صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

when he described the reciprocity, the even fellowship, and the equal community of works and attributes, which subsisted in the divine unity between his father and himself-he indirectly

, but indubitably, asserted his claim to the nature and character of God.

When he manifested an intuitive knowledge of the thoughts and secret murmurings of men, and thus, in conformity with his own declaration, evinced that he is the searcher of the reins and the hearts—when he effected his own miracles (as well as those of his apostles) and thus controled or altered, by his powerful fiat, the established order of nature—more espepecially when he burst asunder the bonds of death, and quickened again his own mortal body-he brought into exercise the attributes, and displayed the powers, of deity.

When that act of worship was addressed to him, which was indignantly rejected by an apostle, and by an angel, because they were creatures, and was so addressed to him as plainly to indicate religious faith and spiritual adoration, he was the ob ject of those honors which are due to God only ; and when notwithstanding his acknowledged humility, he freely admited such honors, he again bore a virtual testimony to the truth of his own divinity.

When many glorious collateral circumstances accompanied the several parts of his human history—when the multitud: nous chorus of angels hallowed his nativity ; when the grea est of human prophets ushered in his ministry ; when men and devils, and the very winds, were subdued by his presence; when darkened and agitated nature owned his death: these things were all in harmony with the stupendous fact

, that God was manifest in the flesh.

Lastly, when the prophets, with reference successively to the birth, the life, and the crucifixion, of the Messiahı, describe him as God with us, as the mighty God, as the Lord coming to his own temple, as Jehovah, whose ways were prepared by Elijah, or by “ the voice crying in the wilderness," as Jehovah sent by Jehovah to dwell among his people, as Jehovah whom the Israelites persecuted and pierced when the writers of the New Testament, without reserve or hesitation, apply of these prophecies to our Saviour and when the apostle Thomas, a'ie winessing the truth of his resurrection, call him his Lord and his God--these inspired servants of the mighty confirm and fasten the whole preceding

series of this dence, and place on the doctrine of the eternal divinity of Jesus Christ, as it is connected with his abode on earth, an its telligible and irrefragable seal.




Among the numerous prophecies of Scripture, which declare the coming, and depict the character and offices, of our Lord Jesus Christ, there are few which do not make some mention of his reign in glory. The very name by which he was known among the ancient Jews was indeed immediately connected with his regality. The Messiah—the anointed one

-who was to sit for ever on the throne of David, proclaiming restoration to Israel, and dispensing judgment and righteousness to the world at large, was the object their fondest expectations; and these expectations were founded on the declarations of holy men of old, who “ spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost :" 1 Pet. i, 21.

In many of the predictions alluded to, the description of the reign of the Messiah is combined with various details respecting the prior circumstances of his mission : as in Mic. v. 2, 3 : Zech. ix, 9. Others of them, however, relate to Christ solely in his character of a monarch. “ I will declare the decree,' said the Messiah, in the second Psalm, “ JEHOVAH hath said unto me, Thou art my Son : this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron : thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise now, therefore, Oye kings! be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with sear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him :" 7-12 : comp. Acts xiii, 33 : Heb. i, v. In another of the Psalms, a sublime description of Israel's Messiah is presented to us under the type of the “king's son :" . He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass, as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace so long as the moon endur rethi He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wil. derness shall bow before him, and his enemies shall lick the dust. ...... Yea, all kings shall fall down before him ; all nations shall serve him. For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth, the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy His name shall endure for ever. His name shall be

continued as long as the sun; and men shall be blessed in bim : all nations shall call him blessed :" Ps. lxxii, 6–9. 1113. 17.

The “ Prince of Peace” was one of the most distinguishing titles of the child who was to be born of a virgin. “Of the increase of his government and peace," exclaims the prophet

, “there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and even for ever :" Isa. ix, 6, 7. Again, “He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, until he have set judgment in the earth : and the isles shall wait for his law :" Isa. xlii, 4.

Therefore will I save my flock," said Jehovah by his prophet Ezekiel, “ and they shall no more be a prey,

and I will judge between cattle and cattle. And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant DAVID ; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David a prince amongst them ....... And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen ay more :" ch. xxxiv, 22--29.

In the vision of Nebuchadnezzar, recorded by Daniel, the kingdom which the “God of heaven” would 6 set up”—that is, doubtless, the kingdom of the Messiah-was represented by the stone cut out without hands, which “ became a great mountain and filled the whole earth ;" and that eminent prophet hus recorded the particulars of another glorious revelation, which

was made, on the same subject, to himself: " I saw in the | night-visions,” says he, “and behold one like the son of man

came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people

, nations, and languages, should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and his king: dom that which shall not be destroyed :” vii, 13, 14.

Such are a few of the declarations of ancient prophecy res specting that son of David and son of God, who was to arise in due season, to be the Shepherd and Prince of Israel, and the supreme governor of the world at large. Other predictions of a similar import may be found in 2 Sam. vii

, 12–17: comp. Heb. i,5: Ps. xlv, 1—7: comp. Heb. i, 8, 9; cx, 1-4: comp. Matt. xxii, 44: Heb. i, 13: Isa. xxxii, 1, 2; lv, 3, 4: comp. Acts xiii, 34 : Jer. xxiii, 5, 6 ; xxxiii, 15: Ézek. xxxvii, 21 ix, 9, 10; comp. Matt, xxi, 5. --24: Dan. ix, 25: Mic. V, 2--4: comp. Matt. ii, 6: Zech.

I have not hesitated to cite these numerous prophecies as directly applicable to our subject, because their relation to the Messiah is, for the most part, acknowledged by both Jews and Christians. For, although some of the Jews have attempted, by a strained interpretation, to apply a very few of these predictions solely to their temporal monarchs; and although, in

this work of perversion, the Christian commentator has now and then very strangely supported them; yet, on a general view of these numerous, yet accordant, passages, it must, I think, be confessed, by all who acknowledge the divine authority of the Old Testament, that the great person whose cha

racter and circumstances are thus unfolded is he whom, from the tenor and language of these very prophecies, the Hebrews have so long been accustomed to denominate the Messiah. Now, the Christian, who is thus far accompanied by the Jew, is of course prepared to advance a step farther, and to allow that the Anointed King of Israel, of whom the prophets have 150 explicitly testified, is no other than Jesus Christ, the Head of his own church—"the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords ;"

Rev. xix, 16;) and in this conclusion he is amply confirmed, not only by that internal evidence which so powerfully be

speaks for these predictions an evangelical interpretation, but by the direct application of many of them to our Saviour, in the inspired volume of the New Testament: see Matt. xxi, 5; xxii, 44: Acts xiii, 33, 34: Heb. i, 5. 8, 9. 13: Rev. ii, 27, &c. : comp. Luke i, 30_-33.

If, then, it be admitted that Jesus Christ is the true subject of all these descriptions, the inquiry immediately suggests itself, to what period of his recorded history they are more especially to be understood as applying; and the answer to this inquiry I conceive to be very plain. Although the Word, or Son of the Father, was the spiritual king of Israel before his incarnation, and although his divine authority over his people was sometimes exerted even during his abode on earth, yet, on a general view of the annals of evangelical truth, we can scarcely fail to perceive, that the precise application of these glowing predictions is to that part of the history of the Son of God which commenced with his ascension, which still continues, and which, as far as relates to the mediatorial economy, (and so far only) is represented as terminating in the great day of final and universal retribution.

After the Lord Jesus had conversed with his disciples, for many days, subsequently to his resurrection, “ he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight:" Acts i, 9. Then it was, as we learn from other passages of Holy Writ, that he

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

entered into glory unsearchable and eternal. The "everlasting doors” of heaven were opened to receive their “King." Having triumphed over all his spiritual enemies, and trodden on the serpent's head, the Son of God resumed his station « far above all heavens, that he might fill all things :" Eph. iv, 10. “ Being the brightness of the Father's) glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had, by himself, purged our sins, (he) sat on the right hand of the Majesty on High :” Heb. i, 3. Then did the Father highly exalt him, and give him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess, that Je. sus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father:" Phil. ü, 9-11.

These and other passages in the writings of the evangelists and apostles, descriptive of the power and exaltation of the Messiah, admit of a close comparison with the prophecies al." ready cited; and thus are we placed in possession of the cor responding testimony of the two constituent parts of the Bible to the same branch of Divine Truth to the same part of the revealed history of the Son of God. Although, therefore, the accomplishment of these prophecies respecting the univers and unbounded reign of Jesus is to be regarded as progressive and may be very far at present from its full completion, yet tile commencement of that accomplishment is obviously to be fised at the glorious period when he quitted the sphere of his per: sonal humiliation,—when he “ascended up on high” and “led captivity captive.”

Having premised these observations respecting the part of our Lord's history to which the predictions cited above are most properly applicable, we may proceed to examine the in formation which may be derived from the scriptural descrip

, tions of the Messiah's reign in glory, respecting the nature and character of the Messiah himself; and this examination wil be the more interesting, because it relates to a period still continuing ; and will therefore be the means of instructing us in what point of view we are ourselves to regard the Saviour of Mankind, and what are the dispositions and duties towards himself, which he is actually now requiring at our hands. In the first place, then, I would observe, that the Messiah

, in his reign, as well as in the preceding divisions of his history, is declared in Scripture to be the Mediator between God and Man. As God has redeemed, so he also governs, the world

, through Jesus Christ; and, in this respect, as well as in many

[merged small][ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »