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Monday before Easter.

For the EPISTLE.

Isaiah lxiii.

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H0 is this that cometh from Edom with died garments from Bozrab,

tbis that is glorious in bis apparel, travelling in the greatness of bis

strength? Ithat speak in righteousness, migbry to fave. 2. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and tby garments like him obat treaderb in the wine-fit?

3. I bave trodden tbe wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with me : for

I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will fain all my raiment.

4. For the day of vengeance is in mine beart, and the year of my redeemed is

5. And I looked and there was none to belp, and I wondred that there was none to uphold: therefore my own arm brought Salvation unto me, and my fury, it up

6. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their ftrength to tbe eartb.

7. I will mention the loving kindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord balb bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the bouse of Israel, wbicb be bath bestowed on them, according to bis mercies, and according to the multitude of bis loving kindnesses,

8. For be said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so be was ebeir Saviour.

9. In all their affliction be was afflicted, and the Angel of brs presence saved them : in his love, and in bis pity be redeemed them, and be bare ibem, and carried obem all the days of old.

10. But tbey rebelled, and vexed bis boly Spirit : therefore he was turned to be tbeir enemy, and be fought against them.

11. Then be remembred the days of cid, Moses and his people, saying, Wbere is be that brought them up out of the sea, with the Shepberd of bis flock? Wbere is be that put bis boly Spirit within bim

12. That led them by the right hand of Moses, witb bis glorious arm, dividing the water before obem, to make bimself an everlasting Name?

13. Ibat led them through the deep, as an borse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble?

14. As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord caused bim to reft: so didst thou lead iby people, to make thy self a glorious Name.

15. Look down from Heaven, ard beheld from the babitation of thy boliness, and of tby glory: where is thy zeal, and the strength, tbe founding of iby bowels, and of tby mercies toward me? are they refirained?

16. Doubtless Thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not : Tbou, O Lord, art our Farber, fer Redeemer, Tby Name is from everlasting.

17. O Lord, wby bolt thou made us to err from thy ways? and hardned our beart from iby fear ? Return for thy servant's fake, tbe tribes of tbine inberitance,

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18. The people of thy buliness bave prijed it but a little while : our adversaries bave trodden duwun tby Sanétuary.

19. We are rbine, thou never bearest rule over Them : They were not called by aby Name.

COMMENT.

Ver. 1. to 70

His Chapter consists of Three Parts.

In the First, The Prophet describes a Victorious Deliverer, returning from the Slaughter of his own and God's Enemies. In the Second, He breaks out into Praise for all the wonderful Mercies, bestowed on his Church and People ; recounts the many signal Appearances of his Power in their Favour,

down from their Rescue from the Bondage l'er. 7. to 15.

of Egypt; enlarges upon the Conducting them over the Red Sea, through the Wilderness, to the Land of Promise, where at length he fixed, and caused them to Rest; And intermingles, with the mention of these Blessings, the Ingratitude and Disobedience of the Israelites, which often provoked God to Chastise them with Amictions, and suffer their Enemies to gain Ad

vantage over them. In the Third, He Ver. 15. to sebe

does, in the name of that People, ear

nestly apply to God by Devout Prayer : Lament his Displeasure, and their Sins, the wretched Cause of it; Conjure him by his former Loving-kindness, By the Relation he bore to them, as his Children and Covenanted People, By the Trust they reposed in Him alone, And by their present Calamitous Condition, to assert his own Right and Honour, to deliver his Sanctuary and Church from the Insults and Tyranny of blolaters, who Prophaned his Temple, and Persecuted his Truth.

What particular Juncture of Circumstances this Prophecy was directed to, is not very material at present, to spend time in Examining. The Method, I am engaged in, seems to make it properly my Business, to ap

ply

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ply this Scripture to such Meaning and Purposes, as the Church, by appointing it a Part in the Office of this Day, intended we should take it in. And therefore that Signification, which is most nearly allied to the other Portions of Holy Writ, which it stands amongst in our Liturgy, and to the Design of this Week's Devotions, will need no other reason, to recommend it to us.

Now in the First of those Parts which seems chiefly to call for our Meditation ; The Prophet introduces fome Person, wondring at a surprizing Object, which then presented it self. By that Person ; Some understand the Prophet himself in a Vifion; Others, as St. Jerom, the Holy Angels. The Matter of this Wonder is a Conqueror returning Bloody from Battel: Of whom the following account is given by way of Dialogue, and in Answer to the Questions, Who he is, and why so Habited. That a mighty Victory had been obtained, at the Expence of much Blood and Slaughter, by the powerful, but single Arm of this Mighty Warriour. That by this Victory a total Kout was given to his Adversaries, at a time, when, if He had not engaged, no other was disposed, no other Able, to have quelled the Outrage and Havock, they were making. And that the Stained Garments, he then wore, demonstrated the Sharpness of the Engagement; As his Mien, and Manner of Approach, denoted the Invincible Greatness of his Strength.

By this Description, there cannot, I conceive, be any reasonable doubt, whether we be not now invited to contemplate the Hardships, and the Success, of that Combat with the Enemies of our Souls, by which Christ brought Salvation to Mankind. For such was His Conquest of Sin, and Death; when he wrested the Prey out of the Hands of Satan, and, as the Apostle expresses it, Spoiled Principalities and Powers, triumphing over them in his Cress. A Conquest full of Wonder, that, in the lowest

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Ebb of seeming Weakness, discovered so much of hidden Power; That made the once infamous and accursed Tree, an Instrument of Honour to himself, and of Blessings to the whole World: Turned the Object of all Mens Aversion and Scorn, to a means of drawing all Men to him: Destroyed Death, by enduring it; by the pouring out of his own Blood, took Vengeance on the Malice of that wicked Spirit, which spilt it; and, by the Agonies of a Body expiring under Anguish insupportable, hath prevented the Everlasting Torments of many Millions of Souls.

Such Glorious Effects, as These, deserve a place in our Thoughts at this time. That they may put to filence the Impertinence of those Cavils, which unthinking and irreligious People do, from the History of our Lord's Death and Sufferings, take the confidence to start; And which, when that History is so oft inculcated and uppermost in our Minds, (as now it ought to be) the Tempter may snatch this, as a favourable Opportunity, for Suggesting. Were we indeed to read the bare Narrative, and rest in Matter of Fact alone; it might appear altogether unaccountable, how God should give up his own Blessed Son, how that Coeternal Son should give himself, to so much Misery and Shame. But, by joining the Epistle and Gospel of this Day together, the reason of that Mysterious Dispenfation is, in some degree, explained to us. The Sufferings related there, are abundantly justified, by the beneficial Consequences ascribed to them here. The Redemption of Fallen Man, (since God in Mercy was pleased to esteem it otherwise) it would ill become Us sure, who enjoy the Benefit, who are indeed the Purchase, to think unworthy for his Son to Undertake, or Bought too Dear at any Price.

But, as the Advantages arising from hence prove the Fitness, and Reasonableness ; So does another Argument, furnished by the Prophet here, argue the Neces

1

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Acts iv. 12

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sity of this Dispensation. For, by saying, that He trod
the Wine-press alone, that there was no Helfer, and the
like: He does in effect affirm, as St. Peter did after-
wards, to the Jewish Synagogue, that
there is no other, by whom Men can be Sa-
ved. None less than He who undertook it, was ca-
pable of procuring so Glorious a Deliverance. No mere
Man could be free from Sins of his own, and all who
are not so, must stand in need of the Sacrifice of ano-
ther. Or, if any Man could be supposed wholly In-
nocent, That Innocence could only save himself. He
therefore, that could Vanquish Sin, and Death, and
Heil, for Others, must be much more than Man. And
He, who would attempt it, upon the same Terms our
Jesus did, must be much more than Man
For Greater Love than this bath no

John Xv. 13.
Man, that he lay down bis Life for his Friends: But to
Die, and So to Die, for Enemies, and Rebels, and
Traitors, (and Sinners are all these ) is a

1 John iv. 8, 16. Perfection of Love, to which He only could come up, who is Love it self.

To Him therefore let us, with all Humility and Thankfulness, give the whole Glory of this Noble Atchievement: Acknowledging all our Happiness, and all our Hopes, to be the effect, not of our Own, not of any Other's, but entirely due to His, invaluable Merits. Let us, like the Prophet here, when publishing his Kindness, and reflecting, ( as at this time particularly we are bound to do) how Dear it hath cost him; not forget at the same time, to lament those Sins of Ours, which added to his Account. For, if Isaiah found it reasonable, in Terms so Affectionate, to Magnify his People's Deliverance out of Egypt, and Settlement in the Promised Land: How insensible, how unworthy are They, who read and hear the Re. lease from a heavier Tyranny, the Destruction of a Spiritual Pharaoh, the Paffage into the true and hea

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