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of his flesh he exercised the most unlimited authority over . diseases, devils, and the very elements, so now every thing, whether designedly, or against its will, fulfils his unerring counsels—
We shall the less wonder at his elevation to a throne, if we consider II. His qualifications for the regal office His being called by any name, imports that He really is what he is called—He is therefore 1. A wonderful Counsellor" [He, in concert with the Father, formed the stupendous plan of man's redemption, a plan in which are contained all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge"—Moreover in executing this plan, he has not only defeated all the plots and devices of Satan, but has invariably overruled them for the accomplishment of his own designs—His people too he endues with “wisdom from above,” enabling them to discern things hidden from the carnal eye, and guiding them in the way to heaven, so that a wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein'—Who that has known ever so small a part of his Ways, must not exclaim with amazement, How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!—] 2. The mighty God
[Angels and magistrates are sometimes called gods in a subordinate sense; but He is “the Mighty God,” “God with us,” “even God over all blessed for ever”—The dispensations, both of his providence and grace, manifest him to be a “God, wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working”—Indeed, if he were not God, he never could bear upon his shoulder the government of the universe—He must be omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, or else he never could hear the supplications, and supply the wants, of all his people at the same instant—However strange therefore it may seem, He who was a little child, was at the same time the mighty God; it was “the Lord of glory that was crucified;”, it was “God who Purchased the church with his own blood.”8] 3. The everlasting Father - - [This title respects not his relation to the Deity (for with respect to that, he is the Son and not the Father) but rather . his relation to his spiritual seed, whom he has begotten by his
* These are by many considered as two distinct titles: but, if we
unite them, each title will have its proper attribute.
word and Spirit— But perhaps the words should rather have been translated; “The Father of the everlasting age”—The Jewish dispensation was intended to continue but for a limited time; but the Christian dispensation was never to be succeeded by any other: hence it is called “the last times;” and may be considered as “the everlasting age”—Of this Christ is the author; it owes its existence to him as its parent; it is preserved by his guardian care; and the whole family in heaven and earth who participate its blessings, both bear his image, and inherit his glory—]
4. The Prince of Peace
[In all which Christ has done, whether in planning or executing the work of redemption, he has consulted the peace and welfare of his people—It was to purchase their peace that he became incarnate and died upon the cross—It was to bestow on them the blessings of peace, that he assumed the reins of government, and undertook to manage all their concerns— Peace was the legacy which he left to his church when he was just departing from this world; and, on his ascension, he poured it down like a river on myriads of his blood-thirsty enemies: yea, at this very hour does he dispense it according to his own sovereign will, and impart it, with royal munificence, to all the subjects in his kingdom—J
This subject furnishes us with abundant reason 1. For admiration
[If all heaven was filled with wonder at the sight of their incarnate God, and if the “Angels yet desire to look into" that “great mystery of godliness,” how marvellous should it appear in our syes!—Let us then adore with reverence what we cannot comprehend; and exclaim with profoundest wonder, “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift”—]
2. For gratitude
[Has the mighty God become a little child for us, and shall we regard his condescension with indifference?—Is he governing and overruling every thing for our good, and shall we feel no sense of his kindness?—Let us rather say, What shall I render to the Lord for all the benefits he has done unto me?—] - - 3. For devotedness to God
[If the government be upon his shoulder, we should shew ourselves willing to have it there, and submit ourselves cheer. fully to his authority—In vain shall we regard him as the source and foundation of our peace, unless we yield ourselves to him as the governor of our lives—l
I. The name and work of the Messiah
CLXIV. ch. RIs T SAv ING BY HIS UNITED of F1 ces.
Zech. vi. 12, 13. Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold, the man whose name is The BRANCH: and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a Priest upon his throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. o
MANY of the most important prophecies were introduced with remarkable and appropriate signs—When God foretold to Moses the deliverance of his people from their bondage in Egypt, he appeared to him in a burning bush, which represented the state of his church as persecuted on every side, but preserved from injury by his presence in it—Thus was Joshua the high-priest now made to receive an honour which described in a very significant manner the glory and dignity of the promised Messiah—Some of the Jews who had chosen to remain in Babylon after that their brethren had returned to their own land, shewed that they were not altogether unmindful of their brethren or their God, by bringing a present of gold and silver for the use of the newly erected temple: and God instantly commanded that two crowns should be made of the gold and silver, and that these crowns should, in the presence of the doners, be put upon the head of Joshua: then, in explanation of this sign, the prophet was ordered to direct their attention to the promised Messiah, in whom all honour and power, whether regal or priestly, should be combined"—
This prophecy will lead us to consider
Christ is here referred to as “the man whose name is The BRAN ch”
[Frequently is he characterized by the prophets under
this appellation"—Its import is, that he was to be a scion or
shoot springing out of the stem of Jesse, that is, to be born of
the house of David, when it was cut down and reduced to the lowest states—but though he was to appear in such a weak and mean condition, yet he was to “sit upon the throne of his
* Ver, 9–11. o. b Ch. iii. 8. Isai. iv. 2. * Isai. xi. 1. and liii. 2.
f Vol. II. - H h
father David and to reign for ever”—Nor can we err in applying this prophecy to Christ, since another prophet, speaking of him by the very same name, expatiates in exalted terms upon the glory of his majesty, and declares that the name whereby he should be still more eminently distinguished,
should be, JEHev AH our RIGHTEousNEss"–In due time he
“grew up out of his place,” both out of Bethlehem, where he was born, and out of Nazareth, where he was brought up— We do not indeed find him called “The Branch” by any of the New Testament writers; but, as the place where this branch was to grow up is so particularly specified, it is not impossible but that this prophecy received its accomplishment in that contemptuous appellation given to him, “ The Nazarene:” at all events it was fulfilled in that title so often ascribed to him, “The Son of David”—] * -
The work to which he was appointed was, to build the
temple [The material temple was now rebuilding under the auspices of Zerubbabel and Joshua–In reference to that, the prophet speaks of another temple (of which that which was now erecting was but a type or shadow) which should in due time be raised by the Messiah himself ; and he repeats his declaration both to denote the great importance of it, and the certainty of its accomplishment—This temple is no other than the church of God, which Jesus Christ has founded on the earth, and against which neither the power nor the policy of hell shall ever prevails—
To him also, as the only builder, was to be given all “ the glory” [Whatever instruments he uses, they can effect nothing but through the agency of his Spirit—Whether Paul plant or Apollos water, it is Christ alone that can give increase"— The workmen in the material temple might say of the carved work, This and that was the work of my hands; it was formed by my skill, and is a monument of my power: but, in the church of God, there is not one stone laid in the whole building, which was not dug from the quarry, fitted for its place, and fixed in its station by the hand of Jesus: and the chisel has as much right to boast against him who worketh with it, as any instrument, which the Lord may use, has to arrogate to himself any part of his honour"—When the top-stone shall be brought forth with shoutings, there shall not be one in heaven
d Jer. xxiii. 5, 6. * Matt. ii. 23. The Hebrew word Metzer sig
nifies a Branch. * Matt. xx. 30, 31. and xxi. 9. g Matt. xvi. 18. Eph. ii. 20, 21. h I Cor. iii. 7. i Isai. x. 15.
(164) christ saving by His UNITED offices. 233
or earth who will not ascribe the glory to the divine architect, crying, Grace, grace unto it"— As his work was to be glorious, so were also II. The offices whereby he was to execute that work Mean as his appearance was, he was appointed to bear the highest offices 1. He was to rule both as a king and as a priest [As “King of kings and Lord of lords,” he erects his throne over all in heaven and earth—But he exercises also a government which the Father has committed to him in his mediatorial capacity—This relates more immediately to the church, the minutest concerns of which are all subject to his controll—But though a king, he executes also the office of a priest; and appeared to the apostle arrayed in priestly westments, in token that he still carries on the work which he began on earth"—In him the kingly power of Zerubbabel, and the priestly office of Joshua, were to be united : and it was for this reason that both the crowns were put upon the head of . Joshua, who in so remarkable a manner represented him— Being “a priest upon his throne,” his government was to be mild, like that of a compassionate priest; and his intercession effectual, like that of an almighty King—J 2. By these united offices he was to perform the work assigned him - - - "[The salvation of men has been contrived by infinite wisdom, and is effected only in that way which God has appointed–It is not accomplished either by power alone or by price alone; but by price and by power—Christ in his priestly office atones; and in his kingly office imparts the benefit of that atonement: “the counsel of peace is between them both.” —However meritorious the death of Christ might be as a sacrifice, we could receive no salvation by it, unless he exert his almighty power to renew and sanctify our nature; nor, on the other hand, would his grace be sufficient to bring us unto God, unless he had offered a sacrifice for our sins, and continued in heaven to make intercession for us—But by making satisfaction to the injured Majesty of heaven, and delivering us out of the hands of all our spiritual enemies, he both effects our reconciliation with God, and renders us meet for our heavenly inheritance—] INFER * t 1. What abundant provision has God made for our peace!
Zech. iv. 7. | Eph. i. 22. * Rev. i. 13.