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8. But now, O Jehovah, thou art our father; We are the clay, and thou art the potter, And we are all the work of thine hands.
9. Be not wrath, O Jehovah, to the utmost; And do not remember iniquity for ever. Behold, look on us, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.
10. Thy holy cities are a wilderness,
Sion is become a wilderness,
3 1. Our holy and our beautiful house,
Yea, all our desirable things have been laid waste; 12. At these things wilt thou refrain thyself, O Jehovah? Wilt thou be silent, and afflict us more?
The prophetic import of all this is, that thus shall Israel, at some future period, be influenced to pray; and the object embraced by the prayer of the petition shall not fail to come to pass,
The opening of the sixty-fifth chapter places us also at the era of the Gospel proclamation, and from that momentous crisis again traces the history of redemption to its utmost consummation: –
1. I AM found by those who asked not for me,
I have said, “Behold me, behold me,”
We are guided by St. Paul" to apply this to the call of the Gentile believers under the Gospel dispensation; and the next verse to God's rejected offers of mercy by the unbelieving Jews:
2. All the day long have I stretched out my hands,
Of course what follows belongs to them: –
3. Who walk in a way that is not good,
. A people that provoke me to the face,
4. Who dwell in sepulchres,
Who eat the flesh of swine,
And the broth of unclean meats in their vessels. 5. Who say, keep to thyself,
Come not near me, for I am holier than thou.
These are a smoke in my nostrils,
It is true, indeed, the exact practices of false worship here attributed to the apostates, were not, generally, such as the Jews of the first advent were addicted to; but we have before had occasion to remark, that the future departures of the professing church from the doctrines and appointed ordinances of revelation, are spoken of in allusion to those idolatrous and superstitious practices, which distinguished the false worship of the times in which the
* Rom. x. 20, 21.
prophet writes. Thus “ sacrificing in gardens, burning incense on altars made of brick,” practices forbidden by a * positive precept to the Israelites; and to which, in the days of their early history, they ever discovered a propensity, serve to symbolize those unauthorized superstitions of the Scribes and Pharisees, by which they, though not absolutely idolators, had made the word of God of no effect. Or rather, perhaps, the spirit of the passage is, these supercilious Pharisees that trust in themselves, that they are righteous, and despise others, are, in my sight, as if they had committed all these prohibited abominations, instead of having to boast the scrupulous observance of every minutia of their law. “The dwelling in sepulchres,” and “broth of abominable things,” may be referred to the practices of necromancy and magic, to which persons renouncing the true knowledge of God have, in all nations and ages, been remarkably prone. The judgment of this apostate people is next announced : —
6. Lo, this is written before me,
• But that I should requite their iniquities into their bosom,
7. Who burnt incense on the hills,
And I will measure their works,
These verses predict the punishment of this people as a nation and political society. Israel is represented—under those judgments that have brought them into their present situation—as suffering, not only for their own sins, but also for the sins of their idolatrous fathers. To the same effect our Lord speaks of all the blood of the martyrs, from Abel to Zacharias, being “required of that generation.” The nation, notwithstanding, as a nation, is not destroyed.
8. Thus hath Jehovah said:
As he that would obtain the wine from the grape,
Thus will I act in regard of my servants,
9. But I will bring forth a seed from Jacob,
And my chosen shall inherit it,
10. And the Sharon shall be a fold for the flock,
Here we are plainly told, that the Israel which we now behold is spared, for the sake of a seed to be hereafter born; and that in the age to come, a race of Israelites is again to seek and find the Lord, and to be re-established in their own land.
Some uncertainty may remain, whether the following be not spoken respecting the apostate part of the natural Israel, and their destruction by the Romans. But, upon the whole, I conceive it is this Roman world itself, who, after the rejection of Israel, received the kingdom of God, and for a short period brought forth its fruits; but, at length, forgot the hope of Israel, and lapsed into idolatry, and served a TRoop and MULTITUDE of lords
and mediators. They are to be numbered to the sword; the Redeemer will slay them at the time of his appearing, and take his ancient people again in hand.
But you who have forsaken Jehovah,
Who set forth a table for that troop,
And fill up a libation for that number;
And ye shall bow down to the slaughter.
And ye have done evil in mine eyes,
Therefore, thus hath the Lord Jehovah said;
But ye shall cry for distress of heart,
And you shall leave your name for an execration to my chosen,
And the Lord Jehovah will slay thee,
And will call his servants by another name.
He that blesseth himself on the earth,
And he that sweareth on the earth,
Leaving their name an execration, is illustrated by the
close of the prophecy of Isaiah. God's calling his people by another name, has been thought to designate the adop