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CHAP. XXXVIII.

The first fiart of this chapter gives an account of Hezekiah's dangerous sickness and miraculous recovery; the latter fiart is a tender and beautiful song of thanksgiving, in which this fiious king breathed out the sentiments of a grateful heart when his bfe was as it were restored.

1 TN those days was Hezekiah sick unto death, that is, of seme JL distemper, which in the common course of nature would firovc mortal.• And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house

2 in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the Lord,

3 And said, Remember, now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done [that which is] good in thy sight. And Hezekiah vrept sore, from the afifirehension that he should leave his kingdom

4 in distrenn, and without an heir. Then came the word of the

5 Loid to Isaiah, saying, Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, whose family seemed to be in danger of extinction, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy

6 tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years. And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of

7 Assyria: and I will defend this city. And this [shall be] a sign unto thee from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing

8 that he hath spoken ; Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward.! So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.

9 The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness; or, a song of thanksgiv

10 ingfor his deliverance : I said in the cutting off of my days,I shall , go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the residue of my years; being but about thirty nine years old, I might naturally

11 exfiect a longer life. I said, I shall not see the Lord, [even] the Lord, in the land of the living, in his house and ordinances; that is, no more join in or support his worslii/i: I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world; / "halt see my subjects and friends no more; I shall have no more opportunities of doing good to the fiublic or myself; a sentiment full ofpiety and

12 benevolence. Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent ; a weak, frail building, that is easily taken down or removed from filace to fdace: I have cut off like a weaver my life ; have given ufi all my schemes and proxpects: he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day [even] to night wilt

• This licknm happened in the ipvx between Sennaehrrib'i invasion and the dewt*. linn of hi, army. s

t Probably an inflection of the ravl of the sufe which continued for iorm; time.

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thou make an end of me; / thought. this would be the cate every

13 morning and evening. I reckoned till morning, [that,] as a lion, so will he break all my bones: from day [even] to night wilt thou make an end of me; / thought the violence of my pain would destroy me before morning, like a lion breaking my bones.

14 Like a crane [or] a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove ; my voice was weak and broken, so that I could only sigh and bemoan myself: mine eyes fail [with looking] upward ; or rather, mine eyes are so weak that I cannot look ufi: O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me; I am sinking under this heavy affliction; O Lord, appear for me, before death seizes upon me.

15 What shall I say I an expression of God's great goodness, and of his own thankfulness ; how shall I fmd words to express my gratitude? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done [it ;] he promised health, and it imviediately came : I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul; / ihall all my days remember the bitterness of my soul; or it may refer to walking humbly and circtttnspeetly be

16 fore God after it. O Lord, by these [things,] thy power and goodness, [men] live, and I in particular, and in all these [things is] the life of my spirit: so wilt thou recover me, and make

17 me to live ; by thee I shall still be supported. Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul [delivered it] from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back; thou hast forgiven my sins- which brought this dis'emper upon me, and hast shown thy favow to me by thus

18 recovering me. For the grave cannot praise thee, death can [not] celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth ; they cannot glorify thee on earth and serve markind, or expect to see thy promises to thy church and people fulfilled.

19 The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I [do] this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth ; they that have been recovered shall praise thee themselves, and relate thy goodness to their children, to encourage them to trust in thee.

20 The Lord [was ready] to save me : therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LonD ; not only this song, hut other devout compositions ; not merely in one visit paid to the sanctuary, but as long as

21 my recovered hfe shall continue. For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs, and lay [it] for a plaister upon the boil,

22 and he shall recover.• Hezekiah also had said, What [is] the sign, that I shall go up to the house of the Lord ? that was the

firit place he designed to visit, and therefore he put the question with particular reference to it.

• PerhifK thelc might have a narunl virrne ro ripen the impouhume, but couicl aot heal

It to soou without ixtr;iurdisury tuurposisum.

REFLECTIONS.

1. ГТЛШЗ chapter suggests many useful instructions to the sick _1_ and infirm; and such any of us may very soon bt. Л\'е should therefore set our houses in order, make our wills: settle our affairs, and contrive for the peace of survivors. Especially should we set our souls in order; renew the exercise of repentance and faith, and make our peace with Cod, with men, and our own consciences. Let the sick pray, and humble themselves; acknowledge the hand of God in the visitation, and seek help from bim ; but they should not neglect the assistance of physicians and medicines, lest t/u-y tcmfit the I^ird their Ciod. Though Ilezekiah's recovery was in a great measure miraculous, yet natural means were used, to teach us the use of them. Let us not think our fears of death signs of our being in a sinful state, for even Hezeklah wept sore at its approach, though he could appeal to God that he had •tvalked before him in trulli, and with a ¡¡crfcct heart, and had dine ¡hat which was good in his xi%ht.

'2. Those who have been recovered from sickness may see what should be their temper and conduct. It is proper to recollect, ?nd keep written memorials of their danger and deliverance ; of the workings of their thoughts and affections ; their views of God, themselves, and another world; and of their resolutions and vows. Let them be very thankful for their escapes from death; remembering, that it was the Lord that healed them, that recovered them from the pit of corruption, when just sinking into it; they should express their thankfulness in their addresses to God, and in their conversation with others, for their encouragement. It should be our care to walk humbly with God ; tu proceed with caution and watchfulness in the way of duty; to be zealous for his honour, and diligent and serious in our attendance upon his ordinances. Ilezekiah's love to God's house showed itself very remarkably during his sickness; he lamented his being deprived of attendance there, and resolved to frequent it constantly while he lived. Thus should we improve our recoveries from sickness, or our continued health; remembering, that life is short, and that then'is no knowledge, viisdj/ti, or device, in the grave, ivhilher we are all going.

CHAP. XXXIX.*

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\ \ Т that time Merodachbaladan, the son of Balndan, king of jT\. Babylon, sent letters and a present to llezekuh: for ho 2 had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered. And Hezekiah was glad of them, and showed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and ail that

• For tbt illustration anil improvement of Ms chapter, «ее г Kings, »t. U—ty.

was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor

3 in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not. Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him. What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country unto

4 me, [even] from Babylon. Then said he, What have they seen in thine house? And Heaekiah answered, All that [is] in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures

5 that I have not showed them. Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah,

6 Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: Behold, the days come, that all that [is] in thine house, and [that] which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon:

7 nothing shall be left, saith the Lord. And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away ; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of

8 Babylon. Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good [is] the word of the Lord which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall he peace and truth in my days.

—-?

CHAP. XL.

TVe now come to the last part of Isaiah's prophecy, which is by much tie most sublime and important. It contains many comfortable predictions of the restoration of the Jems from captivity, of the blessings of the gospel, and the conversion of the Jews in the latter days. But in this chapter, and in many other places, these events are so intermingled, that, though the general sense is plain, it is hard to determine to which event the prophet rcfers.

1 /""^ OMFORT ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God; \_A that is, to the prophets during the captivity, and to all chris

2 tian ministers in future ages. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins; not double to what she deserved, but double in proportion to God's severity in correcting other sinful nations, because she was more eminently favoured. It may have a reference to the law of paying double damages, Exod. xxii. 4. Immediately a harbinger is introduced, giving orders as was vsual in the march of eastern generals, to remove every obstacle, and prepare the way for their return into their own land.

3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God; probably referring to Cyrus's proclamation of deliverance to the Jews; or rather to the gospel salvation; and it is so

4 applied to John the Baptist, Mat. iii. 3. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain; all difficulties shall vanish; men's pride and prejudices shall be re

5 moved: And the glory of the Lord, his glorious power and goodness, shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see [it] together:

6 for the mouth of the Lokd hath spoken [it.] The voice said to the prophet, Cry, or proclaim aloud. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh [is] grass, and all the goodliness thereof [is] as

7 the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the peo

8 pie [is] grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever? there is no dependence to be laid on the wisdom, power, and promises of men, but the promises of God are faithful, and nothing shall prevent the execution of them. So Peter applies the words in his first epistle, chap. i. 23—25.

9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, or, O thou that telkstgood tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, or, O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; proclaim aloud on the mountains, from whence thou canst best be heard; lift [it] up, be not afraid, for God will make his word good; say unto the

10 cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong [hand,] or, against the strong, and his arm shall rule for him ; he will complete your deliverance, and establish the Messiah's kingdom, without human assistance: behold, his reward [is] with him, and his work, or, recompense for his

11 work, before him. He, that is, the Messiah, shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry [them,] that is, the lame and sick, in his bosom, [and] shall gently lead those that are with young.

12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? To confirm your faith in these promises, observe the exact order in which the earth is formed; the mountains are weighed, the waters and the dust are measured; so that there is not a drop too much, nor a grain superfluous or defi

13 cient ; and say, Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord whi-n he made the world, or [being] his counsellor hath taught him to

14 govern it? With whom took he counsel, and [who] instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him

15 knowledge, and showed to him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations \jxrt] as a drop of a bucket, as inconsiderable, when compared with the ocean, as a drop of water, and are counted as the small dust of the balance ; so small, when compared with the whole earth, as not to affect the mcc*t scales; behold, he taketh up the isles, as a very little thing; the isles, though so spacious, strong, and deep rooted, are in his hand what a light thing

16 is in ours, which we take up, turn, and manage as we please. And, if we would study to present an oblation answerable to his grcatness, Lebanon [is] not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof

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