Isaiah 1** Isaiah prophesied in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, andHezekiah. He has been well called the evangelical prophet, onaccount of his numerous and full prophesies concerning thecoming and character, the ministry and preaching, the sufferingsand death of the Messiah, and the extent and continuance of hiskingdom. Under the veil of the deliverance from Babylon, Isaiahpoints to a much greater deliverance, which was to be effectedby the Messiah; and seldom does he mention the one, withoutalluding at the same time to the other; nay, he is often so muchenraptured with the prospect of the more distant deliverance, asto lose sight of that which was nearer, and to dwell on theMessiah's person, office, character, and kingdom. * The corruptions prevailing among the Jews. (1-9) Severecensures. (10-15) Exhortations to repentance. (16-20) The stateof Judah is lamented; with gracious promises of the gospeltimes. (21-31)1-9 Isaiah signifies, "The salvation of the Lord;" a verysuitable name for this prophet, who prophesies so much of Jesusthe Saviour, and his salvation. God's professing people did notknow or consider that they owed their lives and comforts toGod's fatherly care and kindness. How many are very careless inthe affairs of their souls! Not considering what we do know inreligion, does us as much harm, as ignorance of what we shouldknow. The wickedness was universal. Here is a comparison takenfrom a sick and diseased body. The distemper threatens to bemortal. From the sole of the foot even to the head; from themeanest peasant to the greatest peer, there is no soundness, nogood principle, no religion, for that is the health of the soul.Nothing but guilt and corruption; the sad effects of Adam'sfall. This passage declares the total depravity of human nature.While sin remains unrepented, nothing is done toward healingthese wounds, and preventing fatal effects. Jerusalem wasexposed and unprotected, like the huts or sheds built up toguard ripening fruits. These are still to be seen in the East,where fruits form a large part of the summer food of the people.But the Lord had a small remnant of pious servants at Jerusalem.It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed. The evilnature is in every one of us; only Jesus and his sanctifyingSpirit can restore us to spiritual health. 10-15 Judea was desolate, and their cities burned. Thisawakened them to bring sacrifices and offerings, as if theywould bribe God to remove the punishment, and give them leave togo on in their sin. Many who will readily part with theirsacrifices, will not be persuaded to part with their sins. Theyrelied on the mere form as a service deserving a reward. Themost costly devotions of wicked people, without thoroughreformation of heart and life, cannot be acceptable to God. Henot only did not accept them, but he abhorred them. All thisshows that sin is very hateful to God. If we allow ourselves insecret sin, or forbidden indulgences; if we reject the salvationof Christ, our very prayers will become abomination. 16-20 Not only feel sorrow for the sin committed, but break offthe practice. We must be doing, not stand idle. We must be doingthe good the Lord our God requires. It is plain that thesacrifices of the law could not atone, even for outward nationalcrimes. But, blessed be God, there is a Fountain opened, inwhich sinners of every age and rank may be cleansed. Though oursins have been as scarlet and crimson, a deep dye, a double dye,first in the wool of original corruption, and afterwards in themany threads of actual transgression; though we have oftendipped into sin, by many backslidings; yet pardoning mercy willtake out the stain, #Ps 51:7|. They should have all thehappiness and comfort they could desire. Life and death, goodand evil, are set before us. O Lord, incline all of us to liveto thy glory. 21-31 Neither holy cities nor royal ones are faithful to theirtrust, if religion does not dwell in them. Dross may shine likesilver, and the wine that is mixed with water may still have thecolour of wine. Those have a great deal to answer for, who donot help the oppressed, but oppress them. Men may do much byoutward restraints; but only God works effectually by theinfluences of his Spirit, as a Spirit of Judgment. Sin is theworst captivity, the worst slavery. The redemption of thespiritual Zion, by the righteousness and death of Christ, and byhis powerful grace, most fully accord with what is here meant.Utter ruin is threatened. The Jews should become as a tree whenblasted by heat; as a garden without water, which in those hotcountries would soon be burned up. Thus shall they be that trustin idols, or in an arm of flesh. Even the strong man shall be astow; not only soon broken, and pulled to pieces, but easilycatching fire. When the sinner has made himself as tow andstubble, and God makes himself as a consuming fire, what canprevent the utter ruin of the sinner?
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