God had told the Jews, Mal_4:5,6, that he would send them Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadfulday of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to thechildren, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest (saith he) I come and smite the earth with a curse. This prophecy related to John the Baptist, as our Saviour here teacheth us; so, Luk_1:17, it is confirmed by the angel to Zacharias, and Mar_9:11. From which last text it appeareth, that the scribes had a tradition, that Elias should come before the Messiah. Their mistake was that they looked for an Elias to come in person, whenas God meant no more (as the angel expounds it, Luk_1:17) than one in the spirit andpower of Elias, as bold and free a preacher, who should no more fear the face of men in the discharge of his duty than Elias did. Saith our Saviour, if you will believe, this John was that Elias prophesied of by Malachi.