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her, that her warfare is 9 accomplished, her iniquity is" pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hands double' for all her sins. Isa. xl, 1, 2,
A Prophecy of the coming of a Forerunner, to prepare the Way
for Christ. No. 61. The voice of him that crieth in the wilder. ness, “ Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make strait in “ the desert a highway for our God. Every * valley shall
9 “ Is" i, e. not absolutely, but upon terms, the means are put within her reach.
" Double" i. e. what shall be so esteemed. So Isa. Ixi. 7. “ For your shame ye shall have double." ."" Him," i. e. “ John the Baptist.” Matt. iii. 3. states distinctly that it was of him this prophecy was written. “ This is “ he that was spoken of the prophet Esaias, saying, ' The voice " of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the “ Lord, make his paths strait.'" Mark says, “ As it is written “ in the prophets, ' Behold I send my messenger before thy face, “ which shall prepare thy way before thee.' (Mal. iii. 1.) The “ voice of one crying in the wilderness, • Prepare ye the way of “ 'the Lord, make his paths strait,' John did baptize in the wil“ derness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remis“sion of sins.” Mark i. 2—4. St. Luke says, “ He (i. e. John) “ came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the bap“ tism of repentance for the remission of sins ; as it is written " in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, · The voice of " .one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, " • make his paths strait. Every valley shall be filled, foc., and " • all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'” Luke iii. 3--6. And when John the Baptist was questioned, “ who art thou, what " sayest thou of thyself,” he refers to this prophecy for his answer, “ I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make “ strait the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.” John i. 22, 23. . t" Every valley,". &c. So Isa. xlix. 11.
“ be exalted, &c. And the glory of the Lord shall be "revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the “mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isa. xl. 3–5.
Encouragement to the Forerunner's Energy, and an Intimation
of some of the Qualities of Christ-Divinity, Strength, Recompence, and Kindness.
No. 62. O thou that bringestv good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain, O thou that bringest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid, say unto the cities of Judah, “ behold your God.” Behold the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him : behold his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Isa. xl. 9-11.
On the Character and Office, and some of the personal Qualities
No. 63. Behold my servant, whom I uphold: my elect, in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my spirit" upon him: he shall bring forth judgment unto the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench; he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail, nor be dis
This is the reading in the margin of the Bible which, says Dr. Lowth, gives a much better sense.
My spirit.” See ante Deut. xviii. “ I will put my words “ in his mouth,” &c. ; and post Isa, li. 16.
couraged till he have set judgment in the earth : and the isles shall wait for his law. Isa. xlii. 1-4.*.
Upon the Assistance God should give to Christ, and the Purposes
of his coming, to give Light, and Deliverance from Sin. No. 64. Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out, he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it, he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein, I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thy hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for Y a covenant of the people, for 2 a light
* In recording an instance of our Saviour's prudence in the early part of his ministry to avoid the notice of the Pharisees before he had fulfilled what he intended, and before he put himself into their power; St. Matthew refers to this prophecy to shew its accordance with our Saviour's conduct : “ The Pharisees held a “council against him, how they might destroy him. But when “ Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence, and great “ multitudes followed him : and he healed them, and charged " them that they should not make it known, that it might be “ fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, Behold my " servant, whom I have chosen : my beloved, in whom my soul "' is well pleased : I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall " shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry: “ neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised “ o reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, " until he send forth judgment unto victory: And in his name " shall the Gentiles trust.'” Matt. xii. 14-21. Dr. Lowth observes upon this passage, “that it cannot, with any shew of “probability, be expounded of any other person than Christ,” and he discusses and refutes the opposite opinion. See Lowth.
y “ A covenant,” &c. So Isa. xlix. 8.
2 " A light;" &c. So Isa. xlix. 6. and Luke ii. 32. and Acts xiii. 47.
of the Gentiles, to a open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. Isa. xlii. 5—7.
Upon the Universality of the Christian Dispensation, the Extent
of Christ's Dominion.
No. 65. There is no God else beside me, a just God and a Saviour, there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory. Isa. xlv. 21–23. 25.
Upon God's Attention to Christ, his calling him from the Womb,
naming him before his Birth, giving him excellency of Speech, affording him extraordinary Protection, and treating him as the Saviour, by whom God was to be glorified, with an Intimation that he should not have all the Success he ought.
No. 66. Listen, O isles, unto me, and hearken ye people from far; the Lord hath called me from the womb : from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of
“ To open,” &c. See ante Isa. xxxv. 5. b.“ To bring,” &c. See Isa. xlix. 9., lxi. 1.
Every knee,” &c. St. Paul quotes this passage as a proof that we shall all stand before the judgment-seat-of whom? of Christ !—" we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of “ Christ-for it is written, as I live, saith the Lord, every knee
• shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.' “ then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Rom. xiv. 10-12.
d According to St. Matthew the angel of the Lord which appeared unto Joseph in a dream, and announced to him that the
my name. And he hath made my mouth e like a sharp sword ; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft: in his quiver hath he hid me: and said unto me, “ thou art my Servant, O Israel, in " whom I will be glorified.” Then I said, “I have la“ boured in 6 vain, I have spent my strength for nought, " and in vain 8: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, " and my work with my God.” Isa. xlix. 1-4.
No. LXVII. An Intimation of Backwardness in the Jews to embrace Christia
nity, its Extension to the Gentiles, and its Success with them, and with the great Men of the Earth.
No. 67. And now saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, " Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious “ in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my “ strength :" and he said, “It is a light thing that thou “shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, “ and to restore the preserved of Israel : I will h also give
child which was conceived in her was of the Holy Ghost, commanded him, “ thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save “ his people from their sins." And when St. Luke says, “his “ name was called Jesus,” he says, “ he was so named of the “ angel before he was conceived in the womb."
e In the description of our Saviour, Rev. i. 16., one particular is, “ out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword.” See post Isa. 1. 4. “ The Lord God hath given me the tongue of “ the learned."
f" In the shadow," &c. So post Isa, li. 16. 8 " In vain,” referring probably to his rejection by the Jews.
h St. Paul clearly considers this verse as prophetic and looking forward to Christ. When he gave up the Jews at Antioch because they opposed him and blasphemed, and declared his intention of turning to the Gentiles, he and Barnabas refer to this passage as their warrant, " for so hath the Lord commanded us,