Page images
PDF
EPUB

along, both by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation to you only to learn the news. The bed shall be too short for a man to stretch himself upon it! The covering shall be too narrow for him to wrap himself in it! For the Lord shall rise up as in Mount Perazim ; He shall be wroth as in the Valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work, and bring to pass His act, His strange act.

(Ch. xxviii. 1-21.) The Lesson of Providence.

Now, therefore, be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong. For I have heard from the Lord God of Hosts of a consumption, that is determined upon the whole land. Give ye ear, and hear my voice: hearken, and hear my speech. Doth the ploughman plough all day to sow? Doth he open and break the clods of the ground? When he hath made smooth the surface thereof, doth he not casi abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and put in the wheat in rows, and the barley in the appointed place, and the rye in its border? Doth not his God instruct him in discretion? Doth He not teach him? For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument. A cart wheel is not turned about upon the cummin : but the fitches are beaten out with a stick, and the cummin with a rod. Is bread corn bruised ? No: he is not for ever threshing it, nor driving over it his cart-wheel and his horses; he doth not bruise it. This also cometh from the Lord of Hosts, who is Wonderful in counsel, and Excellent in working!

(Ch. xxviii. 22-29.) The coming Judgment against Jerusalem, with her

Deliverance announced. Oh! Ariel! Ariel! Thou city where David encamped ! Add ye a year to this year! Let the feasts be kept in their

course! Then will I distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: but she shall be unto Me as Ariel.* I am going to encamp against thee, and to lay siege to thee with a mound, and to raise up fortifications against thee. And thou shalt be brought down, thou shalt speak from the ground, and thy speech shall be uttered feebly from the dust, and thy voice shall be from the ground as of one that hath a familiar spirit, and thy speech shall be a whisper out of the dust. But the multitude of thy foes shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones shall be like the rapidly passing chaff, that disappeareth suddenly. For thou shalt be visited of the Lord of Hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire. Then the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her, and her citadel—all that distress her shall be as a dream of a night vision. It shall then be as when an hungry man dreameth, and lo! he eateth: but he awaketh, and his soul is empty! Or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and lo! he drinketh : but he awaketh, and behold! he is faint, and his soul thirsteth!

So shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion.

(Ch. xxix. 1-8.)

An Exhortation to True Worship.

Ye are amazed, and wonder! Ye shut your eyes, and are blind ! Ye are drunken, but not with wine! Ye stagger, but not with strong drink! For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep and hath closed your eyes, O ye prophets, and your heads, O ye seers, hath He covered. And the vision of you all is become as the words of a book

[merged small][ocr errors]

that is sealed, which men hand over to one that is learned, saying, “Read this, I pray you."

And he saith, “I cannot, for it is sealed.”

Then the book is given to him that is not learned, saying, “ Read this, I pray you."

And he saith, “I am not learned.”

Wherefore the Lord saith : “Forasmuch as this people draw near unto Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear for Me is taught by the teaching of men :-Therefore, behold! I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, a marvellous work, and a wonderful thing ! The wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.

Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord ! Who do their works in the dark, and

say, “Who seeth us? Who knoweth us?” O, you turn things upside down! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay? Shall the work say of him that made it, “He made me not”? Or shall the thing framed say of himn that framed it, “He had no understanding "?

(Ch. xxix. 9-16.)

A Bright Future.

A very little while, is it not? and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a desert! And in that day shall the deaf hear the words that are written, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall have increase of joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy one of Israel. For the terrible one shall be brought to nought, and the scorner consumed, and all that watch for iniquity cut off—those that make men

offenders by their words, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn justice aside by things of nought. Thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the House of Jacob :"Jacob shall not again be ashamed, neither shall his face again wax pale : for when his children shall see the work of Mine Hands in his midst, they shall sanctify My Name, yea they shall sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall get understanding, and they that murmured shall receive instruction." (Ch. xxix. 17-24.)

I.

The Prophet's Indictment of Jerusalem : three charges.

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the Lord hath spoken.

“ I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me! The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib ; Israel doth not know—My people doth not consider !"

Ah, sinful nation! A people laden with iniquity! A seed of evil-doers ! Children that deal corruptly! They have forsaken the Lord : they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger : they have turned away backward !

2. “Why should ye be stricken any more? Ye will revolt more and more! The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no sound place in it. Wounds and bruises and festering sores! They have not been pressed out, neither bound

up,

neither mollified with ointment! Your country is desolate! Your cities are burned with fire! Your land, strangers devour it in your presence! Yea, it is desolate, as the overthrowing of strangers! And the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard ! As a hut in a garden

of cucumbers! As a besieged city!” Except the Lord of Hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom - we should have been like unto Gomorrah !

Hear the Word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom! Give ear unto the Teaching of our God, ye people of Gomorrah !

3. “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me?” saith the Lord. "I am full of the burnt-offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts, and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before Me, who hath required this at your hand—this treading of My courts ? Bring no more oblations of vanity—an incense of abomination it is unto Me! The new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies—I cannot away with iniquity and the solemn meeting! Your new moons, and your appointed feasts My soul hateth ; they are a trouble unto Me. I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands I will hide Mine Eyes from you : yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear—your hands are full of blood-guiltiness. Wash you ; make you clean. Put away the evil of your doings from before Mine Eyes. Cease to do evil. Learn to do well. Seek justice. Put the oppressor right. Pronounce in favour of the fatherless : plead the cause of the widow.”

The Conclusion.

“Come now, and let our reasoning cease,” saith the Lord : “Though your 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.

« PreviousContinue »