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prophecy of the Messiah, a strong indication of the direction of supernatural power, Had the mother of our Lord not gone up, had she been delivered on her journey, this bulwark of Christianity had fallen to the ground. Another prophecy of Christ declares, that he shall be called a Nazarene. Now the Jews of our Saviour's time, understood by this expression, a person born at Nazareth; whereas the prophet probably meant by it, one dedicated and devoted to the peculiar service of God, for a week, a month, a year, or a whole life. Some of these devoted themselves, and some, as Sampson and John the Baptist, were claimed by God; and the dreadful punishment which Sampson underwent, was inflicted upon him for breaking his vow, cutting off his hair, and engaging in those sensual indulgences, inconsistent with the purity of that character. In the 13th chapter of the
book of Judgcs, the Angel says to the mother of Samson, “No razor shall come 166 upon his head, for he shall be a Na-, 66 zarite unto God.” In the 16th chapter of the same book, the Septuagint renders the word Nazarite, “Holy unto God,” so that Nazarite and holy mean the same thing.* No wonder, however, that our Saviour's miracles and doctrine could produce no effect in his own country, which was so notorious for the wickedness of its inhabitants, as to induce the pious Nathaniel 'to exclaim, “Can there any thing “ good come out of Nazareth ?”+ But whether the prophet meant that our Saviour should be a Nazarite unto God, or whether, on account of the wickedness or insignificance of Nazareth, it should be applied to him as a term of reproach, it
* Nazir tô Theo, Agios tô Theố.
+ John i. 46, and vii. 41.
demption, and everlasting salvation? Fine proofs of wisdom, information, and sagacity!
In my last discourse, I laid before you the prophecies of Isaiah respecting the Gentiles, in which they were represented as being naturally blind, yet enabled by the Gospel to receive preternatural light. I purpose now to shew you, that the same prophet represents the Jews, as enjoying the clearest natural light, yet wandering in the mist of error, and of wilful blindness. “The light shined in darkness, and 6 the darkness comprehended it not. There 66 was darkness over all the land of Israel 66 so thick that it might be felt. The deaf " adder stopped her ears at the voice of o the charmer, and would not hear, charmed 6 he never so wisely.” “ And the Lord 6 said, go, and tell this people, hear ye “ įndeed, but understand not; and see ye 66 indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart
66 of this people fat, and make their ears • heavy, and shut their eyes ; lest they
see with their eyes, and hear with their 6 ears, and understand with their hearts, 66 and be converted, and I should heal 66 them."* “ The ox knoweth his owner, 56 and the ass his master's crib, but Israel " knoweth not me, neither doth my people 56 consider.” 6 Ah sinful nation, a people “ laden with iniquity. A race of evil “ doers, children degenerate. They have “ forsaken Jehovah; they have rejected 56 with disdain the holy one of Israel; they “ have turned their backs upon him.” Any one may understand this prophecy, and justly apply it to the Jews. Unconvinced by all his miracles, unmoved by the Hosannas of the croud, and the inspired acclamations of the children in the temple, they were sore displeased. They requested our
discover the folly of Polytheism; though they had even faint notions of existence after death; yet were their ideas perplexed, confused, and uncertain ; they wanted that glorious illumination, which brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel.
The profound ignorance of the grand mass of the Gentiles, and the light which they received from our Saviour, is alluded to, not only in the verse which forms the text, but also in many other passages of Isaiah. 6 I the Lord have called thee in righte"6 ousness, and will hold thine hand, and “ will keep thee, and give thee for a cove“ nant of the people, for a light of the 6 Gentiles. To open the blind eyes, to 66 bring out the prisoners from the prison, 66 and them that sit in darkness out of the “ prison-house. Then the eyes of the blind “ shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf “shall be unstopped. And the eyes of them r6 that see shall not be dim, and the ears