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It is supposed, that the Lord God manifested his glorious presence on this occasion, under a visible form.
Nebuchadnezzar was once more convinced of the omnipotence of the Supreme Being; happy would it have been for him if he had, from this conviction, forsaken idolatry, and continued to worship the LORD God alone.
SECTION XLIV. PROPHECIES OF ISAIAH, DESIGNED FOR THE COMPORT OF THE FAITHFUL PEOPLE OF GOD, UNDER THE PROSPECT OF CAPTIVITY, AND DURING ITS CONTINUANCE,
From Chap. xliv. xlix. lvii. lviii. I. And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, that thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased ? the golden city ceased ?
The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers.
He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke; he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth.
II. Remember these, O Jacob and Israel ; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee, thou art my sera vant: () Israel, thou shall not be forgotten of me: I have blotted out as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me, for I have redeemed thee.
Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout ye lower parts of the earth ; break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein : for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel. H 2
Thus Thus saith the LORD thy Redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that make eth all things, that stretcheth forth the heavens alone, that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself:
That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh divines mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish :
That confirmeth the word of his servant, and per. formeth the counsel of his messengers : that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited ; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof:
That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers :
That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
III. Sing, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth, and brake forth into singing, () mountains : for the Lord hath cornforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.
But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.
Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb ? yea, they may forget, yet I will not forget thee.
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are continually before me.
Thy children shall make haste ; thy destroyers, and they that made thee waste, shall go forth of thee.
IV. Ile that putteth his trust in me, shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain ; and shall say, Cast ve up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling-block out of the way of my people.
For 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.
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.
For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart.
I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him, and to his mourners.
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..
But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
V. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbah, 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 pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy fa. ther: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. Every one of these extracts is worthy of particular examination *, but we must at present content ourselves
* The prediction relating to the Messiah, and the blessings of the Gospel, are reserved for another part of this work.
with a cursory view, that the thread of the history may not be broken.
In the first of these extracts, deliverance from captivity is promised. In the second, the deliverer is expressly mentioned by name. In the third, the tender mercies of God towards his people are described in the most lively and pathetic terms. In the fourth, the prophet recommends trust in God, with whom the penitent and humble will find deliverance. In the fifth, a proper observance of the sabbath is recommended. As this duty is of eternal obligation to all who call them. selves God's people, and the breach of it a particular offence against God himself, it behoves all to pay at. tention to a text, which points out the manner in which the Lord requires it to be observed. We here find that God expects the Sabbath to be appropriated entirely to his service, that all sensual pleasure and worldly concerns should be laid aside, and the sacred season em. ployed in those holy exercises, which afford real and substantial delight to the soul. Whoever spends the Sabbath in this rational way, will certainly experience that inward satisfaction, which naturally springs from a consciousness of pleasing our Great CREATOR and Governor; and may justly expect, through his mercy and goodness, the addition of temporal blessings also.
PROPHECIES OF JEREMIANI RESPECTING THE FUTURB
RESTORATION OF GOD'S FAITHFUL PEOPLE.
From Chap. xxx, xxxi. Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwell
ing-places: and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof.
And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving, and the voice of them that make merry : and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. . Their children shall also be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them.
And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them: and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith tlie Lord. ' .
And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God, - At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.
Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness ; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.
The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee...
Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel : thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.
Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria : the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things.
For there shall be a day that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God. For thus saith the LORD, Sing with gladness for JaH 4