Some make this the song of joy and praise to be sung by the prophet in the name of Jerusalem, congratulating her on the happy change of her circumstances in the accomplishment of the foregoing promises; others make it to be spoken by Christ in the name of the New-Testament church triumphing in gospel grace. We may take in both, the former as a type of the latter. We are here taught to rejoice with holy joy, to God’s honour, 1. In the beginning of this good work, the clothing of the church with righteousness and salvation, Isa. 61:10. Upon this account I will greatly rejoice in the Lord. Those that rejoice in God have cause to rejoice greatly, and we need not fear running into an extreme in the greatness of our joy when we make God the gladness of our joy. The first gospel song begins like this, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour, Luke 1:46, 47. There is just matter for this joy, and all the reason in the world why it should terminate in God; for salvation and righteousness are wrought out and brought in, and the church is clothed with them. The salvation God wrought for the Jews, and that righteousness of his in which he appeared for them, and that reformation which appeared among them, made them look as glorious in the eyes of all wise men as if they had been clothed in robes of state or nuptial garments. Christ has clothed his church with an eternal salvation (and that is truly great) by clothing it with the righteousness both of justification and sanctification. The clean linen is the righteousness of saints, Rev. 19:8. Observe how these tow are put together; those, and those only, shall be clothed with the garments of salvation hereafter that are covered with the robe of righteousness now: and those garments are rich and splendid clothing, like the priestly garments (for so the word signifies) with which the bridegroom decks himself. The brightness of the sun itself is compared to them. Ps. 19:5; He is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, completely dressed. Such is the beauty of God’s grace in those that are clothed with the robe of righteousness, that by the righteousness of Christ are recommended to God’s favour and by the sanctification of the Spirit have God’s image renewed upon them; they are decked as a bride to be espoused to God, and taken into covenant with him; they are decked as a priest to be employed for God, and taken into communion with him. 2. In the progress and continuance of this good work, Isa. 61:11. It is not like a day of triumph, which is glorious for the present, but is soon over. No; the righteousness and salvation with which the church is clothed are durable clothing; so they are said to be, Isa. 23:18. The church, when she is pleasing herself with the righteousness and salvation that Jesus Christ has clothed her with, rejoices to think that these inestimable blessings shall both spring for future ages and spread to distant regions. (1.) They shall spring forth for ages to come, as the fruits of the earth which are produced very year, from generation to generation. As the earth, even that which lies common, brings forth her bud, the tender grass at the return of the year, and as the garden enclosed causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth in their season, so duly, so constantly, so powerfully, and with such advantage to mankind will the Lord God cause righteousness and praise to spring forth, by virtue of the covenant of grace, as, in the former case, by virtue of the covenant of providence. See what the promised blessings are—righteousness and praise (for those that are clothed with righteousness show forth the praises of him that clothed them); these shall spring forth under the influence of the dew of divine grace. Though it may sometimes be winter with the church, when those blessings seem to wither and do not appear, yet the root of them is fixed, a spring-time will come, when through the reviving beams of the approaching Sun of righteousness they shall flourish again. (2.) They shall spread far, and spring forth before all the nations; the great salvation shall be published and proclaimed to all the world and the ends of the earth shall see it.
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