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O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,

so that the mountains would quake at your presence—


as when fire kindles brushwood

and the fire causes water to boil—

to make your name known to your adversaries,

so that the nations might tremble at your presence!


When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,

you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.


From ages past no one has heard,

no ear has perceived,

no eye has seen any God besides you,

who works for those who wait for him.


You meet those who gladly do right,

those who remember you in your ways.

But you were angry, and we sinned;

because you hid yourself we transgressed.


We have all become like one who is unclean,

and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.

We all fade like a leaf,

and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.


There is no one who calls on your name,

or attempts to take hold of you;

for you have hidden your face from us,

and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.


Yet, O L ord, you are our Father;

we are the clay, and you are our potter;

we are all the work of your hand.


Do not be exceedingly angry, O L ord,

and do not remember iniquity forever.

Now consider, we are all your people.


Your holy cities have become a wilderness,

Zion has become a wilderness,

Jerusalem a desolation.


Our holy and beautiful house,

where our ancestors praised you,

has been burned by fire,

and all our pleasant places have become ruins.


After all this, will you restrain yourself, O L ord?

Will you keep silent, and punish us so severely?


11. The house of our sanctuary and of our glory. 195195     “Our holy and our beautiful house.” — (Eng. Ver.)
“Our house of holiness and beauty.” — Alexander.
It is called “the sanctuary of the people” in a different sense from that in which it is called “the sanctuary of God;” for, being the testimony of a sacred union between God and the people, it is often called “God’s holy house;” that is, because it corresponds to his holiness. But now, in a passive sense, believers call it “their sanctuary,” because from it they must seek their sanctification.

This is more plainly confirmed by the words, “of our glory.” They acknowledge that they have nothing in which they ought to glory, except the temple, in which God wished to be adored and worshipped. And yet we see that this glorying was often without foundation, and for that reason was reproved by Jeremiah,

“Trust not in words of falsehood, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are we.” (Jeremiah 7:4.)

But while the glorying of those who were proud and insolent on account of empty titles was without foundation, yet true and well-grounded was the glorying of those who embraced with the heart the Lord’s ordinance, and, relying on the testimony of his word, knew that they dwelt under the shadow of him who had reared for himself a constant dwelling-place in the midst of them; for the temple was built by the command of the Lord, so that the Jews might justly glory in having God for the protector of their salvation.

In which our fathers praised thee. Because the worship of God was at that time corrupted and adulterated, and almost all had revolted to superstition and ungodliness, for this reason he mentions not the present but the former age. As if he had said, “Though we have not rendered to thee such worship as we ought to have rendered, yet this is the temple in which our fathers worshipped thee in purity; wilt thou permit it to be profaned and destroyed? Will not this disgrace recoil on thyself, since it relates to the worship of thy name?” Here the Jews say nothing about their life, and bring forward no excuses, and rather confess their guilt, but offer their worship to God, that he may be mindful of his covenant, and not allow his promises to be made void. This example ought to be imitated by all believers. The word “praise” denotes thanksgiving; as if he had said, “In that temple, the melancholy ruins of which draw forth mourning and tears from all believers, the praises of God at one time resounded, when he treated his people with kindness and gentleness. 196196     “They press him closer still, and make use of an argument which was most likely to affect him. The temple wherein our pious fathers praised thee, the beautiful sanctuary in which thy honor used to dwell, is burnt with fire; the precious materials it was made of are nothing but rubbish and dust.” — White.

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