The Exposition vpon the. lj. Chapter of Esay.
THe good and godly people in the time of Esay, seeing themselues fewe in number, and hearing by the Prophetes, that they shoulde be ledde captiue into Babilon, greatly feared that all faythfull and true worshippers of GOD should in that persecution be vtterly consumed: Therefore God here speaketh to them, and com∣forteth them, signifying that he will not onely in that trouble of Babilon preserue his chosen and e∣lect Page [unnumbered] of the Iewes, but also not long after, greatly encrease the number of his Church, by the* accesse of all Nations,* that he would call to the light of his truth, and to his true worship by the promised Mes∣sias, and Sauiour of the seede of Abraham. And first he willeth them to consider The rocke wherout they were hewen, and the denne whereout they were dig∣ged, that is as he expoundeth himselfe, Abraham their father, and Sara their mother of whome they discended: and that God called Abraham being but one man* out of his Countrey,* and suffered him to liue in Chanaan, to the age of an hundred yeres, and his wife fourescore without children: and yet that he so encreased him, that his issue prooued in∣numerable as the * sande of the sea.* And by this example he willeth them & all other faithful to vn∣derstand, that though his Church & people appere to the world to be neuer so much afflicted, or to be brought to so low an ebbe, yet he will increase and multiplie it with exceeding numbers, and bring them out of miserie and trouble vnto great ioy, myrth, and comfort. Yea that he will repayre the ruine and decaye of his Church, and make their desert, and wildernesse, a Paradise and garden of pleasure. The ruine and decay of Sion, are ye lost sheepe of the house of Israell, which Christ and his Apostles restored. The Desert and VVildernesse, are the Gentiles, which of olde had refused the true knowledge of God, and therefore were as straun∣gers to the promise of saluation. But the se deserts God made pleasant Gardens by the teaching and Page 61 publishing of his Gospell. This is it, that he pro∣miseth when he sayth,*A lawe and ordinance shall go forth from him to lighten the Gentiles.
Be of good cheere my people sayth God, and be not ouerwhelmed with the heauinesse of your af∣fliction. It is euen at hande that not onely my sa∣uing health shall go forth to preserue you, but the might and strength of mine arme also by the prea∣ching of the Gospell to gouerne and guide all o∣ther Nations.* Inso much that the * inhabitantes of the Islandes and other countryes shall beleeue in me, and put their trust in my name. And do you not mistrust this health and saluation that shall come to you by the Messias.* For * heauen and earth with all the inhabitours thereof shal vanish away as smoke, but the iustice and saluation wrought by the sonne of God, shall be most certaine and conti∣nue for euer. Therefore my people that vuder∣stand righteousnesse,* feare not the * reuilings, ray∣linges and reproches of men, that shall fall vpon you for the profession of my name and truth. For your enemyes shall be consumed as a garment with mothes, and my sauing health that you trust in, shall stande stedfast for euer and euer.
In these three verses next following God com∣forteth Page [unnumbered] his people with the example of their deliue∣rance out of Egypt. But his maner of vtterance is with great maiestie, figuratiuely turning hys speech to his owne diuine power: the sense where∣of is this. Thou mightie power of God, that ma∣nye tymes since the beginning of the worlde hast shewed thy selfe, rayse thy selfe now in this great anguishe and care that his people are nowe in.* Is not that mightie arme hable to deliuer his seruāts now in this miserie,* which before time did * wound the pride of Aegypt? and wyth thy woonderous workes hew in peeces that dreadful Dragon Pha∣rao? and dryed vp the sea, and made it to stande as *walles on eche side of thy people passing through,* and resolued the same againe to the confusion of thy enimies?* Therefore let not the Redéemed of the Lord feare, but that they shal with ioy returne againe to Sion, and there remaine with muche myrth and gladnesse.
God sharply rebuketh his people for Timo∣rousnesse and continuall mistruste in all their ad∣uersities. It is I, sayth he, it is not Abraham, nor Moyses, nor Aaron, nor any of my Saynts your Predecessours, but euen I my selfe the mightye God your Lorde that doth alwaye * comfort and helpe you.* Seeing then the Idols, that your eni∣mies trust in, are so Vaine, as I haue tolde you, and they themselues so Fraile and mortall, and on Page 62 the contrary part, I your Lord your assured God, so mightie and of so great force, as I haue alway declared my selfe, aswell in the creation of the worlde, as in the preseruation of you, and delyue∣rance out of Aegypt from your prowde oppressour, whome I then brought full lowe, and made him glad to hasten you away out of the Exile that you then were in,* and gaue you the * treasures of hys people, that you might not want breade and suste∣nance by the way: seeing, I say, all this is so, why doe you still mistruste and feare the power of vain men, seeme they in the worlde neuer so terrible? Remember therefore my promises, whereby I haue assured you, that I will deliuer you, and ac∣knowledge you for my people.
The Lorde here comforteth his people in tel∣ling them, that he wil take the scourge of his wrath from them, and lay it vpon their enimies. By the Cuppe, and by drinking, it is vsuall both in the olde testament and newe to vnderstande Affliction, as in Hier. 25.*Take this cup of wine of my furie at my hand. &c. And Christ himself in his agonie. Mat. 26. Let this cuppe passe from me, &c. that is,* this scourge of my Crosse and passion. The plaine sense of thys place is: O my Church, be of good comfort, for albeit thou hast for a time through my wrath for thy sinnes beene grieuously afflicted, and no man either would or coulde comfort and helpe thee,* yet Page [unnumbered] after I shall come through thy repentance, of my mercie pardoning thy sinnes, this my bitter Cup of affliction shall be taken from thee,* and * poured vpon the heades of those that haue oppressed thee to their vtter confusion. By the Slumbring or poi∣soned cuppe, he meaneth the grieuous aduersities, that hath so touched and weakened them as they are not almost hable to stande, but stagger and reele as they go, as it were men halfe deade.
In these verses he describeth the great miserie, that the Iewes were in at theyr captiuitie in Babi∣lon, not onely cruelly murdered in all Cities, but pyning for hunger and dying in the streetes, as it appeareth by the hystorie of Tobie.*