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blessing to the whole world. Jerusalem, as we have repeatedly s,ien, becomes the joy of the whole earth. The children of the resurrection, the "holy myriads," whom the " Lord brings with him," we know to be an "immortal" and " incorruptible" race, who " die no more;" who "neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God." In the prediction, however, before us, though it evidently relates to the period when Christ and his "holy ones" are come, we have a picture of longevity indeed, and of a great extension of strength, as well as prosperity; but, it should seem, not a deathless state; — or, if we are to say, " there shall be no more death," " corruption hath not put on incorruption, nor is mortality swallowed up of life :" — and these inhabitants of this Jerusalem, to be rebuilt in the new world, are plainly said to have an "offspring." So that "the new Jerusalem, which is above," "the mother of all" true believers, who have the testimony of Jesus, the city whose foundations are of divine workmanship, inhabited by the souls of just men made perfect, where Abraham, and all who lie in Abraham's bosom, are; and which city is one day to " come down from God out of heaven" — this city is carefully to be distinguished from that city built for the favourite nation in the new earth, and beneath the new heavens.
The last chapter of our prophet, as Bishop Lowth remarks, is a continuation of the same subject as the former.
The oracle seems to expostulate with a people zealously engaged in building a magnificent temple; but inclined to substitute, through their unworthy conception of their God, a superstitious show, and carnal services, instead of the spiritual communion of the humble soul with God.
1. Thus hath Jehovah said:
The heavens are my throne,
And the earth the stool of my feet;
Where is the house ye would build for me,
2. Even all these my hand hath made,
'And all these are mine, hath Jehovah said:
And on this will I look — on the humble man,
This reproof well applies to the character of that generation which possessed the holy city, when Jesus of Nazareth appeared among them: and there is some reason to think, from what we have met with before,* that the same cast of religious character will distinguish, in a great measure, the Israelitish nation till near the last.
3. "He"' that elayeth an ox, killeth a man;
That maketh an oblation, 'poureth out' the blood of swine;
We may understand this passage, either as marking the character of these religious devotees, who, at the
• Psalm 1.
same time that they showed such extreme zeal for the outward ceremonies of their religion, were guilty of the most abominable crimes, and of deeds the most contrary to their professed character. Such were the Scribes and Pharisees of the first advent, '' who devoured widows' houses, and for a pretence made long prayers." But, on the whole, I incline to Bishop Stock's interpretation, "My proper seat is the heart of my worshippers, saith God. Whoso approacheth me without due preparation of mind, will no more gain my favour by the most punctual observance of outward rites, than if he had insulted me by offerings directly contrary to what I enjoined. He that slayeth an ox to mine honour, shall be as far from acceptance with me, as he that is an homicide, &c. This is not to make all crimes equal, as Bishop Lowth contends; for there may be diversities of punishment among wilful transgressors, though all are alike excluded from the divine favour." A most necessary and important distinction.
The passage thus interpreted becomes parallel to chapter the first, verse the eleventh, and the four following. This is strictly applicable to the insulting offer of the ritual service by the Jews, as the prop of their selfrighteousness; while they despised that warning voice, that calls to evangelical repentance; and to that poverty of spirit, that meekness of the regenerated heart, which, "in the law of the spirit of life," can alone place men in a situation to receive by grace through faith a knowledge of their interest in a Saviour, and in his righteousness.
As these men have chosen their own ways,
And their soul hath delighted in their abominations;
4. So will I choose the objects of their apprehensions,l
Because I called, and no one answered;
And they have done that which is evil in my sight,
This began to be realized, when the Messiah "came to his own, and his own received him not." What follows will well apply to those who "did receive him," and were, for confessing his name, put out of the synagogue, and their names cast out as evil: —
5. Hear the word of Jehovah,
Say to your brethren that hated you,
"Jehovah will be glorified,"
We shall find this perfectly consonant with the language held to the believers of the Gospel, when first proclaimed — that they were to wait for the re-appearance of the Saviour. And though all that generation died, " not having received the promise," and many generations after them have slept with their fathers; yet the day will show, that they were not disappointed in their hope.
The sacred oracle, by a very sudden transition, passes
1 " (Their suppositions) the tion, and the Romans came at>
thoughts that come up into their cordingly; they said they had no
hearts, I will realize. Thus the king but Cassar, and God aban
unbelieving Jews supposed the Ro- doned them to Csesar." — Park
inans would come and take away Hurst.—Bv. Stock. their place (their temple) and na
to the era of the second advent, when the hopes of all the waiting family, in heaven and in earth, shall be realized— unless, indeed, all that we have been reading is to be considered as having had only its inceptive fulfilment in the state of Israel at the first advent; and that some similar circumstances in the future condition of this people at the eve of the second coming of Christ, is to be considered as ultimately in the view of the prophecy.
6. A voice of confident joy' from the city! a voice from the
temple! The voice of Jehovah, rendering recompense to his enemies!
We are not surprised to find a city and a temple, at that era to which the prophetic vision has transported us; since we have learned from the parallel Scriptures, that at the time of the Saviour's re-appearance there will'be a city and a temple, and an enemy in the land closely besieging them—an enemy that falls by an immediate interposition of divine power. Here, therefore, the reference is clear. But it is certainly inadmissible to interpret this of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies. That was no appearance of the Messiah, and could not in Scriptural language be called so; that event, clearly, did not put the Jews to shame for their conduct to their poorer brethren. Those that perished, perished in the madness of their rage against God and his Christ; those that survived retained all their prejudices and antipathies. Much less was Jerusalem's destruction an occasion of joy to the faithful people of God among the natural Jews.
1 " A voice of confidence."— happy festivity, in the season of Bp. Stock. Properly the sound their secure prosperity, of a multitude, raising the shout of