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true and solid contentment in them? Give ear unto me with all diligence; and furnish yourselves with those graces, which shall be sure to nourish you up unto eternal life.
LV. 3 Even the sure mercies of David. Even those blessings and mercies, which, by my promise and covenant, I assured unto David my servant.
LV. 4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, I have ordained this successor of David to be a perfect Mediator of the New Testament, for the behoof of my people; to be the head and leader of my elect.
LV. 5 Behold, thou shali call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee. Behold, thou shalt call the Gentiles, which were hitherto unregarded of thee, to be thy Church: those, that have hitherto walked as without God in the world, shalt thou now convert unto thee.
LV. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. However ye may fondly measure me by yourselves, ye shall find my thoughts, and disposition, is not like to yours; implacable in cases of offence: neither are my proceedings like yours.
LV. 12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace : the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. For ye, O my people the Jews, shall go forth of your Babylonish captivity with joy, and be led peaceably forth towards your own land; and all the creatures of God shall, as it were, rejoice in your deliverance, and applaud your comfortable return.
LV, 13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, and in. stead of the brier shall come up the myrtle-tree : and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off And whereas, before, your land was annoyed with men, that were barmfully troublesome and cruel, like thorns that are ready to tear every passenger; now, it shall be planted with persons inoffensive and beneficial, such as yield a pleasant and comfortable shade, and profitable use unto men; and this change shall be to the everlasting praise of God, and for a memorial of his neverfading goodness to his Church.
LVI. 1 Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice : for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. And now, that ye may be worthy of this high calling of God, do ye approve yourselves careful to perform all acts of charity and justice one to another: so shall ye be capable of that deliverance and salvation, which I have determined unto you.
LVI. 3 Neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. Neither let the man, who is sensible of his own defects and un
worthiness, say, Behold I am not a man meet to receive grace from God.
LVI. 4 For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant ; For, thus saith the Lord unto those self-dejected souls, who yet make conscience of keeping my sabbaths, and desire to be approved of me, in those things which I have required, in an honest and humble simplicity ;
LVI. 5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters : 1 will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Even to them will I be gracious, above their desire and expecta. tion: I will honour them in my Church; and more than supply unto them those blessings, whose want they so much bewailed"; and I will give them a blessing and lasting memory amongst my saints.
LVI. 6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, &c. Those, who are the sons of them which are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, that yet are now, by a holy profession joined unto the Lord, &c;
LVI. 7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer. Those will I gladly admit into thy temple, and into that Church whereof the temple is a figure, and give them true spiritual joy in my service.
LVI. 8 The Lord God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel, saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him. The Lord God, whose only grace and mercy it is to gather together his dispersed Church, saith, Yet will I also gather
the Gentiles into the fold of Christ my Son; beside those, which do already profess his name.
LVI. 9 All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest. Yet, before there be room for these comfortable promises, ye must make account of great calamity to befal my people: come, therefore, all ye beasts of the fields and forest; ye savage Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, and the rest; and, for the time, make havock of my flock.
LVI. 10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Alas, the watchmen of my people, their spiritual overseers, are altogether blind and ignorant: and not so only, but as they are blind, so they are dumb also; not opening their mouths, to give warning of the dangers of my people, and the judgments which are imminent over them; even like unprofitable dogs, which, be
ing set to keep the house, have no tongue to bark, nor eyes to see, but lye sleeping in a corner to no purpose.
LVI. 11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough. Yea, as they are blind and mute, so they are also ravenous and devouring : their appetite is ever craving and insatiable.
LVI. 12 Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant, And, besides all these, they pamper themselves, and flatter the security of my people; and are ready to say, Tush, however the prophets foretel these grievous things, let us make much of ourselves, and eat and drink and be merry; these sad events shall not happen: we shall, in the times to come, speed as well as we have done; yea, better and more happily.
LVII. 1 The rightcous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart : and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. While sensual men do thus please themselves, God takes away his godly and righteous servants from amongst them; and they have not the grace or wit to consider, that this is a presage of great judgment, which shall fall on the heads of those wicked ones, that are left behind.
LVII. 2 He shall enter into peace : they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness. But that just and upright man, who walked conscionably with God, howsoever the wicked think him a loser by his death, doth now enter into everlasting rest and happiness; and shall sweetly sleep in a bed of ease, till the morning of the Resurrection.
LVII. 3 But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore. But for you, ye wicked and rebellious seed, who are wont to brag of your pedigree from faithful Abraham, whereas indeed ye are a degenerate and adulterous issue, draw near, and hear my just contestation.
LVII. 4 Against whom do ye sport yourselves ? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue ? Do ye well consider, that it is against the Almighty God ye have scornfully set yourselves that ye have jeered and flouted at bis dreadful judgments?
LVII. 5 Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the vallies under the clifts of the rocks ? Entlaming yourselves with the abominable lusts of your spiritual fornication with your idols, in every grove ; and causing your children to be slain in the valleys, as sacrifices to your Moloch?
LVII. 6 Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion; &c. Thou choosest thee an idol out of the river ; even from amongst those rocks or stones, which the stream hath smoothed, and this niust be thy God,
LVII. 7 Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed : Even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifices. Every hill hath been a high-place, destinated by thee to thine idolatry; and thither hast thou climbed, to offer thy sacrifices.
LVII. 8 Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance : for thou hast discovered thyself to another than me, and art gone up; &c. Every where, even behind the doors and posts of thy house, bast thou set up shameful monuments of thine idolatry: for thou hast committed spiritual whoredom with other gods; and hast yielded thyself over, to be defiled with their beastly abominations, even upon the first sight.
LVII. 9 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. And thou madest means to the king of Assyria ; and temptedst him with thy precious presents, which thou sentest to him in great abundance by thine ambassadors, to commit spiritual fornication with thee; and didst abuse thyself too shamefully unto that idolatrous pagan.
LVII. 10 Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved. The length of the way did not so discourage thee, as to cause thee to desist from this journey of thine : thou wentest on; and, because thou foundest success, as thou imaginedst, in thine enterprise, thou foundest no remorse for what thou hadst done.
LVII. 11 And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid it to thy heart? have not I held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not ? Thou hast no fear of me before thine eyes, else thou couldest not, thou durst not have lied unto me, and dissembled with me: no; thou hast not remembered my presence, nor feared my revenge: and all this is, because I have forborne to execute speedy judgments upon thy sins.
LVII. 12 I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works ; for they shall not profit thee. But now, I will lay thee open : all the world shall see how just and righteous thou art : thy good carriage shall be discovered to thy shame and dishonour.
LVII. 13 When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them. When thou criest out in thy distress, let these thy goodly associates help and deliver thee; but for them, I will blow them
away, as wind doth the dust : they shall vanish to nothing.
LVII. 14 And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people. They shall again inherit their old home, at Jerusalem; and shall return to my temple; and shall encourage and persuade each other to a holy and coliscionable profession of godliness, and to a removal of all impediments, that might hinder their piety and obedience.
LVII. 16 For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth : for the spirit should fail before me, &c. I will not always be exercising my people with heavy afflictions ; neither will I always shew myself angry with them; for then the weak spirit of man must needs sink under the burden, and be utterly daunted.
LVII. 17 I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I was displeased with him, and withdrew my grace from him; and he went on frowardly in those wicked ways, which his own heart suggested unto him.
LVII. 18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I have well seen the courses which he takes, and might take just occasion to be revenged of him; but I do rather pity his perverseness, and will help him, though undeservedly, and restore his wonted comforts to him, and to those that are compassionately affected with his sorrows.
LVII. 19 I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD, and I will heal him. I do put into the mouths of my prophets those tidings of peace, whereby the hearts of my people shall be cheered; and have put the word of reconciliation into the mouths of my evangelical preachers, whereby they may be saved: both of these messengers shall come with the happy news of peace, both unto Jews and Gentiles.
my laws, &c.
LVIII. 2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, &c. Yet, they do, in an outward formality, make a goodly profession ; as if they were zealous in seeking me, and delighted in knowing
LVIII. 3 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our souls, and thou takest na knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Will you know the reason, why your fasts are not accepted of me? Behold, while you make a shew of austerity therein, ye give yourselves to carnal pleasures; and exact, on that day, which should be solemnly holy, the hardest labours and most servile works.
LVIII. 4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness : ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Behold, though ye do formally fast, yet you do still give yourselves to strife and contention, to cruel extortion and oppression ; and colour these wickednesses, with a shew of mortification and