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Isaiah lii. 13; liii. Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men : so shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him : for that which had not been told them shall they see ; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

- Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man

! of sorrows, and acquainted with grief : and we hid as it were our faces from him ; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows : yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities : the chastisement of our peace was upon him ; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth : he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison, and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation ? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death ; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him ; he hath put him to grief: when thou

; shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied : by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

These words are extant in a book, purporting to contain the predictions of a writer who lived seven centuries before the Christian æra.

That material part of every argument from prophecy, namely, that the words alleged were actually spoken or written before the fact to which they are applied took place, or could by any natural means be foreseen, is, in the present instance, incontestable. The record comes out of the custody of adversaries. The Jews, as an ancient father well observed, are our librarians. The passage is in their copies, as well as in ours. With



many attempts to explain it away, none has ever been made by them to discredit its authenticity.

And, what adds to the force of the quotation is, that it is taken from a writing declaredly prophetic ; a writing professing to describe such future transactions and changes in the world as were connected with the fate and interests of the Jewish nation. It is not a passage in an historical or devotional composition, which, because it turns out to be applicable to some future events, or to some future situation of affairs, is presumed to have been oracular. The words of Isaiah were delivered by him in a prophetic character, with the solemnity belonging to that character: and what he so delivered, was all along understood by the Jewish reader to refer to something that was to take place after the time of the author. The public sentiments of the Jews concerning the design of Isaiah's writings are set forth in the book of Ecclesiasticus :* “He saw by an excellent spirit what should come to pass at the last; and he comforted them that mourned in Sion. He showed what should come to pass for ever, and secret things or ever they came.'

It is also an advantage which this prophecy possesses, that it is intermixed with no other subject. It is entire, separate, and uninterruptedly directed to one scene of things.

The application of the prophecy to the evangelic history is plain and appropriate. Here is no double sense ; no figurative language, but what is sufficiently intelligible to every reader of every country. The obscurities (by which I mean, the expressions that require a knowledge of local diction, and of local allusion) are few, and not of great importance. Nor have I found

* Chap. xlviii. ver. 24.

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that varieties of reading, or a different construing of the original, produce any material alteration in the sense of the prophecy. Compare the common translation with that of bishop Lowth, and the difference is not considerable. So far as they do differ, bishop Lowth's corrections, which are the faithful result of an accurate examination, bring the description nearer to the New Testament history than it was before. In the fourth verse of the fifty-third chapter, what our Bible renders “stricken,” he translates "judicially stricken :” and in the eighth verse, the clause “ he was taken from prison and from judgment,” the bishop gives, “ by an oppressive judgment he was taken off.” The next words to these, “who shall declare his generation ?” are much cleared up in their meaning, by the bishop's version, “his manner of life who would declare ?” i. e. who would stand forth in his defence? The former part of the ninth verse, “and he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death,” which inverts the circumstances of Christ's passion, the bishop brings out in an order perfectly agreeable to the event; “and his grave was appointed with the wicked, but with the rich man was his tomb." The words in the eleventh verse, “by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many,” are, in the bishop's version, “ by the knowledge of him shall my righteous servant justify many.

It is natural to inquire, what turn the Jews themselves give to this prophecy. * There is good proof that the ancient Rabbins explained it of their expected Messiah :t but their modern expositors concur, I think,


“ Vaticinium hoc Esaiæ est carnificina Rabbinorum, de quo aliqui Judæi mihi confessi sunt, Rabbinos suos ex propheticis scripturis facile se extricare potuisse, modo Esaias tacuisset.” Hulse, Theol. Jud. p. 318. quoted by Poole, in loc.

+ Hulse, Theol. Jud. p. 430.

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in representing it as a description of the calamitous state, and intended restoration of the Jewish people, who are here, as they say, exhibited under the character of a single person.

I have not discovered that their exposition rests upon any critical arguments, or upon these in any other than a very minute degree. The clause in the ninth verse, which we render “for the transgression of my people was he stricken,” and in the margin, “was the stroke upon him," the Jews read, “ for the transgression of my people was the stroke


them.And what they allege in support of the alteration amounts only to this, that the Hebrew pronoun is capable of a plural as well as of a singular signification ; that is to say, is capable of their construction as well as ours.

* Bishop Lowth adopts in this place the reading of the Seventy, which gives smitten to death; “for the transgression of my people was he smitten to death.” The addition of the words “ to death,” makes an end of the Jewish interpretation of the clause. And the authority upon which this reading (though not given by the present Hebrew text) is adopted, Dr. Kennicot has set forth by an argument not only so cogent, but so clear and popular, that I beg leave to transcribe the substance of it into this note : "Origen, after having quoted at large this prophecy concerning the Messiah, tells us, that having once made use of this passage, in a dispute against some that were accounted wise among the Jews, one of them replied, that the words did not mean one man, but one people, the Jews, who were smitten of God, and dispersed among the Gentiles for their conversion ; that he then urged many parts of this prophecy to show the absurdity of this interpretation, and that he seemed to press them the hardest by this sentence—for the transgression of my people was he smitten to death. Now as Origen, the author of the Hexapla, must have understood Hebrew, we cannot suppose that he would have urged this last text as so decisive, if the Greek version had not agreed here with the Hebrew text ; nor that these wise Jews would have been at all distressed by this quotation, unless the Hebrew text had read agreeably to the words

to death,' on which the argument principally depended; for, by quoting it immediately, they would have triumphed over him, and reprobated his Greek version. This, whenever they could do it, was their constant practice in their disputes with the Christians. Origen himself, who laboriously compared the Hebrew text with the Septuagint, has recorded the necessity of arguing with the Jews, from such passages only, as were in the Septuagint

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