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tight and joy shall spread over the creation, and even insensible 13 nature seem to rejoice. Instead of the thom shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree ; those who before were wild and troublesome shall become good and useful: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign [that] shall, not be cut off l all shall redound to the glory of God, and they shall be the eternal monuments of his grace.

REFLECTIONS.

1. T ET us adore God for the riches and freedom of gospel 1 -j grace. Under the beautiful images of water, wine, and milk, the most valuable blessings are offered; offered upon the most easy terms, and offered to all. There is enough to supply every want, and satisfy every desire. An everlasting covenant is proposed, and sure mercies ; blessings quite suited to our needy, helpless state are promised. How admirable is the grace that freely offers them! and what folly is it in men to neglect them! to refuse solid satisfaction and everlasting good, and pursue that which can never satisfy! May we be wise ; and labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth to eternal life.

2. Let us consider the Lord Jesus Christ as a witness, a leader, and a commander. He came to bear witness to the truth ; and it becomes us to receive his doctrine, as worthy of all acceptation. He confirmed it by his miracles and death. Let us then obey his commands, aad follow his steps; he will then guide us in the way of peace ana happiness, and conduct us to everlasting glory.

3. Let sinners hearken to these gracious calls to repentance, and comply with them. We have here a most instructive view of the nature of repentance; it is to forsake every evil way, to put away all evil thoughts, and cleanse the heart from wickedness. It is to return to the Lord, as our rightful owner and sovereign good ; then he mil forgive us; we shall find the noblest satisfaction and pleasure in his good ways; and be led to eternal happiness. But let sinners return immediately, and seek the Lord while he may be found; for it may soon be loo late, and the day of grace and hope may be expired.

4. Let us encourage ourselves in that gracious promise concerning the word of God in v. 10, 11. We see the happy effects of snow and rain. We have already seen some of these promises fulfilled, in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ, and the spread of his gospel among the gentiles. All God's other promises shall be accomplished, ar.d his word have its intended effect. This is a great encouragement to ministers amidst their many discouragements, that some good shall be produced by their labours, and the word be a savour of life to some souls. If we desire that it should be so to ours, let us see that we value it, diligently attend to it, and receive it into good and honest hearts. And may God multiply the seed sown, and increase the fruits of righteousness in us all, to his glory and our eternal joy.

Vol. V. I i

CHAP. LVI.

Begins with an exhortation to God's people to prepare for that great deliverance prelshewed of in the foregoing rhapters.

1 fT^HUS saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice:

X for my salvation [is] near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed ; observe all my laws and commandments, for that dislienxa'ion is near to be introduced, which contains the brightest

2 display of my justice, faithfulness, and goodness. Blessed [is] the man [that] doeth this, and the son of man [that] layeth hold on it, that acts with steadiness and resolution in religion.; that keepetli the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil ; that does nothing unlawful on the sabbath day,

3 nor neglects any of the proper duties of it. Neither Jet the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, that is, any strangers that might choose to go with the Jews from Babylon, and become proselytes to the worship of the true God, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people : neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I [am] a dry tree; I have no

i offspring to be admitted into the covenant. Tor thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose [the things] that please mc, and lake hold of my covenant; who accept the offers and comjdy with the terms of it, and who have truly

5 pious dispositions; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within ray walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off; / will give them spiritual blessings, great honour and comfort there, and a name that shall not be cut off,

6 as that of the most numerous families maybe.* Also the sons of the stranger, the heathen, that join themselves to the Loud, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, to become proselytes, every one that keepeth the sabbatli from

7 polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [shall be] accepted upon mine altar ; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people; their sacrifices shall be accepted, and they shall enjoy great delight in their approaches to God. The place of worship being called a house of prayer, and nit sacrifice, and being said to be for all people, intimates that this refers to the admittance of Gentiles into the gospel church, on the same terms as

8 the believing Jews. The Lord God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather [others] to him, beside those that are gathered unto him ; the Gentiles as well as Jews, that is, many more Gentiles shall join with them after the captivity.

* Some of the captive Jews, who were in these circumstances, h id need of tills cnnsrla. tio'i when they enrnt back" to ihtir own country ; for ttn y were deprived ny the law orbeing priests ami in i^iKtrates ; h iinxr,therefore haye tVen great si It'denial and piety in them to leave th. Persian court, in whi^ji some of them had been preferied. But passage may Ukcuis^ i..timatei ilut iltcrc vwuid he none of these rcsttictions under the gosptl.

9 Al l ye beasts of the field, come to devour, [yea,] all ye beasts

10 in the forest.* His watchmen [arc] blind: they [are] all ignorant, they [are] all dumb dogs, they cannot bark to awoken tie shepherds, or drive away the wolves; they neither reprove 7iur

forewarn sinners; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.

11 Yea, [they are] greedy dogs [which] can never have enough, insatiable in their covetousnens, and they [are] shepherds [that] cannot understand, that take no pains to understand: they all look to their own way, seek their own interest enly, every one for his gain, from his quarter, from his employment, department, or

12 place of abode. Come ye, [say they,] I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink ; and tomoriow shall be as this dav, [and] much more abundant; they not only run into excesses themselves, but tempt others to do so ; confident of the continuance of their prosperity, and deriding the thrcarenings cf the profihits.

REFLECTIONS.

1. r I *H E approach of God's salvation is a strong motive to be JL holy. The gospel displayed the righteousness or God, or his method of justification, and was the glad tidings of salvation; whicli the Jews were required to prepare themselves for, by doing justice and judgment. And now that salvation is made known unto us, it is our duty to do this; to be honest and exact in our dealings, and upright in our whole deportment, out of gratitude to God for the salvation preached to us, and as we desire to partake of it; especially as it is introductory to everlasting salvation. Let us therefore awake out ef sleep, and be acthe in God's service, since our salvation is nearer than when we believed.

2. We see the necessity of a serious and strict regard to the sabbath. Observe what stress is laid upon keeping it. It is indispensably required of all proselytes to the Jewish religion ; and of all who are joined to the christian church ; otherwise they can expect no comfort in God's service, nor will their prayers i.nd praises be accepted. Let us then never waste any part of that holy time, nor neglect any part of the holy work of the day. But we must lay hold on this. It requires great resolution to do it, considering how many bad examples we have about us, and how many, even of those who profess religion, act otherwise. This is the way to have the blessing of God upon our religious exercises, and upon our daily business and comforts.

3. How gracious is God in admitting strangers and Gentiles to the privileges of his people! To bring those, who were once afar off, nigh, and take strangers and foreigners to be fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. Let us, who are the descend.

• This ver*e heoms a new prophecy, which I, iontinueH through some following chipri ^; describing the siivs which introduced their c Jamitics anil ended in their captivitv The church W repre'cnreii -,a COd'y (itnk, and thtir princrfl and piiests as shepheuli, m witch over, feed, airl defend ir; but, t.ecause they neglected this c'ire, ll.e wild U.,iH „ie call, d upou to devotfr it. '1'iii.ir nr^icct Is dc&u iuvd, -v. .o, S.C.

ants of strangers to the commonwealth of Israel, bless God for our christian privileges, and look upon them as sufficiently equivalent for the want or loss of children, or any earthly good. Let us improve them by a conscientious attendance upon God's house of prayer, and by loving and serving him who hath called us to the fellowship of the gospel : then we shall experience abundant satisfaction and joy in all our approaches to God.

4. How miserable is the state of a people whose shepherds deserve the character which is here given of those of Israel. When princes, magistrates, and ministers, are ignorant, idle, greedy, cowardly, and sottish, they not only do not answer the ends of their office, but are a reproach to it, corrupt others by their ill examples, and encourage wickedness by suffering it to go unpunished and un. reproved. Let us earnestly pray, that God would preserve our country and churches from such detestable men ; and that hewould engage all magistrates to be a terror to evildoers, and all ministers to watch for souls, as they that must give an account.

CHAP. LVII.

The prophet in this chapter goes on to reprove the Jews for their sins, especially their idolatry; and begins with observing, how unaffected they were under the loss of good men, alluding perhaps the death of Hezekiah or Josiah.

1 r I ^HE righteous perisheth, and no man layeth [it] to heart:

JL and merciful men [are] taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil [to come,] and that it

2 M a token that judgments arc coming upon the lund. He shall enter into peace, or, go in peace: they shall rest in their beds, [each one] walking [in] his uprightness; or, they shall rest in their beds who have walked in uprightness.

3 But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore; ye pretend to be the seed of Abraham,

4 but are idolaters, and the children of idolater?. 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 tr, insult them: [are] ye not children of transgression, a seed of

5 falsehood, or, a false seed? Inflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the vallies under

6 the c'iifts 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 erected pillars to idols, and put thrm up in groves and by rivers, bring quite given up to superstition and idolatry. Should I receive comfort in these? in such a people, and from

7 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 thou up to offer sacrifice.

8 Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance, thy domestic idols: for thou hast discovered [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 multiplied thine idols and altars,

9 aild taken pattern by the idols of others. And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase [thyself even] unto hell; thou liast sent presents to the kings of yissyria and Egypt, in

10 the most mean and abject manner. Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; [yet] saidst 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 ivay of preserving thy life for the present, and therefore hast rested in that, without considering that

11 it will be upon the whole nunous to thee. And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid [it] to thy heart? why hast 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 shall not profit thee, but

13 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 putteih his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain; he

14 shall continue in the land, or returrt from captivity; And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people; all Impediments shall be removed, and a way be made for their safe and honourable re

15 turn. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabitetlt 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 pf the contrite outs; to afford them suplwrl and comfort in all their d'f

16 faculties and afflictions. 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, lest they should grow impatient, and their affliction should become insupportable, and I should onhi

17 destroy my creatures. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went

18 on frowardly in the way of his heart.* I have seen his ways, *

• Covetnusness wn a prevailing sin in Uriel, therefore they were afflicted, bvt p,xv worse rather than hetn-r by the correction. Yet God would have' compression upon ihtm Out «t regard to the few good then that were among them.

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