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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, and follow his steps; he will then guide us in the way of peace and happiness, and conduct us to everlasting glory.
3. Let finners 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 for fake 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 fovereign good ; then he will forgive us ; we shall find the nobleit satisfaction and pleasure in his good ways; and be led to eternal happiness. But let finners return immediately, and seek the Lord while he may be found; for it may soon be too 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 fee 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, and 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 favour of life to some fouls. 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 fown,
and increase the fruits of righteousness in us all, to his glory and our eternal
CHA P. LVI. Begins with an exhortation to God's people to prepare for that
great deliverance prophesied of in the foregoing chapters. I THUS saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and
T do justice : for my salvation (is) near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed ; observe all my laws and commandments, for that dispensation is near to be in
troduced, which contains the brightest display of my justice, 2 faithfulness, and goodness. Blessed [isthe man [that]
doeth this, and the son of man (thats layeth hold on it, that acts with steadiness and resolution in religion ; that keepeth the fabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil; that does nothing unlawful on
the fabbath day, nor neglects any of the proper duties of it. 3 Neither let 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 profelytes to the worship of the true God, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: nei
ther let the eunuch fay, Behold, I sam] a dry tree; I 4 have no offspring to be admitted into the covenant. For
thus faith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose [the things] that please me, and take hold of my covenant; who accept the offers and
comply with the terms of it, and who have truly pious difpo5 fitions ; Even unto them will I give in mine house and
within my walls a place and a name better than of fons and of daughters : I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off, I will give them fpiritual bleffings, great honour and comfort there, and a name that
hall not be cut off, as that of the most numerous families 6 may be. Also the fons of the stranger, the heathen,
that Some of the captive jews, who were in these circumstances, had need of this consolation when they came back to their own
that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and
bath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my cove7 nant; 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 hall enjoy great delight in their approaches to God. The place of worship being called a house of prayer, and not sacrifice, and being said to be for all people, intimates
that this refers to the admittance of gentiles into the gospel 8 church, on the same terms as the believing jews, The LORD
God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel faith, Yet
will I gather others to him, besides those that are · gathered unto him; the gentiles as well as jews, that is,
many more gentiles hall join with them after the captivity.
they [are] all ignorant, they are] all dumb dogs, they
wolves; they neither reprove nor forewarn finners ; sleepII ing, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, (they are]
greedy dogs (which] can never have enough, insatiable
ployment, country; for they were deprived by the law of being priests and magistrates; it must therefore have been great felf-denial and piety in them to leave the Persian court, in which some of them had been 'preferred. But the passage may likewise intimate, that there would be none of these restrictions under the gospel..
This verse begins a new prophecy, which is continued thro' some following chapters; describing the fins which introduced their calamities and ended in their captivity. The church is represented as God's flock, and their princes and priests as fhepherds, to watch over, feed, and defend it ; but, because they neglected this care, the wild beasts are called upon to devour it. Their neglect is described, v. 10, &c.
12 ployment, department, or place of abode. Come ye, [fay
they,] I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, [and] much more abundant; they not only run into exceses themselves, but tempt others to do fo; confident of the continuance of their prosperity, and deriding the threatenings of the prophets.
1: T HE approach of God's salvation is a strong mo
tive to be holy. The gospel displayed the righteousness of God, or his method of justification, and was the glad tidings of salvation; which 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 of seep, and be active 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 fabbath. 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 and 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 descendants 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 shep. herds deserve the character which is here given of those of Ifrael. When princes, magistrates, and ministers, are ig. norant, idle, greedy, cowardly, and fottish, 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 unreprov. ed. Let us earnestly pray, that God would preserve our country and churches from such detestable men; and that he would engage all magistrates to be a terror to evil doers, and all ministers to watch for souls, as they that must give an account.
CH A P. LVII. The prophet in this chapter goes on to reprove the jews for their
Jins, especially their idolatry; and begins with observing, how unaffeEted they were under the loss of good men, alluding perhaps to the death of Hezekiah or Fofiah. iMT HE righteous perisheth, and no man layeth [it]
I to heart: and merciful men (are] taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from
the evil (to come,] and that it is a token that judgments 2 are coming upon the land. He shall enter into peace, or,
go in peace : they shall rest in their beds, (each one) walking [in] his uprightness; or, they all rest in their
beds who have walked in uprightness. 3 But draw near hither, ye sons of the forceress, the
feed of the adulterer and the whore; ye pretend to be the feed of Abraham, but are idolaters, and the children of 24