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yet but few of them should be faved. And he who fhould endeavour to make the Words of Isaiah and St. Paul fpeak exactly the fame thing, would find he had undertaken a Task not eafy to be per form'd; because the Apostle does not confine himfelf to the Expreffions of the Prophet, and only makes ufe of thofe which are proper to prove the Propofition he defign'd to make good, That it did not follow because they were the People of God that therefore they must be fav'd, fince God could make any Nation his People as well as them, and notwithstanding that Title a fmall number of them 10. 20.11.26. would be faved; but here, and in feveral other places of his Epiftles, the Apoftle rather alludes to than directly cites the Antient Prophecies; and therefore I fhall confine my felf to fuch places which the Writers of the New Teftament plainly refer to as pofitive Predictions out of the Old.

Rom. 10. 15.

And the next which occurs in Order is that of the Prophet, thus tranflated in our Bibles, The C.40.3. Voice of him that crieth in the Wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the defert a highway for our God; which, as it ftands in the Book of Ifaiah, is without doubt to be underfood of the Babylonian Captives, for whom the Prophet there foretels that God would make their return to their own Country, as plain and eafy as if the Mountains and Hills were reduc'd to a level, and they were to travel on a fmooth Carpet Ground: And yet the Evangelift pofitively affirms of St. John BapC.3.3. tift, the Forerunner of our Lord, This is he that was spoken of by Efaias, faying, the Voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths ftraight. Now that the Words of Ifaiah, referr'd to by St. Matthew, muft be taken differently in the Prophet than in the Hiftorian, I


thus prove from the Incoherence which will otherwife be found in the Words of the Prophet; and to make this appear more clearly, I will give the Senfe of the five firft Verfes, according to thofe who understand the Prophet, to speak of John the Baptift, and to have no other Meaning in these Words, which I defire the Reader to compare with the Sense I have given them in the following Commentary: Receive comfort my People; that is, Ye believing Chriftians, whether Jews or Gentiles, faith your God, Speak ye Apoftles comfortably to Jerufalem, and tell her that the time of her tribulation is at an end, for Chrift has procur'd pardon for her Iniquity, and fhe has been punish'd proportionably to her Sins; or the ball Procop. receive a great many bleffings of the Lord for thofe afflicti- Cyril ons fhe has undergone. I John the Baptift am the voice of God crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, Chrift is just a coming to be inaugurated King among you; therefore remove all impediments out of his way, make straight in the defart a high way for our God. Let every valley be exalted, and every mountain and bill be made low; that is, let the Hills of Pride be levell'd, and the valleys of defpair be exalted; he that is of a rough difpofition, let him fmooth it by humanity; he that is cunning and full of Tricks and Defign, let him become honeft and fincere : For the glory of the Lord shall be reveal'd, and all flesh fball be ftruck with amazement at the brightness of it.

Thus they endeavour to make out the Connexion; but observe first, that the Prophet fpeaks in the fecond plural, and makes ufe of an Active Vert, Comfort my People, and fo the LXX tranflate it Vitubl. and others after them; Who then does the Prophet Pagnin. direct his Speech to? To the Apoftles? But then the greatest part of the People they preach'd to, thought themselves to ftand in need of no Comfort;

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or if they did, they might think it very unlikely, to find it by following the directions of a few poor Fishermen; and the Subject of their Preaching was fuch, as would make them uneafy, by putting them on a neceffity of looking back on their mifpent Lives, and washing away their Sins by the Tears of Repentance. But then Secondly, why muft my People be understood of the Chriftians? we know that Title in the time of Ifaiah was appropriated to the Jews; they were Gods People, and they the Perfons to be comforted. And then, how could they tell Jerufalem that her Warfare was accomplish'd, and her Sins. pardon'd, when they knew the Inhabitants of that City were fo far from ftanding clear in Gods account, that he had a moft terrible reckoning to make up with them for the Blood of his Son. But the reafon of all this is plainly underftood of the Babylonian Captives, they were in Mifery and wanted Confolation, and nothing could be more agreeable, or more reviving to Perfons in their Circumftances, than to hear that the Time of their Captivity was juft expiring, and God would make them as it were. amends for all their Sufferings. It may be farther obferv'd, that in Quoting this Verfe of the Prophet, the facred Hiftorian changes the Expreffion, make his path ftraight, inftead of make straight in the Defart a highway for our God. Why is in the Defart left out, but because not applicable to his purpose, which yet as it ftands in the context plainly determines the Prophers Senfe; and then I dare leave it to the Judgment of every unbiafs'd Reader, whether it is not more Natural to understand the 4th verfe, of the eafy paffage of the Captives homewards, than of the inward change of mind neceffary towards embracing the Gofpel. And lastly if the voice of one crying in the wilderness, must be understood only of the Baptift, then


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the Voice in the Sixth verfe must be understood of the fame; and then a Dialogue must be fuppos'd to be held between Ifaiah and St John, tho' one was Dead feveral hundred Years before the other was Born; and the Dialogue it felf no way applicable to the Perfon fuppos'd to fpeak it, or the Perfons to whom it is fpoke. The truth of the matter is this: The Hiftorian informs us, that before our Saviour began his Miniftry, St. John, who was by Providence defign'd to prepare the way for the Son of God, Preach'd in the Wilderness of Judea, faying, repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. From this Circumftance of his Preaching in the Wilderness, that is, in a place not fo much frequented as Cities and Towns, where the Houses ftood here and there at a distance from one another much like our Cottages on Commons: From this circumstance, I fay, the Holy Spirit, by which both Teftaments were indited, directs St. Matthew to make use of fome Expreffions in the Prophet Ifaiah; by which, tho' us'd on another occafion, he pointed out this Forerunner of Chrift, who by Preaching repentance to the Country People, alarm'd their expect-ations, and made way for his Reception, removing those Impediments which might be apt to hinder Men from liftning to the Doctrine, which was foon to be Preach'd in a public manner among them. By preaching Repentance, he let them know that they were under Sins, and the Light of Nature would inform them,that if they were Sinners they could not be in favour with God, but muft of neceffity be expos'd to his anger; and this could not fail of difpofing them to embrace the Tidings of Salvation, affoon as they fhould hear them proclam'd: fo that St. John was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight; that is, he prepar'd way for the Reception of him, as effectually as

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if he had actually cry'd out to the People, prepare to receive a gracious Saviour from Heaven, lay afide all Prejudices of Cuftoms and Education, and attend to what he proposes, for it highly concerns all Mankind. And this John the Baptift the holy Spirit of God had an Eye to, when upon another occafion he put fuch Words into the Prophets Mouth, as defcribe his Perfon and the Nature of his Commiffion, as plainly as can be expected in a Prophetic Writer.

The next place of this Prophet, which I find plainly C. 42. quoted in the the New Teftament is this, Behold my Servant whom I uphold, mine Elect in whom my Soul delighteth, I have put my spirit upon him,he ball bring forth judgment to the Gentiles: He shall not cry nor lift up, nor caufe his voice to be heard in the streets, a bruifed reed fball he not break, and the fmoaking Flax fball he not quench; he fball bring out judgment in the Earth, and the Ifles fhall wait for his Law. Thefe Words I have interpreted of Cyrus, because I find nothing in them but what fairly agrees with his Character; and becaufe the fame Perfon who is spoken of in the four First Verses of that Chapter,is at the feventh faid to open the blind Eyes, to bring out the Prisoners from the Prifon,and thofe that fit in darkness out of the Prifon-houfe: Which Words, according to the Phrafeology of the Hebrew Language, must be understood of the Jewish Captives and are not applicable to our Saviour Chrift, and must be understood of fome other Perfon which can be no other then Cyrus. That our Saviour open'd the Eyes of of the Blind is literally true, but then I affert that in the Language of the Prophet to open the blind Eyes, always fignifies not to reftore fight to the Blind (if it had, How often had our Saviour occafion to have apply'd this Prophecy to himself? and yet neither he nor his Apostles have done it) but to recover one out of a State of Mifery to a State of Happiness; this is



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