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THE REV. C. SIMEO, M.A.
Isai. xli. 14 — 16. Fear not, thou tvorm Jacob, and ye men oj
Israel: I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thij Redeemer ,
the Holy One of Israel Behold, I will make thee a new
sharp threshing instrument, having teeth: thou shalt thresh tliQ,
mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as
chaff: thou shalt fan them, and the ivind shall carry them
away, and the wlurlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt
rejoice in the Lord, and shalt ghnj in the Holy One of Israel.
TO comfort and encourage the weak is among the
first duties of a Minister. The command of God to
all his servants is, to strengthen the weak hands, and
confirm the feeble knees, and dispel the fears of the
336 ISAIAH, xLi. 14— 16. [510.
desponding, with an assurance, that their God will
come and save them*. This is an office executed by
our blessed Lord, who " carries the lambs in his
bosom, and gently leads them that are with young''."
The delisrht which the Father himself also takes in
raising up the drooping mmds of his people, appears
eminently in this, that he frequently addresses them
in terms which they, through despondency, would
use to characterize themselves ; and then under those
very characters assures them of his most favourable
regards. This is particularly conspicuous in the pas-
sage before us, where, addressing his people, he
I. Their character —
[The name of a " worm," as applied to our blessed Lord,
denotes his low and abject condition during his abode on
earth "^r but, as applied to us, it rather represents our weak-
ness and insufficiency for any thing that is good. In this sense
it does indeed most justly mark our character: for there is no
creature less capable of active exertion than a worm, or less
able to effect any material good: and certainly our inability
to perform that which is good is extreme; for we not only
cannot of ourselves do a good action'', but we cannot even
speak a good word*, or think a good thought^. God himself
must give us both to will and to do% and must work all our
good works in us ''. As rational Beings, we have yet a consi-
derable portion of the Divine image upon us; but as moral
agents, " we are very far gone from original righteousness,"
and are altogether "dead in trespasses and sins;" nor ha\"e
we any more power to renovate ourselves, than " an Ethiopian
has to change his complexion, or a leopard his spots ^"]
IL Their labours —
[otwithstanding our utter impotence, we have an im-
mensely difficult work to perform : " the worm Jacob" is re-
quired to " thresh mountains," and to reduce them all to dust:
though himself liable to be crushed beneath the smallest clod,
he must address himself to this mighty task. There were to
all human appearance insurmountable obstacles to the progress
of the Christian Church, which yet it was destined to over-
come: so are there mountains in tlie way of every individual,
which yet he must remove, before he can arrive at the Pro-
mised Land. What almost insuperable difficulties does the
* Isai. XXXV. 3, 4, *¦ Isai. xl. 1 1. ' Ps. xxii. <).
'' John XV. 6. ' Matt, xii, 34. '2 Cor, ill. 5.
« Phil. iL 13. '' Jer. xiii. 23.
510.] THE WORM THRESHIG THE MOUTAIS. 337
world present to him ! its pleasures, its maxims, its habits, its
company, its friendship, its hatred, its fiercest opposition, must
all be regarded as a thing of nought Thejiesh too, with
all its aftections and lusts, must be mortified and subdued
Yea, Sataji himself, with all the principalities and
powers of hell, must be encountered and overcome'
Alas! who is sufficient for these things? Who that is in-
formed of Demas turning aside through love of this present
evil world, and of the great Apostle himself crying, " O
wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me ? " must not
tremble for himself? But such is the work assigned us; and
the weakest amongst us must undertake and execute it, ere
he can receive from God the promised recompence of reward.]
III. Their successes —
[Weak as they are, they all prevail at last. As the Jews,
notwithstanding all the obstructions of the Red Sea, the wil-
derness, and the warlike inhabitants of Canaan, obtained at
last the full possession of the Promised Land, and as the Chris-
tian Church triumphed at last over all the power of the
Roman empire, so is every Believer, crowned with victory
at last"" The hills and mountains are levelled through
his unwearied exertions'; and he is "made more than con-
queror through Christ who loveth him." Through faith he
overcomes the world " ; by the aid of the Holy Spirit he mor-
tifies the deeds of the body " ; and by a steady and uniform
resistance, he overcomes Satan, so that that wicked fiend is
constrained to flee from him, and to yield him the palm of
victory". The full extent of the triumphs described in our
text has never yet indeed been realized in the Church of
Christ: we look to a period yet future, when " the moun-
tains shall be as dust, and be scattered as by a whirlwind ;"
and possibly at that period the triumphs of individuals will be
more complete : but even now, by a firm reliance on the pro-
mises, we may be enabled to " cleanse ourselves from all
filthiness both of flesh and spirit, and to perfect holiness in
the fear of God p." If we had but faith as a grain of mus-
tard seed, we might say to every mountain that is in our way,
" Be thou removed ; and it should immediately be cast into
the depths of the sea**."]
IV. Their triumphs —
[With such weakness, and such labours, we might well
expect the worm Jacob to sink in dejection and despair : but
behold he triumphs and exults, " rejoicing in the Lord, and
glorying in the Holy One of Israel." Here it must be
' Epli. \i. 12. ^ Compare Dan. ii. 34, 35. with the text.
' Isai. xl.3— 5. '" I John v. 4. ° Rom. viii. !3. Gal. v. 24.
» Jam. iv.7. lJohnii.l4. &v. 18. 1^200^ vii. 1. iMat.xxi.21.
VOL. V. Z
338 ISAIAH, xLi. 14 — 16. [510.
remarked, that he does not ascribe his successes to his own
arm ; he does " not sacrifice to his own net, or burn incense
to his own drag ;" he gives the glory to Him, to whom alone
it is due, even to " Jesus, who is the author and the finisher
of his faith'." The language of David in reference to his
victories exactly suits the Christian in reference to his spiritual
*^riunlphs^ He readily acknowledges whence it is that the
weapons of his warfare have accomplished such mighty
things, namely, that they have been " migliLy through God\"
who " has wrought all his works in him"," and " of whom
all his fruit has been found"." Hence, whilst he acknow-
ledges that " he who hath wrought him to the self-same
thing, is God y," he shouts with devoutest gratitude, "Thanks
be to God, who givetli us the victory through our Lord Jesus
Let us LEARiT from hence,
1. The folly of unbelief —
[We are apt to be discouraged by reason of our weak-
ness. But, what if we be as weak as the meanest worm? is
God therefore weak, or unable to effect the purposes of his
grace ? He characterizes us as " worms," on purpose that,
" when weak in ourselves, we may be strong in him, and
expect him to perfect his strength in our weakness." Instead
therefore of being discouraged on account of oiu* weakness, we
should rather " rejoice and glory in it, that the power of
Christ may rest upon us," and be glorified in us ^ We should
not, like the unbelieving spies, contemplate the power of our
enemies, but should, with believing Joshua, regard them all
" as hread J'or us^:" and, hurling defiance at them all, we
should say, " Who art thou, great mountain P Before Ze-
rubbabel thou shalt become a plain: his hands shall surely
finish the work he has begun*-."]
2. The need of constant exertions —
[Our weakness is no excuse for inactivity; nor does God's
promised aid supersede the necessity of ovu* own exertions.
On the contrary, it is that a cry promise that encourages our
exertions''. The mountains must be threshed by our arm : " the
kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent must
take it by force ^" We must run our race, and fight our
fight, and endure unto the end : for it is " to him only that
overcometh, that the crown of glory will be given." Give not
way then to dejection or sloth, but go forth in the strength of
' Heb. xii. 2. " Ps. xviii. '2p,32, 33, 3-L37, Al.
' 2 Cmv. X. 'I, 5. & 1 CcH-. XV. \0. " Isiii. xxvi. 12. * Hos. xiv. 8.
" 2 Cur. V. ^. * 1 Cor. XV. 57. & 2 Cor. ii.l4. " 2 Cor. xii. y. 10.
'' imjb.xiv.:j,y. <• Ztch, iv. 7, 8. wiih Phil. i.u. '' Phil. ii. 12,13.
• M.-it. xi. 12.
511.] CHRIST S COMMISSIO'. 339
the Lord Jesus : and when difficulties appear to he ahso-
lutely insurmountable, then go to him, and remind him of his
promise, " I will strengthen thee, yea I w ill help thee, yea I
will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness V
Then you shall find, that " you can do all things through him
strengthening you," and that " Satan with all his train shall be
shortly and eternally bruised under your feet."]
^ ver. 10. with the text ; and Amos v. g.
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