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This Chapter is one continued strain of prayer, from beginning to , end. It is to the same amount in supplication, as the conclusion of the former chapter, and contains the fervent cries of the Church for the divine manifestations.
Here is a most fervent, animated prayer, in which the Church petitions her Lord, that by the sovereignty of his grace, and the outpouring of his Holy Spirit, he would so come forth, and come down in the midst of his people, that the mountains of sin and unbelief might melt before him. Reader! depend upon it, when grace enables the Church, or the individual believer, to go forth in such awakening cries of soul; the Lord, who thus prepares the heart for mercy, is near at hand, in mercy to meet and bless his people.
To the earnest cry of the soul, that went up in the preceding supplication, the humbling of the soul, in the deepest self abasement of spirit, which here follows, becomes a most suited addition, in prayer. Nothing surely can be more express, in token of heart-felt contrition, than what is here said. The uncleanness, and the witherings of the leaf in a wintry day, are strong figures to intimate the unworthiness of our most holy things. And, Reader! think, I beseech you, if the heavens are not clean in God's sight, and if he charge even his angels with folly, how shall man be just with God? Oh! precious, precious Jesus! how sweet a relief to my soul is the recollection, that the perpetual and eternal efficacy of thy blood and righteousness taketh away the iniquity of our most holy things! For if, as is most true and just, our very righteousness is filthy in the view of God, then will it follow, that our prayer sins, our sacramental sins, our ordinance sins, need cleansing in Christ's blood. Oh! how blessed, and to the praise of God my Father's grace, is it, that both person and offering find acceptance in Jesus the beloved!
How beautiful is the connection between the opening and close of this prayer, and indeed the whole, of the Chapter from beginning to end! Surely, every faithful follower of the Lord Jesus, who knows himself to be, in himself, what this prayer expresseth; and desires, in that conviction to lie as clay in the hand of the potter, will look up, in and through the Lord Jesus, and the fullness of his propitiation and advocacy, and rest in humble waitings oh the Lord, until the hour of deliverance come. Wilt thou refrain thyself? Wilt thou hold thy peace? Wilt thou be silent from the throne, when Jesus's name is pleaded? will be the finishing and irresistible argument of every prayer. It is as if the soul of the believing pleader should say, "will God forget his covenant engagements? Shall the efficacy and merit of Jesus's blood and righteousness cease, and the helping of our infirmities in prayer, by God the Holy Ghost, be no more available?" Sweet and unanswerable pleas, these, to be sure of finding grace and mercy in due time of need.
READER! let us learn from this Chapter, how we are to pray, and what we are to pray for. Surely, the Holy Ghost hath caused this prayer of the Church; which he awakened by his grace, to be recorded and handed down through all ages of the Church, as a standing pattern of what words we are to take, and to come with before the Lord: And how sure that the Lord will hear the prayer he awakens in grace, and answer it in mercy.
Blessed Spirit of grace and supplication! thou who didst thus teach the Church; Lord, I beseech thee, teach me! For unless my soul feels thy sweet influences in an hour of prayer, too well I know, that my poor soul will be indifferent and unawakened to the employment, and cold and lifeless in it. But if thou, Lord, wilt graciously set me to pray, sure I am, thou wilt give me a spirit in prayer; And then shall I call upon a gracious Covenant God in Christ, and neither the mountains of sin in my poor nature, nor the hills of unbelief in my soul will stop the gracious communications from above; but Jesus will be glorified in causing his grace to shine upon my soul; and God will manifest himself, as a prayer-hearing God, to my humble petitions in Jesus. Then shall I run the way of thy commandments, when thou hast enlarged my heart.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 64". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany