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by our Lord, in the passage referred to above (John xvi. 21), and by Paul, in his Epistle to the Romans (viii. 19-22). And the reason of this seeming enigma, that Christ is not yet brought forth, is fully laid out in that book which interprets all Scripture, and to which all Scripture looks for interpretation, the book of the Revelation; where (chap. xii.) the woman, the church, is in travail with that child who is to rule the nations ; being all the members of Christ, who go to complete the
body of Christ, and shall share with him of his glory. The Christ who shall come in glory is the completeness of the elect in him; who shall be glorified with him, and shall be one in him and with him, as he is one with the Father. These sons of God are not yet completed; this body of Christ is not yet built up; Christ is not yet arrived at the stature of his fulness; we are not yet grown up into the perfect man. The church on earth is still in the pains of child-birth, and shall continue so until the body of Christ be perfected.
Now, because in the days of Hezekiah, Jerusalem, the mother of saints, was first cast into the furnace of affliction, where she still is—the type of that church which Christ was to impregnate with the Holy Ghost, that she might be the partaker of his sufferings, and through sufferings be made perfect-therefore is it proper that the language of child-bearing should now first be applied to her, and not before his day, because till then she was not so afflicted. As in the days of David and Solomon Jerusalem was exhibited, for a season, in glory and majesty, to be the type of that first dominion, which is yet to come to her and abide with her for ever; so from Hezekiah's days until now, she hath been the type of that suffering into which the church is now baptized, and must continue until the days of her glory. But before she is fairly plunged into that sea of calamity, which still overwhelms her, there must first be given a signal type of her deliverance, in the language of which her eternal deliverance may be written: just as, before Christ's church was cast into the fellowship of Christ's sufferings by the baptism of his Spirit, she must first receive, in Christ's sustained strength, in Christ's holy life and death, in Christ's resurrection, and ascension into glory, a type and first-fruits of her own sustenance, sanctification, resurrection, and kingdom. I am perfectly convinced that this is the true idea of the deliverance, which Jerusalem received in Hezekiah's time. It was to the Jews, and to their city, exactly what the resurrection of Christ is to us; and therefore it is that Hezekiah, in his thanksgiving for his life prolonged, uses language
identical with that which is used in the Psalms concerning the resurrection of the Lord : and therefore also it is, that, whenever the destruction of the Assyrian is referred to, it always draws on with it, the final deliverance of Jerusalem by the destruction of all her enemies : therefore, also, the gathering of the restored tribes unto Jerusalem is also expressed in language proper to the resurrection of the dead. This
idea, which we derive from the language of this prophecy, was much confirmed to us when, upon turning to the history of Jerusalem's distress in the days of her siege by the Assyrian, we found the remarkable words which follow put into the mouth of Hezekiah, who, having heard the blasphemous pride, boasting, and threatening of Rabshakeh, the chief commander of the Assyrian's host, rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord, and sent his chief officers and priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, with these words: “ This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy; for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth” (2 Kings xix. 3 ; Isai. xxxvii. 3). These words, so singular, were, I believe, put into Hezekiah's mouth by the Spirit of the Lord, to signify that the time, the long time, of Jerusalem's pains, did then begin. And still more remarkable is it, that, when they conclude, the very same words should be used by the Prophet Isaiah : “Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word : Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that rendereth recompence to his enemies. Before she travailed she brought forth; before her pain came she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things ? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth ? saith the Lord : shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb ? saith thy God” (chap. lxvi. 5-9). This passage shews us the time of the complete birth; and, lo! it is the birth of a nation in one day; it is the birth of a nation at once from the earth. And yet it is also the restoration of the earthly Jerusalem to her place as the head of the nations, and of the return of her long-lost children to her bosom; the language of the type and the antitype being, as in other cases, blended into one. From the time, therefore, of Hezekiah's and Jerusalem's great agony, in the days of Sennacherib, until the time of the restoration of her scattered tribes, is the period of her travail-pangs referred to in the passage before us. The same conclusion may be derived from Isaiah xxvi. 12—20, and from Hosea xiii. 9—15; which we cannot now particularly interpret, but confidently refer to, as fully confirming the conclusions laid down above.
There is still one expression in the passage now under consideration which hath not yet been interpreted : “Is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished ?” This is an answer to the question, " Why dost thou cry aloud ?” as much as to say, 'Look to thy King: is he not with thee? look to thy Counsellor: is he perished ?' and it points out to us from what quarter her deliverance was to come, even from her King and her Counsellor. And, accordingly, for the deliverance which she received at that time she was beholden to her king, Hezekiah, and to her counsellor, Isaiah, the prophet of the Lord. Hezekiah the king sent to the son of Amoz, and from him received the word of deliverance, which is recorded in the xxxvii th chapter of that Prophet, verses 30 to 35. Her deliverance at that time, therefore, was consummated between her king and her counsellor: to them she had recourse in the day of her calamity, and through them she received deliverance. looked to her king, and her king listened to the prophet of the Lord; and in thus doing they were saved. Now the Lord, by putting these questions, “ Is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished ?" seems to intimate, that, if the people would be faithful to their king, and if the king would listen to the prophet of the Lord, Jerusalem should never want consolation and deliverance in the midst of all her calamities. And so it was, that, when she was come almost to the last gasp, the Lord sent, by the mouth of his servant Jeremiah, promises
and assurances unto the king of Jerusalem and all his people, that, if they would but hear his word, he would even then assure them of eternal safety: “And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of the city on the sabbath-day, but hallow the sabbath-day, to do no work therein : then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem ; and this city shall remain for ever” (Jer. xvii. 24, 25). Now the king and the prophet were but vicegerents of that royal and prophetical dignity, which belongs to the God of truth, and which was to abide in one Man for ever, Emmanuel, whose name is Counsellor, the Mighty God; to whom, therefore, as her stay in distress and redeemer out of it, Jerusalem's hope is directed in the words before us. And if, when her King came, “lowly, riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass,” she would have received him, he would have redeemed her: but by turning away from her King, and not listening to her Counsellor, she fell into that abyss of oppression in which she hath since continued. From Hezekiah's time until Messiah's she was holden up with hope; and when her head sunk beneath the stream it was ever lifted up again ; VOL. II, -NO. IV.
until she would not believe that her King was in the midst of her, until she herself put to death her Counsellor: then she sank beneath the waters, and all the billows of the Lord passed over her: and now she must wait until her King come to her, and rebuild her temple, and restore her walls that are fallen down; then, when she shall say “ Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,” her King shall return to her again, and the days of her trouble shall be ended.
The figure of a woman in travail is proper to Jerusalem, considered as the virgin daughter of Zion big with the hope and promise of the virgin's child, Emmanuel; and her sufferings at the hand of the nations, until she receive deliverance from her Redeemer, who is of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh, are properly represented by the pangs of a travailing woman. But Jerusalem considered as a city, as a polity, as the metropolis of a people, requires another figure to represent the desolation that was to come upon her. This is contained in the words which follow : “ For now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon : there shalt thou be delivered ; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies ” (Mic. iv. 10). This contains, First, the casting out of the people from their beloved city, from their strong-hold, from the presence of their God, who dwelt in their holy temple : Secondly, it sets forth their abiding in the naked and open field,“ without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:” Thirdly, it contains their captivity in Babylon, and their residence under that captivity till the day of their deliverance, and their redemption from the hand of their enemies. The simple enumeration of these things shews us, that the captivity in Babylon here referred to, and the deliverance thence, are different from their seventy years' captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, and deliverance by the hand of Cyrus. For Zion was not then delivered, nor redeemed from the hand of her enemies: she was only cast anew into the furnace of tyranny and oppression, until the days of the Lord and his Apostles; when, of a truth, the daughter of Zion was cast forth from her tower and strong-hold, by the Romans, and prevented from even looking upon the beloved spot; and ever since hath been permitted to visit it only like a forlorn and dejected widow, bereaved of her house, her inheritance, and her children. And from that time she hath dwelt in the field, like a flock whose shepherd is smitten and his sheep scattered from the fold. Yet are they in Babylon ; within the bounds of that region of the earth which in the New Testament bath received the name of Babylon, being the same region over which the city of Rome held
dominion. And here in captivity shall the daughter of Zion, the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, abide, until the Redeemer shall come, with his sanctified ones, to break down the gates of the oppressor, and let his people go free.-At the same time, while the matter of the prophecy in the text obliges us to interpret the passage of that remote and ultimate deliverance, we are fully convinced that the seventy years' captivity in the city of Babylon, and the deliverance by the hand of Cyrus of a portion, though but small, of the people thence, was a grand type of the deliverance of all the dispersed remnant of Benjamin and Judah from the dominions of that fourth empire, that tenhorned power, which now holds the earth, as the fourth in succession from Nebuchadnezzar the lion with eagles' wings. We believe, moreover, that this prophecy, and others at and before this time given concerning Babylon, were intended to warn king Hezekiah from that fatal step which he took, of entertaining the ambassadors of that city who came to congratulate him upon his recovery from sickness. His behaviour to them, which we would say was only king-like, such as Solomon's reception of the Queen of Sheba, and yet was so much resented by the Lord (Isai. xxxix.), derived its guilt from this, that it was a neglect, and so far forth a contempt, of those prophetical warnings which he had received concerning Babylon. He had been taught that there was another enemy besides the Assyrian to be guarded against : that enemy he had opened his confidence to; he had received him into his bosom, and shewed him all the strength of his kingdom. This offended the Lord, and by the mouth of Isaiah the Lord delivered his children into captivity: Thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon."
Some, unacquainted with the manner of prophecy, may think that the interpretation which we have given of the captivity in and deliverance out of Babylon, mentioned in the text, is to be doubted, because it takes Babylon in another sense than was common, or indeed at all used, in the days of the prophet. But so it is, as we have seen, with the Assyrian also; and so it is with Babylon itself throughout all the prophets. As the Assyrian is the name for the first and the last and all the intermediate devastators of Israel, so Babylon is the name for the first and the last and all the captivities of Jerusalem and her children, as distinguished from Samaria and the ten tribes, of whom she pretended to be the mother, and they vainly listened to her pretensions. The captivity in Babylon, I say, is in the Prophets always made to cover all the interval from the time of Jerusalem's overthrow till the time of her perpetual restoration. Nebuchadnezzar only partially overthrew her, and Cyrus only