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REFLECTIONS.

1. THIS chapter suggests many useful instructions to the sick

1 and infirm ; and such any of us may very soon be. We should therefore set our houses in order, make our wills, settle our affairs, and contrive for the peace of survivors. Especially should we set our souls in order ; renew the exercise of repentance and faith, and make our peace with God, with men, and our own consciences. Let the sick pray, and humble themselves ; acknowledge the hand of God in the visitation, and seek help from him ; but they should not neglect the assistance of physicians and medicines, lest they tempt the Lord their God. Though Hezekiah's recovery was in a great measure miraculous, yet natural means were used, to teach us the use of them. Let us not think our fears of death signs of our being in a sinful state, for even Hezekiah wept sore at its approach, though he could appeal to God that he had walked before him in truth, and with a perfect heart, and had dune that which was good in his sight.

2. Those who have been recovered from sickness may see what should be their temper and conduct. It is proper to recollect, and keep written memorials of their danger and deliverance ; of the workings of their thoughts and affections ; their views of God, themselves, and another world ; and of their resolutions and vows. Let them be very thankful for their escapes from death ; remembering, that it was the Lord that healed them, that recovered them from the pit of corruption, when just sinking into it ; they should express their thankfulness in their addresses to God, and in their conversation with others, for their encouragement. It should be our care to walk humbly with God; to proceed with caution and watchfulness in the way of duty ; to be zealous for his honour, and diligent and serious in our attendance upon his ordinances. Hezekiah's love to God's house showed itself very remarkably during his sickness; he lamented his being deprived of attendance there, and resolved to frequent it constantly while he lived. Thus should we improve our recoveries from sickness, or our continued health ; remembering, that life is short, and that there is no knowledge, wis. dom, or device, in the grave, whither we are all going.

CHAP. XXXIX.*

i A T that time Merodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of

11 Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah : for he 2 had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered. And Hez:

ekiah was glad of them, and showed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that

! For the illustration and improvement of this chapter, see 2 Kings, XX. 12--19.

was found in his treasures > there was nothing in his house, nor . 3 in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not. Then

came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men ? and from whence came they unto thee?

And Hezekiah said, They are coine from a far country unto 4 me, [even) from Babylon. Then said he, What have they seen

in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All that (is) in mine

house have they seen : there is nothing among my treasures , 5 that I have not showed them. Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, 6 Hear the word of the Lord of hosts : Behold, the days come,

that all that [is] in thine house, and [that] which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: 7 nothing shall be left, saith the LORD. And of thy sons that

shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away ; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of 8 Babylon. Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good [is] the word of

the LORD wbich thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days.

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IVe now come to the last part of Isaiah's prophecy, which is by much

the most sublime and important. It contains many comfortable predictions of the restoration of the Jews from captivity, of the blessings of the gospel, and the conversion of the Jews in the latter days. But in this chapter, and in many other places, these events are so intermingled, that, though the general sense is plain, it is hard to de. termine to which event the prophet refers.

1 MOMFORT ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God;

W that is, to the prophets during the capiivity, and to all chris. 2 tian ministers in future ages. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusa

len, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned : for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins ; not double to whal she deserved, but double in proportion to God's severity in correcting other sinful nations, because she was more eminently favoured. It may have a reference to the law of paying double damages, Exod. xxii: 4. Immediately a harbinger is introduced, giving orders as was usual in the march of eastern generals, to remove every obstacle,

and prepare the way for their return into their own land. 3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye

the way, of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God; probably referring 10 Cyrus's proclamation of deliver

ance to the Jews ; or rather to the gospel salvation; and it is so 4 applied to John the Baptist, Mat. iii. 3. Every valley shall be

exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain ;

all difficulties shall vanish ; mer's pride and prejudices shall be re5 moved : And the glory of the Lord, his glorious power and

goodness, shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see [it] together : 6 for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken (it.] The voice said to

the prophet, Cry, or proclaim aloud. And he said, What shall I

cry? All flesh (is) grass, and all the goodliness thereof (is) as 7 the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth,

because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the peo8 ple (is) grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth : but

the word of our God shall stand for ever? there is no dependence to be laid on the wisdom, power, and promises of men, but the promises of God are faithful, and nothing shall prevent the execution of them. So Peter afsplics the words in his first epistle, chap. i.

23-25. 9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, or, O thou that tellest good

tidin 18 10 Zion, get thee up into the high mountain ; 0 Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, or, O thou thai tellest good tidings 10 Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength ; proclaim aloud on the mountains, from whence thou canst besi be heard ; lift (it) up,

be not afraid, for God will make his word good i say unto the 10 cities of Judah, Behold your God ! Behold, the Lord God will

come with strong (hand,] or, against the strong, and his arm shall rule for him ; he will complete your deliverance, and establish the Messiah's kingdom, without human assistance : behold,

his reward [is] with him, and his work, or, recompense for his 11 qvork, before him. He, that is, the Messiah, shall feed his flock

like a shepherd : he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry (them,] that is, the lame and sick, in his bosom, (and)

shall gently lead those that are with young. 12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,

and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance ? To confirm your faith in these promises, observe the exact order in which the earth is formed ; the mountains are weighed, the waters and the dust are measured; 80

that there is not a drop too much, nor a grain superfluous or defi. 13 cient ; and say, Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord when

he made the world, or [being] his counsellor hath taught him to 14 govern it ? With whom took he counsel, and (who) instructed

him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him 15 knowledge, and showed to him the way of understanding? Be

hold, the nations Care) as a drop of a bucket, as inconsiderable, when compared with the ocean, as a drop of water, and are counted as the small dust of the balance; 80 small, when compared with the whole earth, as not to affect the nicesi scales ; behold, he taketh up the isles, as a very little thing ; the isles, though so

spacious, strong, and deep rooted, are in his hand what a light thing 16 is in ours, which we take up, turn, and manage as we please. And,

if we would study to present un oblation answerable to his greainess, Lebanon [is] not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof

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17 sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations, if they were assem.

bled together to attend this great sacrifice, before him (are) as nothing ; and they are counted to him less than nothing and

vanity. To caution the Jews against the idolatry of the Chalde. 18 ano, he proceeds, To whom then will ye liken God? or what 19 likeness will ye compare unto him? The workman melteth a

graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, 20 and casteth silver chains to adorn it, or fasten it to a pillar. He.

that (is) so impoverished that he hath no oblation to offer to the tempte, will yet have a god, and therefore he chooseth a tree (that) will not rot ; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image (that) shall not be moved; he thinks a wooden god better than none. Have ye not known ? even you, idolatrous Gentiles ? have ye not heard ? hath it not been told you from the beginning ? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? have you nol learned by observation, by reflection, by tradition from the earliest ages, that the great God

Jehovah is the creator, and governor of the world, and of such in. 22 finite perfections, as not to be represented by any image ? (It is]

he that sitteth upon the circle, or globe, of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof (are) as grasshoppers, the most inconsiderable insects : that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, or canopy, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in, as easily as a man

can open a curtain of a tent in the morning, and close it at night : 23 That bringeth the princes to nothing ; he maketh the judges of

the earth as vanity ; can easily confound, depose, and destroy the 24 greatest princes. Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall

not be sown : yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth : and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble : a beautiful grada, tion; they shall have no power ; or, if they possess a little, yet

they shall have no lasting root; or, if they should continue for a 25 while, yet he will blow upon them, and destroy them. To whom

then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal ? saith the Holy

One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these

[things,) that bringeth out their host by number : he calleth them all by names, he is acquainted wi!h them, and commands them, as a general does his army, by the greatness of his might, for that she is) strong in power ; not one faileth ; not one of

them shall wear oul, or need repairing, or fail to answer his pur, 27 poses. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, in thy

captivity, saying, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judga

ment is passed over from my God? my affairs are perplexed, 28 and sunk, so that God cannot help me. Hast thou not known

better than any other people ? hast thou not heard, (that) the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary! he doth not, by length of time grow inactive, or negligent; though he delays, he neither wants ability nor power ; [there is] no searching of his understanding ;

29 no finding out the reasons of his dispensations. He giveth power

to the faint ; and to (them that have) no might he increaseth

strength; he gives abundance of strength, therefore can give it 10 80 you in your affliction, though you are brought ever so low. Even

the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall

uiterly fall; those of the best natural abilities, and who are most 81 confident in themselves : But they that wait upon the LORD, in

the way of faith, diligence, and prayer, shall renew (their) strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles ; they shall run, and not be weary ; [and] they shall walk, and not faint; they shall grow stronger and stronger, surmount all difficulties, and obtain the blessings which they desire.

REFLECTIONS.

t. I T is good to think of the difference between the glory and

I power of man, and that of God. All the glory of man is soon blasted, his power weak, his wisdom soon confounded, his beauty fading, and his promises fail ; but JEHOVAH is the all wise and almighty God, faithful and true, and his word stands for ever. Let us imprint these thoughts upon our minds, that we may not be fond of the fading glories of this world ourselves, nor envy or admire them in others; but make God our portion, and his word our treas. ure ; it will be a source of everlasting security and joy,

2. With whát veneration ought we to think and speak of this great and glorious Being! We have here some of the sublimest de. scriptions of the Deity in the whole Bible. When we read or think of them, they should fill us with awful admiration of his supreme majesty ; should engage us to worship him with the utmost reverence, since we are nothing, yea, less than nothing, in his sight; and to admire his condescension in giving his Son to be our saviour; the purposes of whose appearance are so important, and whose lenderness is so great.

3. It is frequently the case that those who can spare nothing for the service of God, can spare much for the service of their lusts. Those are remarkable words in v. 20. He who is so poor that he cannot afford a sacrifice for God's temple, can spare money to purchase an idol, of rich materials, and exquisite workmanship ; and the rich will spare no cost upon their gods. There are many idola. ters of this kind among us, who make their money, their pleasures, and their bellies, their gods. They care not what pains they take, or what expense they are at, in the worship of these deities, but are never at a loss for objections against charitable donations, vor backward to plead poverty, when any thing is wanted for the horse or service of God. These will justly be condemned by the zeal and generosity of idolaters ; and the account of their expenses will make a detestable figure, when God comes to reckon with them at the great day.

4. How firmly should we trust the promises of God, and how sheerfully should we wait upon him ! In times of affliciion we are

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