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I tell you again, in that ye have a base opinion of the table of the Lord, and think any thing good enough for it.
I. 8. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil ? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.
Hath not the law of God expressly forbidden you to offer the blind, or lame, or sick beasts, in sacrifice to God? and is there not good reason? go ye and present such like gifts to your very governors, men like yourselves; will they take them well from your hands, and not rather think that you put a scorn upon them? will they not accordingly send you away with a just scorn, saith the Lord of Hosts?
I. 9. And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons ? saith the Lord of hosts.
And now, if ye like well of these courses, go on to offer these unmeet and disgraceful oblations to God; and call to him, notwithstanding, that he will be well pleased with them, and with you for them: thus ye have done hitherto, and have provoked God against us; see yet, whether he will accept of such offerers and sacrifices; saith the Lord of Hosts.
I. 10. Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. 1 hare no pleasure in you.
I have not dealt thus with you, but have abundantly recompensed all your services: which of you is there, among all the Levites of my Temple, that hath shut the doors of my house, unrewarded? which of you is there, that hath so much as kindled a fire on mine altar, for nought? yet ye have had no regard unto me again. I will be affected to you accordingly; behold, I have no pleasure in you.
I. 11. For from the rising of the sun even to the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, und a pure offering.
Neither shall my worship and service be confined to you, but I will hereafter enlarge it to all the ends of the world; for, from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, my Name shall be honoured and adored of the Gentiles, who are as yet without God in the world; and they shall in every place, not in my Temple only, offer pure and holy sacrifices unto me.
1. 12. But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the Lord is polluted ; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible.
But, as for you, ye have profaned and abused my Name; in that ye have entertained hase conceits of my sacrifices, and
have held the oblations offered unto me, as meat vile and contemptible, and unworthy of any other respects than scorn.
I. 13. Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick.
Ye said also, What a toil is this we are put unto, in killing and dividing these base and worthless sacrifices ? whereas, would ye but have signified the least dislike of these unmeet oblations, they would have been exchanged for better; but all was alike to you: ye were willing enough to take what was brought you, and to offer that which was torn and lame and sick.
I. 14. But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the LORD of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.
But, cursed be that hollow and falsehearted Jew, who, having in his flock a male, without spot or blemish, fat and well liking; yet, after his vow, sacrificeth unto the Lord a lean, blemished, unsound female: for I am a Great King, saith the Lord of Hosts: I look for the best, who have made all; and my Name is great and dreadful in all the world: the Gentiles shall adore and magnify it, however it be slighted of my unworthy people of Israel.
II. 3. Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.
Behold, I will punish you with dearth: your seed shall corrupt, and your fields shall yield you no increase; and I will scornfully cast the dung of your sacrifices, in your solemn feasts, upon your faces, and so cover you over with it, that ye shall be carried away, as a heap of compost: so basely will 1 cause you to be reputed of my people.
II. 4. And ye shall know that I hare sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
And ye shall know, that I have decreed and commanded this contempt to be poured upon you, that ye might repent of your sins, wherewith ye have provoked me, that so, I might continue that covenant, which I made with the tribe of Levi, saith the Lord of Hosts.
II. 5. My covenant was with him of life and peace.
I covenanted with my priesthood of that tribe, to give them preservation and welfare; yea, the life of grace, and true spi
II. 7. For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth : for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.
For it is required and expected of the priests of God's Sanctuary, that they should be men of knowledge and heavenly wisdom; so as their breasts should keep, and their lips should express to the people, the right understanding of divine things: and to them should the people resort, for their information in the law of God; for God hath appointed them to be his messengers, to deliver his will to men.
II. 10. Have we not all one father ? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers ?
Why do ye tax us for our unlawful marriages with infidels ? Was not Adam one common father to us all ? Hath not one God created us all? Why do ye therefore charge us, with treacherous dealing with our brethren, and profaning the covenant of our forefathers, in that we do promiscuously match with our heathen neighbours?
II. 11. Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.
Yes, O ye Jews, think not to evade thus: Judah hath dealt treacherously with God, and with those lawful wives whom they had formerly taken; and an abomination is committed in Israel, and in Jerusalem itself: for Judah hath profaned the holy institution of marriage, which the Lord hath both made and highly respected; and hath taken, as an addition of a second marriage, unto his bed, the daughters of Pagans and Infidels.
II. 12. The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the Lord of hosts.
The Lord will not suffer these wicked conjunctions to prosper: he will cut off the man that doth this, together with his posterity, and his abettors, out of the congregation of Israel; and though he should think to pacify God with offerings, yet God will not accept them, or spare him.
II. 13. And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.
And this ye have added unto your other sins; ye have dealt so cruelly and unjustly with your wives, as that ye have caused them to wash the altars of God, with the tears of their weeping and complaints; so as, that God, who hateth all iniquity, regardeth not the offerings you present unto him, any more, &c.
II. 14. Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against
whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. Yet ye stand stiffly upon the justification of your inno
say, What have we done, or wherein have we deserved this disrespect to our sacrifices? Know then, that it is for your treacherous and unjust dealing with the wife of your youth, with whom you were lawfully married; of which solemn contract, the Lord himself, the institutor of marriage, hath been witness: even those your lawful wives have ye abused ; yet they are ordained of God for the comfortable companions of your life, and by a firm and indissoluble covenant conjoined unto you.
II. 15. And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
Yourselves, if ye shall but look back to the first original act of God, shall necessarily be convinced; for did not God make one woman only for one man? yet He had power, who was, and is the God of the Spirits of All Flesh, to have made more : this had been as easy for him; wherefore did he therefore conjoin one woman only to that one man, and why doth he still continue his ordinance of the same single copulation; but, that herein he took care that the children, the issue of such wedlock, should be holily and lawfully begotten? Take heed to yourselves therefore, and keep yourselves within the compass of God's ordinance, and suffer not your unbridled spirits to break forth into these inordinate desires and wicked concupiscences: let no man offer wrong to the wife of his youth, in taking in a stranger unto his bed.
II. 16. For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one corereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts : therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
For the Lord God of Israel, howsoever ye may unjustly pretend his allowance of this common dismission of your wives upon every slight occasion, professeth to hate these your causeless repudiations of them; and whosoever doth this, what colour soever he set upon it, yet doth but cloak a violence and wrong, which God will revenge, &c.
II. 17. Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein hare we wearied him?
When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?
Moreover, besides all these actual wickednesses, ye have extremely urged the patience of the Lord, with the words of your blasphemies; yet ye are ready to face out this sin also, and say, Wherein have we thus offended in our speeches?
Know then, that ye have shamefully blasphemed God, in that ye say, It is all one, whether a man be good or evil: every one, that doth evil, speeds as well at God's hands as the best'; and he delights in wicked doers, else they should not so prosper as they do: where is the justice of God, in the mean time? or how is he a God of such integrity and unpartial retribution, as he is reported ?
III. 1. Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me : and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the corenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
Behold, I will stop the mouths of all such blasphemous cavillers: I will, in my appointed time, send my messenger, John the Baptist; and he shall prepare the way before my personal and visible coming: lo, the Messiah, even the Lord, whom ye wait for, shall ere long come into his Temple; that great Messenger of the Evangelical Covenant, whom, with joy of heart, ye, my faithful ones, have long expected: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.
III. 2. But who may abide the day of his coming ? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap :
But how shall the guilty and wicked ones of the world abide the day of his coming? how shall they be able to stand before him, when he appeareth? for he shall come to purge, and refine his Church.
III. 3. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver : and he shall purify the sons of Levi
, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
And he shall address himself zealously and exquisitely, to rid his Church of all that corruption of doctrine and manners, wherewith it is defiled: and, especially, he shall reform the priests of the New Testament, and quit them of that dross of error and unrighteousness, wherewith that holy calling hath been formerly impured; that they may with clean hands offer up holy sacrifices unto their God.
III. 4. Then shall the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
Then shall the services of his holy Church be pleasing and acceptable unto the Lord; no less than the best sacrifices of Abel and Melchisedech, and of all the holy fathers in the Old Testament.
III. 5. And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, fic.