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use of our godly relations and friends righteous, because they are such. If while they live. 2. When our godly they care for them at all, it is for other friends are “taken away,” let us not
So far as what is peculiar to sorrow as those who have no hope. 3. them severally is developed, it is antaLet us make sure that we are gathered gonistic. to Christ now, that we may be gathered 2. The world is indifferent to the to Him hereafter. - James Sherman : fact that the death of the righteous Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. iv. pp. 1–12. is a public loss. Godly men in their
The characteristics here described families, neighbourhoods, the nation, are those produced by the operation by their character, prayers, public of Gol's
spirit are a preserving influence. SoI. The prophet notices a familiar dom could not be destroyed while Lot fact.
was in it. We find it difficult to regard death 3. The world does not consider the as other than an enemy.
With the true import and consequence of the exception of Enoch, and Elijah, and death of the righteous. It is not conperhaps Moses, and those who will be sidered in relation to eternity; but only alive when the Lord comes, the reign in relation to time. Such a one is dead, of death' is universal (Eccles. ix. 2; his new life is not consiilered. Rom. v. 12; H. E. I. 1536, 1537). III. The prophet suggests the suffiGod's people do not escape.
cient consolation. To the righteous question arises : Since the redemption death is-1. Exemption from evil
. Terin Christ removes their sins, why rible evil was coming on Israel which should they be retained under the those escaped who died at that time. bondage of death? We suggest in There may be public, domestic, and answer-1. That possibly man personal evils impending, from which never intended to abide perpetnally the Lord snatches His people away. on the globe, but after a lengthened 2. Enjoyment of good. The Gospel does probation to be removed to a higher not conduct its votaries to the bed of existence. 2. The necessity for the death, and then leave them there in removal of one generation to make dark uncertainty. The change that is room for another. 3. The wisdom of made by death is their entrance into the arrangement by which old age is peace and rest. For there is final and ultimately relieved of the weariness undisturbed security, and the perpetual and infirmity incident to it. 4. The presence of the objects to which the danger to the spiritual affections of the believer's spirit has been most closely saints involved in a perpetuated resi- united; God in Christ, holy angels, dence on earth. 5. The exemption of glorified saints, perfect purity. believers from death would be an open 1. How interesting to those left declaration of and mark upon them; behind, to think of them thus! 2. but such open destruction does not See that you are among those of whom accord with the design of this world such thoughts are suitable. 3. Beware as a state of trial and discipline. 6. of being among those who are indifThat by the grace of Christ the aspect ferent to the people of God and their of death is entirely changed to be- fate. The world's indifference to the lievers. 7. That the humiliation and Church is the reflection of its indiffersorrow of death are amply compen- ence to Christ.–J. Rawlinson. sated by the glorious resurrection and immortal life.
The visitations of death are freII. The prophet laments the general quently mysterious. Often the most indifference with which this familiar talenteil, and pious, and useful are cut fact is treated.
down, while mere cumberers of the This may refer specially to the time ground are spared, &c. Piety exempts of Manasseh, but it is still true. none from the arrests of death ; it 1. The world does not love the delivers from the sting of death, but not from its stroke. How affecting Christianity is pre-eminently & practhe death of a statesman, a minister, tical system.
The doctrine of the an influential Christian, or a pious kingdom is, that "faith without works parent in the meridian of life and use- is dead ”- that faith contains a seed fulness, &c. Isaiah was deeply moved of virtue or holy living, so that good in consequence of the death of good works are not an adjunct of faith, but men, and the indifference of his coun- a necessary fruit of faith. Light inust trymen, &c. It matters little that we shine, and where there are the principles cannot accurately determine who these of holiness there will be all the habits good men were, or the manner of their of holiness pervading the whole life. death. Consider
Is this a description of your charI. The character of the good as here acter? Have you sought and secured portrayed.
“the righteousness of faith ;” are you 1. They are righteous. As none are showing mercy to all men, walking upso naturally, a real and radical change rightly, &c. ? in the governing dispositions of the II. The death of the good as here heart is implied, &c. Believing in the presented. Lord Jesus, and being accepted right- 1. As the perishing of the body. The eous in Him, they come under an obli- soul lives on, and will do for ever; but gation to practise universal righteous- the mortal body decays, returns to its ness, and to present to the world a native dust, &c. The bodies of all character of uniform and sustained the untold myriads of the human race holiness (Rom. vi, 18, 19; 1 John iii. have perished. The mightiest share 7). They are men of rectitude-men the same fate as the meanest. Evi right in their moral relations and in dent to all. Then why pamper the their principles of action-right in body, &c. heart, and habit, and life (1 John iii. 2. As disregarded by the vast majo 7). Such a man, however, will always rity. Only the few lay it to heartfeel that his claim to be regarded as a lament it as a public loss, and rerighteous man is not to be traced to gard it as a public warning. How what he is in himself, but to what he soon the best are forgotten! How owes to the grace of God. 2. They we account for this ? (1.) The are merciful. Not only the subjects of commonness of the event. (2.) The God's mercy, but merciful in their own thought of death is repugnant. (3.) dispositions—“men of kindness or The concerns of life engross both the godliness” (margin); forgiving off-nd- time and attention of the multitude. ers, compassionating the suffering, This general disregard of the death of helping the weak and needy, and the good is to be lamented because it evincing kindness, consideration, and it implies -(1.) Painful ingratitude bountifulness towards all (Gen. xxxii.
Good men are the world's greatest 10; Ps. cxix. 64; Joel ii. 13; Rom. benefactors, “the salt of the earth," xii. 8; Col. iii. 12). In nothing do &c. (2.) Deplorable moral insensiwe imitate God more than in showing bility. Their removal is a public mercy. And we have abundant op- calamity, for they are the strength portunity to do it, for the world is of a nation and the safeguard of the full of sin and misery, which we may
To treat their death with help to relieve, &c. 3. They walk stolid indifference indicates the highest in their uprightness. They avoid the degree of moral blindness and pervercrooked path of sin, and pursue the sity. Of such a state of things there straight line of righteousness (Ps. is but one explanation—"God is not cxxv. 5; Prov. ii. 15; Isa. lix. 8; in all their thoughts." Little children Phil. ii. 15). The Christian life does least lament the death of their parents, not consist in mere sentiment or feel- because they know not what a loss it
Feeling and practice, like is to them, &c. twin sisters, must go hand in hand. 3. As a blessing to themselves. (1.)
They are delivered from the miseries couraging to the troubled prophet, which attend the sins of man. What- they ought to be the more so to us, ever they are, the good man escapes for we have added the disclosures of then by death (1 Kings xiv. 10-13; the Gospel, by which “life and im2 Kings xxii. 20). (2.) They enter mortality are brought to light.” Then into peace-rest.
Their bodies “rest let us take encouragement as the rest in their beds" or graves.
and recompense opens to the eye of is a quiet resting-place, out of which faith, &c. Sweet thought; we are they shall rise refreshed on the morn- nearing it every Sabbath. ing of the resurrection. No agitations such prospects gladden those of you or alarms can disturb their peaceful who are unconverted. If you
would slumbers (Job iii. 17; xvii. 16; Ps. die the death of the righteous, you xvi. 19; 2 Chron. xi. 14; Isa. xiv. 18). must live the life of the righteous, Their souls enter into the rest of &c. (P. D. 1121). — A. Tucker. heaven-the world of eternal repose, where peace is in perfection. They lvii. 5-9. I. The abominable idorest not only from all trouble, but latries of Israel. II. A parallel found from all sin, and sorrow, and strife, in the covetousness and worldliness of from everything that can create pain professing Christians. III. These evils and uneasiness, for “the former things proceed from the same principles of are done away” (Rev. xiv. 13; Heb. iv. unbelief. IV. Are equally offensive 9). No wave of trouble shall roll into to God and debasing to the human that beautiful and peaceful haven, and mind. V. Must as certainly occasion the sense of past trouble will only add final retribution. to the intensity of present enjoyment. lvii. 6. I. Human substitutes for
Such are the prospects of the good. true and spiritual worship. II. Their If they were highly consoling and en- offensiveness to God.- Dr. Lyth.
THE SOUL'S WEARINESS IN ITS SINFUL WAY.
lvii. 10. Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way, &c. There is a littleness and there is a is an attempt to do without God. But greatness in men's sins. Some people our noblest instincts impel us to lean are mean, timid in wickedness, would in- upon the power and love of God. dulge passions more freely if they dared. Dependence is stamped upon every But there is a force and boldness faculty and fibre of our nature. Who about the sins of others; they disre- then can wonder that men grow weary gard public opinion, rush impetuously when they strive to live an independent, along broad reads, &c.
Whilst we self-sufficient life? The creature can condemn, we also mourn, because such no more do without the Creator, than strength and manhood are wasted in streamlet without fountain, or branch the “greatness of their way."
without tree. The text refers to a period of great 2. A sense of the unworthiness of a sininiquity in Jewish history during Ma- ful life. No one can be really happy nasseh's reign. The light of Divine without some degree of self-respect. truth had not utterly faded away, so the Other persons can laud a man to the nation was fiill of unrest and misery, skies, but it spoils all if in his heart and yet would not retrace its steps, and hie despises his own motives and conmake its peace with God. Pathetic is duct. Self-contempt is a source of this picture of the misery of sin. keenest misery. There are moments
I. THE SOUL'S WEARINESS IN ITS of clear insight, when many a ChristSINFUL WAY.
less man sees the utter disproportion Various are the causes of weariness. between the life which he leads, and the
1. The attempt of the creature to be in- nature God has given him-between dependent of the Creator. A sinful life what he is and what he was meant to be, and might be. When he thus begins “I have sinned."-3. Ignorance of God's to despise himself he is “wearied." character. Some think they are beyond
3. The efforts of an outraged nature to Divine mercy—that God is “altogether arenge itself. It is impossible for a man such an one" as themselves—impatient to ill-treat himself without his very and unforgiving toward those who have nature protesting against the injury. wronged Him. Weary souls would There are forces of pain which start sometimes eagerly return to Him, and into activity as soon as the evil is
seek His grace, if they only saw into the done. The body avenges its own depths of His heart and knew the truth. wrongs—so also the soul. Give it CONCLUSION. — There is a Divine error when it needs truth; husks of purpose in pain and weariness. God worldly pleasure when it hungers for inakes the sinner's way difficult, so bread of life, and a cry of discontent that he may be led to forsake it. When and pain will break forth from the we cry, “ There is no hope," then there injured soul. So the path of sin is a is hope through Christ, who was once tiresome road, and men often grow wearied in the greatness of His way. “ wearied.”
-F. W. Mays, M.A.: The Homiletic II. THE SOUL'S PERSISTENCE IN ITS Magazine, vol. vii. p. 145. SINFUL WAY.
Weary but persistent. Many things lvii. 11, 12. 1. Hypocrisy. Fearimpel men to pursue the road even when less, false, inconsiderate, presumptufaint.-1. The marvellous vitality of hope. ous. II. Its exposure. Certain, full. Hope is like a hardy plant, which may Its righteousness, nought; its works, be trampled under foot, but presently wicked ; its hopes, vain. springs up into fresh life and beauty. 12. I. Men's righteousness. II. Its Men are often baffled, deceived, achieve exposure. III. Its worthlessness. grand results, led on by living energy of 13-16. I. The insufficiency of hope. Yet all great things draw greatly human confidences. II. The all-suffi. astray when wrongly directed. So ciency of God, hope impels men to persist in folly and 13. 1. False confidences. Cannot sin. Disappointed, wearied, they still Will be swept away:
End in persevere.—2. Dislike to confess failure. destruction and misery. II. True confiIt seems a degradation to many a man to dence. Fixed in God. Enjoys present admit that he has made a mistake. blessings. Inherits future happiness. Pride often leads the sinner to persist in 14. 1. The stumbling-blocks. Inhis way. Weary at heart, yearning for consistencies. Errors. Divisions. False a nobler life, still it is hard work for him professors. II. Their removal. Necesto humble himself, to go back, to say, sary. Imperative. Personal.—Dr. Lyth.
THE GLORY OF GOD THE COMFORT OF THE CONTRITE, lvii. 15. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inheriteth eternity, &c. I. A MAGNIFICENT DESCRIPTION OF rectitude of His character.
" Whose THE GREATNESS OF GOD.
name is Holy.” By the holiness of His glory appears—1. In His essen- God we mean the unity and harmony tial majesty. He is “the high and lofty in Him of every species of moral good. One”-exalted far above us, out of ness in its highest measure, or rather human view and conception; the one beyond measure ; this formis His dismighty Author, Creator, Preserver, and tinguishing glory (H. E. I. 2275, 2818). Lord of all; to whom none other is 4. In the exalted place of abode where He like (Neh. ix. 5; H. E. I. 2225-2228). more immediately manifests His presence. 2. In the immutability of His existence. II. AN INSTRUCTIVE DESCRIPTION He "inhabiteth eternity." What a sub- OF THE TEMPER WHICH SHOULD EVER lime expression ! (Ps. xc. 1-4; H. E. I. RULE IN THE MIND AND HEART OF MAN 2253 : P D. 2556). 3. In the infinite WHEN BEFORE THIS GREAT God.
1. As a frail, mortal, feeble creature, III. AN UNRIVALLED DESCRIPTION who is “crushed before the moth," OF THE MARVELLOUS CONDESCENSION humility is the proper temper for man OF GOD TO THE MAN IN WHOM THERE before God. Even angels and arch- IS THIS RIGHT TEMPER. angels veil their faces with their wings 1. God adopts the heart of the penitent in His presence.
as His abode. The allusion is to the 2. As transgressors, it behoves us temple (ch. lxvi. 1, 2; John xiv. 23). to be abased in the awful presence of
The humble and contrite heart is prethe Most High. Something more than pared to entertain the Divine Guest : humility becomes man as an offender it is emptied of priile and self, &c. against his rightful Sovereiun. Con- 2. Observe the purpose for which He trition is more; it is penitence for sin, enters it : “to revive the spirit of the brokenness of heart for having offended humble," &c. The image is drawn God. The first is always man's duty from the revival of the face of nature as a creature; the second, as a sinner. by refreshing rain after a long drought, Two things contribute to real contri- or from raising to new life a dejected tion : (1) A sense of God's gracious, and desponding mind by joyful and benignant character. Nothing sets unexpected tidings. Although peniman's frightful ingratitude in so odious tence and contrition may have done and prominent a light as the unspeak- their work, comfort is still wanting, so able goodness of the great God. So long as the inhabitation of God by His long as man falsely conceives of Him Spirit is wanting. The daily increasas a hard master, he feels, he can feel, ing perception of innate corruption 110 contrition ; but when he discerns weighs down the heart. Conscience that God is, and ever has been, in- accuses, the law condemns.
The joy finitely good, and to him also, his heart of pardon sometimes springs up, but it bursts with ingenuous griet and self- fades again. The hope of being a sinabhorrence. (2) A perception of the cere penitent cheers at times; but it is inscrutable wickedness of the human difficult for the soul to discern, amidst heart, which, like the prophet Ezekiel's its tears and dejection, the marks of “chamber of imagery,” discloses more repentance unto life. Afflictions add and more of its interior abominations, to the general woe—God seems armed the more closely it is examined. To against the soul. But at length it produce this contrition of soul is one pleases God to “revive the spirit,” &c. principle object of Divine teaching and He sheds light amidst the gloom, &c. grace (Ezek. xxxvi. 26; xii. 10; xvi. The prophet doubles the expression, 63).
to denote the certainty and maynitude The presence in any man of this of the blessing. The exhausted, dying humility is certain to be manifested in traveller, plundered, wounded, and left an unmistakable manner, the mani- for dead on the road from Jerusalem festation itself further preparing him to Jericho, was not more truly revived for the Divine mercy.
A proud heart by the wine and oil of the good murmurs under rebuke, like the chil- Samaritan, than the spirit of the condren of Israel in the wilderness; or trite one is revived by the presence rejects warnings like the men in the and indwelling of the Saviour in the days of Noah and of Lot; or dares heart (ver. 18, and ch. Ixi. 3). God to His face, like Pharaoh. So 3. All this consolation flows from the acted the majority of the men to whom view of the Divine greatness. The whole Isaiah ministered (ch. ix. 13). But the scope of the text is directed to this one contrite and humble in spirit receive point; and almost all similar descripthe Divine rebukes, justify God in His tions of the majesty of the Almighty righteous retributions, condemn them- are given in connection with His conselves, and venture only to "hope in descension to man (Ps. cxiii. 4-6 ; His mercy” (Job xxxiv. 32 ; xlii. 5, 6; cxxxvili. 6, &c.). Consolation flowing Ps. cxix. 75; lxix. 20).
from God's gooiiness, mercy, compas