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17 cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the 18 oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come
now, and let us reason together, and accommodate the difference that is between us, saith the LORD ; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like
crimson, they shall be as wool; your sins shall be fully pardoned : 19 and not only so, but, If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat 20 the good of the land, enjoy all sorts of temporal blessings : But if
ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword : for
the mouth of the Lord hath spoken (it.] 21 How is the faithful city become an harlot ?* it was full of
judgment ; righteousness lodged in it, in the time of David and
Solomon ; but now murderers, and consequently many other hein22 ous criminals. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed
with water ; corruption is mingled with every thing that is good : 23 Thy princes Care] rebellious against God, and companions of
thieves, unjust to men : every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards : they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the
cause of the widow come unto them ; they refuse 10 do right 10 24 those that cannot bribe them. Therefore saith the Lord, the
Lord of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, An, I will ease met 25 of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies : And I
will turn my hand upon thee, to punish those things which I have
connived at before, and purely purge away thy dross, and take 26 away all thy tin, separate the bad from the good : And after the
captivity I will restore thy judges as at the tirst, and thy courie sellors as at the beginning, as in the time of the judges : after
ward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faith27 ful city. Zion shall be redeemed, or saved, with judgment, and
her converts, those that return from the captiviti, with righteous28 ness. And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners
[shall be) together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed. For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen ; they shall be ashamed and confounded when they
see that their gods which were worshipped in groves and gar30 dens, cannot save them. For as ye have sinned under oaks
and in gardens, so ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as
a garden that hath no water, deprived of all your enjoyments and 31 delights. And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it
as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench (them ;] the makers and the worshippers of idols shall be easily consumed by any judgments, yea, their work shall be as Q spark, that is the instrument of consuming them.
• Cities are often represented by women. Jerusalem was once a faithful betrothed vir. gin; the covenant between her and God was faithfuily kept.
+ An expression taken from men, who fond ease in vent ng their anger and punishing incorrigible offcnders.
1. NTATIONAL sins bring national judgments. This chap
ter contains a beautiful and strong description of the wick. edness of Israel, aggravated by all the great things which God had done for them ; who, not being reformed by corrections, should be awfully punished ; and neither their holy nor royal city should secure them. Corruptions of the body politic, like the cancer or leprosy spreading over the natural body, are exceeding dangerous and loathsome, and will end in death ; the few good men that remain preserve it. This calls for our humiliation, lest, resembling Israel in guilt, we sliould suffer like them. Let us labour to be ourselves of the remnant, and increase the number of those who stand in the gap.
2. How dangerous is it to rest in the externals of religion, while obedience is wanting. This people were punctual in their sacrifices and ritual observances ; they kept their feasts, and prayed; yea, made many prayers, and spread forth their hands, to show their earnestness. But God would not hear; yea, lie was greatly dise pleased, even by their religious exercises, because they continued wicked. If men are ever so zealous for the forms of religion, yet are destitute of the power of it, violate the laws of God, injure and oppress their brethren, all their prayers and services are hypocrisy. He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, shall find that God will turn away his ear from hearing hia prayer.
3. We see the grace of God in inviting sinners to return to him, and the happy consequences of such returns. What ample encour. agement is here given to this wicked people! Scarlet and crimson sins shall be pardoned, peace restored, and public blessings continued, if they will turn to God, be obedient to his laws, and willing and cheerful in his service. Thus does God reason the case with sinners now; thus does he promise them mercy upon their repentance; and if they will not hear, their condemnation will be righte eous, and God will be justified when he judgeth them.
This chapter begins with a prophecy of the establishment of the gospel, and then proceeds 10 foretell the destruction of the Israelites for their idolatry, referring principally to the captivity.
THE word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning 2 1 Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the - last days, the days of the Messiah, under the christian dispensatio, [that] the mountain of the Lord's house shall be estaba lished in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the bills ; and all nations shall flow unto it; the christian church shall be planted, become conspicuous, and be firmly establishetl, as on
3 the top of a mountain. And many people shall go and say
Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths ; an allusion to the Jews inviting one another to the great feasis ; Thu& shall they join themselves to the christian church, and invite others 10 do 1o ; for out of Zion
shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusa4 lem, the gospel shall be first published there. And he shall judge
among the nations by his word and providence, and shall rebuke many people : and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks : nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any
more ; referring to the peaceable tendency of the gospel, and the 5 union between Jews and Gentiles in the latter days. ( house of
Jacob, come re, and let us walk in the light of the LORD ; the Jews in those days shall òe invited to receive and improve this gras cious dispensation.
Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and (are] soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers, with the idolatry and superstitious practices of the heathen ; glad of any strangers to reach them a new kind of idolatry. Their land also is full of silver and gold, unjustly gol, ten, and coused, neither [is there any] end of their treasures ;
their land is also full of horses, which ruas contrary to the law, 8 neither [is there any] end of their chariots. Their land also is
full of idols ; they worship the work of their own hands, that 9 which their own fingers have made : And the mean man bow.
eth down, and the great man humbleth himself; men of all ranks and degrees give themselves ufi lo stupid idolatry ; therefore for. give them not, tha' is, they shall not be forgiven. Then follows the description of thcir being carried into captivity, and by that
mains cured of their ido'at!?!. 10 Enter into the rock, that isa gje shall enter into it, and hide thes
in the dust, in order 10 concc. yourselves, for fear of the LORD,
and for the glory of his majest" ; when he ariseth to strike the Il earth quilha piror.'* The lofty locks of man shall be humbled,
and the hauglitiness of men shall bw bowed down, and the LORD.
alone shall be exalted in that day ; the impotence of idols shall be 12 demonstrated in the destruction of their worshippers. For the day
of the LORD of hosts, the day of his vengeance, [shallbe) upon every
(one that is) proud and lofty, and upon every (one that is) lifted 13 up ; and he shall be brought low : And upon all the cedars of
Lebanon, (that are] high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of 4 Bashan, And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the 15 hills (that are] lifted up, And upon every high tower, and upon
every fenced wall ; either literally, because their idolatries were practised on high pluces, or figuratively, on their great men and
16 magistrates ; And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all
pleasant pictures ; upon their trading ships, and the curiosities. 17 they imported. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down,
and the haughtiness of men shall be made low : and the LORD 18 alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall ut19 terly abolish. And they, the idolatrous Israclites, shall go into
the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth
to shake terribly the earth , when he causes great commotions and 20 troubles in the land. In that day a man shall cast his idols of
silver, and his idols of gold, which they made [each one) for - himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats ; he shall bury
them under ground, or hide them in dark corners, being ashamed of 21 them as they were unable to help him ; To go into the clefts of
the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the
LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to 22 shake terribly the earth. Cease ye from man, whose breath
(is) in his nostrils : for wherein is he to be accounted of? A general caution to cease from man ; or perhaps it refers to Hezekiah, in whose grave their prosperity, and almost all their religion 100, was buried. This verse should properly have began the next chafier.
D O W thankfully should we improve the light and ad.
1 vantages afforded us by the gospel ! This prophecy has been accomplished, christianity has been preached, established, and secured against oppression. This nation hath flowed to it: we were once darkness, but now walk in the light of the Lord. What a delightful idea of religion ! We here see the end of ordinances, and what should be our view in attending upon them. We should come to learn in order to practise, to help each other forward, excite one another to a christian behaviour, and provoke one another to love and to good works.
2. See how easily God can humble the proud by his judgments, and make them sick of what they are most fond of. Pride is the reigning sin in the human heart ; against this the judgments of God are peculiarly levelled, and when they come they will appear terrible to those that defied them. The dearest lusts will be looked upon with abhorrence, and the most precious idols rejected with disdain. Gold or silver unjustly gotten, or covetously hoarded, will be grievous to the possessor, and the pleasant pictures of which men are fond will be thrown away with contempt; yea, the nice and delicate will be glad to run into the caves of the earth, when God brings an enemy into the land. But especially at the great day, when the kings of the earth and the rich men shall hide thenselves in dens and caves, and say unto the rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that silleth on the throne, and from the rural) of the Lamb.
* 3. The consideration of men's frailty and mortality should mod erate our dependence upon them and affection to them. The greatest and proudest are not secure ; when judgments come, princes and kings will die like other men. Let us consider this, as a motive to cease from them, and not unreasonably to fear their power or court their favour. We should not place too much con. fidence in any mien, even the wisest and best, for they are dying creatures ; and the higher our expectations are raised, the greater will be our disappointment. Happy is the man that hath the God of Jacob for lis help, who liveth and reigneth for ever and ever.
CHAP. III. CHAP. IV. v. 1.
This chapter contains a prophecy of the calamities that should come
upon the Jerus in the declension of their state ; particularly of their captivity. There is a reference in this to the former chapter.
I LOR, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away
T froni Jerusalem and from Judah, amidst the confusion that shall follow, and especially at the siege of Jerusalem, the stay and the 2 staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water, The
mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet,
and the prudent, and the ancient, many of such shall be carried 3 away in the captivity, The captain of fifty, and the honourable
man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the elo4 quent orator. And I will give children (to be their princes,
and babes, persons of 710 underísanding or capacity, shall rule 5 over them. And the people shall be oppressed, every one by
another, and every one by his neighbour : the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the
honourable ; seditious people shall insult those that are in power. 6 When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of
his father, (saying, ] Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and slet) this ruin (be) under thy hand ; the government and may. istracy shall goa begging, any body that shall have but a good coat, shall be urged to be a ruler, and to undertake the firevention of the ruin coming upon them. In that day shall he swear, sav. ing, I will not be an liealer ; for in my house [is] neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people ; I have nei
ther ability for, nor will I expose myself to the danger of the office. 8 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen : because their
tongue and their doings [are against the LORD, to provoke the 9 eyes of his glory. The show of their countenance doth witness
against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, that is, in the most imprudent manner, they hide [it] not. Wo unto their
soul ! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves. JO Say ye to the righteous, that [it shall be] well (with him :) Il for they shall cat the fruit of their doings. Wo unto the wicked!