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complacency and delight in his justice; that shall make all even. And why are we disquieted, if we hope for that day?
Mercy despised, and the Contempt punished.
ISAIAH XXX, 15, 19. For thus saith the Lord God, the holy One of Israel,
In returning and rest shall ye be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength; and ye
would not. But ye said, No, for we will flee upon horses, therefore
shall ye flee : and we will ride upon the swift, therefore shall they that pursue you, be swift. One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one: at the re
buke of five shall ye flee, till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an
hill. And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gru
cious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment ; blessed are all they that wait for him.
In the sentence of that greatest and biggest judgment that ever yet came on the world, the universal deluge, as we have it, Gen. vi, that word doth most lively express the reason of it, My Spirit shall not alway strive with
For thus it is, while he spares even his own people, he is at a continual strife with them by gracious entreaties and mercies, by advices, and warnings, and threatenings, still contesting; that is the way he uses in the contest, on his part, against refusals, and revolts, and rebellions on their part. Thus is it here.
The question betwixt him and his people is about the help of Egypt: this, God often declares to be wholly against bis mind and their own good; yet, they on all occasions had so strong a mind to it that they could not be diverted. The prophet here hath his message concerning this point, to preach it, and to write it, that it
be for the time to come for ever and ever, ver. 8; he shows them plainly, that this course was wholly without the counsel and consent of God, yea, directly against it, and that it should succeed accordingly; The strength of Pharaoh shall be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion ; it shall prove to you according to its name, a land of distress and trouble, instead of help. And if you would know what would suit that other name of Egypt better, that were humble yieldance to God, and confidence in him : your Rahab, your best Egypt, your truest strength were, to sit still ; ver. 7. This is here again represented to them, so gladly would he reclaim them.
For thus saith the Lord. The words have, 1, God's express advice to his people; 2, their peremptory refusal of it; 3, his just sentence passed upon their obstinacy. The advice is prefaced with the usual words of the prophets, Thus saith the Lord; for in that lies the dignity and authority of the message. His advices, doubtless, are the choicest and the safest; yea, his counsels are all commands requiring duly the most absolute obedience.
The Lord Jehovah. Were but his word known to be his and taken so, how would our souls melt, and yield to the impressions of it, when we read or hear! O learn to hear him, to take every word of his as from his own mouth, every time the law is read, as if thou heard it from Mount Sinai. So think, Now God commands me to fear him, as if you heard him speaking from heaven. That would level more our opinion of men, and make less difference of his messengers.
Another word of his style is here added, The holy One of Israel. This is much to be considered by his people, the holiness of his nature, and withal, the nearness of bis relation to them, and so the reverence and obedience we owe him, our deep engagement to holiness as his people, his children. This is his image in us, if we are truly such. All his sons and daughters are like him, holy as he is holy. The blind base world thinks it a word of disgrace, but the great God owns it as a chief point of his glory, a diamond of bis crown, and frequently expresses it as one of the titles he most delights to be known by, Holy, Holy, Holy. And as this is beheld, the heart cannot but be filled with reverence, and holy fear and self-abasement; as this prophet in seeing the vision and hearing that voice, Then said I, Wo is me, for I am undone ; Isa. vi, 5.
This is here used fitly to scare his people from rebellion, the unholy way on which they were so bent; and the rather, because they were grown weary of it, and desired not to hear this word ; ver. 9; therefore it is the more repeated; Because ye despise this word, ye shall hear it the more; ver. 12. The prophet will neither be mocked nor threatened out of it; he will both deliver his message, and give the King who sent him, his own title. And o that we knew him according to it, and understood what this means, The holy One of Israel! He was a holy man, and knew something, who yet confesses his own ignorance in that point (there must be some knowledge of it, to discover ignorance of it) I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the Holy, Prov. xxx, 3.
In returning and rest. In leaving off the pains ye take in messages and journeys to Egypt, in humbly and quietly composing yourselves to wait on me and trust in me; submitting to my hand, in what I bring upon you, and from the same band, mine alone, expecting deliverance in due time. This does not bar the use of all lawful means, but, as it shuts out perplexing cares and turmoil even in those good means, so it expressly forbids all intermeddling with all unwarranted ways, such as God doth not direct us to, but rather dissuades us from.
And if this be the safest way, surely it is the sweetest, easiest way. There cannot be any thing easier than to be quiet and sit still, to rest and trust, and so be safe and strong. And as it is in this particular, so generally it is in all the ways of God; they are the only easy, peaceble, sweet ways, with the least pains, and the surest advantage.
And the ways of disobedience, besides what comes after, are, even for the present, more turbulent, laborious, perplexed ways.
What a hurry are men put in, to serve their lusts, or their ambition, when, if they attain their object, it does not quit the cost and the pains; besides that often their hopes mock them, and after long pursuit they embrace a shadow. Thus men woo their own vexation, and take a great deal more pains to be miserable, than they would be put to, to make them happy. What a pity, to pay so dear for nothing, to give their riches and treasures, and to be at pains too to carry them to a people that shall not profit them--both their expense and travel laid out to no purpose! The voluptuous, or covetous, or ambitious how do they project, and drudge, and serve their wretched lusts, who, when they have done one piece of service, are still to begin another ! And what is the profit of all, but shame and sorrow at last? The humble sober-minded Christian saves all that pains, and hath his heart's desire in quietness and confidence. desire and delight is God; and by desiring and delighting, he hath him. Delight thou in the Lord, and he shall give thee thy heart's desire-himself; and then surely thou wilt have all. Any other thing commit to him, and he shall bring it to pass.
Strange! men might have God at an easier rate than the poorest vanities they are hunting after, and yet. they will not. A full fountain of living waters is ready provided, yet they will be at pains to hew out little cisterns, which, after all their pains, are but broken cisterns, and can hold no water.
I know not what men are doing, still at work, when they might better sit still; troubling themselves and all about them, and cannot well tell for what. O, the sweet peace of believing and obeying God! They truly conquer, sitting still. In all times they are safe under the shadow of the Almighty; are arong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
And ye would not, but said No. Thus men sometimes flatly reject his counsels, and when they are not so gross as plainly to speak it out, yet say so in doing so, and for good manners' sake will blạpch it with reproaching the messengers ; will have it to be not God's mind, but men's own fancy, a false vision ; will own nothing for truth but what suits their humour and design. First, they resolve on their course without acquainting God, they ask not his advice; then, when he is pleased to give it by his messengers, they reject it, not under that name as God's advice, but will not have it pass for this, because it crosses their already.determined course. If it favored that, then, no question, it were welcome enough as his word. This is meant by those words, ver. 10, Which say to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things ; speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits. And so they used Jeremiah long after, in this very point; Jer. xlii, 2. And so they go on to take their own course ; No, but we will flee upon horses.
And this is the vature of carnal hearts ; they are generally inclined to rebel, and take a way of their own, casting away the counsels of God, as not suiting with the state, or with wit, or points of honor. They find more feeling and real substance in sensual things, than in the promises of God: these seem airy unsure things to them, therefore they would still see apparent means, and where these fail, think it but a fancy to rest on God. They dare not trust him so but as withal to do for themselves, although no• thing can be done by them perhaps but what he forbids, which therefore cannot be done without giving up with him, and departing from their trust on him. All this cleaves to us, and much cause have we to suspect ourselves, when it is but doubtful that there appears little or no evidence of God's counsel or good-will to a business, but ratber clear characters of his dislike, and much of our own will, a stout uncontrolable bent to it; conscious to ourselves of this, that either we have not asked advice of God at all, or very slightly, not being much upon out knees with it; or possibly in asking his advice, have brought our answer with us, in our own breasts, the lying oracle ; that making answer, and we consenting to delude ourselves ; not hearkening to any thing that does not sound to our purpose.
Our hearts are exceedingly deceitful, and particularly in this point of withdrawing our trust from God, and leay