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This would lead them to repentance and amendment of life; and by acting as reasonable creatures, they would soon become religious ones ; but while they are giddy, thoughtLess, and inconsiderate, there is no hope of them.
3. We see in the forty seventh chapter how soon God can humble and mortify the mot delicate. What a melan. choly change was it to the tender and delicate Babylonians, when led captive, and treated as Naves, with all the horrors of poverty and disgrace! how mortifying to those who had lived in ease and pleasure! May we be taught by it to guard against excessive tenderness and delicacy, as not knowing to what afflictions and hardships we may be appointed; which will be peculiarly heavy if we have unreasonably indulged the flesh.
4. The almighty power of God makes him a most formidable enemy. Those are awful words in v. 3. I will not meet thee as a man, from whom thou mightest flee, whose power thou mightest resist, or evade his justice, or move his compassion to spare thee. See what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God. While the wicked tremble to meet him as their judge, let his people rejoice in him as their redeemer, whose perfections are all engaged for their happiness.
5. See how soon God can strip men of all their comforts, and learn not to be proud of them. So he did by Babylon. He can uncover their locks, strip persons of their jewels and ornaments ; of the wealth in which they trust, and in consequence of which they think they shall see no sorrow. He can bereave them of their children, and bring upon them family distresses in their perfection. He can deprive them of the knowledge which they are proud of, and in which they boast. Let us lay this to heart; remember the uncertainty of all earthly possessions, and never be proud of them or fix our affections too strongly upon them. Let us employ our wealth and abilities for God; confider our comforts as his gifts, that we may adore and glorify the Giver. Let us never addict ourselves to pleasure, nor dwell carelessly, left God take away our comforts; and for all these things bring us into judgmeni.
CH A P. XLVIII. God having by the prophet reproved and threatened the Chaldeans
in the former chapters, here proceeds to show his people their fins.
EAR ye this, O house of Jacob, which are call
ed by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, or, that flow from the fountain of Judah, his posterity, which swear by the name of the
LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, [but] 2 not in truth, nor in righteousness. For they call them
selves, of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Ifrael; rely on their external privileges, but are
not fincere in their profesion; the LORD of hosts [is] his 3 name. I have declared the former things from the be
ginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I Ihowed them; I did (them) suddenly, and they came to
pass; I foretold future events, and brought them to pass 4 unexpeetedly, or at the precise time. Because I knew that
thou [art] obstinate, and thy neck [is] an iron sinew,
which will not bend, and thy brow brass, which will not 5 blufb; therefore, to leave thee without excuse, I have even
from the beginning declared [it] to thee; before it came to pass I showed [it] thee : lest thou shouldst say,
Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and 6
my molten image hath commanded them. Thou haft heard, see all this; and will not ye declare (it?) ye have heard my predictions, and seen their accomplishment, and will ye not openly acknowledge this? I have showed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou
didft not know them; particularly your deliverance by 7 Cyrus. They are created now, and not from the begin
ning; even before the day when thou heardest thein not; left thou shouldst say, Behold, I knew them; I have given you new prophecies concerning your captivity and
deliverance, lest you should say, My own fagacity discovered 8 these events. Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest
not; yea, from thattime [that] thine ear was not opened; or rether, nor was thine" ear opened of old; that is, thou
waft not taught these things formerly: for I knew that thou wouldīt deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb; or that, apoftate, was thy
name from thy birth;:thou wat early given to idolatry, 9 and hast retained an affention to it ever since. For my
name's fake will I defer, or fuppress, mine anger, and
for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not 10 off. Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver;
but thou art not as fulver, there is yet too much drofs left; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction ; by afflictions I have made thee more fit for my choice. For mine own sake, [even] for mine own fake, will I do [it;] left the gods of the heathens should be thought more wife and powerful than 1: for how should (my name] be polluted, or blafphemed? and I will not give my glory
unto another. 12
Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Ifrael, my called ; I 13 [am] he; I [am] the first, I also (am) the last. Mine
hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens : [when] I call unto them, they stand up together, they are ready, like
fervants, to execute my orders, therefore I can deliver thee. 14 All ye Israelites assemble yourselves, and hear; which
among them, which of their gods or oracles, hath declared these (things ?] the LORD hath loved him, hath chosen Cyrus and fitted him for the work: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm [shall be on] the Chaldeans;
his army, and God's hand with it, shall destroy them. 15 I, (even] I, have spoken ; 'yea, I have called him: I
have brought him, and he shall make his way prof. 16 perous. Come ye near unto me, hear ye this ; I have
not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there [am] Iį or, before the time that this was, I am the eternal God, and see every thing before me
in its fucceffon : and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, 17 hath sent me his prophet, to foretell these things. Thus
faith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I [am] the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit by thy efli&tions, which leadeth thee by the way X 4
[that] . Lowra.
(that) thou shouldst go; that is, leadeth thee out of thy 18 troubles. o that thou hadft hearkened to my com
mandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea ; thou shouldst not have gone into captivity, but a succession of blesings should have flowed upon thee one after another; thy peace and
prosperity should have been uninterrupted and abundant : 19 Thy feed also had been as the sand, and the offspring
of thy bowels like the gravel thereof; numerous as the Sands, or like the fishes of the sea; his name should not have been cut off nor destroyed from before me; whereas now they shall be greatly diminished by their calamities, and few of them fall return from Babylon.
Yet, notwithstanding this, Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, not with silence and amazement, but with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it
[even) to the end of the earth; say ye, The LORD 21 hath redeem.ed his servant Jacob. And they thirsted
not (when) he led them through the deserts : he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out; he will sup
ply them in their return, as he did their fathers in their 22 journey thro' the wilderness. [There is) no peace,
faith the LORD unto the wicked; thoʻthe wicked Mare in the blefings of their deliverance, and return with them, yet they shall have no lasting peace; they will still have reason ta lock upon God as their enemy, amidt all their prosperity.
E are here taught the vanity and insufficiency of jews boasted of their name, their relation to God and Abraham, and the holy city, but not in truth, nor in righteousness.. Thus many among us think it fufficient to salvation that they are called christians, enjoy many privileges above others, belong to the church, and enjoy gospel ordirar.ces; yea, they mention the name of God and Christ, and boast in them, without truth and righteousness. But this is giofs hypocrisy, a high affront to God, and taking his name in vain ; for no religion is of any avail that is not founded on sincerity.
2. We fee the nature and advantage of afflictions. They are designed to prove and refine the sufferers, to reform them from their vices, to purify their hearts, and increase their graces. Afflictions are sometimes the means of beginning, and often of carrying on, a good work in the soul; and it should be the desire of those who are afflicted, to get good thereby; and in order to that they should earnestly pray that God would teach them to profit by his chastisements; for he intends them for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness. 3.
We see the advantage of hearkening to God's commands; that is, of being attentive to them, studying the nature and extent of them, and sincerely obeying them: this is the way to enjoy uninterrupted tranquillity and happiness. God is desirous we should do this ; O that thou hadft hearkened to my commandments ! v. 18. a high expression of his kindness to his creatures, and his willingness to save finners. All that the Lord our God says to us, therefore, let us hear, and be obedient.
4. Whatever peace and prosperity any church or nation enjoys, there is no peace to the wicked; they can never be in a state of peace and favour with God, nor can they have any folid, lasting peace of conscience, or well grounded hope of everlasting peace. They can take no reasonable encouragement from God's promises to his people, however confidently they may rely upon them. Tho’ they are join. ed to God's people in appearance, and in external communion, yet they have no title to their special privileges. But let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and turn to the Lord; then peace, and all good, will come unto them.
CHA P. XLIX. The beginning of this chapter principally relates to Christ and the
covenant of redemption, and the deliverance he should work out for the church, as illustrated by the deliverance of the jews.