« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken;
the prophets shall deliver their meffage clearly and faithfully, 4 and the people attend to; understand, and obey it. The heart
also of the rash, the hafty and thoughtless, shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly; rude and illiterate people
fall understand divine things, and speak readily concerning 5 them. The vile person shall be no more called liberal,
nor the churl faid [to be bountiful, or honourable ; a good judgment shall be formed of men; worthy, valuable per
Jons shall be promoted, and others discountenanced; the reason 6 of this is given afterwards. For the vile person will
speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail; a vile person will show his iniquity by kis pra&ice, his profaneness against 7 God, and his cruelty to man. The instruments also of the
churl Care] evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right; he will find some wicked men to be ačtive in his
evil designs, and by specious pretences destroy the needy 8 when he has a good cause. But the liberal deviseth liberal
things; and by liberal things shall he stand; he will aim to do all the good he can, and shall be established in pros
perity and reputation. 9 Rise up, ye women that are at ease; hear my voice,
ye careless daughters ; give ear unto my speech. The
women are addressed, because grown extremely delicate and 10 luxurious, and least able to bear publick calamities. Many
days and years, or, as in the margin, many days above a year, or whilst the Alyrian invasion shall last, thall ye be
troubled, ye careless women: for the vintage shall fail, ri the gathering shall not come. Tremble, ye women
that are at ease; be troubled, ye careless ones : ftrip ye of your ornaments, and make ye bare, and gird [fack
cloth] upon (your) loins ; or, as it may be rendered, upon 12 your mourning breasts. They shall lament for the teats,
for the loss of their cattle and milk, for the pleasant fields, 13 for the fruitful vine. Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns [and] briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy (in) the joyous city; upon the playhouses, gaming houses, and taverns; the fenced cities of Judah shall be des
stroyed and laid waste, and they shall have no heart to follow 14 their pleasures even in Jerusalem, while it is besieged: Be
cause the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left, or, the city shall be for saken of its multitude; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks; they shall have no
heart to repair them again, at least it will be a long time 15 before it can be done ; Until the spirit be poured upon
us from on high, till God shall send his spiritual influence to reform us, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest; there fall be good times after the Asyrians are destroyed; the wilderness Jhall become so fruitful, that what was before reckoned fruit
ful shall appear like a forest in comparison of it; or it may 16 only denote a great and wonderful change. Then judg
ment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness
executed among the rich and poor in the city and country, in 17 the cultivated lands and in the wilderness. And the work
of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righ-
righteousness shall promote peace, harmony, and all good. 18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, 19 and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places ; When
it shall hail, coming down on the forest; and the city
shall be destroyed, and their cities laid low; or it may signify, you shall be Melo 20 tered from the storm. Blessed (are) ye that low beside
all waters, and send forth (thither] the feet of the ox
him, and promises them protection and happiness! Those perverse people that trusted in Egypt and their own politicks, and had affronted the only wise and powerful God, were invited to return, yea, tho' they had deeply revolted. Thus does God fill address finners, tho' their backslidings are great and aggravated, and long continued in; yet if they turn to him, he will receive and bless them. Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die, O house of Israel ?
2. See the happiness of a good prince, and a righteous government. This was designed to encourage Hezekiah in his reforming work, to teach the people how to value and improve the blessings which they enjoyed under him, and to give instruction to future kings and princes. Let us bless God that we have a king over us, who, we hope, will always rule in righteousness, be a covert to the persecuted and oppressed, advance the worthy and virtuous, discountenance and frown upon the wicked, and thus secure the reputation of religion, and promote the publick peace. And let
may be more and more his character; and the blessings here described, be the blessings of
3. It is a good sign, when men and things are called by their proper names; when vile persons are not called liberal, or gentlemen; and churls, men of a selfish, furly disposition, stiled honourable. It is happy for a nation, when only good things are called by good names; when virtue and virtuous men are esteemed, and held in reputation ; when men are valued, not by their rank and titles, but by their beneficence and usefulness. If difference of character was not so wretchedly confounded as it is in our common language, and there was greater openness and plainness of discourse, it would tend greatly to the support of righteousness. Let us then emulate the character of a citizen of Sion, in whose eyes a vile person is contemned, and who honoureth them. shat fear the Lord. 4. Liberality is not the way to contempt and ruin, for
the liberal man deviseth liberal things, and by them shall he Aand." He contrives how he may be able to do good; he retrenches superfluities, and saves needless expenses, not that he may hoard up wealth, but that he may do the more good. He endeavours to be as extensively beneficent as possible, and by his charity he shall stand ; his prosperity Thall be increased by the blessing of heaven; he shall be esteemed by men, have peace in his own mind, and obtain favour of the Lord; and he that does not think this an abundant equivalent for parting with his money, is a vile and churlish person.
5. We see the wisdom of being religious, v. 17. The pious shall enjoy peace, undisturbed by the crosses of the world. Religious exercises are pleasant; there is great satisfaction in reflecting upon them, and a gracious reward awaits them, even everlasting quietness and assurance. These inestimable blessings are only to be found in the way of righteousness; in that way therefore let us walk, and never turn aside from it.
6. Let us rejoice in the government of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the happiness of his faithful subjects, ch. xxxii. V. 1, &c. Tho' this has a primary reference to Hezekiah, yet it has also a reference to Christ, and the blessings of his gospel, as is common in the prophets. He reigns in righteousness, being himself perfectly holy, and his adminiftration inflexibly just. He is a shelter and refreshment to his people in every storm. By his gospel, knowledge, holiness, liberality, peace, and joy are promoted and diffused. Let us show, by the practice of these virtues, that we have received its influence; and earnestly pray that the spirit may be poured forth from on high upon us, our churches, and all the world, that the wilderness may be a fruitful field, and the earth may become like the paradise of God above.
CHA P. XXXIIL.
the Asyrians, and the happy effeEts of it to Ifrael.
spoiled ; and dealest treacherously, and they
when 2 no injury had been received. O LORD,
O LORD, be gracious unto, us; we have waited for thee; the prayer of Israel in their distress : be thou their arm every morning, the arm of
Hezekiah and his foldiers, our salvation also in the time 3 of trouble. At the noise of the tumult the people fled;
at the lifting up of thyself the nations that were allied to 4 the Asyrians were scattered. And your spoil shall be
gathered (like) the gathering of the caterpiller : as the
that is, the Israelites shall gather the spoil, as easily as 5 locusts or caterpillers devour a field or a tree. The LORD
is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled
Zion with judgment and righteousness; he displays his 6
power, and the effect of it shall be reformation. And wif.
others, shall be a better security than treasures or forces. 7 Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without; they shall
be disheartened, and think it in vain to oppose; the ama
for peace, shall weep hitterly, because the Asyrians will 8 be so unreasonable, proud, and infolent. The highways lie
waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the
man; Sennacherib will not stand to his agreement, he will 9 despise the fenced cities, and have no compassion. The