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60. Glory of Zion

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. 2For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. 4Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. 5Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. 6The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord. 7All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory. 8Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? 9Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee. 10And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee. 11Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. 12For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. 13The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. 14The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. 15Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. 16Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. 17For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. 18Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. 19The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. 20Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. 21Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. 22A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time.

10. And the sons of the stranger shall build thy walls. He continues the same subject. As he formerly said that foreigners shall submit to his authority, in order to build the temple; so he now says that “the sons of the stranger” shall bestow their labor in building the walls. Various are the comparisons by which he promises the restoration of the Church. It is customary in Scripture, when the Church is spoken of, to exhibit sometimes the temple, and sometimes Jerusalem. He promises that foreigners and strangers shall assist in rearing this building, that the Jews may not be terrified by their poverty or their small number, and consequently lose heart; for they might be tempted to distrust during the captivity, so that, though they hoped to return to their native country, still they might think that this could not be accomplished by them.

Now, Cyrus accomplished it, when he supplied them with a large amount of gold and silver. But in him these things were merely shadowed out. They were actually fulfilled in Christ, to whose reign they must entirely relate; for, first, Christ employed a few apostles, (Matthew 10:1) who could not be sufficient for so great a work; but afterwards he raised up strangers, from among whom he chose pastors, and wished that their foreign princes should be nursing­fathers of the Church.

With aggravated wickedness do the Papists pervert and corrupt this passage, by torturing it to uphold the tyranny of the Pope, whom they wish to possess supreme power over kings and princes. They speak impudent falsehood when they say that he is Christ’s deputy; for Christ’s “kingdom” is not of this world. (John 18:36) The Pope rules barbarously and tyrannically, and claims the power of changing and disposing of kingdoms. But kings submit to Christ in such a manner that they do not cease to be kings, but exercise all their power for preserving the worship of God and administering righteous government.

Hence we see how much those persons are opposed to the kingdom of Christ who wish to snatch authority and power from kings, that they themselves may possess it. Hence also the Anabaptists may be refuted, who overturn political order so far as to imagine that kings cannot be Christians in any other way than by renouncing their own authority, since even in the royal rank God shows that he wishes to hold the highest place.

For in my wrath I smote thee. Lest any one should object that it would have been easier to preserve the Church uninjured than to raise her from hell, God anticipates the objection, and shows that the Jews were justly afflicted in this manner, because he had been exceedingly provoked by their offenses; but he gives them good ground of hope, because he does not choose to demand the punishment which they had deserved, but will be satisfied, provided that a temporary chastisement shall humble them.

In my kindness have I had compassion on thee. He reminds the Jews what is the cause of this change, that they may not judge of it according to their own apprehension. When kingdoms are changed, and frequently rise and fall, men think that these events happen by chance, and that it is the common lot of the world. The Jews might think the same thing, when, in consequence of the kingdom of the Babylonians having been overturned, they were restored to liberty. For this reason the Lord testifies that all these things are governed by his providence; that is, that they may not shut their eyes after the manner of heathens. It is as if he had said, “If thou inquire why thou hast endured so many afflictions, the reason is this, that I was angry with thee and punished thy transgressions. But if thou ask the cause of thy deliverance, my undeserved kindness, and not thy worthiness, or an accidental occurrence, was the cause.” Accordingly, calamities do not happen by chance, nor is God angry without cause; and he is not angry to such a degree as not to leave room for his compassion. (Habakkuk 3:2)


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