Page images
PDF
EPUB

and they shahev shall rule o pass in the day from thy fea

and from

That thou d shalt say.ed! the e

of the ostrich dwell; and there shall the satyrs hold their revels. 22. And wolves shall howl to one another in their palaces; and dragons in their voluptucus pavilions. And her time is near to come; and her day: shall not be prolonged. .

xiv. 1. For the Lord will have compassiin on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel. And he shall give them rest upon their own land : and the stranger shall be joined unto them, and shall cleave unto the house of Jacob. 2. And the nations shall take them, and bring then into their own place; and the house of Israel shall posess them in the land of the Lord, as servants, and as handmaids : and they shall take them captive, whose aptives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressrs.

3. And it shall come to pass in the day tiat the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou vast made to serve; 4. That thou shalt take up this parabe against the king of Babylon, and shalt say ;

How hath the oppressor ceased! the exactress of gold ceased ! 5. The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, the sceptre of the rulers. 6. He, that smote the peoples in wrath, with a stroke unremitted; he, that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth. 7. The whole earth is at rest, is quiet; they burst forth into a joyful shout. 8. Even the fir-trees rejoice over thee, the cedars of Libanus : Since thou art fallen, no feller is come up against us. 9. Hades from beneath is moved because of thee, to meet thee at thy coming : 'hc rouseth for thee the mighty dead, all the great chiefs

of the earth; he maketh to rise up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. 10. All of them shall accost thee, and say unto thee : Art thou, even thou too, become weak as we? Alt thou made like unto us? 11. Is then thy pride brought down to the grave; the sound of thy sprightly instrunents? Is the vermin become thy. couch, and the earth-worm thy covering? 12. How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning! art cut down to the earth, thou that didst subdue the nations! 13. For thợu didst say in thy heart: I will ascend the heavens ; above the stars of God I will exalt my

[ocr errors]

throne; and I will sit upon the mount of the divine pre-.. sence, on the sides of the north : 14. I will ascend above the heights the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15. But thou shalt be brought down to the grave, to the ; sides of the pt. 16. Those, that see thee, shall look attentively at thec ; they shall well consider thee: Is this the man, that made the earth to tremble ; that shook the kingdoms? 17. That made the world like a desert; that destroyed the cities ? that never dismissed his captives to their own home? 18. All the kings of the nations, all of them, lie down in glory, each in his own sepulchre: 19. But thou artcast out of the grave, as the tree abominated; clothed with the slain, with the pierced by the sword, with them that go down to the stones of the pit; as a trodden carcase. 20. Thou shalt not be joined unto them in burial; because thou hast destroyed thy country, thou: hast slain thy people : the seed of evil doers shall never be renowned. 21. Prepare ye slaughter for his children, for the iniquity of their fathers ; lest they rise, and possess the earth ; and fill the face of the world with cities. 22. For I will arise against them, saith the Lord of hosts; and I will cut off from Babylon the name, and the remnant, and the son, and the son's son, saith the Lord ; 23. And I will make it an inheritance for the porcupine, and pools of water; and I will plunge it in the miry gulph of de struction, saith the Lord of hosts. 24. The Lord of hosts · hath sworn, saying: Surely, as I have devised, so shall it be; and, as I have purposed, that thing shall stand : 25. To crush the Assyrian in my land, and to trample him on my mountains. Then shall his yoke depart from off them; and his burthen shall be removed from off their shoulder. ;

26. This is 'the decree, which is determined on the whole earth ; and this is the hand, which is stretched out over the nations. 27. For the Lord of hosts hath decreed; and who shall disannul it? And it is his hand, that is stretched out; and who shall turn it back ?

[ocr errors]

COMMENTARY.

This prediction affords one of the most remarkable examples of double prophecy, that is to be met with in the

whole of the sacred volume. The first advent of Christ is here connected with his second advent; and the destruction of the literal Babylon, with the overthrow of the mystical Babylon. For, unless the two-fold mode of interpretation be adopted, we shall find it impossible to produce any consistent exposition of the whole prophecy.

Isaiah begins with foretelling the birth of Christ from the depressed and impoverished royal house of David. He thence proceeds to describe his character; and introduces as one particular of it, a circumstance, which will not be accomplished till the times of the second advent. Our Lord is not only to judge the poor with righteousness and to convince the meek with equity; but he is likewise to smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips to slay the wicked one. This exactly accords with the prediction of St. John, that he shall smite with a sharp sword, that goeth out of his mouth, the congregated vassals of Antichrist, the kings of the Latin earth *; and with the parallel prediction of St. Paul, that he shall consume that wicked. one, the papal man of sin, with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy him with the brightness of his coming t.

Having described the character of the Messiah, Isaiah next pourtrays in glowing colours the blessings of his kingdom. The wild beasts are to lie down with the tame, and are to divest themselves of their savage natures. The ! ox is fearlessly to graze by the side of the lion, and the leopard is to dandle the kid. Beautiful as is the imagery of this celebrated passaget, I cannot consider it in the

* Rev. xix. 15, 19.

+ 2 Thessal. ii. 8. It is remarkable that the Fews themselves understand this prophecy of Isaiah to relate to the fnal downfal of the Roman empire, at which period they rightly believe that their restoration will take place. How much soever the man of sin may be exalted, and how long soever he may reign, yet at last the Lord shall consume him with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy him with the brightness of his coming. This is partly taken from the prophet Isaiah (xi. 4.), ani with the treath of his lips shali he slay the wicked one : where the Jews, as Lightfoot observes, put an emphasis upon that word in the prophet the wicled one, as it appeareth by the Chaldee paraphrast, who hath uttered it He shall destroy the wicked Roman.” Bp. Newton's Dissert. XXII. 3. See also Mr. Lowth in loc. .

# Independent of those andent poets, Theocritus, Virgil, and Horace, and of some of the Arabian and Persian poets, whom Bp. Lowth has noticed as depicting with similar imagery the golden age, two at least, who have written since the Christian eja, have attempted to copy the beautiful strains of

was fol of the of the

light of a mere poetical description of a golden age. In the shadowy dispensation of the Mosaical law, a distinc. tion was made between clean and unclean meats. Of the one the Jews were permitted to eat : from the other they were required to abstáin. Now it will be found upon examination, that the animals, whose flesh they were forbid. den to taste, were usually typical of some vices práctised by the idolatrous; and, pursuant to the type, they carefully withdrew from the fellowship and company of the antitype, the heathen nations. Thus, not to notice other prohibited animals, lions, wolves, bears, and Jeopards, were fit emblems of rapacity, cruelty, and persecution Hence their flesh was forbidden in the Mosaical law; and hence Daniel uses some of them to symbolize the persecuting and idolatrous empires of the Gentiles *. On the other hand, the kinds of food, which the Jews were allow. I ed to eat,' were generally the flesh of certain animals emblematical of some virtue; as the ox, of patience and industry; the sheep, of meekness and innocence. Consequently, as wild and ravenous beasts were typical of the Gentiles, so tame and domestic animals were considered as proper symbols of the Church of God, at that time confined to the Jewsf., Nor is this the mere fancy of a visionary commentator: we have the express warrant of inspired authority for adopting such an opinion. When God was about to send St. Peter to the devout Roman centurion Cornelius, foreseeing his scruples, he condescended to remove them by a vision, manifestly explana

*the Hebrew bard ; Nonnus, and Pope. The Messiah of the latter is well known; the classical reader will find the passage of the former, to which I allude, in the 41st book of his Dionysiacs. The following is a translation of it:

The tawny lion for a while forgot
His nature, and with wantan gambols play'd
Around the fearless ox; the renerous steed
In graceful curvets testified hi jov;
The spotted panther fiolick'd near the hares
And close beside the wolf, the blihsome kid
Rejoic'd secure, and gaily play'd at will

. His wayward fancies. * See Dan. vii. . f For the reasons of the seeming exception in Dan. viii, where two cleari animals, the ram and the goat, are used to symbolize the Persian and Mace.. donian empires. See Bp. Newton's Dissert. xv.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

tory of this very prophecy of Isaiah. The Apostle beheld a great sheet descending from heaven full of all manner of animals, both wild beasts and tame beasts, both rep

tiles and birds : and, while he was thus looking upon : objects which must have been an abomination to a pious

Jew, he suddenly heard a voice commanding him to kill and eat. To this command he objected, on the plea that he had never eaten any thing forbidden by the law, and therefore accounted profane and unclean : but he was

charged in return not to presume to call that unclean, * which God had cleansed. Now in this vision of St. Peter,

no mention whatsoever is made either of the Jews or of Select the Gentiles, except under their types, the clean and un

clean animals: and yet he found no difficulty in understanding its meaning. He conceived it to import, as it undoubtedly does import, that henceforth the Jews and the Gentiles were to form only one Church : and accordingly baptized Cornelius without any further hesitation. Precisely the same is the meaning of this prophecy of Isaiah. It began to be fulfilled in the day of the first advent, when the converted Gentiles were added to the Apostles and to such other of the Jews as had embraced Chistianity. But this is only its inchoate and imperfect accomplishment: nor will it be altogether fulfilled, till the Gentikes shall have ceased to destroy throughout the whole of God's holy mountain, till both Judah and Israel shall be restored and converted, and till the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea *.

Accordingly the prophet goes on to inform us, that in that day the root of Jesse shall be an ensign unto the peo.

.* The reader will find this point very fully and excellently discussed in the third lecture on the figurative language of the Holy Scriptures by the late Rev. W. Jones. It is worthy of notice, that the Law itself, no less than the Gospel, teaches us that the distinction between clean and unclean meats was allusive to the distinction between the Fews and the Gentiles. “ Ye shall not walk in the manners of the nations which I cast out before you-I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people ; ye shall therefore pit a difference betweerclean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and cleair -and ye shall be holy unto me ; for I, the Lord, am holy, and have severed you from other people that ye should be mine.” (Levit. xx. 23.) Mr. Jones justly remarks, that “this passage puts the moral intention of the distinction of meats out of dispute, and is indeed a direct affirmation of it: the people of God were to avoid unclean meats, as a sign that he had separated them from unclean Gentiles to be holy unto himself.”

« EelmineJätka »