Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful upon the mountains, etc.! Not so with the warrior. His garments are dyed in blood; his track is over desolated cornfields and ruined vineyards. Look at the footsteps of the servants of God.

I. THE MESSENGERS. They are not self-inspired or self-commissioned. They are sent of God. From Jerusalem the apostles are to go forth; over her all-surrounding mountains they go to tell the story of the angels' song, the Messiah's ministry, and the redeeming cross. How beautiful! - to publish peace!

1. Peace between man and man.

2. Peace between God and man.

3. Peace between nation and nation.

4. Peace in a man's own soul.

II. THE MESSAGE. "Good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation." Blessed word! But how often narrowed and marred through human interpretation!

1. We are saved from ourselves. And this salvation is going on within us day by day, as we grow in grace.

2. We are saved from guilt. As we can only be by an atonement where the offering is without spot.

3. We are saved from all that is inimical in the evil that is without us. For the Saviour knows our enemies, is stronger than our enemies, and will subdue them under his feet. "Thy God reigneth," and, mystery of mysteries, the cross is his sceptre. "I, if I be lifted up., will draw all men unto me." - W.M.S.

How beautiful upon the mountains.
Messengers coming over the mountains announce to Jerusalem the people's redemption from Babylon, and the advent of Jehovah's eternal kingdom.

(A. B. Davidson, D.D.)

The exclamation does not refer to the pretty sound of their footsteps, but their feet are as if they were winged, because it is a joyful message which they bring.

(F. Delitzsch, D.D.)

is the Gospel of the kingdom of God which is at hand.

(F. Delitzsch, D. D.)

I. THE PRIMARY MEANING. The passage is supposed to refer to the sending forth the heralds of the conquering Persian to proclaim liberty to the Jews that groaned under captivity in Babylon (Ezra 1:2, 3.) In order fully to understand the joy and gladness which such a proclamation as this must necessarily bring to the poor Jew mourning in captivity, we must have some conception of their condition, and the feelings that swelled in their hearts during that period of degradation and suffering. Of this, some idea may be formed from the lamentations of Jeremiah, which speak the language of the believing Israelite, mourning over the fall of Zion; and again, in Psalm 137, we find the captive Jews describing their bitter sorrows. Even as the prophet Isaiah foretold, this deliverance came to the people of God, great and sudden; but God had promised, and He surely brought it to pass. In vain the might and power of Babylon interposed; the dominion and empire of Babylon fell for ever, even in one hour, because the day for the redemption of Israel was fully come.

II. This passage has A SECONDARY FULFILMENT far more glorious and extensive, in the sending forth those who shall preach good tidings of salvation to all the ends of the earth; and the message thus conveyed has an analogy with that proclaimed by the heralds of Cyrus; for it bears to man — fallen and degraded, the captive of sin, fast bound in slavish chains — the tidings of deliverance. The blowing of the trumpet of the Gospel tells of restoration to the forfeited inheritance. It proclaims a full and yet the only mode of deliverance to enslaved man; the only mode of reconciliation with an offended God. The state, then, of the multitude of the heathen should excite our earnest attention, and rouse our warmest sympathies.

III. THE MODE WHICH GOD HAS BEEN PLEASED TO APPOINT FOR MAKING THE JOYFUL SOUND KNOWN TO MAN. The preaching of the Word of God by his fellow. man. The message must be received by faith.

IV. THE CHARACTER OF THE PREACHER SHOULD CORRESPOND WITH HIS MESSAGE, that he should show forth in his life and conversation, that the glorious tidings he was commissioned to convey to others had been received by himself. Pray that the feet of the missionaries in foreign lands may be beautiful in holiness and love.

V. THE AUTHORITY ON WHICH THIS PROCLAMATION IS MADE. It was the conqueror of Babylon, the victorious Persian, that gave liberty to the captive Jew; it is the Conqueror of death and hell, the risen and triumphant Saviour, who gave commandment that the Gospel should be proclaimed to all people.

(C. Caulfield, M.A.)

1. The tidings of the deliverance from Babylon were joyful. But the prophet sees more joyful tidings than these, and a mightier deliverance from a more terrible bondage than even that of Babylon.

2. It is not said, "How lovely are the messengers! but "How beautiful are their feet!" Not what they are in themselves, but what they bring, as sent from God, and running in obedience to Him, is here presented to the view.

3. Observe how the message is dwelt upon! as if it was so full of everything joyful and good that words fail to express it. It is "good tidings," "peace," "good tidings-of good," "salvation." What a mine is there here for him who has eyes to see, a mind to understand, a soul to love, and a heart to overflow with gratitude!

4. Observe how the message ends. It is a glorious note of jubilee. It is a veritable shout of joy. It is a summing up in very deed of the glorious news. It is a pledge of peace and of salvation with which the good news is concluded: "Thy God reigneth."

(R. W. Close, M.A.)

1. The rich blessing, to which the text refers in such emphatic language, is conveyed in that single, but comprehensive word, "Peace."

2. To whom, then, is the word of this salvation sent? To whom is the minister of the Gospel commissioned to preach the message of peace? The very mission implies the existence of previous enmity. With whom has God this controversy? Who stand in need of so free an amnesty? Where are the objects of His unmerited grace?

3. Whose heart should not burn within him at the thoughts of his privilege in being employed on such a ministration of love?

4. Let me add one word on the responsibility of those to whom the message of reconciliation is sent.

(C. R. Sumner, D.D.)

I. THE STATE IMPLIED in the words before us is to be collected from the view of their primary meaning. They originally refer to the Jews captive in Babylon, banished from their country, and deprived of the ordinances of Divine worship, under the displeasure of the Almighty, and oppressed by a haughty and idolatrous enemy. But this is only a faint emblem of that spiritual captivity in which mankind are naturally involved, and from which the Son of God came to deliver us.

II. IN WHAT MANNER IS THIS GRACIOUS DISPENSATION DESCRIBED? As the proclamation of good tidings, as the message of reconciliation and peace, as the publication of deliverance and salvation.

III. We are now, in some measure, prepared to enter into the spirit of THE EXCLAMATION and to participate in the joyful reception of the message which it announces. Practical remarks:

1. The true nature of the Gospel. It is not, as some would represent it, a mere system of morality. It comprises this, but infinitely more. It contains, first and principally, the offer of parson to the guilty, of deliverance to the oppressed, of salvation to the lost.

2. If such, however, be the nature of the Gospel, how highly should we value it, and how anxious should we be to profit by it!

3. While we rejoice in the good tidings which have been proclaimed to ourselves, let us pray that the multitudes of our fellow-creatures, to whom they have not yet been announced, may speedily hear the same delightful sound; and may exult in the joyful message of the Gospel, until "all flesh" shall at length "see the salvation of God," and "the whole earth be filled with His glory!"

(Hugh Pearson, D.D.)

When bad news is abroad, this is good news; and when good news is abroad, this is the best news: that Zion's God reigns.

( M. Henry.)

I. THE MINISTER OF CHRIST IS HELD IN COMMUNION WITH THE GREATEST REALITIES IN THE UNIVERSE. The Hebrew prophets were strenuous men, living in the coils of battle, wrestling with great serpents, struggling up bare cliffs, and giving their lives for the ransom of the people; but we cannot doubt that they were happy men as well, because of the intellectual and spiritual glories in which their lives were set, and, their cheering and inspiring comradeship with the wonderful words of God. The "Hymn to the Sun" and the "Sermon to the Birds" of St. bear witness to a soul that was enriched, ennobled, purified, simplified, magnified, and made to ripple with gladness and to sing the songs of victory and peace because of perpetual communion with the high and holy thoughts of its heavenly Father. The artist whose soul is seeing visions of the great creations of Raphael and Angelo, the general on the eve of a campaign for the emancipation of a people, the philanthropist pouring out his tears upon the miseries and sins of the world, will sleep on planks and find them soft as down, will eat coarse food and get good blood out of it, and so far forget themselves in their sublime consecrations and so populate with their holiest passions the thought-world and spirit-world within them as to realize Hawthorne's parable of "the Great Stone Face," and grow into the image of the mountain on which their gaze is fixed. So it is with the preacher, and more so. He is surrounded by an imperial guard of holiest inspirations.



(W. J. McKittrick, D.D.)

Dr. Judson when at home on a visit, addressed a large meeting, his theme being "The Preciousness of Christ," and sat down, deeply affected. On his way home a friend said to him, "The people are much disappointed; they wonder you did not talk of something else." "Why, what did they want?" said the missionary. "I presented to the best of my ability the most interesting subject in the world." "But," said the man, "they have heard that before; they wanted something new from a man who has just come from the antipodes." "Then," said the great man, kindling, "I am glad to have it to say that a man from the antipodes had nothing better to tell them than the wondrous story of the dying love of Christ."

(The Wellspring.)

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