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loqsed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken : whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent, their horses' hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind: their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall roar like young lions: yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it. And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea : and if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof.
EVENING. Isaiah xxiv.
BEHOLD, the Lord maketh 1 To whatever period of suffering the earth empty, and maketh
of the Jewish people this refers, the it waste, and turneth it upside plete overthrow of order both in
ruin is great and general ; a comdown, and scattereth abroad Church and state. Imagination can the inhabitants thereof. And picture no condition more dreadful. it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest ; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller ; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled : for the Lord hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth
4 An affecting picture of fallen and fadeth away, the world pride-the haughty, faint and lanlanguisheth and fadeth away, guishing. the haughty people of the
5 The covenant of mercy, though earth do languish. The
from time to time broken by man, earth also is defiled under the and renewed by God, is yet from the inhabitants thereof; because beginning, and shall endure to the they have transgressed the end, ecerlastingly *. laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate : therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few
? A mournful contrast between the men left. 'The new wine joyous scene of a vintage-gathering, mourneth, the vine languish- and the abject wretchedness of a eth, all the merryhearted do vineyard devastated and forsaken : sigh. The mirth of tabrets
so was the state of the Jewish Church ceaseth, the noise of them
in its prosperity and adversity.
* That is said, in Scripture language, to endure everlastingly, which endures to the end for which it is ordained. Thus the covenant of mercy is an everlasting covenant, because it will endure so long as there shall be a probationary state to call for its exercise.
that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth. They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it. The city of confusion is broken down : every house is shut up, that no man may come in. There is a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone. In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruc
13 Some will be spared as a remtion. 13 When thus it shall
nant, like the gleanings of grapes ; be in the midst of the land witnesses, though few, that God temamong the people, there shall pers justice with mercy. be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done. They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea. Wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the fires, even the name of the Lord God of Israel in the isles of the sea. 16 From the uttermost
16 Wherever dispersed, even to the part of the earth have we
uttermost parts of the earth, these heard songs, even glory to faithful few will still find hours of the righteous. But I said, peace, in singing the songs of Sion ; My leanness, my leanness, destitution, or leanness, which the
yet shall they lament their spiritual woe unto me! the treache- wickedness of their own country rous dealers have dealt trea- had brought about, and which they cherously ; yea, the treache- shared *. rous dealers have dealt very treacherously. Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. 1* And it shall come to pass,
18 Unless God be the light to guide that he who fleeth from the
us, we do but flee from one evil to noise of the fear shall fall fall into another. Let me go to my into the pit ; and he that Bible, and take that word as a light cometh up out of the midst unto my feet, and a lantern unto of the pit shall be taken in my paths. the snare : for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do
20 A fearful state for a nation, when shake. 20 The earth is ut- its rulers are deprived of the salutary terly broken down, the earth exercise of their power and authois clean dissolved, the earthrity in Church and state. is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage ; and the trans
In all national calamities, the good suffer with the bad. There is then one event to the righteous and to the wicked. Were it not so, were the wicked only taken, and the good spared, it is evident that the infliction would lose its misery. Yet do the righteous still find occasional repose in the services of religion, and in their hearts still abideth peace. Sorrows may multiply, but where God is, there is peace.
gression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the
22 Yet, in the Lord's good time, earth upon the earth. 22 And " after many days,” shall they they shall be gathered toge- be restored. ther, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. 23 Then the moon shall be
23 The sun and moon-emblems of confounded, and the
temporal power-shall acknowledge ashamed, when the LORD of the spiritual power of the kingdom hosts shall reign in mount
of Christ, who is Himself the Sun of Zion, and in Jerusalem, and
righteousness. before his ancients gloriously.
The third Sunday in Advent.
MORNING. Isaiah xxv.
O Lord, thou art my God; 1 How ready is that heart to praise I will exalt thee, I will praise Blessed be they who can so draw
God, which can add “ my God!" thy name ; for thou hast done nigh to Him. May I be of that numwonderful things ; thy coun- ber! sels of old are faithfulness
2 He hath overthrown his enemies and truth.
? For thou hast in their strongholds. made of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin : a palace of strangers to be no city ; it shall never be built. Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee. For thou hast been a strength
4 Men feel this blessing, in joy, and to the poor, a strength to the health, and life ; but they more prize needy in his distress, a re- it in sorrow, and sickness, and death. fuge from the storm, a sha
No storm can shake the foundation
of that faith ; no tempest move the dow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is founded on the rock
courage of that hope, which is
- even upon as a storm against the wall. Christ. 5 Thou shalt bring down the 5 God's providence interposes allenoise of strangers, as
the viations against the fierceness of those heat in a dry place; even the
who are enemies to religion. As He
commands the clouds to temper the heat with the shadow of a
full heat of the sun, so does He cloud : the branch of the ter- lower the fury of the evil ones. rible ones shall be brought 6 In the mountain, the Church - is low. And in this mountain
a spiritual feast ; even the Lamb of
shall the Lord of hosts make God, his body offered up for us ; and into all people a feast of his blood poured out for us. Luke
xiv, 16. fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will
7 The Gospel shall remove that igdestroy in this mountain the
norance which once veiled true reface of the covering cast over ligion from the Gentile world. all people, and the vail that 8 What though the body die ! it is spread over all nations. passes through death to glory. Every * He will swallow up death trial and affliction, now a ground of in victory; and the Lord God reproach and rebuke to the suffering
righteous, shall be removed. will wipe away tears from off Art thou a child of sorrow? The all faces; and the rebuke of hour is at hand which shall turn thy his people shall he take away
sorrow into joy! Of a truth, thy from off all the earth: for patience shall have its reward. the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his sal- 10 The proudest and the strongest ration. For in this moun- tower of human defence shall be tain shall the hand of the ground to dust * ; like trodden straw. LORD rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill. And he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to swim: and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands. And the fortress of the high fort of thy walls shall he bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the dust.
EVENING. Isaiah xxvi.
'Is that day shall this song
In the day of their return from be sung in the land of Judah; captivity, and still more in the GosWe have a strong city ; salo pel day, shall the Church be a strong
city. Fation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. ?Open
2 So every nation is established in
righteousness. Ve the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth
3 () may I ever have grace to “stay the truth may enter in. * Thou
upon my God !" • Every enemy-every Moab-shall be trodden under foot, by the great Captain of our salvation, Jesus Christ. He shall
forth quring and to conquer.” He shall remove from before Him those cnefairs, even as a swimmer throweth back the opposing waves--themselves made to bear him onward to victory and rest.
wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee : because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever : for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength: 5 for he bringeth down them 5 Pride of heart, whether in nations, that dwell on high; the lofty churches, or individuals, God bring. city, he layeth it low; he eth low. Blessed then are the meek. layeth it low, eren to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust. The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy.
7 What encouragement to a just · The way of the just is up
and holy life! God regardeth it. rightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just. Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. "With my soul have I desired
9 How are the wakeful watches of thee in the night; yea, with the night cheered by meditating upmy spirit within me will I
on a God who is all-present to know seek thee early: for when thy our wants and fears, all-powerful to judgments are in the earth, control the one and supply the the inhabitants of the world other, and all-merciful to exercise
that power. O forsake him not ! will learn righteousness. Let favour be shewed to the
May I, under mercies, know gra
titude; under judgments, know fear. wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord. Lord, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them. Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. 13 O Lord our God, other lords
13 Blessed change for the penitent! beside thee have had dominion he was a slave to sin, and wretched : over us: but by thee only will he is now a servant of God, and we make mention of thy name. happy! They are dead, they shall not live ; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish. Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified : thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth. LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not