Isaiah 51* Exhortations to trust the Messiah. (1-3) The power of God, andthe weakness of man. (4-8) Christ defends his people. (9-16)Their afflictions and deliverances. (17-23)1-3 It is good for those privileged by the new birth, toconsider that they were shapen in sin. This should cause lowthoughts of ourselves, and high thoughts of Divine grace. It isthe greatest comfort to be made serviceable to the glory of God.The more holiness men have, and the more good they do, the moregladness they have. Let us seriously reflect upon our guilt. Todo so will tend to keep the heart humble, and the conscienceawake and tender. They make Christ more precious to the soul,and give strength to our attempts and prayers for others. 4-8 The gospel of Christ shall be preached and published. Howshall we escape if we neglect it? There is no salvation withoutrighteousness. The soul shall, as to this world, vanish likesmoke, and the body be thrown by like a worn-out garment. Butthose whose happiness is in Christ's righteousness andsalvation, will have the comfort of it when time and days shallbe no more. Clouds darken the sun, but do not stop its course.The believer will enjoy his portion, while revilers of Christare in darkness 9-16 The people whom Christ has redeemed with his blood, aswell as by his power, will obtain joyful deliverance from everyenemy. He that designs such joy for us at last, will he not worksuch deliverance in the mean time, as our cases require? In thisworld of changes, it is a short step from joy to sorrow, but inthat world, sorrow shall never come in view. They prayed for thedisplay of God's power; he answers them with consolations of hisgrace. Did we dread to sin against God, we should not fear thefrowns of men. Happy is the man that fears God always. AndChrist's church shall enjoy security by the power and providenceof the Almighty. 17-23 God calls upon his people to mind the things that belongto their everlasting peace. Jerusalem had provoked God, and wasmade to taste the bitter fruits. Those who should have been hercomforters, were their own tormentors. They have no patience bywhich to keep possesion of their own souls, nor any confidencein God's promise, by which to keep possession of its comfort.Thou art drunken, not as formerly, with the intoxicating cup ofBabylon's idolatries, but with the cup of affliction. Know,then, the cause of God's people may for a time seem as lost, butGod will protect it, by convincing the conscience, orconfounding the projects, of those that strive against it. Theoppressors required souls to be subjected to them, that everyman should believe and worship as they would have them. But allthey could gain by violence was, that people were brought tooutward hypocritical conformity, for consciences cannot beforced.
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