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applicable to the 420 chapter of Isaiah, compared with the 49th. As in chap. 49. it is said of the person there mentioned, that God “ would give him for " a light to the Gentiles, and a covenant to the
people, that he might establish the earth ;-and « that he might say to the prisoners, Go forth; 6 and to them that fit in darkness, Shew your« selves;" and in a particular manner the isles, and people afar off, are called to listen to him : so as to this 420 chapter, it foretells of the eminent person it treats of, that God “ would give him for a
covenant of the people, for a light of the « Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out " the prisoners from the prison, and them that fit “ in darkness out of the prison-house, Ÿ 6. 7.;" that he “ would bring forth judgement to the Gen" tiles, y 1.” And more particularly it is foretold, that the isles would wait for his law, ♡ 4: ; and the prophet exhorts “ the illes and their inhabi
tants to sing unto the Lord a new song ;” and again a little below exhorts men to give glory
unto the Lord, and declare his praise in the i“slands,” Ý 10. 12.
Though the conversion of the kings of the Gentiles is not mentioned so expressly here as in the chapter formerly considered, yet it is plainly implied in the divine threatenings pronounced against idolatry. It is foretold, v 17. that “ they shall be
turned back, they fhall be greatly ashamed that “ trust in graven images, that say to the molten i“ mages, Ye are our gods.” In other prophecies, as well as this, threatenings against idolatry are mixed sometimes with the promises of enlightening of the Gentiles; the strong expressions made use of in these threatenings plainly denote such an overthrow of the Heathen idolatry, as fupposes its being deprived of the countenance of authority. Before the times of the gospel, the enemies of the true religion had so far prevailed as to hinder the enlightening of
the nations. In the 13th and 14th verses of this chapter God speaks of himself as “ prevailing against his enemies;” and for that end “ going forth as a “ mighty man, stirring up jealousy like a man of
war ; after having long held his peace, been still, and refrained himself *."
These and the like expressions, here and in other prophecies, evidently point out an important revolution in the world in favour of the true religion, vastly different from any such conversion of particular profelytes as might liave been brought about by any Jewish king or prophet before the coming of Christ. The singular magnificence of style by whichi the prophets describe what God was to do when he would enlighten the Gentiles; their expressions aa bout the greatness of the change he was to produce, the greatness of the obstacles he was to remove, the extraordinary display he was to make of his power and glory, the great support he was to give to the particular person who was to be the light of the Gentiles, the solemn manner in which they introduce their predictions on this subject, and the triumphant exclamations they mix with them, or annex to them, calling to all the ends of the earth, and sometimes to heaven and earth, to sing and rejoice on account of the great and glad tidings they were proclaiming : all these things thew that it is not merely the conversion of some particular profelytes they are speaking of, but that conversion of nations which is known to have been the peculiar effect of the gospel. We have remarkable instances of this singular magnificence of style in this fame 420 chapter, particularly in the following sentences. “ Be“ hold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect in “ whom my foul delighteth : I have put my spirit
upon him, he shall bring forth judgement to the “ Gentiles. Thus faith God the Lord, le that See Acts xvii. 30. C2
« created the heavens, and stretched them out; he " that spread forth the earth, and that which co“ meth out of it; he that giveth breath to the u people upon it, and spirit to them that walk " therein: I the Lord have called thee in righteous" ness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep " thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, “ for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind
eyes, to bring out the prisoners out of the pri“ fon. I am the Lord, that is my name, and my “ glory will I not give to another, neither my
praise to graven images. Behold, the former “ things are come to pass, and new things do I de. “ clare : before they spring forth I tell you of “them. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his " praise from the end of the earth : ye that go “ down to the fea, and all that is therein; the “ ifles, and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wil“ derness, and the cities thereof, lift up their voice. " - Let them give glory unto the Lord, and de“ clare his praise in the islands," &c.
It would be uvreafonable to object, that the peculiar loftinefs of the eastern style, frequently magnifying things above their real greatness, may account for these high expresions, without supposing any more extensive conversion of the Gentiles than what sometimes happened under the Old Testa. ment. Descriptions of divine power can never be too lofty. It can never be proved, that the scripture any where gives such descriptions of it, as those now cited, in order to magnify any ordinary or inconsiderable event. We see here, the prophet first gives a large and sublime description of the power of the Most High, manifested in the creation of the universe, and of its inhabitants; on purpose to fhew his sufficiency to execute certain great designs, in which he was to employ one eminent person, whom he would give to be a covenant to the people, and a light of the Gentiles; that he might open the
blind eyes, and bring prisoners out of the prison; and produce those' happy changes which are expressly called new things, (which cannot be said of the conversion of particular proselytes) ; such new things that the prediction of them would clearly demonitrate prescience : “Behold, new things do I “ declare ; before they spring forth I tell you of “ them :" new things that would restore to the true God the religious honours that had been facrilegiously given to idols; new things that would
produce new songs to the Lord, and devout trans! ports in the cities of the wilderness; by which mult
be meant, according to the context and other parallel prophecies, the cities of the Gentiles; and particularly in the islands, which name, as good interpreters have observed, was given by the Jews to remote nations separated from Judea by the sea.
II. Some predictions relating to the enemies of him who was to be the light of the Gentiles, are implied in the above-cited threatenings against the abetters of idolatry: and when it is said, in ý 4. “ He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, till he have « set judgement in the earth ; and the isles shall “ wait for his law,” it is plainly enough intimated, that he would meet with such opposition as might discourage and disappoint other persons in any undertaking, but would by no means have that effect on him. But whereas mere general expresfions about the enemies of the eminent person in view might be applicable to idolatrous Heathens as well as to unbelieving Jews, the close of this chapter speaks very plainly, not of the former, but of the latter. In y 19. and 20. the prophet speaks of the blindness of certain persons, whom he calls God's servants and messengers: such titles are not applicable to Heathen, but to Jewish teachers and rulers; who both professed themselves to be God's servants and messengers, and were indeed appointed to such offices, not withitanding their mal-admi.
nistration. When it is said of these people, y 20. " Seeing many things, but thou observest not; o“pening the ears, but he heareth not,” it is implied, they would have abundante means of instruction, and conviction, but would inexcusably inisimprove them. Three times in one verse (the 19th) they are called blind.
The following context not only foretells extraordinary desolations that were to come on those persons; but plainly intimates, that notwithstanding the previous warnings given them, they would not consider the true causes of their calamities. Thus in y 24. 25. it is said, “ Who gave Jacob for “ a spoil, and Israel to the robbers ? did not the “ Lord, he against whom we have sinned? for they " would not walk in his ways, neither were they c obedient unto his law. Therefore he hath pour“ ed upon him the fury of his anger, and the “ strength of battle : and it hath set him on fire “ round about, yet he knew not; and it burned
him, yet he laid it not to heart.” The greatness of the calamities here foretold, prove that these expressions, “He knew not,” and, “ He laid it not “to heart,” cannot signify, that they would be insensible of these calamities, but that they would not acknowledge and consider the true causes of them.
To Thew the clearness of this prediction, it is proper to observe, that its being meant of the unbelieving Jews, is not only evident from the abovementioned title, of God's messengers and servants, given to those the prophet speaks of in y 19.; but that the thing is put beyond all question by x 24. which gives them the name of Jacob and Israel.
If it be objected against applying v 19. to the Jewish teachers or rulers, that that text speaks only of the Lord's messenger and servant in the fingular number; it is sufficient to observe, on the one hand, that y 18. which is the introduction to this prediction, speaks of blind and deaf persons in the