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20. Thou hast seen indeed,'but thou wouldst not observe;
Though thine ears were opened, thou wouldst not hear. 21. Jehovah'was gracious unto him for his righteousness sake,
He hath magnified the law, and made it glorious.'
There is certainly something doubtful in the construction of these lines, and some obscurity in their application. Upon the whole, I conceive them, as has been observed, to relate to the Israelites ; " the blind led by the way they know not,” of a former verse. These, notwithstanding the wonderful dispensation of which they are the objects, are still blind and ignorant. But Jehovah, for his truth and righteousness sake - his pledged truth, and his covenant in the righteous Saviour, accepts them; and the divine revelation, of which they were once the keepers, and of which they are still so much the subject, will be wonderfully magnified and honoured in God's last dealings with this people,
But, as it appears from the verses that follow, this people as a nation are doomed to the very last to suffer chastisement for their sins, * in the same manner as they have hitherto done for many centuries : and we who hear these words, are bid to mark these judgments with particular attention, in our prospects and forebodings of what is to come to pass hereafter ;
MATONT, see Bishop Lowth's pote.
* The last mentioned author renders these lines, “ Yet Jehovah was gracious to him for his truth's sake. He has exalted his own praise, and made it glorious." I
conceive“ law," or “ jnstruction," here, is put for revelation in general. Bishop Horsley conceives the whole to be a description of the Messiah's patient endurance of “reproach and injury in the days of his flesh."
• Psalm 1. 7.
22. But this is a people spoiled and plundered,
They are all of them snared in the toils,
For a spoil, and none saith, Restore. 23. Who among you heareth this,
Let him attend, and understand for the future. 24. Who hath given up Jacob for a spoil,
And Israel to the plunderers?
And they hearkened not unto his law. 25. Therefore hath he poured upon them the heat of his wrath,
And the violence of war:
All this, I conceive, will much illustrate the prophecy in the sixty-eighth psalm.
On the Forty-third Chapter.
At length the time of their deliverance arrives : the constant providence that attends them in all seasons of their adversity, and their complete triumph at last, is descanted on at some length in the following chapters: and the subject of our more immediate inquiry, the second advent, as we have been before admonished, is in its approach, and in the signs of its coming, most intimately connected with the closing scenes of Israel's eventful history, and of the history of the Holy Land, the promised lot of their inheritance.
The leading subject of the whole series of prophecy from the fortieth chapter, I would again remark, is the coming of the Redeemer, and the final deliverance of his people. This is not only the ultimate, but also the prineipal and immediate theme of these prophecies. The deliverance from the Babylonian captivity by Cyrus, as we shall see, soon comes in the view of the prophetic vision; and is pointed out as a matter of immediate interest to the remnant of Israel, so lately rescued from the Assyrian invasion. This event also, as bearing some faint resemblance to that greater deliverance, and to that greater deliverer to be hereafter, may be considered as a type of the same. I cannot, however, consider the general prophecy as an allegory and type in Bishop Lowth's sense of these terms. For, in that case, our business would first be to find out the literal and immediate meaning and application of these prophecies to Cyrus, and to that Israel which he sent forth from Babylon, The language of the prophet might, in this case, be only strictly proper of these events, and the application of it to the coming of the Messiah, and to the gathering of the people to him, might be merely figurative, and by very remote allusion. But, I believe, this is far from being the true nature of these prophecies. The Redeemer, at the epocha of his second coming, and the final restoration of his people, I am more and more convinced, are the objects which, though more distant, the vision is intended immediately to show to us; and it shows them in their true colours, and not under the disguise of allegory or parable. But as the light from the opening clouds, when it sweeps along to reveal the distant landscape to our plainer view, is wont to illumine, as it passes them, some prominent objects in its course; and we see these objects in a new line of connexion with others far severed from them: so the prophetic vision, as it passes on in its course down the intervening ages, to show to us the glorious consummation of redemption, touches, as it were, with a mere glance, some of the more important changes and revolutions in the state of the visible church - changes and revolutions which must be passed, and must exercise her faith, before she reaches the happy Canaan of Messiah's kingdom.
The forty-third chapter begins :
1. And now thus hath Jehovab spoken,
Thy Creator, O Jacob; thy Founder, O Israel;
I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine.
And through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm thee:
Neither shall the flame catch thee. 3. For I, Jehovah, am thy Elohim;
The Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour,
Cush and Saba in thy stead;
Thou hast been honoured, and I have loved thee :
The people of God are here addressed in the character of a new crcation. For this must be the idea we are to
attach to creation in this and similar passages; since in no other sense is there any force or moment in Jehovah's calling himself, as he so often does, the “ Creator," " Former," “ Framer," “ Institutor,” or “ Founder" of Israel. We remark, too, that the character of Redeemer * is assumed, for the encouragement of the protected relative. This chapter opens with a general exhortation to the church, that God will be with her in all dangers and difficulties. This imports, as it respects the spiritual seed, that not a grain of it shall be lost: as it respects the children after the flesh - Israel as a nation, that it shall never, in all the fiery trials and overwhelming desolations it shall experience, be destroyed; but, with the highest destinies, be preserved until the last days.
The declaration in the third verse, “I have given Egypt,” &c. may be differently understood. Egypt, and the nations in its neighbourhood, were in some sort sacrificed for the sake of Israel on several occasions. At the Exodus; when Sennacherib was diverted from executing his threats against Jerusalem, by marching to attack the Æthiopians, or Cushites, under Tirhakah, at that time masters of Egypt: and as some + have supposed, on another occasion previous to that, in the time of Shalmaneser. But there is a similar event in the womb of time, not yet recorded on the page of history, several times foretold in the Scripture prophecies; the consequences of which will be more important than any catastrophe which has happened to these nations in the wars of Israel. This event is, doubtless, comprehended in the view of the Spirit. #