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CH A P. L. This chapter is a vindication of God's dealings with his people;
and concludes with an exhortation to trust in God and not in ourselves. i THU S faith the LORD, O ye captives, Where [is)
1 the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away ? representing the jewish church as their mother, and alluding to the power which husbands had to put away their wives, God enquires for the bill of divorce, in which the reasons would appear why they were rejeated : or which of my creditors sis it] to whom I have sold you? An allusion to persons when oppressed with debt selling themselves, or their children, to their creditors, as was frequently done among the jews, fee 2 Kings iv. 1. and Matt. xviii. 25. but this, says God, cannot be my case; I am not urged by any such necessity ; I am not in debt to the Chaldeans or Romans. Behold, for your iniquities have ye fold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away; you fold yourselves for the gratification of your
lufts, and were put away for your own folly and wickedness. 2 Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when
I called, (was there] none to answer ? if it were not for
fame power as I ever had, therefore it was not owing to me 3 that you were not delivered, but to your fins. I clothe the.
heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering; a reference to the Egyptian darkness, Exod. x. 21. The Meffiah is then introduced as speaking in his own name.
The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in seafon to [his that is) weary: he wakeneth morning by morning : he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned, or rather, as Learners or scholars; (an allusion to a master
calling up his scholars and servants in the morning;) as if he
had said, God reveals his will to me, and gives me ability to 5 instruct and comfort the affliated. The Lord God hath
opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back; he hath instructed me in the discharge
of my office, given me to understand why I must suffer; and 6 I was willing to do what he required. I gave my back to • the imiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the 7 hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For
the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded; not be overborne by my enemies, nor disappointed in my work and of my hope : therefore have i fet
my face like a flint, I am bold and courageous, and I 8 know that I shall not be ashamed. (He is near that
justitieth me; God is at hand to vindicate my innocence; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who
[is] mine adversary ? let him come near to me; I 9 challenge him to a judicial process. Behold, the Lord
God will help me; who [is] he [that] shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth fhall eat them up; Herod, Pilate, and the wicked jews, the persecutors of Christ, shall be destroyed. The following verfi is addressed to every humble christian.
Who [is] among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh [in] darkness, and hath no light? tho he suffers hardships, and is exercised with afli&tions, and doubts, and fears, let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God; upon the goodness of God, and his faithfulness to his
covenant. On the other hand, confufion and destruction are at threatened to proud finners. Behold, all ye that kindle a
fire, that compass (yourselves] about with sparks : walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks (that) ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow; an allusion to a benightsd traveller, who lights a little fire to warm himself by, and thereat
kindles de These great indignities Christ suffered patiently, Luke xviii. 31, 32. Murt. xiv. 65. xv. 19.
i This was literally fulfilled in Christ, who by signs and won. ders, and a voice from heaven, and especially by his resurrection from the dead, was vindicated from all accusations.
kindles a torch to proceed on his journey; but it goes oui, leaves him in darkness, and exposed to many dangers; ja those who seek their happiness in worldly comforts, and neglezt God, or trust in the merits of their own righteousness, Thall be disappointed.
REFLECTION S. 1. IT E are here taught that it is men's own sin that
V undoes them. This the jets are reminded of in the beginning of the chapter; their own iniquities brought their calamities. upon them. When finners are destroyed by acts of divine justice, it is owing to their own wickedness. God takes no pleasure in their destruction; he is as ready to pity and help as ever he was: but if they will not regard the message of his Son, and comply with the demands of his gospel, their destruction will be upon their own heads; they might have been saved, but would not.
2. It is the duty of christians, like their Master, to be willing to learn and to suffer. It is especially the duty of ministers to seek of God the tongue of the learned; that rich experience of divine things, and ability to speak comfortably to mourning fouls, which is a better qualification than the largest store of human learning and philosophy, Let christians in private stations of life learn from their Master to apply their minds to understand divine things, and the will of God; to read his word, and attend upon his ministers, as men awake, and willing to learn, shaking off drowsinefs, and taking pains to understand and remember. And let us earnestly pray against a drowsy, distracted mind; and that God would awaken us and keep us attentive, So likewise we should be willing to suffer whatever providence calls us to; setting our faces like a flint, as Christ did; being bold, resolute, and undaunted in the work of religion; and by divine help we shall not be borne down by oppofition, but God will justify and accept us. The apostle probably refers to verse 8, when he says, (Rom. vüi. 32.) Who ball lay any thing to the charge of God's Eleat ? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? VOL. V.
3. Let us carefully observe the difference between a humble trusting in God, and a vain confidence in ourselves. Those who fear God, and obey the voice of Christ, his fervant, and who comply with the terms of his gospel, may walk in darkness and have no light; they may have many doubts and fears, and want spiritual peace and joy. But let them trust in a good and faithful God, and he will at length restore them to light and joy, which Thall endure for ever. On the other hand, those who walk in the light of their own fire, feek their happiness in earthly things, trust to their own righteousness, or some sudden flashes of zeal and affection, may amuse themselves for a while, and seem full of light, hope, and joy, but will soon lie down in forrow. The darkest state of a faint is therefore infinitely preferable to the brightest state of a sinner.
their own fire, chteousness, or fomes for a while,
CHA P. LI. The design of this chapter is to encourage the jewish captives to
trust in God's promises; especially in those relating to Christ ; asuring them that he would pity their misery and help them ; haring given fufficient proofs of his power in his former deal. ings with that nation. 1 EARKEN to me, ye that follow after righ
O teousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock [whence] ye are hewn, and to the hole of the
pit (whence) ye are digged; remember your small begin2 ning and low estate. Look unto Abraham your father,
and unto Sarah [that] bare you : for I called him alone, when a single person, who had no family, and blessed him,
and increased him; therefore am able to do great things 3 for you still. For the LORD shall comfort Zion:
he will comfort all her waste places, and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be
found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. 4 Hearken unto. me, my people, and give ear unto me,
O my nation, or, Oye nations, that is, yè gentiles: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my
judgment to rest, or rather, to break forth for a light of 5 the people. My righteousness [is] near: my salvation
is gone forth, the time is at hand when I will perform my promises, and mine arms, that is, my power, shall judge the people: the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine
arm shall they trust; I will reward my faithful subjects, 6 and punish my enemies. Lift up your eyes to the heav
ens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoak, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner : but my salvation shall be for ever,
and my righteousness shall not be abolished. 7 Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the
people in whose heart [is] my law, who love it and
obey it ; fear ye not the reproach of men, of wretched 8 men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm fhall eat them like wool, or, a woollen garment : but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from
generation to generation. 9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the
LORD; awake, as in the antient days, in the generations of old. Art] thou not it that hath cut Rahab,
that is, Egypt, sand] wounded the dragon, that is, de10 stroyed Pharaoh? [Art] thou not it which hath dried the
sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the
depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over ? 11 (Exod. xiv. 21.) Therefore the redeemed of the LORD · shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and
everlasting joy [shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; [and] sorrow and mourning shall flee away; the captives pall return to Canaan, and
a church of God be gathered out of jews and gentiles. 12 I, seven) I, fam] he that comfortēth you: who
(art] thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a man [that]
shall die, and of the son of man (which) shall be made 53 [as] grass; And forgettest the Lord thy maker, that
hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were