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festations were also made, at this period, of the symbol of the divine Majesty; the "Holy One," amidst " myriads" of blessed spirits, was seen in glory: and it was declared, that he who had then given the law from Mount Sinai, would one day be King in Jeshuron, and " to him should be the gathering of the nations." *
The last era we considered, that of David, was particularly marked, among the different periods of prophetic revelations, by disclosing to the church the sufferings and humiliation of the Redeemer, before he should appear in glory. Now began to be more fully explained, or at least recorded, what the "bruised heel" of the woman's " seed" symbolized: and we may add the bleeding victim on the patriarchal and on the Jewish altars. It was now discovered, that the promised " seed" would be found among men, "most poor," and " most wretched;" that when he should be elevated to the throne of glory, he would be raised from the very "dust," and from the " ashes" of the mourner; and that the redemption which he would accomplish among mankind would, in the first instance, be viewed in the character of a great moral revolution— the casting down of the proud and prosperous, the exalting of the meek, the lowly, and the afflicted, together with their still more afflicted Head, f
This was wonderful to be told! But the connexion of all this with the coming of the Lord from heaven, as the great avenger and victorious King, was, nevertheless, clearly pointed out. He was to be "made for a little while lower than his angels." He was first to be contemplated as a righteous and oppressed man on earth; t
* Deut. xxx. 3. ft Sam. ii.
J Psalms i. & ii., viii., lxxxix., cii., cxiii., &c. &c.
and then, for his meritorious obedience, to be raised from the depth of hell to the heights of heavenly glory, and from thence to come forth on the final work of redemption. * An interval was clearly pointed out between this period of his humiliation, and the season of his coming in his kingdom. During that interval he is described as sitting at the right hand of God in heaven, waiting till his enemies be made his footstool, f In this high station, while the world below resounds with the mad triumphs of his enemies, and with the groans and complaints of hia persecuted people, he abides as their High Priest above, where he realizes all that was typified in the Jewish tabernacle, and by its ceremonial observances; and when he has finished his priestly intercessions, and through his eternal Spirit has sanctified all the elect people of God, he will come again in glory, as the great " Melchisedec;" not only as " Priest of the most high God," but " King of righteousness," and "King of peace." J This copious matter was to be the theme of many " psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs;" and was to make a prominent part of the solemn worship of his church, till all should be( fulfilled: "as it is to this day."
Mingled with this subject, in the Psalms, we saw much concerning Israel's apostacy and punishment; their hatred and persecution of him that should appear to save them, "the poor helpless man," whose " hands" and whose " feet" they should " pierce." We saw much concerning their recovery and restoration to their land in the last days; and that particular enemy, with whose destruction the final triumph of Christ's cause is ever connected in prophecy, was particularly pointed out as " the wicked." In the last days, he enters the Holy Land by the north, and sweeps in the prescribed limits all before him, like a desolating storm and mighty inundation.* He becomes possessed of Egypt, and returns with his reinforced armies to that contest, in the midst of which the Almighty Conqueror appears.. The enemies of Christ are judged, f His happy reign, the theme of so many psalms, succeeds; the King of Zion reigns, and his kingdom, (though the land of promise is its particular site,) extends over all the earth. J He comes not alone, we remark also. A blessed company, compared, for numbers, to " the dew-drops of the morning," are contemplated "on the holy hills." These are evidently "the holy myriads" of former prophecies; '' the Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the sanctuary." These were, like himself, once seen as poor, and weak, and afflicted, among men; but now they are exalted, to sit with the King Messiah on his throne; || to partake with him of the glories of his final victory over his enemies, and to be made " princes in all lands."
'Psalms ii., x., xlv., xlvii., Ixviii., Ixxii., Ixxxii., fee. t Psalm ex. | Psalm ii.
So much had already been revealed concerning the second advent, the events that in order of time would lead to it, and the glorious scenes that would follow. To the church, so far informed, we are to consider the prophets as sent to minister. Isaiah, the first of these, was anointed to the prophetical office two hundred and fifty-five years after the death of David, at the eve of the dispersion of the ten tribes, and about a hundred and seventy before the leading of Judah captive to Babylon. § The writings of this prophet will require much of our attention; in fact,
• Psalms xxix., xlvi. f Psalms ex., Ixviii.
J Psalms Ixxii., xlv., &C; || Psalm cxlix. § B. C. 700.
there are very few parts of Isaiah, which, in the pursuit of our object, we can altogether pass over. We may, I think, conveniently arrange his prophecies under three grand general divisions.
First, in the thirty-five first chapters he delivers oracles, that address the Israelitish church generally, and that take hasty glances of its history throughout the ages to come: but as the Assyrian invasions, and the dispersion of the ten tribes, are events shortly to happen, these are mingled occasionally with the theme; and even the transactions of the last- days are contemplated in their bearings on that event. For that part of the family of Abraham was now to be banished from the land of promise, to return no more, till the events of the second advent, or its harbingers at least, would begin to be disclosed. Some intimations we find, also, in this division, of the ravages of the Babylonians ; but the Assyrian wars are the more prominent object, and the Assyrian king the leading type.
The second series of prophecy, from the fortieth to the forty-eighth inclusive, is distinguished by this circumstance : — the holy prophet, though his bosom swells with the same theme — the dreadful judgments of the world at Messiah's coming, and the endless blessedness that shall follow—is disturbed, as it were, by forebodings of a nearer judgment, that must sink most low the small remnant now left by the Assyrians in Jerusalem. This calamity is to be brought on them by the Babylonians, a people who are soon to sway the sceptre of the world. However, the prophet can see, in the visions of the Almighty, this obstacle removed; the "remnant restored," and the mighty adversary brought down to the dust; — meet emblem and type of that mightier foe, that, after the prostration of Ashur and of Heber, shall fall, according to the oath of the Most High, when Israel shall be finally restored, to be dispersed no more.
In the third series of these prophecies, from the fortyninth to the end, the inspired seer seems to have been conducted beyond these prospects; and is made to take his stand nearer to the distant scene that bounds the view of all prophecy — "the power and coming" of the Redeemer. Babylon, and the captivity, no longer appear as objects in the front ground of his landscape, magnified by their nearness, and prominent in the line in which he is obliged from his position to view the greater judgment, and the greater mercies beyond. The heavenly vision has taken him past this scene. The same object he saw before, he can now descry more plainly. But still they are not near; and, interposed, he seems to see the dark valley of humiliation stretched beneath his feet. The first advent is exposed to his view; and his astonished mind contemplates, by its sudden glances, in strange connexions, '' the sufferings of Christ," and " the glory that shall follow;" the deep depression of his people, while the world rejoices; and then the tremendous vengeance to be poured forth on the church's foes, and its unbounded glories in the last times.
These three series of Isaiah's prophecies must first come under our consideration: we shall then make some extracts from the cotemporary prophets, Amos, Hosea, Micah, and Joel: we shall next pass to the prophet Zephaniah, who preceded a few years the prophets of the captivity, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Habakkuk. Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, who prophesied after the restoration, will form our last division.