« PreviousContinue »
Bishop Horsley has also observed, “ Some parts of the fifty-ninth chapter seem more particularly applicable to the time of licentiousness and infidelity that have taken place in Christendom since the Reformation, than to any period in the Jewish history; and are likely to receive a further accomplishment in the enormities that may be expected to arise out of the atheism, and democratica! spirit of the times.” And after long hesitation, I cannot but agree with these learned commentators, though it makes the following chapter an awful prognostication, indeed, of the general fate of those parts of Christendom that call themselves reformed, and evangelical, and apostolical.
1. Lo, the hand of Jehovah is not shortened, that it cannot
save; Neither is his ear dull, that he cannot hear; 2. But your iniquities have made a separation Between
your Elohim: And
your sins have caused him to be concealed, His countenance · is averted from you, that he will not hear.
3. For your hands are polluted with blood,'
And your fingers with iniquity.
This guilt of blood must refer to the wanton and unjust wars, in which even reformed and Protestant nations have engaged : and, I conceive, in a particular manner points out those religious parties in the Protestant world, who, forgetting the true spirit of the Gospel,
præsidium vel auxilium præsens, quo imminenti periculo eximeretur: introducantur hic fideles Dei et Ecclesiæ ministri, qui doceant
quæ causa sit, quod Deus populo suo hactenus pro voto præsto non fuisset,” &c.
! 739, Septuagint and Syriac.
even when its professors should be oppressed with violence -have taken the sword; and, in their unholy zeal, brought upon themselves the guilt of blood. Nor can we exclude the bloody executions with which most parties have, in their turn, stained the page of history, during the period of their predominance.
False doctrine also is clearly laid to their charge in the following verses, rebellion against the light of religion is asserted, and the faithlessness of their teachers and rulers :
Your lips have spoken falsehood,
Your tongue hath muttered perverseness. 4. No one hath preached' in righteousness,
And no one hath judged in truth.
And how singular is the fact, that almost all the nations and communities reformed from Popery, should have, in the compass of a few years, given up the doctrines of the first reformers; and by their remonstrances, and refinements, and philosophical expositions, should have so explained away the truth of the Bible, that the religion of Protestants, as publicly taught by many of their accredited teachers, has in reality become nothing better than a plausible system of ethics !
Much truth is inixed in the insidious observations of the infidel historian, where he reviews the character and consequences of the Reformation: “ The doctrine of a Protestant church is far removed from the knowledge or belief of its private members ; and the forms of orthodoxy, the articles of faith, are subscribed with a sigh, or a smile,
x9p signifies to proclaim, to read; and, as Schultens supposes, to teach, as the Arabic.
by the modern clergy. Yet the friends of Christianity are alarmed at the boundless impulse of inquiry and scepticism. The predictions of the Catholics are accomplished; the web of mystery is unravelled by the Arminians, Arians, and Socinians, whose numbers must not be computed from their separate congregations; and the pillars of revelation are shaken by those men who preserve the name without the substance of religion, who indulge the license without the temper of philosophy.” *
And what has followed ? Behold in the following lines a symbolical representation of the mischievous and fine-spun theories of the infidel philosophy, which has already brought so much misery on the world :
They have trusted in emptiness, and the word of falsehood;
They conceived useless toil, and brought forth vanity. 5. They have hatched the eggs of the basilisk,
And they have weaved the spider's web:
And that which is pressed hatcheth a serpent. 6. Their webs shall not become a garment,
Neither shall they cover themselves with their works.
And the deed of violence is in their hand. 7. Their feet run to evil,
And they are swift to shed the blood of the innocent.
, Destruction and misery are in their paths. 8. The way of peace they know not,
Neither is there any judgment in their track:
Gibson's History, chap. liv. end.
St. Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, has quoted these verses, as applicable to the Jews of the first advent; but his argument, if thoroughly pursued, will require their application equally to all nations in all ages, privileged with the light of revelation; and, in that respect, distinguished from the ignorant heathen around them.
9. Therefore judgment is far from us,
And righteousness doth not approach us.
For brightness while we walk in obscurity.
We grope as if we had no eyes :
Among the flourishing'we are' as the dead:
And as doves we cease not to moan.
For salvation, but it is far from us.
And our sins bear witness against us:
And we acknowledge our iniquities.
And turning back from following our God.
And meditating in the heart words of falsehood:
And righteousness standeth afar off:
'It is extremely difficult to conjecture what O'nux signifies; I
derive it from yow, fat, well conditioned.
15. Ay, the truth has been weeded out;'
And he who departed from evil has been plucked away.'
Such, according to this confession put by the Spirit of prophecy into their mouths, will be the low state of the church, even at the very advent of Christ. Ah! must not this be what our Saviour meant, when he exclaimed, “ Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth ?" Yet, from the very introduction of this complaint in the prophecy, surely we may infer there are some few faithful, “ that sigh and cry for the abominations they witness around them!" But it is at this lowest point of their depression, that an immediate interference of God the Saviour is foretold :
15. And Jehovah saw, and it was displeasing in his eyes,
Because judgment was not:
And his righteousness it sustained him:
And the helmet of salvation on his head :
And wrapped himself with jealousy as a mantle. 18. He is an awarder of recompenses ;
The awarder of recompenses will make retribution."
"So Horsley. Compare Sim. • Judgment signifies here, as Lex. Heb. “ The truth had failed," above, the righteous vindication of
was utterly missing.” — BP. the people of God, according to STOCK. And a good man was no promise. longer to be seen among men.
4 “ Vindictive justice." : “ Has been withdrawn," or, I take, in this place, the He" has been made a spoil of.” brew text, as restored by Bishop VOL. I.