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things most worthy of seeing and hearing, yet by my firofihet T
10 foretell that yc will not be affected with them. Make the heart of this people fat, stuflid and hardened, that is, declare that it shall' be so ; be not wanting to instruct and refirove them, though thin should be the consequence; and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert and be healed, or fiardoned. Thus Jeremiah is said to build and destroy kingdoms, and Ezekiel is said to destroy Jerusalem, because theyfore
11 told that they should be destroyed. Then said I, Lord, how long shall this judgment, this judicial blindness continue? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate; till utter destruction come ufion them as a nation : referring to their dc
12 siruclion by the Romans, forty years after Christ's time; And the Lord have removed men faraway, and [there be] a great forsaking in tile midst of the land ; till many flee away, and others are carried cafitive by the Romans, so that very few are left.
13 But yet in it [shall be] a tenth, ortyihe of the inhabitant^, and [it] shall return to God, and shall be eaten, that is, be acceptable to him, as the tythe was eaten by the finest, and is called meat in hia house: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance [is] in them, when they cast [their leaves ;] like a tree that seems withered and dead in winter, yet is alive and shall sfirout again: [so] the holy seed [shall be] the substance thereof; these who embrace the gosficl shall fireserve the tuition from utter ruin, and at length it ahull .flourish again ; so that the Jews shall never be entirely cast off, but in due time be numbered again among God't fitofle.
1. T E T us make this grand description of the Lord Jehovah 1 -* familiar to our minds. He is exalted above all c.herubims; attended with an innumerable company of bright and holy beings. Observe with what humility and reverence they appear before him» covering their faces. With what ardour and zeal do they praise him! with what activity and speed do they execute his commands I May we engage in religious services with the same disposition! contemplate and adore him as superlatively holy; and particularly think of him in this light when earthly kings die. In the year Uzziah died, who was upon the whole a good king, and reigned very long, Isiiah saw this vision. It was comfortable, in such circumstances, to reflect on the Lord as the King eternal and immortal; and to think that he has committed all judgment to his Son, whose glory, as the image and representative of Jehovah, the prophet saw.
2. When we seriously consider the infinite purity and holiness of God, we may justly tremble before him. We are ready to think Isaiah was very happy in such a sight as this; but, exalted as his
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genius and piety \rere, he cries out, Wo is me ! for I am undone We are all men of polluted lips; have said many rash and unholy things; are unfit to appear before the Lord, and unworthy to be employed as his servants; therefore it becomes us to be afraid of his righteous displeasure, and to abase ourselves deeply before him. God is grca'ly to be feared, and to be had in reverence of all them, that draw nigh unto him.
3. How honourable is it to be employed for God, and how cheerfully should we engage in his service I It should be the great desire of all Christians, as the servants of God, more especially of ministers, to have their iniquity purged, their guilt removed, theif inclinations to sin mortified, and to have a comfortable sense of pardon and peace. We should all be willing to work for God; and though the times may be bad, and we may meet with many discouragements in our Christian work, and see little hope of success in our endeavours to do good, yet still our language should be, Here am /, Lord } «end me. It is honour enough to be employed for God, though our work should be unsuccessful. But this is an additional comfort, that our iront is 4tiith the Lord, and we shall by no means lose the reward.
4. What a deplorable condition is theirs, who hear the gospel, but are made worse by it. This is the case of the Jews ; and this pas* sage Is quoted six times in the New Testament, and applied to them by Christ and his apostles. And it is the case of too many Christians; they hear, but understand not ; will not apply their minds to consider and attend to their own concern in it; so that they continue in sin, and are not healed ¡ yea, they are given up to spiritual blindness, and their hearts grow harder by their misimprovement of the means of grace. Let us beware that this ease be not ours. It is indeed a very discouraging circumstance to ministers, that it is so common a case; but there is this to balance it, that there is a holy seed, a pious remnant, that will hear, learn, and improve ; and that while the word of God is to some a savour of death unto death, it is to others of life unto life, and they are a savour to God in both.
The design of this chafiter is, to assure the house of David, or r oval family, that they should not be destroyed by the i ings of Sijria and Israel, vihn were confederate against them, but »hould be Jmniihed by the king of Assyria, in -whom they trusted,
\ Л N D it came to pass in the days of Aha« the son of Jotham» XJL the son of Uzziah, king of judah, [that] Rtzin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, vent up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail
3 against it. And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, that is, the royal family, as the trees of
3 the wood are moved with the wind. Then said the Lord untp Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjasbub thy son, whose name signifies, ' the remnant shall return,' at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's
4 fieM ; And say unio him, Take heed, and be quiet ; fear not, neither be faint hearted, for the two tails of these smoking fire-, brands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and ot the son of Remaliah; do not give way to anxious fears, for these livo
5 kings are but as two firebrands which ore almost consvmed. Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil.
6 counsel against thee, saying, Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king: in the midst of it, [even] the son of Tabeal; thus pretendmg to the croivn of Judah, and designing to overthrow the house of David:
X Thus saith the Lord God, It shall not stand, neither shall it S come to pass. For the head of Syria [is] Damascus, and the head of Damascus [iB] Rezin ; as Damascus is the head city of Syria, and Rezin is the head or king of Damascus, so they shall continue to be, and not advance themselves, and enlarge their territories, as they design; and within three score and five years. 9 shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.• And the head of Ephraim, [is] Samaria, and the head of Samaria [is] Remaliah's son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established; if ye will not trust what God soys, and rely upon him fur deliverance, but seek out for fort ign support, you shall neve* prosper in any design for the securing your peace and comfort, as it came to pass, 2 Chron. xxviii. 20. 10 J1 Moreover the Lord spake again unto Ahaz, saying, Ask. th^e a sign of the Lord thy God, some miracle to confirm the truth of this prediction; ask it either in the depth, or in the height
12 above. B"t Abaz said, X will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord; b:ing secretly determined not to trust Providence, btit to seek help from the king of' Assyria,thereforcfor polifica.1 reasons he would not ask a sign ;. though he pretended religion and are
13 gard to God as the reason. And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David? [Is it] a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? This is not only a slight to me, but to
1,4 the patience and kindness of God.. Therefore the Lord him-* self shall give you a sign,. a double sign, one^ that the house of David should not be totally destroyed, the other,. that they should speedily be delivered Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and. shall call his name Immanuel ; an illustrious
15 prophecy of Christ. Nevertheless, Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know, or till he knows how, to refuse the evil, and; choose. the good, that is, he shall be bred up as other children are.
• Accordingly, from the first year oF Ahaz, when this confederacy wai formed, and this prophecy delivered, it wi, iust sixty five years ro the twenty second yrar of Manarsch. whet; the king of Assyria cirriedaway the last of the ten tribes, ami planted colonies of other nations in their stead, and probably took Manasseh captive at the same time. It was broken from Being a kingdom by the former Assyrian kings, but not broken trow being a people tillnoy^
The land shall continue its fruitfulness, and be eafmble of nourish" ing ils inhabitants, till he is born; and as he is to be born of the 16 house of David, this is a sign that that house shall not fall. For before the child, that is, this child that is now in my hand, Shcarjcshub my son, v. 3, shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest, the land that thou carest for with great cmicern, the land of Judah, of which they have now got possession, shall be forsaken of both her kings; the king of Syria and the king of Israel, shall both be destroyed by the king of Ansyria, and the two hundred thousand captives they have taken shall be restored by the hifluence cfGod upon their minds ; according to the meaning of the name of the profihet's son. See 2 Kings xv. 29, 30. xvi. 9.
Nevertheless God will send a more terrible enemy upon them, 17- because Ahaz will not trust God, but seek help from Anuria: The Lord shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father's house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; [even] the king of Assyria, to
18 whom you have sought for help. And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the Lord shall hiss for the fly that [ix] in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the tee that [is] in the land of Assyria; the multitude of their enemies shall be like swarms of flies or bees, from which no rank, and no place shall
19 be secure.• And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate vallies, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes; overspread and.make havock of the
30 whole country. In the same day shall the Lord shave with a 'razor, that is hired, the Assyrians, whom thou hant hired to defend thee, [namely,] by them beyond the river Euphrates, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard ; he shall make a great and general di
21 struction. And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep, so few cattle shall be
22 left; And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk [that] they shall give, by reason of their having so much room to feed,
- on account of the country being depopulated, that he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one tat that is left in the land ; they shall have no flesh to eat, neither corn, wine, nor oil, the produce of cultivation, but only milk and honey, the gifts of
23 nature. And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, or shekels, that is, so much a year, it shall [even] bq for briars and thorns; it shall be wasted, and overrun with briars
34 and thorns. With arrows ant! with bows shall [men] come thither, to destroy wild beasts or hunt for food; because all thq
25 land shall become briars and thorns. And [on] all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, that is, the choicest grounds that were used to be tilled, and where the vineyards used to be
* The Assyrian! had conquered Egypt before this, and had many Egyptians in their army.
filanted, thereshall nrrt come thither the fear of briars and thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle; there shall be no hedge to defend them, but the cattle shall graze vfion them, that is, there shall be a general desolation of all the country.
1. TTTE are here shown the necessity and advantage of faitli V V in Gcd in troublesome and dangerous times. It is our duly to take heed, to be quiet, to rule our spirits, to command our passions, a:»d have faith in God ; that is, to maintain a firm belief of his overruling Providence, and guard against that fear which hath torment. His words are true, his declarations are faithful; he knows how to deliver from the most formidable enemies ; let us therefore commit our way to the Lord, trust also in him; and thus shall we dwell safely,and be quiet from the fear of evil,'
2. Let us bless God that this sign is come to pass, and that this glorious prophecy of Christ is fulfilled! lie was horn of the Virgin Mary; his name was called Immanuel. God is with us, dwelling in human nature, and at peace with us. We should thankfully receive him as the Messiah, who is to reign over the house of David, and whose kingdom is everlasting. We should diligently seek an interest in him, and all lesser deliverances should lead our thoughts to this great deliverer, who is God's salvation to the ends of the earth.
3. Though God may not entirely cast off his people, yet he may see it needful to correct them. Though Judah should be delivered from the designs of Syria and Israel, yet ihcy should be punished by the king of Assyria; though the house cf David should not totally be ruined, yet great calamities should come upon the land. God often deals thus with his people. Though he docs not quite forsake them, or give them up to ruin, yet he visits their iniquity ivith a rod, and their transgrtssion with strifies. We should therefore maintain a holy caution and fear of sin, and glorify God by a faithful obedience to all his commands.
This arid several following chapters arc prophecies of the troubles of Judah by the Assyrians ; intermingled with firophecies of the i Messiah, for the encouragement of the believing Jews,
1 "jl/TOREOVER the Lord said unto me, Take thee a great -LV-L roll, and write in it with a man's pen, in the common way of writing, and in a plain, legible manner, for the use of all,
2 concerning Mahershalalhashbaz, the name of his child. And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and