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The righteous dies, and no one thinks thereon;
The good depart, yet understandeth none
That such from this world's evils hath release;
Yea, he is taken; he shall go in peace;
He is at rest within his calm recess;
Even the man who practised righteousness.
But now draw near, ye sorceress's sons,
Seed of polluted and corrupted ones:
At whom make ye your sport the whole day long?
At whom widen the mouth and loll the tongue ?
Say, are ye not apostates, a false race,
Who under every tree your idols place?
Beneath the rocks the children have been slain,
There, where thy own smooth stones thou dost maintain:
Yea, upon these libations hast thou made,
And here have thy burnt offerings been laid:
Can I in silence all these things descry?
Lo, thou hast set thy altars up on high;
Thither hast thou gone up to sacrifice:
Behind thy lintels thy memorial lies.
Me hast thou left, to give these offering;
To these didst thou thy precious ointments bring;
At distant courts thy envoys hast thou placed;
And thou to Hades hast thyself debased:
Thy tedious journies have consumed thy strength,
Yet thou hast said, There is no hope, at length.
Thou by thy labour didst support thy life,
Therefore thou hast not fainted in the strife.
Whom didst thou apprehend so anxiously
To be thus false, nor turn thy thoughts to me?
Say is it not because I held my peace,
That all thy fear of me so long could cease ?
But now will I declare my righteousness;
And all thy doings shall be profitless.
When thou shalt cry, let thy associates hear;
Tempests shall take them, yea, a breath shall tear:
But he that trusts in me shall have the land,
And on my holy mountain take his stand.
Then will I say,
Make clear the way,
Afar remove each stumbling block,
And safely lead my chosen flock.
For thus Jehovah saith, the great, the high,
He who inhabiteth eternity,
And He whose title is the Holy One:
I dwell upon the high and holy throne,
And with the contrite and the meek of heart,
That I may vigour to the meek impart,
And to the contrite ones may give new life:
For I will not perpetually have strife,
Nor will I everlastingly be wrath,
Nor overwhelm the souls that I send forth.
I by his sins was angered for a space,
I smote him, in my wrath I hid my face;
He left me, to his ways he turned aside,
I saw-yet will I heal, and be his guide;
My hand his consolations shall restore,
And the afflicted shall lament no more.
The fruit of joyful lips do I create:
Peace, peace, to him at hand will I resound; Let him that is afar have peace as great:
Yea, saith Jehovah, I will heal their wound.
Yet are the wicked like the troubled sea,
Whose noisy restlessness doth never cease, But works up mire and filth perpetually;
He, saith my God, can never be at peace.
Cry out aloud; proclaim unsparingly!
Yea, like a trumpet lift thy voice on high !
Declare my people's sins before their face,
Show their transgressions unto Jacob's race.
Yet they profess to seek me day by day,
As if they took delight to know my way,
E'en as a nation that doth righteousness,
And who my ordinances would profess.
They place my statutes ever in their sight;
In drawing nigh to God they take delight:
“ Behold our fasts; thou hast unmindful been,
And our afflicted souls thou hast not seen.”
Lo! in your fasts ye still enjoy your pleasure,
But to the labouring ones ye grant no leisure;
Ye hold your fasts but for debate and strife,
And that ye may oppress the poor man's life.
Why in this manner fast continually,
To cause your voices to be heard on high ?
Is this the chosen fast that I enrol-
That for a day a man afflict his soul,
That like a bulrush he should bow his head,
Sackcloth and ashes for his couch should spread ?
What ! reckon ye a fast this vain display?
Is this Jehovah's acceptable day?
Say, is not this the fast which I would choose
the bands of wickedness should loose; That the oppressive burthens ye relieve, Break every yoke, and comfort all that grieve; That to the hungry thou shouldst give thy store, And to thy house invite the wandering poor; That thou shouldst garments on the naked place, Nor from thy own flesh turn aside thy face? Then shall thy light be as the morn revealed, And all thy wounds shall speedily be healed; Thy righteousness before thee shall be shown, Jehovah's glory over thee be thrown. Then shalt thou call, and God shall lend his ear; Shalt cry,
and he shall answer, “ I am here." If thou remove away the yoke abhorred, The pointed finger, the injurious word; If to the hungry thou bring forth thy bread, And the afflicted soul by thee is fed; Then shall thy light rise in obscurity, And as the noonday shall thy darkness be; Thou by Jehovah surely shalt be brought, He shall relieve thy soul in heaviest drought; He shall renew thee as a watered ground, And as a spring whence lasting streams abound. Behold, thy children shall rebuild the waste, The site of ancient times shall be replaced, The broken mounds and ways thou shalt reclaim,