Isaiah liii. 11.

Robert Hawker

"He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied."
—Isaiah liii. 11.

Is not this covenant promise of thy faithful God and Father peculiarly suited, my soul, for thine evening meditation, after the subject of the morning, in contemplating the first cry of Jesus upon the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do?" And was not the cry answered in the case of the Jerusalem sinners at the day of Pentecost, soon after, when, under the apostle Peter's sermon, they were pricked to the heart, and cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Acts ii. 23, 37. Ponder over the solemn expression, the travail of the Redeemer's soul. Did Jesus really sustain in soul somewhat like those throes of nature with which a woman is exercised in her hour of extremity? Did he travail in birth for his redeemed?—Pause, my soul, and very solemnly consider the subject. If the eighteenth Psalm be supposed to contain prophetical allusions to Christ, we may therein discover somewhat which will be helpful in this study: "The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me;" Psalm xviii. 5. We have similar expressions, Psalm cxvi. 3. As therefore these strong terms are very highly descriptive of suffering, and of a peculiar kind, it may be well to inquire farther, whether there be any ground to make application of them in reference to this subject? Now it is worthy remark, that the curses pronounced by God at the fall, upon Adam and his wife, became distinct acts of suffering; and it should seem, that he, who, in after ages, was to take away sin and the curse from both, must do it by suffering for both, in order to deliver them from it. My soul, review them: "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children : and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return;" Gen. iii. 16 to 19. Now, that Jesus, in his own sacred person, literally and truly bore every title of this sentence as it referred to Adam, none, who have read the history of the blessed Jesus in the gospels, can for a moment question. So much in sorrow did Jesus eat his bread, that he, and he alone, by way of emphasis, must be peculiarly called, "The man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." And he it was that was crowned with thorns, by way of eminency in affliction, and sweat a bloody sweat; and he said himself, "Thou hast brought me into the dust of death," Psalm xxii. 15. But unless we can trace a similarity of Jesus bearing in his own sacred person somewhat in reference to the woman also, how shall we see the curse removed, and the sentence done away? Hence, if the travail of soul spoken of by the Lord, through the prophet, be intended to allude to the Lord Jesus bringing forth his sons to glory (and wherefore it should not, cannot be shewn), then have we a most gracious and beautiful representation folded up in this scripture; and the promise connected with it is equally delightful. And may we not interpret that scripture of another prophet by this illustration: "Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces, are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob's trouble: but he shall be saved out of it;" Jer. xxx. 6, 7. Precious Jesus! thou art indeed the man, the God-man, that didst travail for thy children; and while all faces are turned into paleness by reason of sin, thou, our glorious Jacob, our Israel, Jehovah's servant, in the day, the great day of thy soul travail, shalt be saved out of it, and shalt see of the travail of thy soul, and be satisfied. Yea, Lord, thou wilt remember no more thine anguish, for joy that the dew of thy birth is as incalculable as the drops of the morning. Hail! Almighty Lord! the trophies of thy redemption shall correspond to the greatness of thy name: "men shall be blessed in thee, and all nations shall call thee blessed." Amen.



Robert Hawker

[Top of page]