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" that we should desire him. He is despised and “ rejected of men ;-and we hid as it were our faces " from him; he was despised, and we esteemed “ bim not ;-we did esteem him stricken, smitten “ of God, and afflicted." Nor is it reasonable to suppose, if the report or doctrine of the person spoken of, was to be believed by the body of the Jewish nation, that the prophet would complain, as he does in y I.“ Who hath believed our report and to u whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?" There is a remarkable conformity, both as to matter and style, between the predictions about Jewish unbelief in chap. 49. and chap. 53. In the former, it is said concerning the eminent person spoken of, that Ifrael would not be gathered to him; that he would be despised by man, or (as it is in the original) a despised foul, and abhorred of the nation. And here in chap. 53. it is said of the people whom the prophet speaks of, that they would not esteem him; that they would fee no beauty in him that they should desire him ; that they would reckon him stricken and smitten of God; and that he would be rejected and despised of men.
III. The passages already cited, joined with other passages in this remarkable prophecy, about hiin who was both to enlighten and to sprinkle many nations, thew, that the history of his life would be in a great measure a history of sufferings and sorrows: They shew, ♡ 2. 3. 8. 9. that he would grow up and live in a low Itation ; that he would want those external advantages that usually attract respect; that he would be a man of sorrows in his life, and would be at last cut off by a violent death: and whereas men may meet with such a death, either by assassination, or, by the sentence of civil power; even this is not left undetermined, but it is intimated, that that extraordinary person would be condemned in judgement, and suffer death under colour of public justice.
IV. As to doctrinal characters, the prophet, in speaking of the nature, the causes, and effects of the sufferings he describes, teaches and inculcates, in a variety of the clearest expressions imaginable, the same doctrine that the New Testament teaches concerning the sufferings of Christ, viz. that they were a sacrifice for our sins; that our fins were the causes of them; that our salvation, our peace, our healing, our justification, were the end and effect of them, y. 5. 10. 11. ; and likewise adds, that he whose soul was to be made a facrifice for our sins, was to make intercession for transgreffors, 12. All which implies, that he was not only to enlighten men in the knowledge of God's covenant by his doctrine, but also was to purchase the blessings of that covenant by his blood, and to procure them by his interceffion; and, consequently, that he was to be the great universal priest, as well as prophet, of the people of God; seeing oblation and interceffion, the two principal parts of the priestly office, as well as instruction by immediate revelation, the great character of the prophetical office, are so clearly ascribed to him.
Seeing this doctrine Thews, that the blessings of God's covenant would be owing in a peculiar manner to that extraordinary person, as being not only revealed and offered, but also purchased and procured by him ; hence it follows, that it is by this particular important doctrine that we ought to explain some more general expressions in other prophecies, where the person spoken of is represented as being, in a singular and peculiar manner, the author of our salvation, or of the blessings of God's covenant, though the manner of his influence on these things be not so particularly defined in those other passages as in this 53d of Isaiah, which is justly reckoned one of the clearest and fullest
predictions in tlie Old Testament. When he who was to be the light of the Gentiles, is said to be given for a covenant of the people, and to be God's falvation to the ends of the earth, as in chap. 42. & 49. formerly considered; and also when we read of one who is supposed to be known by the title of the messenger of the covenant, Mal. iii. 1. as a title belonging to him in a singular and peculiar manner; or when we find the prophets speaking of “ the blood of the covenant,” as that by which“ prisoners are sent out of the pit where« in is no water," Zech. ix. 11.; or of the determined time for “finishing the transgression, making “ an end of sins, making reconciliation for iniqui
ty, and bringing in everlasting righteousness,". Dan. ix. 24.; we ought to look on the doctrine contained in the 53d of Isaiah as a key to those more general prophecies. Nor can this be denied without violating that rule of interpretation which has been so oft referred to, and is so much relied on in other cases, viz. That expressions that are more general and indefinite, should be explained by other expressions relating to the same subject that are more clear and particular.
V. Though the above-mentioned figures, contained in chap. 42. & 49. are not to be met with in this 53d chapter ; yet some of the most remarkable of them are to be found in chap. 54.; which, for the reasons formerly hinted *, may justly be consi. dered as a continuation of the preceding prophecy; seeing, though it does not speak so expressly of the particular person by whom the enlightening of the Gentiles was to be brought about, yet it speaks clearly enough of that great event itself; as it is foretold in the plainest expressions in 5. that the holy one of Israel would be called the God of the whole earth, and consequently of the Gentile nations; and in the context, y 1. 2. 3. the church of God diffused among the Gentiles, is considered as a wo
See above, on Isaiah xlix.
man who had been formerly barren, but was now breaking forth into singing, because of the multitude of her children; as enlarging the place of her tent; stretching forth the curtains of her habitations; breaking forth on the right hand and on the left; her feed inheriting the Gentiles, and making the defolate cities to be inhabited.
VI. As these figures have so obvious and manifold a resemblance to those made use of in the prophecies formerly considered, as of itself forms a considerable proof, that this chapter, and those other prophecies, treat of the same events and times; so this is farther confirmed by the harmony of those different prophecies, as to instructions relating to the two above-mentioned practical subjects, viz. the consolations of God's afflicted people, and the universal joy and exultation of God's church in general, as appears by comparing 1.7. 11. &c. of this chapter, with the passages in the other chapters formerly considered.
ISAIAH lv. lvi.
Whereas the description given in chapters 52. & 53. of the particular person who was to be the light of the Gentiles, is interrupted in chap. 54. (which speaks indeed of that great event itself, the enlightening of the Gentiles, but does not mention the particular person by whom that event was to be accomplished), the description of that extraordinary person is again resumed in chap. 55.; which not only contains some singular characters of him, coinciding with those formerly mentioned, but likewise adds fome new characters, which are of considerable importance, and tend to make the predictions concerning him more special and circumstantiate. He is not indeed expressly called the Light of the Gentiles in this as in some other chapters; but the thing
♡ 3. &
meant by that title is evidently enough affirmed of him. It appears
from & 4. that the person here fpoken of, who is called by the name of David, is one to whom men would be beholden in a singular and peculiar manner for the mercies contained in God's everlasting covenant; which mercies are expressed, Ý 1. by the metaphors of waters, wine, and milk; and are in part explained in y 7. by the promises of abundant pardon to the penitent. It is one of the strongest expressions imaginable of our singular obligations to that mystical David, for the mercies of the divine, covenant, that these mercies are called his mercies: " I will make an everlasting cove6 nant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” When therefore the nations spoken of v 5. are represented as called by this David, and as complying with his call, it implies, that they would be called, and actually brought into a happy participation of the mercies of God's covenant, Jer. xxxi. 33. 34.; which necessarily includes their being enlightened in the knowledge of God himself: and as the prophet is not speaking of the calling merely of particular persons, but of nations, fo his expressions evidently characterise the nations of the Gentiles, and at the fame time foretell the speedy success of the gospel : Nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee.
II. Though this 55th chapter does not speak expressly of the enemies of the mystical David, whom it describes; yet Ý 2. contains remarkable expoftulations and rebukes, directed to people who are represented as spending their money for that which is not bread, and their labour for that which satisfies not; and as very backward to hearken to God when offering to make an everlasting covenant with them. But in chap. 56. the prophet is more express and particular : After mentioning the happy times when God's house would be a house of prayer for all people, he foretells the blindness and spiritual slumber