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shall not say, I am sick : the people that dwell therein [shall be) forgiven (their) iniquity ; they shall forget their sickness, for joy of this great deliverunce, which will be a comfortable token. that their sins are forgiven them.
1. TTT E are here shown the most effectual way to secure na.
VV tional deliverance and happiness, namely, to continue in. 8lant in prayer, v. 2. Let us entreat that all our actions and affairs may be governed by justice ; that we may be faithful to our treaties ; and that particular persons may act uprightly, support religion, and cherish the fear of the Lord. This is our best treasure, and will do more to defend us than all our forces.
2. We are taught not to despair when in the deepest distress. Jerusalem never was in so much danger. Its inhabitants were never so much terrified as at this time, v. 7, 8. Behold, their vale iant ones shall cry without ; the ambassadors of peace shall weep bila terly. The highways lie wasle, the wayfaring man ceaseth : he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no may. Now will I arise, saith the Lord ; now will I be exalted. He seemed before to have been an unconcerned spectator ; but then it was time to arise and act vigorously for them. God thus sometimes suffers his people to be brought into the lowest distress, that he may make his appearance more conspicuous, their deliverance more valued, and better improved. Let us therefore trust him in the greatest danger, and in the mount of difficulty ihe Lord will be seer,
3. The difference between bad and good men in times of afflic. tion and calamity, is seen, v. 14, 15. There were hypocrites in Zion, and those of the worst sort. When they expected the city to be taken, plundered, and burned ; though they made a jest of the threatening before, and were secure and careless, yet now they were struck with fear, and sunk into despair. Thus cowardly and uneasy does guilt make men. And no wonder if it affects the hyp. ocrites under the gospel in this manner, when they think of those devouring flames and everlasting burnings, which are threatened. against all the workers of iniquity. On the other hand, the good man, who fears God, gives all their due, and abhors every unjust, dishonourable, and mean action, is safe, courageous, and happy : Cod will protect him, and provide for him ; and he will have a cheerful hope in the deepest distress. He will have no cause to. complain of lesser evils when the greatest is removed, nor sink under the burden of sickness, when the burden of guilt is taken away. Such shall walk in the light of God's countenance here, and at length see the King of kings in all the beauties of the heavenly land,
4. Let us rejoice in God's care of the church amidst all its dangers and alarms. It is indeed desirable to have the city of our solemnities a quiet habitation, and God can make it so. It needs no river to keep off invading foes, no force to repel them ; his al
mighty power is sufficient. Let us think what he did for Israel, what he has done for his church, yea, for our own land. Let us review our fears, v. 18. and give glory to God for our national pros. perity, success, and peace ; and be careful to behave toward him, as those who know that the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our law. giver, the Lord is our king : he will save us. Let us commit our cause to him, and observe his law; then we may cheerfully trust in his protection, and be assured that he will bless us.
Some refer this chapter to the destruction brought upon the nations which bordered upon Isracl, by the Assyrians and Babylonians : but I rather think it has a general reference to the destruction of all that opposed the kingdom and interest of God among men.
I M OME near, ye nations, to hear ; and hearken, ye people :
I let the earth hear, and all that is therein ; the world, and 2 all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the Lond
[is] upon all nations, and (bis} fury upon all their armies : he
hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the 3 slaughter. Their slain also shall be cast out, they shall find
no burial, and their stink shall come up out of their carcasses, and the mountains about Jerusalem shall be melted with their
blood ; it shall be shed in such quantities that it shall run down 4 like spirings from the mountains, And all the host of heaven
shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll : and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off
from the vine, and as a falling (fig) from the fig tree ; hyperboli. 5 cal expressions, denoring great desolation and confusion. For my
sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon 6 Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.* The
sword of the Lord is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, [and] with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the
kidnies of rams : for the Lord hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a 7 great slaughter in the land of Idumea. And the unicorns shall
come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls, and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with
fatness ; both the greatest and the meanest shall be alike destroyed. 8 For [it is) the day of the Lord's vengeance, [and] the year 9 of recompenses for the controversy of Zion. And the streams
thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into
brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burping pitch ; 10 an allusion to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall
not be quenched night nor day ; the smoke thereof, a black,
. Probably the ancients used to bathe their swords in some preparation which m hard enough to take a sharp edge ; thus God's sword is represented as bathed in heaven, in celestial fire, that it might strike like lightning. Idumea, or the Edomites, here, as in many other places, is put for all the enemies of God's church and people in general.
sulphureous vapour, shall go up for ever : from generation to
generation it shall lie waste ; none shall pass through it for 11 ever and ever. But the cormorant and the bittern shall pos
sess it ; the owl also and the raven shall · dwell in it : and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones,
or plummmet, of emptiness; he will deal with them in strict jus. 12 tice. They shall call the nobles thereof to assist in managing
the affairs of the kingdom, but none [shall be) there, and all her
princes shall be nothing ; they shall have no heart or spirit left. 13 And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles
in the fortresses thereof : and it shall be an habitation of drag. 14 ons, (and) a court for owls. The wild beasts of the desert
shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr
shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there 15 and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl
make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadOw; there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one
with her mate ; crealures that love desolate places, whether san• dy or marshy, shall meet together, and breed there ; intimating
that the desolation shall be long continued. 16 Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read ; let the proph
ecy be compared with the event, to show that not one of these disinal creatures shall be wanting ; no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate : for my mouth it hath commanded, and his
spirit it hath gathered them; God hath so ordered it, and brougho 17 them together by the instincts he hath given them. And he hath
cast the lot for them, and his hand hath divided it unto them by line : these creatures shall have the land divided among them as if it was done by lot : they shall possess it for ever, . from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.
1. W E may reflect with pleasure on the righteousness of
VV God, when his judgments are abroad in the earth. This dreadful hyperbolical description is answered by the desolations that war often makes in cities and countries ; but let us rejoice that infinite wisdom and righteousness preside over these affairs. God's sword is the sword of justice, and cometh for judgment, v. 5. Des. olation doth not proceed at random, but in strict equity ; by line and plummet ; it works as regularly as cities are built, and countries planted : even the wild beasts and birds have their share, as if divided by lot. Let this comfort our minds amidst the confusions of the earth; and lead us to adore the righteousness of the Lord, who is holy in all his ways.
2. How beautiful is it to observe the correspondence between history and prophecy, v. 16. The book of the prophets is the book of the Lord, inspired by the Holy Ghost. It is our duty to read it, to seek and search it out. Where we have light from ancient his
tory, we shall see the prophecies exactly fulfilled ; and where we have not history, we have reason to conclude that they were fulfilled, or will be so. The desolations which have been made, particularly by the Turks, upon the countries surrounding the holy land, the ruins of Babylon, Nineveh, and other great and populous cities in those parts, show that God's counsel shall stand, and that his words shall not fall 10 the ground.
This chapter refers to the gospel, and the glorious change it should
make in the state of the world.
. THE wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them,
1 for the destruction of the enemy ; and the desert shall re2 joice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and
rejoice even with joy and singing : the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, [and] the excellency of our
God ; that is, spiritual blessings, described under these emblems, 3 shall abound. Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the 4 feeble knees. Say to them (that are] of a fearful heart, Be
strong, fear not ; an address 10 the apostles and ministers of
Christ : behold, your God will come [with] vengeance, [even] 5 God [with] a recompense ; he will come and save you. Then
the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf
shall be unstopped, which was literally done by Christ and his 6 apostles. Then shall the lame (man) leap as an hart, and the
tongue of the dumb sing : for in the wilderness shall waters 7 break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground
shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water : in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, (shall be) grass with reeds and rushes ; sandy places shall become good pastures ; reforring 10 the influence of Christ's doctrine and spirit upon the
world, and especially to the change that should take place in the 8 gentile nations. And an highway, or causeray, shall be there,
and a way, and it shall be called, The way of holiness ; the unclean shall not pass over it ; but it (shall be] for those ; or, God shall be with them, shall be their guide and companion in the way ;
therefore, the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err (there9 in.] No lion shall be there, nor [any) ravenous beast shall go .: up thereon, it shall not be found there ; all their spiritual ene
mies shull be vanquished; but the redeemed shall walk (there :) 10 And the ransoned of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion
with songs, all shall terminate in heaven, and everlasting joy upon their heads ; as garlands of fi owers were worn at feasts, so shall I they wear a crown of glory : they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
1. I ET us rejoice in the happiness of Christ's kingdom, and the
glory of the gospel. It has the brightest glories of the Mosaick dispensation, and some which are unspeakably greater and nobler. The miracles of Christ confirmed his doctrine, and were emblems of the effects of it upon the mind ; the eyes of the understanding were enlightened, ignorant heathens were brought to know God, and Christ, and religion ; obstinate wills were subdued ; idolatry, slavery, polygamy, and other vices and miseries were banished, as far as that prevailed, and the spiritual enemies of men conquered. The glorious change it made in the state of the moral world is but imperfectly represented by these figures ; but they ought to excite our thankfulness that we are favoured with this glorious dispensation, and that it hath already contributed so much to the happiness of mankind.
2. The view here given us of the way of religion, should engage us to walk in it. It is the way of holiness, of universal rectitude, purity, and goodness ; a safe, plain, and pleasant way ; there is no difficulty in finding it, no danger in walking in it. We meet there with the best company, and have God for our guardian and guide, our companion and friend. In this way then let us walk, and pro. ceed therein with vigour and cheerfulness ; strengthen our own and others' feeble knees, and encourage one anothers hearts. This delightful road will at length bring us to the heavenly Zion, where sorrow and sighing, where sin, corruptions, and enemies shall be no more ; but upon our heads shall be everlasting joy, and in our mouths everlasting songs.
CHAP. XXXVI, XXXVII.*
INTOW it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Heze
TV kiah, (that) Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against 2 all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them. And the king
of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king
Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of 3 the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field. Then came
forth unto him Eliakim, Hilkiah's son, which was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, Asaph's son, the recorder. 4 And Rabshakeh said unto them, Say ye now to Hezekiah, Thus
saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence [is] 5 this wherein thou trustest? I say, (sayest thou (but (they are
but] vain words) [I have] counsel and strength for war : now on o whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me? Lo, thou
trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whcrcon if
. These two chapters are the same as 2 Kings xviii. 13, to the end of cho xix, and the reader is rolered to the X, Osition and refic.Acis pon :: w piwie