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boldly rebuking your Vices I provoke your displeasure, I yalue it not : For God will protect me, and justify me, by bringing all these things to pass which I foretel. Who is there then that will contend with me? Let us appear before tbat Impartial Judge, and I fear not losing my Cause.' Behold God is on my lide, and what Man dare condemn me? None but the wicked will do it, and Lhey I know will soon be gone : Lo they all fhall wax old as does a garment, they shall all be destroy'd.
Ver. 10. Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his fervant, that walketh in darkness, and bath no light ? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and Stay upon his God.] Having from the sth to the end of the 9th Verse, asserted the Authority of his Commission, and vindicated himself from Contempt, he here begins to comfort those who should continue obedient to God. Who is there among you, that in the midst of an Idolatrous Nation, keeps him fted fast to God? who obeys the Voice of his Prophets, tho' in the midst of afflizions? which he means by walking in darkness, and having no light: Let such repofe their confidence in God, and he will deliver them at last.
Ver. 11. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass your selves about with Sparks : walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand, ye shall lie down in forrow.] To understand the meaning of this Verse, it is necessary to observe the An. tithesis which the Prophet makes between the Light of God, and the Light of Men. In the foregoing Verse he promises, that the faithful should be deliver'd from the gloomy State of Captivity into the glorious Light of Liberty, which to them should be like the unconfin'd injoyment of the cheerful Sun, to one who along while had been buried in a close Dungeon. But the wicked kindle a Fire of their own, seek comfort amoog themselves, without having any recourse to God in their distress : But this Fire he tells them should be so far from warming them, or giving them any refreshment, that it should consume them. This ye shall have of my hand, this ye may assure your selves of upon my Word, Ye Shall lie down in forroto, and never be able to recover your Health'; he speaks
of them as if they were to be confin'd to their Beds, by Chapter fome painful Disease under which they should pine away, LI. without any hopes of recovery: And must be underftood of those wicked Fews, who died in Caprivity.
The ARGUMENT of Chapter LI.
tives, bids them not be cast down at the thoughts of their
decreasing Numbers, fince if they were fewer he could reftore i them to their Ancient Grandeur, as be rais'd them at forft :
from a very unpromising beginning to vie with the Stars" for Number. And be assures them as he had promis'd to deliver them, it was not in his Nature to change bis Mind, or be worse than his Word. Then in a lofty Strain he recollects the great performances of God in former Ages; and from thence infers the certainty of that Redemption fo often promis'd: Then He directs himself to Jerusalem, and defcribes. Her as having drunk of the Cup of Gods. Anger, and pramises to take the ungrateful Cup out of her Hands; fill it up with the fame bitter Ingredients, and cause it to be drunk in the same manner.,. and with the same dreadful consequences, by her Oppressors:
CHA P. LI:
Verse li Earken to me, ye that follow after righteousness
that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.] He speaks to those Captives, who remaind faithful to God, in fluctuating hopes of a speedy Deliverance, who considering the Numbers which were every Year carry'd off by natural Deaths, and the barbarous Treatment of their Oppreffors, could not but now and then reflect with Chagrin on their decreasing Tribes, and be apt to fancy it almost impossible to be reftord to their former populousness; he therefore puts them in Mind of their Original, which was far more unpromising than the Condition they were now in.
Ver. 2. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you ; for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.] As if he had said, Fear not because you fee a sensible decrease of your Numbers, consider the Head of your Nation Abraham, out of whose Loins I brought you forth, and made you a People as numerous as the Stars of Heaven, when to outward appearance, and according to the common Course of Nature, there was no probability of his having any Children at all.
Ver. 3. For the Lord fhall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places, and he will make her wilderness like Eden,
And her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness hall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.] Since God was able to raise out of Abraham, old and decrepit as he was, iso populous a Nation, fear not but he can do the same again : Fear not, I say, and be not dejected, For God will certainly comfort Sion, be will comfort all her waste places, by reftoring their inhabitants to them, and building them up as before; he will make her which for many Years has been 'like a barren uncultivated Heath, like a beautiful Paradise, that curious Garden of the Lords own planting; and when the happy Captives are return’d, nothing but loud Acclamations of Joy shall be heard in her Streets. Here, says Sanctius, it is doubtful whether the Prophet speaks of the Earthly 'or Heavenly Jerusalem. St. Thomas understands it of the Earthly. Hugo subscribes the fame Opinion, neither is Pintus at all averse to it. All the rest of Interpreters understand it of the Church; nevertheless I' think it not improbable that the Prophet may mean Ferufalem, restor'd to her Splendor after the Babylonian Captivity. Thus he, but I see no reason why he might not be very sure, that the Prophet cannot be understood otherwise, since the Here venly Jerusalem cannot with any propriety be said to have ber waste places comforted.
Ver. 4. Hearken unto me, my people, and give ear unto me, O my nation : for a law mall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people..] Torah, which we Transate Law, fignifies Inftruction in general; and the Hebrew Phrafe here is of the fame importy as Doa cumenta dare of the Latins : Hearken unto me my People,
for I will make the Chalde ans sensible that I am God, the Chapter
Ver. 5. My righteousness is near : my salvation is gone
Ver. 6. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the carth beneath: for the beávens shall vanish' away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness. Seall not be abolished.] The same in lofty Terms, which in other places is express’d in a more humble Style, Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away.
Ver. 7, 8. Hearken unto me, ye shat kroto righteousness,
. He leaves them to draw the
A a a
Chapter dragon?] Here is a noble mixture of lively Figures; LI. the Prophet first addresing himself to the Lord, as if he
were fast asleep, tired with fatigue and labour, then painting Him in a Martial posture, dressing himself in Arms, and putting on his Accoutrements ; then railing his courage by a narration of his former valorous performances, Art not Thou that Arm which cut off the Egyptian Rahab, when with all the strength of his Kingdom he pursued the naked Ifraelites, to the further banks of the Redfea? Certainly thou art the fame, not at all decay'd in Strength, but able to do as much for thy People now, as for their Fathers then. Rahab signifies a proud Tyrant, and is almost appropriated to the Kings of Egypt, and Pharvah is called a Dragon, accommodate ad Naturam regionis, the Land of Egypt abounding with those sort of Animals.
Ver. 10. Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the poaters of the great deep, that hath made the depths of the fea a way for the ranfomed to pass over ?] Art not thou the fame Armi which dried up the Red-fea, made all the Wa: ter in that deep Channel disappear, that made the depths of the Sea a path for the Ransom'd of the Lord to pass byer?
Ver. 11. Therefore the redeemed of the Lord foall return, and come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall bé upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy, and for roto and mourning Mall flee away.] That is, therefore since thou hast done such great things, and art ftill able to do the fame or greater,my People Ahall be again redeemd,and fhall return to their own Country, Crowns of never fading Flowers shall adorn the returning Captives, and everlasting Joy shall be upon their Heads. The Expreslions. are very Poetical and Figurative, taken from the Custom observ'd in those days, of adorning the Head, to shew the inward joy and lightness of the Heart.
Ver. 12, 13. 1, even I am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass? And forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and baid the foundations of the earth? and haft feared continually every day, because of the fury of the oppreffor, as if he were ready 10. destroy and where is the fury of the oppressor ?] As