Isaiah Chapter Twenty-four
The desolation of the land. (1-12) A few shall be preserved. (13-15) God's kingdom advanced by his judgments. (16-23)
Commentary on Isaiah 24:1-12
(Read Isaiah 24:1-12)
All whose treasures and happiness are laid up on earth, will soon be brought to want and misery. It is good to apply to ourselves what the Scripture says of the vanity and vexation of spirit which attend all things here below. Sin has turned the earth upside down; the earth is become quite different to man, from what it was when God first made it to be his habitation. It is, at the best, like a flower, which withers in the hands of those that please themselves with it, and lay it in their bosoms. The world we live in is a world of disappointment, a vale of tears; the children of men in it are but of few days, and full of trouble, See the power of God's curse, how it makes all empty, and lays waste all ranks and conditions. Sin brings these calamities upon the earth; it is polluted by the sins of men, therefore it is made desolate by God's judgments. Carnal joy will soon be at end, and the end of it is heaviness. God has many ways to imbitter wine and strong drink to those who love them; distemper of body, anguish of mind, and the ruin of the estate, will make strong drink bitter, and the delights of sense tasteless. Let men learn to mourn for sin, and rejoice in God; then no man, no event, can take their joy from them.
Commentary on Isaiah 24:13-15
(Read Isaiah 24:13-15)
There shall be a remnant preserved from the general ruin, and it shall be a devout and pious remnant. These few are dispersed; like the gleanings of the olive tree, hid under the leaves. The Lord knows those that are his; the world does not. When the mirth of carnal worldlings ceases, the joy of the saints is as lively as ever, because the covenant of grace, the fountain of their comforts, and the foundation of their hopes, never fails. Those who rejoice in the Lord can rejoice in tribulation, and by faith may triumph when all about them are in tears. They encourage their fellow-sufferers to do likewise, even those who are in the furnace of affliction. Or, in the valleys, low, dark, miry places. In every fire, even the hottest, in every place, even the remotest, let us keep up our good thoughts of God. If none of these trials move us, then we glorify the Lord in the fires.
Commentary on Isaiah 24:16-23
(Read Isaiah 24:16-23)
Believers may be driven into the uttermost parts of the earth; but they are singing, not sighing. Here is terror to sinners; the prophet laments the miseries he saw breaking in like a torrent; and the small number of believers. He foresees that sin would abound. The meaning is plain, that evil pursues sinners. Unsteady, uncertain are all these things. Worldly men think to dwell in the earth as in a palace, as in a castle; but it shall be removed like a cottage, like a lodge put up for the night. It shall fall and not rise again; but there shall be new heavens and a new earth, in which shall dwell nothing but righteousness. Sin is a burden to the whole creation; it is a heavy burden, under which it groans now, and will sink at last. The high ones, that are puffed up with their grandeur, that think themselves out of the reach of danger, God will visit for their pride and cruelty. Let us judge nothing before the time, though some shall be visited. None in this world should be secure, though their condition be ever so prosperous; nor need any despair, though their condition be ever so deplorable. God will be glorified in all this. But the mystery of Providence is not yet finished. The ruin of the Redeemer's enemies must make way for his kingdom, and then the Sun of Righteousness will appear in full glory. Happy are those who take warning by the sentence against others; every impenitent sinner will sink under his transgression, and rise no more, while believers enjoy everlasting bliss.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Isaiah》
 Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.
The land — Of Canaan.
Waste — He will shortly make it waste, first by the Assyrians, and then by the Chaldeans.
Turneth — Brings it into great disorder and confusion.
 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.
It shall be — The approaching calamity shall be universal, without any distinction of persons or ranks; the priests themselves having been partakers of the peoples sins, shall also partake with them in their plagues.
The seller — The purchaser of lands shall have no more left than he that hath sold all his patrimony; and all persons shall be made equal in beggary and slavery.
 The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.
The world — The land of Judea.
The majesty — Not only common people, but the high and lofty ones.
 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
Defiled — By the wickedness of its people.
The laws — The laws of God.
Ordinance — God's ordinances concerning his worship and service; the singular being put for the plural.
Covenant — The covenant made between God and Abraham, and all his posterity, which was everlasting, both on God's part, who, upon the conditions therein expressed, engaged himself to be a God to them and to their seed forever; and on Israel's part, who were obliged thereby to constant and perpetual obedience thro' all generations.
 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.
The curse — The curse of God threatened to transgressors.
Burned — Are consumed by the wrath of God, which is commonly compared to fire.
 The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merryhearted do sigh.
Mourneth — Because there are none to drink it. Grief is ascribed to senseless creatures by a figure usual in all authors.
Languisheth — Because there are no people left to dress it, or gather its grapes.
The merry-hearted — That made their hearts merry with wine.
 The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth.
Tabrets — Which they used in their feasts.
The noise — The word properly signifies a confused clamour, such as drunken men make.
 They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it.
Bitter — Because of the fears and miseries wherewith it is mixed.
 The city of confusion is broken down: every house is shut up, that no man may come in.
The city — Jerusalem, and other cities; for the singular word may be here taken collectively. A city of confusion or disorder, breaking all the laws and orders which God had established among them.
Shut up — Because the inhabitants are either dead, or gone into captivity.
 There is a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone.
A crying — Such was their gross sensuality and sottishness, that instead of crying for their sins, they did only howl for their corn, and wine, and oil, Hosea 7:14.
 When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done.
When — When this judgment shall be executed, there shall be left a remnant; as there are some few olives or grapes left after the vintage is over.
 They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea.
They — The remnant shall sing for the glorious power and goodness of God, manifested in their deliverance.
The sea — From the isles of the sea; from those parts beyond the sea into which, they were carried captive.
 Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea.
In distress — When you are in the furnace of affliction.
In the isles — In remote countries, beyond the sea, which in scripture are commonly called isles.
 From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.
From — From all the parts of the earth in which the Jews are or shall be.
Songs — Of joy and praise.
Glory — Or, glory be to the righteous. The Lord, the righteous one.
But — In the midst of these joyful tidings, I discern something which gives me cause of lamentation.
My leanness — I faint and pine away for grief, for the following reason.
Treacherously — The Jews, who have been frequently guilty of great perfidiousness towards God, are now acting the same part. Even the Hebrew doctors expound this place of the perfidiousness of some Jews in the times of the Messiah. And it is not strange that so sad a sight made the prophet cry out, My leanness, etc. He repeats it to shew the horridness of the crime.
 Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth.
The snare — Great and various judgments, some actually inflicted, and others justly feared.
 And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.
Fleeth — Upon the report of some terrible evil.
The foundations — Both heaven and earth conspire against him. He alludes to the deluge of waters which God poured down from heaven, and to the earthquakes which he often causes below.
 The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.
The earth — This is repeated again, to shew the dreadfulness and, certainty of these judgments, and to awaken the stupid Israelites.
 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.
A tent — Which is easily and commonly carried from place to place.
 And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.
Gathered — By God's special providence, in order to their punishment. And thus the unbelieving Jews were generally gathered together at Jerusalem, to their solemn feast, when Titus came and besieged, and destroyed them.
Shut up — As malefactors, which are taken in several places, are usually brought to one common prison.
After — After the apostate Jews shall have been shut up in unbelief, and in great tribulations for many ages together, they shall be convinced of their sin in crucifying the Messiah, and brought home to God and Christ by true repentance.
 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.
The sun — All earthly powers and glories shall be obscured with the far greater splendor of Christ, the king of kings, at whose feet even the kings of the earth shall fall down and worship.
The Lord — The Messiah, who, tho' man, yet is also God, and the Lord of hosts.
Shall reign — Shall come in the flesh, and set up his kingdom, first in Jerusalem, and afterward in all other nations.
Before — Before his ministers, who are in some sort the courtiers of the King of Glory. But the ancients are here put for the whole church, in whose name and for whose service they act.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Isaiah》
24 Chapter 24
Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty
“The earth,” not the “land” (R.. marg.) of Judah or Palestine. “The prophecy leaps far beyond all particular or national conditions.” (J. Skinner, D. D.)
The sources and consequences of anarchy
I. THE FATAL CONSEQUENCES OF ANARCHY. Of these we may be convinced, by viewing the greatness of the blessings which anarchy destroys. Happy the prince, happy the people, when lawful government is well established, wisely administered, duly honoured, and cheerfully obeyed! The persons, characters, and properties of the innocent are protected; good order is preserved; and the duties of every different situation, employment, and rank are faithfully discharged. The political body is healthy and safe. Distinguished genius and penetration, improved in wisdom by careful attention and long experience, are as eyes to the community: while the hands of the mechanic and labourer supply its necessities. These blessings are interrupted when the power of such a government is suspended; and, when it is destroyed, they cease. Anarchy, by levelling all ranks, transgresses a great law of nature, and of the God of nature; and stops a chief source of social happiness. Where abilities, dispositions, situations, and enjoyments differ, power and influence cannot be equal. A land, where there is no order, is a land of darkness and of the shadow of death. A community, which hath no eyes and guides, must wander and perish in the paths of destruction and misery.
II. THE SOURCES OF ANARCHY, in rulers, or subjects, transgressing the laws, and neglecting the maxims, which reason or revelation prescribes, for securing the happiness and peace of society.
1. Anarchy is occasioned by violating the laws which prescribe patriotism, public spirit, love of liberty, and regard to the rights of mankind.
2. Neglect of the maxims of wisdom, taught by reason or Scripture, is sometimes the immediate, and sometimes the remote, source of anarchy.
3. Anarchy is occasioned, and the power of preventing or removing it diminished, by rulers and subjects transgressing the precepts of industry and frugality.
4. Anarchy is occasioned by neglect of the laws of reason and revelation, which prescribe peaceableness and union. Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation.
5. Anarchy is occasioned by transgressing the great laws of religion. Religion produces the most perfect union: for it inspires, with the same general principle of action, supreme regard to the glory of God, unfeigned affection to our neighbour, and a willingness to sacrifice, whatever in its own nature opposes, or, through peculiar circumstances, becomes incompatible with these. (J. Erskine, D. D.)
I. THE NATURE OF THE CALAMITY WHICH SHOULD COME UPON THE LAND--the emptiness or desolation of the earth. This is one of the rods which God holds over the heads of people, to make them stand in fear of Hun Leviticus 26:19; Deuteronomy 28:38).
II. THE AUTHOR OR EFFICIENT CAUSE OF SUCH DESOLATION is God. It does not happen by say blind chance.
III. THE MEANS OR SECOND CAUSES whereby God makes a land waste. Pestilence, sword, fire, unseasonable weather, noxious creatures, etc.
IV. THE MERITORIOUS CAUSE (verse 5). (W. Reading, M. A.)
And it shall be, as with the people, go with the priest
The mutual assimilation of minister and people
The minister makes the people and the people make the minister.
I. THE MINISTER’S INFLUENCE.
1. As a preacher and teacher--upon the conceptions of truth and duty, the understanding of the Word of God, and the practical conduct of the people.
2. As a man, in his own example and life.
3. As a pastor, in his pastoral intercourse with his flock.
4. As a public leader of reforms, etc.
II. THE PEOPLE’S INFLUENCE.
1. In getting him audience. Giving him their own ears and attention and gathering in others.
2. In making him eloquent. Gladstone says, “Eloquence is pouring back on an audience in a shower what is first received from the audience in vapour.”
3. In making him spiritual. They can encourage him to spiritual growth and culture; to earnest and edifying preaching. They can pray for him and help him to feel that they want and wish only spiritual food.
4. In making him a power for good. Aristotle says, “Truth is what a thing is in itself, in its relations and in the medium through which it is viewed.” Goethe says, “Before we complain of the writing as obscure we must first examine if all be clear within.” In the twilight a very plain manuscript is illegible. So the attitude of a hearer largely limits the power of a preacher; the cooperation of a Church member may indefinitely increase the effectiveness of a pastor’s work. (Homiletic Review.)
Preachers affected by their congregations
A few years ago, after a minister had been preaching in a Wesleyan chapel not far from my house, one of the older officials of the circuit began to talk to him of the glories of a past generation, and said with some fervour, “Ah, sir, there were great preachers in those days.” “Yes,” was the reply of the minister, “and there were great hearers in those days.” The answer was a wise and just one. If preachers form and discipline their congregations, it is equally true that congregations form and discipline their preachers. (R. W. Dale, LL. D.)
As with the buyer, so with the seller
Buying and selling
Buying and selling are of very ancient date. The earliest instance we read of occurs in the history of Abraham. The purchase made was a burying place; and is connected with the death of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. Various nations and states have distinguished themselves at different times by their trade and commerce. In ancient times we may enumerate Arabia, Egypt, and especially Tyre--the crowning city where “merchants were princes--where traffickers were the honourable of the earth.” In more moderntimes we may mention Greece, Rome, Venice, the Hanse, Spain, Portugal, and above all Great Britain. Well might Napoleon Buonaparte call us a nation of shopkeepers. (R. W. Overbury.)
The relative duties of buyers and sellers
I. POINT OUT SOME OF THE EVILS BY WHICH THE RELATION BETWEEN BUYER AND SELLER IS VIOLATED. This relation is violated by every violation of those two important principles that lie at the foundation of all society--justice and truth. Justice consists in giving everyone his due; and truth or veracity in keeping our engagements, and avoiding lying and dissimulation. These principles and the relative duties arising out of them are violated--
1. By the practice of any and every kind of fraud in the transaction of business.
2. By the contracting of debts without any reasonable prospect of being able to pay them.
3. Another way in which the relation between buyers and sellers is violated is, by making ourselves responsible for the debts of others, when we are not in possession of sufficient capital to warrant it.
4. By the very prevalent practice of underselling. Where does the injury fall? First, upon the poor operatives, who labour day and night by the sweat of their brow, to furnish conveniences and luxuries for the higher ranks of society, whilst their labour is remunerated at a price that hardly keeps them and their families from starving. The other party upon whom the injury falls is other tradesmen in the same line, who, shrinking from the use of such unscrupulous and oppressive means of realising large profits, lose either a part or the whole of their custom.
II. SHOW THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SUBJECT.
1. In a secular view. The permanent prosperity of our trade, and consequently the temporal welfare of society depend upon the principles which pervade our business transactions. Every deviation from right principles inflicts injury somewhere, and in proportion to the extent of that deviation contributes to augment the sum of national distress. Nations, as such, are punished in this life--individuals hereafter. An invisible Being, too little recognised in the marts of trade, presides over our national affairs, and distributes or withholds national blessings in proportion as the principles of eternal truth and justice are practically acknowledged.
2. In a religious view. It has been well said, that “a Christian is the highest style of man.”
The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof
The earth polluted by sin
The inhabitants of the earth pollute it by their sins: the children
of Israel defiled God’s land by filling His inheritance with the carcasses of
their abominable things, with their idolatries, with their wicked inventions
and corrupt ways.
“They have transgressed the laws” of nature, of conscience, and of nations--the ceremonial, judicial, and moral laws, delivered to them by Jehovah Himself. These laws, stamped by the sacred authority of the one great Lawgiver, which they ought to have religiously observed, they presumptuously transgressed, omitting to do what He required and committing what He had forbidden. (R. Macculloch.)
The earth cursed for man’s sake
The Bible gives no support to the theory that matter itself is evil. God created all things; “and God saw everything that He had made; and, behold, it was very good.” When, therefore, we read in the Bible that the earth is cursed, we read that it is cursed for man’s sake; when we read of its desolation, it is as the effect of man’s crime. (G. A. Smith, D. D.)
The everlasting covenant
The covenant is that with Noah, and the law that against bloodshed (Genesis 9:5-6). (A. B. Davidson, LL. D.)
Wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the fires
Glorifying the Lord in the fires
The suffering child of God will glorify Him in the fires--
BY ACKNOWLEDGING HIS POWER. The same Almighty One who fed Elijah, in the terrible days of dearth, and who delivered Daniel from the power of the lions, still watches over and provides for His people.
II. BY RECOGNISING HIS WISDOM. He knows (as no short-sighted mortal can) when it is safe for us to enjoy prosperity, and when it is needful for our soul’s health to endure disappointment and trouble.
III. BY A FRANK ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF HIS GOODNESS. If Our Heavenly Father had ceased to feel an interest in our welfare, He would not have employed the means to do us good. (J. N. Norton.)
I. WHO ARE EXPECTED TO GLORIFY THE LORD.
2. But the Church triumphant does (Revelation 7:11-12).
3. And the Church militant ought to have this one aim. Let us take as an example, St. Paul (Philippians 3:10-14).
The Lord glorified by His suffering people
II. WHAT THE FIRES ARE IN WHICH WE GLORIFY GOD.
1. Determined self-humiliation, etc.; duties unpleasant, but religious.
2. Personal troubles are often perplexing. Faith is given, not to annihilate these, but to endure them.
3. Others’ trials.
4. Our bodily afflictions.
5. Amongst the hottest “fires” are fiery darts. Paul was thus tried.
6. Enmity against our beloved Church. Foes within and without.
7. Fear of death.
III. BUT ONE IS EVER PRESENT IN THE FIRES.
1. In them once, alone.
2. Leads others safely through.
IV. THE FIRES ARE BURNING BY GOD’S PERMISSION. Like powerful remedies of surgeon or physician.
1. To manifest His chosen.
2. To purify.
3. To strengthen. Opposition invigorates. (W. W. Tyler.)
How to honour God in trouble
“Whether ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” What an extensive admonition is this! And yet even this does not include the whole of God’s claim upon us. We are required to honour Him, not only in all we do, but in all we suffer.
I. THE STATE HERE SUPPOSED. “In the fires.” Stripped of metaphor, the passage supposes a state of suffering. In this state we may be found--
1. As men. “Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.”
2. As Christians. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.”
II. THE DUTY HERE ENJOINED. “Glorify ye the Lord in the fires.” The glory of God is essential or declarative. We cannot add to the former. But, “the heavens declare the glory of God.” All His works praise Him. How? By the impressions and displays of His perfections; by showing us what He is, and what He deserves. Thus, Christians are appointed to “show forth the praises”--virtues--excellences--“of Him who hath called them,” etc.; which is done by their language and their lives. Hence, we glorify God in our afflictions when we verbally and practically acknowledge--
1. His agency.
2. His rectitude. He is “righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works.”
3. His wisdom.
4. His goodness.
5. His power.
III. THE REASONS.
1. Because you have the finest opportunity. The scene naturally awakens attention. Nothing is so impressive as the graces of a
Christian in trouble.
2. The obligations you are under to the blessed God.
3. Hope should influence you. “Verily there is a reward for the righteous.” (W. Jay.)
Glorifying God in affliction
“There never was such affliction as mine,” said a poor sufferer, restlessly tossing on a sick bed, in a city hospital. “I don’t think there ever was such a racking pain.” “Once,” was faintly uttered from the next bed. The first speaker paused for a moment, and then began, in a still more impatient tone: “Nobody knows what I pass through; nobody ever suffered more pain.” “One,” was again whispered from the adjoining bed. “I take it you mean yourself, poor soul! but--Oh! not myself--not myself,” exclaimed the other, her pale face flushing as if some wrong had been offered, not to herself but to another. There was a short pause, and then the sweet, gentle voice uttered the sacred words, “When they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand: and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head. And when they came unto a place called Golgotha, they gave Him vinegar to drink, mingled with gall. And they crucified Him. And, about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” The voice ceased, and the nurse handed a cup of barley water, flavoured with a grateful acid, to the lips of both sufferers. “Thank you, nurse,” said the last speaker. “They gave Him gall to eat, and vinegar to drink.” “She is talking about Jesus,” said the other sick woman, “but talking about His sufferings can’t mend mine.” “But it lightens hers,” said the nurse. “I wonder how?” Hush!” said the nurse. The gentle voice began: “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” Verily, even in the midst of affliction and suffering God’s true children will learn to glorify Him. (J. N. Norton.)
Galileo’s recognition of God in his blindness
How touching that saying of blind Galileo, “It has pleased God that it shall be so, and it must please me too.” (J. N. Norton.)
The term “fires” is a local designation meaning the east, as the land of sunrise, or of dawning light, and so standing in opposition to the west, which is represented in the next clause as “the isles of the sea.” The deliverance is one that calls for a chorus of praise from one end of the earth to the other. (T. W. Chambers, D. D.)
Fear and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee
Fear, and the pit, and the snare
The expressions here used seem to have formed a proverbial saying,
as appears from their being repeated by the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 48:43-44).
They allude to the different methods of taking wild beasts that were anciently in use. The fear, or terror, was a line strung with feathers of different colours, which was so constructed as to flutter in the air and to make a terrifying noise, that frightened the beasts into the pit, or the snare, that was prepared for them. The pit was digged deep in the ground, and covered over with boughs or turf, in order to deceive them, that they might fall into it unawares. The snare was composed of nets, enclosing a large space of ground that the wild beasts were known to haunt, which was drawn gradually narrower, until they were at last entangled and shut up. Our prophet, addressing himself to the inhabitants of the earth, declares, that calamities corresponding to each of these ways of destroying wild beasts, were to seize upon them, and that they should be so ordered, that those who escaped one sort would be arrested by another. (R. Macculloch.)
The foundations of the earth do shake
The religious improvement of earthquakes
(preached in 1756):--The works of Creation and Providence were
undoubtedly intended for the notice and contemplation of mankind, especially
when God “comes out of His place,” that is, departs from the usual and stated
course of His providence to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their
iniquities; then it becomes us to observe the operation of His hands with fear
To this the Psalmist repeatedly calls us: “Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations He hath made in the earth.” “Come, and see the works of God; He is terrible in His doing toward the children of men.” This world is a state of discipline for another; therefore chastisements of various kinds and degrees are to be enumerated among the ordinary works of Providence--pain, sickness, losses, bereavements, disappointments. But when these are found too weak and ineffectual for their reformation; or when, from their being so frequent and common, men begin to think them things of course, and not to acknowledge the Divine hand in them; then the universal Ruler uses such signal and extraordinary executioners of His vengeance, as cannot but rouse a slumbering world, and render it sensible of His agency. These extraordinary ministers of His vengeance are generally these four: the Famine, Sword, Pestilence, and Earthquakes.
I. Let the majestic and terrible phenomenon of earthquakes put you in mind of THE MAJESTY AND POWER OF GOD AND THE DREADFULNESS OF HIS DISPLEASURE.
II. This desolating judgment may justly lead you to reflect upon THE SINFULNESS OF OUR WORLD.
III. This melancholy event may carry your minds gratefully to reflect upon THE PECULIAR KINDNESS OF HEAVEN towards our country, in that it was not involved in the same destruction.
IV. That which I would particularly suggest to your thoughts from the devastations of the late earthquake, is THE LAST UNIVERSAL DESTRUCTION OF OUR WORLD AT THE FINAL JUDGMENT. Of this, an earthquake is both a confirmation to human reason, and a lively representation (S. Davies, M. A.)
“Removed like a cottage”
(Isaiah 24:20):--“Swayeth to and fro like a hammock.” Such is the more literal rendering. The hammock (the same word as in Isaiah 1:8) is still used throughout the East by the night-watchers of vineyards. (Sir E. Strachey, Bart.)
──《The Biblical Illustrator》