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23 Those in authority administered the laws fraudulently. They were bribed by the rich to oppress and deny justice to the poor.

sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword for the mouth of the LORD hath 21 The once faithful city gave itself spoken it. "How is the faith- up to idolatry-forsaking its spouse, ful city become an harlot! it the Church, basely and fatally. was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water: 23 thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies: 25 and I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: and I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. 21 Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts

25 Thy good graces have become corrupt; thy silver debased like tin, and valueless.

27 Happy for the soul when it feels shame for former sins.

with righteousness. And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed. 29 For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen. For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water. And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them.

29 As for the impenitent wicked, they shall wither, and fade, and be even as the leafless oaks, under whose shade they were wont to sin, when

engaged in their idol-worship.

EVENING. ISAIAH ii.

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THE word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain

1 The prophetic word given in a vision.

2 The Christian dispensation, being the last which mankind are to expect from God, is a period designated often, by the term "the last days.”

of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. "And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the

"The mountain of the Lord's house" means, the Temple of Jerusalem ; which was built on mount Zion, part of mount Moriah, and is a type of the Church of Christ. Dan. iii. 25.

3 A beautiful picture of that teachable disposition which marks the disciples of the meek and lowly Jesus.

LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge

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4" Peace on earth" was the angels' song, when they heralded the advent of the Prince of peace; and Christ is Himself the great Peace-maker between God and his people. How solemn the duty upon Christians to avoid divisions; to live in peace, and good-will, and brotherly love; and having one hope of their calling, to

among the nations, and shall rebuke many people and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD. Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers. Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots: their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers

be of one heart and one mind!

5 Let me rejoice so to walk, O gracious Father, with Thee and by Thee!-Am I not thy servant ?

have made

9 Not that Isaiah prays God to withhold forgiveness. It is the Hebrew mode of expressing very strongly the awful truth, that God will not forgive such sinners in their sin.

and the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not. Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, and upon all the high mountains,

and upon all the hills that are lifted up, and upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all plea17 What a noble and affecting picsant pictures. 17 And the lofture is here drawn of the folly and tiness of man shall be bowed boldness of pride in prosperity, of down, and the haughtiness its weakness and terror in adverof men shall be made low: sity Faith alone knows no fear *. and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.

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20 Shame is ever the attendant of detected sin; concealment its repose.

that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. 22 Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?

22 Let me never trust in a passing world, or on man's strength! Let my whole trust be in the mercy of God, through Jesus Christ my Redeemer. His power, my protection.

The second Sunday in Advent.

MORNING. ISAIAH V.

Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: 2 and he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein and he looked that it should bring forth

2 Jesus Christ is this "well beloved" of God; and the Church is his vineyard, to which He gave all appropriate advantages, fencing it about with angels. It ought, therefore, to have given, not wild grapes

-not the recklessness of man's wild

passions-but the sweet fruits of a converted heart and a renewed spirit.

* Surely it is equally foolish and bold when pride, spiritual pride especially, exalting itself like the cedar of Lebanon and the oak of Bashan, expects to enjoy the favour of that God, who "dwelleth in the heart of the contrite," and chooseth "things despised" of men. 1 Cor. i. 28. Boasting is always vain, even before men: what will be its vanity when the Lord shall come in his glorious majesty, and judge us all in right

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grapes, and it brought forth

wild grapes.

And now, O

inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray

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This appeal comes with added force to the Christian Church and each individual member of it. O! let me judge myself.

you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down and I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold. oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry. Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth! In mine ears said the LORD of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant. Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and the seed of an homer shall yield an ephah. Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! 12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands. 13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men

This prophetic word was accomrit being withheld, the vineyardplished when, the dews of God's Spithe Church-withered and perished. Then, too, was heard its cry lamentation, and mourning, and woe, throughout the falling walls of Jerusalem.

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12 Let me avoid rain pleasures, and be moderate even in allowed relaxation from the great duties of life; for "that love of the world," which pleasure too often induces, is enmity with God.

13 Of worldly knowledge they had enough and to spare. The knowledge which they lacked, was that knowledge of God which springs from an obedient heart. John vii. 17.

famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall

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18 Alas! for those bold defiers of the Omnipotent! They sin "with all their might;" haughty contemners of God, and scorners of his faithful servants! Their destruction is to be complete: " their blossom, dust; their root, rottenness."

19 Men may call evil, good; and good, evil; but they cannot change truth into a lie; they cannot rob virtue of its reward, nor relieve vice of its misery. Let this be your

comfort.

20 How awfully does the Prophet close his prediction of misery upon an offending Church and people* !

be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled but the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness. Then shall the lambs feed after their manner, and the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat. 18 Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope: 19 that say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it! 29 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly: none shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be

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According to this word, God, at different periods, did send the armies of the Babylonian and Roman conquerors, severally to execute judgment upon his impenitent people. Now if they-the elect, the chosen-if they were not spared in their sin, how shall we be spared in eurs?" If God spared not the natural branches," take we heed "lest he spare not us, the branches graffed in."

Reader! This record is written for your learning! Remember it in all you do, in all you say, in all you think.

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