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The first Sunday after Christmas.

MORNING. Isaiah xxxvii. And it came to pass, when

1 When king Hezekiah heard that king Hezekiah heard it, that Sennacherib was about to invade the

kingdom, he sought the Lord. So, he rent his clothes, and co

when troubles threaten, let me too vered himself with sackcloth, seek the Lord in earnest and humble and went into the house of prayer. So may I compose my mind the Lord. And he sent Eli- against calamity. Worship in God's

house clears the eye of faith. Daakim, who was over the house

vid found trials “ too hard for him" hold, and Shebna the scribe, till he went up into the house of the and the elders of the priests Lord. He then“ feared not evil tidcovered with sackcloth, unto ings.” He felt that God was with him. Isaiah the prophet the son

3 Their state, one of extreme disof Amoz. 3 And they said

tress, and weakness, and exhaustion. unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left. So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah, And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say unto your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard, wherewith the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.

Be- 7 This rumour of an attack from unhold, I will send a blast upon expected foes served to draw off the him, and he shall hear a

attention of Sennacherib ; dividing

his forces, and confusing his counrumour, and return to his

sels. The event was of God's orderown land ; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah : for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, He is come forth to make war with thee. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Heze

10 All these scornful taunts recoiled kiah, saying, " Thus shall ye

upon the scoffers. Because they had speak to Hezekiah king of subdued mighty nations, they thought Judah, saying, Let not thy that Judah could not escape. But God, in whom thou trustest,

the word of the Almighty was their deceive thee, saying, Jerusa

defence, though “the fewest of all

people”—“ I will defend this city." lem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, thou hast heard

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ing.

14 And

what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shalt thon be delivered ? Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Telassar ? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arphad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah ?

14 And where is that which can Hezekiah received the letter harm thee, 0 reader, if the same God from the hand of the mes

be thy defence? Seek him early

thou shalt find him late. sengers, and read it : and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying, Lord of hosts, God

16 Blessed privilege of prayer ! Our of Israel, that dwellest be- God is not what the Assyrians termed tween the cherubims, thou art him, only the God of Israel. He is the God, even thou alone, of

God of all the kingdoms of the earth. all the kingdoms of the earth : thou hast made heaven and earth. Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open hine

eyes, O LORD, and see : and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God. Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries, and have cast their gods into the fire : for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone : therefore they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only. Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Whereas thou hast prayed to me against Senna

22 Zion and Jerusalem, which are cherib king of Assyria : » this the Church of God, in their turn now is the word which the LORD defy thee, O Assyrian : they now hath spoken concerning him ;

shake their head at thee ; because

God is their helper and defender. The virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn ; the daughter of Jerusalem hath

23 When the wicked persecute the shaken her head at thee. righteous, they persecute God. * Whom hast thou reproach- “ Saul, Saul,” said the blessed Jesus ed and blasphemed ? and

to the persecuting Pharisee," why against whom hast thou ex

persecutest thou me?" alted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high ? even against the Holy One of Israel. By thy servants hast thou reproached the Lord, and hast said, By the multitude of my chariots am I come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon; and I will cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the

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choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the height of his border, and the forest of his

25 What was the end of his might ! Carmel. 25 I have digged, in passing deserts, he had dug wells and drunk water; and with for the support of his own armies, the sole of my feet have I and turned rivers, to lay open to his dried up all the rivers of the

attacks the armies of his enemies !

All was at last cut down as grass. besieged places. Hast thou not heard long ago, how I have done it; and of ancient times, that I have formed it ? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste defenced cities into ruinous heaps. Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded: they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up.

But I know 28 What a happy thought to a good thy abode, and thy going man, that God does know his going

out and his coming in. He trusts out, and thy coming in, and for divine protection in all his ways. thy rage against me. Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest. 30 And this

30 Gracious signs, whereby their shall be a sign unto thee, faith in God as their deliverer was Ye shall eat this year such from time to time powerfully susas groweth of itself; and tained. They would see all things the second year that which

come to pass, as God had declared. springeth of the same : and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof. And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward : for out of Jerusalem shall

go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion : the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this. Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord. For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake. Then the angel of 36 Thus was the pride of the Assythe LORD went forth, and rian humbled before the nations. smote in the camp of the Sennacherib the king fell by a cruel Assyrians a hundred and and bloody death ; a death, signal for fourscore and five thousand : The victim was slaughtered as he

the time and place which marked it. and when they arose early in worshipped in the house of Nisroch

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the morning, behold, they his god, and the hands which slew

А him were the hands of his sons.

So were all dead corpses.

dreadful fulfilment of the prophetic Sennacherib king of Assyria declaration in verse 7, that he departed, and went and re- should fall by the sword in his own turned, and dwelt at Nine- land.” veh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia : and Esar-haddon his son reigned in his stead.

EVENING. Isaian xxxvii. 'In those days was Hezekiah 1 Such watchful care befits us all ! sick unto death. And Isaiah how much more the aged and the

sick! He is the truly wise who has the prophet the son of Amoz his house always in order-his soul came unto him, and said unto always ready to meet his God ! bim, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order : for thou shalt die, and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, 3 and said,

3 These expressions are not the lanRemember now, O LORD, I

guage of presumption, but of a good beseech thee, how I have conscience. Hezekiah’s whole life is walked before thee in truth proof that all his dependence was and with a perfect heart, and

not upon himself, but upon his God. have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. Then came the word of the Lord to Isaiah, saying, - Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD,

5 Glorious instance of the efficacy the God of David thy father, life, but a life of peace, relieved from

of prayer ! Not only lengthened I have heard thy prayer, I that fear of the Assyrians which, as have seen thy tears: behold, a secondary cause, had contributed I will add unto thy days fif

to his former sickness, by wearing

him down with anxiety. teen years. And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city. And this shall be a sign unto thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that he hath spoken; be

& Who shall wonder that God, who hold, I will bring again the created time itself, should regulate it shadow of the degrees, which at his pleasure? The miracle is reis gone down in the sun dial corded to strengthen our faith. of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees

9 What a noble hymn of gratitude it was gone down. • The for life restored ! O my soul! wilt thou writing of Hezekiah king of be less grateful for life preserved?

ness :

Man

Judah, when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sick

I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the residue of my years. I said, I shall not see the LORD, even the Lord, in the land of the living : I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world. Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent: I have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness : from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me. I reckoned till morning, that, as a lion, so will he break all my bones : from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.

Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove : mine eyes fail with looking upward : O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me. What shall I say ? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it : I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my

16 “ By these things,” viz. by thy soul. 16 O Lord, by these precious words, do men live. things men live, and in all liveth not by bread alone, but by these things is the life of my every word which proceedeth out of spirit : so wilt thou recover

the mouth of God doth man live." me, and make me to live.

17 The Christian's heaviest sorrows, Behold, for peace I had however, are his sins ; and these a

reconciled God will mercifully cast great bitterness : but thou

away from him. hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption : for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.

18 How pathetically does he mourn the grave cannot praise thee, the prospect of death, as calling him death can not celebrate thee: “ from the Lord's service in the conthey that go down into the gregation of the faithful !" pit cannot hope for thy truth. 19 A noble resolve ! that a recovered 1' The living, the living, he life should be an amended life, a ner shall praise thee, as I do this life, more and more active in every

good word and work. day : the father to the children shall make known thy truth. The Lord was ready to save me : therefore we will sing

21 The recovery was miraculous ; my songs to the stringed in- yet God chose that intermediate struments all the days of our means, though in themselves inadelife in the house of the Lord. quate, be adopted. Our blessed SaFor Isaiah had said, Let

viour, on many occasions, when he

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18 For

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worked a miracle, acted in the same them take a lump of figs, and

way lay it for a plaister upon the 32 Thus is it ever with the faithful boil, and he shall recover. servant of God after deliverance

* John ix. 6.

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