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17 them. And the residue thereof he maketh a god, [even] his graven image : he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth [it,] and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou [art] my
18 god. They have not known nor understood : for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; [and] their hearts, that they cannot understand ; they will not use their understanding, and
19 therefore God gives them up to their delusions. And none considered in his heart, neither [is there] knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burnt part of it in the fire ; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten [it:] and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I full down to the stock of a tree? so destitute are they of
20 common sense. He feedeth on ashes; on that which hath no nourishment, and which disappoints him: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, prevents him from reasoning and reflecting, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, [Is there] not a lie in my right hand? he not only cannot deliver Ins soul from this wickedness, but he cannot see that he is cheating himself and playing the fool.
21 Remember these, O Jacob and Israel, when you come to live among idolaters; for thou [art] my servant: I have formed thee ; thou [art] my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be for
32 gotten of me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and as a cloud, thy sins; that is, as a cloud is dispersed before the sun and the wind: return unto me; for I have re
23 deemed thee. Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done [it:] shout, ye lower parts of the earth : break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel; let all nature be joyful for the restoration of Israel, and the spread ff that gospel which is designed to turn men from these vanities.
24 Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I [am] the Lord that maketh all [things ;] that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself, therefore can save thee without any other god:
25 That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad ; the magicians and astrologers of Babylon, who foretell the lasting felicity of that city and empire; that turneth wise [men]
26 backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish ; That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up
27 the decayed places thereof: That saith to the deep, Be dry, when he delivered Israel out of Egypt, and I will dry up thy rivers; alluding to the expedient used by Cyrus in taking Babylon,
28 viz. diverting the river Euphrates from its channel That saith of Cyrus, near two hundred years before his birth, [He is] my shepherd, he shall gather my people together, and had them an a shepherd doth his flock, and shall perform all my pleasure; though he may have different schemes, yet he shall fulfil my designs, even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.*
1. TT is a very pleasing thing to see young people giving them,L selves up to the Lord, and joining themselves to his church. What gracious promises are those in the third, fourth, and fifth verses! It bodes well to the happiness of the rising generation, and the support of religion, when young persons take the vows of God upon them; yield themselves to him, to be entirely and for ever his; and unite themselves to christian churches to walk with them in all the ordinances of the Lord. It is a good security for their future regular behaviour, their usefulness and comfort. Let young persons then be engaged to give themselves to theLordandtohischurch; and let all. especially parents, earnestly pray for the communications of the spirit, which are necessary to excite them to self dedication, and to promote their fruitfulness in every good work.
2. How prone are men to deceive themselves concerning the plainest truths and the most important concerns! Did not scripture and common history confirm the truth of it, one would scarcely believe, that men could be so stupid and brutish as to worship idols: not that they supposed them to be gods, but they thought they were just resemblances of God, though 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 vulgar; so wretchedly stupid were men grown. And there are two many idolaters yet remaining among u3; who worship silver and gold, (for covetousnesa is idolatry,) or who make a god of 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 lo ourselves, 1 Am not I deceived ? is this net 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 1 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, through whose blood we receive the remission.
* It would encourage the Israelites in Babylon when the v heard of Cyrus's name, as thesr did loy£ before his conquest of that empire. This remarkable prophecy has lustly eng;iped rhr admiration of heathens, as well as christians, and gives at mice a strong and suolimc idea of God's omnipotence and foreknowledge.
4. We learn from the whole chapter, what high and venerable thoughts we should entertain of the great God. We should think seriously 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 Cod 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.
Jn 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.
1 r I 1HU S saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose
X 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 piower, to open before him the two leaved gates ; and the gates shall not be shut; that is, the gates of Babylon iviihin the city, leading from the streets to the river, which were providentially left
2 open 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,* and cut in sun-,
3 der 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 peo/tle,\ that thou mayest know that I the Lord,
4 which call [thee] by thy name, [am] the God of Israel.\ For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called tbee by thy name Cyrus: I have surnamed thee, my
5 shepherd and anointed, though thou hast not known me. I [am] the Lord, and [there is] none else, [there is] no God beside me: I girded thee with authority and power, though thou hast
6 not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that [there is] none beside me. I [am] the Lord, and [there is] none else; intimating that the deliver
• Babylon had an hundred braxen gates.
t Cyrm had subdued rich Cresua and other nations hefore he took Babylon; and that w** a most wralthv place: the treasures which he found there and in Sardis, amounted to one hundred and twenty six millions two hundred and twenty four thousand pounds sterling.
t Josephus says that this prophecl was showed to Cyrus, and rhat he was much affected with it: he therefore honestly acknowledges, Ezra i. a. The Lord God of heaven hath giwn me all the kingdoms of the i-atth..
ance of the Jews by Cyrus would promote the knowledge of God 7 through many nations. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these [things;] S I am the supreme governor of the natural 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 salvation, 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 shall first 9 be reformed, and then delivered. Wo unto him that strivetli with his Maker; Too to the Babylonians that shall oppress Israel, and strive against God; or to the Israelites that shall distrust his power, and will nut believe his promises. [Let] the potsherd [strive] with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou I or thy work, He hath no
10 hands? he hath no ability or skill, or acts as if he had none. Wo unto him that saith unto [his] father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth? much more to the,
11 great Parent of the universe. Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me; you may humbly inquire concerning these things; 'r rather (as the Sevtnty) Will you question me, or give me a
12 luw? 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 to fulfil my
13 promises. I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts.
It Tims saith the Ixird, The labour, or wealth, of Egypt, and merchandize of Ethiopia, and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall cofhe over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall rome after thee ; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, like submissive captives, [saying,] Surely God [is] in thee;
15 and [there is] none else ; [there is] no other God.t Verily thou [art] a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour; though thy providence in afflicting and delivering is often dark and mysterious, yet.thou art the God of Israel and the Sa
16 viour. They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them : they shall go to confusion together [that are] makers of idols, though they unite their attempts to support the credit
17 of thtir deities. [But] Israel shall be saved in the Lord with
• Th's is designed fo expose the notions of the ancient Persians, who held thatthere were two independent principles or brings, rite one ^ood, and the other evil, by which all things were made, and who were represented by light and darkness.
tCvrns. having conquered Egypt and part of Arabia, assisted the Israelites tn rebuild and br-utifv the t. inple out of the spoils of rhnse nations: and many became prnsrlvtes, and w- !e broye>r ro nckanwk-dgf tl« only true Uod, when they saw that he appeared so wonder, tul!) for t!.c JkWi.
an everlasting salvation : ye shall not be ashamed nor con
18 founded world without end, to the ages of eternity. Vor thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself llurt formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited ; much lets then will he suffer Jiidea, his own inheritance to lie desolate: 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 Jam Lord alone, 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 seed 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 tilings that are right ; my lavs are just, my answers direct, and my promises are faithful, but theirs are not.
20 Assemble yourselves. and come, ye recovered Jews ; draw near together, ye [that are] escaped of the nations: they have Do knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray
2 1 unto a god [that] cannot save. Tell ye, and bring [them] near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? [who] hath told it from that time? [have] not I the Lord? and [there is] no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; [there is] none beside me; let them consult together to produce an instance offoretelling such future
22 events, and maintain the cause 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]
2S God, 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 shall become my worshippers and servants, and at length ell the world, and at the day of the last judgment every creature shall be sulject ft mt^
24 Hom. xiv. II. Surely, shall [one] and another, that is, all those that shall be converted from idolatry, whether Jews or Gentiles, say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength: [even] to him shall [men,] that is, Israel, the church and people cf God, come, and all that are incensed against him shall be asharnef'
25 In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel, all converted Jews and believing Gentiles,bc justified, and shall glory, that is, bj pardoned, and boast of their relation to him.
1. T T T E see the design of God in his various dispensations to V V the church and world; in his dealings with Israel 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