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Glory promised. Judgments threatened.
son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
1 The word that Isaiah the 9 And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not.
2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.
6 Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.
7 Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their
8 Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:
10 Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty.
11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.
12 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:
13 And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,
14 And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up,
15 And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, 16 And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.
17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.
18 And the idols he shall utterly abolish.
19 And they 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.
20 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;
majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
22 Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of? LECTURE 1099.
The perilous condition of the proud and idolatrous. Here first it is testified, that the worship of the true God, then confined to the temple of Jerusalem, should hereafter be spread abroad among all nations. Many should go forth preaching the truth of God's word, "beginning at Jerusalem." Luke 24. 47. All should be invited to draw nigh to "the God of Jacob." All should be assured of his willingness to teach them his ways; all be exhorted to walk in his paths. And He, convincing them of sin, should be acknowledged by many for their Lord and God; they, in compliance with his word, and in the apprehension of his judgments, renouncing their evil practices, discontinuing their wars and fightings, having been “" taught of God," as the apostle says "to love one another." 1 Thess. 4. 9. In the prospect of this happy state of things, the prophet calls out to the people, "O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord." We, who ought to be as here described, we who live in the full "light of the glorious gospel of Christ," 2 Cor. 4. 4, need almost as much as the Jews in the time of Isaiah, to be exhorted to walk in the light vouchsafed to us.
For have not Christians also been greatly addicted to lying vanities? Have they not been apt to be superstitious, prone to multiply riches, ambitious of rank and titles, distinguished for the prowess of their arms, and even so infatuated as to worship the work of their own hands? And if the Jews were brought low for sins like these, if their nobles and their people have been again and again reduced by judgments the most awful, to misery the most abject; what have not those Christian communities to look for, who have turned the truth of God into a lie, and exalted themselves to the dishonour of their Lord? what must not those Christians, of whatsoever communion, apprehend, who under the profession of Christianity harbour a spirit of pride, strife, covetousness, self dependence, or idolatry? Let such take warning, that whether they be high or low in this world, the day is coming, when they must be finally put down by One higher than the highest of them, mightier than the mightiest. Let such now abase themselves in fear and trembling, in godly sorrow and effectual repentance, lest when it shall be too late they in vain seek for shelter, saying to the mountains and rocks," Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" Rev. 6. 16, 17.
The judgments of God, and the grounds of them.
For, behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water,
2 The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,
3 The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.
4 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.
5 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. 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: 7 In that day shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people.
8 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of his glory.
9 The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves. 10 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him for they shall eat the fruit of
11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him. 12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.
13 The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.
14 The LORD will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten 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? saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
16 Moreover 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 their feet:
17 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.
18 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 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,
20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,
21 The rings, and nose jewels,
22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, 23 The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails. 24 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.
25 Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. 26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground. LECTURE 1100.
Sin the cause of the decay of nations.
In the visitation with which Jerusalem is here threatened, it is foreshewn, that the Jews would be a plague unto themselves, by their unruliness and unkindness to each other. So low should they fall through misrule, so thoroughly should Jerusalem be ruined, that men, ambitious of rule as they are, would shrink from the ruler's office; and the state would be given up to that lawless violence and mutual oppression, which follow on the overthrow of established government. By these general threatenings God seems plainly to signify, that calamity must overtake all without distinction. But still, He tells them, that He is at hand to judge. Still He would have the righteous assured, "that it shall be well with him," and the wicked that "it shall be ill with him." If the people are to be consumed, it is because "their doings are against the Lord." If the princes and mighty men are to be levelled to the dust, it is because "the spoil of the poor" is in their houses, and they beat the Lord's people to pieces, and they "grind the faces of the poor." And if the daughters of Zion are especially to suffer, it is because they "are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes;" therefore it is that their beauty must be disfigured with disease, and stamped with the brand of captivity, and all the finery in which they take delight exchanged for rags and nakedness. And it is because so many of each sex, and of every rank, are guilty, therefore must all suffer, therefore must Jerusalem be left desolate even to the ground. Ye who would know the causes of decay of nations, note these fearful dealings of the Lord. And remembering that He rules throughout the earth, and deals with all men on the same righteous principles, learn, that oppressiveness in those who govern, and insubordination in those who are governed, and that pride and luxuriousness in women, no less than the like sins prevailing amongst men, are sure to provoke his displeasure. And ye who in the midst of a sinful generation walk by faith with God, but tremble for the judgments provoked by man, be assured it shall notwithstanding be well with you. The state may perish, the world may be destroyed. But He whom you are serving still will reign supreme. And the kingdom which He has prepared for your inheritance will never fail.
The glory of the Branch of the Lord.
1 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.
2 In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.
3 And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:
4 When the LORD shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.
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.
6 And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.
The future holiness and happiness of the Church.
As far as prophecy consists of predictions, it must be our principal care to ascertain what it is that is foretold; and if this be an event that has already taken place, then to compare it with the prophecy, that we may be edified by observing the fulfilment. But herein lies one of the chief difficulties of interpreting the word of God. For whereas in general the interpreter ought to be acquainted with the original language of Scripture, with the date and subject of each book, with the life and circumstances of each writer, and with the history and customs of the time at which he wrote; so here he need further have before his mind's eye the whole history of the church and of the world, of the world as far as it is connected with the history of the church; that so he may be able to discern which prophecies relate to which events, and which, fitting no event yet past, must be referred to things that are to come. And in determining these questions, besides this extensive knowledge, the interpreter of prophecy must have sobriety of mind, soundness and impartiality of judgment, and a devoted love of truth, for truth's sake, or rather for the sake of God, whose truth he would fain interpret. Well may we ask humbly of a work so difficult, "Who is sufficient for these things?" 2 Cor. 2. 16. Well may we praise God thankfully for the many learned, wise, and holy men, who have wrought in this field of labour, and of whose various qualifications for the work we are privileged to reap the fruits.
As to the three chapters, of which this is the last, and which