Isai. lxv. 12 — 14. Because ivhen I called, ye did not answer;
ivhen I spake, ye did not. hear; hut did evil before mine eyes,
and did choose that wherein I delighted Jiot : therefore thus
saith the Lord God, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye
shall be hungry : behold, my servants shall drink, hut ye shall
he thirsty : behold, my servants shall rejoice, hut ye shall be
ashamed: behold, my servants shall sing for joy of' heart, hut
ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and howl J or vexation of
I every age, and every place, God is the same :
he is the Governor of the universe, and expects
obedience from all his creatures, and will deal with
them in a way of approbation or displeasure, accord-
ing as they conduct themselves towards him. What-
ever his people do, either in a way of obedience or
of disobedience, he will notice it, in order to a suita-
ble retribution; taking into the account every thing
which, on the one hand, may either extenuate or ag-
gravate the guilt of the disobedient, or, on the other
hand, enhance or detract from the services of the
obedient. This is evident in the passai^e before us,
where he specifies his own unwearied kindness to
his people as greatly aggravating the guilt of their
neglect, and as forming a ground for his executing the
heavier judgments upon them.
Let us consider,
I. The evil laid to their charge —
This was indeed heinous beyond measure : for,
notwithstanding all the remonstrances of successive
Prophets whom God sent to warn them of their
guilt, " they forsook the Lord, and forgot his holy
mountain," where they ought to have worshipped
him; and " oifered sacrifices to a whole troop" of
worthless idols. In this respect ive, through mercy,
stand on higher ground than they. Yet, though free
from gross idolatry, we have acted altogether on the
same rebellious principle as thei/, in that,
1 . We have followed, every one of us, our own
evil ways —
[We have not all acted in precisely the same way : some
have run into the grosser sins of drunkenness and unclean-
ness, whilst others have been more decorous in their habits of
hfe : but we have all neglected to choose tlie things wiierein
God did delight, and have " chosen the things wherein he de-
lighted not." To fear him, to love him, to serve him, to glorify
him, these are the things which God would have approved :
but how far have they been from being the objects of our
choice! A life of carelessness and indifference, of
worldliness and vanity, and of an idolatrous attachment to the
things of time and sense, this is hateful in the sight of God:
and this has been our habit, from our youth up even luitil
now ]
This we have done notwithstanding God's inces-
sant endeavours to reclaim us —
[How constantly has he spoken tons in his blessed word!
With what warnings, and invitations, and promises, and ex-
postulations has he followed us all our days! How often has
he spoken to us in his providential dealings, and how often
by his Holy Spirit in our own consciences ! yet all in vain :
we have turned a deaf ear to every admonition ; " wc have
pulled away the shoulder; we have refused to return"
Our Lord may well complain of us, " How often v ould I
VOL. v.
K K have
498 ISAIAH, Lxv. 12 — 14. [544.
have gathered you, even as a hen gathereth her chickens un-
der her wings, but ye would not!"
ow all this has greatly aggravated our guilt. As our
blessed Lord said of the Jews, " If I had not come unto them
and spoken unto them, they had not had sin ; but now they
have no cloke for their sin," so it may be said of us: indeed
of us it may be said in a peculiar manner, because of the
plainness and fidelity with which the whole counsel of God
has been for so many years declared unto you: verily we have
in that respect been distinguished as Capernaum of old ; and
may expect to be distinguished also like that city in our
punishment, if we continue to abuse the privileges with which
we are so highly favoured.]
From the evil which they committed, we proceed
to notice,
II. The judgments denounced against them —
Under the Jewish dispensation, the commands of
God were enforced with temporal rewards and
punishments : but to us he holds forth rather such
as are spiritual and eternal. Certain it is that God
will put a difference between those who serve him,
and those who serve him not.
He will do it in this world —
[The servants of God, as to external things, may be,
and for the most part are, in a state inferior to others: never-
theless they have in reality an infinitely better portion than
the greatest or happiest of God's enemies. " The very bless-
ings of his enemies are cursed to them/' so that " in the midst
of their sufficiency they are in straits ;" but the Lord's people
have even their afflictions sanctified to them, so that they are
enabled to " glory in their tribulations," and " take pleasure
in their distresses." They have " meat to eat which the world
knows not of:" and so refreshing are their draughts from the
Fountain of living waters, that " they never thirst again" for
the polluted streams which this world afiords. Their minds
ai'e tranquil and at ease, whilst " tho wicked are like the trou-
bled sea which cannot rest;" thej/ live in higher regions, where
the storms and tempests of this lower world can scarcely
reach; and enjoy in the light of God's countenance a very
foretaste of heaven itself ]
He will do it in the world to come —
[Oh ! who can conceive how different from that of the
ungodly will be the lot of God's servants there P The para-
ble of the Rich Man and Lazarus will serve to give us some
idea of it. Here the Rich jIan's state appeared to have in it
all that was desirable, whilst the destitution of Lazarus was
extreuie: but how different their condition tlierc ! the one
banojueting at the table of his Lord, and '' drinkin<r of the
riveio of pleasure which are at God's right hand;" the other
wanting " a drop of water to cool his tongue !" the one ex-
alted in glory on his Saviour's throne, and lilied with a com-
plete fruition of his God ; the other " weeping and wailing,
and gnashing his teeth," in anguish, which no words can utter,
no imagination can conceive! Verily the words of my text
will t/ie?iha.\e their full accomplishment; and then shall every
soul understand what is comprehended in tiiis sentence, " Be-
hold, my servants shall eat; but ye shall be hungry: behold,
my servants shall drink; but ye shall he thirsty:" behold, my
servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: behold, my
servants shall sing for joy of heart; but ye shall cry for sor-
row of heart, and howl for vexation of spirit."]
1. Those who disregard the warnings of their
[What excuse have you for this rebellious conduct ? Is
there any thing unreasonable in his commands? Is he not
worthy to be feared, and loved, and served, and honoured i
and would not your own happiness be promoted by conform-
ing to his will? Or have you any doubt whether there
be a day of future retribution, when *' he will give to every
man according to his works?" You cannot doubt of this. Why
then will you not lay to heart the warnings and the exhorta-
tions which he sends to you from time to time ? 1 pray you
think of the judgments here denounced against those who
are disobedient to his word ; and " Hee, whilst yet ye may
flee, to the refuge that is set before you" ]
2. Those who obey him in spirit and in truth —
[We cannot but observe with what peculiar delight God
contemplates the happiness of his obedient servants. o
less than four times does he repeat the words, " Behold, my
servants ;" as though he had said, " These are the ])eoi)le
whom I dehght to "honour; and the whole universe shall see,
that they are above all others, the blessed of the Lord." To
you then I say. Think of the blessings which are here ac-
corded to you ; and labour night and day to secure them. In
particular, consult the Sacred Records, and see what those
things are in which your God deliglits. Does he delight to
honour his only dear Son ? Let your whole soul engage in
this blessed work, looking to him for all that you want,
"' receiving every thing out of liis fulness," and devoting youi--
K K ^ selves
500 ISAIAH, LXVI. 10 13. [545.
selves in body, soul, and spirit, to his service. Does God de-
light in holiness ? Seek it in its utmost heights, that ye may
** be holy as he is holy, and perfect, even as your Father
which is in heaven is perfect."]

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