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consisted in great part in its excellent institutions, and the wise laws by which it was governed.
In the best communities, while human nature remains imperfect, defects will discover themselves and irregularities arise, calling for the enactment and administration of judicious and equitable regulations; and it is essential to the well-being of society, that while these, on the one hand, are of such a nature as to be as nearly as possible adapted to every supposeable case, on the other, the reverence paid to legislative interference should be such as to prevent its being invoked on every trifling occasion. The kingdom of Israel being under a Theocracy, its code of laws was of Divine origin. They were given by God himself; but still this was the case, with respect to many of them, rather of the principle than the detail. They were to be explained and applied by the civil magistrate as occasion required. While this regulation gave opportunity for the exercise of Solomon's peculiar wisdom, it sometimes led to its being displayed in a remarkable manner. Long before he was invested with regal authority, it was prophesied of him, “ He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.—He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and break in pieces the oppressor. — He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.-He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.”* All that is here
* Psa. lxxii. 2, 4, 13, 14.;
predicted of him was accomplished in a very eminent degree. His hands were prepared to adjust the balance of right and wrong. He discovered no partiality to rich or poor, and even in some remarkably critical cases, showed the most profound wisdom and justice; but in few instances was this seen more than in that of the two mothers who sought his decision with respect to their children.*
All the blessings that were expected to flow to the kingdom of Israel from Solomon and his government, are found in a much higher sense in Christ and the gospel state. The administration of its affairs is committed to our Lord, and by him they are conducted with infinite wisdom for the glory of God and the happiness of its subjects. He is the king that was to reign in righteousness,t and righteousness was to be the girdle of his loins. In his hands are the destinies of men, and the invisible world is subject to his control. He opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens. $ The most ingeniously-concealed characters are open to his eyes, and nothing can be concealed from him. Though he now bears long with offenders, yet he will not always endure, but will render to every man according to his deeds. .
As in the case of Solomon, while no class is excluded from the benefits of his reign, the interests of the poor are especially regarded. What Isaiah said of him is perfectly fulfilled. “ With righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the * 1 Kings iii. 16.
+ Isa. xxxii, 1. Isa. xi. 5.
§ Rev. iii. 7.
earth: 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 the poor have the gospel preached them.” “Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”
This may be seen to be the character of his administration now, but it will be more especially manifested in the latter days of his reign. He will then “send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;" $ and every one shall dwell in safety in the enjoyment of " abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth."Il
4. The glory of the kingdom of Solomon consisted also in the enjoyment of internal and external repose.
The tranquillity of a nation depends very much upon two circumstances—the favourable aspect of Providence, and the pacific disposition of those by whom its affairs are administered. To maintain that war of every kind, and in all circumstances, may be dispensed with, seems absurd—at least in the present state of the world; for as, from various causes, hostilities in society will arise, unless all the human race can agree to adjust their differences in another way, the non-resistance of some will only expose them to the greater injury from others : nor does it appear that such passive submission in all cases is required by the word of God. * Isa. xi. 4. + Matt, ii. 5. James ii. 5. § Matt. xiii, 41.
|| Psa. lxxii, 7,
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There is, however, a very great difference arising from the dispositions of those in authority. As they are disposed for peace, or otherwise, circumstances will be construed to justify or not to sanction an offensive or defensive position; but, in the case of Solomon, peace was guaranteed by both the above contributing circumstances. In his own temper and cast of mind he was eminently peaceful; and in the providence of God, events were so ordered during his reign, that there was little or nothing tempting him to invade the rights of others, or requiring him to protect his own by shedding of blood. All this was implied in the announcement made to his father prior to his birth, when it was said to him, “Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days.”*
In this respect Solomon was a type of Christ. At the time our Lord became incarnate, all was peace on the earth; and it was proclaimed at his birth, “ Glory to God in the highest; on earth peace, good-will to men.” He is emphatically “ The Prince of Peace.” of The immediate effect of his gospel, it is true, was to kindle fire on the earth, and to set a man at variance with his father: and many have been the instances in which strife and contention have taken place among his followers. And even now, the gospel kingdom is far from being one of perfect tranquillity; but this circumstance is not by any means sufficient to * 1 Chron. xxii. 9.
Isa. ix. 6.
give a character to his kingdom. It is rather the exception than the general result; and besides that, it is to the latter days of that kingdom, rather than the present aspect, that the kingdom of Solomon pointed as a type; and we know the day is coming when men “ shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” *
5. The glory of a kingdom consists in its possessing ample supplies of the means of grace and religion.
For these the reign of Solomon was remark. able; and in them it prefigured the kingdom of Christ no less than in the other particulars we have named; for of all the undertakings by which his predecessors became remarkable, there was no one like him in erecting a house for God. And is not Christ to build the temple of the Lord, and to bear the glory? + But as this will be noticed when the temple is considered, it will not be here enlarged upon.
Solomon was a type of Christ,
II. In the relation which the glory of his kingdom bore to himself.
1. It was the result of the great love which God had for him.
This love was distinguished by its freeness as well as its extent. Jehovah had long before declared himself “a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate him; and showing mercy unto thousands
• Isa. ii. 4.