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an important event, often affecting a number of interests; and it frequently happens that when factions arise, attendant on a change of government, the cause is to be found both in him who rules and those who are governed. That, however, was not the case with respect to the disorders that existed in the kingdom of Israel, during the reign of David. That he was not perfect with regard to his official capacity, any more than in his individual character, is admitted; but still he was free from those royal defects with which his predecessor, and most of those who came after him, were chargeable. He possessed such personal excellences, and was so well adapted in every way to govern God's chosen people, and to carry out his designs with respect to them, that he is said by the Almighty himself to have been “a man after his own heart," and free from fault, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. Whatever tumults there might be in the kingdom, they were to be traced to the people, or were attendant on the changes that were introduced, and not chargeable on him individually.
So Jesus Christ was the beloved of the Father -his servant, whom he upheld-his elect, in whom his soul delighted* _with whom he was well pleased, because he came to do his will. In the setting up of his kingdom in the world, difficulties were experienced, and opposition presented itself, which were all foreseen by him, who knew that these would be the result of the uninviting character of his government, to the rebellious and corrupt race among whom his throne was to be set up. Hence he said, “I
* Isa. xlii. 1.
am come to send fire on the earth.”
66 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth : I came not to send peace, but a sword.”+ This was the result of the contact of the principles of his gospel and government with those of a fallen world; but nothing was chargeable, either upon him personally or the doctrines which he taught, yet he was reproached with being the author of discontent and disaffection, one that stirred up the people."# To oppose him the rulers stood up, and the kings of the earth took counsel, but failed in every attempt to make out a charge against him. This opposition is still manifested; but the better his kingdom is understood, the more readily will his authority be recognized, and ultimately, as “the desire of all nations," he will be acknowledged and received by the whole world.
2. The difficulties of David arose from quarters from which opposite things might have been justly expected.
Generally speaking, when any one takes the rule over others, the main thing to be looked at is the right which he possesses to exercise it; and provided the authority can be clearly shown, this circumstance often weighs down all other considerations; and even the want of qualifications is not always thought a sufficient reason for rejecting his government. This the Jews of old ought to have understood, as instances were to be found in their history in which persons had been received and submitted to by them, who made their right the principal thing * Luke xii. 49.
of Matt. x. 34. I Luke xxiii.
§ Haggai ii. 7.
upon which their claim to regard was founded. In the case of David, however, as far at least as many of the people were concerned, it was not so. That he had been divinely appointed they must have known, for he was anointed in the midst of his brethren, and Samuel made a feast to the elders of the city on that occasion.* Besides, he had said that the Lord had rent the kingdom from Saul, and given it to a neighbour of his, who was better than hef And what was the ground upon which the men of Israel objected to the reign of David ? It was the meanness of his origin-the obscurity of his father's house and family. Looking at these things more than the circumstances by which his claims to regal dignity were established, they were disaffected towards him, and said, " Who will show us any good? What portion have we in the son of Jesse ? ”I
In the same way, because our Lord was related to those of no importance in the world, and in mean circumstances, his claim to sovereign power was denied; and though there was such a perfect correspondence between the ancient predictions given of him and his character and circumstances, in addition to the miracles which he wrought, they would not have him to reign over them. He experienced more opposition from the Jews than from the Gentiles. “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own
* 1 Sam. xv. 28.
+ Psa. iv. 6.
received him not."* David was a type of Christ,
IV. In the settlement of his government.
1. This was by the submission of his people to his sceptre.
All the, designs and purposes of God concerning man, contemplate him as a rational being, and the service which he requires of him is of a reasonable character. Had it been demanded of the Jews to yield obedience to David, simply on account of the Divine appointment, in the absence of qualifications in him, God would not have dealt with them in a way consistent with their character. They were, therefore, to be convinced that he was fit to reign over them; and to satisfy them as to this, a number of circumstances took place, in which his ability to exercise the regal authority was made manifest. Enemies were subdued, and talents for government were brought to light. “ God kept him to be head of the heathen." +
So it was with Jesus Christ, He, as possessing Deity, is entitled to the obedience of all his creatures; but he deals with them as with rational beings, and gives them to see in him enough to satisfy them as to the propriety of his unlimited rule over their hearts. They acknowledge him as their king, give themselves up to him, and rest in him. And like David, Christ has "the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession."#
2. This settlement was effected by the use of * John i. 10. † 2 Sam. xxii. 44. | Psa. ii. 8.
means in connection with the Divine appointment and blessing.
Men are ever prone to extremes, and in nothing do they show this more than in regard to the Divine purposes concerning them, and the use of the means by which they are to be accomplished. Either on the one hand they rely presumptously on Almighty aid, or on the other, use means as if it were in the power of them alone to bring about the end proposed. Indeed it is difficult to keep the right medium here. David himself was not perfect in this respect, for while he sometimes employed his efforts as if nothing depended upon himself, there were other occasions when he seemed to forget the Divine appointment and the covenant God had made, and then he said, “Surely I shall one day fall by the hand of Saul;"* but God, who had ordained the means as well as the end, was pleased to crown his exertions with success, and his throne became established in righteousness.
Thus it is with the cause and kingdom of Christ our Lord; though his dominion is as sure as the counsel of God could make it, this does not preclude the use of means for its establishment. Times there have been when its advocates have been ready to despair of success, like the friends of David, but it has gone on, and will ultimately possess a universal control.
• 1 Sam. xxvii. 1.
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