C. S. Robinson, D. D.
As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness…
John the Baptist was a reality. This poor world of ours has been so often trifled with, that it has learned to be satisfied thoroughly only with what is honest and true. There could be no ordinary possibility of mistaking such a man; he was genuine. And he shook that miserable generation of hypocrites as might have been expected. Virgil tells us that when AEneas descended into Hades to visit his father, he came to Charon's ferry across the dark river; as he stepped into the light boat, accustomed to carry only spirits, so heavy a burden of a real and living man made the craft tremble and creek dismally through all the length of its sewed seams. We can presume that the hollow forms of social life in those wretched days were writhed and strained, if not shattered, by an uncompromising reality of manhood like that of John the Baptist at the Jordan. He was a man among the shadows of men. He had an actual "idea." He shook off the shams of religion, and told souls a great deal more about religion itself than they ever knew before. He put himself within the reach of living people, and down on their planes of existence. Only he shred away the veils and tinsels and mockeries of an outward show, and with an unsparing hand tore up the traditions and mere commandments of Pharisees.
(C. S. Robinson, D. D. .)
Parallel VersesKJV: As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.