« AnteriorContinuar »
to some unscriptural rites, in which they place the whole of religion; and are too ready to say to others, We are holier than you. But such a temper as this is highly displeasing to God, v. 5. Those are often, yea, generally, the most unholy, who think themselves most holy. Let us beware therefore, lest, being lifted up with pride, we fall into the condemnation of the devil.
3. We see what a difference God makes and will make between his servants and his enemies. This difference is here specified, and their respective conditions are set one over against the other. His servants have comfort in their earthly enjoyments ; true peace, pleasure, and joy ; and they are really honourable. While his enemies are strangers to true pleasure; are, and will be, contemptible. Let God's servants therefore be thankful for his grace manifested to them; and let his enemies tremble to think, how much worse their state will be hereafter, when the righteous shall be comforted, while they are tormented.
4. When God is doing great things for his church, it becomes us to observe and rejoice in them, v. 18. He is able to do great things for them ; as great, as making a new heaven and a new earth; and he will do it in his time. He will rejoice over his people himself ; and it becomes us to rejoice with them, and take a part in their pleasure and gratitude. In the mean time, let us rejoice in the assurance and prospect of this happy period, and in every instance in which religion revives, and there are added to the church such as shall be saved.
This chapter consists of two parts ; 1.1.7, is a reproof to the Jews for laying such a stress on the temple and temple worship in Christ's time, with an intimation that God would change it. In this
view Stephen quotes it, Acts vii. 49, 50. I THUS saith the LORD, The heaven [is] my throne, and
1 the earth [is] my footstool : where [is] the house that ye build unto me? and where [is] the place of my rest? where is
the temple that suits my majesty, and where I may take up my 2 rest without any thoughe of a departure ? For all those things]
hath mine hand made, and all those (things] have been, or ra. ther, are mine, saith the LORD : but to this (man) will I look, [even) to [him that is) poor and of a contrite spirit, and trem
bleth at my word; who possesses habitual humility and seriousness, 3 and revereth my word. Without this devout temper, He that killeth an ox (is as if] he slew a man ; he that sacrificeth a lamb, (as if) he cut off a dog's neck ;* he that offereth an oblation,
• This was one of the sacrifices used by the heathens at the death of their friends. mentioned by Homer.
(as if he offered] swine's blood ; he that burneth incense, [as if] he blessed an idol ; the sacrifices of the unbelieving Jews will not be acceptable to God, but very provoking to him. Yea, they
have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their 4 abominations, or, their superstitions. I also will choose their
delusions ; they shall be slaves to tradition and be dıluded by false Christs, and will bring their fears upon them ; probably the Romans, for fear of whom they crucified Christ ; because when I called, none did answer ; when I spake, they did not hear ; but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose (that) in which I de.
lighted not. 5 Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word ;
Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's
sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified : but he shall appear to 6 your joy, and they shall be ashamed. A voice of noise from
the city, a voice from the temple,* a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompense to his enemies ; to the unbelieving Jews, who shall be left to perish in the destruction of the city ; while the christians, being warned by Christ, shall fly 10 the mountains and be secure. The remainder of the chapter refers, I think, to the
glorious state of the Jews in the latter day. 7 Before she travailed, she brought forth ; before her pain came, 8 she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a
thing? who hath seen such things ? Shall the earth be made to bring forth, to produce fruit in all its perfection, in one day ? [or] shall a nation be born at once ? without growing up, without any
frain and difficulty, or any ill accident ? for as soon as Zion tra9 vailed, she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the
birth, and not cause to bring forth ? saith the LORD : shall I cause to bring forth, and shut (the womb ?] saith thy God; Shall I disappoint the expectations of my people, and fail to per. form my work, when every thing is ripe for execution ? Then
follows an address to gentile christians, who had mourned over the 10 calamitous state of the Jews for many ages. Rejoice ye with Je
rusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her, rejoice for 11 joy with her, all ye that mourn for her : That ye may suck, and
be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations ; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory, or
stores ; as if he had said, That ye may be edified or delighted, by 12 the gifts and graces bestowed upon the Jewish church. For thus
saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace, or happiness, to her like a river, and the glory of the gentiles like a flowing stream, by the liberality and kindness of the Jews on their conversion : then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon [her] sides, and be
dandled upon (her) knees, as young children are by a fond and 13 tender parent. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I
comfort you ; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem, by the re14 turn of the divine favour 10 it. And when ye see(this,] your heart
• This is addressed to the believing Jews, who were excommunicated under a preteree oť zeal for God, and persecuted in every city to which their enemies had access,
shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb ; that is, the Jews shall recover their ancient strength and beauty ; accord ing to St. Paul, it shall be as life from the dead : and the hand of the LORD shall be known toward his servants, and (his] indigna.
tion towarci his enemies. 15 For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chari
ots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his 16 rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will
the LORD plead with all flesh : and the slain of the LORD sball 17 be many.* They that sanctify themselves, and purify them
selves in the gardens behind one [tree] in the midst, according to the rites of Achad, or an image of the sun in the garden of Achad, called, One, or the one great being, (a name given him by the ancient Persians, who used to sacrifice seven bats and seven mice to the sun,) eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the
mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD. 18 For I (know) their works and their thoughts : it shall come,
that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see my glory, which shall be displayed in converting the Jews, and in destroying their enemies. And I will set a sign, or standard, among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, (to] Tarshishi, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, (to) Tubal, and Javan, (to) the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory ; and they shall declare my glory among the gentiles; I will send some of the believing Jerus to convert the Gentiles that yet remain in a state of ignorance
and idolatry ; or to their own brethren that are not gathered with 20 them. And they shall bring all your brethren (for) an offering
unto the LORD, ras St. Puul calls the conversion of the Gentiles, Rom. xv. 16.) out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD; I trill bring them in a swift, easy, and commodious manner, and
take care that they be conveniently accommodated in their journey. 21 And I will also take of them for priests (and] for Levites, saith.
the LORD ; the Jews shall again become a kingdom of priests, and 22 take pains 10 spread the gospel. For as the new heavens and the
new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain ; this new stale
of things shall continue, and the Jews, when once converted, shall 23 remain 10 the end a faithful people. And it shall come to pass,
[that] from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the I.ORD : gospel worship is described by these figures ; as if he had nard, The stated seasons of worship shall be regularly attended upon ; yea, they shall keep one continued festival, and be habitually
This refers to the destruction of those enemies that shall come to attack the lows after bgir settlem.cat, supposed to be the Tartars and other barbarous nations frooi the north, who
24 devout and holy. And they shall go forth from Jerusalem and
look upon thecarcasses of the men that have transgressed against me; they shall see their enemies slain, as in v. 16, for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched ; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh; men shall abhor them as They do the stench of a dead carcass ; they shall appear a livelu emblem of the torments of hell, and God's faithful servants shall look upon them to excite their joy and thankfulnes8*
1. I ET us learn from hence a proper temper for divine wor
I ship and acceptance. We should think of that glorious Being whose throne is heaven, and earth his footstool, as a spiritual omniscient Being ; whom no temple can contain, or be equal to his grandeur ; who yet makes every humble heart his temple, and delights in the contrite, reverent worshipper. Let us approach him with a holy awe of his majesty, and an habitual sense of his purity. Vain are the most costly sacrifices, without a pious and devout heart, and delighting ourselves in his commandments.
2. It is no new thing to see the best of God's servants persecuted under a pretence of religion. The same bigotted spirit which prevailed among the Jews, which led them to persecute the apostles and first christians, hath too often shown itself in the world since ; and even to this day they are cast out and evil entreated, because they adhere to God's pure worship and institutions. While zeal for God and the purity of religion is pretended, their end is to gratify their own pride, covetousness, and revenge. Let us not wonder at such scenes, but have no hand in such practices.
3. We see how easily God can multiply and increase his church ; and how much reason we have to expect that he will perfect his own work. He expresses this in terms taken from the strongest and tenderest of human affections. However glorious and exten. sive his promises may be, they shall all be accomplished ; and not one of his good words shall fall to the ground. This is a great encouragement to labour and pray for the increase of the church.
4. Let us do our endeavour to bring our brethren as an offering to the Lord. Have we devoted ourselves to him ? Let us exhort and encourage others to join themselves to the church ; even all that we can influence. Let us persuade them to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. This will be an act of the greatest kindness to them, and a labour of love highly pleasing to the Lord.
• As this is a prophecy of events yet to happen, no wonder that there is much darknes upon it ; the general meaning of these figurative expressions seems to be this: that God will, by an extraordinary energy of his Spirit, awaken the Jews to search thair scriptures, and sce Christ to be their Messiah, and believe in him. This remarkable chinge in rhein shall interest Mahometans, heathens, and deists. (who mav probably be more num:rous bereafrer) and they shall be disposed to embrice the gospel And they will have so great a respect for the Jews. as honourably to convey thm to their own land, which they will easily conviver. Soon after their settlement there, a violent attack shall be inade upon then, probably by the northin mations, who shall be suddealy deatroyed by the power of Cod.
5. Wherever God has a church, the soletnn exercises of wor. ship are to be maintained. We see this required under every dispensation, Abrahamic, Jewish, and Christian. And it is foretold, that in the latter day all fesh shall come and worship before God. There are to be stated times of worship to the end of the world. All flesh are to come, men, women, and children; neither the greatest nor the poorest will be excused. Therefore let us not forsake the assembling ourselves together, since God commands it, and promises his blessing with it.
6. As a proper conclusion of this book, we may learn to pity the case of the poor Jews, and firmly to expect, and earnestly to pray for, their conversion. It is very wrong to persecute, or eren to de spise them ; for a blessing is in them. Our duty is, as it is expressed in v. 10. to mourn for them. They are standing, incontestable evidences of the truth of the gospel, and of the prophecies of the Old and New Testaments; being kept a distinct people, notwithstanding the cruel manner in which they have been persecuted and reproached. They are not cast off for ever ; God intends great things for them; and at length, as a nation they shall be restored, and all that mourn for them shall rejoice with them. Let our hearts' desire and prayer to God for Israel be, that they may be saved.