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When he walketh in darkness,
Let him trust on the name of Jehovah,
Such is the standing direction to all believers in the rejected Saviour. Their way may be dark, and the dispensations of providence -which affect them intricate, but let them hold fast their confidence steadfastly to the end: their God will accomplish all things for them.
The conclusion of the chapter, in this connexion, supplies a very forcible representation of the perverted wisdom of man; such as was that of the Scribes and Pharisees; and such as is that of later corrupters of the truth, who, in the night of human ignorance, refuse to submit to divine direction, but make use of the artificial lights of false doctrine to direct their steps.
11. Lo, all ye that kindle a fire,
Go by the light of your fire,
And by the torches ye have lighted:
This hath been assigned you by my hand,
1 "Scheidius, in Observ. Ety- spec. vestem, et hinc sulstrinxit,
Itaol. Col. Radd. ^jlj £ et jj) cinxit-"—Siv. Lex. mpn, "ted*
banc significationum seriera consti- a«kntes." Compare >Oj]) faces. tuit, torsit, et intorquendo nexuit,
Remarks on the Fifty-first Chapter.
1. Hearken unto me, ye that follow after righteousness, Ye that seek Jehovah.
"the seed which is of the circumcision" is evidently addressed in this place, however general may be the interpretation which is affixed to the close of the former chapter; and the address is made in reference to the final deliverance of their nation: for we shall find ourselves in the sequel at an era when Jerusalem is never more to drink again of the cup of trembling. The phrase, '* follow after righteousness," I conceive, in this connexion, to mean, as usual, waiting and looking for this final deliverance, the vindication of Israel pledged by the righteous word of Jehovah: and this seems to imply, that in these last ages, previously to the accomplishment of this deliverance, there will be. a body of awakened Israelites, perhaps among them who occupy Jerusalem before the general i restoration, waiting for redemption and for the consolation of Israel. These are taught to see, in the case and situation of Abraham and Sarah, a type and emblem of the future prosperity of Zion: —
Look unto the rock whence ye were hewn,
And to the hole of the pit whence ye were digged.
2. Look unto Abraham, your father, And unto Sarah that bare you:'
1 " Est sententia Kimchii et promissa hie piis factsi pertinere
Abarbenelis sermonem hunc verti ad liberationem ex hoc exilio,"
ad Judaees exilii Romani, in quo &c. — Vitrihca. in presenti tcmpore harcnt; ct
For I called him an only one,
And blessed him, and multiplied him.
3. So hath Jehovah pitied Zion,
He hath pitied all her waste places.
And he will make her wilderness like Eden,
Joy and gladness shall be found therein,
On the occasion 'here referred to, a single couple, after a long protraction of their hopes, were multiplied, under the blessing of God, into a great nation; and this, in some respects, is to stand as a type of the final deliverantie of Zion and of her desolated country. This is certainly calculated to impress the mind, that from some very small, and (humanly speaking) unpromising beginnings, will this mighty deliverance arise, that rescues, not only the Jews and their country from their present depression, but which fills the world with the glory of the Lord. Let no one then despise the day of small things, in what we see before our eyes in this eventful era, the formation of a society that has singled out the dispersed Israel as objects of its peculiar charity; and by the blessing of God has already restored some natural branches to their own olive tree. Oh! may we not anticipate?" Thou wilt arise and have mercy upon Zion, for the time to favour her is come; yea, the set time is come: for why— thy servants think upon her stones, and it pitieth them to see her in the dust."
The next verses are addressed to the nations in prospect of this great event: —
4. Attend unto me, my people,
For a direction shall go forth from me,
And I will cause my judgment to shine for a light to the
5. My righteous vengeance is near, my salvation is gone forth, And mine arms shall judge the nations.
Let the distant coasts expect me,
"My people," addressed as distinct from Zion, and addressed also as "the nations," naturally carries our thoughts to those believing people, or peoples, that shall be found faithful at the last. That there will be such nations, and that a particular signal will be given them, as to the part which they are to take in these wonderful scenes, has been intimated before; and I have no doubt 'the law,' or " direction," or " instruction," "going forth," and the " judgment" which is to " blaze" or " glitter" like a beacon, refers to us, the remnant of the nations. Nor do I in the least doubt, that " righteousness" and "salvation" in this connexion signify again the righteous vindication and triumphant deliverance, Bo emphatically promised in the controversy of Zion, and which terminates in universal redemption.
6. Lift up your eyes unto the heavens,
But my salvation shall be for ever,
And my vindication shall not be changed.
The people of God, severely, perhaps, put to the trial
in these times, are to encourage themselves by reflecting upon the everlasting benefits that await them, when this poor world, and all its inhabitants, whom now, it may be, they see in arms around them, are extinct in darkness. The symbolical heavens and earth, and at last, as it should seem, the natural heavens and earth themselves, are to be dissolved; but the salvation that awaits his people shall establish them in " a kingdom that cannot be moved."
It seems from what follows, that the people "who know the Lord," atid who are expecting the speedy appearance of the promised righteous vengeance and vindication, whose attention has been called to the instruction then afforded — whether this instruction be the word of prophecy better understood, or whatever else it is, that shall show to God's waiting people "the signs of the times." ' It appears from what follows, that they will in those days be particularly exposed to the scorn and ridicule of an unbelieving world: —'
7. Hearken unto mo, ye that know righteousness;
That is, yd who know by prophecy concerning my righteous vengeance, and whose attention has been fixed upon my revealed word.
Fear ye not the reproach of man,
Neither be ye afraid of their reviling*. .1."
8. For the moth shall consume them like a garment,
But my vindication shall be for ever, ''''
The apostrophe to the arm of Jehovah which follows, and the reference to the wonders wrought at the exodus from Egypt, compared with what has already been re