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too apt to say, as v. 27. My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God. We indulge many foolish fears, and often make ourselves uneasy, which would be prevented by considering who God is, and what he hath promised. We should learn to trust in him, and not in our own or in others' wisdom and strength. Let young men remember, that without divine help they will faint and be weary in their christian course; therefore wait upon God, and go forth in his strength: and let us all consider, that the more faithfully we employ what strength he gives us in his service, the more shall we find it increase. The righteous shall hold on his way, and they that are upright in heart shall war stronger and stronger.
In this and some of the following chapters, God makes a solemn chal
lenge to the worshippers of idols, to show such wisdom, power, and goodness in their gods as he possessed, in order to convince the Israelites of the folly of idolatry, and encourage their hope of deliverance from their captivity from him alone.
1 K EEP silence before me, () islands ; and let the people
I renew (their) strength, that is, muster up all their arguments : let them come near ; then let them speak : let us come 2 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. 3 He pursued them, [and] passed safely ; [even] by the way (that)
he had not gone with his feet; he shall pursue his enemies 4 through strange, unknown countries. Who hath wrought and
done [il,) calling the generations from the beginning ? I the LORD, the first, and with the last ; I (am) he who order the sev
eral successions of princes, and the seasons of bringing about their 5 designs. The isles saw [it,) and feared ; they were astonished
at Cyrus's rising glory and victories ; the ends of the earth were
afraid, drew near, and came ; they joined in alliance to check his 6 growing greatness. They helped every one his neighbour; and 7 (every one] said to his brother, Be of good courage. So the
carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, (and) he that smootheth . [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 ; they sought help of their gods, and made 8 new ones to pray 10. But thou, Israel, (art] my servant, Jacob
whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend ; be not
• This is generally understood of Abraham ; but it seems rather to refer to Cyrue, who is snid, in prophatic language, to be raised up, that is, he should certainly be sa: he is called Bizhtcous, because he was to execute Cou's righteousness in the destruction of Laylon.
9 afraid of them, for I will defend thee. (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 ; I will do it, and not cast
thee off, as thou hast reason to expect, for thy transgressions. 10 Fear thou not ; for I (am) with thee : be not dismayed ; 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 righteousIl ness ; by my power and faithfulne88. 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. 12 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 ; they shall be brought to 13 utter destruction. For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right
hand, saying unto thee, Fear not ; I will help thee ; I will guide 14 and strengthen thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, [and] ye
men of Israel, though weak, despicable, and trampled upon ; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, I who have
delivered, and am still faithful, even the Holy One of Israel. 15 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 ; that is, the greater and 16 lesser kingdoms that opposë thee. 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 17 the Holy One of Israel. (When) the poor and needy seek
water, and (there is) none, (and) their tongue faileth for thirst,
I the LORD will hear them, [I] the God of Israel will not for18 sake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in
the midst of the vallies : I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water ; I will supply the capi
tives in their return from Babylon : an allusion to what was done 19 for the Israelites in the wilderness. 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 ; I will make the face of nature beautiful ; there
shall be trees both to shelter and refresh them ; intimating that 20 there should be a glorious alteration in their circumstances. That
they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that they may help one another 10 understand the divine dispensations, and that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the
Holy One of Israel hath created it ; that God alene hath done ir, 21 and no other. Produce your cause, saith the LORD ; bring forth
yout strong [reasons,] saith the King of Jacob ; challenging 22 idolaters and their gods to declare and do what he had done. 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, and know the latter end of them ; or declare us things for to come ; let them foretell future events, and inform un Vol. V.
what prophecies they have delivered that have been accomplished. 23 Show 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, that we may be struck 24 with astonishment at such skill, and be led 10 worship you. Be
hold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought : an abomina
tion [is he that) chooseth you ; that is, he that worshippeth you. 25 I have raised up (one) from the north, and he shall come :
from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name, or pro
claim my name :* and he shall come upon princes as [upon] 26 mortar, and as the potter treadeth clay. Who hath declared
from the beginning, as I do, two hundred years before the event, that Cyrus shall conquer some nations and deliver others, that we may know ? and beforetime, that we may say, (He is) righteous, in declaring truth and fulfilling his promises, and thus hath supported his claim to divinity: yea, [there is) none that show
eth, yea, (there is) none that declareth, yea, (there is) none that 27 heareth your words. The first (shall say] to Zion, Behold, be
hold them; I am the first who have said unto Zion, Behold thy deliverers, in Cyrus and his army: and I will give to Jerusalem one
that bringeth good tidings, which none of their gods can give. 28 For I beheld, and (there was) no man; even among them, and
(there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could 29 answer a word. Behold, they [are) all vanity ; their works
[are) nothing : their molten images (are) wind and confusion ; they are ignorant and impotent gods, that can neither do any thing, nor foretell what shall be done.
1. TTTE see that the cause of God and religion will bear a fair
VV trial, and need not fear it. This chapter is a challenge to idolaters to produce proofs of the divinity of the gods they worshipped, or disprove that of JEHOVAH. The servants of God may give the same challenge to the enemies of revelation, either to show it to be false, or produce any other religion of equal evidence and usefulness ; and good men may challenge the workers of iniquity to produce their strongest reasons in favour of vice, assured that they will carry their own confutation with them. Let us never be
afraid to have our religious principles and practices fairly examined; : for if they are true and right, they will gain honour by the trial.
Let us be ready to give to every one that asketh, a reason of the hope that is in us, with meekness and fear.
2. Let us learn to stir up one another to oppose prevailing vices, and to engage the favour of God. We see how the nations joined to oppose the growing reputation and success of Cyrus, and encouraged one another to make new gods to take their part ; and shall we
Cyrus by his father was fi om Persia, which lay east of Babylon, and from Media by his mother, which lay north.
not, with equal zeal, oppose the kingdom of Satan, and the progress of his arts of mischief and destruction ? Shall we not encourage each other to act vigorously for the defence and honour of God and religion, and stir up one another to pray that God would support and advance his own cause ? Let us learn wisdom from these idola. ters; appear on the Lord's side, and strengthen one another's hands in God,
3. Amidst all the difficulties and troubles of life, let us take encouragement from God's promises ; especially that in v. 10, Fear thou not, for I am with thee ; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee. We assuredly know, that it has afforded support and comfort to many souls, in the most afflicted circumstances, and even in dying moments. What beautiful and tender language is it! the language of an indulgent parent teaching a little child to go. Whoever forsakes us, God will be with us; whatever difficulties surround us, he will strengthen us; whatever enemies attack us, he will help us ; when faint, trembling, and ready to sink, he will uphold us with the right hand of his righteousness. Though we are weak as worms, and, like them, despised, yet our Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, will help us. Let us wait on the Lord then, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen our hearts.
4. Let us learn the vanity of idols, and keep ourselves from idolatry. See what ignorant, impotent things all gods are, but JEHOVAI. Let us reverence him who revealeth secrets, foretelleth things to come, does good and permits evil, and gives us in his works, prove idence, and word, a thousand proofs that he is the true God, and the everlasting King. Let us therefore, dearly beloved, flee from idolatry ; worship the Lord our God with a veneration and affection suited to his greatness, power, and knowledge ; and make him our hope and our confidence ; for he is the rewarder of all them that diligently seek him.
This chapter refers to the appearance of Christ, the publication of his
gospel, and his judgment brought upon the Jews for their unbelief, The prophet makes a natural transition from the deliverance of the Jews oui of captivity, to the greater deliverance by the Messiah, by which all their idols should be destroyed ; and he here seems to drop the veil, and bring the Messiah into full view, without type or allegory. St. Matthew expressly tells us, chap, xii. 18-21. that the beginning of this chapter was fulfilled in Christ : they are the words of the Father speaking to him.
I DEHOLD my servant, whom I uphold, protect, and make
D my peculiar care : mine elect, (in whom] my soul delight. eth ; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judga ment to the gentiles ; he shall make known to them my will and 2 law, which hitherto had been appropriated to the Jews. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street, as vainglorious and contentious persons do ; he shall not come in a
pompous lumultuous manner, but instruct others and vindicate 3 himself with meekness. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench ; a proverbial expression for a gentle temper and conduct : more is implied than expressed ; he will bear with, encourage, and help the weakest : he shall bring
forth judgment unto truth ; he shall make truth and righteousness 4 victorious. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set
judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law; he and his apostles shall go on resolutely and cheerfully, till his religion shall be established, and the gentiles shall receive it as heartily as if they
had waited for it. 5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and
stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it ; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it,
and spirit to them that walk therein, and who therefore can cer6 tainly fulfil all his promises : I the LORD have called thee in
righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, that is, for the mediator of my covenant to the people, and for a light of the gentiles ; to en
lighten their minds, sanctify their hearts, and lead them to cverlast. 7 ing life ; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners
from the prison, [and] them that sit in darkness out of the 8 prison house ; to deliver the captives of sin and satan. I (am)
the LORD : that [is] my name : and my glory will I not give
to another, neither my praise to graven images; I will not suffer 9 idolatry any longer 10 firevail, but abolish it by the gospel. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare ; the former prophecies are fulfilled, and therefore these shall be so: before they spring forth I tell you of them, that they may be believed and expected. Then follows a poetical address 10 all the inhabitants of the world, the most rude and barbarous not
excepted, to rejoice, and praise God for the gospel. 10 Sing unto the LORD a new song, [and] his praise from the
end of the eartlı, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is there. ! | in ; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness
and the cities thereof lift up their voice,) the villages (that)
Kedar doth inhabit : let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let 12 them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give
glory unto the LORD, and declare his praise in the islands. 13 The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up
jealousy like a man of war ; he was silent while idolatry prevail. ed in the world, and winked at those times of ignorance ; but notu
he shall cry, yea, roar like a lion, or as soldiers do when beginning 14 a battle ; and he shall entirely prevail against his enemies. I
have loxg time holden my peace ; I have been still, [and] refrained myself : (now] will I cry like a travailing woman ; I