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Bible Commentaries

Simeon's Horae Homileticae

Isaiah 58

Verse 1

DISCOURSE: 992
THE MINISTERIAL OFFICE

Isaiah 58:1. Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

CERTAINLY, one of God’s richest mercies unto man has been the appointment of an order of men to be his ambassadors to a guilty world, and to beseech their fellow-sinners to be reconciled to him. The ungodly indeed have never appreciated this mercy aright: for, from the very beginning of the world, have the Prophets of the Most High been regarded as “the troubles of Israel,” fit objects for hatred and contempt. “Which of the prophets,” says our blessed Lord, “have not your fathers persecuted?” But when a dispensation is committed to any man to declare the mind and will of God, woe will be unto him if he execute not the office that has been assigned him.
The words which I have read will naturally lead me to set before you,

I.

The office of a minister—

This is, “to shew to men their transgressions and their sins.” But it may be asked, What need is there for their services for such an end as this? Do not all of us know ourselves better than any one else can know us? Can any one be so well acquainted with the workings of my heart, or with the actions of my life, as I myself am? To this, however, I answer, that,

1.

The world at large stand in need of such monitors—

[There is, in the generality of men, a thoughtlessness about their ways; so that they are altogether unconscious of having contracted any great guilt. They never consider the requirements of God’s Law; they never refer their conduct to any other standard than public opinion; and they rest satisfied that all is right, so long as they do not violate the laws which the common consent of those around them has established for the regulation of their lives. As for the spirituality of God’s Law, they are utterly unacquainted with it; and consequently they never dream of their responsibility to God for any thing beyond their overt acts: or, if they think themselves accountable for their motives, they give themselves credit for meaning well, even where they are conscious of having acted ill: and, though their actions have not been altogether correct, they persuade themselves that their hearts are good, and that their aberrations from the path of duty have been the result of chance rather than design, and of temptation rather than of any inveterate propensity to evil.]

2.

Those also who are called “God’s people,” and who consider themselves as “the seed of Jacob,” are not a whit less in need of instructors than the careless world—

[See the account given of those to whom the prophet was sent: “They sought God daily; and delighted to know his ways, even as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinances of their God: they even asked of God the ordinances of justice; they took delight in approaching unto God [Note: ver. 2.].” Could such as these have any transgressions of which they needed to be informed, and any sins which endangered their souls? Yes: “their hearts were not right with God:” they were “partial in the law:” they put their outward obedience in the place of vital godliness: they trusted in their works also as recommending them to God, and as forming a justifying righteousness before him; and they even complained that God did not recompense them according to their deserts. And how many such characters are found amongst us! how many, who, whilst they find pleasure in attending upon the House of God, imagine that, by their religious observances, they shall entitle themselves to his favour!

Now, in reference to all such characters, I must say, that the duty of ministers is to “shew them their sins.” It is their duty to search out, for the information of others, the mind and will of God; and to bring home to the consciences of all a sense of their manifold transgressions. They must endeavour to hold up before men the glass of God’s Law, that they may see the deformity of their own fallen image, and be stirred up to seek reconciliation with their offended God. To every one must they point out the sins which most easily beset him; and declare to him the judgments which God, in his word, has denounced against him.]
Whilst we assert this to be their duty, it will be proper for us to notice,

II.

The manner in which it must be discharged—

The direction here given is clear and strong. Those who have received a commission to speak for God must deliver their message,

1.

With earnestness—

[Mere advice or friendly counsel is not that which becomes them on such occasions as these: “they must cry aloud, and lift up their voice us a trumpet,” if by any means they may awaken the drowsy consciences of those to whom they speak. Viewing themselves as ambassadors from God, they must speak with all authority, fearing the face of none; but declaring the truth, whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear: and they must shew, by the very manner in which they deliver their divine message, that it is a matter of life and death; and that the word they utter is “not the word of man, but indeed and in truth the word of God.”]

2.

With fidelity—

[They must “not spare,” even though the offender be ever so great and powerful, or ever so dear and tenderly regarded. As John the Baptist reproved Herod, in whose hands his life was, so must they approve themselves faithful even to the mightiest upon earth. They must shew no respect of persons, nor conceal any thing which they are authorized to declare; but must be impartial in their reproofs, and make known “the whole counsel of God.” “Having received God’s word, they must speak it faithfully.” They must be faithful for God’s sake, whose ambassadors they are; and for the people’s sake, whose eternal welfare is at stake; and for their own sake, seeing that “if any perish through their want of faithfulness, the blood of all such persons will be required at their hands.”]
Permit me now, Brethren, to discharge my office with respect to you—

1.

To those who are altogether careless and indifferent—

[You may imagine that God takes no notice of your sins: but indeed they are all viewed by him with abhorrence, and recorded by him in the book of his remembrance, in order that they may be brought forth against you at the future judgment. True it is, that if you repent of them, they shall all be “blotted out, as a morning cloud;” but if you remain impenitent, they will all be visited upon you, and sink you into everlasting perdition. I have no wish to alarm you needlessly; but I must, at the peril of my own soul, declare the truth; and must say, that except ye repent, ye shall all perish. But “if ye repent, and turn from all your transgressions,” I am authorized to declare, that “your iniquities shall not be your ruin.”]

2.

To those who account themselves the people of God—

[I ask not now, whether ye be self-righteous formalists, or hypocritical professors: but, of whichever class ye be, I must declare, that “God is not mocked; but whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap: he that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; and he only who soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Do not imagine that God will judge according to the estimate which you form of yourselves. No: He will take off the mask from the hypocrite, and judge every man according to his works. Intreat him, then, to put “truth in your inward parts, and to make you altogether new creatures in Christ Jesus; so shall you be accepted in his beloved Son, and stand before him with boldness in the great day of his appearing.”]


Verses 5-11

DISCOURSE: 993
THE SERVICES WHICH GOD REQUIRES

Isaiah 58:5-11. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burthens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon-day: and the Lord shall guide this continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.

IT is not uncommon for persons who are hypocrites at heart, to make a great profession of religion, and even to complain of God himself, as not recompensing sufficiently their zeal in his cause. The Pharisee who boasted of his fastings and his alms-deeds, is a just representation of this character. But against inch persons it is the duty of a minister to bear the most decided testimony. The injunction given to the prophet was, “Cry aloud, spare not; lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” And what were the transgressions that were to be so severely censured? Was it an entire neglect of ordinances? No: it is acknowledged that the people abounded in the externals of religion: “They seek me early,” says God, “and delight to know my ways as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinances of justice: they take delight in approaching to God.” But in the midst of all this pretended zeal for godliness, they were insincere at heart. Their observance of duties proceeded from a principle of pride, and was intended as a cloak for their hidden abominations. Their very “fasts” were nothing but a display of the vilest hypocrisy, which God abhorred. The prophet, being commanded to reprobate such odious conduct, states to them what their fasts should be, in order to be accepted and approved by God.
In considering this statement we shall shew,

I.

What, in their seasons of humiliation, was required of God’s people of old—

They were called to express their contrition by fasting [Note: Joel 2:15-17.]. But the outward service, however humble in appearance, was not acceptable to God, unless attended with suitable dispositions of mind, and amendment of life. Hence the prophet appealed to the people themselves, that, to evince the sincerity of their devotions, there must be a change in their whole conduct, and an habitual practice of the long-neglected duties of justice and charity.

[The Jews, both before and after the Babylonish captivity, were much addicted to extortion and oppression [Note: Jeremiah 34:9-11. with Nehemiah 5:5.]. To make restitution to those whom they had defrauded, and reduced to bondage; to refrain from “putting forth the finger” in a way of scorn and menace against those whom they had injured, or from deceiving them by “vain promises” of compensation; and to “break entirely every yoke,” whereby they had galled and oppressed their brethren—these were the very first acts required to evince the sincerity of their repentance; since with the commission of such cruelties not the smallest measure of real penitence could consist.

But to the reformation of these habits God required them to add the exercise of mercy. They must “feed the hungry and clothe the naked,” and consider every child of man as a brother whom they should regard “as their own flesh:” they were to take the most destitute of the human race, and “bring him, if occasion so required, to their own house,” for the purpose of affording him more effectual relief: they were to feel such sympathy with him, as to “draw out,” not merely their purse, but even “their very souls,” for his relief; and so to apportion their benevolence, as to aim at not merely comforting, but “satisfying, his afflicted soul.” This is the spirit which God loves; this he approves infinitely beyond all outward services of whatever kind; and this he required of his people, as the best proof of a regenerate heart, and as the surest evidence of their love to him.]

Such a change as this, he assured them, should bring down upon their souls the richest blessings.
[They might have seasons of darkness and distress, even as others; or they might be calumniated by evil men, yea, and be harassed by cruel persecutions: but, if they abounded in the heavenly dispositions before specified, “their light should break forth as the morning, and their darkness be as the noonday; yea, their health should spring forth speedily;” and they should experience in their own souls far richer consolations than they ever did, or could, administer to their afflicted brethren: “their righteousness, which had been impeached, should go before them,” to testify their real character; and “the glory of the Lord should be their rereward,” interposing between them and their persecutors, like the cloud and pillar of fire, for their effectual preservation and protection. Whatever they might want, they should have liberty of access to God for it; and upon their crying to him for it, he would present himself before them, saying, “Here I am; here I am; and whatever thou wantest I will give thee.” Should they be in doubt how to act, “the Lord would guide them continually:” should they be in any particular necessity or distress, he would “satisfy their souls in drought, and even make fat their bones,” insomuch that their graces should flourish “like a well-watered garden,” and their consolations abound “like a spring of water whose waters fail not.”]

Now this leads me to shew,

II.

What God requires of us at this time—

There is a special call, both from God in his providence, and from the highest authorities in the realm, to humble ourselves at this time in fasting and prayer. But we must be careful not to think that a mere outward service will be of any avail, if we add not to it that reformation of heart and life which God calls for at our hands: I say then that,

1.

He requires of us the same duties as of his people of old—

[We must put away from us every thing that is contrary to love, and live in the habitual exercise of love in all its branches. There are many things, the offspring of pride and selfishness, sanctioned by the habits of the world, which yet we should be careful not to practise — — —
When addressing you on a day of national humiliation, I may well advert to that great national sin of holding thousands of our fellow-creatures in bondage, and treating them as though they had neither the rights nor feelings of humanity — — — Whilst this continues, God cannot but have a controversy with us; nor can we expect any thing at his hands but to be visited with his heaviest displeasure — — — But there are manifold instances of oppression which obtain amongst ourselves in our daily intercourse with mankind, which, though not of the same flagrant nature with the slave-trade, are most offensive in the sight of God: and against these we should, all of us individually, be on our guard; for God is the avenger of the injured party, whosoever he may be, and will call us to account for all the evils that we inflict upon him.

But this is a small, a very small, part of the duty which we owe to our brethren of mankind. We should regard our fellow-creature, how poor and destitute soever he may be, “as our own flesh,” and be as anxious for the relief of his necessities, as we should for the ease and welfare of a member of our own body. The extent to which our charity should be carried, should know no other bounds than the necessities of our brother, and our own ability to relieve him. And such should be our delight in these exercises of love, that they should call forth all the finest feelings of our souls, and administer to ourselves a more exquisite joy than the communication of any benefits can confer on the receiver of them.
This is the proper employment of a season like this; and, without it, our external sacrifices will be no better than “the cutting off a dog’s neck, or the offering of swine’s blood [Note: Isaiah 1:10-17; Isaiah 66:3.].”]

2.

He extends to us the same encouragements—

[There is in the minds of many religious people a very undue jealousy on the subject of charity, as entailing on those who abound in it a rich reward. But the Scriptures are full of declarations to this effect; and God even declares that he would esteem himself “unrighteous [Note: Hebrews 6:10.],” if he omitted to recompense to us the benefits which for his sake we confer on others. True, our works of charity shall not go before us, to obtain the favour of God for the remission of our sins. Nothing but the blood of Christ can avail for that; nor can any thing but his perfect righteousness imputed to us, form a justifying righteousness for us, even though we gave all our goods to feed the poor, or our bodies to be burned. But our deeds of charity, if springing from faith in Christ, and love to his name, “will follow us [Note: Revelation 14:13.],” as evidences of the divine principle within us, and as memorials of our desire to serve and honour God in his appointed way.

But we need go no further than to the passage before us, to see what testimonies of his approbation God will vouchsafe to all who live in the exercise of love. Our acts may have been so private, that “our right hand has not known what our left hand has done:” but God himself will bear witness to us, and bring forth our works, not only as objects of his approbation, but as grounds on which he will proceed in apportioning the glory that shall be awarded to us [Note: Matthew 25:34-36.]. At this present time also he will bestow such blessings as can scarcely be conceived. Take the different expressions in my text: analyse them: apply them to the soul in all their extent and amplitude: view them as suited to all the necessities that can possibly arise: and see God himself as pledged to carry them all into effect: and then regard them all but as a prelude to the glory that shall be accorded to us at the instant of our departure hence: in a word, only enter fully into the promises here made to God’s ancient people, and you will need nothing more to evince the excellence of love, and the blessedness of those who lay themselves out for God in the discharge of its high duties.]

See now,
1.

How to turn to a good account the services of this day [Note: By a slight alteration of these words the subject may be adapted to a fast approaching, or present, or past.]—

[Though the outward tokens of humiliation should not be neglected, the inward rectification of the soul should be our chief aim. We should “break off our sins by righteousness, and our iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor [Note: Daniel 4:27.].” To do justly and to love mercy are the chief things which God requires of us as proofs and evidences of our sincerity in humbling ourselves before him. If then we would spend an acceptable day unto the Lord, let us set ourselves earnestly to the work marked out for us by God himself, rectifying whatever we know to have been amiss in our conduct, and fulfilling to the uttermost every office of compassion and love. We must distinguish indeed between what we do in order to obtain acceptance with God, and what we do to please and honour him. To obtain mercy at his hands, we must simply believe in Christ: but to glorify his name we must search out all possible occasions of doing good, and promote to the utmost of our ability the edification and happiness of all around us.]

2.

How to obtain a very heaven upon earth—

[Religious professors, when they enjoy but little comfort in their own souls, are apt to ascribe it to a sense of their own unworthiness, and to regard it rather as a proof of their humility. But in most instances, I believe, it must be traced to an habitual neglect, or a very partial performance, of the offices of love. The generality are too selfish in their habits, and too regardless of the necessities of their fellow-creatures, and the honour of their God. We have seen in the passage before us what God would do for us, if we laid ourselves out for him in the duties and offices of love. He has told us that, “to water others is the way to be ourselves watered,” and to mete out liberally to others is the way to have good measure poured into our own bosom. Let us then abound more and more in every good work; and we shall surely find, that “the work of righteousness is peace, and the effect of righteousness is quietness and assurance for ever [Note: Isaiah 32:17.].”]


Verses 13-14

DISCOURSE: 994
OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH ENJOINED

Isaiah 58:13-14. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, The holy of the Lord, Honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause then to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

THAT the observance of the Sabbath was intended to be of universal and perpetual obligation, does not admit of any reasonable doubt. It was enjoined to man in Paradise: and the commandment relating to it, when renewed to man at Mount Sinai, was, like all the other moral commandments, written by God himself on tables of stone. The Jewish prophets spake of it as to be continued under the Gospel dispensation [Note: See Isaiah 56:1; Isaiah 56:4; Isaiah 56:6.]: and the Apostles evidently continued the observance of it, transferring it only from the last day of the week to the first, in commemoration of our Lord’s resurrection from the dead, and of the work of redemption which was thereby completed [Note: See John 20:19; John 20:26. Acts 20:7. 1 Corinthians 16:2.]. The ceremonial laws relating to it are abrogated; but the moral part of it is as much in force as ever.

In the passage before us we may see,

I.

In what light we should view the Sabbath—

The estimation in which it should be held is here variously expressed: we are taught to account that day,

1.

Holy—

[Whatever was consecrated to God under the law was accounted holy: it was separated from all profane or common use, and was employed solely for the ends and purposes for which it had been thus set apart. Thus the Sabbath, being consecrated to the especial service of God, is called in our text “God’s holy day;” and, “The holy of the Lord.” In the New Testament also it is called, “The Lord’s day [Note: Revelation 1:10.].” Hence it is obvious, that every part of it is to be regarded as the Lord’s property, and to be improved for him alone. We should feel a veneration for it, precisely as we should for any thing else that had been dedicated to the Lord: and, as we shudder at the impiety of Belshazzar in using, at a feast, the sacred vessels which he had taken from Jerusalem, though he himself was not a worshipper of Jehovah; much more must we, who acknowledge the sanctity of the Sabbath, shudder at the thought of alienating any portion of it from Him, to whom it exclusively belongs.]

2.

Honourable—

[If any man, under the Law, had regarded the Temple, the sacrifices, and the vessels of the sanctuary, in no other light than as a common house, or common utensils, or common food, he would have been considered as greatly dishonouring God. Thus the very sanctity of the Sabbath should render it “honourable” in our estimation; and we should labour to “honour it” by every possible expression of our regard.]

3.

Delightful—

[The arrival of that day should be greeted by us with holy joy: we should say, “This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” If we could suppose an angel sent down to this lower world to labour in some common occupation, and permitted every seventh day to return to his heavenly abodes, and spend that day in the employments suited to his taste, with what delight would he look forward to the stated returns of that day! So should it be with us; and so it will be, in proportion as we have attained to the views and dispositions of those blessed spirits. Not that we should delight in it merely as a day of rest to the body, but as a day wherein God calls us, like Moses, to come up and commune with him on his holy mount: and, instead of abridging it, or complaining of it as long and wearisome, we should rather say, with Peter, “It is good for us to be here;” and should almost regret the arrival of the period when we must descend from the mount, to the less-pleasing occupations of time and sense.]

But we will proceed to state more particularly,

II.

In what manner we should employ it—

In what manner we should not employ it, is here distinctly told us—

[Worldly business, and carnal pleasure, and unprofitable conversation, are all expressly proscribed: “we must not do our own ways, nor find our own pleasure, nor speak our own words.” On all the other days of the week we may find time for these things; but on the Sabbath-day they are to be excluded altogether. It is a grievous mistake to imagine, that after the public services of the day we are at liberty to engage in vain pursuits, invented only to beguile the time, which otherwise would be a burthen upon our hands: there are pursuits proper to the day; and in them exclusively should our time be occupied. We do not mean to say, that such things as can neither be anticipated nor postponed may not be done with innocence: for even under the Law, a latitude was allowed in relation to “what every man must eat [Note: Exodus 12:16.].” In reference to such things as are really necessary, we are authorized to say, that “God will have mercy, and not sacrifice:” but it becomes all to be on their guard, that they do not deceive their own souls; for God can easily distinguish the hidden motives of the heart; and will surely judge our actions as good or evil, according as their quality shall be found in his eyes. If the infringement of the Sabbath be reluctant, as in the extinguishing of a fire, or in the exercise of compassion to man or beast, it is well; but if we be actuated by considerations of ease, or interest, or pleasure, to alienate from God any of that time which ought to be consecrated to his service, we may be assured that we must answer for it in the day of judgment.]

Our one aim on that day must be, to “honour God”—
[The services which we are to render to our God on that day are various, and all compatible with each other. The first undoubtedly are private: we should give ourselves in a more peculiar manner to reading, to meditation, to prayer. On every day we should search the Scriptures, but more especially on that day; applying them to our own hearts, examining ourselves by them, and entreating God to make them effectual for the conversion and salvation of our souls. From our closets we should go to worship God in public, and to testify before all, our regard for his authority, and our delight in his service. Whilst engaged in the various offices of prayer, or hearing of the word, or of communicating at the table of the Lord, we should be particularly careful that the frame of our minds be suited to the employment in which we are engaged; lest, whilst we profess to be serving God, we be found only mocking and insulting him by hypocritical professions. In the intervals, when we are disengaged from private or public duties, we may relieve our minds, and improve our time, in such as are of a social nature. The visiting of the sick, the comforting of the afflicted, the instructing of the rising generation, and, above all, the endeavouring to teach our children and servants, and to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” are services well pleasing to God, and admirably suited to the sanctity of that holy day. It is much to be feared that this latter duty in particular is sadly neglected, even in religious families; and that the great predilection that has been manifested by the religious world for public services, has brought into disuse those more self-denying offices which formerly occupied a considerable portion of the Sabbath-day. But, in whichever of these duties we are occupied, our great aim must be, to “honour God;” demeaning ourselves as in his more immediate presence, and endeavouring to approve ourselves to him as faithful servants.]

And shall the Sabbath, in this view of it, be accounted a day of gloom? No; we shall have far other sentiments of it, if we consider,

III.

The benefits we may expect from a due observance of it—

Whatever reference there may be in our text to the return of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon, we cannot doubt but that the promises here made have a higher and more spiritual import. In them we are assured, that, if we really keep the Sabbath as we ought, we shall be blessed with,

1.

Delight in God—

[There is not any thing which God more delights to honour than a due observance of the Sabbath. We may perform the outward duties of that day, and reap no material benefit: but if we truly and earnestly endeavour to honour God in the way before described, God will draw nigh to us, and reveal himself to us, and fill us with joy and peace in believing. And here we confidently make our appeal to all who have ever laboured to spend a Sabbath to the Lord, whether they have not found such a measure of grace and peace flowing into their souls, as has abundantly recompensed their utmost exertions? Who must not acknowledge that one day thus spent in the courts and in the service of Jehovah, is better than a thousand passed amongst the vain delights of this world [Note: Psalms 84:4; Psalms 84:10.]? And where the Sabbath is thus habitually honoured, we will venture to say, that such happiness will at times flow into the soul, as David experienced, when he said, “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, whilst my mouth praiseth thee with joyful lips [Note: Psalms 63:5.]:” yes, “they shall be satisfied with the fatness of God’s house; and he will make them drink of the river of his pleasures [Note: Psalms 36:8.].”]

2.

Victory over our spiritual enemies—

[This seems to be the import of that expression, “I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth [Note: Compare Deuteronomy 32:13; Deuteronomy 33:29.]:” and it shall be fulfilled to all who conscientiously improve their Sabbaths to the glory of their God. Too many of those who profess religion, are, it must be confessed, scarcely, if at all, advancing in the divine life: their evil dispositions still retain such an ascendant over them, as to make them go on heavily all their days. But, if we were to inquire how they spent their Sabbaths, and what efforts they made to glorify God in their public, private, and social duties, we should soon find the reason of their slow progress. As our Lord said of some particular evil spirits, “These go not out, but by prayer and tasting,” so we may say of the evils which are predominant in many professors of religion, ‘They do not give way, because such slight efforts are made upon the Sabbath to subdue them.’ If that day were truly and entirely devoted to the Lord, Satan would no longer retain the ungodly as his vassals, nor be able to exert so much influence over those who have professedly cast off his yoke.]

3.

The full possession of the heavenly Canaan—

[That land which was given to Jacob for his inheritance, was typical of the Canaan that is above, which truly “floweth with milk and honey.” And it may be safely affirmed, that no person who has conscientiously employed his Sabbaths here, ever did, or ever can, fall short of the heavenly rest. Thousands who have perished by the hand of the public executioner, have traced their shame and misery to a neglect of the Sabbath: but never was an instance known of one who duly improved his Sabbaths being left to die under the dominion of his sins. Indeed the services of the Sabbath cannot possibly consist with indulged and wilful sin: on the contrary, they are both a preparation for heaven, and a foretaste of it: on earth the saints behold their God by faith; but in heaven they will behold him face to face: on earth they, as it were, learn and rehearse their parts; but in heaven they will join the full chorus of saints and angels in everlasting hallelujahs to God and to the Lamb.]

See hence,
1.

How reasonable are the requirements of God in his Gospel!

[Had God required six days out of the seven to be spent in such exercises, it would have been highly reasonable that we should obey him: how much more when he gives us six for earthly business, and requires only one to be consecrated entirely unto him! If the services of that day were ever so painful, they might well be claimed by Him who has done such great things for us: and how much more when they are so delightful and so profitable! Grudge him not then that day, nor any portion of it; but let it be wholly and unreservedly devoted to his service.]

2.

How just will be the condemnation of those who disobey them!

[A person who has attained to fifty years of age, has had above seven years of Sabbaths. O what blessings might not have been secured in that time, if all those Sabbaths had been sanctified to the Lord! and what judgments does not he merit, who has wasted all of them in a wilful neglect of God! Little as we think of Sabbaths now, we shall find ere long, that the profaning of them has greatly increased our guilt and misery. The Lord grant that this day may not pass away as so many others have done, unprofitably to our souls; but let it be to every one of us a preparation for our eternal rest!]


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Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Isaiah 58". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shh/isaiah-58.html. 1832.