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covenant transactions, but are fincere and honest; they mean what they say, and perform what they promise. If they do not this, whatever they may think of themselves, they are not God's children; but children of the devil, who was a liar from the beginning. If we are faithful, he will be our Saviour ; will deliver us from sin and hell, and conduct us to immortal glory. But if we rebel, and vex his holy Spirit, that strives with us, he will turn to be our enemy, and will fight against us; we shall lose our best friend, and fall into the hands of the most formidable enemy.
4. We may from this chapter draw many noble arguments and encouragements in prayer, especially in time of trouble. We may observe God's tender regard to his people: he is affli&ted in their affliction ; like a tender parent sympathizing with a fick child; his bowels yearn over his suffering servants. He is so good that he makes his former mercies an argument to bestow further favours; which men would rather consider as an argument against doing it. Let us think of our covenant relation to him; and plead these things in prayer : let fatherless children especially, remember, that tho their parents are ignorant of them, and acknowledge them not, yet God is their father, and his name is everlasting. Let them seriously address him under that title; and in him the fatherless will find mercy.
CHA P. LXIV. This is a continuation of the prayer begun in the former chapter.
It describes the case, and is intended for the use of the jews in their present dispersed state, and not their captivity in Babye · lon, as some understand it.
H that thou wouldst rend the heavens, that thou
wouldst come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence! Oh that God would look upon us, and show himself as visibly in our favour as he did to our fathers at mount Sinai, when there was such thunder, light
ning, and rain, as made the mountains look as if they were 2 melted down; As (when) the melting fire burneth, the • Vol. V.
fire causeth the waters to boil, or when the fire make the metals melt, and the waters boil, to make thy name
known to thine adversaries, [that] the nations may 3 tremble at thy presence.' When thou didst terrible
things (which), we looked not for, in our deliverance
from Egypt, and at mount Sinai, thou camest down, the 4 mountains flowed down at thy presence. For since the
beginning of the world [men] have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, besides thee, (what] he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him; or, as in the margin of our bibles, neither
hath the eye seen a God besides thee which doeth fo for him 5 that waiteth for him.k. Thou meetest him that rejoiceth . and worketh righteousness, that is, thou meetest with thy
favour, or with joy, those who serve thee cheerfully, (those that) remember thee in thy ways, who observe and own thy providence, and regard thee in every merciful and afflictive event : behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved; that is, in those ways of thine, especially thy ways of mercy,
there is continuance ; thy mercy is everlasting, therefore we 6 Mall be saved. But we are all as an unclean (thing,]
and all our righteousnesses (are) as filthy rags; our best Services are imperfect, defe&tive, and mixed with pollution : and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away; as the wind doth a withered
leaf, thou hast driven us out of our land, and deprived us of 7 good. And there is none that calleth upon thy name,
none who is earnest in his intercesion for us, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee, to avert the judgment; an allusion to holding a man's hand when he is going to strike : for, or rather, therefore, thou hast hid thy face
from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. 8 But now, O Lord, thou (art] our father ; we [are]
the clay, and thou our potter; and we all [are] the work of thy hand.
k This speaks the unsearchable wisdom and grace of God in his scheme for the salvation of his people; as if he had said, Thou hast not yet done thy utmost, there is still more in referve.
"Lowth translates it; Le thou art angry (for we have finned) because of our deeds, for we have been rebellious.
9 Be not wroth very sore, O Lord, neither remember
iniquity for ever: behold, fee, we beseech thee, we
[are] all thy people; thy peculiar, covenant people, and 10 not ihy creatures only. Thy holy cities are a wilderness,
Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation ; even Sion
and crusalem, the upper and lower city, and all the cities II of the holy land also, are defolate. Our holy and our beau.
tiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste;
not only the temple, but the palace and the synagogues are 12 destroyed. Wilt thou refrain thyself for these [things,]
O LORD ? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very fore? Wilt thou neither show compasion to us, nor execute judgment upon those that oppress us?
REFLECTION S. 1. T ET us learn to entertain high thoughts of the
L power, wisdom, and goodness of God. What a beautiful idea of them is there in this chapter! He is able, and intends, to do what his people have never seen nor heard of before ; something beyond their highest conception. The apostle accommodates this remark to the gospel dispensation, I Cor. ii. 9. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,.. neither have entered into the heart of man, to conceive the things which God hath prepared for them that love him; because it revealed glorious things, which human wisdom could not discover. It is also applicable to the future state of the righteous; for we can form no idea equal to what God intends for them. As we desire to be the objects of divine favour, and to share in the blessings of his people, let us wait for him in the way of duty, and love him with all our hearts.
2. Let us observe the character of good men, as it is here described; examine ourselves by it, and endeavour to answer it in our conduct. He will meet them who rejoice and work righteousness, who are faithful and constant in the difcharge of their whole duty, and who do it cheerfully. Let us rejoice in God, in our relation and obligations to him. Let us remember him in his ways, whether of judgment or
B b 2
mercy, and accommodate our temper to his various provi. dences. He will then meet us; admit us to converse with him; visit us with his favour, and show himself as our friend and helper.
3. We are taught our duty in times of publick trouble, and that is, humbly to bewail our fins before God; our guilt and pollution, and the imperfection of our righteousness; to deprecate the continuance of his anger, and intreat his kind and powerful appearances for us; to seek his mercy to remove our calamities, and his grace to reform our man. ners. On this errand we may comfortably apply to him, as our creator and father, wno has shown so much goodness in our creation and support, and much more, as our God in Jesus Christ. But let us remember, that if we desire these blessings, we must stir up ourselves to take hold on God; do all we can to quicken our fpirits; and engage all that is within us in this important work. Then we may hope that our prayers will prevail, and that God will stir up his sirength, and come and save us.
CHA P. LXV. This chapter is an answer to the people's complaint in the fore
going one, of God's rejecting them; informing them that it was for their fins, especially their reje&tion of Christ, when the gentiles received him; and it concludes with promises of
their future restoration. . "I I AM fought of [them that] asked not [for me;]I am • 1 found of [them that] sought me not; I am sought
now of them that asked not after me before, thus St. Paul interprets the words, Rom. ix. 25, &c. and ch. x. 20.) I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation [that]
was not called by my name; I manifested myself to them 2 and invited them to seek me. I have spread out my hands
all the day with great earnestness unto a rebellious peo. ple, which walketh in a way that was not good, after
their own thoughts; after their corrupt do&trines and 3 superftitious ways of worship; A people that provoketh
me to anger continually to my face ; that sacrificeth in
gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick; 4 Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, who use abominable ritės in honour of the dead, or to consult them, which eat swine's fesh, tho' forbidden by the law, because used in idolatrous rites among the
heathen, and broth of abominable [things is in] their 5 vessels, such as a kid seethed in its mother's milk ;m Which
fay, Stand by thyself, come not near to me, for I am holier than thou; valuing themselves on their own fanctity, and counting others unclean and profane : an exact description of the character of the pharisees in Christ's time. These [are]
a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day; 6 they are offensive, as the smoke of wet wood. Behold, [it
is) written before me, I will not forget it: I will not
keep filence, but will recompense, even recompense into 7 their bosom, Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your
fathers together, faith the Lord, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom; I will take their former and latter fins inta account when I come to punish them as a nation. Neverthelefs there hall be a remnant according to the eleЕtion of
grace: for 8 Thus faith the LORD, as the new wine, or rather, a
good grape, is found in the cluster, and (one) faith, Destroy it not, for a blessing [is] in it: so will I do for my servants’ fakes, that I may not destroy them all; as when a man who is pruning a vine, and cutting out the dead branches, fees a cluster likely to ripen, he leaves it,
Saying, there will become good grapes; so fome of the jews - Shall be converted, and some of the unbelievers shall be spared, . .
Bb 3 . . . in • It is objected, that this cannot be applied to the jews after their captivity, because they were then free from idolatry ; but it may refer partly to the idolatry of their fathers, as in v. 7. It chiedy describes their wickedness in Christ's time, in language taken from their anticnt manner of transgressing; it is a kind of proverbial expression for worshipping God in a way that he hath not directed, as incense and a pure facrifice are put for gospel worship; or it may refer to their complying with popish idolatry to avoid persecution, as many of the jews yet do.