Imatges de pÓgina

ftanding all the perfecutions which they have fuffered for their adherence to it, and their inviolable faith in the ftrict Unity of God.


The Prophet farther obferves, that God will do this on another account: namely, in order to be avenged of the nations for the wickedness and abominations which they have committed; verfe 3d. "He flayeth an ox (and) killeth a man: he facrifieth a lamb, (and) beheadeth a dog: he maketh an oblation of fwine's blood; (and) offereth incenfe, that (is as) the presenting of iniquity: yea, they themselves have chofen their own ways; and in their abominations their foul delighteth. In this verse, the Prophet defcribes two heinous crimes which they have been guilty of: first, the barbarity with which they treated the nation in this long and dreadful captivity: for with the fame indifference and apathy, that they kill an ox, they flay a man of them and think no more of destroying the loft sheep of Ifrael, than in breaking the neck of a dog whence, the propriety of the Prophet's use of the Metaphors, ox, and sheep, is obvious for the ox, denoted the kingVOL. II. L



dom of Ifrael; because the first king of the ten tribes, was descended from Joseph: and Jofeph in the bleffing of Mofes, is compared to a bull*. (See Deut. xxxiii. 17.) And the kingdom of Judah, as well as the nation in general, are compared to sheep and lambs. (See. Ezek. xxxiv. 2. 3. &c.) Secondly, for their impious, and abominable practices: for their oblations are of fwine's blood: they eat the blood of the fwine, and other beafts; and of which, they make presents to each other, as if it was fome rich delicacy; and the incenfe they offer, is as the prefenting of iniquity: their prayers to mediators and faints, is all a scene of iniquity. But, as the Gentiles might in excufe plead, that what they did to the nation, could not render them criminal because God was pleased to fend them into captivity, to be punished for their fins: neither ought they to be accounted culpable for what they eat; as they had never been admonished by God, to abstain from any particular


This was the reafon that Jeroboam made the two calves: See King. xii. 29. for they were made on a political account; and not on a religious one, as I shall hew at large in my comment on Scripture.

particular food. To this, the Prophet anfwers, yea, they themselves have chofen their own ways. The dreadful maffacres and perfecutions, which they inflicted on this miferable people, for no other crime, but their strict adherence to the worship of the One true God; was of their own chufing, and not by my command, faith the most High; for I did not command them to do it; but their own evil and wicked imaginations prompted them to it; agreeable to what the Prophet fays*, "Because I was ( but) a little angry, and they helped forward the affliction." And, as to the blood, and other abominations, he obferves, and in their abominations, their foul delighteth: for which reafon, he fays, verse 4th. "I will also choose their calamities; and what they dread, I will bring upon them; because. I called, and no one anfwered, I fpake, and they would not hear: and they have done, what was evil in my fight, and that, in which I delighted not, they have chofen." The precepts which I commanded to Adam and to Noah, and which are binding on all mankind, have they not observed for they

L 2


Zech. i. 15.

have committed idolatry, murder, adultery, &c. befides the eating of blood, &c. And have thus walked in their evil imaginations; and barbarously chofen to perfecute the nation, in which I delighted not.


The prophet in verse 5th. addreffes himfelf to the righteous of the nation; thofe few that revere God's word, and endeavour to obferve it, "Hear ye the word of the LORD, ye that revere his word: your brethren, that hate you, and that thrust you out, for my name's fake; faid, Let the LORD be glorified for we fhall fee your Joy; but they will be confounded." The real fenfe of this verfe, which has given fo much trouble in its explanation, to Christian commentators, both ancient and modern* for want of a thorough knowledge of the facred language; I humbly conceive to be as follows. The Prophet, in addreffing himfelf to the true believers of the nation, to inform them of their future happiness at their restoration; and the vengeance that God will take of their enemies, fays, Have ye not obferved what your brethren have faid?

* See Bishop Lowth's Notes on Ifaiah. And also thofe of a Layman, on this verse.

faid? Thefe are the defcendants of Efau and
Ishmael; for they are the brethren of the
nation for Ifhmael was the brother of
Ifaac, and Efau was the brother of Jacob.
He therefore very juftly calls them the
brethren of the nation: but, although they
are your brethren; yet, do they hate you,
and thrust you out and all this they fay, is
done for my name's fake, that I the LORD
may be glorified: for as both the Chrif-
tians, and Mahometans, affert, that they,
and they only, profefs the truth, they each
hate, and perfecute the Jews, for not em-
bracing their doctrine: this is clear from all
history. They also say, we shall see your
joy the joy that you expect, is designed
for us.
This, is particularly applicable to
the Chriftians; for they have invariably ap-
plied to themselves, all thofe glorious pro-
mifes, which predict our future happiness
in the latter days: the futility of which, I
have already exposed*: the Prophet there-
fore, justly obferves, but they fhall be con-
founded; for what they expect will not be;
on the contrary, all is recorded in writing


* See Vol. 1ft, page 149. &c.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »