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This is a continuation cf the firayer begun in the former chafiter. It describes the case, and is intended for the use of the Jews in their firesent dispersed state, and not their cafUivity in Babylon, as some understand it.
1 that thou wouldst rend the heavens, that thou wouldst
V/ come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence! Oh that God would look ufion us, and show himself as visibly in our favour as he did to our fathers at mount Sinai, when there was such thunder, lightning, and rain, as made the
1 mountains look as if they were melted down; As [when] the melting fire burneth, the 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 trem
S ble at thy presence. When thou didst terrible things [which] we looked not for, in our deliverance from Egypt, and at mount Sinai, thou eamest down, the mountains (lowed down at thy
4 presence. For since the beginning of the world [men] have not heard, nor perceived by the*ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside 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 beside thee which doeth so for him that waittth
5 for him• Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, that is, thou meetest with thy favour, or with foy, thou who serve thee cheerfully, [those that] remember thee in thy ways, who observe and own thy firovidence, and regard thee in every merciful mid 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 woys cf mercy, there is continuance: thy mercy is everlasting, therefore we shall
6 be saved.\ But we are all as an unclean [thing,] and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; our best services are i»ifierfict, defective, and mixed with fiollution: 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 cur
7 land, and defirived us of good. And [there is] none that calleth upon thy name, none who is ear-nest in his intercession for us, that stirrcth up himself to take hold of thee, to avert the judgment; an allusion to holding a man's hand when he is going t't strike.: for, or rather, therefore, thou hast hid thy face from us,
S and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. 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.
• This s^caki the uiwirchnhle wi.dnm an,t .T 'cr of Ctrl in hit schr-mc frr xhc «a!v-iti«n of hii ueoale; as if he l» til laisl, Thou h,tst not yet Uone thy utuio&t, th^rc is stial a.oic h| reserve.
t Lowth tramVttis ir r I. :?t.n A,i .mj y (fcr w Aavp s'misJ) I.cm.' of uur itrdi f«r
9 Be not wroth very sore, О Lord, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, \ve [are] all thy people;
10 thy peculiar, covenant /teofile, and not t/nj creatures only. Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation, even Sion and Jerusalem, the u/i/ier and lower city, and
11 all the citifs of the h<jly land also, are desolate. Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste; not only
\ 2 the tem/ile, but the ¡iala.ce and the synagogues are destroyed. Wilt thou refrain thyself for these [things,] О Lord? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore? Wilt thou neither sho-m comfiassion to us, nor execute judgment upon those that ofiftres» и»?
ET us learn to entertain high thoughts of the 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. Hf will meet them who rejoice and work righteousness, who are faithful and constant in the discharge 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 mercy; and accommodate our temper to his various providences. He will then meet из; 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 public trouble, and that is, humbly to bewail our sins before God ; our guilt and pollution, and the imperfection of our righteousness; to deprecate the continuance of his anger, and entreat his kind and powerful appearances for us; to seek his mercy to remove our calamities, and his grace to reform our manners. On this errand we may comfortably apply to him, as our Creator and Father, who has shown so much goodness in our creation and support; and much more, as our God in Jesus Christ. Bat let us rerarmbür, that if we desire these blessings, we must stir up ourselves to take hold on God; do all We can to quicken our spirits ; 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 strength, and come and save us.
This chafiter is an answer to the peohle's complaint in theforegoing one, of God's rejecting them; informing them that it was for their sins, especially their rejection of Christ, when the Gentiles received him: and it concludes with promises of their future restoration.
1 JAM sought of [them that] asked not [for me ;] I am found
that asked not after me before, (thus St. Paul interprets the words, Hom. 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
2 myself to them, and invited them to seek me. I have spread out my hands all the day with great earnestness unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way [that was] not good, after their own thoughts ; after their corrufit doctrines and superstitio'us ways
3 of worshifi; A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense up
4 on altars of brick; Which remain among the graves, and -lodge in the monuments, who use abominable rites in honour of the dead, or to consult them, which eat swine's flesh, though forbidden by the law, because used in idolatrous rites among the heathen, and broth of abominable [things is in] their vessels, such as a kid
5 seethed in its mother's milk i• Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou ; valuing themselves on their own sanctity, and counting others unclean and profane: an exact descrifition of the character cf the Pharisees in Christ's time. These [are] a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the
6 day; they are offensive, as the smoke of wet wood. Behold, [it is] written before me, i" will not forget it; I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom,
7 Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith. 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 ; / will take their former and latter sins into account when I come to fiunish them as a nation. Arevertheless there shall be a remnant according to the election of grace : for
• It is obiected thit this cannot be applied to the Jews after their captivity, becanse they were then frre from idolatry; but it mav refer partly to. the Molatry of their ftrhers, as in v. 7. It chiefly describes their wickedness in Christ's time, in langu.ic.e taken from rhrir ancient 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 sacrifice are put for gospel woi ship; or It may refer to their oomplving with popish idolatry to avoid persecutinn, as many of ihc Jews yet do.
8 Thus saith the Lord, as the new wine, or rather, a good grope, is found in the cluster, and [one] saith, Destroy it not, for a blessing [is] in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all; as when a man who is pruning a vine, and cutling out the dead branches, sees a cluster likely to ri/ien, he leaves it, saying, these will become good grapes; so some of the Jcxet shall be converted, and some of the unbelievers shall be sfiared, in hofie that a better generation will rise out of them: as it follows;
9 And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it,and my
10 servants shall dwell there. And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.•
11 But ye [are] they that forsake the Lord, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, for Gad, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number, that is, to
12 Meni.\ But because ye choose a number of idols, Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose [that] wherein I delighted not, what was most odious to
13 me. Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, my servants, true believers in Christ, shall eat, but ye, unbelievers, shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be
14 ashamed: Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation
15 of spirit. And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen ; according to the proverb, * He is as miserable as a Jew or the execration,' God make thee like a Jew:' for the Lord God shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name, that is, Christians; or in general it may mean, I hat he will show them
16 peculiar favour: That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles, or when the former provocations, are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes; there shall be an utter extirpation of idolatry, superstition, and wickedness, from among them.
17 For, behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind ; the final conversion of the Jews shajl be a new and glorious state of things,
18 superior to any before. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever, or, for the age to come, [in that] which I create: for, behold I cre
19 ate Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying;
- Sharon !ny to the west, and Achor to the east; so that it mtimates, that the whole country should be iieoidcd and become fruitful.
t It is uncertain what particular idols these were.
20 the former occasions of griff shall cease. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; hut the sinner [being] an hundred years old shall be accursed ; (figures taken from the antediluvian slate :) men shall live to a great age, and not die when they begin to grow old; he that is an hundred years old shall be reckoned out as a child; and if a man die at an hundred years, he shall be esteemed a grievous ¿inner, who kiith provoked God, by some aggravated offence, to shorten hin days.
21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit [them ;] and they shall Ï2 plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build,
and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree [are] the days of my people, they »hall revive as a tree does in the ¡/¡ring, and mine elect shall long enjoy
23 the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble ; for they [are] the seed of theblesssd of the Lord, and their offspring with them; their children shall
24 live, shall be taell/irovidfd for, and be a holy seed. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear; / mill prevent them with the
25 blessings of my goodness. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, ami the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust [shall be] the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord; there shall be no pertecution nor severity among them, but perfect harmony and friend»hip i the serpent shall notjly upon men and bile them, out appear at an innocent reptile.*
l. T ET us bless God that he hath fulfilled his promise to the, JL-1 Gentiles. They knew not Clod, nor did they seek after him; but he made himself known to them; invited them to seek him, and return to him. This is the happy case of our land. О thiit we may be duly sensible of the divine goodness herein. When he culls tous, let us hear his voice and learn his ways ; and let not our ministers have reason to complain of any of us, that they have Rtretchrd out their hands to a disobedient and rebellious people.
2. We may observe how offensive spiritual pride is to God. A black character is here given of the Jews, and no part of it is represented to be so offensive to God as their hypocrisy and self conceit, which generally go together. This is illustrated by our Lord's reproof of the pharisees. They trusted that they were rightnux^and despised other»; looked upon all who did not observe their superstitions, as unclean. A temper much resembling this is too common among Christians, which discovers itself in their unreasonable attachment either to some peculiar notions which they term orthodoxy, or
• Bp Sherlock understands it u referring tothe sentence on the «crpent at tbr fill, tb:ir Satan ihtvihl be siilnlurdnmt bntmd. Ы- stripped ol'hii «iHuenci: ovtr the souls of nun, jvl inсшче of Gf»d executed upon Liiu indhh ind