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will destroy and devour at once, like wild beasts, which come roar. 15 ing upon their prey and swallow it up at once. I will make waste

mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs ; and I will 16 make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools.* And I

will bring the blind by a way (that) they knew not ; I will lead them in paths (that) they have not known : I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight; I will re

move the ignorance, errors and prejudices of men. These things 17 will I do unto them, and not forsake them. They shall be turn

ed back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye (are) our gods ; idolaters shall be disappointed and ashamed upon the spread of the

gospel. 18 Hear, ye deas; and look, ye blind, that ye may see ; an ad

dress to the gentiles to receive the gospel, and not reject the means 19 of knowledge. Who [is] blind, but my servant ? or deaf, as my

messenger [that] I sent ? who [is] blind as (he that is) perfect, and blind as the Lord's servant ? There is no pieople on earth 80

blind and obstinate as the Jews ; those to whom I have sent my 20 message : or it may refer to their priests. Seeing many things,

but thou observest not ; art not affected with them ; opening the

ears, but he heareth not ; God's law and wonders he pretended 21 to hear, but did not. The Lord is well pleased for his righteous

ness' sake ; or rather, The Lord took delight in this people for his

righteousness' sake ; he will magnify the law, and make [it] 22 honourable. But this [is] a people robbed and spoiled ; (they

are] all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses : they are for a prey, and none delivereth ; for a spoil,

and none saith, Restore ; though they had been punished for their 23 former sins, yet they continue perverse. Who among you can.

tives will give ear to this? (who] will hearken, and hear for the

time to come, so as to take notice of and remember it, before fur. 24 ther calamities come? Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to

the robbers, to the Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Romans ? did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned ? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law ; let none then flatter themselves with hope of impunity if they reject the Messiah. Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle : and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not ; and it burned him, yet he laid [it] not to heart ; a threatening of worse judgments to the Jews in Christ's time, who should continue unreformed and incorrigible.

• As spiritual blessings are described by the opposite images, this intimates his great vrath and the vengeance that shall be brought upon the enemies of his gospel.

This may be rendered, He gave them excellent laws, and thereby made them honour. able : or, God will maynily his righteousness and law, by executing the threatenings of it,

REFLECTIONS.

1. THE coming of Christ, and the publication of the gospel,

1 should be matter of universal joy and praise. Let us trace the view here given us of him as the delight of God's soul ; his servant, whom he will protect and own; who was furnished with the Spirit without measure ; as coming on the kindest design, to rescue the gentiles from ignorance, idolatry, and other vices ; establishing a kingdom of truth, righteousness, and peace ; and administering it in the most meek, gentle, and gracious manner. How justly are the nations called upon to sing unto the Lord and celebrate his praises ! Let us bless God that this gospel is sent to us gentiles ; and declare his praise in this highly favoured land.

2. There is often the greatest ignorance and stupidity found among God's professing people, though they enjoy the best means of knowledge, and even boast of them. How many among christians may be said, like the unbelieving Jews, to be blind and deaf; ignorant of the scriptures, and the way of salvation which they teach ; yea, this is the case of some, who set up for teachers of others, and pretend to be perfect in knowledge. Many professing christians will take no pains to search and study the scriptures; will not retire and reflect upon what they have heard in public ; they will not hear for the time to come. Hearing may be some present amusement to them, but they will not hear so as to reform their errors, regulate their conduct, and prepare for eternity. The greater is their sin and shame, and the heavier will be their condemnation, for neglecting to improve such signal advantages.

3. Sin is the cause of national calamities, and this ought seriously to be laid to heart, v. 25. When this is the case with our own land, is it possible there should be any so stupid as not to know this, or, knowing it, not to consider that the Lord does it, and that he does it because men are disobedient to his law ? It is sad indeed when men suffer by public calamities, and yet will not lay it to heart ; will not humble themselves before God, and comply with the designs of his providence. Let us guard against this insensibility of spirit, lest we provoke God to bring upon us greater evils, and pour upon us the strength of battle ; for who can stand in his sight when once he is angry?

CHAP. XLIII.

This chapter contains comfortable piromises that God would not forsake

Israel as a body ; and he renews his expostulation with them for their ingratitude and neglect of his service. I P UT now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob,

D and he that formed thee, O Israel, who made thee his own nation, and in the constitution of thy government showed thce par. ticular favour, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have call2 ed (thee) by thy name ; thou (art) mine. When thou passest

through the waters, I will be) with thee ; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee : when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned ; neither shall the flame kin a

dle upon thee; I will bring thee safe through the greatest dan3 gers and difficulties. For I [am] the LORD thy God, the Holy

One of Israel, thy saviour : I gave Egypt (for) thy ransom, I chose rather that Egypt should be destroyed than thee, Ethiopia

and Seba for thee ; turning Sennacherib's army against them, 4 rather than let him ruin Judah. Since thou wast precious in my

sight, whilst thou didst behave well, thou hast been honourable,

and I have loved thee : therefore I will give men for thee, and 5 people, other nations, especially the Chaldeans, for thy life. Fear

not : For I (am) with thee : I will bring thy seed from the east, 6 and gather thee from the west ; I will say to the north, Give

up ; and to the south, Keep not back : bring my sons from far,

and my daughters from the ends of the earth ; those who are 7 dispersed in Babylon and other countries ; (Even) every one

(that is] called by my name : for I have created him for my

glory, to manifest my glorious attributes, I have formed him ; yea, % I have made him. Bring forth the blind people that have eyes,

and the deaf that have ears, that is, let the worshippers of idols 9 plead their cause. Let all the nations be gathered together, and

let the people be assembled : who among them can declare this, and show us former things ? let them bring forth their

witnesses, that they may be justified : or let them hear, and 10 say, [It is] truth, that I am the only God. Ye [are] my wit

nesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen ; that is, Christ with his apostles, and all the holy prophets : that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I [am] he :

before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after 11 me. I, (even] I, [am] the LORD; and beside me (there is) no 12 saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have showed,

when (there was) no strange (god) among you; I have proved my omniscience by declaring rings to come, and my omnipotence by saving you; and have all this before there was any idolatry in Israel, 80 that no strange god can have done it for you : therefore ye Care] my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I [am] God. Yea, before the day (was,] before all time, I (am) he ; and (there is none that can deliver out of my hand : I will work, and who shall let it?

Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel ; For your sake I have sent, that is, I will send, to Babylon, and have brought, that is, will bring, down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry (is) in the ships ; who glory in the number

of their ships, and their great traffic ; or, whose cry will be to their 15 ships to carry them away when the city shall be taken. I sam]

the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King. 16 Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a

13

17 path in the mighty waters ; Which bringeth forth the chariot

and horse, the army and the power ; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched

as tow; referring to their deliverance from Egypt ; your enemies 18 shall be quite destroyed, and have no power remaining. Remember

ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old ;

the deliverance I am about to grant is so great, that it shall eclipse 19 the former and obscure the memory of them. Behold, I will do a

new thing ; now it shall spring forth suddenly ; shall ye not

know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, (and) rivers 20 in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dra

gons and the owls : because I give waters in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my cho

sen ; they shall have direction and defence where they least expect. 21 ed it, as Israel had in going through the wilderne88. This

people I have formed for myself; they shall, or they should, show 22 forth my praise. But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob ; 23 but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. Thou hast not brought

me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings ; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to

serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense : I 24 have required nothing hard or unreasonable. Thou hast bought

me no sweet cane, or incense, with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices ; the fat of which was offered to the Lord ; that is, thou hast neglected sacrifices, or brought only lean ones : but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, to undergo a sort of bondage, and brought a reproach upon me and

my service, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities. Yet, ina 25 stead of utterly destroying thee, I, (even) I, (am) he that blotteth

out thy transgressions, for mine own sake, and will not remem

ber thy sins ; but observe, it is for mine own sake that I will do 26 this. Put me in remembrance : let us plead together: declare

thou that thou mayest be justified ; if I have forgotten any of thy 27 good deeds, remind me of them, I will do thee full justice. Thy first

father, thy ancestors, hath sinned, and thy teachers have trans28 gressed against me. Therefore I have profaned the princes of

the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches ; I have suffered the Chaldeans to profane, pollule, and destroy the priests and Levites, to overthrow your constitution in church and state, and make Israel a refiroach and a proverb among the nations.

REFLECTIONS.

1. M OD's presence with his people is a reason against ang.

U ious fears. He often calls upon Israel not to fear ; and promises to be with them. He may see good to lead us, as he did Israel, through the water and fire, that is, great and heavy amictions, that are ready to overwhelm us, and in which there is no hope of deliverance ; but he will be with us. Let us exercise faith in his promises, follow his leadings, and trust in him to deliver.

2. Our relation to God demands a suitable behaviour from us. He hath created us as men ; formed us as Britons, into an exceltént constitution ; redeemed us as christians, and shown his love by giving his Son for our ransom. And why has he done all this for us, but that we might show forth his praise ? Let us then do it with our lips and by our lives ; adore his glorious perfections ; proclaim them to others; and live as the formed and redeemed of the Lord. Let us often recollect our relation and obligations to him, that we may live answerable to them, and show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.

3. God's service is so reasonable and so easy, that we shall be shamefully criminal and inexcusable if we neglect it. He appeals to Israel concerning this. The incense and sacrifices he required, were no more than they could very well afford, considering their plenty and prosperity. Our religious rites are fewer and easier to be observed ; therefore our conduct will be more reproachful if we neglect them. He does not make slaves of us by them, nor weary us with them ; he is so good a master, his work is so reasonable, so easy, and so honourable, that if we neglect it and grow weary of it, we shall be most ungrateful to him, and destroy our own souls. Let us therefore not be slothful in business, but ferveni in spirit serving the Lord.

CHAP. XLIV.

This chapter, beside promising redemption, the effusion of the Spirit,

and the success of the gospel, sets forth in a very sublime manner the supreme power and foreknowledge of the one true God ; exposes the folly and absurdity of idolatry with admirable force and elegance ; and concludes with inentioning the future deliverer of the Jews expressly, by his name Cyrus, near iwo hundred years before he was born. See Ezra i. 2.

I V ET now hear, O Jacob, my servant, and Israel, whom I

2 I have chosen : Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and I formed thee from the womb, (which) will help thee ; Fear not,

O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, that is, Israel, (signify

ing an upright and holy people, see Deut. xxxii. 15.) whoin I 3 have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground : I will pour my spirit upon thy

seed 10 cure them of their idolatry, and my blessing upon thine 4 offspring; all spiritual blessings under the gospel: And they

shall spring up (as) among the grass, as willows by the water

courses; as plants and herbs do in green and fruitful mradows. 5 One shall say, I sam] the Lord's ; and another shall call [him

self] by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe (with) his hand unto the LORD, and surname (himself] by the name of Israel ; they shall desire to be joined to God's people. While otlaVol. V.

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