Isaiah Translated and Explained

by Joseph Addison Alexander

+ Larger Font | - Smaller Font

The Creation Concept

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 Vol II Introduction 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 Alexander's Works


This chapter contains the same essential elements with those before it, but in new combinations and a varied form. The great theme of the prophecy is still the relation of Israel to God as his chosen people, and to the nations as a source or medium of saving knowledge. This last idea is brought out with great distinctness at the close of the chapter. The proofs and illustrations of the doctrine taught are still drawn from the power of Jehovah, as displayed in the creation of the world, and as contrasted with the impotence of idols. The evidence of prescience afforded by prophecy is also here repeated and enlarged upon. As a particular prospective exhibition both of power and foreknowledge, we have still before us the conquests of Cyrus, which are specifically foretold and explicitly connected with the favour of Jehovah as their procuring cause, and with the liberation of his people and the demonstration of his deity as their designed effect.

As to the order and arrangement of the parts, the chapter opens, in direct continuation of the forty-fourth, with a further prophecy of Cyrus and of his successes, vs. 1-3. These are then referred to the power of God and his design of mercy towards his people, so that all misgivings or distrust must be irrational and impious, vs. 4-13. Then leaving Cyrus out of view, the Prophet turns his eyes to the nations, and declares that they must be subdued, but only in order to be blessed and saved, which is declared to have been the divine purpose and revealed as such from the beginning, vs. 14-25.

1. Thus saith Jehovah to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held fast, to tread down before him nations, and the loins of kings I will loose; to open before him double doors, and gates shall not be shut. The words of Jehovah seem to begin regularly with the next verse ; but even in this, which is strictly introductory, they are mingled with the Prophet's description of Cyrus, a mode of composition very common in Hebrew, and among the oldest writers, who thought more of the idea than of the form in which it was expressed. The accumulation of descriptive epithets, which is represented as characteristic of these Later Prophecies, arises from the fact that one main object which the writer had in view was to impress upon the reader's mind the attributes of God and of his chosen instruments. Cyrus is here called the Lord's anointed, a designation elsewhere limited, as Calvin says, to the sacerdotal monarchy of Judah, which prefigured Christ in both his offices of priest and king. Most writers understand it here as a synonyme of king, derived from Jewish usages, and not intended to indicate anything peculiar in the royalty of Cyrus, except that he was raised up by Jehovah for a special purpose.

Calvin thinks it still more pregnant and emphatic, and descriptive of Cyrus as a representative of Christ in this one thing, that he was instrumentally the saviour or deliverer of Israel from bondage. The treading down of nations is a trait peculiarly appropriate in this case, as the Greek historians give long catalogues of distinct nations subjugated by Cyrus, such as the Medes, Assyrians, Arabians, Cappadocians, Phrygians, Lydians, Carians, Babylonians, etc. To loose the loins of kings is explained by Calvin as meaning to weaken them, because the strength is in the loins; others suppose an allusion to the removal of the sword-belt, as the ancient method of disarming or dismissing from active service. But most of the modern writers are agreed that the words at least include a reference to the ordinary use of the girdle as a part of oriental dress, on which the activity of the wearer and his exercise of strength are in a great degree dependent, as it gathers up and tightens the flowing garments which would otherwise impede his movements. All interpreters admit that while this clause, in its most general sense, is perfectly appropriate to all the fortified places which were attacked by Cyrus, it is specifically and remarkably appropriate to the taking of Babylon. It can scarcely be considered a fortuitous coincidence, that Herodotus speaks of the gates which led to the river as having been left open on the night of the attack; and Xenophon says the doors of the palace itself having been unguardedly opened, the invaders took possession of it almost without resistance. These apparent allusions to particular circumstances and events, couched under general predictions, are far more striking and conclusive proofs of inspiration than the most explicit and detailed prediction of the particular event alone could be.

2. I will go before thee, and uneven places I will level, doors of brass I will break, and bars of iron I will cut. The first clause describes the removal of difficulties under the figures used for the same purpose in ch. 40:4. The other clause would seem at first sight to contain an analogous figure ; but it really includes one of those minute coincidences with history, of which we have already had an example in the preceding verse. Herodotus and Abydenus say expressly that the gates of Babylon were all of brass. (Compare Ps. 107:16.)

3. And I will give thee treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, in order that thou mayest know that I Jehovah, the (one) calling thee by name, am the God of Israel. It is thought by some eminent writers that no conquests have ever been attended with such acquisition of wealth as those of Cyrus. Pliny's account of what he obtained from Croesus makes it, according to Brerewood's computation, more than 126,000,000 pounds sterling. The last clause gives a reason why this circumstance is mentioned, namely, in order that Cyrus might be able to identify the being who brought it to pass with the being who foretold it. The same consideration will account for the mention of the name of Cyrus; so that even if it were a bolder violation of analogy and usage than it is, there would still be a sufficient explanation of it furnished by the divine purpose to exert a direct influence through this prediction upon Cyrus himself. That such an influence was really exerted by the writings of Isaiah is expressly asserted by Josephus, and would seem to be implied in the monarch's solemn recognition of Jehovah as the true God and the author of his own successes. (Ezra 1:2.)

4. For the sake of my servant Jacob and Israel my chosen, therefore will I call thee by thy name, I will give thee a title, and thou hast not known me. Not only for God's glory in the general, but with a view to the promotion of his gracious purposes towards Israel. Thou hast not known me may either mean that he was not a follower of the true religion, or that the name was given long before he did or could know anything of him- who gave it. The verb expresses past time not in reference to the date of the prediction, but to that of the fulfilment.

5. I am Jehovah (i. e. the eternal, self-existent God) and there is no other; except me there is no God; I will gird thee and thou hast not known me. What is said before of naming him is here said of girding him, i. e. investing him with royal dignity or personally strengthening him; both may be included.

6. That they may know, from the rising of the sun to the west (or to his going down), that there is none without me; I am Jehovah, and there is no other. What was said before of Cyrus in particular is now said of men in general, viz. that they must be convinced in this way that the God of Israel is the one true God.

7. Forming light and creating darkness, making peace and creating evil, I (am) Jehovah doing all these (things). Some suppose an allusion to the dualism or doctrine of two co-eternal principles as held by the ancient Persians. Others object that the terms are too indefinite, and their general sense too obvious, to admit of this specific application. But this whole passage is characterized by the recurrence of expressions, the generic sense of which seems clear, but which, at the same time, seems to bear and even to require a more specific explanation, unless we choose rather to assume an extraordinary series of fortuitous coincidences. The open doors, the gates of brass, the hidden treasures, are examples of this double sense, if such it may be called, within the compass of three verses. This analogy makes it rather probable than otherwise that in the case before us, while the Prophet's language may be naturally taken as a general description of God's universal power, an allusion was intended to the great distinctive doctrine of the faith in which Cyrus had most probably been educated. For if it cannot be distinctly proved, it can as little be disproved, and is intrinsically altogether credible, that the doctrine of the Zendavesta is as old as Cyrus.

8. Drop (or distil) ye heavens from above, and let the clouds pour out righteousness; let the earth open, and let salvation and righteousness grow, let her bring (them) forth together. I Jehovah have have created it. There is a singular equivoque in the common version of the first clause, drop down ye heavens from above, which might seem to be a call upon the skies to fall, if the sense were not determined by the parallel expression. The prediction of events in the form of a command is peculiarly frequent in Isaiah's later prophecies. The manifestation of God's righteousness, including his fidelity to his engagements, is constantly recognized in Scripture as one chief end of his dispensations.

9. Woe to (or alas for) him striving with his makera potsherd with potsherds of earth. Shall clay say to its former, What art thou doing? and thy work, He has no hands? Striving with God is not merely active resistance, but opposition of judgment and affection. The second member of the first clause has been very variously construed. The analogy of what precedes would seem to make it mean, woe to the potsherd (striving) with the potsherds of the earth. But this is universally agreed to be inadmissible, a proof that the principle of parallelism has its limitations. The Peshito renders it, a potsherd of (or from) the potsherds of the earth, thus making the whole phrase a description of the weakness and insignificance of man. This construction is adopted by the modern writers, almost without exception; most of whom, however, give to the preposition its proper sense of with, which they suppose to imply likeness and relationship. It seems to be a just observation that earth is not mentioned as the dwelling of the potsherd, but as its material. What art thou doing is the common Hebrew formula for calling to account, or questioning the propriety of what one does. (See Job 9:12. Ecc. 8:4. Dan. 4:35.) The last words of the verse have also been the subject of many discordant explanations. Some of the older writers make them a continuation of the same speech: what art than doing? and (as for) thy work, it has no hands, i. e. it is unfinished. But most interpreters agree that thy work introduces a new speaker. And (shall) thy work (say of thee), he has no hands? There are no hands to him, i. e. he has no power. The absurdity consists in the thing made denying the existence of the hands by which it was itself produced. The essential idea is the same as in ch. 10:15, but the expression here much stronger, since the instrument is not merely charged with exalting itself above the efficient agent, but the creature with denying the power or skill of its creator. The restriction of this verse, and of those which follow, to the Babylonians, or the Jews in exile, is entirely arbitrary and at variance with the context, which refers to the conquests of Cyrus and their consequences, not as the main subject of the prophecy, but as illustrations of a general truth. The form of speech used by Paul in Rom. 9 :20 (why hast thou made me thus?) is not a version but a paraphrase of the one here, in which however it is really included.

10. Woe to (him) saying to a father, What wilt thou beget, and to a woman, What wilt thou bring forth? The same idea is again expressed, but in a form still more emphatic and revolting. The incongruities which have perplexed interpreters in this verse are intentional aggravations of the impious absurdity which it describes. The writer's main design is to represent the doubt and discontent of men in reference to God's future dealings with them as no less monstrous than the supposition of a child's objection to its own birth. Such an objection, it is true, cannot be offered in the case supposed; but in the real case it ought to be held equally impossible. This view of the Prophet's meaning, if correct, of course precludes the explanation of the words as a complaint of weakness or deformity, or an expression of disgust with life, like that in Job 3:20 and Jeremiah 20:14.

11. Thus saith Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel and his Maker, Ask me (of) the things to come, concerning my sons and concerning the work of my hands ye may command me. You may ask me concerning things to come, for I am able to inform you; you may trust my children to my own care, for I am abundantly able to protect them. Command is a common expression for giving one authority over any thing or person, or in other words committing it to him, and leaving it at his disposal. For the meaning of work of my hands as an equivalent to my children, or my people, see vol. I. p. 248.

12. I made the earth, and man upon it I created; I, my hands, spread the heavens, and all their host commanded. This is a justification of the claim in the last clause of the foregoing verse, or a statement of the reason why he could be trusted to protect his people, namely, because he was almighty, and had proved himself to be so in creation. The personal pronoun is emphatic in both clauses, as if he had said, it is I who made, or, I (and no other) made etc. The construction of the second of these pronouns with my hands has been variously explained. Some regard the latter as equivalent to an ablative of instrument in Latin: I with my hands have spread etc. Others consider it an instance of the idiom which adds the personal pronoun to the suffix for the sake of emphasis: I, my hands, spread, i. e. my own hands spread. In such constructions the personal pronoun commonly stands last. A third supposition is that the pronoun is in apposition with the noun itself, and not so much emphatic as explanatory. I (that is to say, my hands) have spread. (Compare Ps. 3:5. 17:13, 14. 44:3. 60:7.) The last words of the verse admit of two explanations. We may understand the figure as a military one, and give the verb the military sense of commanding. Or we may take host as a common expression for contents or inhabitants, and understand the verb as meaning called into existence. (Compare Ps. 33:9.) In itself, the former explanation seems entitled to the preference; but it requires the verb to be construed as an indefinite preterite or a present, whereas all the other verbs, though similar in form, relate to a determinate past time, viz. the time of the creation.

13. I (and no other) raised him up in righteousness, and all his ways will I make straight (or level); (it is) he (that) shall build my city, and my captivity (or exiles) he will send (home), not for reward, and not for hire, saith Jehovah of Hosts. From the general proof of divine power afforded by creation he descends to the particular exercise of his omnipotence and wisdom in the raising up of Cyrus, who is thus referred to without the express mention of his name, because he had been previously made the subject of a similar appeal, and the Prophet simply takes up the thread which he had dropped at the close of the fifth verse, or perhaps of the seventh. For the sense of raising up in righteousness see above, on ch. 41:2, 25. 42:6. In this, as well as in the other places, some suppose an allusion to the personal character of Cyrus, which they defend with great warmth against Burnet's remark in his History of the Reformation, that God sometimes uses bad men as his instruments, such as the cruel Cyrus. The statements of Herodotus to this effect they treat as fabulous, and claim full credit for the glowing pictures of the Cyropaedia. This distinction is not only strange in itself, but completely at war with the conclusions of the ablest modern critics and historians. Nor is there the least need of insisting thus upon the moral excellence of Cyrus, who in either case was just as really a consecrated instrument of the divine righteousness as the Medes and Persians generally, who are so described in ch. 13:3. At the same time allowance must be made for the difference between what Cyrus was before and after he became acquainted with the true religion. (See above, on v. 3.) The figure of straight or level paths has the same sense as in ch. 40:3. My city, i. e. the holy city, Jerusalem, of which Cyrus was indirectly the rebuilder. The form of the verb send here used is not unfrequently applied to the setting free of prisoners or slaves. The last clause seems decisive of the question whether ch. 43:3, 4. should be understood as a general declaration of God's distinguishing affection for his people, disposing him to favour them at the expense of other nations, or as a specific promise that Cyrus should conquer Ethiopia and Egypt, as a compensation for releasing Israel, in which case he could not be said, in any appropriate sense, to have set them free without reward or hire.

14. Thus saith Jehovah, The toil of Egypt and the gain of Cush and the Sebaim men of measure unto thee shall pass, and to thee shall they belong, after thee shall they go, in chains shall they pass over (or along); and unto thee shall they tow themselves, to thee shall they pray (saying), Only in thee (is) God, and there is none besides, no (other) God. The first clause specifies labour and traffic as the two great sources of wealth, here put for wealth itself, or for the people who possessed it. For the true sense of the geographical or national names here mentioned, see above, on ch. 43:3. In both places they are named by way of sample for the heathen world. To the reasons before given for this interpretation we may here add the general reference to idolaters in v. 16. The meaning men of measure, i. e. of extraordinary stature, is determined by the analogy of Num. 13:32. 1 Chr. 11:23. 20:6, and confirmed by the description of the Ethiopians in ancient history, Herodotus speaking of them as ... 'the largest of men.' Their stature is here mentioned to enhance the glory and importance of the conquest. Whether the chains are here considered as imposed by their conquerors, or by themselves in token of a voluntary submission, is a question which the words themselves leave undecided. The same thing may be said of the prostration mentioned afterwards, which in itself might be considered as denoting the customary oriental act of obeisance or civil adoration, although usually found in such connections as require it to be taken in a religious sense, which is here further indicated by the addition of the verb to pray. These strong expressions were employed because the explanation was to follow. Instead of saying, they shall worship God who dwells in thee, the Prophet makes his language more expressive by saying, they shall worship thee; and then immediately explains his own language by adding their acknowledgement, only in thee is God, or to give the Hebrew word its full force, an almighty God, implying that the gods of other nations were but gods in name. This exclusive recognition of the God of Israel is then repeated in a way which may to some seem tautological, but which is really emphatic in a high degree. The question now presents itself, in what sense the subjection of the nations is here promised. That a literal conquest of Ethiopia and Egypt by the Jews themselves is here predicted, none can maintain but those who wish to fasten on Isaiah the charge of ignorance or gross imposture. The most natural interpretation of the passage is the common one, which makes it a prophecy of moral and spiritual conquests, to be wrought by the church over the nations, and, as one illustrious example, by the Jews' religion over the heathenism of many countries, not excepting the literal Ethiopia, as we learn from Acts 8: 27.

15. Verily thou art a God hiding thyself, oh God of Israel, the Saviour! The abrupt transition here has much perplexed interpreters. The most natural supposition is that the verse is an apostrophe, expressive of the Prophet's own strong feelings in contrasting what God had done and would yet do, the darkness of the present with the brightness of the future. If these things are to be hereafter, then oh thou Saviour of thy people, thou art indeed a God that hides himself, that is to say, conceals his purposes of mercy under the darkness of his present dispensations. Let it be observed, however, that the same words, which furnish a vehicle of personal emotion to the Prophet, are in fact a formula of wider import, and contain the statement of a general truth.

16. They are ashamed and also confounded all of them together, they are gone into confusion (or away in confusion)the carvers of images. Unless we assume. without necessity or warrant, an abrupt and perfectly capricious change of subject, this verse must contain the conclusion of the process described in the foregoing context. We might therefore expect to find Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba, introduced again by name; but instead of these, the sentence closes with a general expression, which has already been referred to as a proof that the war in question is a spiritual war, and that the enemies to be subdued are not certain nations, in themselves considered, but the heathen world, the vast mixed multitude who worship idols. These are described as the carvers or artificers of images, which strengthens the conclusion before drawn, that the smith and carpenter and cook and baker and cultivator of ch. 44:12-16, are one and the same person, viz. the idolatrous devotee himself.

17. Israel is saved in Jehovah (with) an everlasting salvation (literally, salvation of ages or eternities); ye shall not be ashamed, and ye shall not be confounded forever (literally, until the ages of eternity), or as the English Version has it, world without end. This is the counterpart and contrast to the threatening in the verse preceding, upon which it throws some light by showing that the shame and confusion which awaits the idolater is not mere wounded pride or sense of disappointment, but the loss and opposite of that salvation which is promised to God's people, or in other words, eternal perdition. Israel is saved already, i. e. his salvation is secured, not merely through the Lord but in him, i. e. by virtue of an intimate and vital union with him, as genuine and living members of his body. The general form of this solemn declaration, and the eternity again and again predicted of the salvation promised, seems to show that the Israel of this text and of others like it, is not the Jewish people, considered simply as an ancient nation, but the Jewish people considered as the church of God, a body which has never ceased and never will cease to exist and claim the promises.

18. For thus saith Jehovah, the creator of the. heavenshe is Godthe former of the earth and its makerhe established itnot in vain (or not to be empty) did he create itto dwell in (or to be inhabited) he formed it—/ am Jehovah, and there is none besides. This verse assigns a reason for believing in the threatening and the promise of the two preceding verses, viz. that he who uttered them not only made the heavens and the earth, but made them for a certain purpose, which must be accomplished. The only difficulty of construction is the question where Jehovah's words begin, and this admits of several different answers. We may read, Thus saith Jehovah, The creator of the heavens is God; in which case the divine address begins with a formal statement of the argument derived from the creation. Again, we may read, Thus saith Jehovah, The creator of the heavens is the God who formed the earth. But most interpreters suppose the beginning of Jehovah's own words to be marked by the introduction of the pronoun of the first person, I am Jehovah and there is no other. All that precedes is then to be regarded as a description of the speaker, including two parenthetical propositions, each beginning with the pronoun He:the creator of the heavens (he is God), the former of the earth and its maker (he established it). The common version of the next clause, he created it not in vain, is admissible, but less expressive than the more specific rendering, he created it not (to be) a waste (or empty). In the last clause Jehovah is employed as a descriptive title, and is substantially equivalent to ... , which the Prophet uses in a similar connection in v. 22 below.

19. Not in secret have I spoken, in a dark place of the earth (or in a place, to wit, a land of darkness). I have not said to the seed of Jacob, In vain seek ye me. I (am) Jehovah, speaking truth, declaring rectitudes (or right things). The doctrine of the preceding verse is no new revelation, but one long ago and universally made known. Some suppose an allusion to the mysterious and doubtful responses of the heathen oracles. The analogy of vs. 1, 2, 3, makes it not improbable that such an allusion is couched under the general terms of the verse before us. Of the next clause there are several distinct interpretations. The oldest and most common makes it mean that God had not required the people to consult him in relation to futurity without obtaining satisfactory responses.

20. Gather yourselves and come, draw near together ye escaped of the nations. They know not, those carrying the wood, their graven image, and praying to a God (who) cannot save. In the first clause the idolaters are addressed directly; in the second they are spoken of again in the third person. The challenge or summons at the beginning is precisely similar to that in ch. 41:21 and 43:9. Escaped of the nations has been variously explained to mean the Jews who had escaped from the oppression of the gentiles, and the gentiles who had escaped from the dominion of idolatry. But these last would scarcely have been summoned to a contest. On the whole, it seems most natural to understand the nations who survived the judgments sent by God upon them. The Hebrew phrase is in itself ambiguous. The explanation which agrees best with the whole connection is the one that supposes the idolaters still left (i. e. neither converted nor destroyed) to be the object of address. If there are any still absurd enough to carry about a wooden god and pray to one who cannot save, let them assemble and draw near. They do not know is commonly explained to mean they have no knowledge; but it is more accordant with the usage of the language to supply a specific object. They do not know it, or, they do not know what they are doing, they are not conscious of their own impiety and folly. The verse contains two indirect reflections on the idols, first, that they are wooden, then, that they are lifeless and dependant on their worshippers for locomotion.

21. Bring forward and bring near! Yea, let them consult together. Who has caused this to be heard of old, since then declared it? Have not I Jehovah? and there is no other God besides me; a righteous and a saving God, there is none besides me. The object of the verbs in the first clause, is your cause or your arguments, as in ch. 41 :21. The change of person in the next clause implies that they are unable or unwilling to accept the challenge, or at least in doubt and hesitation with respect to it They are therefore invited to deliberate together, or, as some understand it, to take counsel of those wiser than themselves. Instead of waiting longer for their plea, however, he presents his own, in the common form of an interrogation, asking who except himself had given evidence of prescience by explicitly foretelling events still far distant, and of saving power by delivering his people from calamity and bondage. Have not I Jehovah, and there is no other God besides me? is a Hebrew idiom equivalent to the English question, Have not I, besides whom there is no other God?

22. Turn unto me and be saved all ye ends of the earth, for I am God and there is none besides. From the preceding declarations it might seem to follow that the gentile world had nothing to expect but the perdition threatened in v. 15. But now the Prophet brings to view a gracious alternative, inviting them to choose between destruction and submission, and showing that the drift of the foregoing argument was not to drive the heathen to despair, but to shut them up to the necessity of seeking safety in the favour of the one true God, whose exclusive deity is expressly made the ground of the exhortation. The Hebrew word does not correspond exactly to the English look, but denotes the act of turning round in order to look in a different direction. The text therefore bears a strong analogy to those in which the heathen when enlightened are described as turning from their idols unto God. (See 1 Thess. 1:9. Acts 14:15. 15:19.) The ends of the earth is a phrase inclusive of all nations, and is frequently employed in reference to the conversion of the gentiles. (See Ps. 22:27. 72:8. Zech. 9:10.) The question whether Christ is to be regarded as the speaker in this passage, is of little exegetical importance. To us, who know that it is only through him that the Father saves, this supposition appears altogether natural; but it does not follow that any such impression would be made or was intended to be made upon an ancient reader.

23. By myself I have sworn; the word is gone out of a mouth of righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me shall bow every knee, shall swear every tongue. The form of the divine oath elsewhere used is by my life or as I live (Num. 14:21, 28. Deut. 32:40). Hence Paul in his quotation of this text (Rom. 14: 11) uses the formula, ..., which may be regarded as an accurate paraphrase, though not as a rigorous translation. A word, i. e. a promise or prophecy, is said in Hebrew to return when it is cancelled or recalled. (See Isaiah 55: 11.) The kneeling and swearing in the last clause are acts of homage, fealty, or allegiance, which usually went together (1 Kings 19:18) and involved a solemn recognition of the sovereignty of him to whom they were tendered. This verse affords a clear illustration of the difference between the act of swearing to and swearing by another. (Compare ch. 19:18.) This text is twice applied by Paul to Christ (Rom. 14:11. Phil. 2:10), in proof of his regal and judicial sovereignty. It does not necessarily predict that all shall be converted to him, since the terms are such as to include both a voluntary and a compulsory submission, and in one of these ways all without exception shall yet recognize him as their rightful sovereign.

24. Only in Jehovah have I, says he (or says one), righteousness and strength; unto him shall he (or shall one or shall they) come, and all that were incensed (or inflamed) at him shall be ashamed. The general meaning evidently is that God alone can justify or give protection.

25. In Jehovah shall be justified and boast themselves (or glory) all the seed of Israel. This verse is intended to wind up the previous addresses to the gentiles with a solemn declaration of their true relation to the chosen people, as composed of those who really believed and feared God, whether Jews or gentiles. This principle was recognized in every admission of a proselyte to the communion of the ancient church, and at the change of dispensations it is clearly and repeatedly asserted as a fundamental law of Christ's kingdom under every variety of form (See Rom. 10:12. Gal. 3:28, 29. Col. 3:11.)