ON THE PROPHETS.
We come now to another division of the Bible, specified by our Saviour: All things must needs be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. Luke xxiv. 44. He more frequently comprises all the Scriptures under the titles of Moses, or the Law and the Prophets; (ib. v. 27) as in effect, all the sacred writings refer ultimately to him, who is the end of the law; (Rom. x. 4.) and the Jews comprise under the name of the first prophets, the histories of Josue, &c. H.
--- God has kept up a succession of prophets from the beginning, who either by word of mouth or by writing, established the true religion. Their predictions are the most convincing proof of its divine of its divine origin. Is. xli. 23. They contain many things clear, and others obscure: having, for the most part, a literal, and a mystical sense. C.
--- Yet some relate solely to Christ, while others must not be applied to him. Bossuet.
--- The Fathers, in imitation of the ancient Jews, and of the apostles, discover frequently a spiritual sense, concealed under the letter, as Christ himself declared that Jonas, in the whale's belly, prefigured his burial and resurrection on the third day. See Mat. xii. 39. Mar. ix. 11. Gal. iv. 24. When the figurative sense is thus authorized, it may serve to prove articles of faith; and such arguments must be more cogent in disputes with the Jews, than what can be drawn from their authors. They must confess that the New Testament contains a true history, or they cannot require that we should pay greater deference to the Old. Tertullian (Præs.) well observes, that heretics have no right to the Scriptures: But if they will quote them, they must receive them all, and adopt the sense given to them by the Church. C.
--- The providence of God, in giving the prophets, and other guides to direct his people, was ever an object of admiration and gratitude. The prophets were enabled, by a supernatural light, superior to that of faith, though beneath that of glory, to announce the secrets of futurity, as eye-witnesses; whence their predictions are styled visions, as such witnesses deserve the utmost credit. We have the writings of the four great, and the twelve less prophets. In these, many things are hard to be understood, which must not be interpreted by the private spiri. 2 Pet. i. A large commentary would be requisite to explain these to the bottom, and we must refer the curious to the works of the Fathers, &c. as the subsequent notes will be rather briefer than usual. W.
--- The Sept. varies much from the original in Isaias. But we cannot specify every particular. C.
--- S. Jerom has frequently given a double version in his learned comments on the prophets, as he would not peremptorily decide which exhibited the sense of God's word more accurately. H.
Ver. 1. Amos. His name is written in a different manner, in Hebrew, from that of the third among the minor prophets, (W.) though S. Aug. has confounded them.
--- Ezechias. He wrote this title towards the end of his life, or it was added by Esdras, &c.
THE PROPHECY OF ISAIAS.
This inspired writer is called by the Holy Ghost, (Ecclesiastic. xlviii. 25.) the great prophet; from the greatness of his prophetic spirit, by which he hath foretold, so long before, and in so clear a manner, the coming of Christ, the mysteries of our redemption, the calling of the Gentiles, and the glorious establishment, and perpeutal flourishing of the Church of Christ: insomuch that he seems to have been rather an evangelist than a prophet. His very name is not without mystery: for Isaias in Hebrew signifies the salvation of the Lord, or, Jesus is the Lord. He was, according to the tradition of the Hebrews, of the blood royal of the kings of Juda; an after a most holy life, ended his days by a glorious martyrdom; being sawed in two, at the command of his wicked son-in-law, king Manasses, for reproving his evil ways. Ch.
--- He began to prophesy ten years before the foundation of Rome, and the ruin of Ninive. His style is suitable to his high birth. He may be called the prophet of the mercies of the Lord. Under the figure of the return from captivity, he foretells the redemption of mankind (C.) with such perspicuity, that he might seem to be an evangelist. S. Jer.
Ver. 2. Earth. He apostrophises these insensible things, (C.) because they contain all others, and are the most durable. Theod. Deut. xxxi. 1.
Ver. 5-7. Sad. This was spoken after Ozias had given way to pride, when the Ammonites, &c. began to disturb Juda, (4 K. xv. 37. and 2 Par. xxvii. 7.) under Joathan, who was a good prince, but young. C.
--- Enemies. At the last siege, (S. Jer.) or rather when Jerusalem was taken by the Chaldees. C.
--- Many, from the highest to the lowest, had prevaricated: but God always preserved his Church. W.
Ver. 8. Cucumbers. Or melons, which grew in the fields, and huts were erected for guards, till they were gathered.
Ver. 10. Sodom. Juda is so styled reproachfully, (C.) because the princes imitated the crimes of that devoted city. Ezec. xvi. 49. Inf. c. ii. 6. and iii. 9. M.
Ver. 11. Victims. Without piety, they are useless. God tolerated bloody victims to withdraw the people from idolatry, but he often shewed that they were not of much importance, in order that they might be brought to offer the sacrifice of the new law, which eminently includes all the rest. S. Jer. Ps. xlix. 9. Am. v. 21. Jer. vi. 20. Theod.
Ver. 14. Bearing. Hebrew, &c. "pardoning," (C.) or "bearing." Sept. "I will no longer pardon your sins." H.
Ver. 16. Wash. Interiorly. C.
--- He seems to allude to baptism. Eus. Theod.
Ver. 18. Accuse me. If I punish you without cause.
Ver. 22. Water. There is no sincerity in commerce. C.
--- Teachers give false interpretations of the law. S. Jer.
--- Iniquity abounded before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldees and Romans. W.
Ver. 24. Ah! God punishes with regret. M.
--- Comfort. I will take complete vengeance under Joathan, (4 K. xv. 37.) Achaz, &c.
Ver. 25. Tin. I will reform abuses in the reign of Ezechias, but much more by establishing the Church of Christ, which shall be the faithful city. C.
Ver. 26. Judges. The Jews explain this of the judges, and priests, who governed after the captivity; though it refer rather to the apostles, &c. S. Jer. W.
Ver. 29. Idols. Prot. "oaks, which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens," &c. H.
--- The groves were sacred to Venus, and the gardens to Adonis, and were scenes of the greatest immorality and profanation. C. lxv. 3.
Ver. 31. It. The efforts of Achan and Ezechias against the enemy proved in vain. C.