« AnteriorContinuar »
And let him return to Jehovah, that he may have pity on
8. For your purposes are not my purposes,
9. For high as the heavens are above the earth,
The call of God regenerates the heart; hence the children of God are said to be begotten by the word: "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, all things are become new." The repentant sinner changes his course, and walks in the ways of God; his schemes and purposes are altered. This is true with respect to every individual who is raised up as a spiritual child to Abraham; and it is to be so with all his natural descendants, when the Lord shall take away the stony heart out of their flesh, and has given them a heart of flesh: and in this change there is nothing more remarkable than the surrender, which the convert of divine grace makes of his own wisdom, and of his own thoughts, respecting the ways of God in his dealing with mankind: the things of God, which appeared to him as foolishness before, are now understood, and appear in all their grandeur and beauty. This is especially the case with respect to the doctrines of divine influences, which are evidently alluded to in the following verses: —
10. For as the rain descendeth.
But supplieth moisture to the earth,
11. So is my word that goeth out of my mouth,
But it effecteth that which I willed,
And accomplished! that for which I sent it.
We learn, therefore, from this passage, that " the gift and callings" of God, which, from their general language, may seem on some occasions to be vouchsafed in vain, as to the intention of the Giver, have always a definite and designed object; in regard of which, they neither do nor can fail, but accomplish all the purpose of God's grace. This is true of the work of redemption that is now going on among the Gentiles' churches; they are a people " called according to his purpose." But the context demands that we should apply this language first to Israel. It might be asked, Have not all the favours of God to this people proved fruitless, as the rain that falleth on the barren ungrateful soil? Who hath believed our report? — The word spoken hath not profited them, not being mixed "with faith in them that heard it."
We shall remember the apostle's reflections, when he contemplates this state of things in the Israel of the first advent, and expresses his " heaviness and continual sorrow of heart," while he contemplates so many privileges bestowed on his "kinsmen according to the flesh," apparently without effect. He says, "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect," or "failed," or " foundered in its course," or " fallen to the ground" short of its aim. "For," he assigns his reason, "they are not all Israel that are of Israel." God's design* of mercy to the real Israel have, therefore, never been frustrated, nor rendered inefficient or ineffectual. As then, therefore, "a remnant according to the election of grace" was quickened among the natural seed of Aoraham, and a believing people united to them from the Gentile nations, which was God's special design in sending forth his word at that time; so shall God's declared design. — that when "this fulness of the Gentiles be come in," " all Israel shall be saved," and " the Redeemer come to Zion"—be equally and as completely effected in its appointed season.
The miraculous passage of the desert is again before the prophet: —
12. Surely with joy shall ye go forth, And be conducted in peace.
The mountains and hills
Shall break forth before you into singing,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands:
13. And instead of the thorn shall spring up the pine,
And it shall be to Jehovah for a memorial,
And for a perpetual sign that shall not be cut off.
We may say then, at this present moment, the ignorance and unbelief of the Israelites is an impediment in the way of all those glories which the universal church is looking and waiting for; because it is ascertained from prophecy, that they must first be gathered, and be restored to the God of their fathers, and to their own land. Some assert this to be a most unlikely event. It is enough that the zeal, or ardent affection, of Jehovah Sabaoth shall accomplish this in its season.
The eight first verses of the fifty-sixth chapter should form a section by themselves.
1. Thus hath Jehovah said,
Observe ye judgment, and do righteousness;
2. Blessed is the man that doeth this,
That observeth the Sabbath, and not to profane it;
— The people of God, " whose hearts are directed into the love of God, and patient waiting for Jesus Christ," are to " commit themselves to him in well doing." I think it will appear from the sequel, that the first erection of the Gospel church in the days of the apostles, is principally in view of the Spirit of prophecy. That church was to be composed of a remnant, both of Jews and Gentiles. The terms "man," " son of man," seem to extend the privileges of the kingdom: and the mention of the Sabbath may mot only refer to that ordinance as kept by the Jewish proselyte, but also to the Christian Sabbath about to supersede it. The observance of this institution upon a true principle of faith, as well as the submission to the moral law in general—" in Christ," and in "newness of spirit"—would be the sure proof of discipleship among that.people, who were " turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to ,wait for his Son from heaven, whom he had raised up from the dead :*' and, I think, we may distinguish in this passage a special regard to the Jewish proselytes, who, at the erection of the Gospel church, were prepared by believing the writings of Moses to receive the faith of Jesus Christ,
3. And let not the son of the stranger speak,
And let not the eunuch say,
4. For thus hath Jehovah said of the eunuchs,
And shall choose that in which I delight,
5. That I will give them a place in my house, and within my
An everlasting name will I give them,
6. And the sons of the stranger that cleave to Jehovah,
Every one who observeth the Sabbath, not to profane it,
7. I will even bring them to my holy hill,
And will make them glad in my house of prayer;
For my house shall be called the house of prayer,