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loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken: whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent, their horses' hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind: their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall roar like young lions: yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it. And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof.
EVENING. ISAIAH XXIV.
BEHOLD, the LORD maketh 1 To whatever period of suffering the earth empty, and maketh of the Jewish people this refers, the ruin is great and general; a comit waste, and turneth it upside plete overthrow of order both in down, and scattereth abroad Church and state. Imagination can the inhabitants thereof. And picture no condition more dreadful. it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. 'The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merryhearted do sigh. The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them
4 An affecting picture of fallen pride-the haughty, faint and languishing.
5 The covenant of mercy, though from time to time broken by man, and renewed by God, is yet from the beginning, and shall endure to the end, everlastingly *.
7 A mournful contrast between the
joyous scene of a vintage-gathering, and the abject wretchedness of a vineyard devastated and forsaken:
so was the state of the Jewish Church in its prosperity and adversity.
* That is said, in Scripture language, to endure everlastingly, which endures to the end for which it is ordained.
Thus the covenant of
mercy is an everlasting covenant, because it will endure so long as there shall be a probationary state to call for its exercise.
that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth. They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it. The city of confusion is broken down : every house is shut up, that no man may come in. There is a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone. In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction. 13 When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done. They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea. Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea. 16 From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very
13 Some will be spared as a remnant, like the gleanings of grapes ; witnesses, though few, that God tempers justice with mercy.
16 Wherever dispersed, even to the uttermost parts of the earth, these faithful few will still find hours of
peace, in singing the songs of Sion;
Fear, and the
pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth.
18 Unless God be the light to guide us, we do but flee from one evil to fall into another. Let me go to my Bible, and take that word as a light unto my feet, and a lantern unto my paths.
from on high are open, and the
And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare for the windows foundations of the earth do 20 A fearful state for a nation, when shake. 20 The earth is ut- its rulers are deprived of the salutary terly broken down, the earth exercise of their power and authois clean dissolved, the earth rity in Church and state. is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the trans
In all national calamities, the good suffer with the bad. There is then one event to the righteous and to the wicked. Were it not so, were the wicked only taken, and the good spared, it is evident that the infiction would lose its misery. Yet do the righteous still find occasional repose in the services of religion, and in their hearts still abideth peace. Sorrows may multiply, but where God is, there is peace.
gression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the 22 Yet, in the Lord's good time, even "after many days," shall they be restored.
they shall be gathered toge
ther, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.
23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.
23 The sun and moon-emblems of temporal power-shall acknowledge the spiritual power of the kingdom of Christ, who is Himself the Sun of
The third Sunday in Advent.
MORNING. ISAIAH XXV.
'O LORD, thou art my God;
4 Men feel this blessing, in joy, and health, and life; but they more prize it in sorrow, and sickness, and death. No storm can shake the foundation of that faith; no tempest move the courage of that hope, which is founded on the rock -even upon Christ.
a defenced city a ruin a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built. Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee. For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. 5 Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low. And in this mountain
5 God's providence interposes alleviations against the fierceness of those who are enemies to religion. As He commands the clouds to temper the full heat of the sun, so does He lower the fury of the evil ones.
6 In the mountain-the Church-is a spiritual feast; even the Lamb of
God, his body offered up for us; and his blood poured out for us. Luke
shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. 'He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. Lo, this is our God; we save us this is the LORD; we be glad and rejoice in his salvation. 10 For in this mountain shall the hand of the LORD rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill. And he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to swim: and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands. And the fortress of the high fort of thy walls shall he bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the dust.
of marrow, of wines on the lees
The Gospel shall remove that ignorance which once veiled true religion from the Gentile world.
s What though the body die! it passes through death to glory. Every trial and affliction, now a ground of reproach and rebuke to the suffering righteous, shall be removed.
Art thou a child of sorrow? The hour is at hand which shall turn thy sorrow into joy! Of a truth, thy patience shall have its reward. And it shall be said in that day, have waited for him, and he will have waited for him, we will
10 The proudest and the strongest tower of human defence shall be ground to dust*; like trodden straw.
EVENING. ISAIAH XXVi.
'Is that day shall this song
be sung in the land of Judah;
In the day of their return from captivity, and still more in the Gos
2 So every nation is established in righteousness.
We have a strong city; sal- pel day, shall the Church be a strong vation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou upon my God!"
3 O may I ever have grace to "stay
• Every enemy-every Moab-shall be trodden under foot, by the great Captain of our salvation, Jesus Christ. He shall go forth quering and to conquer." He shall remove from before Him those enemies, even as a swimmer throweth back the opposing waves-themselves made to bear him onward to victory and rest.
wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength: ' for he bringeth down them 5 Pride of heart, whether in nations, that dwell on high; the lofty churches, or individuals, God bringeth low. Blessed then are the meek. city, he layeth it low; he
layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust. The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy.
7 What encouragement to a just and holy life! God regardeth it.
9 How are the wakeful watches of the night cheered by meditating upon a God who is all-present to know our wants and fears, all-powerful to control the one and supply the other, and all-merciful to exercise that power. O forsake him not!
10 May I, under mercies, know gratitude; under judgments, know fear.
The way of the just is uprightness thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just. Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. "With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. 10 Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD. LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them. LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. 13 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. Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth. LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not
13 Blessed change for the penitent! he was a slave to sin, and wretched : he is now a servant of God, and happy!