THE teachers of the ancient church were of two sorts:
1. Ordinary, the priests and Levites.
2. Extraordinary, the prophets. These were immediately called by God, and inspired, as with other singular gifts and graces, so particularly with a supernatural knowledge of Divine mysteries, and of future things, and invested by God with an authority superior not only to the ordinary teachers of the church, but in some sort even to the civil powers of the nation. These holy prophets, whose writings are contained in the sacred Scripture, are sixteen. Of these Isaiah is first in place, and, as may seem probable, in time also. But undoubtedly he was contemporary with Hosea, whom others suppose to have been before him. Compare Isa_1:1, with Hos_1:1. The Jews tell us that he was of the blood royal of Judah, which is uncertain. But undoubtedly he was the prince of all the prophets, whether we consider the great extent and variety of his prophecies, the excellency and sublimity of those mysteries which were revealed to him and by him, the majesty and elegancy of his style, or the incomparable liveliness and power of his sermons. He doth so evidently and fully describe the person, and offices, and sufferings, and kingdom of Christ, that some of the ancients called him the fifth evangelist. And it is observed, that there are more testimonies and quotations in the New Testament taken out of Isaiah than out of all the other prophets.