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64. Praise and Prayer

Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, 2As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! 3When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence. 4For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. 5Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved. 6But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. 8But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

9Be not wroth very sore, O Lord, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people. 10Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. 11Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste. 12Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O Lord? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?

7. There is none that calleth on thy name. He confirms what was formerly said; for he exhorts believers, even though God’s punishment of them appears to be severe, still to believe that they deserve such a punishment. Heinous sins are mentioned by him; and though it would be tedious to go over all of them in detail, he points out the fountain itself, and says that the worship of God is neglected. Under the word “calleth on,” he includes, as is customary in Scripture, the whole worship of God; for the most important part of God’s worship is to “call upon” him, and to testify our confidence in him. Prayers and supplications, undoubtedly, were always practiced among them; but, because the heart was far removed, he reckons all pretended ceremonies as of no value.

Or that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee. He now explains more clearly the former clause, by saying that no one earnestly applies his mind, or gives his endeavor to seek God, but that all are consumed and wasted away through their own slothfulness. And first, he shews that nothing is more desirable than to be perfectly joined to God; for, when we are alienated from him, everything must go ill with us. We are indolent and sluggish by nature; and therefore we need to have spurs applied to us. Seeing that by nature we indulge our slothfulness, we must listen to the advice of the Prophet so as not to become utterly stupid; for, otherwise he in his turn will reject us, or contemptuously drive us away. The Prophet describes the miserable condition of the people, in which there was no desire to seek God, and no means were used to stir up the heart to godliness.

Thou hast made us to languish. They again complain that they are overwhelmed by the severity of distress, and obtain from God no alleviation; for Isaiah asserts these things in the name of the whole people, and prays to God not to permit them any longer to languish amidst so great miseries.


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