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thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, for the safe and convenient residence of the keeper, (probably referring to the temple,) and also made a wine press therein, removed all the hindrances, and gave all the means
of fruitfulness: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, 3 and it brought forth wild grapes, or poisonous berries. And
now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I
pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard ; though yourselves are 4 parties, the case is so plain, that I leave it to your judgment. What
could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it ? hath any thing been wanting on my part? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth
wild grapes ? how can this disappointment be accounted for ? 5 And now, go to, or rather, come now, and I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard : I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up ; [and] break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down ; I will quite withdraw my protection, and
give Israel up as a prey to their enemies ; their state and church 6 shall be quite ruined: And I will lay it waste : it shall not be
pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briars and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it :
they shall lose all their outward blessings and spiritual privileges. 7 Then comes the explanation of the parable : For the vineyard of
the LORD of hosts [is] the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant ; a country in which he took delight, and did more for its inhabitants than for any other people : and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression ; for righteousness, but behold a cry ; of the onpressed, 10 men for help, and to God for vengeance.
1. UN E have great cause to be thankful for our national bless
VV ings. No nation upon earth has more reason to apply these things to themselves than we have. God hath taken care of us as his vineyard, hath given us all desirable blessings, temporal and spiritual. Christ, the branch, hath as it were sprung up among us, and we enjoy the glorious fruits of it in the gospel of peace. We have the protection of heaven on our dwelling places; and, what deserves our especial thankfulness, on our solemn assemblies; upon every thing that is the glory of our land the Lord hath created a defence. Let us seriously reflect how valuable these blessings are, and how few enjoy them, that we may be inspired with sentiments of gratitude to God. Nevertheless,
2. We should be very cautious and watchful, lest we forfeit these blessings. The end for which they were given and are continued to us is, that we may be fruitful : it is the design of all to make us holy and obedient. Let this then be our aim ; for no lasting happiness can be expected till the filth of our land be purged away; and that will not be, without the spirit of judgment and burning, which
We should daily and earnestly implore. If we go on in sin, God may justly deprive us of our privileges, and take the gospel away from us. And we must allow it to be just and reasonable that he should, for what could God have done more? Therefore let us rot be high minded, but fear. This parable is also applicable to par. ticular persons, and the advantages they enjoy. We have con. science, scripture, ordinances, and ministers ; if we are unfruitful, God will take away his grace; deny the dews of his blessings; and what was our inexcusable sin, will be our just and dreadful punishment, we shall be quite barren and useless. Let us labour therefore to answer and repay the divine cultivation, to have our fruit unto hoc liness, and the end will be everlasting life.
CHAP. V. 8, to the end. The prophet here threatens judgments upon the nation, principally reo
ferring to the captivity; and specifies the particular sing for which God would punish them.
O unto them that join house to house, [that] lay field VV to field, who engross all trade, profils, and estates to them. selves, from a principle of insaliable avarice, and to the injury of
their neighbours, till there be] no place, that they may be placed 9 alone in the midst of the earth ! In mine ears (said) the LORD
of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, (even] great 10 and fair, without inhabitant. Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall
yield one bath, and the seed of an homer shall yield an ephah,
that is, but a tenth part ; 80 that they shall have no comfort in 11 their houses and lands. Wo unto them that rise up early in the
morning, (that) they may follow strong drink, that continue un. til night, (till] wine inflame them ! who make a trade of drink
ing, and thus waste their time, their substance, and their health, and 12 inflame their lusts and passions by it. And the harp, and the viol,
the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his
hands ; they delight in mirth and pleasure, but regard neither the 13 merciful nor afflictive dispensations of Providence. Therefore
my people are gone, that is, they shall go, into captivity, because (they have) no knowledge : and their honorirable men [are) famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst ; this was the case at the sirge of Jerusalem, and the devastation of their country by the Chaldeans. Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure : and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall de
scend into it, like Korah and his company. A dreadful image, to 15 represent the suddennces and terror of their destruction. And the
mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled ; as they were
16 joined together in sin, so shall they be in punishment : But the
LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness; his power and holiness
shall be seen and magnified in the righteous judgments brought 17 upon the wicked. Then shall the lambs feed after their manner;
the pious poor, who are left in the land, shall be supported and pro. tected; and the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat;
strangers shall devour what the rich men got by covetousness and 18 oppression. Wo unto them that draw iniquity with cords of
vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope ; who set themselves 19 seriously and resolutely about it, and encourage others in it : That
say, Let him make speed, [and] hasten his work, that we may see it :) and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know [it !] who say
that the prophetic threatenings are all bugbears, and that God can. 20 not or will not do as they have said. Wo unto them that call
evil good, and good evil ; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness ; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter !
who con found the nature of virtue and vice, contrary to their judg21 ment and knowledge. Wo unto (them that are] wise in their
own eyes, and prudent in their own sight, and so despise the 22 prophet's instructions ! Wo unto [them that are] miglity to
drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink ; who
drink a great deal without being disordered, and boast of it as an 23 accomplishment : Which justify the wicked for reward, and take
away the righteousness of the righteous from him, by condemn24 ing and punishing him! Therefore as the fire devoureth the
stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, (so] their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossoms shall go up as dust; they shall be destroyed root and branch, like a tree rotten at the root :
because they have cast a way the law of the Lord of hosts, and 25 despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore is the
anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and be hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them : and the hills did tremble, and their carcasses (were] torn, or, shall be as dung, in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand [is] stretched out still, he will
yet take further vengrance upon them. 26 And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, to the
Chaldeans, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth ; and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly; he will collect
them with the utmost case, as shepherds gather their sheer by 27 whistling: None shall be weary nor stumble among them;
none shall slumber nor sleep ; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken ; he will
strength:n them for their work, and nothing shall hinder them in 28 their march: Whose arrows (are] sharp, and all their bows
bent, completely armed for destructim; their horses' hoofs shall be counted like flint, they shall not be broken by the roughness of the road, and their wheels like a whirlwind, which intimates the 29 swiftness of their march, and the violence of the attack : 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 sit, neither the Jews thenie 30 selves, nor the Egyptians, whom they depended upon. 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; every thing about them shall be terrible, black, and disma'.
·PROM this chapter we are taught, that a sinful state is a wo
T ful state, and should particularly attend to the awful woes denounced against some transgressors.
1. Against those who are guilty of insatiable covetousness: a vice particularly prevalent in corporate towns, encouraged by their monopolists, and pleaded for in defence of their rights. It appears in being greedy of gain, opposing and undermining others of the same business, striving to get all trade to themselves, and artfully depriving others of the means of supporting their families. It is just in God to disappoint such greedy persons, and to blast their endeavours ; at least, he will punish them hereafter for their avarice and cruelty.
2. Let the rotaries of riot and mirth attend to their doom, as here pronounced by the Almighty. Let drunkards hear and tremble ; and know, that God will punish them who tarry long at the wine, though they can go home sober: the mispence of their substance and time, the inflaming of their lusts and passions by strong drink, are sins with which he is hignly displeased. Yea, let those who are given to pleasure, and spend their time in mirth, gaming, and gay assemblies, which ought to be devoted to reading and prayer, considering the works of God, and taking care of their families, remember, that there is a wo against thein, though they should not drink to excess. But,
3. The most wicked and dangerous sinners are those who con. found the difference between good and evil. The difference is as great as between light and darkness ; yea, as plain and evident to the mind, as the difference between light and darkness is to the eye, or that between sweet and bitter to the taste. These are they who argue against the principles and practice of religion, and misrepresent the ways of God, gloss over the practices of sin, and labour to weaken the restraints of piety, and justify that which is evil. As in this they act contrary to the light of nature and the convictions of conscience, their guilt is highly aggravated.
4. We see upon the whole the ground of God's controversy with nations : it is for these and such like sins abounding in them, ap 1 particularly that which is at the bottoin of all, v. 24, refusing to submit to his reproofs and receive bis instructions ; and despising the counsel of his messengers and the commands of his law. These predictions were intended as warnings to Israel, and they are written for our admonition ; that, if we desire the prosperity of our country, and the salvation of our own souls, we may live soberly, righteously, and godly, in the present world.
Here is a new commission given to the prophet, to firomote his rev
erence for God, his activity and perseverance in his work, and to encourage him amidst the unsuccessfulness of his ministry.
I IN the year that king Uzziah died I saw also, in a dream,
1 or a vision when awake, the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, the Shekinah, or glory of the Lord, which was
Christ, (John xii. 41.) and his train, or skirts, filled the temple. 2 Above it, or beside it, stood the seraphims ; an allusion to the cher
ubim attending the ark; they are called seraphims, or burnings, 10 express their holy nature and fervent zeal : each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. This is very expressive of their
reverence of God, and their activity in executing his commands. 3 And one cried unto another, aliernately expressing their transporis of zeal and joy, and said, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the LORD of hosts ; he is supremely and unchangeably holy in all his dispensations and judgments : the whole earth [is] full of his glory ; his perfections now shine in his works and providence ; but it shall 4 be more so in gospel times. And the posts of the door moved at
the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke,
in token of God's indignation against his people. 5 Then said I, Wo [is] me ! for I am undone, or, I am struck
dumb, because I [am] a man of unclean lips, I am a polluted sinful creature, unfit to be employed in any service for God, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips : for mine eyes
have seen the King, the Lord of hosts; I have seen him in all 6 his splendor and purity, appearing as a judge. Then few one
of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, 7 (which] he had taken with the tongs from off the altar : And
he laid [it] upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips ; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged ; this is a sign that thy guilt is pardoned, and that a commission is
given thee to be a preacher and reprover to this profile. 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I
send, and who will go for us? He asked not for information, but that Isaiah might willingly offer himself. Then said I, Here
[am] I ; send me; I am very willing to go now my incapacity is 9 removed. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye, in
deed, but understand not ; and see ye indeed, but perceive not ; though I give you the means of instruction, and lay before you