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Lord and his apostles. The event of this “hardness of heart” is, as usual, described to be the destruction of the people and of their country, " until the land is wasted to a desert.” The nation, however, in this state, is compared to a tree, that is cut down indeed, but which has a living stock in the soil, which still retains the vegetable life, and will shoot up again—" the holy seed is the stock thereof” --the elect, that are to spring from the loins of Jacob, are not yet exhausted: therefore the people are preserved ; they have not yet fulfilled their Creator's
No family, in these circumstances, can become extinct.
Remarks on the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Chapters. The oracle delivered in the seventh chapter, the immediate object of which is to show the approaching desolation of the ten tribes and of Syria, then in league against Jerusalem, is remarkable as being chosen for the occasion, to reveal to the disconsolate inhabitants of Jerusalem, not only that they are safe at present, but that a remarkable feature in their future history should be, the return of a remnant of the tribe of Judah, while the rest of Israel is in a state of dispersion: and that, in connexion with this, a wonderful sign or prodigy should be vouchsafed by the Divine Power:
14. Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
And shall call his name Immanuel ! *
This, then, ascertained the future birth of the Messiah to be by the miraculous conception of a virgin that virgin to be of course, according to former prophecies, of the house of David. It was inoreover foretold, that in that very country, now the terror of the Jews of Jerusalem,reduced at the time foreboded into a wild and comparatively depopulated state, – this child should be fed with the kind of food which such a country would supply, while he was growing up to years of maturity:
15. Butter and honey shall he eat while he is distinguishing,
To refuse the evil, and to choose the good;
This was fulfilled by the long abode of Jesus and his mother at Nazareth, and in the neighbouring country; all which, at the time of the prophet, probably was in the joint possession of the kings of Samaria and Damascus. But this I merely notice by the way, as the wonders of the second advent are the subject we are to pursue. The connexion of prophecy, however, demands that we should take notice also of the eighth chapter.
It foretells the immediate approach of this destruction of Damascus and Samaria; and that the instrument of it, the king of Assyria, like an overwhelming torrent, would threaten the extinction of the whole remnant: - as it is mysteriously said, “ and his wings are spread the full breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.”—But because of Immanuel all his efforts would be in vain ; a remnant must remain.
9. Know, ye nations, and be appalled,
And give ear all the extremities of the earth.
Prepare for the contest, and be appalled : 10. Take counsel, and be it dissipated;
Give the order, and let it stand not:
This tells the Assyrian king, and in him, I conceive, typically, some mightier foe hereafter, who will tread in his steps, that every effort is in vain against the remnant in Jerusalem ; because of their connexion with the Messiah to be born, or about to appear in his glory amongst them. It is, at the same time, mysteriously declared, that this Immanuel, this Jehovah Sabaoth, though a sanctuary to his faithful few, would prove, 14. A stone of stumbling, and rock of offence,
To the two houses of Israel ;
To the inhabitants of Jerusalem:
And shall be maimed, and snared, and taken.
A plain prediction of the casting off of Israel at the first advent. The call of the Gentiles is next intimated :
16. Bind up the testimony,
And seal the instruction for my disciples :' 17. And I will wait for Jehovah,
Who hath hidden his face from the house of Jacob,
• Chap. viii.
! 6 Pro illis qui docentem me audient."—HOUBIGANT. So HORSLEY.
The fulfilment alone could have explained the meaning of this prophecy; but the event has shown, that when Israel rejected the Messiah," the oracles of God” were no longer " committed unto them.” A remnant of that nation, and a people taken out of the Gentile nations, were henceforth the peculiar people of God. These were to be known by the distinguishing name of “ Disciples" - the first name which the Christians bore. The sacred records, and archives of the church, were to be bound up, sealed, and committed to the custody of this new people. They were not to be committed to them open, as Israel long held them, – unfinished, and expecting fresh and fresh additions. The book of God was now to be finished and given complete, as a sacred, unchangeable deposit, into the hands of the Gospel churches. Among these the Redeemer would wait, till the appointed time of Israel's rejection should be accomplished.
The same mystical person declares in the next verse, and we are sure that we are correct in the application of it to Jesus Christ, because St. Paul has quoted the words as spoken by him,-1
18. Behold, I and the children which Jehovah hath given me,
• Are' for signs and for portents in Israel;
The children of Christ, as the second Adam, were the gift of God to him: “Thine they were, and thou gavest them me.”—“A remnant according to the election of
"" The application of this passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews, to prove the truth of the human nature in the Redeemer, is very
extraordinary. It shows that from the sixteenth verse, the prophet personates the humanity of the Messiah."-ILORSLEY.
grace.”—“He came to his own, and his own received him not; but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in his name; which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."* The Messiah, as manifest in the flesh, and the children given to him, are for signs and wonders; that is, for miraculous indications and demonstrations of the presence of the Deity ; – that he, the Messiah, Jehovah Sabaoth, reigneth in Zion above. The birth of Jesus, by his virgin mother, was before called a sign; and the new birth, or regeneration of all his children, we read, is miraculous, as his own birth after the flesh. +
In the explanation of the next verse, I ain also guided by the event:
19. And when they say to you:
Seek to the necromancers and diviners,'
When they shall say to you, my disciples, among whom the testimony is bound up, - when the corrupters of the faith shall say to you, Let us have recourse to necromancy and magic:
Say to them :
In these verses the spirit of prophecy foretells, and warns the church concerning the apostacy of the latter
• John, i. 11, 12.
† John, i. 12, 13. Comp. chap. ii.
1 « Spirit-monyers and wizards."-- Br. S1ock.