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logical content, the national office is summed up and assumed by an individual.

Hence we have those wonderful chapters which unveil the sublimest heights of the divine plan of redemption. Beginning like the overture to some great oratorio, sounding the essential theme or motif, striking the deep clear chords that shall later be wrought out in varied harmony, so the prophet chants the very heart of this wondrous anthem, saying “Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect in whom my soul delighteth I have put my spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the nations.” Chap. XLII:1.

These words are generally taken as referring to the Messiah, and they certainly do refer to him, as he distinctly claimed, Luke iv:16-21; that they also refer to Israel is clearly shown by the verses following, Chap xliv:19 and Chap. xliv, where the words are addressed to Israel by name “Yet hear now, O Jacob my servant; and Israel whom I have chosen."

But the prophet seems to have in mind the distinction which St. Paul made when he said “For they are not all Israel that are of Israel," and the servant of Jehovah is the true Israel; that is, those who are faithful to the office appointed for Israel. The rest are accounted as aliens and cut off from their citizenship by their own apostasy. We are familiar with the distinction between the true church, and the organized society which we call the church. This seems to explain the prophet's meaning of Israel the servant of God. The nation as a whole contained those who were “blind and deaf;" yet within that nation were the faithful seed, the precious remnant, who preserved through all the ages the continuity of their spiritual life, and kept the lamp of faith unquenched.

Much the same kind of relation seems to be supposed between this essential Israel and the personal Messiah, who should be in fullest sense that which the true Israel was in a more general and historic sense—the Servant of Jehovah.

The Christian church has never for a moment doubted that the wonderful words of Isaiah lir:13-LII:12 refer to Jesus of Nazareth, but this does not exclude the possibility of their referring also to Israel, so far as they share in the office of the redeemer of the world; for, as our Lord says, “Salvation is of the Jews." Nor is it necessary to suppose that the prophet himself distinguished, as we can now do, between the work of the priest nation, and the great High Priest. As one may say the church of Ireland evangelized the Germans; or that Boniface was the man who brought to them the gospel.

Then we must remember that prophecy is neither history nor dogmatic theology, but much more like poetry; seeing truth in bulk, portraying it in masses, caring little for perspective or chronology; laboring only to impress the hearers with eternal verities, and the gracious purpose of God.

Isaiah is preeminently the gospel prophet. None other saw so clearly, nor so vividly predicts, the glorious hopes of a great salvation. But his immediate purpose is always practical. He strives for the verdict in favor of his cause—the cause of righteousness and loyalty to truth and the duties that were divinely appointed for them to do. When "the fullness of the time was come” and the long silence of four hundred years is broken by the Benedictus of Zacharias it is "the atmosphere of Isaiah” that we find. The faithful remnant were looking for the "consolation of Israel." In the words of Dr. George Adam Smith, “As we enter the Gospel History from the Old Testament we feel at once that Isaiah is in the air. In this fair opening of the new year of the Lord, the harbinger notes of this book awakens about us on all sides, like the voices of birds come back with the spring."

In Mary's song; in Simeon's prayer; in John the Baptist's preaching, in his proclamation of the Lamb of God that beareth the sins of the world, and in the words applied to John, 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness,' it is Isaiah that is

quoted and Isaiah's concept of the Messianic kingdom that is in mind.

The glory of a workman is his work, and, judged by the inAuence exerted on the church in all the ages since his time, Isaiah stands among the prophets as Saul among his fellows, "from his shoulders upward he was higher than any of the people.”

CHAPTER XII

JEREMIAH

T:

HE Book of Jeremiah is remarkable for its intense and tender pathos.

When we turn from the bright and blessed hopes

of rapt Isaiah's splendid visions to the mournful dirges of his great successor, we seem to pass out of the genial sunshine into the chill and somber shadows of a darkened world.

“Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!" might be written on the title page as the motto of this book.

It was a sad lot that fell to Jeremiah, when he was called to chant the doom song of his nation; doubly sad because he was by native disposition tender and sympathetic, one to whom the office of rebuke and reprimand was uncongenial. It was, perhaps, for this very reason that God called him to this unwelcome task; that the severity of the messages he had to give might be somewhat mollified by the gracious spirit of the messenger.

The long ministry of Jeremiah—not less than fifty years— covered the most unhappy years of Jewish history. It was a period in which the long, persistent disobedience to God's commandments was bearing its fruit of misery and national dis

The inevitable doom, of which they had been warned so often, was hastening to its fulfillment.

The ancient proverb, “Whom the gods will to destroy, they first make mad,” was never more clearly exemplified. The kings of Judah from the days of young Josiah were both weak and wicked, and almost invariably took the wrong turn at

every crisis, and in the times of greatest peril failed to recognize the way of safety.

The reforms, which were so strongly instituted under king Josiah, did not succeed in leading back the people to sincere devotion to God or love of righteousness, and, at Josiah's death, the tide of wickedness and folly swelled again and never ebbed.

The entangling alliance with the king of Egypt hampered the freedom of their political life; the evil counsel of false prophets blinded their eyes, and the greed and pride and godlessness of the people destroyed the foundations of their social order, so that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, provoked by their insolence and folly, had really no choice but to wipe the nation off the map, and carry the people into captivity,

It was in the reign of good Josiah that Jeremiah received his call to prophecy.

The call, recorded in 1:4-10 is remarkable in the breadth of its commission.

"Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down and to destroy and to overthrow; to build and to plant."

It was a time of storm and stress, a time of plucking up and breaking down, a time of destruction and of overthrow, a time when new things were planted and new foundations laid.

The ancient nations, Egypt and Assyria, Philistia and Tyre, and other less known powers, such as the kings of the land of Uz and Dedan and Teman and Buz, the kings of Elam and the kings of the Medes, were thrown together into the melting pot of Babylonian supremacy, and the old order changed, giving place to new.

It was for such a time that Jeremiah came to his office, as the spokesman of the God of Hosts. It was not without profound significance that the promise was given that God would

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