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or rather of some part of Israel, through the deserts of Arabia, like a second Exodus from Egypt, is predicted as part of the business of the second advent: and it appears again, Jerusalem's warfare is accomplished before they arrive.
We learn, moreover, that this passage of Jehovah through the desert, whomsoever it may immediately concern, issues in the manifestation of the divine glory to all the world: “And the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” Now this cannot relate to the partial, and comparatively inglorious restoration of the Babylonian captives; nor can it find a complete fulfilment in the events of the first advent. The Messiah did, indeed, then visit his people, but not invested with the visible glory of the divine Majesty ; but, in circumstances of the greatest humiliation, as“ behoved” him according to the intimations of prophecy,“ before he entered into his glory." But knowing from former prophecies, that he is to appear in his glory ;- not, as at the first advent, to his three chosen disciples, on the mount of transfiguration, but to “ all flesh :”— and that he, or the people under his immediate conduct, will then proceed through the wilderness towards Zion, can we hesitate to refer the prophetical description before us to that event?
Hence we are led to a necessary conclusion, that though the ministry of John the Baptist, as it announced and prepared the way for the first advent, is spoken of in the New Testament “ as a voice crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord,” &c. : and he is said to have come “in the spirit and power of Elias :" yet that John's ministry was not what was ultimately intended by the voice in this passage, or by Elijah in Malachi; but that these symbols must have a more remote and fuller
accomplishment hereafter. The analogy, indeed, between John's ministry and the office of “ the Voice" here is clear. He prepared the way of the same Jehovah; but He came not then in his glorious pomp through the wilderness: therefore the voice must cry again. John, in no sense,“ restored all things;" but Elijah, or whatever be intended by Elijah's coming, will. And he is to come, as we shall see hereafter, “ before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.” But the gospel day was not the great and terrible day of the Lord, but the visitation of mercy. To return: a second proclamation is issued :
6. A voice saith, Cry;
And I said, what shall I cry?
it. Surely the people is grass, 8. The grass hath withered, the flower hath fallen,
But the word of our Elohim shall stand for ever."
This proclamation is ever true, and always applicable to the glory of man. It was especially applicable to the circumstances of the passing glory of the world, as contrasted with the glorious and incorruptible produce of the Gospel, considered as the seed of life. To this effect St. Peter quotes the passage before us. The world, with all its glories, is but the short-lived display of the vegetable beauties of the opening spring, soon faded, withered, and
on here evidently means the turgid luxuriancy, or rich exuberancy, of the vegetable world, and
what is analogous to this in the flourishing state of human nature.
dispersed by the wind; but the flourishing produce of the incorruptible word shall never fade, nor wither, nor be removed, but shall expand its rich display of beauties in everlasting ages, when the Sun of Righteousness shall arise. The prophecy has, however, a fuller sense : there is a further meaning of the voices proclaiming this general truth at this particular era. It denotes that the coming of the Lord, by its preceding and accompanying judgments, had demonstrated this truth. As we read before, “ the lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of man shall be bowed down, and Jehovah alone shall be exalted in that day: for the day of Jehovah is against every one that is proud and lofty," * &c.
The next verse introduces a somewhat different figure: a party of women, according to the custom of the ancients, are assembled to celebrate some glad tidings, and to congratulate those whom the news concern.
9. Get thee up to the high mountain,
o daughter' that bringeth good tidings to Zion,
Lo, your Elohim !” 10. Behold, the Lord Jehovah will come against the strong one,'
And his arm shall have dominion over him.
Who the strong one is “ whom the Lord will consume with the brightness of his coming,” can now be no longer
* Chap. ii.
! VITRINGA, Bp. Lowth.
doubted. The reward or retribution may either be understood of the reward he will give to his servants, or of the recompenses on the enemy; or it may signify his own retribution which himself receives for the travail of his soul: and former prophecies have shown us this last enemy, at this very time, engaged in the siege of Jerusalem : the daughter that bringeth good tidings to Zion, and to the cities of Judah, is the same as the prophetical chorus of women in the sixty-eighth Psalm.
God, the Lord, hath given the word;
Kings of armies flee - they flee!
To proceed with the prophecy :
In his arms he shall gather up the lambs,
This picture of the utmost tenderness to the weak and feeble is, at all times, applicable to the character and conduct of the Saviour, whether we regard him as the good Shepherd in the day of his flesh, or as now acting by his Holy Spirit in the invisible guidance of his people, though personally absent from them. But as a prophecy, which it certainly is, it must have a specific reference to some scenes of mercy in the last days. 12. Who hath measured the waters in the palm of his hand,
Or hath meted out the heavens with a span?
Or hath taken the sum of the dust of the earth in a measure,
And the mountains in a balance ?
Or as his counsellor hath informed him?
That he should teach him the way of judgment;
This is meant, no doubt, as a rebuke to those puny reasoners of these latter days, who presume, in their vain philosophy, to scan the measures of the Creator ONLY wise God;" who take up an argument against God, and talk as though they would instruct him. St. Paul quotes this passage, * to show that the wisdom of man is not sufficient of itself to comprehend the things of the Spirit of God. He has quoted it on another occasion, + to show how wonderful, beyond all that we can conceive, will be the completion of the history of the redemption of man, as this redemption is completed in that restoration of Israel, which is to be to the world at large,“ life from the dead.” “ Ob, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out,” &c.
The greatness of God is portrayed in the following verses; the nothingness of all created things; the insufficiency of human efforts to do Him service, should any suppose that he can be worshipped by men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things."
1 Cor. ii. 16.
+ Rom. xi. 34.