« PreviousContinue »
and profligacy of the Christian clergy, which, in point of fact, began very early to take place in the church, and continued for many ages. One cannot help thinking our poet Milton had this passage in view in his Lycidas :
Enow of such as for their bellies sake
But no man considereth:
Literally, men of loving kind which God will render prosperous. ness, or who are the objects or For this translation compare Judy. possessors of grace.
xviii. 6. · Made straight beloro him, or
obscure. I think they refer to the great diminishing of the mystic body of Christ, so that its members come at length to be almost removed out of the sight of men; and are few indeed, in comparison of the multitude of false teachers and carnal professors : compare Psalın xii. : “Help, Lord, there is not one godly man left,” &c.; and also chap. xxiv. 16, &c. of this prophet. The last verse is parallel to Revelation, xiv. 13; “ Write, from henceforth blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord. Even so, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.”
From the connexion it is evident, that what follows in the prophecy relates to the same apostate church, from whence the righteous had perished ; “ The faithful city”
“ become a harlot” - the propagator of the most abominable idolatries. It seems to mark a progress in corruption :
3. But ye, approach hither, ye sons of the sorceress,
Ye seed of the adulterer and the harlot. 4. Of whom do ye make
your sport, At whom do ye widen the mouth, and loll the tongue?
Are ye not apostate children, a spurious seed? 5. Consoling yourselves with' idols under every green tree?
Slaying the children in the valleys,
Beneath the prominences of the rocks.
They, they are thy lot.
The prophecy means, by specifying all the idolatrous
Or, “moaning unto."
practices and gross superstitions of the times— from the cruel butchery of infants, to the weak superstition of adoring smooth stones-to represent the future abominations of apostate and idolatrous Christians, who would very closely, in a general point of view, copy the practices of their heathen ancestors.
The highly fraught picture of the abandoned adulteress, which follows in this connexion, cannot be mistaken. It is a standing emblem of an apostate church. The king, in the ninth verse, is, no doubt, the symbol of the sovereign authority in the Christian kingdoms of the earth. But subsequent oracles must be consulted, to enable us to decipher more clearly the “ MYSTERY BABYLON,
the GREAT WHORE,” the “ MOTHER OF HARLOTS,” THAT COMMITTETH FORNICATION WITH THE KINGS OF THE EARTH.”
Is it in these things I could acquiesce ?' 7. Upon a high and lofty hill hast thou placed thy bed,
Thither hast thou ascended to commit whoredom. 8. Behind the door also, and on the door post, ?
Hast thou placed thy remembrance.
Thou hast loved their bed, thou hast struck hands." 9. Thou didst go to the king with ointment,
And didst multiply thy perfumes :
3 So Bishop Stock, but see 2 « Where the household gods Simon on T. were placed."
10. Thou hast wearied thyself by the length of the way,
• Yet thou saidst not, “ It is desperate."
Therefore thou hast not fainted :
And hast feared, that thou shouldst forsake me:
Was it because I was silent and concealed, 12. That thou fearest not me?
I myself will manifest thy righteousness,' 13. And thy deeds, but they will not avail thee.
When thou crieth, let thy assembled bands deliver thee:
This part of the sacred oracle seems to impress us with the idea that the fear of man that fear which ariseth from want of trust in God, and from a dread of losing the things of earth, is the principle that leads many into this apostacy. Some expositors, by assembled bands,” or “companies,” or “companions,” understand “ false gods.” But as we know from other oracles, that the last efforts of apostate Roman Christians are exerted to assemble combined armies, which fall in conflict with the Almighty, it is probable that these are meant.
Therefore thou wast
not troubled.”—Bp. STOCK.
1 « With the length of thy jour
neys, thou didst weary thy
Thy righteousness, thy hypocritical righteousness."-HORS
A livelihood by thy daily
work thou didst find,
With the awful end of the “ fearful and unbelieving" apostate, is next contrasted the happy lot of an humble and afflicted people, who trust in the Lord their God :
But he that trusteth in me shall inherit the land,
And shall possess my holy mountain. 14. Then will I say, Cast up, Cast up, prepare the way,
Remove every obstacle from the road of my people.
We are brought again, then, to the same point that almost every series of prophecy has brought us to before: on the one hand, you have the assembled armies of the last foe from “ Chittim," perishing at the presence of the God of Israel; on the other hand, you have his people led by a miraculous hand to go to inherit “ HIS land,” now glorified and sanctified by his presence. The description of the favoured people then follows, and wherever such are found, they will be “ blessed with faithful Abraham," and be “ heirs together with him," according to the promise : “ Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” 15. For thus hath said the High and exalted One,' Fixing his habitation for ever, whose name is the Holy
And reviving the heart of the contrite. 16. Surely I will not always contend,
Neither will I be wrath for ever;
I think that these sublime expressions are not to be