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God, tho? they had no qualities to answer that character; or believed they had some divine power lodged in them; which seems to have been the notion of the valgar; so wretchedly stupid were men grown. And there are too many idolaters yet remaining among us; who worship silver and gold, (for covetousness is idolatry,) or who make a their belly. They please themselves with the expectation of happiness in these things; but there is a lie in their right hand, and they find nothing solid to support their souls upon. And thus many are also deceived in those things in which they trust for salvation. We should therefore often put this question to ourselves, Am not I deceived? is this not a lie in my right hand?' and should beg of God to search and try us, and see if there be any evil way in us.
3. The promises and hopes of pardon demand our warmest gratitude and joy. What a blessing is it to have our sins forgiven and blotted out! that cloud, which separates between God and man, and intercepts the light of his countenance, dispersed! All nature is called upon to rejoice in the gospel promises of forgiveness; they are the best tidings to guilty creatures: and if we have any reason to believe our sins and iniquities are forgiven, our souls should for ever adore the grace of God, who is ready to forgive, and of Jesus Christ, thro' whose blood we receive the remiffion.
4. We learn from the whole chapter, what high and venerable thoughts we should entertain of the great
God. We should think feriously and reverently of him, as the eternal Jehovah; the first and the last; as an omniscient Being, to whom future contingencies are known. He by his prophet foretold that Jerusalem and the temple should be destroyed; and named Cyrus, as the man that should deliver his people, and rebuild his temple. We should also adore him as an almighty Being, who maketh what use of princes he pleaseth, and can remove every hindrance to the execution of his purposes. Idols cannot do this, but our God can; let us therefore ever fear, reverence, and trust him; for whatever devices there are in the heart of man his counsel shall stand, and the most powerful princes shall only execute his pleasure.
С НА Р.
CHA P. XLV. In this chapter we have Cyrus's commission against Babylon, and
to restore the jews; an account of his success, with suitable admonitions to the Israelites.
HUS saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; or whom I hold fast by the right hand, that I may subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, weaken their power, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; that is, the gates of Babylon within the city, lecding froại
the streets to the river, which were providentially left open 2 when he surprised the city; I will go before thee, and
make the crooked places straight; remove all difficulties
and obstructions : I will break in pieces the gates of brass, 3 and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give
thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, the secret wealth of princes and people, that thou
mayest know that I, the LORD, which call.[thee] by 4 thy name, [am] the God of Israel. For Jacob my
servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name Cyrus : I have surnamed thee, my fbep
herd and anointed, though thou hast not known me. 5 I (am) the Lord, and (there is) none else, [there is]
no God besides me: I girded thee with authority and 6 power though thou hast not known me: That they
máy know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is) none besides me. I sam) the Lord, and [there is ) none else; intimating that the deliverance of the jews by Cyrus would promote the knowledge of God
thro Babylon had an hundred brazen gates.
9 Cyrus had subdued rich Croesus and other nations before he rock Babylon; and that was a most wealthy place; the treasures which he found there and in Sardis, amounted to one hundred and twenty fix millions two hundred and twenty four thousand pounds of our money.
? JOSEPHUS says that this prophecy was showed to Cyrus, and that he was much affected with it; he therefore honestly acknowledges, Ezra i. 2. The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth,
7 thro' many nations. I form the light, and create dark
ness: I make peace, and create evil : I the LORD do all
these [things ;] I am the supreme governor of the natural 8 and moral world. Drop down, ye heavens, from above,
and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth falvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it: being determined to bring about their salvation, all nature shall seem to unite in promoting it. I will first shower
down righteousness, and then produce salvation ;. Israel sall 9 first be reformed, and then delivered. Woe unto him that
ftriveth with his Maker; woe to the Babylonians that hall oppress Ifrael, and strive against God; or to the Ifraelites that fall distrust his power, and will not believe his promises. (Let] the potsherd [ftrive] with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou ? or thy work, He hath no
hands ? he hath no ability or skill, or acts as if he had none. 10 Woe unto him that faith unto (his] father, What be
gettest thou ? or to the woman, What haft thou brought
forth ? much more to the great Parent of the universe. 1. Thus faith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his
Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my fons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me; you may humbly enquire concerning theje things; or rather,
(as the Seventy) Will you question me, or give me a law 12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I,
(even) my hands have stretched out the heavens, and
all their host have I commanded, and therefore I am able 13. to fulfil my promises. I have raised him up in righteous
ness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my
city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor, 14 reward, faith the Lord of hosts. Thus faith the LORD,
The labour, or wealth, of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia, and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they fhall be thine: they
shall * This is designed to expose the notions of the antient Persians, who held that there were two independent principles or beings, the one good, and the other evil, by which all things were made, and who were represented by light and darkness.
shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over; and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make fupplication unto thee, like submisive captives, (saying, ]
Surely God [is] in thee; and (there is) none else 15 (there is) no other God.' Verily thou (art) a God that
hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour; thothy providence in afflicting and delivering is often dark and mys
terious, yet thou art the God of Israel, and the Saviour. 16 They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of
them : they shall go to confusion together (that are]
makers of idols, tho’ they unite their attempts to support 17 the credit of their deities. But] Israel shall be saved in
the Lord with an everlasting salvation : ye shall not be
ashamed nor confounded world without end, to the 18 ages of eternity. For thus faith the Lord that created
the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited ; much less then will he
suffer Judea, his own inheritance, to lie defolate : I [am] 19 the LORD; and (there is) none else. I have not spoken
in secret, in a dark place of the earth ; another proof that I am Lord alonė, I have revealed my will plainly by the law and the prophets ; not like the heathen mysteries, that were carefully concealed from the vulgar ; nor like the oracles that were uttered with a hollow, muttering voice from holes. and caves: I said not unto the feed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain ; I answered the prayers of my people, which idols could not do: I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right; my laws are just, my answers direct, and my promises are faithful, but their's are not.
Assemble yourselves and come, ye recovered jewis ; draw near together, ye (that are] escaped of the nations : they have no knowledge that set up the wood of
their graven image, and pray unto a god (than) cannot 21 save. Tell ye, and bring (them) near ; yea, let them take counsel together : who hath declared this from
antient • Cyrus, having conquered Egypt and part of Arabia, allifted the Israelites to rebuild and beautify the temple out of the spoils of those nations; and many became profelytes, and were broughe, to acknowledge the only true God, when they saw that he appear ed so wonderfully for the jews.
antient time? (who] hath told it from that time? (have) not I the LORD? and [there is) no God else besides me; a just God and a Saviour ; [there is) none besides me; let them consult together to produce an in
stance of foretelling such future events, and maintain the cause 22 of their idols. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the
ends of the earth; ye jews, wherever dispersed, and ye
gentiles, when ye shall hear my gospel: for I [am] God, 23 and (there is) none else. I have sworn by myself, the
word is gone out of my mouth (in) righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear, that is, profess allegiance: many nations fall become my worshippers and servants, and at
length all the world, and at the day of the last judgment every 24 creature shall be subject to me, Rom. xiv. II. Surely, shall
[one] and another, that is, all those that Mall be converted from idolatry, whether jews or gentiles, fay, In the LORD have I righteousness and strength : [even) to him fall [men,] that is, Israel, the church and people of God,
come, and all that are incensed against him Thall be 25 ashamed. In the LORD shall all the feed of Israel, ali
converted jews and believing gentiles, be justified, and shall glory, that is, be pardoned, and boast of their relation to him.
E see the design of God in his various dispensa
tions to the church and world; in his dealings with Ísrael and other nations. He can set up kingdoms, and pull them down ; raise up Cyrus, from a low beginning, to conquer great and mighty nations, and to deliver Israel. The design was, to bring Cyrus to know him, and the nations round about to acknowledge his supremacy and to worship him; as well as to cure the jews of their idol. atry: and were we as well acquainted with the history of other nations, as with that of Israel, we should see the fame design carried on in the revolutions of states and kingdoms, and the great events of the world. 2. We see the danger of impatience and murmuring