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me; God is at hand to vindicate my innocence; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who [is] mine adversary? let him come near to me; I challenge him to a judicial process.• 9 Behold, the Lord God will help me ; who [is] he [that] shall condemn me ? loi they all shall wax old as a garment ; the moth shall eat them up; Herod, Pilate and the wicked Jews, the persecutors of Christ, shall be destroyed. The following verse is addressed to every humble christian.
10 Who [is] among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh [in] darkness, nnd hath no light? though he suffers hardships, and is exercised with afflictions, and doubts, and fears, let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God ; ufion the goodness of God, and his fauhfulness to his covenant. On the other hand, confusion and destrue
11 Hon are threatened to proud sinners. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass [yourselves] about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks [that] ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow; an allusion to a benighted traveller, who lights a little fire to warm himself by, and thereat kindles a torch to proceed on his journey; hut it goes out, leaves him in darkness, and exposed to many dangers; so those who seek their happiness in worldly comforts, and neglect God, or trust in the merits of their own righteousness, shall be disappointed.
1. TTT E are here taught that it is men's own sin that undoes
V V them. This the Jews are reminded of in the beginning of the chapter; their own iniquities brought their calamities upon them. When sinners are destroyed by acts of divine justice, it is owing to their own wickedness. God takes no pleasure in their destruction ; he is as ready to pity and help as ever he was: but if they will not regard the message of his Son, and comply with the demands of bis gospel, their destruction will be upon their own heads; they might have been saved, but would not.
2. It is the duty of christians, like their Master, to be willing to learn and to suffer. It is especially the duty of ministers to seek of God the tongue of the learned; that rich experience of divine things, and ability to speak comfortably to mourning souls, which is a better qualification than the largest store of human learning and philosophy. Let christians in private stations of life learn from their Master to apply their minds to understand divine things, and the will of God; to read his word, and attend upon his ministers, as men awake, and willing to learn, shaking off drowsiness, and taking pains to understand and remember. And let us earnestly pray against a drowsy distracted mind; and that God would awaken us
• This was literally fulfilled in Christ, who by signs ami wonders, and a voice from heaven, and especially by his resurrection from the dead, was vindicated from all accusatinns. and keep us attentive. So likewise we should be willing to suffer •whatever Providence calls us to; setting our faces like a flint, as Christ did; being bold, resolute, and undaunted in the work of religion; and by divine help we shall not be borne down by opposition, but God will justify and accept us. The apostle probably refers to verse 8, when he says, (Run. viii. 32.) Who e/iaU iay any tiling to the charge if God's fleet? It is God that justifieth, ii-koishe that condemneth?
3. Let us carefully observe the difference between a humble trusting in God, and a vain confidence in ourselves. Those who fear God, and obey the voice of Christ, his servant, and who complywith the terms of his gospel, may walk in darkness and have no light; they may have many doubts and fears, and want spiritual peace and joy. But let them trust in a good and faithful God, and lie will at length restore them to light and joy, which shall endure forever. On the other hand, those л»1 ho walk in the light of their own fire, seek their happiness in earthly things, trust to their own righteousness, or some sudden flashes of zeal and affection, may amuse themselves for a while, and seem full of light, hope, and joy, but will soon lie down in sorrow. The darkest state of a saint is therefore infinitely preferable to the brightest stale of a sinner.
The design of this cfia/tter is to encourage the Jewish ca/iti-ves to trust in God's promises; especially in those relating to Christ ; assuring them that he iwuld pity their misery and hclfi them; having given sufficient proofs of his power in his former dealings with that nation.
\ TTEARKEX to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye I I that seek the Loud: look unto the rock [whence] ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit [whence] ye arc digged; re
2 member your small beginning and tow estate. Look unto Abraham your father, and uiilo Sarah [that] bare you : for I called him alone, when a single person, -who had no family, and blessed him, and increased him; therefore am able to du great things for
3 you still. For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of
4 melody. Hearken unto me, my people, and give ear unto me, О my nation, or, 0 ye nationn^that ", ye GenlUss: fora law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest, or
5 rather, to break forth for a light of the people. My righteousness [is] near: my salvation is gone forth, the time is at hand vihen I KÍ11 jicrform my promises, and mine arms, that iat my /:swcr, shall judge the people: the isles shall v ait upon me.
and on mine arm shall they trust; / will reward my fcithfict
6 subjects, and punish my enemies. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shaM vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.
7 Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart [is] my law, who love it and obey it; fear ye not the reproach of men, of wretched men, neither be ye afraid of their
8 revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool, or, a woollen garment: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.
9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient clays, in the generations of old. [Art] thou not it that hath cut Rahab, that is, Egypt, [and] wounded the drag
!0 on, that is, destroyed Pharaoh? [Art] thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?
11 (JSxed.Tiv.il.) Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy [shall be] upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; [and] sorrow and mourning shall flee away; the cafitives shall return to Canaan, aml a church of God be gathered out of Jewt and Geniiles.
12 I, [even] I, [am] he that comforteth you: who [art] thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a man [that] shall die, and of
13 the son of man [which] shall be made [as] grass; and forgeitest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth ; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where [is] the fury of the opprcs
14- sor? it is ineffectual, vanished, and gone at once. The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail ; he shall quiekly be looted and not die; neither shall his bread /ail; and the reason
15 follows; But I [am] the Lord thy God, that divided the sea,
16 whose waves roared: The Lord of hosts [is] his name. And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou [art] my people; that I may disperse the clouds which hinder the light of the sun, moon, and stars, or even produce new constellations, or
'a new world. Grand and beautiful figures, to express a wonderful scan? opening, and great prosperity to be restored .'
17 Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs, the most bitter and nauseous part, of the cup of trem
18 bling, [and] wrung [them] out. [There is] none to guide her
among all the sons [whom] she hath brought forth: neither [is there any] that taketh her by the hand of all the sons [that] she hath brought up; no human flower can restore her firoaficrity.
19 These two [things] are come unto thee 5 who shall be sorry for thee Î desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and tue sword; thai it, desolation by famine, and destruction by the naorri: by whom shall I comfort thee? -who thall lament for thee in such
20 pathetic »train» an thy cese requires? Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net i theyarefullof the fury of the LoRD,the rebuke of thy God; they are ¿anguishing, and yet are quite furious and déifier ate; as wir.»
21 the case when the city veas taken and dettroyed. Therefore hear
22 now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine: Thus saith thy Lord the Lord, and thy God [that] pleadcth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, [even] the dregs of the cup of my fury ; thou shalt
23 no more drink it again ; thou shall drink of it no linger: But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over; it ahall be given to the Chaldeans, mho tyrannized over lliee, o/i/iressed thy conscience, and to whose insults thou hast too tamely submitted.
1. T T T E are taught how useful it is to look back, and contemVV plate our original, t>. I. We are born of th* dust» (what an humble origin 1) are in a feeble, helpless state, descended from degenerate parents, and have many corruptions anil sinful propensities. Let us often think of this, that we may be humble, adore the divine goodness in our formation and preservation, and especially his love to such mean and sinful creatures in their redemp* tion; that we may draw encouragement from hence to trust in him to fulfil all his promises, whatever difficulties may be in the way.
2. We see the character and happiness of God's people, v. 7, Я, They know righteousness, have their minds enlightened, understand what is good, and what the will of the Lord is; they have his la«" in their hearts; take pains to study and remember it, to feel its power, and obey its commands. They may be reproached and re* viled, even for their piety and steadfastness; but those reproaches are not to be regarded. God will defend his cause, und these who adhere to it; it shall prosper, and they shuli be happy; while scoffers and revilere shall waste awuy, and be covered with erertasting shame and reproach.
3. We should learn, from former experiences of God's power and goodness, to trust in him for futurity, :is they are ;\ great en* couragement to our faith. God often reminds his people of this; and particularly in this chapter, ll shows the advantage of scrip' ture histories, and the importance of recording past appearances <,f Providence for us. It would encourage our prayers in seasons of danger, and tend to silence that fear of man which bringeth a snare, which is often groundless, and always unbecoming. Our remembering the power, faithfulness, and goodness of God, would prevent any inordinate fear of what frail, dying man can do unto us. Let us then think less highly of man, and more highly of God, if we desire to be easy and happy.
4. We see that God easily can, and at length certainly will, change the afflicted condition of his people. He is the Lord, and their covenant God ; who will plead their cause, vindicate their character, confound their enemies, and show that his cause was a righteous one. He may put a cup of affliction into their hands, and it becomes them to drink it with all submission; sensible, that though it is not pleasant, it is wholesome, and will be exchanged for a cup of blessings. But those who are enemies to God's ways and people, shall drink the very dregs, and have no alleviation of their misery.
This chafiter refers to the Ziafipy change made in the state of the Jeva by their return from their captivity, as illustrating the more important deliverance by the gospel.
1 /\ WAKE, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on Xjl thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; resume thy former strength and dignity: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean;
2 there shall be no more idolatry within thee. Shake thyself from the dust, inhere thou hast sat as a mourner; arise, [and] sit down on thy throne, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion; take all prudent methods to
3 recover thy liberty, and gain the favour of thy conquerors. For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; you, have parted with your liberty only to enjoy your sins, and have got nothing by it; and ye shall be redeemed without money; Cyrus
4 sfiall deliver you freely. For thus saith the Lord God, My peo. pie went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the
Assyrian oppressed them without cause, and I delivered them
5 from both. Now therefore what have I here, saith the Lord, that my people is taken away for nought? what claim have the Chaldeans to keep my people in bondage, ivhom they have taken away without cause? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the Lord; and my name continually every day [is] blasphemed; they are cruelly used, and God is blasphemed, as if
6 he had cast them off, or was unable to help them. Therefore my people shall know my name, my powcr% therefore [they shall