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nation, yet it is evident this must be the meaning; because the context shews, that the Gentile nations would honour him, and gather' to him, and that the Jews would not. Hence it follows, that when it is faid, v 4. that he would spend his strength for nought, and in vain, it must be meant of the bad fuccess of his doctrine among the Jews, seeing its success among the Gentiles is represented as so very considerable. Though the prophet's expressions im. ply, that the person spoken of would be rejected by the prevailing party among the Jews, it is very consistent with this, that he would be received and honoured by a part of that people: which seems to be plainly enough intimated in v 6.; where it is faid, “It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my “ jervant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to “ reitore the preserved of Israel."
All these things show, how unreasonable it is to imagine, that the prophet is all along speaking of the whole lfraelitish nation, under the notion of a particular perfon who was to enlighten the Gentiles; because the person whom the prophet speaks of, is, in 3: called by the name of Israel. In many other cases, in different languages, the name of a nation is given to the chief person belonging to it; as when the Asyrian, the Persian, or Roman, fignify the sovereigns of these nations. It is no wonder the name of Israel should be given to him who is at the same time the light that lightens the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel; being in, deed the chief person, the sovereign, and chief or. nament of that nation, and the person to whom the Dame of Israel, in its primary meaning, is chiefly applicable. It is evidently absurd to suppose, that it is the Israelitish nation that the prophet speaks of, under the notion of an individual person, when he tells fo plainly, that the person he means, is one to whom the Ifraelitish nation would not be gathered; whom the Ifraelitish nation would despise and
abhor; abhor; who would spend his strength in vain 2mong that nation, only a remnant among them would be restored by him. Every body will own, that it is demonstrable, that when the Evangelist Matthew narrates the history of Jesus Christ, he does not mean, by Jesus Christ, the nation of ilrael, though once he applies the name of lfrael to him. The fame kind of arguments will prove, that the prophet Isaiah, in the prediction in view, and in many others, is not speaking of the nation of Ilrael under the notion of a person, but of a real individual person, who would be rejected by the Jews, and received by the Gentiles.
At the end of the chapter which we are considering, there are awful threatenings against Zion's enemies and oppressors. The Jews indeed are not expressly mentioned; but it is evident from the former parts of the chapter, that the enemies of him who was to be the Light of the Gentiles would be enemies of Zion; and that the prevailing party among the Jews would be of that number.
III. As to the personal history of the eminent person whom the prophet speaks of, some facts relating to it are implied in the passages already cited, relating to his enemies. The expressions about his spending his strength for nought among the Jews, and about his being despised and abhorred by that nation, plainly implying an opposition that would be very violent and extensive, evidently teach us, that he would live among the Jews, that he would
rcise a laborious ministry among them, and suffer a great deal from them. When he is expressly called, in ý 7. a servant of rulers, that title appears to be designed, as it were, on purpose to refute the false notion of the Meffiah that prevailed so much afterwards, as if he was to be a magnificent temporal prince. The prophet's words plainly import, that the person he speaks of was to live in a low station of life.
IV. As to doctrinal characters, it is evident, that the light with which it is foretold that God would favour the Gentiles, is not represented as a mere speculative knowledge of God, but a practical and most comfortable knowledge of him, founded on a revelation of mercy and grace, and directing men to a state of true holiness and happiness. It will be proved afterwards, that the prophets teach the same doctrine with the Apostles, about what they call God's covenant and salvation, as including deliverance from sin, together with the attainment of the favour, the image, and the enjoyment of God; which are the things wherein the falvation of finners, and true happiness of rational creatures, chiefly confift, according both to scripture and reason. Now in the prophecies in view, it is not faid mere ly, that he who was to be the Light of the Gentiles would instruct the Gentiles in the doctrines concerning God's covenant and falvation; which might be done by the most inconsiderable person, who should be well instructed about these things kimself. This extraordinary person is said to be himself that covenant and that falvation. It must be owned, that this manner of expression is very fingular: but this itself is an argument, that the bleffings of God's covenant and falvation would be, in a singular manner, owing to that perfon.
Hence it follows, that if we find, in other places, that the prophets speak of one particular perfon sent of God, who was to do a great deal more for our salvation, besides mere instruction ; particularly if we find, that they speak of one who was to suffer for our sins, and to purchase our salvation; we have good cause to explain the more general exprefsions, about one who was to be God's covenant and salvation, by those more particular expressions, about one who was to do a thing so extraordinary and singular for us, as to purchase that falvation for us by his sufferings and death; seeing the best rules
of interpretation oblige us to explaini expressions that are more obscure and general, by those that are more clear and particular.
He who is called the Light of the Gentiles, as he is said to be God's covenant and salvation, is represented as the servant of God in whom he will be glorified, y 3.; as called, y 1. and chofen, ý 7. of, God, and in a peculiar manner fitted for a work of singular importance, and supported in it, y 2. le is said, that God would make his mouth like a sharp sword, x 2. which seems plainly to denote the peculiar efficacy of his doctrine; that God would hide him in the shadow of his hand, and make him á polished shaft, $ 2. ; that he would be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and that his God would be his strength, y s.
V. As to the figures by which the above-mentioned facts and doctrines are expressed ; that great work of divine mercy, God's enlightening the Gentiles, and his making themi partakers of his covenant and salvation, is expressed by delivering them from prison and darkness, feeding them in defirable pastures, and guiding them by springs of water,
9. 10. by God's establishing the earth, y 8. and making the desolate heritages to be inherited ; aš also by the multiplying of Zion's children, niulti. tudes thronging into Zion, finding the place too strait for them, and making it necessary that Zion should be enlarged to receive crouds of new inhabitants. The great changes by which Providence would remove obstacles, are expressed by levelling mountains, y 11.
VI. There are two remarkable practical instructions, which have a near affinity to one another, and which are mixed with the facts and doctrines above mentioned, both in this prophecy, and in several others, which will be considered afterwards. First, Instructions concerning God's gracious care to comfort his afflicted people, and to give them fa
tisfying tisfying relief from all their sorrows, ý 14. 15. 16.; and, secondly, Instructions concerning the singular importance and excellency of the great things which God was to do for his people, about the time that the Gentile nations would be enlightened, Ý 13. these things being represented as grounds of the universal triumph of heaven and earth. It will appear afterwards, that it is very usual with the prophets, in speaking of that happy time, to break out into such joyful exclamations as we find in this chapter, in v 13. “Sing, O heavens, and be “ joyful, 0 earth, and break forth into singing, o
VII. Whereas this chapter consists of two parts, the first of which speaks expressly of him who was to be the light of the Gentiles, to whom the falvation of Zion, and the increase of her inhabitants, would be in a singular and peculiar manner owing ; while the second part contains various predictions concerning Zion herself, and her enemies, relating to events that would happen about the time of the enlightening of the Gentiles,. withiout express mention of him by whom that great change would be brought about : it is proper to observe, tliat these things are to be considered only as different branches of one continued discourse, or complex prediction ; and not as if they were different subjects, having no connection with one another. The justness and usefulness of this remark will appear afterwards, in considering how far we may reasonably extend our views, in explaining any prophetic text by the foregoing or following context.
IS AIAH lxii.
All the evidence that can convince us in other cases, that two different writings, or different parts of one writing, treat of one and the same subject, is