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most beautiful style of oriental imagery: And a inan (or, as it should have been rendered the man; the man Christ Jesus, 1 Tiin. ii. 5,) shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest : as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. But this important event was not to happen yet, and before that time were to be great sorrows. Many days and years they were to be troubled (ver. 10.) and the land was to be desolate, until, says the prophet (ver. 15.) the spirit be poured upon us from on high, till Christ shall come from heaven to impart to us the gifts of the Holy Ghost, (John xvi. 7.) and then continues he, (ver. 17.) the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever * . Such were to be the blessed effects of
* It ought however to be mentioned, that there are various opinions concerning the application of this prophecy; some expositors supposing it to relate to Hezekiah only, and others, to Hezekiak in its primary meaning, and to the Messiah in its secondary sense.
the kingdom of Christ; and here this prophecy seems to have ceased, for the following chapter has no connection with this subject; but in the xxxivth and xxxvth chapters, which form one separate and distinct prophecy *, it is resumed. The prophet first threatens the enemies of the people, or church of God, with the most complete destruction; and then proceeds to foretel the flourishing state of Christ's kingdom after those judgments. The whole of this prophecy is to be considered, according to Bishop Lowth, as a regular poem, highly ornamented, and filled with the most striking and beautiful imaa gery. That part which immediately relates to the Messiah t, begins at the 4th verse of the xxxvth chapter ; Say to thein
* Lowth's Isaiah. He gave the same opinion also in his xxth prælection.' “ Insigne continent vaticinium capita Isaiæ quartum et quintum supra tricesimum.
+ Quæ haud dabie proxime referenda sunt ad primum Messiæ adventum; ad miracula ab eo edita ; ad evangelii prædicationem, et divinæ gratiæ essusionem. Lowth Prælect. xx.
which are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not; behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence, he will come and save you. They who waited for the salvation of Israel, and began to despair of the Messiah's coming, are here exhorted not to fear; for He was coming who was to save his people from their sins *, and take vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ f. Then, continues the prophet, the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing. Now these are the very miracles which our Saviour performed, and to which he referred as proofs that he was the Messiah foretold by the prophets. When the disciples of John the Baptist, came to ask him if he were the Christ I, He that should come, he gave them no other answer, but an application of this
* Matt. i. 21. + 2 Thess. i. 8.
| Matt. xi. 3, &c.
very prophecy of Isaiah to his own works; for the Jews always understood that it related to the Messiah. Go, said he, and shew John again the things which ye do hear and see : the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the deaf hear. As if he had said, “ Since I perform the very works which your own prophets have foretold that the Messiah should perform, there can need no other proof that I am really He.”
So far this prophecy seems perfectly clear; but the rest of this chapter is not so easy to be understood. It seems to point out glorious times, long after the coming of Christ, though the consequence of it. But these are things, which in our present state, we can only see as through a glass darkly* We can hardly even venture to guess at what God has not been pleased to reveal plainly to us. The future advent of Christ, the conversion and restoration of the Jews; and the complete