Isaiah 51

* Exhortations to trust the Messiah. (1-3) The power of God, and

the 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, to

consider that they were shapen in sin. This should cause low

thoughts of ourselves, and high thoughts of Divine grace. It is

the greatest comfort to be made serviceable to the glory of God.

The more holiness men have, and the more good they do, the more

gladness they have. Let us seriously reflect upon our guilt. To

do so will tend to keep the heart humble, and the conscience

awake 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. How

shall we escape if we neglect it? There is no salvation without

righteousness. The soul shall, as to this world, vanish like

smoke, and the body be thrown by like a worn-out garment. But

those whose happiness is in Christ's righteousness and

salvation, will have the comfort of it when time and days shall

be no more. Clouds darken the sun, but do not stop its course.

The believer will enjoy his portion, while revilers of Christ

are in darkness
9-16 The people whom Christ has redeemed with his blood, as

well as by his power, will obtain joyful deliverance from every

enemy. He that designs such joy for us at last, will he not work

such deliverance in the mean time, as our cases require? In this

world of changes, it is a short step from joy to sorrow, but in

that world, sorrow shall never come in view. They prayed for the

display of God's power; he answers them with consolations of his

grace. Did we dread to sin against God, we should not fear the

frowns of men. Happy is the man that fears God always. And

Christ's church shall enjoy security by the power and providence

of the Almighty.
17-23 God calls upon his people to mind the things that belong

to their everlasting peace. Jerusalem had provoked God, and was

made to taste the bitter fruits. Those who should have been her

comforters, were their own tormentors. They have no patience by

which to keep possesion of their own souls, nor any confidence

in God's promise, by which to keep possession of its comfort.

Thou art drunken, not as formerly, with the intoxicating cup of

Babylon's idolatries, but with the cup of affliction. Know,

then, the cause of God's people may for a time seem as lost, but

God will protect it, by convincing the conscience, or

confounding the projects, of those that strive against it. The

oppressors required souls to be subjected to them, that every

man should believe and worship as they would have them. But all

they could gain by violence was, that people were brought to

outward hypocritical conformity, for consciences cannot be

forced.

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