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and case, renounces all confidence in false helps and refuges. He cries out before the Lord, Asshur shall not save us. Thus he gives up all hope and expectation in all creatures for salvation: We will no longer seek relief in human
It is a very important effect of our truly turning to the Lord, to renounce ourselves wholly and altogether. When we have a true sight of Christ, as sin is in our view the greatest of all evils, so self is also the greatest monster in religion; we are therefore led to disclaim it in all its forms; to renounce it in all its shapes; to reject every thing felt, or wrought in us, as any part of our foundation and hope in God. The blood and righteonsness of the Lord Jesus Christ is our one foundation and hope for everlasting life. He is our rock, and his work is perfect. The free grace of God in him, the glorious mediator of reconciliation, is our refuge and defence. We say as Israel here is commanded to say, Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses. We will not seek relief from Egypt. This old testament-language was most exactly suited to the people to whom the Lord gave forth these words by his servant the prophet. And they are also well suited to the people of Israel in the latter day, when they shall be turned unto the Lord; as they will when they are delivered out of the hands of all their enemies, and effectually turned to the Lord, say, Some trust in chariots, and some
in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright. Psalm xx, v. 7, 8. The Assyrians and Egyptians were the allies of Israel. They were again and again warned of the evil they would sustain, in consequence of their trust and dependance on them; therefore in this account of their return to the Lord, in a way of repentance and confession of their sin, their rejection of these false confidences is here recited. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses. No longer will we trust in an arm of flesh: neither will we put any confidence in human means. Surely in vain is salvation looked for from the hills, and from the multitude of the mountains; truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel. There we reject all others, and look alone, and simply trust in Him. All this is very congenial to a true, spiritual return to God. It is the language of their minds, O Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise; therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish. The Lord puts these words into the mouths of these returning backsliders, as he had done the former, for they are a continuation of the same. Take
with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride
upon horses. It may be observed how one truth is connected with another. Regeneration is the foundation of conversion. The former is an act of God towards us; and it is wrought in us and upon us.
Conversion is the fruit of this, and consists in our return unto the Lord. This is effected in us, as we are led by the Word and Spirit to apprehend the love and good will of God in Christ towards us, the complete salvation the Lord Jesus Christ hath wrought out for us; and that the whole of it, with all the blessings of the same, are treasured up in the fulness of the Saviour, and that we are to receive the same in our actual communion with him. As the true knowledge of this subject is communicated to our minds, we perceive it is by a spiritual knowledge of salvation we are set at liberty from all bondage. That hereby also it is we enjoy the presence of Christ, and free access unto him. It is this brings us to renounce all confidence in our selves. It leads us to say, Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses. We will not attempt our own salvation. No; God forbid: we are perfectly satisfied with Christ. His righteousness and blood are our perfection and purity. His
free pardon and peace are the joy of our hearts, and having the experience of these, we are most blessedly satisfied. This brings me on
Secondly-To the declaration, which is expressive that Israel will have no more to do with the work of their hands. Asshur shall not save us; neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods. This we will for ever reject, renounce, and despise. A blessed fruit and evidence this, of their true and sound conversion to the Lord.
Without all doubt, the terms here used are very expressive of the rejection of idols, and idolatrous worship; it being the national sin, which might well be called the work of their hands, as these dunghill deities were framed by them: and this shewed the extreme folly and stupidity of such as had the word and ordinances of God amongst them, to say to a stock, Thou art my father; and to worship the work of their own hands; as though figures of wood and stone, so and so formed, with the insignia and attributes of deity ascribed unto them, could help in times of trouble: yet, it was even thus for a long season with the Ten Tribes. From the setting up the kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, it continued under the succession of nineteen kings, all of whom were idolaters for the space of two hundred and fifty-four years. These kings were of nine distinct families, but all of them enemies to God,
and his Christ: yet under some of these our prophet lived, and prophesied ; and by him the Lord was pleased to call on his elect amongst them to return to him. It cannot be conceived, but the Lord made the ministry of this his servant effectual to some of them. The influences of divine grace upon some, and the conversion of a nation, are distinct subjects. The one may be where the other is not. It is woe and alas to us in this kingdom, if it be not thus. As the prophecy in this chapter reaches down to the future call and restoration of Israel in the latter day, so it expresses their state at that very time. To the very moment of their call they will remain in their state of backsliding from the Lord, and rejection of Messiah their Prince. It may be to the very instant of the Lord's fulfiling these gracious promises unto them, there will be no more appearance of their accomplishment, than there is at this moment: yet, he will have looked upon them, and thereby effected this wonderful grace, that the eyes of man, as of all the tribes, of Israel shall be towards the Lord; then these things expressed in our text shall be completely fulfilled, and the grace contained in the same be most gloriously displayed. O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously : so will we render the calves of our lips.