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Hezekiah also had said, What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?
from any affliction or sorrow.
The second Sunday after Christmas.
MORNING. ISAIAH xli.
1 KEEP silence before me, O islands; and let the people
1 God calls upon the Gentiles, or islands, to attend, whilst he reasons upon the folly of his enemies in set
renew their strength: letting themselves up against him. Let
them gather all their strength, they cannot compare with the evidences of his mercy and his power.
The worshippers of idols and false gods aided and encouraged each other. Let us learn from them alacrity and unanimity as worshippers
them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment. Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow. He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet. Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he. The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came. They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage. So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smoothed with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved. But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed;
James ii. 23.
of the true God.
Blessed privilege of the faithful ! "Abraham, my friend *."
Look, O Israel, my servant, to thy past deliverance from Egypt; so may thy faith fail thee not. But mine enemies shall utterly perish. They shall be "sought and found not+.” They shall become as nothing.
+ Ps. xxxvii. 37.
for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. 14 Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel. "When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue
shall be my favour towards thee; 14 In proportion to thy humility moreover I will give my Gospel, whose spirit shall be "a new thing;" separating with new skill and new power the wheat from the chaff-the righteous from the wicked.
17 When the poor and needy soul is athirst, I will give it water from the well of life. And my servants shall flourish like trees of the forest.
faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it. 21 Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and show us what shall happen: let them show the former things, what they be, that we may consider them,
21 Let the foes of God show forth their wisdom. Let them, if they can, exhibit their power over present and to come, as I, Jehovah, have done, and do. That which I of old deterwhich now I determine shall likemined has come to pass, and that wise be accomplished. They can show no proofs of blessing conferred upon their servant, nor evil inflicted upon their foes.
and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to
come. Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together. Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you. 25 I have
25 Cyrus therefore shall be raised up by me, and prove the deliverer of my people, treading down their foes *.
raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay. Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous? yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth, yea, there is none that heareth your words. The first shall say to Zion, Behold, behold them and I will give to Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings. For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them, and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word. Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.
With what perfect confidence may I trust my soul to Him who is Lord alike of my present and my future years; in whose hand is my life, who is ready to direct all my ways, and guide me, here to peace, hereafter to glory.
EVENING. ISAIAH xliii.
redeemed thee, I have called thee
encouraged to fear no evil so long as 2 In how animating a strain are we
1 BCT now thus saith the 1 Fear of God is no excuse for forLORD that created thee, O Ja- saking him. He calls thee to Him as His own. cob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have by thy name: thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For
we are faithful to our God! Even when the waters of death overflow, his aid will succour and sustain
3 God will be with us; and as He was gloriously present to deliver his He save us now +. people then, so by his presence will
Cyrus was the son of Cambyses the Persian and Mandane the Median. Thus, as the son of Cambyses, he came "from the rising of the sun,' or the East; Persia being east of Egypt. As the son of Mandane, he was raised up from the North; Media being north of both these countries. So surely and minutely was the word of God accomplished in Cyrus, the deliverer of his people.
+Particular allusion is here made to their recent deliverance from
I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and show us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth. Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God. Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? 14 Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships. I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King. Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise they are extinct, they are quenched as tow. Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the
13 Thus when the Almighty wills blessing to his people, no man can let, or hinder, its accomplishment. Blessed truth! my Saviour is not only man, but God. ver. 3.
14 This, though spoken as having been already done, is prophetical, and was accomplished when Cyrus brought down the strength of Babylon *.
Sennacherib, when the Egyptians were raised up as enemies against him, and made instrumental, by God's providence, in diverting his attention from Jerusalem
God will so surely effect his will, that we may with the strictest truth say that thing is done which he wills shall be done.
19 But suppose old things be not remembered, new and greater things claim attention. The Gospel is at hand-a new and living way to heaven.
20 The very desert-this world of trial-shall now have a stream of water for the soul in its pilgrimage of life; and in the wilderness shall be a way, strait indeed, and narrow, but safe and sure, by which the pilgrim may reach his promised Canaan *.
things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. 20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise. "But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense. Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities. I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. "Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me. Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.
22 But man is ever prone to forget his God. Do we not all, too often, weary of our religious duties? weary of our Christian patience? weary of our well-doing?
thou humble thyself to plead with
The first Sunday after the Epiphany.
'YET now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I
1 The promise of spiritual blessings under the Gospel is continued.
The fierce passions of men, which, by nature, are like the beasts of the field for violence, shall not only put on a new character, but learn a exercise of their powers; for when so changed, they shall be exereised to the honour of God and the welfare of his creatures.