« PreviousContinue »
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 ut. 19 terly abolish. And they, the idolatrous Israelites, 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 sbake 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 too, was buried. This verse should properly have began the next chapter.
.L O W thankfully should we improve the light and ad.
I 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 themselves in dens and caves, and say unto the rocks, Fall on us, and hide Un from the face of him that silieth on the ihrone, and from the wrath of the Lamb.
3. The consideration of men's frailty and mortality should modo 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 confidence in any men, 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 helf, 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 Jews in the declension of their stale ; 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 from Jerusalem and from Judah, amidst the confusion that shall follow, and esficially 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 yuch 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 elo. 4 quent orator. And I will give children (to be] their princes,
and b babes, persons of no undertsanding 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 [let] this ruin [be] under thy hand; the government and magistracy shall go a begging, any body that shall have but a good
coat, shall be urged to be a ruler, and to undertake the prevention 7 of the ruin coming upon them. In that day shall he swear, say
ing, I will not be an healer ; 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 Sodor., that is, in the most impudent manner, they hide [it] not. Wo unto their
soul ! for they have rewarded evil unto theniselves. : 10 Say ye to the righteous, that sit shall be] well [ with him : 11 for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Wo unto the wicked !
[it shall be) ill (with him :) for the reward of his hands shall be given him, a command to the priests and Levites to say thus in their sermons to the people.
[As for] my people, children Care] their oppressors, and women rule over them ; persons of weak understanding and
effeminale spirits : O my people, they which lead thee, cause 13 [thee) to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. The Lord stand
eth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people, the poor and 14 the oppressed. The LORD will enter into judgment with the ,
ancients of his people, and the princes thereof, for ye have eatca
up the vineyard ; the spoil of the poor (is) in your houses: * 15 What mean ye (that) ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the
faces of the poor, treat them in the most cruel and inhuman manner ? saith the Lord God of hosts.
Morcover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes,
walking and mincing (as) they go, and making a tinkling with 17 their feet :* Therefore the LORD will smite with a scab the
crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts ; they shall be reduced to rags that ".
cannot cover their nakedness, or be led captive naked, according 10 18 the cruel usage of eastern countries. In that day the LORD will
take away the bravery of (their) tinkling ornaments (about their
feet,) and (their) cauls, and [their] round tires like the moon, 19 20 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, The bonnets,
and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tab21 22 lets, and the earrings, The rings, and nose jewels, The
changeable suits of apparel, and the mantics, and the wimples, 23 and the crisping pins, The glasses, and the fine linen, and the 24 hoods, and the veils. And it shall come to pass, (that) instead
of sweet smell there shall be stink ; and instead of a girdle a rent ; and instead of well set hair baldness : and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth ; [and] burning instead of beauty ; they shall be sun burnt in consequence of being made
slaves.t 25 Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy miglity in the war. 26 And her gates shall lament and mourn, because there are no
passengers io go through them : and she [being] desolate shall
sit upon the ground, as mourners used to do. I CHAP. IV. And in that day seven women shall take hold
of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel : only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach ; notwithstanding the natural reserve of the sex, they shall solicit to be married, and be content to maintain themselves. This must have been peculiarly grating to ladies of 80 much delicacy, luxury, and pride.
• This refers to the ornaments worn about their ancles, which are still used by the east. ern ladies ; and it is reckoned a mark of polite and delicate education io know how to make a noise with them, by striking one foot against the other.
+ See Bp. Lowth's Isaiah for a more jast and beautiful translation of these particulars, VOL.V.
BSERVE from hence, how much all our national comU forts and blessings depend upon God. Bread and water, the lives of princes, statesmen, judges, officers, and all their skill, courage, wisdom, and eloquence ; he can easily take away any, or all of these, by death, or captivity ; or disable them from being of any further service to the public. He can destroy union among the people, and give them up to faction or sedition. Let this teach us not to be confident of the continuance of any of our public blessings. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away ; blessed be the name of the Lord.
2. National judgments are different in their consequences upon different persons, according as their characters are.. It shall be well with the righteous, at all adventures. God commands his prophets to tell them so ; they have abundant comfort amidst all their fears and alarms. They have the joyful testimony of conscience, and the hope of a glorious reward hereafter. But it shall be ill with the wicked ; judgments peculiarly heavy shall fall upon them : or, however prosperous they may be here, the reward of their hands shall hereafter be given them. They need nothing else to make them thoroughly miserable than to be left to the consequences of their own folly. - 3. We are here taught, that cruelty to the poor is peculiarly displeasing to God, and that he will severely avenge it. There are many oppressive landlords, creditors, and masters, who abuse those that are under their power. Many who enrich themselves by the spoils of their neighbours ; who tyrannize over workmen, and refuse them a just allowance for their labour ; but God will stand up and plead for such as are thus oppressed : and baughty oppressive people will do well to consider in time what they will do when God rises ull, and when he judges what they will answer.
4. Let the daughters of Britain learn how odious pride, luxury, and extravagance of dress are to God, and how they increase the guilt of a nation. It is very likely that the daughters of Zion thought Isaiah a very rude and unpolite man in reproving them for their dress ; but he had good authority for so doing, the Lord saith. And his being so particular is a plain intimation how nice and curious they were about their dress, how much time and money they spent upon it, which might have been better employed ; how much they delighted in finery, so that it engrossed their thoughts and conversation. Ministers therefore, having so good an authority, should caution young women against this vice ; which shows a proud, weak mind, generally defeats the very end proposed by it, offends God, and contributes to national judgments. They should be as clean and neat as possible ; but not nice and curious. They slould not waste their precious moments in following every fantastic fashion, lest their delicacy be followed by servitade, poverty, nakedness, and disgrace. Those will be worse able to bear any one
of these, who have been devoted to the follies of dress, expected much waiting on, and have been averse to any thing like labour : hear the words of the apostle, i Peter iii. 3, 4. Whose adorning let il not be thai of plaiting the hair, but a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price.
CHAP. IV. 2, to the end. CHAP. V. 1-8.
After the prophecy of the calamities of Israel, Isaiah proceeds to foretell
the glory of the Messiah's kingdom.
2 T N that day shall the branch of the LORD, the Messiah, be
1 beautiful and glorious in the sight of God and all good men, and the fruit of the earth (shall be excellent and comely for
them that are escaped of Israel, who shall escape the destruction 3 before mentioned, and be converted by the gospel. And it shall
come to pass, (that he that is) left in Zion, and (he that] remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, that is, the first converts to christianity shall be eminently so, [even) every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem, or, in the Lamb's book
LORD shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem, their murders and oppressions, especially slaying the prophets and the Messiah, from the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of
burning; by his holy spirit producing purity and zeal among them. 5 And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount
Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night : for upon all the glory (shall be) a defence ; when he shall have thus purged them, he will manifest his power in protecting their families and places of worship. Here is nothing said about the temple, but an allusion to
the pillar of cloud, whereby God intimates that he would preserve 6 and protect them in a glorious manner. And there shall be a
tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain ; an allusion to the tents which travellers carried with them in the east, which they used when they passed over the deserts ; and it intimates that God would be their defence in all extremities. The prophet then describes the ingratitude and unfruitfulness of the Jews, as a reason why God sent his judgments upon them. Hebe. gins with representing in a beautiful parable, God's tender care of
his people, and their unworthy returns to his goodness. 1 CHAP. V. Now will I sing to my well beloved, that is, to
Christ, to whom the care of the Jewish church was committed, and which is often represented as a vineyard, a song of my beloved
touching his vineyard : My well beloved hath a vineyard in a % very fruitful hill : And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones