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practices and gross superstitions of the times— from the cruel butchery of infants, to the weak superstition of adoring smooth stones—to represent the future abominations of apostate and idolatrous Christians, who would very closely, in a general point of view, copy the practices of their heathen ancestors.
The highly fraught picture of the abandoned adulteress, which follows in this connexion, cannot be mistaken. It is a standing emblem of an apostate church. The king, in the ninth verse, is, no doubt, the symbol of the sovereign authority in the Christian kingdoms of the earth. But subsequent oracles must be consulted, to enable us to decipher more clearly the " Mystery BaBylon, the " GREAT WHORE," the " MOTHER OF HARLOTS," "THAT COMMITTETH FORNICATION WITH THE KINGS OF THE EARTH."
Is it in these things I could acquiesce?'
7. Upon a high and lofty hill hast thou placed thy bed, Thither hast thou ascended to commit whoredom.
8. Behind the door also, and on the door post, * Hast thou placed thy remembrance.
For thou hast departed from me,
And hast gone up and enlarged thy bed.
Thou hast made a covenant with them,
Thou hast loved their bed, thou hast struck hands. *
9. Thou didst go to the king with ointment,
And thou sentest thy messengers afar off,
1 Bishop Stock. * So Bishop Stock, but see
* " Where the household gods Simon on Tv were placed." ,
10. Thou hast wearied thyself by the length of the way,
Thou hast found a recruiting of thy strength,
11. And whom is it that thou hast dreaded,
And hast feared, that thou shouldst forsake me;
That thou shouldst not remember me,
That thou shouldst bestow no thought on me''.
Was it because I was silent and concealed,
12. That thou fearest not me?
I myself will manifest thy righteousness, *
13. And thy deeds, but they will not avail thee.
When thou crieth, let thy assembled bands deliver thee:
This part of the sacred oracle seems to impress us with the idea that the fear of man — that fear which ariseth from want of trust in God, and from a dread of losing the things of earth, is the principle that leads many into. this apostacy. Some expositors, by "assembled bands," or " companies," or "companions," understand "false gods." But as we know from other oracles, that the last efforts of apostate Roman Christians are exerted to assemble combined armies, which fall in conflict with the Almighty, it is probable that these are meant.
1 "With the length of tby jour- Therefore thou wast not
neys, thou didst weary thy- troubled."—Bp. Stock. self;
Thou saidst not, It is despe- '" Tby righteousness, thy hy
rate_ pocritical righteousness."—Hoas
A livelihood by tby daily
With the awful end of the " fearful and unbelieving" apostate, is next contrasted the happy lot of an humble and afflicted people, who trust in the Lord their God : —
But he that truslcth in me shall inherit the land,
14. Then will I say, Cast up, Cast up, prepare the way,
We are brought again, then, to the same point that almost every series of prophecy has brought us to before: on the one hand, you have the assembled armies of the last foe from " Chittim," perishing at the presence of the God of Israel; on the other hand, you have His people led by a miraculous hand to go to inherit " His land," now glorified and sanctified by his presence. The description of the favoured people then follows, and wherever such are found, they will be " blessed with faithful Abraham," and be "heirs together with him," according to the promise: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
15. For thus hath said the High and exalted ' One,'
Fixing his habitation for ever, whose name is the Holy 'One;'
In the high and holy place «ill I dwell,
And with the contrite, and with the lowly spirit:
Reviving the spirit of the lowly,
16. Surely I will not always contend,
For the spirit would fail before me,
I think that these sublime expressions are not to be understood of The Eternal in his absolute deity, but of the great Redeemer, "the Father of the everlasting age," who is to be extolled and highly exalted, and to dwell for ever on the holy hill of Zion; and who is also to exalt " all the meek of the earth," and " cause them to inherit a glorious throne" — " he, with his princes," as a former oracle told us. The chastisement of his afflicted people is accomplished, cut short, as it were, in pity: For the days of the last troubles, for the elect's sake, are to be shortened, or no flesh would be saved. He revives or quickens the spirits of his humbled and depressed people, and they sit with him upon his throne. I have a firm persuasion, that this is the meaning of this celebrated text; though the exposition usually given of it refers it to something else, and is, indeed, so true and sublime a conception, that, I doubt not, many will turn with dissatisfaction from the interpretation that would point out a somewhat different application of the passage.
The object of this merciful revival is evidently represented as a people who had recently smarted severely for their sins, which is, indeed, the usual representation given us of the Israel of the last days : —
17. Because of his iniquity,' for a little while was I wrath;
1 "For Two, I read p»a, pau- sides the purpose."—Bp. Lowth. lulum, a yva, abscidit; as the Sep- Bishop Stock would render,
tuagint read and render it, 8f*xyri. "for his finished," or " greedy ini
The renderingof the Vulgate, which quity." Perhaps, " Iniquity of his
our translators, and, I believe, all lust." others follow, is surely quite be
VOL. I. C C
18. I have seen his ways, and have healed him, and have become
his guide, And T have restored comfort to him and to his mourners.
Who are these mourners over Israel? Are they the faithful remnant among the Gentiles, who bewail the perverseness of God's ancient people, and have anxiously laboured for their conversion? The day will show.
19. I create the fruit of the lips, .peace,
That is, I will so restore and bless Israel, that every tongue shall congratulate him with welcomes of peace, and salutations of joy.
20. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, When it cannot rest,
And its waters cast up mire and dirt:
There is no peace, saith my Elohim, to the wicked.
"No peace," "no full prosperity" or " happinesB," "no fulfilment of the glorious promises foretold;" for such meaning, as I have observed before, the word will bear. And other Scriptures have told us, that the sinners must be cast out of God's earth, before this full enjoyment of peace can be had.
The church, as a body, experiences not that peace which must one day be her portion, in order to fulfil the promises of her Redeemer. This " completion" and " full reward" will not be experienced till all rebellion and wickedness be purged away. Until He come who is "to turn ungodliness from Jacob," there will be no settled peace to the visible church, either of Jews or believing