صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

come partakers of his great falvation, ver. 4-5.-He announces the total abolition of the Old Testament dispensation, to make way for the establishment of the new œconomy of grace, the perpetuity of which is described in very strong terms, ver. 6.-After which he predicts the certain deftruction of his adversaries, who were to oppose the interests of his kingdom, and to act in hoftility against his people, ver. 7-8.-The Church is then brought forward, encouraging themselves in the power of Jehovah, who of old had delivered their fathers from oppreffion in Egypt, and invefted them in the poffeffion of the land of Canaan, ver. 9-11.This is followed with an affurance of God's merciful regard, and a prediction of the overthrow of those kingdoms who were to refufe affiftance in founding the new kingdom of God, ver. 12-16.-Having mentioned the direful calamities which were to befal the people of God, they are called upon to be of good comfort in the reviving profpect of their deliverance, ver. 17-20.-The chapter concludes with an explicit declaration of their release from affliction, and the execution of righteous vengeance on their enemies, ver. 21-23.

[ocr errors]


EARKEN to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that feek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.

To comfort his peculiar people, who feared the Lord and obeyed the voice of his fervant, the Meffiah demands their special attention, and exhorts them to call to mind the stock from which they were defcended. The perfons to whom he addreffed his difcourse are thus characterized, Ye that follow after righteousness. The Hebrew word tranflated righteoufnefs, is ufed in


Scripture in various fenfes, and is of fuch extensive import, that it is not eafy fometimes to afcertain its precife meaning. Here it may denote truth and juftice--the doctrine of the Son of God is emphatically denominated the word of truth,' inafmuch as it contains the most certain and important discoveries, ratified and confirmed by God, who cannot lie, the precious promises made unto the fathers, and fulfilled unto their children; and the word of righteousness,' because the righteoufnefs of God, and of his Son Jefus Chrift, are 'therein celebrated, which being believed from the heart, men become righteous before the Lord. It comprehends whatfoever enlightned reason, and the holy law of God requires; things that are true, honest, juft, pure, lovely, virtuous, and of good report. To follow after righteoufnefs intimates, that, notwithftanding it was far from them, and apt to escape their vigilance, they profecuted this worthy object with ardour and affiduity, convinced, that in the belief and obedience of the word of righteoufnefs and truth confifts their chief excellence, beauty, and utility; that deftitute of righteousness, they should be deformed, miferable, and odious.--What an inestimable acquifition is this. The way of the wicked,' (faith the proverb), is an abomination to the Lord; but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness *.> This righeousness is the beauty and ornament of human nature, it conftitutes a principal part of the divine resemblance, it is the peculiar effect of the operation of God, the richest jewel we can acquire, the precious feed that fprings up into everlasting life, the amiable object which we ought to endeavour with diligence and conftancy to attain.

[ocr errors]

Ye that feek the Lord, firmly convinced of your abfolute need of the enjoyment of his favour, which is better than life, to your poffeffing true happinefs, ye feek his face with your whole hearts, in the diligent ufe of those means he hath inftituted. Deeply fenfible, that his mercy, his affistance, direction, and protection, are indefpenfibly requifite to your

* Prov. xv. 9.


felicity and comfort, ye are earnestly defirous to obtain from God these important bleffings. In obedience to his command, and encouraged by his promises, who allows none of the pofterity of Jacob to feek him in vain, ye affiduoufly endeavour, in the ways he hath pointed out, to obtain the fruits of his lovingkindness. Ye who are the generation of them that feek the face of the God of Ifrael, folicitous to enjoy the light of his countenance, and the good of his chofen people. It is now time to feek the Lord,' as faith the prophet Hofea *; it is not yet too late to commence this important business, in which I would have you, brethren, immediately to engage, animated by the gracious affurances, that they who are thus employed fhall not lack any good thing, and that when you fearch for God with all your heart he will be found of you.-Perfons of this derfciption are required,

[ocr errors]


To look unto the rock, &c. Scripture allufions to natural objects are adapted to the ordinary capacities of mankind, and therefore in fome cafes, as in the one before us, do not require nice difquifition to unfold their import. The figurative language ufed in this verfe, was doubtless well understood by thofe to whom it was primarily directed, and for the benefit of all is explained in the following verfe. The meaning of the exhortation feems to be this, Confider the ancestors from whom ye are defcended, and from a careful furvey of their character and circumftances, ye may learn many ufeful inftructive leffons. Steadily contemplate the patriarch Abraham, the friend of God, the father of the faithful, your renowned progenitor, and fix your thoughts on the good conduct of his virtuous companion for life, whofe children ye are as long as ye do well.

2. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you; for I called him alone, and bleffed him, and increased him.

Chap. x. 12.


Fix your attention, I fay, on this highly-favoured man, and his beloved wife, from whom ye have the honour of being lineally defcended. Recollect how the Lord God was gracioufly pleafed to call him, with his fpouse, from among an idolatrous people, living in Ur of the Chaldees, to enjoy the most valuable privileges, to worship the living and true God, to be the father of many nations, the heir of the world, the heir alfo of the righteousness that is by faith, and an eminent example of faith in God and obedience to his command. This vocation is faid to have been peculiar to Abraham, because he only received command from God to leave his country and kindred, and to go out into a place which he should afterwards receive for an inheritance; and he went forth, not knowing whither he went *. Terah his father, Sarah his wife, and Lot his brother's fon, accompanied him in his journey from Ur, to the land whither he travelled, determined to fhare in the fortunes of their respected relation. What an ineftimable favour was conferred on the fervant of the most high God, in being feparated by divine authority from the fociety of those who were addicted to grofs idolatry, that he might be wholly appropriated to the fervice of Jehovah! What a ftrong fenfe of duty muft the patriarch have felt, what entire acquiefcence in the wisdom and goodness of Providence, when, furrendering all his worldly interests, he became a stranger and fojourner on the earth! This is a fubject, taken in connection with what follows, truly worthy of attentive confideration.

[ocr errors]

And bleffed him, with all manner of temporal and fpiritual bleffings. The Lord God bleffed him with great riches, and large poffeffions, as his principal fervant reported to the family of Laban. The Lord,' faid he, hath bleffed my mafter greatly, and he is 'become great; and he hath given him flocks and 'herds, and filver and gold, and men-fervants and 'maid-servants, and camels and affes t.' He was bleffed with frequent delightful converfe with God,

* Heb. xi. 8.

+ Gen. xxiv. 35.


who vouchsafed to enter into covenant with him, who granted him the forgiveness of fins, the acceptance of his perfon and fervices; hence we read, that • Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteoufnefs *.' Befides, the Almighty rendered him a public bleffing, all the families of the earth being bleffed in him and in his pofterity, whilft in his conduct he exhibited an illuftrious example of faith in the promises of God, and of refignation to his will. And increafed him. All circumstances confidered, this was an extraordinary event. Before the increase in Abraham's family took place, which is here referred to, the patriarch was near one hundred years old, Sarah was alfo arrived at old age, and never had any children. In this ftate the promife of an increasing posterity, numerous as the stars of heaven, must have seemed chimerical and abfurd. Notwithftanding the promises that God had made to him, refpecting his being the father of many nations, appeared highly improbable, yet Abraham was strong in faith that he would perform what he had promised, and against hope believed in hope. And his expectation was fully gratified in due time.-Thefe and other circumstances, relative to the father of the faithful, Jehovah requires thofe who follow after righteousness attentively to confider, that they may thereby be induced to imitate his good conduct. If, after the example of this great man, you are prepared, in obedience to the command of God, to leave your most valued poffeffions, and, repofing unfufspecting confidence in the power and faithfulness of Jehovah, to furmount every difficulty that lies in the way of duty, you fhall experience in due time the truth of his promises. In this view, compliance with the direction I have been explaining appears in a ftrong light, as highly useful to establish faith and hope in the providence and word of God. When your condition feems most deftitute, turn your thoughts to this venerable fervant of God, and his partner for life,

Rom. iv. 3.


« السابقةمتابعة »