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And I have cast down all their barriers,
This is one of those rapid glances we mentioned above, where the prophetic vision shows an intermediate object in connexion with the future redemption, which it is its main purpose to reveal. We have here no parable, nor allegory; but a plain prediction of an event of high interest to the remnant of Judah, which was shortly to come to pass. The mode of Babylon's being taken by Cyrus is plainly pointed out; the barriers, the strong gates of brass to which they trusted, were by an overruling Providence, rendered of no use. The river, the great source of their wealth and confidence, proved the means of their ruin.
This is all that belongs to Babylon. — The vision passes swiftly to the greater mercies of the second Exodus. The remnant was to return from Babylon. This is implied in what has been said, and is afterwards expressly mentioned. But this return does not here even serve for a type. In truth, its circumstances had little in them to serve for a type, or to afford resemblances of that grand restoration of the last days. Accordingly, we see, in the verses that follow, the Holy Spirit draws his figures and allusions from the Exodus out of Egypt; but tells us, at the same time, that the deliverance predicted shall be far greater than that ancient theme of their praise. This forbids us for a moment to suppose, that the return of the remnant of Judah could be at all in view.
16. Thus hath Jehovah said, VOL. I.
Who made a way in the sea,
And a path in the mighty waters;
The army and the force together :
They were extinguished, they were quenched as tow. 18. Ye shall not celebrate these' former events,
On deeds of old ye shall no longer dwell. 19. Behold, I produce a new thing;
Now shall it spring up. Will ye not observe it?
Streams of water in the great desert.
The serpents, and the daughters of the doleful song.
To give drink to my people, my chosen. 21. This people have I formed for myself,
They shall recount my praise.
This new exordium leads us back to the miraculous passage of the Red Sea. It bids us remark what the God of Israel then did for his people — the opening a way in the sea for his ransomed to pass through — the destruction of the Egyptian armies. These were wonderful events; they had ever been the standing theme, from age to age, of the grateful songs of Zion, But the church is now told to expect mercies so new and so great, that these former wonders will be comparatively eclipsed and forgotten. What this new wonder is to be is next mentioned. It is that miraculous passage through the desert, so often mentioned in connexion with Israel's final restoration. This is to exceed all the wonders of the first
Exodus. The passage of Israel through the desert was at that time, indeed, attended with the miraculous supply of food and of water; and for a moment this may hesitate, whether this be not all that is meant. These miracles, however, did not so far exceed what Jehovah had done at the Red Sea, as, in a figurative sense, to obliterate their memory: and, therefore, something far greater, and more important, is to be looked for to take place hereafter in this great desert. This, indeed, is the burden of prophecies we have seen before : * and the notion of forgetting the wonders of the first Exodus in the greater wonders of the final restoration, we shall meet with in subsequent prophets.
The twenty-second, and two following verses, seem fairly to imply, that the people for whom these wonders are wrought, were previously in a state of irreligion and forgetfulness of God, were living without the services of God, and the ordinances of public worship :
22. But thou hast not invoked me, O Jacob;
Neither hast thou laboured for me, O Israel."
And thou honourest me not with thy sacrifices.
Nor did I make thee to labour for incense.
I was not filled with the fat of thy sacrifices.
This might certainly apply to Israel at several periods
Psalm lxviii.; Isaiah, xxxv. 1; xl. 1; xli. 17; xlii. 11.
! Vulgate and Septuagint.
of their history, but never so emphatically, as future prophets, especially Hosea, will teach us, as at the eve of their final restoration.
At length that dispensation of mercy and grace, of which Israel is to be made partaker in the last days, is announced :
25. I, I am He
That blot out thy transgressions for mine own sake,
Israel is in the next verse invited to approach the throne, to consider the true situation of his affairs, and the causes of that calamity that had come upon the nation:
26. Remind me, let us enter into judgment together,
Set forth thy cause in order to thy justification. 27. Thy chief father sinned,
Thy teachers "revolted from me:
And I gave up Jacob as separated for destruction,
Such had been the public sin that had caused their national degradation. In the ordinary circumstances of the Jewish commonwealth, we might have been at a loss to know which had been meant by the term “ chief father,” the king or the high priest, but as the event has shown, for some time previously to their final dis
· Remind me of thy plea, let us join issue together.
: on signifies to separate, to devote, pa, to cut off, to amputate, as boughs of a tree.
* More correctly, thy“ inter
persion, the Jews possessed but one native prince, and the high priest was in some respects the head of their civil as well as of their ecclesiastical constitution. He, then, was the chief father," and the Scribes and Pharisees, “ who sat in Moses's seat,” were the teachers" or “ interpreters” mentioned in the passage before us. These were the “ princes of the sanctuary” that were profaned; and they were profaned when Jerusalem and the temple were given into the hands of the Romans : and the “ natural branches" were“ broken off” from their - olive tree.”
Remarks on Purts of the Forty-fourth and Forty-fifth
Chapters. The greater part of the forty-fourth chapter I may be permitted to omit in the pursuit of my present object, after briefly noticing its contents, in order to show the connexion of what follows. In the first and following verses of this chapter, Jacob is addressed with some words of comfort. Low as the family of Abraham would be reduced, there would yet be " a remnant according to the election of grace.'
.” - God had not cast away his people, whom he foreknew, and at this very period of Israel's rejection, when the church had been a dry wilderness indeed, an outpouring of the Spirit was to be expected; which came to pass on the day of Pentecost, and generated a faithful seed of true Israelites, peculiarly blessed and adorned with spiritual prosperity. To these Christian Jews, were added a body of Gentile converts in every part of the civilized world; the circumstances of whose accession to