Isaiah 29* Judgements on Jerusalem and on its enemies. (1-8) Thesenselessness and hypocrisy of the Jews. (9-16) The conversionof the Gentiles, and future blessings for the Jews. (17-24)1-8 Ariel may signify the altar of burnt-offerings. LetJerusalem know that outward religious services will not make menfree from judgements. Hypocrites never can please God, nor maketheir peace with him. God had often and long, by a host ofangels, encamped round about Jerusalem for protection anddeliverance; but now he fought against it. Proud looks and proudlanguage shall be brought down by humbling providences. Thedestruction of Jerusalem's enemies is foretold. The army ofSennacherib went as a dream; and thus the multitudes, thatthrough successive ages fight against God's altar and worship,shall fall. Speedily will sinners awake from their soothingdreams in the pains of hell. 9-16 The security of sinners in sinful ways, is cause forlamentation and wonder. The learned men, through prejudice, saidthat the Divine prophecies were obscure; and the poor urgedtheir want of learning. The Bible is a sealed book to every man,learned or unlearned, till he begins to study it with a simpleheart and a teachable spirit, that he may thence learn the truthand the will of God. To worship God, is to approach him. And ifthe heart be full of his love and fear, out of the abundance ofit the mouth will speak; but there are many whose religion islip-labour only. When they pretend to be speaking to God, theyare thinking of a thousand foolish things. They worship the Godof Israel according to their own devices. Numbers are onlyformal in worship. And their religion is only to comply withcustom, and to serve their own interest. But the wanderings ofmind, and defects in devotion, which are the believer's burden,are very different from the withdrawing of the heart from God,so severely blamed. And those who make religion no more than apretence, to serve a turn, deceive themselves. And as those thatquarrel with God, so those that think to conceal themselves fromhim, in effect charge him with folly. But all their perverseconduct shall be entirely done away. 17-24 The wonderful change here foretold, may refer to theaffairs of Judah, though it looks further. When a great harvestof souls was gathered to Christ from among the Gentiles, thenthe wilderness was turned into a fruitful field; and the Jewishchurch, that had long been a fruitful field, became as adeserted forest. Those who, when in trouble, can truly rejoicein God, shall soon have cause greatly to rejoice in him. Thegrace of meekness contributes to the increase of our holy joy.The enemies who were powerful shall become mean and weak. Tocomplete the repose of God's people, the scorners at home shallbe cut off by judgements. All are apt to speak unadvisedly, andto mistake what they hear, but it is very unfair to make a manan offender for a word. They did all they could to bring thoseinto trouble who told them of their faults. But He that redeemedAbraham out of his snares and troubles, will redeem those whoare, by faith, his true seed, out of theirs. It will be thegreatest comfort to godly parents to see their children renewedcreatures, the work of God's grace. May those who now err inspirit, and murmur against the truth, come to understanding, andlearn true doctrine. The Spirit of truth shall set right theirmistakes, and lead them into all truth. This should encourage usto pray for those that have erred, and are deceived. All whomurmured at the truths of God, as hard sayings, shall learn andbe aware what God designed in all. See the change religionproduces in the hearts of men, and the peace and pleasure of ahumble and devout spirit.
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