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in himself. “The Spirit of the Lord “God is upon me, because he hath “ anointed me to preach good tid“ings,” or the Gospel, “ to the “ meek,” or poor; “ he hath fent “me to proclaim liberty to the cap" tives,—to comfort all that mourn, “ to give them beauty for ashes, the “oil of joy for inourning *,” &c.' The meaning of all the figurative expressions here used by the prophet, is this—that Messiah should, at his appearance, confer upon such as were disposed to receive them, the two great evangelical blessings, namely, remission of fine, and a participation of the Spirit of joy and gladness, with which God had “anointed him “above his fellows." The inaugura: * Isai. Ixi. 1.
tion of Jesus to all the offices of the Messiah, by this divine unction, John had beheld, when, after his baptism, he saw the Holy Ghost descending upon him, and thereby knew him to be that “ Rod,” or “ Branch of " Jeffe," on whom Isaiah had elfewhere foretold, that “the Spirit of " the Lord should rest*.” Nothing therefore could be more apposite, than this part of Christ's answer, $ The poor have the Gofpel preached 6 unto them;" the full import of which, considered as referring to the LXI" chapter of Isaiah, and addressed to St. John, is as followethGo Thew John again, that the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of might and * Ifai. xi. 1, 2.
counfel, counfel, which Isaiah foretold should rest upon the Rod and Branch of Jeffe, and which John faw descending and abiding upon me, in the likeness of a dove, at my baptifm, is not departed from me. The unction of the Spirit was not given me for mine own use; nor is it fpent, 'or consumed, although it hath powerfully diffused itself to all about me. By it the poor are made rich, being instated in the kingdom of grace and of the Gospel, and anointed heirs unto the kingdom of glory. By it every contrite heart is healed ; luch as were shut up are set at liberty; such as were bound are loosed ; and. by it the yoke of the oppreffor is broken *.
We must not omit to mention the end for which, according to the prophet, all these changes were wrought in the converts to the Gospel; " That they may be called Trees of “ Righteousness, the planting of the 56 Lord, that he might be glorified.” The “ Rod,” the - Branch of Jeffe.” the “ Righteous Branch of David," were the known titles of the Messiah, or Son of David; and it was his glory, while he lived upon earth, to make others, like himself, “ Trees,” or “ Plants of Righteousness.” This expression, as it standeth here joined with others plainly descriptive of evangelical benefits and comforts, unfoldeth to us the true nature of those wonders which Isaiah foretold thould be wrought in the wilderness,
and which he hath represented under so rich a variety of poetical imagery; such as streams of water breaking forth in the defarts, caufing them to blossom as the rose; myrtles coming up, instead of briars; cedars, firs, and olive trees, instead of thorns, &c. The purport of these figurative predictions appears, by the paffage before us, to be this; that the dry and barren places of Judea, where John baptized, and preached 'repentance, should, in the days of the Messiah, become a fruitful nursery of a new kind of plants, prepared for the celestial paradise. These were men of humble, peaceable, contrite hearts; such as poverty and disease
had rendered those who came to be *healed by Chrift; such as the confi