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off out of the land of the living: for the tranfgression 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 offerin 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 Chrifi 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 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 paffage 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 shewed what should come to pass for ever, and secret things or ever they came." (ch. xlviii. ver. 24.)
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
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 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 judgement,” the Bishop gives" by an oppressive judgement he was taken off.”
The next words to these, “ who shall declare his generation ?" are inuch 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 kim shall my righteous servant justify many."
It is natural to enquire what turn the Jews themselves give to this prophecy*, There is
* “ Vaticinium hoc Efaiz eft carnificina Rabbinorum, de quo aliqui Judæi mihi confeffi sunt, Rabbinos, suos ex propheticis fcripturis facile se extricare potuisse, modo Efaias tacuisset.” Hulle Theol. Jud. p. 318, quoted by Poolc in loc.