Malachi 1

** Malachi was the last of the prophets, and is supposed to have

prophesied B.C. 420. He reproves the priests and the people for

the evil practices into which they had fallen, and invites them

to repentance and reformation, with promises of the blessings to

be bestowed at the coming of the Messiah. And now that prophecy

was to cease, he speaks clearly of the Messiah, as nigh at hand,

and directs the people of God to keep in rememberance the law of

Moses, while they were in expectation of the gospel of Christ.

* The ingratitude of Israel. (1-5) They are careless in God's

institutions. (6-14)

1-5 All advantages, either as to outward circumstances, or

spiritual privileges, come from the free love of God, who makes

one to differ from another. All the evils sinners feel and fear,

are the just recompence of their crimes, while all their hopes

and comforts are from the unmerited mercy of the Lord. He chose

his people that they might be holy. If we love him, it is

because he has first loved us; yet we all are prone to

undervalue the mercies of God, and to excuse our own offences.
6-14 We may each charge upon ourselves what is here charged

upon the priests. Our relation to God, as our Father and Master,

strongly obliges us to fear and honour him. But they were so

scornful that they derided reproof. Sinners ruin themselves by

trying to baffle their convictions. Those who live in careless

neglect of holy ordinances, who attend on them without

reverence, and go from them under no concern, in effect say, The

table of the Lord is contemptible. They despised God's name in

what they did. It is evident that these understood not the

meaning of the sacrifices, as shadowing forth the unblemished

Lamb of God; they grudged the expense, thinking all thrown away

which did not turn to their profit. If we worship God

ignorantly, and without understanding, we bring the blind for

sacrifice; if we do it carelessly, if we are cold, dull, and

dead in it, we bring the sick; if we rest in the bodily

exercise, and do not make heart-work of it, we bring the lame;

and if we suffer vain thoughts and distractions to lodge within

us, we bring the torn. And is not this evil? Is it not a great

affront to God, and a great wrong and injury to our own souls?

In order to the acceptance of our actions with God, it is not

enough to do that which, for the matter of it, is good; but we

must do it from a right principle, in a right manner, and for a

right end. Our constant mercies from God, make worse our

slothfulness and niggardliness, in our returns of duty to God. A

spiritual worship shall be established. Incense shall be offered

to God's name, which signifies prayer and praise. And it shall

be a pure offering. When the hour came, in which the true

worshippers worshipped the Father in Spirit and in truth, then

this incense was offered, even this pure offering. We may rely

on God's mercy for pardon as to the past, but not for indulgence

to sin in future. If there be a willing mind, it will be

accepted, though defective; but if any be a deceiver, devoting

his best to Satan and to his lusts, he is under a curse. Men

now, though in a different way, profane the name of the Lord,

pollute his table, and show contempt for his worship.

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