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17 path in the mighty waters; Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow; referring to their deliverance from Egypt; your enemies
18 shall be quite destroyed, and have no fiower remaining. Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old; the deliverance J am about to grant is so great, that it shall eclipse
19 the former and obscure the memory of them. Behold, I will do a new thing ; now it shall spring forth suddenly; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers
20 in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen ; they shall have direction and defrnce where they least exhett
21 ed it, as Israel had in going through the wilderness. This people I have formed for myself; they shall, or they should, show
22 forth my praise. But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob;
23 but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense: /
24 have required nothing hard or unreasonable. Thou hast bought me no sweet cane, or incense, with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices ; the fat of which was offered to the Lord; that is, thou luisl neglected sacrifices, or brought only lean ones: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, to undergo a sort of bondage, and brought a refiroach upon me and my service, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.. Yet, in
25 stead of utterly destroying thee, I, [even] I, [am] he thatblotteth out thy transgressions, for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins ; but observe, it is for mine own sake that I will do
26 this. Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou that thou mayest be justified ; if I have forgotten any of thy
27 good deeds, remind me of them, I will do thee full justice. Thy first father, thy ancestors, hath sinned, ami thy teachers have trans
28 gressed against me. Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches; / have suffered the Chaldeans to profane, pollute, and destroy the priests and Levites, to overthrow your constitution in church and state, and make Israel a reproach and a proverb among the nations.
I. OD's presence with his people is a reason against anxVj ious fears. He often calls upon Israel not to fear ; and promises to be with them. He may see goad to lead us, as he did Israel, through the water and fire, that is, great and heavy afflictions, that are ready to overwhelm us, and in v uioh there is no hope of deliverance ; but he will be with us. Let us exercise faith in his promises, follow his leadings, and trust in him to deliver.
3. Our relation to God demands a suitable behaviour from 113. He hath created us as men ; formed us as Britons, into an excellent constitution ; redeemed us as christians, and shown his love by giving his Son for our ransom. And why has he done all this for us, but that we might show forth his praise? Let us then do it with our lips and by our liVps; adore hi* glorious perfections; proclaim Them to others; and live as the formed and redeemed of the Lord. Let us often recollect our relation and obligations to him, that we may live answerable to them, and show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.
3. God's service is so reasonable and so ea3y, that we shall be shamefully criminal and inexcusable if we neglect it. He appeals to lsrael concerning this. The incense and sacrifices he required, were no more than they could very well afford, considering their plenty and prosperity. Our religious rites are fewer and vasier to be observed; therefore our conduct will be more reproachful if we neglect them. He does not make slaves of us by them, nor weary us with them; he is so good a master, his work is so reasonable, so easy, and so honourable, that if we neglect it and grow weary of it, we shall be most ungrateful to him, and destroy our own souls. Let us therefore not be slothful in business, but ftrvent in spirit serving the Lord.
This chapter, beside promising redemption, the effusion of the Spirit, and the success of the gospel, sets forth in a very sublime manner the supreme power and foreknowledge of the one true God; expones the folly and absurdity of idolatry with admirableforce and elegance; and concludes with mentioning the future deliverer of the Jems expressly, by his name Cyrus, near two hundred years before he "was born. See Ezra i. 2.
1 T7" E T now hear, O Jacob, my servant, and Israel, whom I
2 X have chosen: Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and, formed thee from the womb, [which] will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, that is, Israel, (signifying an upright and holy people, see Deut. xxxii. 15.) whom I
3 have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed to cure them of their idolatry, and my blessing upon thine
4 offspring; all spiritual blessings under the .^osfiel: And they shall spring up [as] among the grass, as willows by the water courses; as plants and herbs do in green and fruitful meadows.
5 Oneshall say, I [am] the Lord's ; and another shall call [himself] by the nam;; of Jacob; ai.d another shall subscribe [with] his hand unto the Lord, and surname [himself] by thename of Israel; they tluitf desire to be joined to God's people. fV:iils ath*
Vol. V. £ e
ers wear the mark of the beast on their right hands, (Rrv. xiir.
16.) they shall mark their hands with the name of Jehovah; an allmion to a custom ainong soldiers, ivho sometimes received a mark
6 upon the hand, to signify to what commander they belonged. Thus saitti the Lord the king of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I [am] the first, ami I [am] the last; and beside me
t [there is] no God. And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people ? that is,Israel; no other nation can trace their history so high; and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them show unto them ; heathen idols cannot do this, therefore Iam to be fear
8 eel, trusted, and worshififitd, and not they. Fear ye not, neithtr be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, when ye beca&e my ficofile, and have declared [it,] or foretold what should bejkl you? ye [are] even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, [there is] no God ; I know not [any.]
9 They that make a graven image [are} all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they [are] their own witnesses against themselves; yet they see not, nor know; so that they may' be ashamed, as they have just cause to be of their folly in
10 worshipping such senseless things. Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image [that] is profitable for nothing? who can be so foolish and brutish as to account that to be a god, which
11 himself has made, and is good for nothing? Behold, all his fellows shall. be ashamed: and the workmen, they [are] of men: let them all be gathered together, letrthem stand up; [yet,] when combined in the greatest multitude, they shall- fear, [and] they
12 shall be ashamed together. The smith with the tongs both worketh in. the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth: he drinketh no water, and is faint; the god he is making cannct firevent his being tired with his work, or give
13 him meat or drink. The carpenter stretcheth out [his] rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a mnn, for he knows no no
14 bier creature; that it may remain in the house. He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest ; useth some art to make it straight and beautiful: he planteth an ash,
, which is of quicker growth, and the rain doth nourish [it;] thinking it will make the better god because it is of his own planting.
15 Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm- himself; yea, he kindleth [it,] and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth [it ;] he maketh it a
16 graven image, and falleth down thereto. Hcbumeth part thereof in the fire, with part thereof he eateth Oesh ; he roasttth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth [himself,] and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire ; he puts the other parts
- ,. 19. tl/e uses which Providence intended, and enjoys the. comfort of
\t them. And the residue thereoftie maketh a god, [even] his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth [it,] and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou [art] my
18 god. They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; [and] their hearts, that they cannot understand ; they will not use their understanding, and
19 therefore God gives them up to their delusions. And none consideret h in his heart, neither [is there] knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burnt part of it in the fire ; yea, also 1 have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten [it:] and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination I shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? so destitute are they of
20 common sense. He feedeth on ashes; on that which hath no nourishment, and which disafifioints him: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, prevents him from reasoning and reflecting, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, [Is there] not a lie in my right hand? he not only cannot deliver his soul from this vsiekedness, but he cannot see that he is cheating himself and playing the
31 Remember these, O Jacob and Israel, when you come to live among idolaters; for thou [art] my servant: I have formed thee; thou [art] my servant: O Israel, thou shah not be for
22 gotten of me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and as a cloud, thy sins; that is, as a cloud is dispersed before the sun dhd the wind: return unto me ; for I have rc
23 deemed thee. Sing, O ye heavens ; for the Loud hath done [it:] shout, ye lower parts of the earth : break forth into sinking, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel ; let all nature be joyful for the restoration of Israel, and tlte spreadef that gospel which is designed to turn men from these vanitiea.
24 Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I [am] the Lord that maketh all [things ;] that stretcheth forth the heavens alone i that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself, therefore can save thee without any other god:
25 That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad ; the magicians and astrologers of Babylon, who foretell the lasting felicity of that city and empire; that turneth wise [men]
26 backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; That confirmcth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and 1 will raise up
•27 the decayed places thereof: That saith to the deep, Be dry, when he delivered Israel out of Egypt, and I will dry up tliy rivers; alluding to the expedient used by Cyrus in taking Dubylni;, 28 viz. diverting the river Euphrates from its channel: That saitll of Cyrus, near two hundred years before l:is birth, [Me is] my shepherd, he shall gather my people together, ard had them o> a shepherd doth his flock, and shall perform all my pleasure; though he may have different schemes,yet he thall fulfil wy dc^gfis^ even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shall be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.*
1. T T is a very pleasing thing to see young people giving themJL selves up to the Lord, and joining themselves to his church. What gracious promises are those in the third, fourth, and fifth verses! It bodes well to the happiness of the rising generation, and the support of religion, when young persons take the vows of God upon them; yield themselves to him, to be entirely and for ever his; and unite themselves to Christian churches to walk with them in all the ordinances of the Lord. It is a good security for their future regular behaviour, their usefulness and comfort. Let young persons then be engaged to give themselves to the Lord and to hischurch; and let all, especially parents, earnestly pray for the communications of the spirit, which are necessary to excite them to self dedication, and to promote their fruitfulness in every good work.
2. How prone are men to deceive themselves concerning the plainest truths and the most important concerns 1 Did not scripture and common history confirm the truth of it, one would scarcely believe, that men could be so stupid and brutish as to worship idols: not that they supposed them to be gods, but they thought they were just resemblances of God, though they had no qualities to answer that character; or believed they had some divine power lodged in them; •which seems to have been the notion of the vulgar; so wretchedly stupid were men grown. And there are two many idolaters yet remaining among us; who worship silver and gold, (for co-ve/ou*•nes» is idolatry") or who make a foci df their belly. They please themselves with the expectation of happiness in these tilings; but there is alle in their right hand, and they find nothing solid to support their souls upon. And thus many are also deceived in those things in which they trust for salvation. We should therefore often put this question to ourselves, ' Am not I deceived ? is this net a lie in my right hand ?' and should beg of God to search and try us, and tee if there be any evil way in ut.
3. The promises and hopes of pardon demand our warmest gratitude and joy. What a blessing is it to have our sins forgiven and blotted out \ that cloud which separates between God and man, and intercepts the light of his countenance, dispersed \ All nature is called upon to rejoice in the gospel promises of forgiveness; they ate the best tidings to guilty creatures: and if we have any reason to believe our sins and iniquities are forgiven, our souls should for етст adore the grace of God, who is ready to forgive, and of Jesus Carist, through whose blood we receive the remission.