« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
4 idolaters. Against whom do ye sport yourselves ? against
whom make ye a wide mouth, [and] draw out the tongue ? ridiculing God's servants, especially his prophets; making wry mouths, and hanging out your tongues to insult
them: [are) ye not children of transgression, a feed of 5 falsehood, or, a false seed? Enflaming yourselves with
idols under every green tree, saying the children in 6 the valleys under the clifts of the rocks ? Among the
smooth (stones) of the stream [is] thy portion; they, they [are) thy lot: even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering ; you have ere&ted pillars to idols, and put them up in groves and by rivers, being quite given up to superstition and idolatry.
Should I receive comfort in these? in such a people, and 7 from such services as these? Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed; thou hast built thy temples and
altars for idols upon high places: even thither wentest 8 thou up to offer sacrifice. Behind the doors also and
the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance, thy domestick idols: for thou hast difcovered [thyself to another] than me, and art gone up; that is, leaving me, thou art gone up into an adulterous bed; thou hast enlarged thy bed, and made thee [a covenant] with them; thou lovedst their bed where thou sawest it; thou hast multi
plied thine idols and altars, and taken pattern by the idols of 9 others. And thou wenteft to the king with ointment,
and didft increase thy perfumes, and didft fend thy messengers far off, and didft debase (thyself even) unto
hell; thou haft sent presents to the kings of Assyria and 10 Egypt, in the most mean and abje&t_manner. Thou art
wearied in the greatness of thy way; [yet] faidst thou not, There is no hope ; courting one ally after another, yet wilt not own that it is in vain: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved ; thou hast found out a way of preserving thy life for the pre
sent, and therefore haft rested in that, without considering II that it will be upon the whole ruinous to thee. And of
whom haft thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and haft not remembered me, nor laid [it] to thy heart? why haft thou been afraid of injury from idols and
idolatrous kings, and proved false to me? have not I held my peace even of old, forbearing to punish, and treating
thee with the utmost tenderness, and thou fearest me not? 12 but hast shamefully abused my patience and goodness. I will
declare thy righteousness, and thy works; make it evidently appear, by my righteous judgments upon thee, that they
are very different from thy own conceit of them: for they 13 shall not profit thee, but prove thy ruin. When thou
criest, let thy companies, thy idols or allies, deliver thee, but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take [them:) but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy moun
tain; he shall continue in the land, or return from captivity; 14' And shall say, Caft ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up
the stumbling block out of the way my people; all impediments shall be removed, and a way be 15 made for their safe and honourable return. For thus faith
the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place,] with him also (that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the
heart of the contrite ones; to afford them support and 16 comfort in all their difficulties and affliétions. For I will not
contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls (which] I have made, left they should grow impatient, and their af
fli&tion should become insupportable, and I should only destroy 17 my creatures. For the iniquity of his covetousness was
I wroth, and smote him : 1 hid me, and was wroth, 18 and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I
have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourn.
ers; that is, to those who mourn for sin and the desolations of 19 their land, which were the effečts of it. I create the fruit
of the lips; Peace, peace to [him that is] far off, and [to him that is ] near, faith the LORD; and I will heal him; I will give occasion for joy and praise to the pious 20 jezes in every place, and heal all their grievances. But the
jews • Covetousness was a prevailing fin in Israel, therefore they were amicted, but grew worse rather than better by the correction. Yet God would have compassion upon them, out of regard to the few good men that were among them.
wicked (are] like the troubled sea, when it cannot reft, whose waters cast up mire and dirt; their guilty conscience shall be a constant source of uneasiness, like the trou. bled sea, which can never rest, and which, tho' it may sometimes appear clear on the surface, hath a thick sediment at
the bottom, which is worked up when storms and tempests 21 arife, and is all filth and confusion. [There is no peace,
faith my God, to the wicked; whatever external profperity they enjoy, and tho’ they may partake ever so largely of the temporal blesings of my people.
R E F L E C TI O N S.
T is displeasing to God when the death of his fer
vants is not laid to heart. They must die as well as others; sometimes he takes away many of them nearly together; and it is a bad omen to the publick, a sign of God's displeasure, and that judgments are coming. The loss is very great to the publick, as well as to their families. Not to lament it, and take warning by it, shows that men are insensible of the importance of religion, and unconcerned about it; that they are destitute of zeal for the glory of God, and the interest of the church. When God is exercising us with such scenes, let us be humble under his mighty hand; lament the publick loss; be more zealous to make it up; and earnestly pray, Help, Lord, for the godly man ceaseth.
2. When finners contemn God, when they despise his Jaws, affront, his messengers, or neglect his institutions, *they forget what a great and awful Being he is; that he is poffefsed of almighty power and inflexible justice; they think him altogether such a one as themselves.
themselves. But they will find, that the Lord, whom they provoke to anger, is stronger than they; and that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
3. There is great reason to lament the obstinacy of fino ners in an evil way. The conduct of these idolaters is very like the conduct of wicked men in general. They follow after happiness in this or the other creature enjoy
ment; are wearied in the greatness of their way; are always disappointed, yet will not give out, they will try some other. They take unwearied pains to gratify their lusts; and, because it gives them fome present pleasure, they never think of the consequence, and that in the mean time they are dishonouring their
rational natures, and debasing themselves even to hell. They had rather displease God than man, and be exposed to his vengeance, than receive and improve his mercies. But when trouble and death come upon them, it will be in vain to cry to their companions, all will end in disappointment, anguish, and despair.
4. Let us adore the condescension of God, in his re. gard to humble and contrite souls.
What a noble description is here of God! as the eternal Being, who only hath immortality; who is infinitely holy, and exalted above all creatures, and dwells in the glorious heavens. Yet he respects and loves the lowly; visits them with his comforts and his favour; condescends to their weaknesies, mitigates their afflictions, and gives support under them. He will not contend for ever, for he knoweth their frame, he remembereth that they are but duft. Let us then cherish that, humble and contrite fpirit, which God will not despise.
5. The state of the wicked is a very deplorable one, and what we should all most carefully avoid. The wicked jews, whether in Babylon or Jerusalem, are assured that they should have no comfort; and the case is the same now with all the wicked. There is a principle of uneasiness and misery within ; a guilty conscience, turbulent passions, and fears of future wrath. They are often full of terror amidst their greatest mirth and gaiety; and especially in times of affliction, and in the near views of death. May we then be folicitous to be in a state of peace with God and our own consciences. To repent, and return to him, is the way to obtain it. Let us mark the perfeet man, and behold the upright ; his conscience is easy, his hopes are lively, and his end will be peace.
This elegant chapter, contains a severe reproof of the jews on
account of their vices, and particularly of their hypocrisy in their fasts and ceremonial observances. It clearly points out their duty, and gives large promises of happiness and prosperity.
RY aloud, O my prophet, spare not, lift up thy
voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their fins, ef2 pecially in their religious worship. Yet they seek me
daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; are desirous of knowing their duty; they take delight in
approaching to God; in coming to my temple and present3 ing their sacrifices. Wherefore have we fafted, and
performed all other parts of external worship, [say
find pleasure, and exact all your labour; you find wherewith to please 4 yourselves, and yet are rigorous in burdening others. Be
hold, ye fast for ftrife and debate, and to smite with the fift of wickedness, that is, with a wicked fift, handling the
poor with severity: ye shall not fast as [ye do this day, if ye would have God hear your prayers, and answer them from heaven, to make your voice to be heard on
high, either in clamorous devotions, or in quarrels one with 5 another. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? that I
will approve and accept of? a day for a man to afflict his soul, to mortify himself by external abstinence, [is it] to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread fackcloth and ashes (under him?) wilt thou call this a fast,
and an acceptable day to the LORD! canst thou believe 6 it will be so? [Is] not this the fast that I have chosen ?
to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? that is, cancel those obligations which have been extorted in an unjust manner, and loosen those in