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25. Praise to the Lord

O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. 2For thou hast made of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built. 3Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee. 4For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. 5Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low.

6And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. 7And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. 8He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.

9And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. 10For in this mountain shall the hand of the Lord rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill. 11And he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to swim: and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands. 12And the fortress of the high fort of thy walls shall he bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the dust.

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8. He hath destroyed death eternally. 144144    {Bogus footnote} The Prophet continues his subject; for in general he promises that there will be perfect happiness under the reign of Christ, and, in order to express this the more fully, he employs various metaphors admirably adapted to the subject. That happiness is real, and not temporary or fading, which not even death can take away; for amidst the highest prosperity our joy is not a little diminished by the consideration that it will not always last. He therefore connects two things, which render happiness full and complete. The first is, that the life is perpetual; for to those who in other respects are happy for a time, it is a wretched thing to die. The second is, that this life is accompanied by joy; for otherwise it may be thought that death would be preferable to a sorrowful and afflicted life. He next adds that, when all disgrace has been removed, this life will be glorious; for otherwise less confidence would have been placed in the prophecy, in consequence of the wretched oppression of the people.

But it is asked, To what period must we refer these promises? for in this world we must contend with various afflictions, and must fight continually; and not only are we “appointed to death,” (Psalm 44:22,) but we “die daily.” (1 Corinthians 15:31.) Paul complains of himself and the chief pillars of the Church, that they are “a spectacle to all men,” and endure insults of every kind, and are even looked upon as (καθάρματα) “cleansings” and (περιψήματα) “sweepings,” or “offscourings.” 145145    {Bogus footnote} (1 Corinthians 4:9, 13.) Where or when, therefore, are these things fulfilled? They must undoubtedly be referred to the universal kingdom of Christ; — universal, I say, because we must look not only at the beginning, but also at the accomplishment and the end: and thus it must be extended even to the second coming of Christ, which on that account is called “the day of redemption” and “the day of restoration;” because all things which now appear to be confused shall be fully restored, and assume a new form. (Luke 21:28; Acts 3:21; Romans 8:23; Ephesians 4:30.) This prediction relates, no doubt, to the deliverance from Babylon; but as that deliverance might be regarded as the earnest and foretaste of another, this promise must undoubtedly be extended to the last day.

Let us therefore direct all our hope and expectation to this point, and let us not doubt that the Lord will fulfill all these things in us when we have finished our course. If we now “sow in tears,” then undoubtedly we shall “reap with joy” and ecstasy. (Psalm 126:5.) Let us not dread the insults or reproaches of men, which will one day procure for us the highest glory. Having obtained here the beginnings of this happiness and glory, by being adopted by God, and beginning to bear the image of Christ, let us firmly and resolutely await the completion of it at the last day.

For Jehovah hath spoken it. After so many dreadful calamities, it might be thought that such an event was incredible; and therefore the Prophet shews that it proceeds not from man, but from God. When Jerusalem had been overthrown, the worship of God taken away, the temple destroyed, and the remnant of the people oppressed by cruel tyranny, no man would have believed it to be possible that everything would be raised to its original condition. It was necessary to combat with this distrust, to which men are strongly inclined; and therefore the Prophet confirms and seals these promises.

“Know that God communicated to me these declarations; fix your minds therefore on him, and not on me; let your faith rely on him ‘who cannot lie’ or deceive.”
(Titus 1:2.)




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