Isaiah 24* The desolation of the land. (1-12) A few shall be preserved.(13-15) God's kingdom advanced by his judgments. (16-23)1-12 All whose treasures and happiness are laid up on earth,will soon be brought to want and misery. It is good to apply toourselves what the Scripture says of the vanity and vexation ofspirit which attend all things here below. Sin has turned theearth upside down; the earth is become quite different to man,from what it was when God first made it to be his habitation. Itis, at the best, like a flower, which withers in the hands ofthose that please themselves with it, and lay it in theirbosoms. The world we live in is a world of disappointment, avale of tears; the children of men in it are but of few days,and full of trouble, See the power of God's curse, how it makesall empty, and lays waste all ranks and conditions. Sin bringsthese calamities upon the earth; it is polluted by the sins ofmen, therefore it is made desolate by God's judgments. Carnaljoy will soon be at end, and the end of it is heaviness. God hasmany ways to imbitter wine and strong drink to those who lovethem; distemper of body, anguish of mind, and the ruin of theestate, will make strong drink bitter, and the delights of sensetasteless. Let men learn to mourn for sin, and rejoice in God;then no man, no event, can take their joy from them. 13-15 There shall be a remnant preserved from the general ruin,and it shall be a devout and pious remnant. These few aredispersed; like the gleanings of the olive tree, hid under theleaves. The Lord knows those that are his; the world does not.When the mirth of carnal worldlings ceases, the joy of thesaints is as lively as ever, because the covenant of grace, thefountain of their comforts, and the foundation of their hopes,never fails. Those who rejoice in the Lord can rejoice intribulation, and by faith may triumph when all about them are intears. They encourage their fellow-sufferers to do likewise,even those who are in the furnace of affliction. Or, in thevalleys, low, dark, miry places. In every fire, even thehottest, in every place, even the remotest, let us keep up ourgood thoughts of God. If none of these trials move us, then weglorify the Lord in the fires. 16-23 Believers may be driven into the uttermost parts of theearth; but they are singing, not sighing. Here is terror tosinners; the prophet laments the miseries he saw breaking inlike a torrent; and the small number of believers. He foreseesthat sin would abound. The meaning is plain, that evil pursuessinners. Unsteady, uncertain are all these things. Worldly menthink to dwell in the earth as in a palace, as in a castle; butit shall be removed like a cottage, like a lodge put up for thenight. It shall fall and not rise again; but there shall be newheavens and a new earth, in which shall dwell nothing butrighteousness. Sin is a burden to the whole creation; it is aheavy burden, under which it groans now, and will sink at last.The high ones, that are puffed up with their grandeur, thatthink themselves out of the reach of danger, God will visit fortheir pride and cruelty. Let us judge nothing before the time,though some shall be visited. None in this world should besecure, though their condition be ever so prosperous; nor needany despair, though their condition be ever so deplorable. Godwill be glorified in all this. But the mystery of Providence isnot yet finished. The ruin of the Redeemer's enemies must makeway for his kingdom, and then the Sun of Righteousness willappear in full glory. Happy are those who take warning by thesentence against others; every impenitent sinner will sink underhis transgression, and rise no more, while believers enjoyeverlasting bliss.
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