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them, which he has suggested, leaves us no doubt respecting the propriety of applying them to him? —While therefore we“ begin at this scripture, and preach unto you Jesus,” we may truly say, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears”—May the rehearsal of it excite amongst us, not merely a transient admiration, but a deep and permanent desire to enjoy the blessings revealed in it -The prophet speaking of the Messiah declares I. His call to his office
Our Lord was consecrated to his prophetic office by visible unction of the Holy Spirit
[As the priests and kings were separated to their respective offices by pouring of oil upon their heads, so, on some occasions, were the prophets also.—Our Lord, who in all his offices, infinitely excelled all that had gone before him, was conseerated by an unction, of which the anointing oil was but a type and shadow—“The Spirit of the Lord God” was poured out upon him at the time of his baptism: and the descent of the Spirit in a visible shape, like a dove, upon him marked him as divinely commissioned to execute the work and office of the Messiah'- Indeed, he was called Messiah, and Christ, from that very circumstance of his being“ anointed with the oil of gladness above all that ever had partaken" of that heavenly gift]
By that unction too he was qualified for the discharge of the office committed to him
[Though, as God, our Saviour was incapable of improvement, yet, as man," he grew in wisdom as he grew in stature, and needed to be furnished with those gifts and graces, which were proper for the discharge of his mediatorial office-Accordingly we read, that the Spirit was given to him, not by measure," as to other prophets, but in all his fulness;e and that it rested on him as a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and of might, a spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord–Thus was he both called and qualified at the same time: for though he was destined for his work from eternity, and prepared for it from his first conception in the virgin's womb, yet were not his qualifications completed till the great seal of heaven was affixed to his commission, and he was openly consecrated to the service of God-]
The prophet proceeds to open at large
c John i. 32-34. e John iii. 34.
a Luke iv. 17-22. b 1 Kin. xix. 16.
II. The commission given him
The terms, in which his commission are expressed, have especial reference to the jubilees that were proclaimed every fiftieth year-He was sent 1. To offer salvation to all who needed it
[At the time of jubilee all who had by any means been reduced to sell their estates, and to surrender up themselves and families as slaves to their creditors, were liberated from their bondage, and restored to the full possession of their inheritance, the very instant the trumpet soundeds—The gospel is that trumpet, and it proclaims “ liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound:” and our Lord's office was to sound this trumpet, to announce these glad tidings, to declare that this acceptable year was arrived, and that the “ day” was come wherein God would take geance" on all their enemies and oppressors—These are glad tidings indeed to those who are sensible of their bondage to sin and satan, and who know that they have sold the inheritance of heaven for the pleasures of sin: but to those who are unconscious of their guilt and misery, the sound of the trumpet seems an empty noise, or rather, an insult, as implying a state of degradation, which they do not feel and will not acknowledge-Hence our Lord's commission, though extending to all, was more particularly to "the meek;” for it is to them only, who are humbled under their wretched condition, that the offer of a free salvation contains any welcome newsą] 2. To impart salvation to all who desired it
[TO“the broken-hearted, and the mourners in Zion” he came to“ appoint" and to “give" the blessings they desiredHe was expected as “the consolation of Israel;” and, in that character, he particularly appeared Were any bowed down with “a spirit of heaviness,” and “mourning in” dust and “ ashes?” he came to “bind up their broken hearts,” and to exhilarate their souls; that they might be comforted, and become as persons anointed with oil, and arrayed in gayest apparel for some great festivity_We may conceive the feelings of a man who in one instant has been restored, from the lowest degree of servitude and want, to affluence and honour: but we must experience the blessedness of salvation, before we can form any adequate idea of the joy and gladness which Christ infuses into the contrite and believing soul-]
6 Lev. xxv. 10, 41.
h There is in the original a paronomasia which cannot be ex• pressed in a translation; he will give Phear for Ephar; that is, “beauty for ashes.”
Thus far our Lord himself applied the passage: but the prophet adds III. The ends for which he executes this commission
Our Lord in every part of his work connected two
1. The benefit of man
[Though once we were planted a noble vine, we are become the degenerate plants of a strange vine; and instead of producing good fruit, we bring forth nothing but grapes of Sodom, and clusters of Gomorrah"-But Christ desires to rectify our fallen nature, and to make us “ trees of righteousand instead of the brier, the myrtle-tree, en met up the fir-tree,
be planted and watered by the hand of God”—This was the end of his mission; and it is invariably the effect of his ministration-Let us only view the converts on the day of Pentecost, and in them we shall behold a just specimen of the effects produced by the preached gospel: and, to whomsoever the word of Christ comes with power, the same blessings are given; they are transplanted from the wilderness into the garden of the Lord, and they have their fruit unto holiness, and their end everlasting life”] 2. The glory of God
[This could not but be the great end which Jesus ever had in view: he had sinned if there had been
any consideration in his mind superior or even comparable to this—And how well was his commission calculated to promote it! view--him as un-, dertaking our cause, and coming from heaven to redeem us: can we fail of admiring the love and condescension of that God who sent him?-Hear the tidings he proclaims; a full, a free, an everlasting salvation to perishing sinners: are we not filled with wonder at such stupendous mercy?_See the myriads whose broken hearts he has healed; see them rejoicing on earth, or shouting their hallelujahs in heaven: are we not ready to clap our hands for joy, and to break forth into acclamations and hosannahs?-There is not any part of Christ's work, whether as performed by him, or enjoyed by us, but what calls upon us to glorify God with our whole hearts: and to all eternity will the praises of God resound from myriads of the redeemed, who, with united voices, will exclaim, “ Blessing and honour, and glory and power be unto him that sitteth on the throne and to the Lamb for ever and ever”-]
This subject may be IMPROVED
i Jer. ii. 21. Deut. xxxii. 32.
k Isai. lv. 13.
í Rev. v. 13.
1. For conviction
[All profess to hope for salvation through Christ, even though they be insensible of their lost and helpless state-But, if it be to the meek, the mourners, and the broken-hearted that Christ came, what can they have to do with him, whose hearts are whole, and who are unhumbled before him? -" They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick: nor did he come to call the righteous, (those who fancy themselves righteous) but sinners to repentance”-Let none then expect to participate his salvation unless they feel their need of it, and consent to receive it as his free unmerited gift-] 2. For consolation
[They who are sensible that they have sold heaven and their own souls “ for a thing of nought,” are ready to say, “ Can such a lawful captive ever be delivered?”m—We answer, You may instantly cast off your bonds and assert your liberty, if you will but accept the proffered mercy-Only believe in Christ, and the forfeited inheritance of heaven shall be yours--Arise then, and sing, thou that sittest in the dust; put off thy sackcloth, and gird thee with gladness—Be not afraid, as though the tidings were too good to be true: the jubilee is come, and the trumpet now sounds by the command of God himself: you have not to pay any thing for your deliverance; but to receive it freely: you have nothing to fear from your enemies; for “ the day of God's vengeance is come," and he will bruise all your enemies under your feet-Let but these tidings sink into your hearts; and God will glorify himself in your eternal happiness-]
sm Isai. xlix. 24, 25.
CLXXIX. THE EXTENT OF CHRIST'S COMPASSION.
Ps. cxlvi. 7,8. The Lord looseth the prisoners: the Lord open
eth the eyes of the blind: the Lord'raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous.
AS David was a very eminent type of Christ, so was he inspired to prophesy of Christ: and, if we look no further than to the passages quoted out of the Psalms in the New Testament, we shall find, that he wrote as fully and as minutely respecting the Messiah, as any other propihet whatever, not excepting even Isaiah himself. He
described his person as God and man. He declared the whole of his work, his first covenant engagements with the Father, his incarnation, together with his active obedience, and his unparalleled sufferings unto death. He foretold his resurrection, and ascension ;& his session at the right hand of God, and his final appearance to judge the world. He proclaimed also his offices, as a prophet,& priest,' and king.. We do not indeed find the Psalm that is before us expressly cited in the New Testament: but the whole of it so accords with what is elsewhere spoken respecting him," and the very words of the text are so descriptive of what Christ himself declared to be the great end of his mission,o that we can feel no hesitation in interpreting it as relating to Christ.
In this beautiful description then of our Lord's compassion to man, we may observe I. Its boundless extent
The calamities with which the human race are afflicted are very numerous; nor is there any trouble which the Lord will not either remove or sanctify, if we call upon him. But as the remedying of our spiritual maladies was the principal end of his coming, we shall direct our attention more immediately to them. In the words before us then we may notice his regards 1. To the blind and willing slaves of sin
[The world at large are in bondage to their lusts, and to that wicked one who leads them captive at his will; and they
under a sentence of condemnation for their numberless violations of the law of God. Yet, so blind are they to their real state, that they cannot see, and will not believe it. Their cunning adversary has undertaken to be their guide,
a Ps. viii. 4. with Heb. ii. 6. and Ps. cx. 1. with Luke xx. 42. or Ps. xlv. 6. with Heb. i. 8.
b Ps. xl. 6, 7. with Heb. x. 6, 7. c Ps. viii. 5. with Heb. ii. 7. d Ps. lxix. 9. with John ii. 17. < Psalms xxii. and Ixix. with all the accounts in the gospels. f Ps. xvi. 10. with Acts ii. 27. 8 Ps. Ixviii. 18. with Eph. iv. 8. h Ps. cx. 1. with Acts ii. 35. i Ps. cii. 26, 27. with Heb. i. 12. k Ps. Ixxviii. 2. with Matt. xiii. 35. 'Ps. cx. 4. with Heb. vii. 17. m Ps. ii. 6. with Heb. i. 5.
* Compare Isai. xlii. 6, 7. and xxxv. 5. with Jolin ix. 32. and Matt. xi. 3-5.
u Isa. Ixi. 1-3. with Luke iv. 18. 21. N. B. The foregoing passages are cited only for the satisfaction of the reader, and not with a view to their being incorporated with the discourse. Gal. iii. 23.