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that God, who is faithful, would certainly inflict the judgments threatened by his servants on the Ephraimites and their allies, though they might flatter themselves with impunity. Many itriking instances of the truth I am illustrating occur in fcripture, to which I would have you carefully to advert; that you may be fully convinced that the word of God ihall stand, and ihall never fail of being accomplished, notwithstanding every intervening obstacle.
But will arise against the house of evil doers. Every one that doeth evil is not included under this description, but those only who obstinately persist in evil-doing, and refuse to be restrained by the authority, the clemency, and the judgments of God. Such incorrigible transgressors were the house of Israel at the time this prophecy was delivered, concerning whom the Lord afterward declared by his servant Jeremiah, Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil * as thou couldest * '-And against the help of them that work iniquity. The Egyptians, whose allistance was expected by the Ephraimites, in their present hazardous condition, seem to have been the persons primarily intended by this description. After the manner of a great offended monarch, Jehovah declares, that he would go forth against both these nations, to inflict righteous vengeance upon them, for the injuries they have done to him and his kingdom-That he would arise, not merely to oppole their progress by moral restraints, such as commands and threatenings, but effectually to give check to their acts of hostility, by the exertion of his Omnipotence, and feverely to punish them for contempt Thewn to him and his laws. All resistance, therefore, should prove altogether unavailing to counteract the purposes he had determined to accomplish.If any thing prevent or stop the progress of threatened evil, it is prayer and penitence. These peaceful messengers have often arrested divine judgments in their course, and hindered them from being in,
Chap. iii. s.
flicted. • The Lord would have destroyed Ifrael, had 'not Mofes his chosen stood before him in the breach, * to turn away his wrath, left he should have destroy.ed them *.' In some instances prayers and tears may prove ineffectual to avert impending calamities ; for thus said the Lord to the prophet Jeremiah, • Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet • my mind could not be toward this people : cast *them out of my sight, and let them go fortht.' The words plainly intimate, that the interposition and supplications of God's most faithful servants, in the case referred to, could not prevail to avert that merited destruction, from which the posterity of Jacob had enjoyed a long reprieve,
3 Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not fpirit. When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fall together.
The extreme folly and danger of those who placed dependence on Egypt is here farther represented. The proposition contained in the first part of the verse is incontrovertible, so evident, that it must be universally acknowledged. The plainest truths, however, such as that which lies now before us, must not be overlooked or disregarded. Men, though wise and powerful, are but men; weak, frail, mortal creatures, whose existence, faculties, and actions, depend entirely on divine Providence. They can do nothing more than God gives them ability to perform, nor can they execute any enterprise, but what he enables or permits them to accomplish. Hence the important advice given by our Prophet, • Cease * ye from man whose breath is in his nostrils ; for wherein is he to be accounted of?' It is better to
trust * Psal. cvi. 23.
+ Chap. xv. 1,
trust in God than to put confidence in man. Had the Israelites attended to this simple remark, they would not have confided in the Egyptians, but in the living God, who is omnipotent, invincible, and immortal.-Their horses are flesh, and not fpirit; of which they possesed neither the nature nor the properties. Though they might be celebrated on account of their excellence and their numbers, they were subject to distempers, to decay, to accidents, to fatigue in consequence of long marehes, they were liable to be wounded and slain in battle. They were therefore a vain thing for preservation, neither could they deliver by their great strength. As faith the proverb, “ The horse is prepared against the day
of battle, but safety is of the Lord.'--Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but let us remember the name of the Lord our God, the Itrong tower to which the righteous run and are safe. Of the truth of the preceding remark, the children of Israel were to receive convincing proof.
When the Lord sball Aretch out his hand, &c. In prophetic language God is said to stretch out his hand, when he inflicts righteous judgment upon men for their sins. · Behold, therefore; (faith he by the prophet Ezekiel) · I have stretched out my hand over thee-and have delivered thee unto the will
of them that hate thee.*' The expreflion is metaphorical, and alludes to che practice of those who extend their arm, when about to perform any arduous work. It plainly intimates, that Jehovah was to exert his Almighty power in punishing his ungrateful people, and those on whom they trusted for allistance, whilst they neglected to repose confidence in him, who had often helped and delivered their fathers. In consequence whereof-Both be that helpeth, &c. The overthrow both of the Egyptians and of the Ephraimites, who requested their fuccours, is clearly foretold in these words. Though you have called to your aid and protection, a powerful VOL. III.
nation, Chap. xvi. 27.
nation, who hath helped other kingdoms in times of distress and danger, 'they shall not be able to afford you the support you require ; you and they shall fail in accomplishing the end that you have in view. You may affociate yourselves together, but neither of you shall escape deserved calamities Though hand join in hand, though kingdom be confederated with kingdom, the wicked shall not be unpunished. Cursed,' faith Jehovah, be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, whose heart departeth from the Lord.'-Aware then of the extreme danger to which we shall inevitably expose ourselves, by placing confidence in the creature ; let us trust in the Lord Jehovah who made heaven and earth, and carefully abstain from this execrable practice, which terminates in difappointment, distress, and sorrow,
4 For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of thepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.
Still farther to reprove the folly of the Ephraimites, another argument is subjoined, derived from the protection which God was about to afford the inhabitants of Jerusalem, when allailed by the Afly. rians.-To excite reverence and attention to this subject, Isaiah declares, that the Most High had expressly communicated to him the following information, in which the invincible power, and tender compassion of Jehovah, displayed toward his peculiar people, are beautifully represented by two fimilitudes; the one taken from an animal remarkable for its strength and heroic courage, the other from
birds, whose vigilance and solicitude for the safety of their young ones are well known—The former is borrowed from a tion, one of the strongest and most magnanimous beasts of the forest, and a young lion in his full vigour, who remains undaunted in the possession of his prey amid all the efforts employ.. ed to terrify him. By this figure is represented the conduct of the Almighty, who is not afraid of any, and who ought to be feared by all, when he appears executing awful vengeance upon his enemies.The prey on which the lion is said to roar, in
way of exultation, may denote the city Jerusalem, which of old was the seat of heathen superstition, from which it was forcibly taken, that it might be converted into the seat of true religion, and divine worship, under the immediate inspection and defence of Jehovah.--A multitude of thepherds called forth against the lion, may signify the numerous army af. fembled by the king of Aflyria to besiege the metropolis of Judea, to spoil its inhabitants, to divest it of the guardian care of Jehovah, and to restore its ancient superstition and idolatry. At this eventful period, the Lord of hosts caused his tremenduous voice to be heard, and gave intimation that he was determined to keep poslession of his chosen city, and to defend from their foes, the people he had appropriated to himself.—He will not be afraid of their voice, nor abafe, &c. Far from being in any measure intimidated by the noise, and the approach of those who were called forth to injure the interests of the objects of his favour, far from hafting away and leaving them defenceless, the Lord that
litteth in heaven had them all in derision. This interpretation, which is supported by other passages in the Prophets, where God in the execution of awful judgments is spoken of under the fimilitude here used, does not require from me any formal vindication.
Sa sball the Lord of bofts come down, &c. The preceding comparison ferves to give some idea of the wonderful interposition of Jehovah in behalf of