« PreviousContinue »
certainly do not seek God.—2d. Those who do not seek God cannot find him.-3d. If God says behold ine, to a nation, it cannot be with intention that they should not be called by his name.-4th. The first and second propositions contradict each other; the first says, I was sought; the second says, (speaking of the same nation or people,) that sought me not. He cannot be sought and not sought at the same time.
Reader, there is not the least difficulty here. I will show you how the translators of the bible have obviated such like difficulties, when they occurred in places where they had no favorite hypothesis or doctrine to establish. Ezekiel xviii. 24. “ Shall he live," the Hebrew is on Vychai, literally—and he shall live ; but because here would be a contradiction, as the text immediately says, he shall die therein, and as a man cannot both live and die at once, they translate what appears a positive, he shall live, correctly, interrogative, shall he live? The same we have 12th verse same chapter. Another example: 2 Saml. vii. 19. “ And is this the manner of man, O Lord God?” The literal translation here would again be positive and affirmative, and this is the manner of men ; but very improperly, that not being the intent and meaning of David. And so in our text, the sense of the subject requires the whole to be interrogative, and King James's translators would certainly have made it so, had it not been they wanted to pervert it to signify the Gentiles chosen ;--they would have translated it thus :
Text.-Was i sought by such as asked not for me? Was I found by such as sought me not? Said I, behold me, behold me, to a nation (or people) not to be called by my name?
And then, indeed, the ... ... ian commentators may have their favourite wish, for they are really intended by the nation not to be called, who have not sought, nor did ask.
Explanation. God here answereth the prayer of his
people Isreal, the Jews, who in the 63d and 64th chapter are introduced by the prophet Isaiah, pouring out their hearts in prayer to God, to whom they express their doubts and fears that he accounts them (on account of their iniquities) unclean. They plead and reason with God in prayer, asking him whether their righteousness is not as filthy rags. Indeed the whole prayer is the language of broken hearts, believing themselves correct in doctrine, but fearing the reverse. It is indeed, calling on God to know whether they are in truth rejected, as ......ians tell them, or whether they are still accounted by him as his people ; and whether it is true, as the ......ians say, that they are chosen—that God has accepted the Gentiles as the children of Abraham, and rejected the Jews. Thus they speak in prayer, “ Doubtless thou art our Father; though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not, Thou o Lord art our Father, our Redeemer, thy name is from everlasting.”
Explanation.-If, as ......ians say, the Gentiles have been chosen as children to Abraham, and therefore he no longer knows us; and if, as we are told by them, they are Isreal, according to the promise, spiritual Israel, the wild olive branch grafted into the stump of Israel, from which we have been cut off and rejected, and therefore Israel, our father Jacob will no longer acknowledge us as his ; still thou, O Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer; thy name is from everlasting; thou dost not, neither canst thou change; thou art God, and not man; and as from of old thy name was our Father, our Redeemer, it therefore cannot be otherwise than that thou dost yet acknowledge us as thine.
The whole prayer, rightly understood, is in this spirit.
.... ian commentators call it the prayer of the church, and they pretend it is the prayer of both ...... ian and Jewish church; but how can the ......ian church say,
“ We were thine; thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name?” This can only be the prayer of the Jewish church, claiming of God that they are the right church as they were his people, acknowledged of old: and as for the ......ians, they were never called by thy name, but after the name of another god, and not thy name. How can ...... ians say, “ Thy holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee?” since their fathers were pagans who did not worship nor praise God in this holy and beautiful house, the holy temple at Jerusalem ; their fathers at this time were sacrificing in gardens, and burning incense on altars of brick; finally, they burnt
up the house and laid all pleasant things waste.The prayer is the prayer of the Jewish church alone, and the answer is alone addressed to them.
Was I sought by such as asked not for me, &c.—God answereth the Jews asking them whether he was sought by such as did not ask for him; whether they can suppose that the Gentiles did really find him, who never did, neither do they now look for him. And since these Gentiles are not called by my name, can you suppose that I said, behold me, behold me, to them, for the purpose that they should not be called by my name ? for although they pretend to be God's only chosen people, they are called, and delight to be called, by the name of ... ..., whom they worship as God, and not Isr-ael, the righteous God.
Text 2d.— I have spread forth my hand all the day to a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts."
Examination. I ask, and wish to be answered, are they not a rebellious people, walking in a way that is not good, after their own thoughts, who do not ask for God? who do not look for and seek God, and who will not be called by his name? . Therefore it is plain that those spoken of in the 2d verse as the rebellious people who go in a way
that is not good, after their own thoughts, are the same people of whom the first verse treats; and if, as it is allowed on all hands, the first verse treats of the Gentiles, in that case the 2d verse treats of the same people—“A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face, sacrificing in gardens, and offering incense on altars of brick.” Sacrificing in gardens was a mode of worship practised by the ancient Gentiles; and when it was practised by the Jews, it was done in imitation of the Gentiles. Offering incense on altars of brick, we never read of as being done by Jews; their altars were built of stone. As such, this verse also treats of the same people as the first verse—the ancient Gentiles; and the intention is to assure the humble petitioners that God did not invite those Gentiles; and it should, as the former propositions, be read interrogative-thus, Did I spread forth my hand all the day, &c.
Explanation.-Have I invited those Gentiles who walked in a way I could not approve, and whose very mode of worship is contrary to that I wish to be practised in my service?
3d. verse. Which remain among the graves and lodge in the monuments, “ which eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels.”
Here......jan commentators are somewhat at a stand; they can make nothing of this verse; they can no where find on record that Jews were guilty of these offensive rites, for they always loved their personal comfort too much to leave their houses and take up their dwelling among graves; neither can they charge them with the egregious folly of leaving their mats or beds, and going to lodge among the monuments of the dead, in the grave-yards ; neither can they seriously accuse them with being at any time great eaters of swine's flesh, or with keeping in reserve abominable broth. Vetringa says, “ This passage must
be taken mystically”-not spiritually, but mystically. “The Jews are here reproved for their violent superstitions :" that is to say, reader, if I understand him, they are reproved for not dwelling among the graves, for not lodging in the monuments, for not eating swine's desh, and for having no abominable broth in their vessels. This is making God say one thing, and meaning the contrary, when the real intention of the Holy Spirit is apparent to continue answering the prayer. He had hitherto shown that the ancient Gentiles were not, as ...... ians tell us, chosen ; that they were not even invited. He now, in this and the next verse assures us, that their descendants, the .... ians of the present day, are no more the people of God, than their Pagan ancestors. When speaking of the ancient Pagans, he identifies them by those strong seatures, a people that asked not for God—that did not seek God—a rebellious people, sacrificing in gardens, and offering incense on altars of brick, showing their place, mode, and form of worship: and now, when speaking of their descendants, the ... ... ians, he shows us the place, form of worship, and doctrine : thus, Or those who seat themselves among the graves, and make their lodgments among the monuments, who eat the flesh of swine, and who put by for use any pieces of torn abominable things in their vessels.
Explanation.--Or have I invited and chosen those people, (the . ians,) who have their places of worship in the midst of their grave-yards, and even in their very churches and cathedrals they have the monuments of their dead? In such unclean places they make the lodgments for worshipping. They also teach that the ceremonial law is abolished, that it is lawful to eat swine's flesh, which they do eat, and make practice of laying by for use any
kind of abominable torn creatures or pieces. Can you suppose such are chosen ?