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every sinful method to help ourselves, and seeking direction and help from the Lord of hosts. Thus will our strength be increased, our peace rendered secure, and we shall never be ashamed of our hope.
2. God's holiness is the great terror of sinners. The thought is too weighty, and the expression too serious, for men that choose to go on in their sin ; for, if he be a holy Being, he must hate and punish those that are unholy. Hence they love those ministers that prophesy smooth things, that deal in generals, and give their consciences no alarm. But those that show them the evil of sin, preach searching sermons, and reprove their vices, they dislike. Yet faithful ministers must and will tell sinners, whether they like it or not, that God is an holy Being, of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; and that without holiness no man shall see the Lord. It is better that they should be roused and displeased, than that they should be condemned for impenitence, and their ministers for unfaithfulness.
3. See what a blessing the means of grace are, and how highly they should be valued. God promises his people that though they should be afflicted, reduced to famine and straits, yet they should have their Icachers continued ; and those who know the value of the word, its instructions, warnings, and counsels, will look upon this as a great favour, sufficient to sweeten the bread of adversity ; though it is to be feared that many had rather be without teachers and neans of grace, than lose their substance, or be in straits. It is a blessing to have faithful friends, to admonish us, a tender conscience, that will check us when doing evil, and the spirit of God, to impress the warnings of the word and the convictions of conscience. We are all in danger of mistaking our way ; of turning to the right hand or to the left ; of going into one error or another ; let us therefore reverence the word of God, esteem his faithful ministers in love, and attend to that friendly admonition, from whomsoever it comes, This is the way, walk ye in it.
4. With what joy should we celebrate our spiritual deliverances! The Israelites went with gladness and songs to celebrate their rescue from the Assyrians ; and have we not much greater reason, with gladness of heart, to celebrate in the house of the Lord our deliverance from Satan, sin, and death ; those enemies of our souls and their eternal welfare ? Let us rejoice in it, and give God the glory of it ; but rejoice with trembling, lest our enemies should gain the dominion over us, and drive us down to hell ; of which Tophet was but a faint iniage, though our Lord chooses by it to describe the horrors of the infernal world, even that lake which burneth with fire and brimstone ; where the morm dicih not, and the fire is nof guenched.
CHAP. XXXI, XXXII.
This prophecy is a continuance of the former. The first part of the thirty second chapter seems to refer to the beginning of Hezekiah's reign ; from the ninth to the fifteenth verse, to the troubles in the middle of il ; and the conclusion, to the prosperity of the latter end.
1 INTO to them that go down to Egypt for help ; and
stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because (they are) many ; and in horsemen, because they are very strong ; but
they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the 2 LORD! Yet he also [is] wise, and will bring eril, and will not
call back his words : but will arise against the house of the evil doers, and against the help of them that work iniquity : a severe irony ; as if he had said, You boast of the wisdom of your politics, but God has some wisdom, and is as able to help as they, therefore
to show your folly he will punish you for your evil doings, and the 3 Egyptians your helpers for their iniquity. Now the Egyptians
[are) men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit; they have no more strength and swifiness than common creatures, and are liable to be frighted, wounded, and destroyed : when the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall
fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail 4 together ; but God is a swer defence. For thus hath the LORD
spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, [he] will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them : so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thertof; all the noise of the Assyrian army is no more to him than a parcel of shepherds shouting
against a lion, whom they dare not go near, he minds it not, neither 5 looses his prey, nor carries it off with greater speed. As birds fly
ing speedily to their nests to secure their young, or 10 drive away an enemy, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem ; defending also he will deliver [it ; and) passing over he will preserve (it.] It is the same word as is used for passing over the Israel. iles' houses in Egypt, and has reference to their former deliverance;
Jerusalem shall first be reformed, and then saved. 6 Turn ye unto (him from] whom the children of Israel have 7 deeply revolted. For in that day every man shall cast away his
idols of silver, and his idols of gold, whicir your own hands have made unto you (for) a sin ; though they were the work of your own hands, the materiale valuable, and you had worshipped them,
yel being the occasion of sin you shall cast them away. 8 Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man, who smites openly ; and the sword, not of a mean man, who smites secretly, shall devour him : but he shall flee from the
sword of the angel, and his young men, or choice ones, shall be 9 discomfited. And he, that is, the king, shall pass over to his
strong hold for fear, and bis princes shall be afraid of the ensign,
which the angel shall wave over them as a mark of God's care of Jerusalem, or rather of any party of the Jews, however inconsiderable, saith the LORD, whose fire, or altar, [is] in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem ; where God is daily worshipped, and from whence fire shall come forth to destroy his enemies.
CHAP. XXXII. Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness; 2 and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an
hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land ; referring to the protection, repose, and happiness they
should enjoy in Hezekiah's reign, after the troubles in the reign of 3 his predecessors. And the eyes of them that see shall not be
dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken ; the prophets
shall deliver their message clearly and faithfully, and the people al. 4 tend to understand, and obey it. The heart also of the rasl, the
hasty and thoughtless, shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly ; rude
and illiterate people shall understand divine things, and speak readily 5 concerning them. The vile person shall be no more called liberal,
nor the churl said (to be] bountiful, or honourable ; a good judgment shall be formed of men ; worthy, valuable persons shall be
promoted, and others discountenanced ; the reason of this is given 6 afterward. For the vile person will speak villany, and his
heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail; a vile person
will show his iniquity by his practice, his profaneness against God, 7 and his cruelty to man. The instruments also of the churl [are]
evil : he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right ; he will find some
wicked men 10 be active in his evil designs, and by specious pre8 tences destroy the needy when he has a good cause. But the lib
eral deviseth liberal things ; and by liberal things shall be stand; he will aim to do all the good he can, and shall be established in
prosperity and reputation. 9 Rise up, ye women that are at ease ; hear my voice, ye care
less daughters ; give ear unto my speech. The women are ad
dressed, because grown extremely delicate and luxurious, and least 10 able to bear public calamities. Many days and years, or, as in the
margin, many days above a year, or whilst the Assyrian invasion
shall last, shall ye be troubled, ye careless women : for the 11 vintage shall fail, the gathering shall not come. Tremble, ye
women that are at ease ; be troubled, ye careless ones : strip ye of your ornaments, and make ye bare, and gird [sackcloth]
upon (your) loins ; or, as it may be rendered, upon your mourn. 12 ing breasts. They shall lament for the teats, for the loss of their
cattle and milk, for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine. 13 Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns (and) briars ;
yea, upon all the houses of joy [in] the joyous city ; upon the playhouses, gaming houses, and taverns ; the fenced cities of Judah
shall be destroyed and laid waste, and they shall have no heart to
follow their pleasures etien in Jerusalem, while it is besieged: 14 Because the palaces shall be forsaken ; the multitude of the city
shall be left, or, the city shall be forsaken of its multitude ; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a
pasture of flocks ; they shall have no heart to repair them again, 15 at least it will be a long time before it can be done ; Until the
spirit be poured upon us from on high, till God shall send his spiritual influence lo reform us, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest ; there shall be good times after the Assyrians are destroyed ; the wilderness shall become so fruitful, that what was before reckoned fruitful shall
appear like a forest in comparison of it ; or it may only denote a 16 great and wonderful change. Then judgment shall dwell in the
wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field ; right.
eous judgment shall be executed among the rich and poor in the 17 city and country, in the cultivated londs and in the wilderness. And
the work of righteousness shall be peace ; and the effect of
righteousness quietness and assurance for ever ; the increase of 18 righteousness shall promote peace, harmony, and all good. And
my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure 19 dwellings, and in quiet resting places ; When it shall hail,
coming down on the forest ; and the city shall be low in a low place, or, utterly abased ; there shall be no invasion from foreign
enemies, but they shall be destroyed, and their cities laid low; or it 20 may signify, you shall be sheltered from the storm. Blessed (are]
ye that sow beside all waters, and send forth (thither] the feet of the ox and the ass ; you shall go out without fear of your enemies, to cultivate your land, and enjoy great pleniy as well as teace.
1. L OW kind is God who invites sinners to return to him,
11 and promises thedi protection and happiness! Those perverse people that trusted in Egypt and their own politics, and had affronted the only wise and powerful God, were invited to return, yea, though they had deeply revolted. Thus does God still address sinners, though their backslidings are great and aggravated, and long continued in ; yet if they turn to him, he will receive and bless them. Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die, O house of Israel?
2. See the happiness of a good prince, and a righteous government. This was designed to encourage Hezekiah in his reforming work, to teach the people how to value and improve the blessings which they enjoyed under him, and to give instruction to future kings and princes. Let us bless God that we have a king over us, who, we hope, will always rule in righteousness, be a covert to the persecuted and oppressed, advance the worthy and virtuous, discountenance and frown upon the wicked, and thus secure the reputation of religion, and promote the public peace. And let us pray
that this may be more and more his character; and the blessings here described, be the blessings of his reign.
3. It is a good sign, when men and things are called by their proper names ; when vile persons are not called liberal, or gentlemen ; and churls, men of a selfish, surly disposition, stiled honourable. It is happy for a nation, when only good things are called by good names ; when virtue and virtuous men are esteemed, and held in reputation ; when men are valued, not by their rank and titles, but by their beneficence and usefulness. If difference of character was not so wretchedly confounded as it is in our common language, and there was greater openness and plainness of discourse, it would tend greatly to the support of righteousness. Let us then emulate the character of a citizen of Zion, in whose eyes a vile pera; son is contemned, and who honoureth them that fear the Lord.
4. Liberality is not the way to contempt and ruin, for the liberal man deviseth liberal things, and by them shall he stand. He contrives how he may be able to do good; he retrenches superfluities, and saves needless expenses, not that he may hoard up wealth, but that he may do the more good. He endeavours to be as extensively beneficent as possible, and by his charity he shall stand ; his prosperity shall be increased by the blessing of heaven ; he shall be esteemed by men, have peace in his own mind, and obtain favour of the Lord; and he that does not think this an abundant equivalent for parting with his money, is a vile and churlish person.
5. We see the wisdom of being religious, v. 17. The pious shall enjoy peace, undisturbed by the crosses of the world. Religious exercises are pleasant ; there is great satisfaction in reflecting upon them, and a gracious reward awaits them, even everlasting quietness and assurance. These inestimable blessings are only to be found in the way of righteousness; in that way therefore let us walk, and never turn aside from it.
6. Let us rejoice in the government of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the happiness of his faithful subjects, ch. xxxii. v. 1, &c. Though this has a primary reference to Hezekiah, yet it has also a reference to Christ, and the blessings of his gospel, as is common in the prophets. He reigns in righteousness, being himself perfectly holy, and his administration inflexibly just. He is a shelter and refreshment to his people in every storm. By his gospel, knowledge, holiness, liberality, peace, and joy are promoted and diffused. Let us show, by the practice of these virtues, that we have received its influence; and earnestly pray that the spirit may be poured forth from on high upon us, our churches, and all the world ; that the wilderness may be a fruitful field, and the earth may become like the paradise of God above.