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False gods are further challenged by the Lord. 17 When the poor and needy come hereafter, that we may seek water, and there is none, know that ye are gods: yea, do and their tongue faileth for good, or do evil, that we may be thirst, I the LORD will hear dismayed, and behold it together. them, I the God of Israel will 24 Behold, ye are of nothing, not forsake them.

and your work of nought: an 18 I will open rivers in high abomination is he that chooseth places, and fountains in the you. midst of the valleys: I will 25 I have raised up one from make the wilderness a pool of the north, and he shall come: water, and the dry land springs from the rising of the sun shall of water.

he call upon my name: and he 19 I will plant in the wilder- shall come upon princes as upon ness the cedar, the shittah tree, morter, and as the potter treadand the myrtle, and the oil tree; eth clay. I will set in the desert the fir 26 Who hath declared from tree, and the pine, and the box the beginning, that we may tree together :

know ? and beforetime, that we 20 That they may see, and may say, He is righteous ? yea, know, and consider, and under- there is none that sheweth, yea, stand together, that the hand of there is none that declareth, the Lord hath done this, and yea, there is none that heareth the Holy One of Israel hath your words. created it.

27 The first shall say to Zion, 21 Produce your cause, saith Behold, behold them: and I the LORD; bring forth your will give to Jerusalem one that strong reasons, saith the King of bringeth good tidings. Jacob.

28 For I beheld, and there was 22 Let them bring them forth, no man; even among them, and and shew us what shall happen: there was no counsellor, that, let them shew the former things, when I asked of them, could what they be, that we may con- answer a word. sider them, and know the lat- 29 Behold, they are all vanity; ter end of them; or declare us their works are nothing: their things for to come.

molten images are wind and 23 Shew the things that are to confusion.

LECTURE 1149. How we must choose the Lord for our God. Here we find an express challenge to idolaters and their idols, to foretel things future, if they can. “ Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods.” And here these false gods are also challenged, to protect their worshippers, as the Lord protected his, or to overthrow the enemies of their people, as the Lord overthrew the enemies of his. “Yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it toge

ness.

ther.” And we have here also fresh instances, in which the true God vouchsafes to manifest these attributes of his glorious godhead. He undertakes most graciously for his people, that He will provide for them water when they are athirst, and springs of water in a dry land, and that He will plant for them, in the barren desert, trees yielding shade and flowers and fruit. Under which images, most appropriate in an eastern climate, there is implied the supply of all their wants, the refreshment of all their weari

And God expressly declares, that He will thus deal with Israel for the manifestation of his own great glory and Godhead; that men “may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel bath created it.”

Again, in regard to foretelling the future, the Lord here gave another prophetic description of the conqueror, foreshewn at the beginning of the chapter, mentioning the quarter from which he would arise, and the great success which he would meet with ; adding this remarkable circumstance, that from the rising of the sup, or from a country far eastward of Judea, he would call on the name of the Lord. Of which prophecy we find a remarkable fulfilment, in the opening of the book of Ezra, where the proclamation of Cyrus begins thus : “ The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth.” Ezra 1. 2. And what idol god, has ever thus declared the end from the beginning? Nay, they cannot so much as hear the words of those who foolishly consult them. God foretells to Zion, “Behold, behold them.” He gives messengers of good tidings to Jerusalem long beforehand. But as to all others that are called gods, they cannot answer a word. And He therefore thus sums up the issue of his controversy with them: “Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you." Oh let us then choose the Lord for our God. And let us be aware that to choose Him means somewhat more than merely understanding the absurdity of worshipping stocks and stones.

We must believe in Him, love Him, and obey Him, according to the revelation of his word. For not only of false gods, but also of worldly honour, wealth and pleasure, and of every thing that we are tempted to idolize on earth, may these words be truly said : “ an abomination is he that chooseth you.”

Christ the light of the Gentiles, a stumbling block to the Jews. i Behold my servant, whom I habitants thereof. uphold; mine elect, in whom 11 Let the wilderness and the my soul delighteth ; I have put cities thereof lift up their voice, my spirit upon him: he shall the villages that Kedar doth inbring forth judgment to the habit: let the inhabitants of the Gentiles.

rock sing, let them shout from 2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, the top of the mountains. nor cause his voice to be heard 12 Let them give glory unto in the street.

the LORD, and declare his praise 3 A bruised reed shall he not in the islands. break, and the smoking flax 13 The LORD shall go forth shall he not quench: he shall as a mighty man, he shall stir bring forth judgment unto truth. up jealousy like a man of war:

4. He shall not fail nor be dis- he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall couraged, till he have set judg- prevail against his enemies. ment in the earth: and the isles 14 I have long time holden my shall wait for his law,

peace; I have been still, and re5 Thus saith God the LORD, frained myself: now will I cry he that created the heavens, and like a travailing woman; I will stretched them out; he that destroy and devour at once. spread forth the earth, and that 15 I will make waste mounwhich cometh out of it; he that tains and hills, and dry up all giveth breath unto the people their herbs; and I will make upon it, and spirit to them that the rivers islands, and I will dry walk therein:

up the pools. 6 I the Lord have called thee 16 And I will bring the blind in righteousness, and will hold by a way that they knew not; thine land, and will keep thee, I will lead them in paths that and give thee for a covenant of they have not known: I will the people, for a light of the make darkness light before them, Gentiles;

and crooked things straight. 7 To open the blind eyes, to These things will I do unto bring out the prisoners from the them, and not forsake them. prison, and them that sit in dark- 17 They shall be turned back, ness out of the prison house. they shall be greatly ashamed,

8 I am the Lord: that is my that trust in graven images, that name: and my glory will I not say to the molten images, Ye give to another, neither my are our gods. praise to graven images.

18 Hear, ye deaf; and look, 9 Behold, the former things ye blind, that ye may see. are come to pass, and new things 19 Who is blind, but my serdo I declare: before they spring vant? or deaf, as my messenforth I tell you of them. ger that I sent? who is blind

10 Sing unto the Lord a new as he that is perfect, and blind song, and his praise from the as the Lord's servant ? end of the earth, ye that go 20 Seeing many things, but down to the sea, and all that is thou observest not; opening the therein; the isles, and the in- ears, but he heareth not.

21 The Lord is well pleased 24 Who gave Jacob for a spoil, for his righteousness' sake ; he and Israel to the robbers ? did will magnify the law, and make not the Lord, he against whom it honourable.

we have sinned? for they would 22 But this is a people robbed not walk in his ways, neither and spoiled; they are all of them were they obedient unto his law. snared in holes, and they are 25 Therefore he hath poured hid in prison houses: they are for upon him the fury of his anger, a prey, and none delivereth; for and the strength of battle : and a spoil, and none saith, Restore. it hath set him on fire round

23 Who among you will give about, yet he knew not; and it ear to this ? who will hearken burned him, yet he laid it not to and hear for the time to come? heart.

LECTURE 1150. Against being ashamed of God and of his Gospel. St. Matthew quotes the first verses of this chapter as fulfilled in our Lord's ministry. See Matt. 12. 18—20. Here then it is foretold, that the Messiah would impart true religion "to the Gentiles.” And He would convert them not by violent means, but by the power of gentleness and love. His success in this marvellous undertaking is set forth. And the ground of his succeeding is declared to be no less than the appointment, the purpose, and the covenant, of the God of heaven and earth; who resolves, and proclaims long before, that the Gentiles shall not always be in darkness, that his glory shall not be given perpetually to others, but that a new and better order of things shall be established in the world. Hereupon the most remote inhabitants of the earth are called on to sing unto the Lord a new song, and to declare his praise from beyond the mountains and the seas. And the benefits for which they must glorify his name are stated by God; namely, his going forth with power to overthrow idolatry, his abolishing that worship of rival gods which He had long put up with, see Acts 17. 30, his renovating the spiritual condition of mankind, his giving sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf, and his not forsaking those whom He thus enlightened and renewed. But upon this enlightening of the Gentiles, the Jews, who had been chosen, and trained, and commissioned, to be messengers of the truth unto their brethren, would prove more blind than they. Though the Gospel would in reality greatly glorify the Lord, the Jews, out of a mistaken and perverse zeal for their own dispensation, would reject their Messiah. And in consequence they would be given up by God to various calamities here mentioned, and which, as all the world well knows, they have now for many centuries been enduring. God forbid then, that we should ever risk the guilt of rejecting our Saviour, of crucifying our King! God grant, that as we have been so far enlightened as to be ashamed of images and of false gods, we may have the grace to glorify his name, by never being ashamed of Him, or of his truth, never deterred by shame from doing that which is pleasing in his sight!

The Lord promiseth to recall his dispersed people. 1 But now thus saith the Lord by my name: for I have created that created thee, O Jacob, and him for my glory, I have formed he that formed thee, O Israel, him; yea, I have made him. Fear not: for I have redeemed 8 Bring forth the blind people thee, I have called thee by thy that have eyes, and the deaf that name; thou art mine.

have ears. 2 When thou passest through 9 Let all the nations be gatherthe waters, I will be with thee; ed together, and let the people and through the rivers, they be assembled: who among them shall not overflow thee: when can declare this, and shew us thou walkest through the fire, former things ? let them bring thou shalt not be burned; nei- forth their witnesses, that they ther shall the flame kindle upon may be justified : or let them thee.

hear, and say, It is truth. 3 For I am the LORD thy God, 10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the Holy One of Israel, thy Sa- the Lord, and my servant whom viour: I gave Egypt for thy ran- I have chosen: that ye may know som, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. and believe me, and understand

4. Since thou wast precious in that I am he: before me there my sight, thou hast been ho- was no God formed, neither nourable, and I have loved thee: shall there be after me. therefore will I give men for 11 I, even I, am the LORD; and thee, and people for thy life. beside me there is no saviour.

5 Fear not: for I am with 12 I have declared, and have thee: I will bring thy seed from saved, and I have shewed, when the east, and gather thee from there was no strange god among the west ;

you:
therefore

ye are my wit6 I will say to the north, Give nesses, saith the LORD, that I up; and to the south, Keep not am God. back : bring my sons from far, 13 Yea, before the day was I and my daughters from the ends am he; and there is none that of the earth;

can deliver out of my hand: I 7 Even every one that is called will work, and who shall let it?

LECTURE 1151. The Jews witnesses to the truth of God's word. Though it is the object of Isaiah, in this part of his prophecies, to speak comfortably to Jerusalem, yet he is far from saying, Peace, when there is no peace. And as at the close of the last chapter he put on record a fearful threatening, so here also he implies, that God's people must pass through many a severe trial of affliction, which he describes under the figures of waters, and rivers, fire, and flame. But at the same time, he charges them, in the name of the Lord, not to be dismayed, never to despair. For God, they might be assured, would be ever with them, to protect them in all dangers, and to bring them out at last in safety from all their tribulations. If we apply this promise

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