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prophet writes. Thus *' sacrificing in gardens, burning incense on altars made of brick," practices forbidden by a positive precept to the Israelites; and to which, in the days of their early history, they ever discovered a propensity, serve to symbolize those unauthorized superstitions of the Scribes and Pharisees, by which they, though not absolutely idolaters, had made the word of God of no effect. Or rather, perhaps, the spirit of the passage 'is, these supercilious Pharisees that trust in themselves, that they are righteous, and despise others, are, in my sight, as if they had committed all these prohibited abominations, instead of having to boast the scrupulous observance of every minutia of their law. "The dwelling in sepulchres," and " broth of abominable things," may be referred to the practices of necromancy and magic, to which persons renouncing the true knowledge of God have, in all nations and ages, been remarkably prone.
The judgment of this apostate people is next announced : —
6. Lo, ibis is written before me,
"That I should not keep silence, but requite;
• But that I should requite their iniquities into their bosom,
And the iniquities of their fathers together:"
7. Who burnt incense on the hills,
And dishonoured me on the mountains;
And I will measure their works,
These verses predict the punishment of this people as a nation and political society. Israel is represented—under those judgments that have brought them, into their present situation—as suffering, not only for their own sins, but also for the sins of their idolatrous fathers. To the same effect our Lord speaks of all the blood of the martyrs, from Abel to Zacharias, being " required of that generation." The nation, notwithstanding, as a nation, is not destroyed.
8. Thus hath Jehovah said:
As he that would obtain the wine from the grape,
Thus will I act in regard of my servants,
9. But I will bring forth a seed from Jacob,
And my chosen shall inherit it,
10. And the Sharon shall be a fold for the flock,
And the valley of Achor a resting place for the herd,
Here we are plainly told, that the Israel which we now behold is spared, for the sake of a seed to be hereafter born; and that in the age to come, a race of Israelites is again to seek and find the Lord, and to be re-established in their own land.
Some uncertainty may remain, whether the following be not spoken respecting the apostate part of the natural Israel, and their destruction by the Romans. But, upon the whole, I conceive it is this Roman world itself, who, after the rejection of Israel, received the kingdom of God, and for a short period brought forth its fruits; but, at length, ^forgot the hope of Israel, and lapsed into idolatry, and served a Troop and Multitude qf lords and mediators. They are to be numbered to the sword; the Redeemer will slay them at the time of his appearing, and take his ancient people again in hai.'d.
11. But you who have forsaken Jehovah,
Who set forth a table for that troop,
12. You will I number to the sword,
And ye shall bow down to the slaughter.
Because I called, and ye answered not;
And ye have done evil in mine eyes,
And have chosen that in which I delight not.
13. Therefore, thus hath the Lord Jehovah said;
l.o, my servants shall eat, but ye shall hunger;
14. Lo, my servants shall sing for joy of heart,
15. And you shall leave your name for an execration to my
And the Lord Jehovah will slay thee,
16. He that blesseth himself on the earth,
And he that sweareth on the earth,
Leaving their name an execration, is illustrated by the close of the prophecy of Isaiah. God's calling his people by another name, has been thought to designate the adoption of the Gentile churches. But if we reflect — the name of Jacob, or of Israel, was never laid aside— they were the Israel of God. "God of truth," in this connexion, will signify God who has so wonderfully fulfilled his long expected promises, his long threatened judgments.
Again, we are told, when Jerusalem has endured her appointed punishment, "has received at the Lord's hand an equivalent recompense for all her sins," and vengeance has been poured forth on the adversary, there is then to be an entirely new and different dispensation of the kingdom; and a new disposal of the creatures of this lower earth in subserviency thereto. This, in the accustomed language of prophecy, is the creation of a new heaven and a new earth.
When the former provocations are forgotten.
17. Then, behold, I create
New heavens and a new earth:
And the former things shall not be remembered,
18. But rejoice ye and be glad,
In the age to come which I create.'
For lo, I create Jerusalem a joy,
19. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
And there shall no more be heard therein,
20. There shall be no more the short-lived infant,
Or an aged man that shall not complete his days.
1 So Bishop Lowth.
For a child " should he be thought" who died at a hundred
years old, And a sinner, who at an hundred years were cursed " with
21. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; And they plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof.
22. They shall not build, and another inhabit;
For as the days of a tree are the days of my people,
My chosen shall not labour in vain,
23. Neither shall they bring forth for nought.
For they are a seed blessed of Jehovah,
24. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will
answer; And while they are yet speaking, I will grant their petition.'
25. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, And the lion shall eat straw like the ox, And dust shall be the serpent's food.
They shall not hurt or destroy,
In all my holy mountain, hath Jehovah said.
In the new dispensation,—perhaps we may use the apostle's expression, "In the world to come of which we speak"—we find it here clearly stated, that besides the risen saints of the new Jerusalem, there will be a world of living men in the flesh, " put in subjection,"—to anticipate the apostle's exposition of prophecy,—not to angels, but to glorified men, with the Redeemer at their head.
In this new world of living men are a future race of Israelites, to take the lead, and to be the instruments of
1 So Bishop Stock translates * lrow has, evidently, this sense
these lines. here.