Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations…
There is something very agreeable and desirable in ease. Yet, strange as the declaration may appear, this tranquillity is too common; and to disturb it should be our design. For your peace may be a false peace. Before an earthquake the air is uncommonly serene. Ascertain precisely the characters whose delusions we wish to destroy.
I. SOME ARE AT EASE IN ZION FROM SELFISH INSENSIBILITY. Such there were in the days of Amos. In a similar way to Amos, Isaiah upbraids the Jews. There are still many whose attention to their own indulgences regulates all their actions. Our dispositions ought always to correspond with the providence of God, and the purposes for which He placed us in the world. For the unfeeling wretch conscience has no kind office to perform. For him no orphan prays, no widow sings. For him the evil day comes on charged with every horror. He has no asylum in the feelings of the community, the happiness of whose members he never sought.
II. SOME FROM INFIDEL PRESUMPTION. If there be any truth in the Scriptures, the dispositions of the generality of mankind are very unsuitable to their state and their destiny. What is this ease which flows from infidel persuasion?
1. It is obtained with difficulty.
2. It is partial, and liable to interruption.
3. The less liable it is to be disturbed, the more awful; for it is penal.
4. This ease is fatal. Its duration is momentary; it must end, and end in anguish and despair.
III. SOME FROM VAIN CONFIDENCE; relying on the goodness of their present state, and on the certainty of their future happiness. There is such a thing as spiritual self-flattery; there is such a thing as a delusive dependence on religion.
1. This confidence keeps them from looking after salvation. They are too good to be saved.
2. This course will terminate in woeful surprise and disappointment.
IV. SOME PROM PRACTICAL INDIFFERENCE. You would much offend persons of this class, were you to inquire whether they believed the Scripture. These persons are not to be charged sentimentally with anti-nomianism or any other error. They know the Gospel in theory; but they are strangers to its Divine efficacy. Of all the various characters we have to deal with in our ministry, these are the most unlikely to insure success. We preach; you acknowledge, and admire, — but you discover no more concern to obtain the one thing needful we propose, than if you were persuaded we called you "to follow a cunningly devised fable." Your life is a perpetual contradiction to your creed: you are not happy, and contrive not to be miserable. Inferences.
1. They are highly criminal, who countenance and promote a state of carnal ease.
2. Let none be troubled when they find their connections distressed and alarmed with a sense of their sin and danger.
3. Nothing is so much to be dreaded as false security in religion.
4. There is consolation for those who are distressed. We do not applaud all their doubts and dejections, but these painful scruples are easily accounted for, and they lie on the safe side.
Parallel VersesKJV: Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!