Christmas 1767

Isaiah 11:10

And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
Isaiah 11v1

The rest which he affords his people is a glorious rest.

The prophet Isaiah, was such a one as himself describes, Isaiah 52:7. [1] It was given him to see the day of the Son of Man with peculiar brightness – and O how is he animated with the prospect. He represents the mountains sinking into plains at his approach – the wilderness assuming the beauty of a garden at his appearance – and wolves and lions forgetting their savage nature under his influence. He speaks in many places of his divine greatness – and his deep humiliation – his sufferings, his victories and his glory. The principle heads of his prophecy are more briefly comprised in this verse – in which we may consider the title – the office – the influence of the Redeemer – and his glorious rest. [2]
1. He is styled A Root – as in verse 1, A Rod. [3
These are not inconsistent, but they appear so to natural man. The scribes could not understand the Messiah was David’s son and Lord. Nor is it easier when he calls himself the root and offspring of David – but is the rod and branch with respect to his incarnation. The root is his Divine nature by which his humanity was made able and worthy, to interpose for sinners. This is the great mystery of Godliness, and the pillar and ground of truth.
2. When thus revealed in the flesh he is compared to an Ensign - standard or banner. An ensign is of military use.
  2.1 It distinguishes one nation or side from another – Jesus is this banner – and all that belong to God range under his command.
  2.2 It is the mark of union, when the banner is displayed the soldiers assemble to fight under their leader – and it points out where those who are scattered are to repair.
  2.3 The Banner or standard is according to the rank of dignity of the commander – and there is one with us, only hoisted when the king himself takes the field.

Now Jesus is the Royal standard – for God is with him and thus it is spoken of [in] Psalm 60:4. [4]
  2.4 This ensign or standard is a token of joy and victory. When an army is conquered they are deprived of their standards. But our Ensign shall be displayed till all enemies are subdued.  Isaiah 59:19. [5]
Now this is fulfilled:
    2.4.1 In his manifestation in the flesh. To him the angels sent the shepherds – to him the Father witnessed when he entered on his work.
    2.4.2 When lifted up on the Cross. John 12[:32]. [6]
    2.4.3 In the preaching of the Gospel.
3. The effect. To him the Gentiles shall seek.
He is not confined to the Jews, but openly revealed in the sight of the heathen. See this fully described [in] chapter 45:14. [7] They shall come to him:
  3.1 for deliverance
  3.2 instruction
  3.3 worship
4. His rest shall be glorious
This may be understood:
  4.1 Of the rest into which he entered when he had finished his work. See Revelation 1:18. [8]
  4.2 Of his purchased possession, his Church, concerning which he is pleased to say, This is my rest – here will I dwell. Psalm 132[:14]. [9] So Zephaniah 3:17. [10] On this account, and through his love, those who were vile, are made a glorious Church. Ephesians 5. [11] Psalm 87:3. [12]
  4.3 The rest which he affords his people is a glorious rest. From guilt, fear and Satan; here from all sin and evil, hereafter an everlasting rest, in the possession of his glory and love.
Now what think you of Christ? Have you fled to him – taken refuge under the shadow of his wings? It is high time. When he appears and is admired in all them that believe, he will take vengeance of his adversaries.
But let the redeemed of the Lord say, Blessed be God for his unspeakable gift. [13]

[1] Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
[2] Newton wrote: ‘and the benefits he affords h[inserted: ‘his glorious rest’]is people.
[3] Isaiah 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
[4] Psalm 60:4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.
[5] Isaiah 59:19 So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.
[6] John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
[7] Isaiah 45:14 Thus saith the Lord, The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God.
[8] Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
[9] Psalm 132:14 This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
[10] Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
[11] Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
[12] Psalm 87:3 Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.
[13] 2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Manuscript: Newton's Notebook N43, Cowper & Newton Museum Ref 714(19)


Marylynn Rouse, 01/11/2019