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The deliverance of God's people from their enemies. i In that day the Lord with and this is all the fruit to take his sore and great and strong away his sin; when he maketh sword shall punish leviathan all the stones of the altar as the piercing serpent, even le- chalkstones that are beaten in viathan that crooked serpent; sunder, the groves and images and he shall slay the dragon shall not stand up. that is in the sea.
10 Yet the defenced city shall 2 In that day sing ye unto be desolate, and the habitation her, A vineyard of red wine. forsaken, and left like a wilder
3 I the Lord do keep it; I ness: there shall the calf feed, will water it every moment: and there shall he lie down, and lest any hurt it, I will keep it consume the branches thereof. night and day
11 When the boughs thereof 4 Fury is not in me : who are withered, they shall be would set the briers and thorns broken off: the women come, against me in battle? I would and set them on fire: for it is a go through them, I would burn people of no understanding : them together.
therefore he that made them 5 Or let him take hold of my will not have mercy on them, strength, that he may make and he that formed them will peace with me; and he shall shew them no favour. make peace
12 And it shall come to pass 6 He shall cause them that in that day, that the LORD come of Jacob to take root: Js- shall beat off from the channel rael shall blossom and bud, and of the river unto the stream of fill the face of the world with fruit. Egypt, and ye shall be gather
7 Hath he smitten him, as he ed one by one, O ye children smote those that smote him ? or of Israel. is he slain according to the 13 And it shall come to pass slaughter of them that are slain in that day, that the great trumby him?
pet shall be blown, and they 8 In measure, when it shoot- shall come which were ready to eth forth, thou wilt debate with perish in the land of Assyria, it: he stayeth his rough wind and the outcasts in the land in the day of the east wind. Egypt, and shall worship the
9 By this therefore shall the Lord in the holy mount at iniquity of Jacobbe purged ; Jerusalem.
LECTURE 1129. The twofold application of prophetic words. Some object to our supposing that the words of prophecy have a twofold fulfilment, part in the dispensation of the Law, and part in that of the Gospel. And it may indeed seem at first sight as if we gave to words a double sense, which would be next to taking away from them all certainty of meaning. But rightly apprehended, the Jewish and the Christian churches form but one
communion. Both together are God's one people, having one and a common fellowship with Him and with each other. The things which befel the Jews concern us. The things which appertain to us concern them. And if it was wonderfully ordered in God's providence, as we have good reason to think it was, that their dispensation was a type of ours, theirs the letter and ours the spirit, we need not hesitate to interpret prophecies at once literally of them, and spiritually of ourselves. In doing which, we take not words in doubtful senses ; but rather we adore the divine wisdom, on finding that the same words, understood in their one and proper sense, at once describe beforehand the deliverance of the Jews out of captivity, and the redemption of all mankind from sin and death.
Thus the chapter before us is a prophecy of God's destroying the great powers which oppressed his people of old. It foretels the care which He would take of the Jewish nation, and the fury with which, merciful as He is to them that seek Him, He would consume his enemies. It draws a prophetic contrast between the chastisements inflicted on the Israelites, and the entire desolation of those who smote them; his own people being to be brought by their afflictions to repentance, and to amendment of their ways, and to be gathered together from all parts where they were scattered; whilst the defenced city of their chief oppressors would become no better than a wilderness. But their deliverance was a type of ours. And the words which shew how mercifully they were dealt with, tell also how mercifully God has dealt with us. Nay, they shew how mercifully God will yet deal, both with them and us, hereafter. “That old serpent, called the devil, and Satan,” Rev. 12. 9, though now mortally wounded, has yet “a short time;" Rev. 12. 12; but hereafter he will be cast into the lake of fire,” together with “ death and hell." Rev.
In the meanwhile God watches for the safety of his vineyard, and keeps it "night and day.” Slow to anger, and averse to punishment, whilst He warns us of the end awaiting us if at enmity with Him, He invites us rather to be at peace; and He promises that many shall obey his invitation. And whilst there are some whom neither terrors nor mercy can persuade, He assures us that He will gather together many, and so gives us the inexpressible joy of knowing, that a multitude whom no man can number, will escape the wrath to come, and will partake with us in the gift of eternal life; if we through his grace attain unto partaking it together with them.
20. 10, 14.
The sin and judgment of Ephraim and of Judah, 1 Woe to the crown of pride, way; the priest and the proto the drunkards of Ephraim, phet have erred through strong whose glorious beauty is beauty is a drink, they are swallowed up
of fading flower, which are on the wine, they are out of the way head of the fat valleys of them through strong drink; they err that are overcome with wine ! in vision, they stumble in judg
2 Behold, the Lord hath a ment. mighty and strong one, which 8 For all tables are full of as a tempest of hail and a de- vomit and filthiness, so that stroying storm, as a flood of there is no place clean. mighty waters overflowing, shall 9 Whom shall he teach knowcast down to the earth with the ledge? and whom shall he make hand.
to understand doctrine ? them 3 The crown of pride, the that are weaned from the milk, drunkards of Ephraim, shall be and drawn from the breasts. trodden under feet:
10 For precept must be upon 4 And the glorious beauty, precept, precept upon precept; which is on the head of the fat line upon line, line upon line; valley, shall be a fading flower, here a little, and there a little: and as the basty fruit before the 11 For with stammering lips summer ; which when he that and another tongue will he speak looketh upon it seeth, while it to this people. is yet in his hand he eateth it 12 To whom he said, This is up.
the rest wherewith ye may cause 5 In that day shall the LORD the weary to rest; and this is of hosts be for a crown of glory, the refreshing : yet they would and for a diadem of beauty, unto not hear. the residue of his people, 13 But the word of the LORD
6 And for a spirit of judgment was unto them precept upon to him that sitteth in judgment, precept, precept upon precept; and for strength to them that line upon line, line upon line; turn the battle to the gate. here a little, and there a little ; 7 But they also have erred that they might go, and fall through wine, and through backward, and be broken, and strong drink are out of the snared, and taken.
LECTURE 1130. That the sensual are not meet hearers of the Gospel. What a horrible abuse of God's good gifts is drunkenness! What an abomination must it have been in the sight of God, for the Israelites, on whom He had bestowed a land abounding in all good things, to give themselves up to excess in strong drink ! Most justly was woe here proclaimed from heaven against the proud kingdom of the drunkards of Ephraim. Most fearfully are they warned, that all the glory of their valleys is doomed to fade speedily away. Their destroyer is appointed. An enemy is at hand, who will burst on them with the violence of a storm, with the fury of a deluge. And all the plenty which enriched and adorned their land must then vanish as a blossom that soon withers, as an early fruit that is immediately consumed.
Whilst thus it must fare with Israel, God would have a residue of his people in Judah, to whom He would “be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty,” giving to their judges wisdom, and to their hosts strength. But alas, these also, as here foretold, would fall into the same sins as their brethren; they, and their teachers and their rulers. And to such an extent would drunkenness prevail, that according to the strong language of the prophet, no place would be free from this gross abomination. "To whom then should God teach that saving knowledge, which his people were chosen on purpose to learn? In this general falling off, where would He find such as were fit to receive those heavenly doctrines, which, having been foreshewn by the prophets, were to be fully revealed in the Gospel? The worthy receivers thereof must be, as our Lord also plainly teaches, like unto little children. See Matt. 18. 3. And the Law was a schoolmaster to bring them that were under it unto Christ; see Gal. 3. 24; and would have brought them step by step, if humble and teachable scholars, and would have fitted them to hear with profit the glad tidings of rest for the weary, pardon for the guilty, life for the dead.
But a people such as is here described would not hear. And after their many chastisements, and some seasons of amendment, when Christ in due season came unto his own, “his own received him not.” John 1. 11. Carnal and proud, wicked but self righteous, they refused to come to Him, who invited sinners to repentance. And therefore the very parables by which He taught them, though a method of instruction plain to the most simple minds, were to many of his hearers as if He were speaking in a strange tongue. Hearing, they heard not so as to understand; this burden being laid on them for their sins, that instead of learning, and profiting, they should “ go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.” See Matt. 13. 13. 1 Cor. 14. 21. And yet with this warning in our hands, and with the doom of the Jews fulfilled before our eyes, what multitudes amongst us even now are drunkards! What multitudes in many ways are sensual! And how apt are such as these to wrest to their own destruction God's gracious tidings in the Gospel! Oh, if we would be meet hearers of the message of his love, let us cease to love our lusts! If we would not be beguiled by Satan, to turn the truth to our own destruction, let us flee sensuality, walk in the Spirit, and not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. See Gal. 5. 16.
The sure foundation laid. The divine husbandry. 14. Wherefore hear the word as in mount Perazim, he shall of the Lord, ye scornful men, be wroth as in the valley of Githat rule this people which is beon, that he may do his work, in Jerusalem.
his strange work; and bring to 15 Because ye have said, We pass his act, his strange act. have made a covenant with 22 Now therefore be ye not death, and with hell are we at mockers, lest your bands be agreement; when the overflow- made strong: for I have heard ing scourge shall pass through, from the Lord God of hosts a it shall not come unto us : for consumption, even determined we have made lies our refuge, upon the whole earth. and under falsehood have we 23 Give ye ear, and hear my hid ourselves :
voice; hearken, and hear my 16 Therefore thus saith the speech. Lord God, Behold, I lay in 24 Doth the plowman plow all Zion for a foundation a stone, day to sow? doth he open
and a tried stone, a precious corner break the clods of his ground? stone, a sure foundation : he that 25 When he hath made plain believeth shall not make baste. the face thereof, doth he not 17 Judgment also will I lay to cast abroad the fitches, and the line, and righteousness to scatter the cummin, and cast the plummet: and the hail in the principal wheat and the shall sweep away the refuge of appointed barley and the rie in lies, and the waters shall over- their place ? flow the hiding place.
26 For his God doth instruct 18 And your covenant with him to discretion, and doth death shall be disannulled, and teach him. your agreement with hell shall 27 For the fitches are not not stand; when the overflowing threshed with a threshing inscourge shall pass through, then strument, neither is a cart wheel ye shall be trodden down by it. turned about upon the cum19 From the time that it goeth min; but the fitches are beaten forth it shall take you for out with a staff, and the cummin morning by morning shall it with a rod. pass over, by day and by night: 28 Bread corn is bruised; beand it shall be a vexation only cause he will not ever be threshto understand the report. ing it, nor break it with the
20 For the bed is shorter than wheel of his cart, nor bruise it that a man can stretch himself with his horsemen. on it: and the covering nar- 29 This also cometh forth from rower than that he can wrap the Lord of hosts, which is himself in it.
wonderful in counsel, and ex21 For the LORD shall rise up cellent in working.
LECTURE 1131. The vanity of trusting in a refuge of lies. The scornful rulers in Jerusalem have had many to follow their example in saying, “ We have made a covenant with death, and