Isaiah 58

* Hypocrisy reproved. (1,2) A counterfeit and a true fast, with

promises to real godliness, and, (3-12) to the keeping the

sabbath. (13,14)

1,2 The Holy Spirit had hypocrites of every age in view.

Self-love and timid Christians may say, Spare thyself; dislike

to the cross and other motives will say, "Spare the rich and

powerful;" but God says, "Spare not:" and we must obey God, not

men. We all need earnestly to pray for God's assistance in

examining ourselves. Men may go far toward heaven, yet come

short; and they may go to hell with a good reputation.
3-12 A fast is a day to afflict the soul; if it does not

express true sorrow for sin, and does not promote the putting

away of sin, it is not a fast. These professors had shown sorrow

on stated or occasioned fasts. But they indulged pride,

covetousness, and malignant passions. To be liberal and merciful

is more acceptable to God than mere fasting, which, without

them, is vain and hypocritical. Many who seem humble in God's

house, are hard at home, and harass their families. But no man's

faith justifies, which does not work by love. Yet persons,

families, neighbourhoods, churches, or nations, show repentance

and sorrow for sin, by keeping a fast sincerely, and, from right

motives, repenting, and doing good works. The heavy yoke of sin

and oppression must be removed. As sin and sorrow dry the bones

and weaken the strongest human constitution; so the duties of

kindness and charity strengthen and refresh both body and mind.

Those who do justly and love mercy, shall have the comfort, even

in this world. Good works will bring the blessing of God,

provided they are done from love to God and man, and wrought in

the soul by the Holy Spirit.
13,14 The sabbath is a sign between God and his professing

people; his appointing it is a sign of his favour to them; and

their observing it is a sign of their obedience to him. We must

turn from travelling on that day; from doing our pleasure on

that holy day, without the control and restraint of conscience;

or from indulging in the pleasures of sense. On sabbath days we

must not follow our callings, or our pleasures. In all we say

and do, we must put a difference between this day and other

days. Even in Old Testament times the sabbath was called the

Lord's day, and is fitly called so still; and for a further

reason, it is the Lord Christ's day, #Re 1:10|. If we thus

remember the sabbath day to keep it holy, we shall have the

comfort and profit of it, and have reason to say, It is good to

draw near to God.

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