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earth, should establish a reign of peace, so that warriors “should beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks.” Heretofore the history of kings had been a history of wars, —- of oppression, of injustice, of cruelty. Miseries overspread the earth from this scourge more than from all other causes combined. The world was decimated by war, producing not only wholesale slaughter, but captivity and slavery, the utter extinction of nations. Isaiah had himself dwelt upon the woes to be visited on mankind by war more than any other prophet who had preceded him. All the leading nations and capitals were to be utterly destroyed or severely punished ; calamity and misery should be nearly universal ; only “a remnant should be saved.” Now, however, he takes the most cheerful and joyous views. So marked is the contrast between the first and latter parts of the Book of Isaiah, that many great critics suppose that they were written by different persons and at different times. But whether there were two persons or one, the most comforting and cheering doctrines to be found in the Scriptures, before the Sermon on the Mount was preached, are declared by Isaiah. The breadth and catholicity of them are amazing from the pen of a Jew. The whole world was to share with him in the promises of a Saviour; the whole world was to be finally redeemed. As recipients of divine privileges there was to

be no difference between Jew and Gentile. Paul himselt shows no greater mental illumination. “ The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it.”

In view of this glorious reign of peace and universal redemption, Isaiah calls upon the earth to be joyful and all the mountains to break forth in singing, and Zion to awake, and Jerusalem to put on her beauti. ful garments, and all waste places to break forth in joy; for the glory of the Lord is risen upon the City of David. How rapturously does the prophet, in the most glowing and lofty fights of poetry, dwell upon the time when the redeemed of the Lord shall return to Zion with songs and thanksgivings, no more to be called “ forsaken,” but a city to be renewed in beauties and glories, and in which kings shall be nursing fathers to its sons and daughters, and queens nursing mothers. These are the tidings which the prophet brings, and which the poet sings in matchless lyrics. To the Zion of the Holy One of Israel shall the Gentiles come with their precious offerings. “Violence shall no more be heard in thy land,” saith the poet,“wasting and destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation and thy gates Praise. . . . Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself, for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the day of thy mourning shall be ended. . . . Thy people shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation : I the Lord will hasten it in its time.”

Salvation, peace, the glory of Zion : — these are the words which Isaiah reiterates. With these are identified the spiritual kingdom of Christ, which is to spread over the whole earth. The prophet does not specify when that time shall come, when peace shall be universal, and when all the people shall be righteous; that part of the prophecy remains unfulfilled, as well as the renewed glories of Jerusalem. Yet a thousand years with the Lord are as one day. No believing Christian doubts that it will be fulfilled, as certainly as that Babylon should be destroyed, or that a Messiah should appear among the Jews. The day of deliverance began to dawn when Christianity was proclaimed among the Gentiles. From that time a great progress has been seen among the nations. First, wars began to cease in the Roman world. They were renewed when the empire of the Cæsars fell, but their ferocity and cruelty diminished; conquered people were not carried away as slaves, nor were women and children put to death, except in extraordinary cases, which called out universal grief, compassion, and indignation. With all the progress of truth and civilization, it is amazing that Christian nations should still be armed to the teeth, and that wars are still so frequent We fear that they will not cease until those who govern shall be conscientious Christians. But that the time will come when rulers shall be righteous and nations learn war no more, is a truth which Christians everywhere accept. When, how,— by the gradual spread of knowledge, or by supernatural intervention, — who can tell ? “Zion shall arise and shine. . . . The Gentiles shall come to its light, and kings to the brightness of its rising. ... Violence shall no more be heard in the land, nor wasting and destruction within its borders. . . . They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord. ... And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.”

This is the sublime faith of Christendom set forth by the most sublime of the prophets, from the most gifted and eloquent of the poets. On this faith rests the consolation of the righteous in view of the prevalence of iniquity. This prophecy is full of encouragement and joy amid afflictions and sorrows. It proclaims liberty to captives, and the opening of the prison to those that are bound; it preaches glad tidings to the meek, and binds up the broken-hearted; it gives beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. This prediction has inspired the religious poets of all nations ; on this is based the beauty and glory of the lyrical stanzas we sing in our churches. The hymns and melodies of the Church, the most immortal of human writings, are inspired with this cheering anticipation. The psalmody of the Church is rapturous, like Isaiah, over the triumphant and peaceful reign of Christ, coming sooner perhaps than we dream when we see the triumphal career of wicked men. In the temporal fall of a monstrous despotism, in the decline of wicked cities and empires, in the light which is penetrating all lands, in the shaking of Mohammedan thrones, in the opening of the most distant East, in the arbitration of national difficulties, in the terrible inventions which make nations fear to go to war, in the wonderful network of philanthropic enterprises, in the renewed interest in sacred literature, in the recognition of law and order as the first condition of civilized society, in that general love of truth which science has stimulated and rarely mocked, and which casts its searching eye into all creeds and all hypocrisies and all false philosophy, - we share the exultant spirit of the prophet, and in the language of one of our great poets we repeat the promised joy :

“ Rise, crowned with light, imperial Salem, rise !
Exalt thy towering head and lift thine eyes !

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