ON THE FOURTH CHAPTER OF ISAIAH. No.1.

BROTHER BEEBE: - As I am at this time pretty much confined at home by indisposition, I will, in accordance with the request of our brother J.D. Green, of Georgia, commence some remarks on the 4th chapter of Isaiah.

In being thus forward with my observations, I do not wish to forestall brother Leland, should he be disposed to give his views on this portion of scripture. The fact is, that even if I should be so happy as to agree in views with him, there is no danger of my so exhausting the important subject before us, as not to leave abundant room for brother Leland to bring forward something new. The probability is, that we may differ in our exposition of parts of the chapter, hence our different views may be presented for the consideration of our brethren.

The chapter commences with this well known passage, “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, we will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.”

The expression, in that day, will lead us to look to the preceding chapter for the time referred to; following the 3rd chapter back to its beginning, we shall find that also directly connected in subject and in form of expression, with the 2nd chapter, thus shall we be led back to find the period of this prophecy designated in these words, in chapter 2, “and it shall come to pass that in the last days the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, &c.” Thus we have the period of this prophecy fixed under the gospel dispensation; the expression last days being a Jewish phrase to denote the reign of the Messiah as being the grand concluding dispensation. Besides the event in this and the following verses, and those in verse 2, chapter 4 can only refer to this dispensation. But the enquiry arises, is the phrase, the last days to be limited to the beginning of the gospel dispensation? Or does it embrace the dispensation at large; leaving the particular periods of this dispensation to be determined by the nature and order of events? The enquiries here suggested are important for the right understanding of the subject before us. For if the phrase used, fixes the period of the prophecy, to the commencement of the gospel dispensation, then the denunciations and the sins against which they are leveled, mentioned in these several chapters, must be referred to the Jews nationally. But if the period extends more generally through the gospel dispensation, then these predicted crimes must be considered as belonging to the anti-christian interest, or perhaps, more particularly in some of the instances, to the corrupted gospel churches; that is, such as have fallen off from the simplicity of the gospel in which they once stood, and hence still called daughters of Zion. By reference to particular events of this prophecy, we shall be led unavoidably to the conclusion, that the last days here spoken of cannot be limited to the beginning of the gospel. The events, for instance, predicted in verse 4, chapter 2, have not yet had their accomplishment, neither will they until after the destruction of the anti-christian powers. The prediction in verses 11 – 17, chapter 2, will only receive their general accomplishment when there shall be one Lord, and his name one over the whole earth. Again, the prediction, verse 19, chapter 2, and that which is very similar in verse 21, is, by divine inspiration, applied both to the Jews and to others; verse 19 reads, “And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” The Master foretelling to the women which followed him, the awful destruction coming upon the Jews, says {Luke 23:30,} “Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us, and to the rocks, Cover us;” intimating that the above quoted prophecy would then begin to receive its accomplishment in them. Again, at the opening of the sixth seal {Rev.6:12-17,} when heathen or imperial Rome fell with a great destruction, it is said, “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondsman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and rocks of the mountains, and said to the rocks and mountains, Fall on us, &c.,” thus showing that the above prophecy had an accomplishment when the powerful interest fell. If thus referred to both these interests, it can scarcely be doubted, that it will have an equally full accomplishment in the destruction of that interest, the Romish Anti-Christ or Beast, which is made up of parts borrowed from both the others; the ceremonies of the Church of Rome having been borrowed both from heathenism, and Judaism. And in the destruction of this power the Lord will arise no less terribly to shake the earth, than in the other cases.

Having thus clearly established the facts that the general prophecy connected with this 4th chapter, has a reference, as well to the Romish as to the Jewish Anti-christ; or perhaps more correctly, to Anti-christ at large; I will briefly notice, as I pass, with a view to this general application to Anti-christ, that a portion of the prophecy more immediately connected with this 1st verse, chapter 4; namely, that beginning with verse 16, chapter 3, “Moreover the Lord saith because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with outstretched necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet.” As Jerusalem which is above, is the mother of us all, those churches which were constituted in accordance with gospel principles, are fitly termed her daughters, or the daughters of Zion. What a full portrait picture is here given of many of the churches of this very day, which a few years ago, stood upon gospel principles! How manifestly drawn by him who, with certain eye, looks through all futurity, declaring the end from the beginning! For instance, is there not a great deal of pomposity displayed from their pulpits? And do they not frequently treat with much haughtiness those who will not submit to their conversions or to their dictations? Do they not with many wanton looks and actions court the embraces of the world? Many of their plans and forms being avowedly adopted, for the purpose of attracting the attention of the learned and great, and of obtaining what they call respectable congregations. And do they not occasionally cast forth lascivious looks toward governmental patronage? Again, do they not make a great tinkling with their feet? If they walk forth in the Mission, the Bible, the Sunday School, or even the Tract or Temperance cause, their silver leg bands {ornaments, verse 20,} must tinkle. Not only must there be a tinkling of money, but also a noise made to attract the gaze of the multitude toward all their benevolent steps, with the same immodesty that would be manifested by a female should she deck her feet with tinkling ornaments to attract notice. Without stopping to give a particular illustration, I will just call the attention of my readers to the representation given in the following verses of this chapter, of the precious jewels and ornaments of human device, with which the churches of this day are decking themselves. More especially would I entreat them to mark well the denunciations of God upon all these ornaments, and upon those that wear them. And may these denunciations be a warning to the children of God to separate themselves from all such wanton churches and professors.

And in that day, at the period when it shall come, in which God shall thus visit these corrupted daughters of Zion for their abominations, they will have arrived at such a pitch of madness in their religious zeal, or to such a state of desperation, that seven women will take hold of one man, saying, “We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.” The impression of many is, that this prophecy is fulfilled in the popular frenzy of the day, of making profession of religion. By way of accommodation, this text certainly serves, aptly, to illustrate much that is passing, at this time, in religion. It has become quite a reproach, to make no profession of religion, especially not to join any of the popular societies. And the most that appears to be wanted, is to be called christians. They can mostly weave, what they think, a very good covering of righteousness; they want not the imputed righteousness of Christ for justification. And they can fatten or bloat upon their frames and feelings, and benevolent doings; they of course want no other bread. In fact it is to be seriously apprehended that two-thirds of those who join the Baptist Churches at this day, do it for the purpose of taking away their reproach. Their teachers and their consciences reproach them with being sinners; and with not having done what is necessary to make peace with God. To remove this reproach, they engage in making their peace. What they have to do, according to the present standard, is to bring their minds to a willingness to be saved by Christ, submit to the ordinance, join a church, and adopt a certain prescribed religious form and zeal. Having done this, they set down satisfied, without ever having been brought to such a sense of their wretched, starving state, as to know, that unless Christ gives them of his flesh for bread they must forever perish; or of their loathsomeness and nakedness being such that unless washed in a Savior’s blood, and clothed in his pure righteousness, they must remain eternally condemned and banished from the presence of God. Whereas those who are truly taught of God, go to Christ, far more from a sense of the necessity of being fed with that bread which he alone giveth, and of being covered over with his righteousness, than from any desire to be called by his name before men. The circumstances, that the affirmation is of women, might be considered to correspond with the fact of females being so much foremost in professions of religion.

But still if we consider this passage as having any reference beyond its literal accomplishment in the Jews, and the whole connection of the prophecy, I think, obliges us thus to consider it, we must see the phrase seven women as having a definite meaning. And what other meaning are we authorized from Scriptural use to affix to the term women in a spiritual sense, than that of denominations or sects of religion, distinct from the true church or bride of Christ? For says Christ in the Songs, “My dove, my undefiled, is but one; she is the only one of her mother, &c.” It is true that the church of Christ in reference to her being divided into distinct branches, is spoken of in the plural; but in this case, if I mistake not, the term uniformly used, is daughters, daughters of Zion, &c. The term virgins, as used in Psalms 45:14 & Rev.14:4, I think used rather to express the distinguishing quality of Christ’s sheep. And in the last quoted text, we have the term women, evidently used in the sense I have above given to it, as meaning false religions or false churches, and religious societies. The term seven being so frequently used in Scripture, to denote the completeness or fulness of what is represented by it; that I think the term seven women in this case can mean nothing other than the various denominations and societies that are distinct from the true church generally, or in the whole. But what one man will these denominations take hold of? I answer, the leader of some system, or perhaps nothing more is meant, than that they will agree on some connecting point or bond of human designation. Though, from the views I have entertained on the 20th chapter of Isaiah, in connection with this, I am inclined to believe that the Pope of Rome will be the man, and papacy, popery, &c., the name sought.

But brother Green will anxiously enquire, what is the reproach they will seek to escape by this art? Not only do the Catholics reproach the Protestants for being divided into so many sects and parties, but others point to it as a reproach upon their religion; and they reproach one another for adhering so closely to sectarian views. And the various denominations seem, at this day, to feel that it is a reproach to them, to keep up their sectarian barriers; hence the disposition manifested, to keep those barriers, or denominational peculiarities, as much as possible from public view. Hence also the boast of the superiority of the great national societies, seeing that in them, all which they are pleased to term evangelical denominations, unite in one common cause.

What I therefore think, intended by this prophecy, is that the various denominations will unite in one general name, and under one general head, while each will retain its own peculiar views of religion or doctrine; eat their own bread, and retain its own particular forms; wear their own apparel. Something like this I think must be intended by this text. And nothing less than this can be implied, as I presume will be admitted, in these texts: “All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him {the beast,} whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” Rev.13:8; and this; “And he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark, &c.” Rev.13:13. However improbable such an event may appear, certainly those texts imply submission to one general head. Besides the idea of a general union has been repeatedly mentioned, and even the beast has been made, that the different denominations are approximating toward such a union. I know not, however, that the plan of uniting under popery, or any one name, has as yet been proposed.

When in connection with these several prophecies, and the circumstances above mentioned, we take into consideration the frenzied state of the religious and political world, and the evidence from past history, of how men will rush headlong to destruction, when given up of God to their own confusion, and to believe a lie, the improbability of this general union under one head, and even under popery, in name will vanish. In this way the anti-christian party will prepare themselves for the destruction, which is to come upon all whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb, &c., compare Rev.13:8, with Rev.14:9-11.

Under this view of the subject, how precious, and how applicable, how important to be attended to, is the heavenly proclamation, “Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev.18:4.

S.TROTT.
Fairfax Court House, Va., Feb.1st, 1837.