For the Lord shall comfort Zion
The church, by his Spirit, in the ministration of the word, and administration of ordinances; by the donation of the blessings of grace, and by the application of Gospel promises; by the discoveries of his love; by granting his gracious presence; by blessing his word; and by calling many souls, and adding them to his people: and in order to engage the church and people of God to believe God will do this, and that he can and will bless and increase them when in a low estate, the above instances of calling Abraham alone, and the blessing and increasing him, are produced: he will comfort all her waste places;
by rebuilding them, and restoring them to their former lustre and glory: the church may be said to be "waste" and desolate, and like "a wilderness" and "desert", as in the next clauses, when the doctrines of the Gospel are departed from, the ordinances of public worship are not attended to, and the discipline of it is not kept up; when there are great declensions among the Lord's people, in their faith, love, patience, forbearance, self-denial, spirituality, and heavenly mindedness; when divisions and animosities prevail among them; when there is a negligence in their lives and conversations; and there are but few instances of conversion, and a general unconcernedness about those things; but so it will not always be: and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the
garden of the Lord;
the church is a "garden", a small spot, in comparison of the world, distinguished and separated by the grace of God from others; in which are many precious souls, comparable to trees, herbs, and plants; and these do not grow up of themselves, but are planted there by the Lord; and much pains are taken by him, the husbandman, to cultivate this garden: for it is his, the garden of the Lord; it is of his planting; it is his property, and enclosed for his rise; it is an Eden, pleasantly situated on a fruitful hill, Christ Jesus, by the river of divine love; is full of pleasant plants, pleasant to the owner of the garden, and to the saints themselves; it becomes fruitful through the dews of divine grace, the rising of Christ, the sun of righteousness, and the blowing of the south wind, the blessed Spirit; and may be said to be in a very comfortable condition, when the word and ordinances are duly ministered; when the graces of the Spirit are in exercise, and many souls are converted: the consequence of which is, joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of
for the pure preaching of the Gospel; the feast of fat things made in the holy mountain; the presence of God enjoyed; a lively exercise of grace in the saints; and many souls born again. The Targum is,
``joy and rejoicing shall be found in her; they that offer thanksgiving, and the voice of them that praise;''all hearts filled with joy and gladness.