Page images
PDF
EPUB

1. BEHOLD my servant whom I will uphold,

My chosen, in whom my soul hath delighted :
I have put my Spirit upon him,

And he shall pronounce judgment to the nations." 2. He shall not cry nor exclaim aloud,

Nor cause his voice to be heard without: 3. The bruised reed shall he not break,

Nor shall he quench the smoking flax.

According to truth shall he deliver judgment,
4. He shall not intimidate, neither shall he precipitate;'

He shall establish for ever judgment in the earth,
And the distant coasts shall wait his laws.

It is admitted on all hands, that the chosen servant of Jehovah, in this place, is none other than the Messiah. Those who argue for an intermediate type in the former chapter confess, that here “ the veil of the allegory” is " thrown aside.” St. Matthew, indeed, is our guide to interpret this of our Lord Jesus Christ. He remarks that the meek and unostentatious character of our Lord, as manifested while on earth, illustrates and fulfils this prophecy of Isaiah. * Not that the prophecy received its full accomplishment at the first advent: the prediction contrasts Christ, in his character of Judge and Ruler, with those proud and ostentatious leaders of the world, that had hitherto attracted the attention of mankind, and had been called “ bountiful” and “ munificent," though they had corrupted the truth and destroyed the

!“ A rule of right to the jecto metu (ut id. Arab. B in nations shall he publish.”—Stock. 4 conjug.)—Simon. Bishop Stock

*nna, pusillanimum fecit, i.e. renders the line : “ He shall not terruit, prohibuit sive avertit in slacken, he shall not founder."

• Matt. xii. 17, &c.

earth. Enough was seen at the first advent to point out our blessed Lord as the humble and lowly object of the Father's choice : and the term “ judgment," as Bishop Lowth remarks, is a word of very large import, so that the institutions of the Gospel may be included in the view of the Spirit. This is, indeed, "the leaven hid in the lump till the whole shall be leavened.” Strictly speaking, however, Christ came not then to judge, but to save. The Father had not then made him “ Judge or Divider;"? but in this character we know he is one day “ to sit upon the throne of his kingdom.”

The next three verses' are addressed by the Almighty to Messiah, in his character of the Son of Man"-one raised up from among his brethren, according to the style of many of the psalms.

5. Thus hath the "true" God,' Jehovah, spoken,

That created the heavens, and stretched them out,
That spread out the earth and the produce thereof.
That hath given breath to the people upon it,

And spirit to them that walk thereon.
6. 1, Jehovah, have called thee in righteousness,

And I have strengthened thy hand, and I have helped thee;

And I have given thee for a covenant of the people," 7. For a light of the nations, to open the blind eyes;

To bring forth the captive from the prison,
And them that sit in darkness from the dungeon.

Weak as the Saviour might appear in his human nature, “ made like to his brethren in all things, sin

1 BP. STOĆK.

2 “ For by two MSS. read obw, • The covenant of the age to come,' or " the everlasting age,' which

seems to give a clearer and better sense.” — Bp. Lowth.

“A purification," or "a purifier."- HORSLEY.

only excepted," the everlasting power of the Godhead is pledged for his support; “I have given thee for a covenant of the people;" or, perhaps, “ for an everlasting covenant.” That is, this holy Man was made the sacrificial medium through which the just and holy God became reconciled to his people for ever, and through which he pledged to them everlasting benefits. Thus he became " the Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.” He bought his sheep from the hand of justice, by the penal afflictions and the sentence of death, which he endured. The Gospel is the “ New Testament,” or “ covenant in his blood;" for where a Testament is, there must of necessity be the death of the Testator -of that propitiatory victim that ratifies the covenant. So that the whole mystery of redemption in the blood of Jesus, and the consequent assured peace and liberty of his purchased people, are all implied in the word covenant. In the subsequent portion of the visions of Isaiah, these mercies are foretold more at large.

The immediate effects of this giving the Messiah to be "a covenant for the people,” strange to say, would be chiefly seen among the Gentile nations; “ a light to lighten the Gentiles,” in a certain measure he was to become, before he became “ the glory of his people Israel.” This prominent fact, in the prediction before us, began to have its fulfilment when St. Paul received his commission to go to the Gentiles, “ to open their blind eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they might receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith that is in Christ.” We see in this connexion a particular meaning in the foreboding of the next verse :

8. I am Jehovah, this is my name,

And my glory will I not give to another,
Nor my praise to images.

For it has turned out, that the children of these enlightened Gentiles, still retaining the form and institution of the Gospel, have lapsed into idolatry; and at this hour are giving the worship, due to God alone, to other mediators, and to images, and to pictures. The ninth verse appeals most forcibly to us, who have lived to see these things ; and, by God's mercy, have been recovered from the general apostacy to hear his word:

9. The former predictions,' lo! they came to pass !

And new things do I declare,
Before they spring forth, I will cause you to know them.

Former predictions are now clearly seen to have been fulfilled. We may call the present times the era of the understanding of the prophecies : and new things may daily be expected to be disclosed to the faithful people of God, “out of the Scriptures of truth :” and, surely, it is wonderful to read what follows! The people, whoever they may be, to whom these things pertain, are directed to welcome some great approaching events with songs of praise : and among “ the distant coasts," a people are distinguished as “ descending on the sea in ships :" and as we have already seen in part, the parallel prophecies do uniformly point out some great maritime nation in the isles of the Gentiles, as ordained to be an instrument of some extraordinary providence of God in the last days. May the interpretation be to my country!

10. Sing ye to Jehovah a new song,

His praise from the end of the earth :

They that embark on the sea, and cover it,'
The distant coasts, and their inhabitants.

And not only are these distant coasts, and this maritime people, to prepare these congratulatory shouts; but the Deserts of Arabia are expressly pointed out as interested in the expected event:

11. Let the Desert cry aloud, and the cities thereof,

The villages which Kedar inhabiteth.
Let the inhabitants of the rock shout for joy,

Let them shout aloud from the summit of the hills; 2 12. Let them ascribe glory to Jehovah,

And publish his praises to the distant coasts.

Why Arabia is to unite in this new theme of praise with the distant coasts, or rather is to be the first announcer to them of the happy tidings, the parts of the prophecy already examined have explained. Through the Desert, the divine Shechinah, before its more public manifestation, conducts a people towards Zion, “as he did some time from the depth of the sea.”*

It is plain from what follows, that the event anticipated in the congratulatory songs of Arabia, and of the distant coasts, is the coming of the Messiah : not as that “meek and lowly” teacher, who “came unto his own, and his own received him not;" but as the avenger of

1

So Bishop Stock. Literally, Sinai, in the same country; to " and its fulness."

which also belonged Kedar, a clan “ The wilderness," Arabia of Arabians, dwelling for the most Deserta; the rocks, Arabia Petræa; part in tents." See Bishop Lowth's the mountains, Paran, Horeb,

note.

* Chap. xxxv., xl., xli. 17; and Psalm lxviii.

« PreviousContinue »