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“ neral devastation, spread through all these “ countries by Nebuchadnezzar, may be the event " which the prophet has primarily in view in the “ 34th chapter : but this event, as far as we have “ any account of it in history, seems by no means “ to come up to the terms of the prophecy, or to “ justify so high-wrought and so terrible a descrip
tion. And it is not easy to discover what con
nection the extremely flourishing state of the “ Church or people of God, described in the next “ chapter, could have with those events; and how “ the former could be the consequence of the “ latter, as it is there represented to be. By a “ figure, very common in the prophetical writings, “ any city or people, remarkably distinguished as “ enemies of the people and kingdom of God, is put “ for those enemies in general. This seems here “ to be the case with Edom and Bozrah. It “ seems therefore reasonable to suppose, with “ many learned expositors, that this prophecy has “ à further view to events still future; to some
great revolutions to be effected in later times, " antecedent to the more perfect state of the " kingdom of God upon earth, and serving to “ introduce it, which the holy Scriptures warrant “ us to expect*
* 6 The enemies of God's Church are often represented 6 by the name of some country which was remarkable for its Latred and ill usage of the Jews, such as Egypt, Babylon,
“That the 35th chapter has a view beyond any " thing, that could be the immediate consequence
of those events, is plain froin every part, espea s cially from the middle of it *, where the mira“ culous works wrought by our blessed Saviour are
so clearly specified, that we cannot avoid “making the application: and our Saviour himself “ has moreover plainly referred to this very pas6 sage as speaking of him and his works. He " bids the disciples of John to go and report to “ their master the things which they heard and “ saw; that the blind received their sight, the 6 lame walked, and the deaf heard t: and leaves “ it to him to draw the conclusion in answer to his « inquiry, whether he, who performed the very
works which the prophets foretold should be
performed by the Messiah, was not indeed the “ Messiah himself. And where are these works şo " distinctly marked by any of the prophets, as in “ this place ? and how could they be marked more « distinctly? To these the strictly literal interpre" tation of the prophet's words directs us. Ac* cording to the allegorical interpretation, they * may have a further view: this part of the pro
• Edom, and Moab; and thus Edum or Idumèa may be taken “ hereThe words here seem to describe a more general “ judgment, of which the destruction of Edom was an im« perfect representation.” Mr. Lowth's Comment on Isaiah xxxiv. 5. * Ver. 5, 6.
† Matt. xi. 4, 5.
* phecy may run parallel with the former, and “ relate to the future advent of Christ; to the “ conversion of the Jews, and their restitution to “ their land; to the extension and purification of " the Christian faith; events predicted in the " holy Scriptures, as preparatory to it *.”
To these remarks of Bp. Lowth I have but little to add. They appear to me to be perfectly just, with a single exception: I much doubt whether the Edom, here spoken of, can with any degree of propriety be applied to the literal Edom in the days of Nebuchadnezzar. Independent of the magnificence of the images being but little applicable to the sufferings of Edom, as the Bishop himself remarks; the restoration of Judah from Babylon cannot surely be esteemed the result of those sufferings, when it did not take place till several years after, and that, not in consequence of the devastation of Edom by Nebuchadnezzar, but in consequence of the overthrow of the Babylonian empire by Cyrus. The prophet however, at the close of the 35th chapter, plainly represents some restoration of the Jews, as being the consequence of some destruction of Edom. This restoration therefore cannot be the restoration from Babylon. -And, if it be not the restoration from Babylon, it can only be the yet future restoration; at which period, the literal Edom will long have ceased to
be a people. Hence the Edom, whose overthrow is represented by the prophet as being closely connected with the yet future restoration of the Jews, certainly cannot be at all the literal Edom; be. cause the overthrow of the literal Edom was connected with no restoration of the Jews.
. In fact, the mystic Edom of this prediction, as the Rabbies have ever believed *, and as I shall state at large in considering a subsequent prophecy closely connected with the present: the mystic Edom is the Roman empire, in the last stage of its existence; that is to say, when so organized as to have become, agreeably to the declaration of St. John, one great confederacy under the influence of Antichrist f.
The overthrow of this mystic Edom, whose desolation (it may be observed) is described in a manner closely resembling that in which the desolation of Babylon is described I, will strongly mark the era of the restoration of Judah, and will prepare a way for the restoration of Israel. In the 35th chapter, the two events of the first and second advent of our Lord, are, in a manner very usual among the prophets, mingled together. Christ
* « The Jewish writers do generally suppose, that Edom in -“ the writings of the prophets stands for Rome,” Mr. Lowth's Comment, on Isaiah xxxiv. 5.
+ See Rev. xvi. 19-16. xix. 17-21.
I Compare Isaiah xxxiv. 817. with xiii. 19--22. and Rev. xviii.,
:.23 . healed
healed all manner of diseases in the day of his first advent; but the restoration of Judah will assuredly not take place till the day of his second advent. Yet, even that part of the prophecy, which relates to the healing of the sick, the un-. closing the eyes of the blind, the opening the ears of the deaf, and the causing the tongue of the dumb to sing, may hereafter receive a yet more ample, though not more exact, accomplishment than it has hitherto done. If the Messiah, during the period of his humiliation only, wrought niany miracles of this nature in the land of Judèa exclusively; 'I can discover nothing very improbable in the supposition, that those miracles of beneficence inay be repeated to a much greater extent during his triumphant millennian reign upon earth. At least, I may say with Mr. Mede, that there is certainly nothing derogatory to the glory of God in entertaining even the most magnificent conceptions of what his Spirit hath been pleased to descrbe so magnificently.
. PROPHECY X. The first advent-The second advent-The over
throw of Antichrist-The conversion and restoration of the spiritually blind JEWS_A denunciation against Babylon.
Isaiah xlii. l. Behold my servant, whom I will uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delighteth: