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REFLECTIONS. This chapter follows in connection with the preseding, and demonstrates the failure of the various methods of providence to bring the jews back to the covenant of God; and comes to the ultimatum of burning Jerusalem, as the useless wood of the vine. Horace employs the like figure of the useless wood of the figtree, as cited in Isaiah 44:9.
The Israelites had been to God as a choice vine, brought out of Egypt, whose beauties are sung in the eightieth psalm. The men of Judah, surrounding his temple, had been his pleasant plants. The wood of the vine was of little use, except for fuel; its superior excellence was the fruit. So it is with man. What is his nature, what his exit but corruption? The glory of man is the image of God, the loveliness of the christian temper. But if the salt have lost its savour, how can it be restored. It is fit only for the dunghill. The wild berries of the degenerate vine would spoil the whole vintage.
But the touchstone of God’s anger against the jews was, the prevarication of the princes and rulers, when they swore falsely to the Lord in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, at the time of the great passover. This breach of covenant is often named, as in Jeremiah 34:18; and is referred to in Ezekiel 15:8. No wonder that while they swore falsely to Nebuchadnezzar, they should send ambassadors to Pharaoh; and they perished in their perjuries. A covenant is a covenant, and should be kept in virtue and in truth.
What then, oh christian, shall become of thy soul, ever deficient in thy vows? Return to the charge “in the strength of the Lord God.” For if you through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live. Be encouraged; for as Herbert, our old poet says,
“You may yet keep the final vow.”
The sin of the Israelites in leaving the covenant and glory of the Lord, for the worship of Baal, is, in unnumbered places, illustrated by an abandoned woman, who leaves the best of husbands for prostitution. This subject is here worked up to an extended allegory, whose figures are bold and striking.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezekiel 15". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent