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Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire: Their visage is blacker than a coal ; they are not known in the streets : their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.-Lamentations iv. 7, 8.
In the Old Testament we find a description of the order of the Nazarites and their laws; we discover a Nazarite to be one set apart or separated for the Lord, either for a given time, as in the case of a vow, or for life, as Sampson, who was a Nazarite from his birth.* The order was one of Israel's glories; for the Lord when enumerating some of the many honours conferred by him on the nation, adds; "and I raised up of your young men to be Nazarites.” They were all so many types, pointing to the one great Nazarite, even Jesus; whom it will not be difficult to recognise, under this description. Jesus is the true Nazarite unto God, in the eternal council of peace; he was set apart to accomplish the Lord's great work of redemption.t Of him it can truly be said, he is purer than snow,
* Numbers vi. 2, 3. 13. 18—21. Judges xiii. 5 7., xvi. 17. + Hebrews ix, 14. 2 Tim. i. 9.
and whiter than milk: he, and he alone, is free from the least spot or stain of sin: being “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. The Church describes her Lord, “as white and ruddy;” as the
altogether lovely and the chiefest among ten thousand." Yet when tabernacling here below “ his visage was so marred more than any man's,” and his “ form more than the sons of men :” 'when seen in our streets he had “no form, comeliness, nor beauty, that those who saw him should desire him.” This lamentation of the prophet was called forth, by the state of misery and wretchedness, to which the Chaldeans had reduced the nation; yet it had a peculiar reference to him, who in after ages was known by the name of Jesus of Nazareth. No doubt his having resided in a town of that name, was one cause of his having so universally obtained the appellation. We find it used by the band of armed men when they came to apprehend him, and by the maid-servant in the hall; Pilate affixed it to the cross; the devils used it. It was also used by blind Bartimeus; by the apostles, both before, and after their Lord's resurrection; by the angels at the tomb, and by Jesus himself. And by the
power of the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, was one lame from his birth made to leap, arise, and
walk.* We are told the word is derived from Natzar, which signifies a branch; and is not Jesus described as the man whose name is “the Branch?” yes, he is the branch out of Jesse's root, whom the Lord has made strong for himself.
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek: he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are hound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn. -Isaiah lxi. 1, 2, 3.
This is one of the many descriptions we meet with of the Messiah, who is represented as being especially anointed to his office.t We cannot be at a loss for a satisfactory proof of the fulfilment of this prophecy,
* The first who appears to have called our Lord, Jesus of Nazareth, was the Devil in the person of the poor maniac, and is it not probable that Satan influenced the minds of men to give him that distinction with a view to deceive them as to the place of his birth ; which was not at Nazareth, but at Bethlehem ?
+ Psalm xlv. 7.
in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He did not come forth unsent or unanointed. When he publicly entered on the great work of his mission, he was anointed to the office by the visible outpouring of the Spirit. We are told, that immediately after his baptism in the waters of Jordan, the heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God, as a dove, descended and lighted upon him; and a voice was heard from heaven, saying, “this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Thus we hear the Father bearing testimony to the person of the Son, and we see the Holy Spirit descending and resting on Jesus. Thus, did the three persons of the glorious Trinity, at one time, distinctly manifest themselves, and that at the entrance of Jesus on his great work. It
to observe that, as God, he needed not the anointing of the Spirit, for in him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. It was the human nature of the God-man, Christ Jesus, that was anointed to the great office of mediator, which work he had before, by covenant, engaged to perform. To him, the Spirit was not given in a limited measure; he is the “ Wonderful Counsellor;" in “ him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” It would be a recapitulation of a great part of the New Testament, to shew the exact method
in which this prophecy was fulfilled. When the disciples of John came to Jesus, to inquire if he really was the Messiah, he, as one confirmation of the fact, told them that to the poor he preached the gospel. Yes, we find Jesus, when on earth, spending a great part of the three years and a half of his public ministry in journeying to the towns and villages, publishing the “glad tidings of great joy,” of which angels were once the honoured messengers, namely,“ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” The common people, we are told, heard him gladly. Jesus can, with much propriety and justice, proclaim “ liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;" he can say, with authority, " deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom.” Jesus is also King in Zion, whose mourners he will never fail to comfort; they can celebrate their Lord's mercies in the language of the Church of old, “Sing, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.” We cannot find an instance on record of any persons who in their trouble fled to Jesus when on earth, but whatever was the nature of their distress, he always removed it. We also hear him proclaim