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The blind, base world thinks it a word of disgrace, but the great God owns it as a chief point of His glory, a diamond of His crown, and frequently expresses it as one of the titles He most delights to be known by, Holy, Holy, Holy. And as this is beheld, the heart cannot but be filled with reverence, and holy fear, and self-abasement; as this Prophet here, in seeing the vision, and hearing that voice, Then said I, Wo is me, for I am undone. Isa. vi. 5.
This is here used fitly, to seare His people from rebellion, the unholy way on which they were so bent; and the rather because they were grown weary of it, and desired not to hear this word. Ver. 9. Therefore it is the more repeated; Bea cause ye despise this word, ye shall hear it the more. Vér. 12. The Prophet will neither be mocked nor threatened out of it; he will both deliver his message, and give the King who sent him His own title. And Oh, that we knew Him according to it, and understood what this means, The holy One of Is rael! He was a holy man, and knew something, who yet cónfesses his own ignorance in that point: (there must be some knowledge of it, to discover ignorance of it:) I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the Holy. Prov xxx. 3.
In returning and rest.] In leaving off the pains ye takė în messages and journeys to Egypt, in humbly and quietly com posing yourselves to wait on Me, and trust in Mé; submitting to My hand, in what I bring upon you, and from the same hand, Mine alone, expecting deliverance in due time.This does not bar the use of all lawful means, but, as it shuts out perplexing cares and turmoil even in those good means, so it expressly forbids all intermeddling with all unwarranted ways, such as God doth not direct us to, but rather dissuadés us
And if this be the safest way, surely, it is the sweetest, easiest way. There cannot be any thing easier than to be quiet and sit still, to rest and trust, and so be safe and strong. And as it is in this particular, so, generally, it is in all thế
ways of God; they are the only easy, peaceable, sweet ways, with the least pains, and the surest advantage. And the ways of disobedience, besides what comes after, are, even for the present, more turbulent, laborious, perplexed ways. What a hurry and pother are men put in, to serve their lusts, or their ambition, when, if they attain their object, it does not quit the cost and the pains; besides that of their hopes mock them, and after long pursuit, they embrace a shadow. Thus men woo their own vexation, and take a great deal more pains to be miserable, than they would be put to, to make them happy. What a pity to pay so dear for nothing, to give their riches and treasures, and to be at pains too, to carry them to a people that shall not profit them (et oleum et operam), both their expense and travel laid out to no purpose! The voluptuous, or covetous, or ambitious, how do they project, and drudge, and serve their wretched lusts, who, when they have done one piece of service, are still to begin another! And what is the profit of all, but shame and sorrow at last? The humble, sober-minded Christian saves all that pains, and hath his heart's desire in quietness and confidence*. His great desire and delight is, God; and, by desiring and delighting, he hath Him. Psal. xxxvii. 4. Delight thou in the Lord, and He shall give thee thy heart's desire-HIMSELF; and then, surely, thou shalt have all. Any other thing commit to Him, and He shall bring it to pass.
Strange! men might have God at an easier rate than the poorest vanities they are hunting after, and yet they will not: a full fountain of living waters is ready provided, yet they will be at pains to hew out little cisterns, which, after all their pains, are but broken cisterns, and can hold no water.
I know not what men are doing, still at work, when they might better sit still, troubling themselves and all about them,
* Vacat temperantia. Sed non habebunt requiem, qui bestiam adorant. SENECA.
and cannot well tell for what. Oh, the sweet peace of believing and obeying God! They truly conquer, sitting still: Sedendo vincebant. In all times, they are safe under the shadow of the Almighty; are strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.
And ye would not, but said, No.] Thus men sometimes flatly reject His counsels, and, when they are not so gross as plainly to speak it out, yet say so in doing so, and for good manners? sake will blanch it with reproaching the messengers; will have it to be not God's mind, but men's own fancy, a false vision; will own nothing for truth but what suits their humour and design. First, they resolve on their course without acquainting God, ask not His advice; then, when He is pleased to give it by His messengers, they reject it, not under that name, as God's advice, but will not have it pass for this, because it crosses their already-determined course. If it favoured that, then, no question, it were welcome enough as His word. That is meant by those words, ver. 10. Which say to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things; speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits. And so they used Jeremiah long after, in this very point. Jer. xlii. 2. And so they go on to take their own course: No, but we will flee upon horses.
And this is the nature of carnal hearts; they are generally inclined to rebel, and take a way of their own, casting away the counsels of God, as not suiting with the State, or with wit, or points of honour. They find more feeling and real substance in sensual things than in the promises of God: these seem airy, unsure things to them; therefore, they would still see apparent means, and where these fail, think it but a fancy to rest on God. They dare not trust Him so but as withal to do for themselves, although nothing can be done but what He forbids, which therefore cannot be done without giving up with Him, and departing from their trust on Him. All this cleaves to us, and much cause have we to suspect ourselves, when it is
but doubtful that there appears little or no evidence of God's counsel or good-will to a business, but rather clear characters of His dislike, and much of our own will, a stout, uncontrollable bent to it; when we are conscious to ourselves of this, that either we have not asked advice of God at all, or very slightly, not being much upon our knees with it; or, possibly, in asking His advice, have brought our answer with us, in our own breasts, the lying oracle that making answer, and we consenting to delude ourselves, not hearkening to any thing that does not clink and sound to our purpose.
Our hearts are exceedingly deceitful, and particularly in this point of withdrawing our trust from God, and leaving off to follow Him in His ways, to trust on the arm of flesh, on policy and strength, and self-resolved undertakings, rather than on Him without these. Evil men think that those who advise them to trust on God are silly fellows, who know not what belongs to policy and reasons of state, A fancied wisdom it is, that men are enamoured with, and look not to a higher wisdom, consider not God, that He also is wise. Isa. xxxi. 2. There is, I think, in that word a tart scorn of the folly of their seeming wisdom. Be it that you are wits, yet you will not deny some wisdom to God: Yet He also is wise. So they think not on His power neither; therefore He puts them in mind, (ver. 3,) that the Egyptians are men.
Well, if you be resolved on that course, says God, then, know mine too, that I am resolved upon: Therefore ye shall flee, shall have fleeing enough: and, if you be swift, they that pursue you shall be swifter, and one shall serve to chase a thousand, the rebuke, the very terror of one. This is the condition of the mightiest people and the best appointed armies, when forsaken of God. There is no strength nor courage, nor any thing of worth in any of the creatures, but as it is derived from God: it is dependent on Him in the continuance and use of it. Why are thy valiant men swept away? They stood not, because the Lord did drive them. Jer. xlvi. 15.
We have seen this, and the turn of it on both sides, how men become a prey to any party, when the terror from God is upon them.
Therefore, learn we to fear Him, to beware of all ways wherein we may justly apprehend Him to be against us. Cleave to Him and to His truth, when it is lowest, and when no human means of help appear, then think you hear Him saying to you, Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. Ver. 18. Therefore will the Lord wait.] There is no language of men nor of angels, fit to express the graciousness of God's punishments and the threatenings of them; as if they were violently drawn and forced from Him, but mercy, and the sweet promises thereof, naturally flowing from Him. Thus here, He is forced to give up His people to their own counsels, because they will not follow His advices. He entreats them but to be quiet, and let Him do for them; but seeing they will not sit still, and be safe at His direction, they must run their own course, and fall in it. But it cannot pass so, they must not be quite given over; the Lord hath an interest in them which He will not lose. They must, indeed, for a time eat the fruit of their own ways, and that is not a season to shew them favour; but the Lord will wait a better hope. He is resolved to shew them mercy, and will find His own time for it: Therefore will HE wait, that He may be gracious,
And this is He moved to, according to His gracious nature, by the greatness of their distress and desolation. Though procured by themselves, by their great, their inflexible stubbornness, yet He pities to see them so left as a beacon on the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on a hill. And therefore will the Lord wait. Thus we have the proper arguings of free mercy, which otherwise, to our narrow thoughts, may seem strange and somewhat inconsequent. Such a Therefore as this, so unexpectedly changing the strain, doth genuinely and sweetly follow upon the premises, when free love is the medium: that intervening in the midst, makes the sweet turn. Your iniquities prevail to bring you low, and lengthen out your