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have chosen thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For
7 Here, as in chap. xli. 21, Jehovah appeals to his knowledge of time past, present, and to come, in proof of his supremacy over all gods-evidencing, that "beside Him there is
no God." He is "all in all."
I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses. One shall say, I am the LORD's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel. Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them show unto them. not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed. Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they are of men: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together. The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth: he drinketh no water, and is faint. The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house. He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the
9 What a withering taunt do these words convey! the gods of the heathen, "their own witnesses; dumb, blind, stocks, stones!"
This whole passage, to the 20th verse, is so powerful an appeal to reason, that they who disregard its instruction must have eyes, yet see not; ears, yet hear not ; and hearts, yet neither will they understand.
forest; he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it. Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto. He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: and the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god. They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand. And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? 20 He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand? Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant : I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. 22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel. Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;
20 How truly is the sinner said to feed upon ashes! So bitter is the fruit of sin in its accomplishment; whilst the end thereof is shame and confusion at having been deceived by it.
22 Was ever offer of reconciliation so gracious, so affectionate, so winning, so irresistible? Not only does the forbearing Supreme bid us "return," and he will forgive us; he declares, "I have already blotted out thy sins *."
23 Well may all creation join in this triumphant song of praise.
Fear not, then, O thou penitent. Let not shame overwhelm thee. Now reconciled to God, rejoice in him as thy Redeemer rejoice that he was man to die for thee, and God to save thee by his death. He must and He will order things well. Who shall distrust his providence or grace? Faith in the past may surely strengthen hope for the future.
that frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; 26 that con
26 This wonderful prophecy to Israel of their deliverance by Cyrus from their captivity in Babylon was accomplished about 100 years after it was spoken.
firmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: that saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers that saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
BEL boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle: your carriages were heavy loaden; they are a burden to the 2 The vanity of idols and their worweary beast. They stoop, shippers is here contrasted with the they bow down together; strength of Jehovah and the wisdom of those who worship Him. they could not deliver the burden, but themselves are gone into captivity. Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb and even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like? They lavish gold. 6 What a cutting yet instructive out of the bag, and weigh reproach! Their god, their own silver in the balance, and hire
a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship. They bear 7 The idols of Babylon were carried him upon the shoulder, they in procession by the Persian concarry him, and set him in his querors in scorn, upon beasts of burplace, and he standeth; from
his place shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble. Remember this, and shew yourselves men bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. Remember the
8 Man, endued with reason, yet is so irrational as to turn into a god the idol of wood or stone which his own hands have made; yet the idol god and the senseless worshipper are unable to help either the other.
9 Whereas God, who created man,
former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 1o declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: "calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. Hearken unto me, ye stouthearted, that are far from righteousness: 13 I bring near my righteousness; it shall
and will redeem him, does, day by day, from his cradle to his grave, preserve him*.
10 God appeals (as in chap. xli. 26.) to his supreme knowledge of past and future in proof of his Godhead. that are not yet done, saying, 11 Cyrus came from the East-swift and fierce as an eagle. See note p.
13 My righteousness I will bring near, saith Jehovah. A token of my mercy, and clear for judgment.
not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.
The second Sunday after the Epiphany.
MORNING. ISAIAH li.
2 Abraham was "alone" when God first called him, being childless +.
HEARKEN to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. "For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my
3 As innocence and converse with God constituted the glory of the first Eden, so righteousness shall renew to man the peace and joy of God's favour. Gladness shall brighten even the wilderness of life. Every faith
ful soul feels this truth.
* Well does the Church direct us to praise and bless God, not for our redemption only, but for our creation and preservation-the proofs of the power of God in creating and preserving us being a perpetual testimony to his power in redeeming us, and sanctifying us, and saving us. + God's promise was to Abraham, "when as yet he had no child."
The generation of men pass away. Then let my soul disregard thei revilings, and fear only God, who abideth the same on earth and in
heaven, for ever.
9 Yea, it was the Lord who subdued Egypt, that once mighty Rahab, and overthrew Pharaoh the fierce dragon in the waters *.
judgment to rest for a light of the people. My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation. Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the deptas of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over? "Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor? The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail. But I am the LORD thy God, that divided the sea, whose wives roared: The LORD of hosts is his name. And I have put my
11 As the redeemed Israelites returned from Babylon, and entered with great joy and triumph into Jerusalem, so shall the redeemed of the Lord, from all lands, one day thankfully and gloriously. enter the heavenly Jerusalem
* Rahab signifies proud; a name, therefore, very aptly given to Egypt.