« PreviousContinue »
same effect by Paul it is said, “For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face : now I know in part; but then I shall know even as also I am known.” (1 Cor. xiii. 12.) It is the redemption of the mind of man, and the completion of his knowledge to which this part of the Redeemer's Office, this letter in his name, hath respect. Even as the former hath respect to that command over nature, and sweet subordination of it to the law of the Spirit and the will of God, which shall be afforded to every one who shall in that day be found in his likeness; the one, redemption from the tyranny of nature; the other, redemption from the darkness of ignorance.
The next letter in this naine, “El-gebor, the mighty God,” consisteth of two parts; the one essentially Divine, the other essentially human; being according to the original, “God mighty,” the word mighty being commonly used of a hero or mighty conqueror, as we would say, “ God the heroic one." Its first half hath reference, no doubt, to his name Immanuel, which also hath in it the same name of God, with the addition of his local habitation with us; while its second half hath reference to those heroic acts and achievements of war for Israel's redemption, which had just been predicted of him in the preceding
In this Prophet we have the same combination of words in the 21st verse of the xth chapter, and used in like manner of his great and powerful demonstration in behalf of Israel, when, as I judge, he shall begin to be their Immanuel : “ The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God,” El-gebor (Isa. X. 21): where, by perusing the context, it will be perceived that it is introduced in the train and sequel of that great exploit with which he shall reveal himself to his people, by breaking the Assyrian upon the mountains. This gives him a right to the title of Gebor, the Mighty One. And this mightiness maketh the people " to take hold upon his strength, and to make peace with him, and they shall make peace with him." It is by the same title of Gebor, the Mighty One, that he is described in the xlv th Psalm, as coming to conquer the love of his spouse, and to marry her for ever. And there also he introduceth himself to her by great exploits of war and conquest, wrought on her behalf. Now whatever may be said of the two former letters of his name, I do say of this one, God the Heroic One, that it hath not been accomplished, and that it is yet future : for as the man of war, the Virgin's Son, hath not revealed himself; as the Lord of hosts accomplishing whatever was foreshewn in a figure by the victories of his people Israel, when he marched at their head in the pillar of fire, the Son of Mary hath not yet appeared. We wait for him in this character, and he waiteth until the time shall come, when, as it is written in all the Prophets, he shall awake and come in his strength, and accomplish that of which old things were but the emblem and prelude, as it is written a hundred times in this Prophet. “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon ? Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over? Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head : they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” (Isa. li. 9—11.) Then his people shall call him not only Immanuel, God with us, but Elgebor, God the Mighty One.
The next letter in this comprehensive name is, “ the everlasting Father,” or as it is, being truly rendered, “ the Father of eternity, or of the eternal age.” Time by the Jews was divided into two great portions, the age that is, and the age that is to come ; meaning by the former the duration of their captivity, affliction, and waiting for Messiah ; and by the latter, the eternity of their triumph, and rejoicing, and kingdom, in the presence of Messiah. The eternal age of which the child is here called the Father, is the latter of these two, according to the word of St. Paul, «For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world (age) to come, whereof we speak.” (Heb. ii. 5.) The character of that age is thus described by the Lord, “ And Jesus answering, said unto them, The children of this world (age) marry, and are given in marriage: but they which shall be accounted worthy
to obtain that world (age), and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more; for they are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection" (Luke xx. 34-36); which is spoken, not of the sojourners who shall then be upon the earth, but of the raised, in answer to the question of the Sadducees, concerning those of this present age who shall be thought worthy of the resurrection, and the eternal life of that age to come.
For it was a universal opinion among the Jews, that at the commencement of the future age the dead should be raised who had lived and died in the fear of God, and in' the hope of Messiah : who, they believed, would not disappoint their faithful expectations, but bring them along with him. Of this age it is here said that he is to be the Father, even as Satan is the father of this age, and all save those begotten unto Christ are his children : “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do :” ** According to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”—This the third syllable of Immanuel's name conveyeth to my ear the sweet and blessed intelligence, that when, in his character of the mighty God, he shall have cast out all his and our enemies, and the chief of them, that piercing serpent, as is set forth in due order in the xix th and xx th chapters of the Apocalypse, he will rule the earth as a father doth his children, in righteousness and peace; and they will obey him as children, in all love and obedience. His power, his counsel, his Divine might shall pervade every thing and make it blessed, even as Satan's power, and counsel,
, and devilish might do now pervade every thing and make it cursed. In which age to come there shall be a first period, during which his enemies are under his feet, trampled upon but not destroyed, imprisoned but not executed, in order that his royal clemency may be displayed ; and a latter period, during which they are utterly cast out and overwhelmed with the passive horrors, and inactivity of the second death. The Child shall be with them all the while the Father of the age, for his name is Immanuel, God with us. He is not now with us, but absent “ for a little while," and therefore the age is still under Satan's fatherhood : but he shall be with us again, and for eternity; then shall he be acknowledged as the Father of a!l the earth. And we who are now begotten to him by the Spirit are his children, the first-fruits, the honoured heirs of his sufferings, that we may also become the heirs of his glory.
Finally, He is the Prince of Peace. This is the last syllable of his name, and ariseth to the highest pitch of honour and dignity. It addeth the awful attribute of sovereignty, the singular majesty of royal power, to the wonderfulness of working, the wisdom of council, the almightiness of power, the graciousness and propriety of Father. It invests him with the sovereignty of the world, and crowns him Lord of all; and by adding thereto the epithet “ of Peace,” it takes out of sovereignty those attributes for which it is dreaded ; and invests it with those for which it is constituted and upheld of God as most necessary to human well-being. And as the final consummation of every scheme is that for which it is undertaken, and towards which it struggles through every impediment, this last characteristic of Immanuel to become the Prince of Peace doth shew us, that the great end and purpose for which he became incarnate of the virgin, and hath travailed in such humility, and is to come again in such fearful and terrible acts of war and destruction upon all the earth, is to bring about peace, against which Satan is so determined, and the devilish nature of wicked men so determined, that before it will give place to the power of our King, it will writhe the whole world and bring it to an agony like that of death itself. But as the devils, though they struggled to the last and almost destroyed the frame of their wretched victims before they would come forth, were yet fain to
come forth at the powerful word of Immanuel, while he was yet with us; so when he shall come to be with us again, at the same powerful word, shall they be forced to surrender the heavens and the earth, and the whole orb of humanity which they have usurped, though they shall make it shudder and be agonized, and sweat forth its blood as if ready to give up the ghost for ever. After which there will be peace. After which there will be peace, but till then never. For till then Satan shall rack the bowels, and tear the heart-strings of human peace; and stir up wars to the end of the earth for ever, until God, born of the Virgin, shall again be with us. That the end of the convulsion, on the edge of which we presently stand, and of all convulsions which shall follow till the consummation, is to bring about peace for ever, is manifest from all the Scriptures, of which I may quote as one instance out of a thousand, these verses of the xlvith Psalm : “ The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved : he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.” (Psal. xlvi. 6-11.)
If any one doubt concerning the above interpretation of this the prophecy of the incarnation, I can refer him to high authority, even that of the angel Gabriel to the blessed Virgin, and of Zacharias filled with the Holy Ghost, and of the angel to the shepherds, (interpreting the word Lord, as Jesus himself in the Gospel, and Peter, full of the Holy Ghost, doth in the üid of Acts interpret it,) and of the star to the wise men, and of the great national council when they were called together by Herod, of which witnesses every one beareth the same testimony of this Child, that he was to sit upon the throne of David, and become David's Lord, and rule over the house of Jacob for ever, and become the glory of his people Israel. And if any one doubt that he is to come again to fulfil these things which are written, I can refer him to Simon Peter's discourses in the beginning of the Acts, and to all the New Testament; as, if God giveth me time and permission, I shall yet make manifest to his church.
But this last and crowning attribute of the Child that was born of the virgin, containeth in it a deeper and more blessed mystery than the making of wars to cease unto the ends of the earth ; bringing to the troubled ear of my soul the tidings of its peace, and to the church, and to the redeemed world, in the person of the great Mediator and Peace-Maker; in whom God VOL. 1.-NO. II.
is present and powerful to reconcile the world unto himself. It presents him to my mind in his character of King-Priest, having accomplished the reconciliation, and reigning over the reconciled; the Melchisedek who, as to his person, is King of Righteousness, and, as to his dominion, is King of Salem, which is King of Peace. It presents him to my heart as the King who reigneth therein by the power of his Holy Spirit, and hath given me the victory over all my enemies : it presenteth him to my tiesh as the King who shall yet accomplish my poor body's emancipation from that vile prison house of death, by a still mightier power of that Holy Spirit whereof the residue is in his hand. It presents him to the Church as her Head, who hath broken down the middle wall of partition, which Satan had interposed between man and man, between nation and nation, making us all of every kindred and nation and tongue to love one another as he also loved us; who preserveth the unity and continuity of the Church's life against all the powers of earth, against the evil counsels of the gates of hell; and who shall present her unto himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, holy and without blemish. It presents him also as the Head of the nations, ruling and defending them from the power of Satan ; and blessing them with all the inheritance of the new covenant, which hath been confirmed to us in his death, and whereof the present Church is as it were the ark of the testimony, and the tabernacle of the witness, borne up and down the wilderness, not yet having found a place to rest. For I agree with those who think that we are not yet put in possession of that new covenant, described in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and quoted by Paul in the eighth chapter of the Hebrews, which is made to Israel, and, in her, to all the world ; (for she is, as it were, the mediatrix and mistress of the nations, at the time of her restoration) for the fourfold blessing of that covenant will by no means apply to any visible body at present on the earth ; and only in the way of an earnest will apply to the spiritual Church, which is invisible, and cannot be said to contain Israel, or, as little, to contain all men. We have had the covenant confirmed in the blood of Christ, and we have received the heavenly manna, and the waters from the rock, and the indestructible righteousness, and, for our faithlessness, we are wayfaring in the desert till the appointed times and seasons shall have been accomplished. We have not yet entered into our rest, any more than Paul or the Hebrew Church had entered into theirs ; but we are looking for it in that city whose builder is God. We are under our Prophet, who, like unto Moses, is conducting us : we have a Prophet and we have a Priest, but we have as yet obtained no King, because we have not obtained the kingdom which cannot be removed, but look for it.