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* Hezekiah also had said, from any affliction or sorrow. His What is the sign that I shalí first desire is “ to go up to the house
of the Lord,” and pour forth his go up to the house of the gratitude. Offer thy thanks noro ! LORD?
The second Sunday after Christmas.
MORNING. Isaias xli.
KEEP silence before me, O "God calls upon the Gentiles, or islands; and let the people islands, to attend, whilst he reasons renew their strength : let upon the fully of his enemies in set
ting themselves up against him. Let them come near; then let them gather all their strength, they them speak: let us come near cannot compare with the evidences together to judgment. Who of his mercy and his power. raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow. He pursued them, and passed safely ; tren by the way that he had not gone with his feet. Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last ; I am he. The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came.
• The worshippers of idols and false "They helped every one his gods aided and encouraged each neighbour; and every one said other. Let us learn from them alato his brother, Be of good crity and unanimity as worshippers
of the true God. courage. So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smoothed with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved. *But thou, Israel,
8 Blessed privilege of the faithful ! art my servant, Jacob whom
“ Abraham, my friend *." I have chosen, the seed of
» Look, O Israel, my servant, to thy Abraham my friend. 'Thou past deliverance from Egypt ; so whom I have taken from the may thy faith fail thee not. But ends of the earth, and called mine enemies shall utterly perish. thee from the chief men
They shall be “ sought and found thereof, and said unto thee, nott.” They shall become as nothing. Thou art my servant ; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee : be not dismayed ; James i. 23.
+ Ps. xxxvii. 37.
for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of shall be my favour towards thee;
14 In proportion to thy humility Israel ; I will help thee, saith moreover I will give my Gospel, the LORD, and thy redeemer, whose spirit shall be “a new thing;" the Holy One of Israel. Be- separating with new skill and new hold, I will make thee a new
power the wheat from the chaff- the
righteous from the wicked. sharp threshing instrument having teeth : thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them : and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, and shalt glory in the Holy One of
17 When the poor and needy soul is Israel. 17 When the poor athirst, I will give it water from the and needy seek water, and
well of life. And my servants shall there is none, and their tongue
flourish like trees of the forest. faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together : that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath
21 Let the foes of God show forth created it.
21 Produce your their wisdom. Let them, if they can, cause, saith the LORD; bring exhibit their power over present and forth your strong reasons, to come, as I, Jehovah, have done,
and do. That which I of old deter. saith the King of Jacob.
mined has come to pass, and that Let them bring them forth,
which now I determine shall likeand show us what shall hap- wise be accomplished. They can pen: let them show the for- show no proofs of blessing conferred mer things, what they be, upon their servant, nor evil inflicted that we may consider them, upon their foes. and know the latter end of them ; or declare us things for to
25 I have
come. Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods : yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together. Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought : an abomination is he that chooseth you.
25 Cyrus therefore shall be raised up raised up one from the north, by me, and prove the deliverer of my and he shall come: from the people, treading down their foes * rising of the sun shall he call upon my name : and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay. Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous ? yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth, yea, there is none that heareth your words. The first shall say to Zion, Behold, behold them : and I will give to Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings. For I beheld, and there was no man ; even among them, and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word. Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.
With what perfect confidence may I trust my soul to Him who is Lord alike of my present and my future years ; in whose hand is my life, who is ready to direct all my ways, and guide me, here to peace, hereafter to glory.
EVENING. Isaiah xliü. But now thus saith the 1 Fear of God is no excuse for forLORD that created thee, O Ja- saking him. He calls thee to Him
as His orn. cob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name: thou art mine. * When thou passest through encouraged to fear no evil so long as
2 In how animating a strain are we the waters, I will be with
we are faithful to our God! Even thee; and through the rivers, when the waters of death overflow, they shall not overflow thee: his aid will succour and sustain when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be
3 God will be with us ; and as He burned; neither shall the people then, so by his presence will
was gloriously present to deliver his flame kindle upon thee. 'For He save us now +.
Cyrus was the son of Cambyses the Persian and Mandane the Median. Thus, as the son of Cambyses, he came “from the rising of the sun," of the East ; Persia being east of Egypt. As the son of Mandane, he was raised up from the North ; Media being north of both these countries. So surely and minutely was the word of God accomplished in Cyrus, the deliverer of his people.
† Particular allusion is here made to their recent deliverance from
I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour : I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Sebå for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee : therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Keep not back : bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth ; even every one that is called by my name : for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.
Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled : who among them can declare this, and show us former things ? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified : or let them hear, and say, It is truth. Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen : that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD,
13 Thus when the Almighty wills that I am God. Yea, be- blessing to his people, no man can fore the day was I am he; let, or hinder, its accomplishment. and there is none that can
Blessed truth ! my Saviour is not
only man, but God. ver. 3. deliver out of my hand : I will work, and who shall let
14 This, though spoken as having
been already done, is prophetical, it? 14 Thus saith the LORD, and was accomplished when Cyrus your redeemer, the Holy One brought down the strength of Babyof Israel ; For your sake I
lon *. have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships. I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King. Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power ; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise : they are extinct, they are quenched as tow. Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the
Sennacherib, when the Egyptians were raised up as enemies against him, and made instrumental, by God's providence, in diverting his attention from Jerusalem
* God will so surely effect his will, that we may with the strictest truth say—that thing is done which he wills shall be done.
things of old. 19 Behold, I 19 But suppose old things be not will do a new thing ; now it remembered, new and greater things
claim attention. The Gospel is at shall spring forth; shall ye hand—a new and living way to not know it? I will even heaven. make a way in the wilder- 20 The very desert—this world of ness, and rivers in the de- trial—shall now have a stream of
water for the soul in its pilgrimage of sert. ** The beast of the life; and in the wilderness shall be a field shall honour me, the way, strait indeed, and narrow, but dragons and the owls : be- safe and sure, by which the pilgrim cause I give waters in the may reach his promised Canaan *. wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.
22 But man is ever prone to forget 22 But thou hast not called his God. Do we not all, too often, upon me, O Jacob; but thou weary of our religious duties ? weary hast been weary of me, 0 of our Christian patience ? weary of Israel. Thou hast not brought
our well-doing? me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings ; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense. Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices : but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities. I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. * Put me in remembrance :
26 () gracious Father ! how dost let us plead together : de. thou humble thyself to plead with clare thou, that thou mayest thy disobedient children ! the Crebe justified. Thy first fa- ator deigning to plead with his creather hath sinned, and thy It is greater than the heavens.
tures! Who may declare thy mercy! teachers have transgressed against me. Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.
The first Sunday after the Epiphang.
MORNING. Isaiah xliv. Yet now hear, O Jacob my 1 The promise of spiritual blessings servant; and Israel, whom I
under the Gospel is continued. • The fierce passions of men, which, by nature, are like the beasts of the field for violence, shall not only put on a new character, but learn a ke exercise of their powers ; for when so changed, they shall be exereised to the honour of God and the welfare of his creatures.