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bearen, he receives the Gentiles which were then promised unto him.
And again, the words “of me,” are not spoken without a particular meaning. They are to show, that this kingdom and this inheritance of the Gentiles are conferred on Christ, not by men, nor in any human way, but of God; that is, spiritually.
And this is one of those passages against which they rashly fight, who deny that any are Christians, but those who are under the Pope of Rome. For such endeavour to make God the Father a liar; because, he subjected the uttermost parts of the earth unto Christ; whereas, they will have it, that all Europe is not yet put under him. What! can there be no Christians there because the Turk or the Scythean reign there temporally? How then did there exist Christians at Rome under Nero and Domitian? What! are there no bishops there because they do not buy bishops' robes ? Are there no priests there because they do not hang up geese ? What if it be found, that those are the more truly bishops who are the most free from opulence, pomp, and pride? For Paul certainly describes bishops, Acts xx. 28, as those who take heed unto the flock and feed the church of God.
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God.” And though he is here speaking to the elders, (as Hieronymus plainly collects from the text, and has shown from the words
, take heed,' which are, in the original, of a kindred signification): yet cannot the ruling of the church and the taking heed unto the flock be done by the ministry of the Word and prayer only, without all that noise and tumult of the bishops which now every where prevail ?
Let us therefore (lest we should contract and confine the inheritance of Christ) not accuse the word of this psalm of a lie, either on account of the perfidy of the Turks, or on account of any other multitude of erroneous men. Otherwise, who even among us shall know who are Christians in truth? Do not wicked men
abound among us also, while good men are few? The authority of the Word is greater than all our capacity. How much greater, then, is it than all our suspicion, and the phantom of external appearance ?
Augustine thinks that there is a tautology here : that is, that the inheritance of the Gentiles, and the possession of the uttermost parts of the earth are the same: which tautology, as I have before said, is a sign of the thing being established by God, that our faith may rest upon it the more securely :-namely, that there are Christians also in other parts of the world, where other apostles have preached, how much soever wickedness may there prevail.
Verse 9.—Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron, and break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
Here again the vain dreams of the flesh are to be removed out of the way, that no one might imagine to himself
, that the kingdom of Christ is either gotten or preserved by iron or arms : because it is written, that he delightetń not in chariots, nor in horses, nor in the legs of a man. Psalm xx. 7. And the apostle saith, 2 Cor. x. 4, “ For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.” And the Turks, whom at this day we never seek to conquer by any other means than by the sword, we ought to conquer by increasing the number of Christians among them. Why do we not attack with the sword also the wicked among ourselves, especially the great ones of the people? But God forbid.
But God forbid. The kingdom of Christ consists in righteousness, truth, and peace. By these things it was obtained, and by the same it will be preserved. And hence, above, when he said that he was appointed king, he recommended no other office whatever besides that of the Word : saying, “ I will declare the command of God:” not, I will ride horses, not I will lay waste cities, not I will seek the treasures of the world : but, I will do this one thing, declare those things which God hath commanded : that is, that Christ is God and Man: which Paul, Rom. i. 1, calls the gospel : saying, “Separated unto the gospel
of God, which he had promised afore, concerning his Son Jesus Christ, &c.”
You see, therefore, that the whole of this verse is allegorical ; and not without cause ; for it signifies a certain allegory which really takes place in fact and life. For as the word of Christ is the word of salvation and peace, the word of grace and life; and as it works these things
, not in the flesh, but in the spirit; it of necessity follows, that it subdues and drives out the safety, peace, life, and ease of the flesh. And where it does this, it appears unto the flesh harder and more unfeeling than iron itself. For wherever the carnal man is savingly touched by the Word of God, one thing is felt, and another is wrought: namely, that of 1 Sam. ü. 6, 7, “The Lord killeth and maketh alive; he bringeth down to the grave and bringeth up. He bringeth low and
This allegorical work of God is beautifully described by Isaiah, xxviii. 21, “That he may do his work, his is a strange work; that he may bring to pass his act, his is a strange act.” As if he had said, Though God is the God of life and salvation, and these are his proper works; yet, in order to accomplish these, he kills and destroys, that he may thereby come unto his proper work. For he kills our will, that he may establish his own in us. He mortifies the flesh and its desires, that he may implant the Spirit and his desires.
And this is the same thing as that which he said above without allegory. “Declaring the command of God." For the Spirit receives the Word of God as a most sweet commandment: and it is then that the holy mountain Zion becomes a kingdom, the heathen an inberitance, and the uttermost parts of the earth a possession. But the flesh militates against the command, or Word of God, with the greatest indignation, and will not acknowledge it, because it is utterly, and in all things, contrary to it. And therefore, it receives it as a rod, and as iron that breaks it in pieces. And this is the allegory completed, both in the signification of this
verse, and in the exemplification of it in fact and experience.
“ Thou shalt rule them,” is, in the Hebrew, THROEM: which Hieronymus translates, “ Thou shalt feed them.” But John Reuchlin in his Rudiments, gives us many significations of this word ;--namely, 'to feed,' 'to rule,” “to consume,' 'to afflict,' and 'to shake or break and bruise in pieces.' And this last signification, as far as I am capable of judging, is the most applicable to the present passage. First, because a “ rod of iron,” as every one knows, is more fit for bruising and breaking in pieces, than for ruling or feeding. And secondly, had ruling in die been signified, it would have been sufficient to have said !'rod” only. And, for feeding, neither iron nor a rod is rightly adapted. For what can a rod of iron' do but 5 ml line bruise and break in pieces ? according to that of Daniel ii. 40. “ For as much as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things:" so also, shall this break and bruise all things in pieces. Add to this, that this kind of tautology beautifully agrees with the meaning of the passage: because, it now follows, “and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel :” so that this ruling, and this dashing in pieces, signify the same thing.
By each of these expressions is signified the humbling of the proud by the Word of God: because, he then breaks and dashes in pieces when he terrifies and humbles. Thus, Acts ii. 37, “They were converted and pricked by the word of Peter; and cried and said, Men and brethren, what shall we do?' And this is what is called in other places of the scripture rebukes,' the 'moving of the world,' the shaking of the earth,' &c. But Micah iv. 13, the most beautifully of all, saith, “Arise and thresh, () daughter of Sion : for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass; and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and shalt consecrate the spoils of them unto the Lord, (that is, the people themselves, as a spoil taken from the devil,) and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.” Behold, then, what it is to rule them with a rod of iron :
namely, to break in pieces many people with a horn of iron, (as the prophet here saith.)
This “ rod," therefore, is the all-holy Gospel of Christ
, for this is the sceptre of his kingdom: as in Psalm xlv. 6, “ A right rod is the rod of thy kingdom.” And Psalm cx. 2, “ The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion.” And so also Isaiah xi. 4, “And he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” And what is the rod of the mouth of Christ, but the Word of God, which breaks in pieces the earth; that is, those that follow after earthly things ? And what is the breath of his mouth, but the same word of his breath, with which he slays the wicked, that they might die unto ungodliness and live unto godliness? This is the rod wbose top, in the hand of Joseph, Jacob adored, Gen. xlix. This is the rod the top of which the blessed Esther kissed, Esther v. 2.
It is called a “ rod” metaphorically, or rather allegorically. First: because it is slender and easy to be carried, so
be borne in the hand; for the yoke of Christ is easy and his burden is light, Matt. xi. 30. But the hands of Moses are heavy, so that they were supported by stones put under him by Aaron and Ilur, Exod. xvi. 12: which signifies, (as Peter explains it, Acts xv. 10.) the intolerable yoke of the law. Whereas, on the contrary, the hands of Christ are laid even on infants and on the sick throughout the Gospel, that they may be healed and saved thereby.--Moses, moreover, has
great and heavy stone tables : and the Levites also used of old to bear many and heavy vessels belonging to the tabernacle, as we read Num. iv.: and these Moses calls their “ burdens :" and many and heavy burdens they certainly are, considered in themselves : but they are no burdens at all, or at least but very light, when we look at the tyrannizing laws and rites of the present day. For we at this day bear, not tables and vessels, but whole woods and rocks, and such heavy hands of popes, that the whole world together can scarcely endure
that it may