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this passage of prophecy, we will merely point out those, circumstances which require particular attention..
The person here spoken of as the servant of God, is the MESSIAH, considered as Man. The prophet foretels that he should be raised to glory, but should first endure such unparalleled sufferings as would excite the wonder of the world; and he should sprinkle, with the dew of his.. doctrine and with baptism, many nations; that even. kings should be silent through astonishment at the rela tion of the wonderful circumstances attending him, and think them worthy of their most, serious consideration: yet numbers would remain incredulous, and, disbelieve the report which the prophets should make, that the ARM of the LORD was manifested in him. For though the MESSIAH, according to his human nature, would proceed (as the prophet had before predicted) from root of Jesse, and be the son or lineal descendant of David, he should bear no marks of royalty; and so farfrom being desired for a King by the Jews, he should be despised and rejected: and instead of possessing a greater share of worldly blessings than other men, his life would be a continual scene of affliction, as he would suffer not only in his own person, but would also take a benevolent share in all the pain and sorrow to which the whole raceof mankind are subject; and at last submit to an ignominious death, which many should regard as a punishment inflicted on him by GoD for his crimes, and call him a malefactor.
To prevent these misapprehensions, the prophet was inspired to assign the cause why these sufferings were to fall on the MESSIAH; and thus we learn, that he was required to endure them for the sake of mankind, who, having offended JEHOVAH, and being unable to make atonement for their own sins, stood in need
of a propitiatory sacrifice to be cffered in their stead: therefore God graciously resolved to accept his life as such, instead of condemning all sinners to eternal dearistol dom
It was farther revealed by the Prophet, that the MESSIAH would bear every affliction with the most exemplary meekness; that no advocate would appear to plead his cause; and that after he had suffered an ignominious death, his enemies would appoint him a grave with the wicked, but that he should notwithstanding be buried in the sepulchre of the rich.
Thus far the prophet, according to the fore-knowledge of Gop, foretold the exaltation of CHRIST, his preceding humiliation, sufferings, death and burial, and also his intercession." He was then inspired to add a divine promise, that if the MESSIAH would willingly make this propitiatory sacrifice, he should after his death see a seed (meaning, as we may suppose, his disciples and fol. lowers) springing as it were, from him, agreeably to our LORD's Comparison of himself to a grain of wheat* ; ' and that this seed should, through their belief of his doctrine, prolong their days (even as the Gospel teaches us) to eternal ages. In this manner were the gracious' purposes of God for the redemption of mankind to prosper in the hands of the MESSIAH; whilst the consequences of his humiliation, sorrow, sufferings, and death, should afford him the highest satisfaction; and his faithful followers, who would be many, should be justified or accepted as righteous through the knowledge of him, because he would make the atonement required by divine justice for the sins of mankind, by offering himself in their stead: and thus restore all who should believe in him,
and comply with the terms of salvation offered by him, to the favour of Gob, who would regard them as righteous for his sake. This gracious promise to the MESSIAH concludes with an assurance, that many should, through Divine influence, adhere to him, and that even the most mighty nations should be converted to the belief of him: because, when he might have claimed an exemption from death as his due, he willingly poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors, and bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
Is it possible to draw a more exact representation of the MESSIAH, than is exhibited in this passage of prophecy, or to give a more satisfactory explanation of the purpose of his sufferings? It perfectly accords with the narrative of our LORD's life and doctrine written by the Evangelists, and is not applicable to any other person who was ever born into the world. The doctrine of the Apostles, after the descent of the HOLY GHOST, `illustrates it more fully..
There are many parts of the prophecies, besides those already introduced, which might with great propriety be interwoven in our LORD's history; as they shew the admirable connexion there is between the Old and New TESTAMENTS, and prove that they were dictated by the same Spirit. The Prophets inform us what the MES SIAH would do and suffer; the Evangelists relate what he actually did and suffered.
Whoever reads the history of our LORD will perceive, that the events which befel him were such as might naturally have been expected, considering his situation,: and the characters and power of his opponents, and that his words and actions were suited to each occasion with the exactest propriety yet we are frequently told, that
particular circumstances befel him, that the prophecies. might be fulfilled; and our Lord repeatedly declared, he did such and such things because the Scriptures mustbe fulfilled, and thus it must be.
At first sight these expressions convey an idea that our LORD's enemies were compelled to persecute him, and that he had no free will; but on consideration they prove, that he certainly had this distinguishing privilege of human nature, which could alone give a merit to his sufferings; that his enemies, though not impelled by the FATHER to commit such outrages, were, through the wise disposition of Divine Providence, instrumental towards effecting the very purpose they meant to defeat, the glorification of the Son of God.
When our LORD's actions were properly Divine, hẹ certainly acted and spake according to the impulse of the GODHEAD dwelling in him but in particulars relating to his human nature, he seems to have constantly made the Scriptures the rule for his conduct. Such parts as were designed for the generality of mankind were not comprehensive enough for him, as a perfect and exact obedience to the Divine will in every instance of his life was requisite; therefore the HOLY SPIRIT dwelling in him, dictated what he should do and say, under trials which should have baffled the strength of ba man reason and our LORD, instructed by the Gon HEAD, who dictated these directions, to understand them, accommodated his behaviour and discourse to them, instead of following the suggestions of reason; by which mean he testified to the world his obedience to the Divine will, and gave an example for the imitation: of his followers; and also proved, that he regarded the Scriptures, and the revelations of the DEITY made to his own soul, as of equal authority. Let us then imi
tate his blessed example, and have recourse to the SéxirTURES for rules of life, especially in conflieting trials." When human reason fails, and the counsel of men is of no avail, the Book of God will afford us certain di. rection; for we may find something in the general instructions given to mankind, either of precept or example, that will exactly suit our case; which the Holy Spirit, if we fervently pray for it, will, by his secret influence, teach us to apply, and we shall learn how to do the will of our HEAVENLY FATHER on all occasions.
As the history of our LORD's death, and the prophe. cies relating to his sufferings have been related, it is needless to point out how exactly every circumstance predicted concerning him was accomplished. We will not, therefore, at present take a retrospect of them, but return to the sepulchre, and see whether our LORD fulfilled his predictions, that he should rise again from the dead.
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS-HE APPEARS TO MARY MAGDALENE.-PETER AND JOHN VISIT THE SEPUL..
From Matt, Chap. xxviii.-Mark, xvi.-Luke, xxiv.
AND after the sabbath, the first day of the week, very early in the morning, when it was yet dark, they went unto the sepulchre. And Mary the mother of James and Salome, and certain others with them, came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun, bringing the spices which they had prepared, that they might anoint the body of Jesus.