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The song of triumph over the king of Babylon. i For the LORD will have sceptre of the rulers. mercy on Jacob, and will yet 6 He who smote the people in choose Israel, and set them wrath with a continual stroke, in their own land: and the he that ruled the nations in strangers shall be joined with anger, is persecuted, and none them, and they shall cleave to bindereth. the house of Jacob.
7 The whole earth is at rest, 2 And the people shall take and is quiet : they break forth them, and bring them to their into singing. place: and the house of Israel 8 Yea, the fir trees rejoice at shall possess them in the land thee, and the cedars of Lebaof the Lord for servants and non, saying, Since thou art laid handmaids : and they shall take down, no feller is come up athem captives, whose captives gainst us. they were; and they shall rule 9 Hell from beneath is moved over their oppressors.
for thee to meet thee at thy 3 And it shall come to pass in coming : it stirreth up the dead the day that the LORD shall for thee, even all the chief ones give thée rest from thy sorrow, of the earth; it hath raised up and from thy fear, and from the from their thrones all the kings hard bondage wherein thou wast of the nations. made to serve,
10 All they shall speak and say 4 That thou shalt take up unto thee, Art thou also become this proverb against the king of weak as we? art thou become Babylon, and say, How hath like unto us? the oppressor ceased! the gold- 11 Thy pomp is brought down en city ceased!
to the grave, and the noise of thy 5 The Lord hath broken the viols: the worm is spread under staff of the wicked, and the thee, and the worms cover thee.
LECTURE 1114. It is well to be reminded of our mortality. On the overthrow of that power, spoken of under the name of Babylon, in the Book of Revelation, a voice from above is heard to say, “ Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles, and prophets, for God hath avenged you on her.” Rev. 18. 20. And so it was to be in the overthrow of the capital of Assyria, in the discomfiture and disgrace of its haughty monarch; when the people of the Lord, whom he had held in captivity should be replaced in their own land, ruling over their oppressors, and taking their captors captive, see Ezra 2. 65, when the Lord should give them rest and liberty, after their wearisome years of bondage; then would the king of Babylon in his turn be an object of universal scorn, and they whom he had most severely oppressed would most signally triumph in his fall.
And how awful are the words of this triumphant song, here set down for the use of the people of the Lord, ready against the time of their return, ere yet they had been carried into captivity! How fearfully does it instruct us, that however unfit scorn may be for man as man to feel towards his fellow creatures, yet it is meet for God to express towards the wicked, meet for Him to authorize his people to express towards the most mighty and most haughty of mankind. The satisfaction which we naturally feel, in the downfall of pride, and of oppressive power, is too apt to be tainted with a proud and uncharitable disposition in our own hearts. But let us endeavour to learn of Him, who is at once just and merciful, whose perfect holiness is in entire harmony with his perfect love. For doubtless He would here teach his people, so to triumph, as never to presume, so to rejoice in the overthrow of the godless great, as to harbour no ill will against the persons overthrown.
And therefore it is stated, at the outset of this song, that the fall of the wicked king of Babylon is God's doing; as the Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers.” The peace enjoyed by all men, high and low, is next dwelt upon as following on the downfall of this tyranny. Then comes a most appalling description of kings rising from their thrones in the regions of the dead, to greet the fallen potentate with words like these, “ Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.” Such is the end of worldly greatness ! Such must be at last the couch and the coverlid of those, whose persons are now pampered with indulgence the most tender, and lodged in state the most magnificent! How salutary for the great and wealthy of the earth, to be reminded of the vanity of worldly pomp, and worldly luxury! How profitable for all of us to reflect, that in the midst of life we are in death! How happy they, and only they, who whether they be high or low, rich or poor, live here as citizens of heaven; delivered by God's grace from the fear of death and hell; and, heirs though they be of an unfading crown of glory, yet meek and lowly in heart, humble before God, and charitable to all their fellow creatures !
May God teach us so to abhor iniquity, as at the same time to compassionate, sinners ! May He so nourish in our hearts true Christian love, that we may be fitted to acquiesce and join, without default of charity, in the triumphs of divine justice !
The purposes of God against Assyria and Palestine. 12 How art thou fallen from them, saith the LORD of hosts, heaven, O Lucifer, son of the and cut off from Babylon the morning! how art thou cut name, and remnant, and son, down to the ground, which and nephew, saith the Lord. didst weaken the nations ! 23 I will also make it a pos
13 For thou hast said in thine session for the bittern, and pools heart, I will ascend into heaven, of water: and I will sweep it I will exalt my throne above with the besom of destruction, the stars of God: I will sit also saith the LORD of hosts. upon the mount of the congrega- 24 The LORD of hosts bath tion, in the sides of the north :
sworn, saying, Surely as I have 14 I will ascend above the thought, so shall it come to pass ; heights of the clouds; I will be and as I have purposed, so shall like the most High.
it stand : 16 Yet thou shalt be brought 25 That I will break the Assydown to hell, to the sides of rian in my land, and upon my
mountains tread him under foot: 16 They that see thee shall nar- then shall his yoke depart from rowly look upon thee, and consi- off them, and his burden depart der thee, saying, Is this the man from off their shoulders. that made the earth to tremble, 26 This is the purpose that is that did shake kingdoms; purposed upon the whole earth;
17 That made the world as a and this is the hand that is wilderness, and destroyed the stretched out upon all the nacities thereof; that opened not tions. the house of his prisoners ? 27 For the Lord of hosts hath
18 All the kings of the nations, purposed, and who shall disaneven all of them, lie in glory, nul'it? and his hand is stretched every one in his own house. out, and who shall turn it back ?
19 But thou art cast out of 28 In the year that king Ahaz thy grave like an abominable died was this burden. branch, and as the raiment of
29 Rejoice not thou, whole those that are slain, thrust Palestina, because the rod of through with a sword, that go him that smote thee is broken : down to the stones of the pit; for out of the serpent's root as a carcase trodden under feet. shall come forth a cockatrice,
20 Thou shalt not be joined and his fruit shall be a fiery with them in burial, because flying serpent. thou hast destroyed thy land, 30 And the firstborn of the and slain thy people: the seed poor shall feed, and the needy of evildoers shall never be re- shall lie down in safety: and I nowned.
will kill thy root with famine, 21 Prepare slaughter for his and he shall slay thy remnant. children for the iniquity of their 31 Howl, O gate; cry, O city; fathers; that they do not rise, thou, whole Palestina, art disnor possess the land, nor fill the solved: for there shall come face of the world with cities. from the north a smoke, and 22 For I will rise up against none shall be alone in his appointed times.
That the LORD hath founded 32 What shall one then answer Zion, and the poor of his peothe messengers of the nation ? ple shall trust in it.
LECTURE 1115. That God reigns over all in righteousness. The song of triumph over the fallen king of Babylon is here continued. And in it we may observe, to what a height of arrogance and presumption a human being may be tempted by the possession of arbitrary power. This monarch, who had weakened other nations, and strengthened his own, is taxed with having vaunted that he would ascend by his prowess into the heavens, and become like unto the most high God. But instead of this, he is told, that he must go down into the grave, to the realms of departed spirits. When there, it will surprise the beholders to think, that such an one could have made kingdoms tremble, could have destroyed cities, and could have taken and have kept multitudes in captivity. And to make it manifest that such power, so abused, is hateful in the sight of God, the voice of the Lord joins in as it were with the triumph of his people; they contrasting the dishonour of the unburied king with the customary monuments of sovereigns, and God sentencing his offspring to slaughter, and declaring, that He will sweep his captured city “with the besom of destruction."
In confirmation of this prophetic vision, and as a sign of its ultimate fulfilment in the entire desolation of Babylon, the Lord refers to a prophecy previously revealed ; and declares, in the most solemn manner, that He will inflict a signal defeat on the Assyrian power, in the land of Israel ; whereby his people would for a time be relieved from the Assyrian yoke. See Ch. 10. 27. And He takes this occasion to assert, that his is purpose
which extends over the whole earth, his a hand which reaches irresistibly unto every nation of the world. And therefore He warns Palestina also, not to presume on safety, because one of the kings of Judah who had smitten it was dead. For He would Himself kill their root with famine, whilst his own people should enjoy abundance. And another king of Judah, a descendant of the first, should slay their remnant. And the account to be then given of their discomfiture, and of Judali's safety, would refer all to the arm of the Lord, and to the faith of his people in their God. Whilst then God reigns omnipotent, supreme, with none to call Him to account, yet behold, He vouchsafes to make it plain unto us his reasonable creatures, that He rules on principles of unerring justice. The faithful are they whom He protects. And those whom He dooms to disaster and disgrace are evil doers and their seed. So that they of every nation, who believe in Him devoutly, and serve Him faithfully according to their light, may join with gladness in the words to be proclaimed, after Babylon shall finally have fallen : “ Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Rev. 19. 6.
The devastation of Moab foretold. i The burden of Moab. Be- unto Zoar, an heifer of three cause in the night Ar of Moab years old : for by the mounting is laid waste, and brought to up of Luhith with weeping shall silence; because in the night they go it up; for in the way Kir of Moab is laid waste, and of Horonaim they shall raise up brought to silence;
a cry of destruction. 2 He is gone up to Bajith, and to 6 For the waters of Nimrim Dibon, the high places, to weep: shall be desolate: for the hay Moab shall howl over Nebo, is withered away, the grass failand over Medeba : on all their eth, there is no green thing. heads shall be baldness, and 7 Therefore the abundance every beard cut off.
they have gotten, and that 3 In their streets they shall which they have laid up, shall gird themselves with sackcloth: they carry away to the brook on the tops of their houses, and of the willows. in their streets, every one shall 8 For the cry is gone round howl, weeping abundantly. about the borders of Moab; the 4 And Heshbon shall cry, and howling thereof unto Eglaim, Elealeh: their voice shall be and the howling thereof unto heard even unto Jabaz: there- Beer-elim. fore the armed soldiers of Moab 9 For the waters of Dimon shall cry out; his life shall be shall be full of blood : for I will grievous unto him.
bring more upon Dimon, lions 5 My heart shall cry out for upon him that escapeth of Moab, Moab; his fugitives shall flee and upon the remnant of the land.
LECTURE 1116. The calamities of war are chastisements for sin. It is an important circumstance, greatly helping us to ascertain the fulfilment of prophecy, that the land of Canaan, in which it pleased God to place his people, was situated in the very centre of the most renowned nations of antiquity. It lay in the midst of Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Greece, and Rome. And it is also remarkable, that the principal prophetic books were written, and many of the events to which they referred took place, at that period in the history of these great nations, concerning which we have the fullest accounts in the remaining writings of ancient authors. Hence we have the best means of proving, that the events took place exactly as they were foretold. Hence we are enabled to appeal to the gainsayer, and to ask him, of what period in time, or of what country at that period, could it be more truly said, that these things were not done in a corner? No; they were done before the face of all the world. All the monuments of antiquity must perish, before the evidence of prophecy can be shaken. The historians, the philosophers, and the poets, of Greece and Rome, and such fragments of the writings of the other ancient nations as have reached our times, all testify, as