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upon high places : even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifice. 8 Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remem
brance, thy domestic idols : for thou hast discovered [thyself to another] than me, and art gone up ; that is, leaving me, thou art gone up into an adulterous bed ; thou hast enlarged thy bed, and made thee [a covenant] with them ; thou lovedst their bed where thou sawest it ; thou hast multiplied thinc idols and altars, and taken pattern by the idols of others. And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase (thyself even) unto
hell; thou hast sent presents to the kings of Assyria and Egypi, in 10 the most mean and abject manner. Thou art wearied in the
greatness of thy way ; (yet) saidst thou not, There is no hope; courting one ally after another, yet wilt not own that it is in vain : thou hast found the life of thine hand ; therefore thou wast not grieved ; thou hast found out a way of prescrving thy life for the present, and therefore hast rested in that, without considering that it will be upon the whole ruinous to thee. And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid [it] to thy heart? why hast thou been afraid of injury from idols and idolairous kings, and proved fulse to me ? have not I held my peace even of old, forbearing to punish, and
treating thee with the utmost tenderness, and thou fearest me not ? 12 but hast shamefully abused my patience and goodness. I will de
clare thy righteousness, and thy works ; make it evidently appear, by my righteous judgments upon thee, that they are very different
from thy own concei! of them : for they shall not profit thee, but 13 prove thy ruin. When thou criest, let thy companies, thy idols
or allies, deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away ; vanity shall take [them :) but he that putteth his trust in me
shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain ; he 14 shall continue in the land, or return from captivity ; And shall
say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people ; all impiediments shall
be removed, and a way be made for their safe and honourable re15 turn. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth
eternity, whose name [is] Holy ; I dwell in the high and holy [place,] with him also (that is) of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the
contrite ones ; 10 afford them support and comfort in all their difa 16 ficulties and afflictions. For I will not contend for ever, neither
will I be always wroth : for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls (which] I have made, lest they should grow impurieni,
and their affliction should become insupportable, and I should only 17 destroy my creatures. For the iniquity of his covetousness was
I wroth, and smote him : I hid me, and was wroth, and he went 18 on frowardly in the way of his heart.* I have seen his ways, and will lieal him : I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners ; that is, 10 those who mourn for
• Covetousness was a prevailing sin in Israel, therefore they were a flicted, but grew worse rather than better by the correction. Yet God would have compassivo upon them out of regard to the few good men that were among thein.
erinn. Yet God woode, they were ami.
w good inen
sin and the desolations of their land, which were the effects of it. 19 I create the fruit of the lips ; Peace, peace to [him that is] far
oll, and sto him that is) near, saith the Lord; and I will heal
him ; I will give occasion for joy and praise to the pious Jerus in 20 pery place, and heal all their grievances. But the wicked sare]
like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt ; their guilty conscience shall be a constant source of uneasiness, like the troubled sea, which can never rest, and which, though it may sometimes appear clear on the surface, hath a thick
soliment at the bottom, which is worked up when storms and com21 prests urise, and is all filth and confusion. [There is) no peace,
saith my God, to the wicked; whatever external pirosperity they ajo!, and though they may partake ever so largely of the temporal blessirage of my people.
1. TT is displeasing to God when the death of his servants is not
I laid to heart. They must die as well as others; sometimes he takes a way many of them nearly together; and it is a bad omen to the public, a sign of God's displeasure, and that judgments are coming. The loss is very great to the public, as well as to their families. Not to lament it, and take warning by it, shows that men are insensible of the importance of religion, and unconcerned about it; that they are destitute of zeal for the glory of God, and the in-' terest of the church. When God is exercising us with such scenes, let us be humble under his mighty hand ; lament the public loss; be more zealous to make it up; and earnestly pray, Hein, Lord, for the godly man ceaseth.
2. When sinners contemn God, when they despise his laws, affront his messengers, or neglect bis institutions, they forget what a great and awful Being he is; that he is possessed of almighty power and iniluxible justice; they think him altogether such a one as themselves. But they will find, that the Lord, whom they provoke 10 arger, is stronger than they; and that it is a fearful thing to fall into iler hunuls of the living God. · 3. There is great reason to lament the obstinacy of sinners in an evil way. The conduct of these idolaters is very like the conduct of wicked men in general. They follow after happiness in this or the other creaiure enjoyment; are wcarird in the grearness of their way; are always disappointed, yet will not give out, they will try some oiher. They take unwcaried pains to gratify their lusts; and, beCause it gives them some present pleasure, they never think of the consequence, and that in the mean time they are dishonouring their rutional natures, and debasing themselves even to hell. They had rather displease God than man, and be exposed to his vengeance, tan riccive and improve his mercies. But when trouble and death
come upon them, it will be in vain to cry to their companions, all will end in disappointment, anguish, and despair.
4. Let us adore the condescension of God, in his regard to humble and contrite souls. What a noble description is here of God! as the eternal Being, who only hath immortality ; who is infinitely holy, and exalted above all creatures, and dwells in the glorious heavens. Yet he respects and loves the lowly ; visits them with his comforts and his favour; condescends to their weaknesses, mitigates their afflictions, and gives support under them. Ile will 10! contend for ever, for he knoweth their frame, he remembereth that they are but dust. Let us then cherish that humble and contrite spirit, which God will not despise.
5. The state of the wicked is a very deplorable one, and what we should all most carefully avoid. The wicked Jews, whether in Balsylon or Jerusalem, are assured that they should have no comfort ; and the case is the same now with all the wicked. There is a principle of uneasiness and misery within ; a guilty conscience, turbulent passions, and fears of future wrath. They are often full of terror amidst their greatest mirth and gaiety ; and especially in times of aílliction, and in the near views of death. May we then be solicitous to be in a state of peace with God and our own consciences. To repent, and return to him, is the way to obtain it. Let us mark the perfect man, and behold the upright ; his conscience is easy, his. hopes are lively, and his end will be peace.
This elegant chapter contains a severe reproof of the Jerus on accoun!
of their vices, and particularly of their hypocrisy in their fasts and ceremonial observances. It clearly points out their duty, and girts large promises of happiness and prosjerity.
IM RY aloud, O my prohet, spare not, lift up thy voice like
a trumpet, and shoy my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins, eshecially in iheir religious 901. 2 ship. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways,
as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God : they ask of me the ordinances of justice ; ore desirous of knowing their duty; they take delight in approach
ing to God ; in coming to my temple and presenting their sucrio 3 fices. Wherefore have we fasted, and performed all other parts
of external worship, [say they,) and thou seest not? (wherefore] have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Ben hold, the reason is, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labour ; you find herewih 10 please yoi!! silves, and yet are rigorous in burdening others. Behold, ye fust for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness, that is, with a wicki Aist, handling the poor with sercrit : re
shall not fast as [ye do this] day, if ye would have God hear your prayers, and answer them from heaven, to make your voice to be
heard on high, either in clamorous devotions, or in quarrels 5 one with another. Is it such a fast that I have chosen ? that I
will approve and accept of? a day for a man to afflict his soul, 10 mortify himself by external abstinence, [is it] to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes (under
him ?] wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the 6 Lord ? canst thou believe it will be 80 ? (Is) not this the fast
that I have chosen ? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke ? that is, cancel those obligations which have been extorted in an unjust manner, and loosen those in some meas
ure, where the rigour of justice quould be destructive to the debtor : 7 [Is it) not to deal thy bread to the hungry, 10 send food to the
poor and indigent, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out, or afflicted, to thy house ? when thou seest the naked, that thou
cover him; and that thon hide not thyself from thine own flesh, 8 thy own kindred and countrymen? Then shall thy light, or hap
priness, break forth as the morning, dart itself out as the sun through the clouds, and thine health shall spring forth speedily ; all thy wounds shall be quickly healed : and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rere
ward ; his providence shall secure thee from enemies before and 9 behind. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer ; thou
shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am,] ready to help thee. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, all instruments
of oppression, the putting forth of the finger in contempi, and 10 speaking vanity, or falschoud ; And [if] thou draw out thy soul,
thy affections and compassion, so that thy heart go along with thy gift, to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul ; then shall thy
light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness [be] as the noon day : 11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul
in drought, and make fat thy bones ; fill thee with plenty, when others are in want : and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and
like a spring of water, whose waters fail not; which pours out 12 its streams 10 all that want and come to receive them. And (they
that shall be) of thee, thy remnant cr posterity, shall build the old waste places; the temple and city, that the enemies had destroyed: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations ; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in ; thou shalt build new towns, enlarge old ones ; those parts of the country that are desolate, and the
paths overgrown, shall be restored, and fortified places built up 13 and repaired. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, *
and [from) doing thy pleasure on my holy day ; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable ; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own
• This expression is taken from trampling under foot that which we disregard.
pleasure, or, making it a day of diversion, nor speaking (thine
own) words, but the whole of thy discourse be suitable to the holia 14 ness of the day : Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD,
have true delight in the sabbath ; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, thou shalt make foreign cone quests,* and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father : for the mouth of the Lord hath spoke (it.]
1. I T is the duty of ministers to represent to their people their
I sin and danger. This is always proper to be done, lor, without it, communities will probably be injured, and souls will certainly be lost: but it is especially so in times of public danger. Then God has particularly commanded it ; and they may hope to be heard with particular attention. They are neither to spare themselves nor their people ; but to show them their transgression and sin with great plainness, that all may understand it ; with great seriousness and earnestness, and with tender compassion, as proceeding from real love to their souls. May all ministers have wisdom and courage to do so ; and all their people lend an obedient and attentive ear.
2. We here see how far hypocrites may go in external services. They may seek God daily, express some delight and satisfaction in attending his service; they may ask the way of duty, and take a pride in bringing their sacrifices to his temple ; yet indulge themselves in sensual pleasures, lay heavy burdens upon others, have strife and deceit among themselves, and smite with the fist of wickedness. All their pompous services are nothing but outward show, to make their voice to be heard on high, and can never be pleasing to that God who searches the heart, and requires truth in the inward parts. To all such God will say, Bring no more vain oblations ; your offerings and sacrifices are an abomination to me. It is not ceremonial observances, nor hanging the head like a bulrush, nor walking in sackcloth and ashes, but justice and charity that make our services acceptable to God; to remove heavy burdens, let the oppressed go free, break every yoke, deal breud to the hungry, cloche the naked, and visit the sick and afflicted. Then shall we be happy in ourselves, acceptable to God, and he will surround us with his favour as with a shield : then shall our prayers be heard ; and when we call God shall answer, Here am I ; a present help in every time of need. Reformation and goodness is the way to comfort and happiness.
3. See the honour and happiness of God's faithful servants. Their souls are drawn out to God in devotion and love, and drawn out to the poor in compassion and tender affection ; and therefore God will pour down his choicest blessings upon them. Light shall
• This may signify, Thou shall see thy country delivered from thy enemies, and the shalt go forth on horses or chariots to see ibe fortifications once possessed by where - VOL. V.