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by Robert Hawker
THE PROPHET ISAIAH
WE here enter on a part of the Word of God, very different in manner, from all that we have before gone over, through the sacred writings; though directed, in common with all the rest, to one and the same object; namely, to make the Church of God wise unto salvation, through the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
The scripture prophecies form a most important part in the oracles of divine truth. Prophecy, we are told, came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. And we may very safely conclude, that as they spake so they wrote. For he who gave a door of utterance to his servants, gave also the pen of a ready writer; that by both, they might minister in his church, and carry with them the witness of the Spirit, whose they were, and to whom they belonged in the service of the sanctuary.
In the Old Testament Dispensation, we find the spirit of prophecy, manifesting the divine will from the earliest period. In that memorable, and never to be forgotten promise, which folds in its bosom the whole of redemption, and which opened immediately on the fall, the first dawn of prophecy appeared. For when it was said, that the seed of the women should bruise the serpent's head; and this promise delivered by the Lord himself; every succeeding revelation tended to unfold, illustrate, and confirm this leading truth. And as the Spirit of Christ (which an apostle, in after ages, commissioned by the same almighty Spirit, tells us,) was in the holy men of old, directing their minds into all truth; so the great scope and tendency of all the prophecies they delivered was uniformly pointing to those two great branches of all revelation, namely, the sufferings - of Christ, and the glory that should follow. So that through all the Bible; this was the burden of prophecy. Everything delivered in a spirit of prophecy, pointed to Jesus. He, and he alone, was the horn of salvation, raised up by Jehovah in the house of his servant David. And of him, and to him, all referred, which God spoke by the mouth of all his holy prophets which have been since the world began.
Concerning the prophet Isaiah from whose inspired pen we derive the blessed prophecy now before us; the preface at the opening of the first chapter, give us all the information, that we are interested to know, in respect to him. His name is somewhat remarkable: Isaiah which signifies, the salvation of the Lord. And it becomes the more so, from the peculiar scope and tendency of his writings, being so much in the strain of the gospel, in reference to salvation. Hence some have not scrupled to call him the Evangelical Prophet; and his book of prophecy, a fifth gospel. I stay not to inquire as to the exact period of his ministry, having already done this in a general way, at the beginning of my Commentary, under the title of The Order of the Books of Scripture. To this therefore I refer; only just, observing, in addition to what is there set down, that it formed an interesting era in the church, being designed to prepare the minds of the people, for the approaching captivity of the church in Babylon, which took place somewhat about 200 years after.
I take occasion once more to beg the Reader, as I have uniformly done, on the entrance upon every book of the sacred Scripture; that he will in spirit, and in heart, join with my poor prayers at a mercy-seat, that both writer and Reader may be under His blessed teaching, who taught the prophet; that while we receive these divine oracles, as the word of God, and consider that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, we may all along keep in view Him, to whom give all the prophets witness; and never lose sight of the one grand object and design of all their, and every other servant of the Lord's commission; that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. Amen.
the Second Week of Advent