or the influence of the spirit, saying, This [is] the

in it, when ye turn to the right hand, 32 and when ye turn to the left." Ye shall defile also the

covering of thy graven images of filver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold; you shall be resolved. against fin and destroy the most valuable remains of idolatry, the robes and ornaments of your images, and the costly tents that were about them : thou shalt cast them away as a

menstruous cloth, or polluted garment; thou shalt say 23 unto it, with an holy indignation, Get thee hence. Then

shall he give the rain of thy seed, or rain in feed-time, that thou shalt fow thy ground withal; and bread of the


[ocr errors]

way, walk

walk ye

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »