It is here said, and said again, to the righteous, that it shall be well with them, and to the wicked, Woe to them; and these are set the one over against the other, for their mutual illustration.
I. It shall be as ill with the wicked as they can fear, and as well with the righteous as they can desire. 1. The wicked, it is true, buoy themselves up sometimes in their wickedness with vain hopes which will deceive them, but at other times they cannot but be haunted with just fears, and those fears shall come upon them; the God they provoke will be every whit as terrible as they, when they are under their greatest damps, apprehend him to be. As is thy fear, so is thy wrath, Ps. 90:11. Wicked men fear the punishment of sin, but they have not wisdom to improve their fears by making their escape, and so the thing they feared comes upon them, and their present terrors are earnests of their future torments. 2. The righteous, it is true, sometimes have their fears, but their desire is towards the favour of God and a happiness in him, and that desire shall be granted. According to their faith, not according to their fear, it shall be unto them, Ps. 37:4.
II. The prosperity of the wicked shall quickly end, but the happiness of the righteous shall never end, Prov. 10:25. The wicked make a great noise, hurry themselves and others, like a whirlwind, which threatens to bear down all before it; but, like a whirlwind, they are presently gone, and they pass irrecoverably; they are no more; all about them are quiet and glad when the storm is over, Ps. 37:10, 36; Job 20:5. The righteous, on the contrary, make no show; they lie hid, like a foundation, which is low and out of sight, but they are fixed in their resolution to cleave to God, established in virtue, and they shall be an everlasting foundation, immovably good. He that is holy shall be holy still and immovably happy; his hope is built on a rock, and therefore not shocked by the storm, Matt. 7:24. The righteous is the pillar of the world (so some read it); the world stands for their sakes; the holy seed is the substance thereof.