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Vengeance will come, the retribution of Elohim,
In these dreadful times, therefore, the waiting people of God, wherever they are found; or, as I rather conclude, especially that particular part of returning Israel that is to be conducted through the desert,—are warranted to expect the appearance of that God whom they adore, in the character of their deliverer. This is, doubtless, what more ancient oracles foretold: " The Lord" cometh " with his holy myriads;"—" I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that in the last day he shall rise upon the earth, and of my flesh shall I see Elohim," &c. &c. *
5. Then shall the eyes of the blind be open, And the ears of the deaf shall be unclosed:
6. Then shall the lame bound like a stag,
Surely, waters shall burst forth in the wilderness,
7. And the glowing sand shall become a pool,
In the haunts of serpents shall be pasture,
8. And there shall be an highway there,
* Compare xxv. 9.
'"Behold your God! To avenge added to the first member of the
he cometh 1 sentence, from the beginning of the
God, who maketh retribution, following member: 16 MSS. (7
He will come and save you P ancient) have it but once; so, like
Horsley. wise, the Syriac."—Bp. Lowtu. 1 "The word Titi is by mistake
And it shall be called the way of the Holy ' One.'
And He' shall be among them walking on the way,
9. No lion shall be there, nor beast of prey,
10. But the redeemed shall journey,
And the ransomed of Jehovah shall return:
And they shall come to Zion with singing,
They shall obtain gladness and joy,
These beautiful figures, I am aware, have been very generally explained of the spiritual privileges of Gospel times; but, certainly, from a mistaken rule of interpretation. What the believer now possesses is, indeed, an "earnest," and " foretaste," of heavenly joys to come. But he is every where taught, that he is " saved in hope'" that" is not seen," and for the object of which, he " waits;" —he still" groans, being burdened, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of the body. He is ever bid, with the whole church, to fix his expectation on the coming of Jesus Christ in his glory.
In the passage before us, we have a declaration, as plain as words can declare it, of a personal appearance of
1 " ' But he shall be with them sentence, thereby destroying the
walking in the way,' i. e. God; see construction and the sense."—Bp.
verse 4. Our old English versions Lowth.
translated the place to this pur- "Their own Lord walking, Stc.
pose, our last translators were mis- —Bp. Stock. led by the authority of the Jews, "The Holy One."—Bp. Hobs
who have absurdly ruudc a division Ley. of the verse? in the midst of the
the God of Israel. What, however, will strike us as remarkable is, that he is not here described as coming in the clouds of heaven; but as leading a company of his people through the desert — and by the desert, emphatically named, is always meant the desert of Arabia—and as bringing them safe to Zion, where they enjoy everlasting felicity. A miraculous conducting of certain of the tribes of Israel through the desert, has before been intimated to be one of the wonders of the second advent, especially in Psalm the sixty-eighth. This Psalm, indeed, if. referred to, will show the exact connexion of the different scenes of this wonderful period: and prophecies yet to be considered, will again bring before us the miraculous passage of the desert.
THE SECOND SERIES OF THE PROPHECIES OF ISAIAH, FROM THE FORTIETH CHAPTER TO THE FORTYEIGHTH INCLUSIVE.
We now enter upon a train of prophecies, most beautiful and most important, which all admit to relate, as to their ultimate objects, to Christ and his kingdom. Some, with Vitringa, * apply the language—which will indeed with difficulty bear any other application—immediately to these great objects; others, with Bishop Lowth, suppose an allusion throughout to the restoration from the Babylonian captivity ; considering that restoration as a type, or mystical allegory, of future spiritual mercies.
These spiritual mercies have been too generally understood, both by those who consider them as immediately referred to, and by those who suppose them remotely alluded to under the guise of allegory, respecting the
1 " Binas deprehendi bypo- Hieron. Cyrill. Theod. Procop. et
theses, quas docti viri in prophetia Lyranus quoque; ad quos eousque
exponenda scctantur. Altera eain accedunt Judsei, ut ipsi quoque
directfc refert ad regnuin Mess'iE." hanc prophetiam nostram, et ple
—" Altera ad statum Ecclesise rasque sequentes ad tempora Mes
Judaicac, liberamla: ex exilio Baby- sise referunt, et plane asserant,
lonico."—" Priori sententia e pleri- scrmonem hie verti ad Ecclesiam
que subscrihunt interpretes Chris- Judaicam afflictam ut se habet in
tiani; veteres certe omnes, Euseb. present! exilio."—Vitbinga.
present privileges and enjoyments of the faithful under the Gospel. Privileges and enjoyments great indeed, and, in the anticipation of Christian hope, all that prophecy has predicted; but still in themselves by no means agreeing with the plain language of prophecy: or, if a type and allegory be admitted, most unmeet to fulfil such type, most unlike the symbol of such allegory. For these Gospel privileges, in their fullest possession, as we have had occasion to remark before, leave a people "waiting for their Lord" — a people " groaning, being burdened." But the prophecies on which we enter, discover a people vindicated in the full enjoyment of promised glory; and their Redeemer manifested in power, and in the splendour of the divine majesty.
The events of the first advent often, indeed, come within the view of the prophetic vision, and something of an inceptive fulfilment may sometimes be admitted; but the main view of the prophecy extends itself far beyond. A conquering, not a suffering Messiah, with a triumphant, not an afflicted and dispersed church, is the grand theme of the whole prophecy, from the fortieth chapter to the end of the book.
This part of Isaiah, however, may conveniently be divided into two series. The one from this chapter to the forty-eighth is distinguished, as we have observed before, by the circumstance of its interweaving with the main subject some notices and predictions of the more immediate catastrophe of the Babylonian captivity, and the restoration of a remnant of Judah; not, I think, in the way of type and mystical allegory; but more in the nature of an episode, — a side-way glance, as it were, from the main subject,—in the same manner as Assyria, and sometimes Babylon, has been the subject of prophecy in the