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'Return for the sake of thy servants, The tribes of thine inheritance.
18. For a short time have they possessed thy holy mountain ;,' Our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.
19. We have been perpetually as those whom thou rulest not, Upon whom thy name was not called.
1. Oh, that thou wouldst rend the heavens and descend, That at thy presence the mountains might melt away:
2. As wheu the fire is kindled in the wasting stubble,
To make known thy name to thine adversaries,
This passage is generally considered as a supplication; but the original seems to imply also an expression of disappointed hope. It had been the burden of many ancient prophecies, that there should be a visible appearance of the Elohim of Israel, the powerful effects of which all nature should feel, for he would be revealed in flaming fire, and would accomplish the final deliverance of his people.
But though these predictions had never yet been realized, the confession is made to say a mighty operation had been carried on in the midst of Israel by the Holy Ghost, sent down from heaven. Israel, howeyer, knew not the season of their visitation, nor could distinguish the sign of the times: —
3. Whilst thou wast working wonderful things, we looked not, . ; From the beginning men heard not, nor inclined the ear.1
'The Septuagint, which, is to hear, to attend or listen in orde
followed by Lowth. to hear or distinguish what is ob
"• Iik seemsi to mean less than scurely or indistinctly uttered, or The eye saw not, except by thee, O Elohim,
What he hath prepared for him that waited for him.
4. Thou tneetest him with joy,
That he should accomplish righteousness,
Here is no very obscure allusion to the mystery of the Gospel, in its dispensation of heavenly teaching, righteousness, peace, and joy,- with thanksgiving. The wonders of this dispensation in the midst of Israel passed, however, unheeded and unknown. As our Lord had said of the Spirit of Truth, who was to be the Comforter of his people, their Teacher, and Earnest of everlasting joys, " Him the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth; but ye know him, for he shall be with you, and shall be in you." The subjects of this divine teaching were enlightened with the light of life, but " the rest were blinded." It is to this effect that the apostle has quoted the passage before us.*
what we are waiting to hear. attention and observation, to see
Hence in the Arabic we have ^j. when a person or thing expected
perpendit, aniroinn applicavit. I will appear. See Parkhurst. This
make no doubt St. Paul intended is acknowledged to be a very dif
to give the sense of this word ficult passage, perhaps injured by
when he adds, " Neither hath it transcribers. See Bishop Lowth.
entered into the heart of man to "However, all seems tolerably
conceive," which, in the Hebrew plain,and agreeing in sense with the
phraseology, would mean, "Nei- quotation of St. Paul, ifwecon
ilu-r hath man fixed his attention sider the second ibn n"in 7390 rtri
on it to consider it." The word to have been repeated by mistake
is, in this place, parallel to mp, of the scribes, as most of the tame
which signifies the stretching forth sort of repetitions in the sacred
of the head and neck with earnest volume are."
• 1 Cor. ii.
Having spoken of the Gospel revelation as "a wisdom which none of the princes of this world knew," he adds, "But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things that God hath prepared for them that love him; but God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit."
A remnant only on this occasion was enlightened by the Spirit of God: the rest, in their ignorance and judicial blindness, refused to submit to the righteousness of God, and went about to establish their own righteousness. This was the showy garment covering a polluted body, of which the prophecy proceeds to speak. Their frailness in prospect of a righteous judgment, having rejected a Saviour's righteousness, is compared to the parched leaf becoming the sport of the storm; —
Lo, thou wast angry, for we had erred,
6. And we are all as a polluted thing,
And all our righteousness as an ornamented garment:
And we all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, bear us away:
7. And there i$ no one that calleth on thy name, That stirreth up himself to lay hold on thee.
For thou hast hidden thy face from us,
And hast delivered us up into the power of our iniquities.
But Zion has a promise, that one day " all her children shall be taught of God." In prospect of this, the confession and formulary of humiliation which follows, is prepared: —
1 "In them;" in tby ways; revealedst to us. in lh« paths of religion which thou
8. But now, O Jehovah, thou art our father; We are the clay, and thou art the potter, And we are all the work of thine hands.
9. Be not wrath, O Jehovah, to the utmost; And do not remember iniquity for ever.
Behold, look on us, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.
10. Thy holy cities are a wilderness,
11. Our holy and our beautiful house,
Yea, all our desirable things have been laid waste;
12. At these things wilt thou refrain thyself, O Jehovah? Wilt thou be silent, and afflict us more?
The prophetic import of all this is, that thus shall Israel, at some future period, be influenced to pray; and the object embraced by the prayer of the petition shall not fail to come to pass.
The opening of the sixty-fifth chapter places us also at the era of the Gospel proclamation, and from that momentous crisis again traces the history of redemption to its utmost consummation: —
J. I Am found by those who asked not for me,
I have said, "Behold me, behold me,"
We are guided by St. Paul* to apply this to the cadi of the Gentile believers under the Gospel dispensation; and the next verse to God's rejected offers of mercy by the unbelieving Jews: —
2. All the day long have I stretched out my hands,
Of course what follows belongs to them: —
3. Who walk in a way that is not good,
A people that provoke me to the face,
4. Who dwell in sepulchres,
Who eat the flesh of swine,
And the broth of unclean meats in their vessels.
5. Who say, keep to thyself,
Come not near me, for I am holier than thou.
These are a smoke in my nostrils,
It is trne, indeed, the exact practices of false worship here attributed to the apostates, were not, generally, such as the Jews of the first advent were addicted to; but we have before had occasion to remark, that the future departures of the professing church from the doctrines and appointed ordinances of revelation, are spoken of in allusion to those idolatrous and superstitious practices, which distinguished the false worship of the times in which the
• Rbm. x. so, si.