« PreviousContinue »
BEHOLD, my fervant
If. lii. 13. liii. “ fhall deal prudently, he shall be exalted, and extolled, and be very high. As many were aftonished at thee; his visage was fo marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: fo fhall he sprinkle many nations; the kings fhall fhut their mouths at him; for that which had not been told them fhall they fee; and that which they had not heard fhall they confider. Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? VOL. II. B
For he fhall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comêlinefs; and when we fhall fee him, there is no beauty that we fhould defire him. He is defpised and rejected of men, a man of forrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid, as it were, our faces from him; he was defpifed, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our forrows: yet we did efteem him flricken, fmitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our tranfgreffions, he was bruifed for our iniquities: the chaftifement of our peace was upon him; and with his ftripes we are healed. All we like theep 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 oppreffed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the flaughter, and as a fheep before her fhearers is dumb, fo he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgement; and who fhall declare his generation? for he was cut off
off out of the land of the living: for the tranfgreffion of my people was he ftricken. 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 foul an offering for fin, he fhall fee his feed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord fhall profper in his hand. He fhall fee of the travail of his foul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge fhall my righteous fervant 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 foul unto death: and he was numbered with the tranfgreffors; and he bare the fin of many, and made interceffion for the tranfgreffors."
These words are extant in a book, purporting to contain the predictions of a writer, B 2 who
who lived feven centuries before the Chrif tian æra.
That material part of every argument from prophecy, namely, that the words. alledged 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 prefent inftance, inconteftable. The record comes out of the cuf tody of adversaries. The Jews, as an ancient father well obferved, are our librarians. The paffage is in their copies as well as in With many attempts to explain it away, none has ever been made by them to difcredit its authenticity.
And, what adds to the force of the quotation is, that it is taken from a writing declaredly prophetic; a writing, profeffing to describe such future tranfactions and changes in the world, as were connected with the fate and interefts of the Jewish nation. It is not a paffage in an historical
or devotional compofition, which, because it turns out to be applicable to fome future events, or to fome future fituation of affairs, is prefumed to have been oracular. The words of Ifaiah were delivered by him in a prophetic character, with the folemnity belonging to that character; and what he fo delivered, was all along understood by the Jewish reader to refer to fomething that was to take place after the time of the author. The public fentiments of the Jews, concerning the design of Ifaiah's writings, are fet forth in the book of Ecclefiafticus: "He faw, by an excellent fpirit, what should come to pafs at the laft, and he comforted them that mourned in Sion. He fhewed what fhould come to pafs for ever, and fecret things or ever they came." (ch. xlviii. v. 24.)
It is also an advantage which this prophecy poffeffes, that it is intermixed with no other fubject. It is entire, feparate, and uninterruptedly directed to one scene of things.