Page images

Secr.IV.“ OF RIGHTEOU S NESS arise, with

“ healing in his wings; and ye Thall go
« forth, and grow up as the firstlings
“ of bullocks : and ye shall tread down
“ the wicked, for they shall be ashes
“ under the foles of your feet, in the
“ day that I shall do this, faith the Lord
“ of hosts.” In the mean time, “ Re-
“ member ye the law of Moses my fer-
“ vant, which I commanded unto him
“ in Horeb for all Ifrael, with the sta-
" tutes and judgments.” And then,
when the law hath done it's office, and
prophesied for the appointed time,
“ Behold I will send you Elijah the
prophet ;” not the personal Elijah,
but, as the angel expoundeth it, one
to preach and live after the model of
his example, in his “spirit and power.”.
Thus, in the prophecy of Ezekiel, where
God foretelleth the union of Israel and
Judah in the days of Messiah, he faith,
“ They shall be my people, and I will
“ be their God, and David my servant
“ Thall be their prince for ever a." Not
that Christ was to be David risen from
the dead, or, when he came, was to -
· Ezek. xxxvii. 23.


bear his name, but was to be, in cer-Sect.IV. tain respects, like David, conquering the enemies, and fitting upon the throne of Israel. So the forerunner of Messiah was not to be Elijah descended from heaven, nor was he, at his manifestation, to be called by that name, but was to be like him in his office and character. Such a messenger, faith God, “I “ will send, before the coming of the “ great and dreadful day of the Lord,” that is, the day that should " burn like “ an oven,” the day of Yerusalem's destruction, mentioned in the first verse. “ And he shall turn the heart of the “ fathers to the children, and the heart “ of the children to the fathers, lest I “ come and smite the earth,” or “ the “ land, with a curse.” In the citation of this passage by the angel, one part of it is paraphrased ---" To turn the “ hearts of the fathers to the children, « and the disobedient to the wisdom of the justa." The meaning of the whole seems to be, either, that men of every age and every disposition should be united in truth and charity; or, as some a Luke i. 17.



Šect.IV.learned expositors understand the paf

sage, that St. John fhould bring many
of the Jews to have the same heart and
mind which their fathers and progeni-
tors had, who feared God, and believed
his promises; that so their fathers might,
as it were, rejoice in them, and own
them again for their children; in other
words, that he should convert them to the
faith of that Christ whom their fathers
hoped in, and looked for ; as it was said
by the angel, “ Many of the children
“ of Israel shall he turn to the Lord
“ their God”;” left, all continuing ob-
stinate in their unbelief, till the day
when a rejected Saviour should visit an
apostate people, the curse fhould be

BESIDES these notices afforded us
by Malachi, there is a prophecy on the
same subject in the xlth chapter of
Ifaiah, to which St. John referred the
priests and levites, when they preffed
him, saying, “Who art thou, that we
“ may give an anfwer to them that fent
« us ? What sayest thou of thyfelf?
“ He said, I am the voice of one crying
a Luke i. 16.

« in the wilderness, make straight the Sect.IV.

“ way of the Lord, as said the prophet .“ Efaias ?.” But let us take a view of

the whole context, as far as it concerns our present purpose.

ISAI. XL. I. “ Comfort ye, comfort

“ye my people, faith your God."

* The future manifestation of Christ's kingdom is represented to the prophet in spirit, with the concomitant signs and circumstances of it. He hears the voice of God directing his servants to comfort his people, by proclaiming certain glad tidings which had been communicated to them. These glad tidings were the tidings of the Gospel. The persons to whom they first came were Zacharias, the blessed Virgin, Simeon, and Anna, who composed sacred songs upon the occasion, and spake of Messiah's advent “ to all such as looked for redemption “ in Jerusalem b.” The same tidings were afterwards published by the Baptist, then by Christ himself and his

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

Sect.IV. apostles, and have been ever since m preached by their successors, whose

commission still runs ---" Comfort ye, “ comfort ye my people.”

2. “SPEAK ye comfortably to Jeru

“s salem,, and cry unto her, that “ her warfare is accomplished, “ that her iniquity is pardoned : « for she hath received of the « Lord's hand double for all her 6 fins.”

: Good news should be related with
a suitable aspect and accent. The man-
ner should correspond with the matter.
“ Speak ye comfortably," or, as it is in
the Hebrew phraseology, “ to the heart
“ of Jerusalem ;” let your words be as
cordials, to revive and chear her in the
midst of her sorrows and sufferings.
The topics of confolation, to be insisted
on, are three. First, “ Her warfare,”
or “appointed service, is accomplished;"
the days of her continuance under the
yoke of bondage are expired; the ful-
ness of time is come, for her paffing
from that state into the glorious liberty


« PreviousContinue »