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fairly surmount.-But how would the throne of his father David ; and you answer our Saviour's question, he shall reign over the house of DaTheophilus?
vid for ever; and of his kingdom Theophilus. Jesus Christ was the there shall be no end." Luke i. 32, son of David, according to his human 33. nature; but he was the Lord of Da- We must content ourselves, at previd, even when David wrote, inas- sent, with the reading and examinamuch as he was the eternal Son of tion of the single verse which has Gods—the Word who " was in the thus occupied our thoughts. But we beginning with God," and who “was shall derive no small degree of profit God.”
from the consideration of these few Reader. True. Well may we be words, if we have been hereby asreminded of that expression of St. sisted in forming any correct idea of Paul (Rom. ix. 5), “Whose are the the greatness and glory of our Safathers," —such as Abraham and Da- viour's person, and the honours of vid," and of whom, as concerning his mediatorial kingdom. Let me the flesh, Christ came, who is over exhort you to direct your minds, all, God blessed for ever. Amen." especially, to the contemplation of " Whose goings forth,” to use the the wonderful constitution of our Sa. noble language of the inspired Mi- viour's person, who is at once the cah (v. 2), “ have been from of old, Lord and the son of David, or, as it from everlasting."
is elsewhere expressed, “ the root It should be borne in mind also, and the offspring of David.” Rev. that when the Lord Jesus Christ is xxii. 16. Think of him as “ God spoken of as the son of David, he is manifest in the flesh,"-50 constipresented to our notice chiefly in his tuted that in him " two whole and exalted character of the king or head perfect natures, that is to say, the of his people. When the heavenly Godhead and Manhood, were joined messenger proclaimed to the Virgin together in one person, never to be Mary the honour which she was divided, whereof is one Christ, very about to receive in giving birth to God and very man.” Think of him the expected Messiah, he finished his as that glorious Being to whom the salutation by applying to our blessed Lord has said, “ Sit thou on my Lord a portion of an illustrious pro- right hand until I make thine enephecy which had been delivered by mies thy footstool.” And, before Isaiah (ch. ix.), wherein the Re- we part, let me remind you that this deemer is described as being at once subject, the glory of Christ, in his the Son of the Highest, and the Son person and in his office, is one of the of David, and as being established in most important and most salutary the possession of an endless domi- which you will find in the whole nion. “He shall be great, and shall compass of the word of revelation. be called the Son of the Highest ; and Let it be one leading desire of your the Lord God shall give unto him hearts, while we are engaged in our passage in Henry, on the nineteenth
ness, we are yet by no means enverse, which I have marked with couraged to attach any undue impencil.
portance, or to affix any mysterious Theophilus.—" It becomes us, in meaning, to our own common dreams. many cases, to be gentle towards Let us be content to be guided by those that come under suspicion of the leadings of Providence, the dichaving offended, to hope the best tates of conscience, the advice of concerning them, and make the best prudent friends, and our own careful of that which at first appears bad, in deliberations, in subordination to the hope that it may prove better." And general rules of God's written word. again; “ The necessary censures of Theophilus. It must have been a those who have offended ought to be great consolation to Joseph to hear managed without noise ;-Christian the angel say, "Fear not to take love and Christian prudence will hide unto thee Mary thy wife." a multitude of sins, and great ones, Reader. Yes ;-and a great cause as far as may be done without hav. of thankfulness to that gracious ing fellowship with them.”
Being who had so seasonably relieved Reader. Read the same author's him from his perplexity. There is remarks on the words While he also something very encouraging thought on these things.
and delightful in the vindication of Theophilus. “ Those who would Mary's innocence. 6. Those who have direction from God must think take care to keep a good conscience on things themselves, and consult may cheerfully trust God with the with themselves. It is the thought- keeping of their good names, and ful, not the unthinking, whom God have reason to hope that he will will guide.”
clear up, not only their integrity, Mary. May I be allowed to ask but their honour, as the sun at noon whether you think that this history day.” encourages us to regard our own I will now ask, have you any quesdreams as containing prophetic hints, tion to propose in connection with or conveying supernatural informa- the history before us ? tion ?
Theophilus. The infant Saviour is Reader. Certainly not. The spoken of, in the last verse, as Mary's dreams by which God made known first-born son. Had Mary any other his will, or sent messages, to his an- children afterwards ? cient prophets and people, were dif
Reader. We do not know; nor is ferent from
the question of any importance. ourselves, especially inasmuch as Some of the early Christian writers, they were accompanied by some ver- falling into their very common error tain evidence of their divine origin of seeming to be wise above what is and authority. While, therefore, we written, affirm very confidently that read of this ancient mode of revela- Mary had no other children; and it tion with reverence and thankful- was once a fashion among some peo
ple to be very angry with those who stand that prophecy and its applicamaintained the contrary supposition. tion ? But the truth is, that the fact is nei- Theophilus. The application to the ther affirmed nor denied in Scripture, Messiah, as made by the Evangeand that we have no means of correct list, is strikingly evident and easy ; information concerning it. When it but when I read the whole passage is said that Jesus was Mary's first in Isaiah, I cannot exactly underborn son, that expression implies no stand how the prophecy of Christ more than that she had no child be- was a sign to Ahaz, or how the two fore his birth.
verses following the one quoted by Let me now direct your attention St. Matthew can apply to Christ at to the remarkable and important pro
all. phecy quoted in the twenty-third Reuder. It is clear from the exverse.--In what part of the Old pression, “all this was done that it Testament do we find it?
might be fulfilled which was spoken Theophilus. In the seventh chap- by the Lord," that St. Matthew is ter of Isaiah.—We there learn that indeed explaining and applying a Ahaz, king of Judah, was troubled prophecy,--not merely accommodatwith fear of Rezin, king of Syria, ing to his purpose a passage of Scripand Pekah, king of Israel, who had ture otherwise unconnected with the advanced, with their combined forces, subject. But, this being allowed, against Jerusalem. Isaiah was com- you ask, how could the declaration missioned to declare, in the name of of Isaiah be a particular sign of the God, that their attempt should fail. deliverance of Jerusalem in the time Ahaz was encouraged to ask a sign of Ahaz, as well as a prophecy of in confirmation of this prophecy; the still greater, but more reinote, and when he had refused to do so, event, the birth of the Messiah ? the prophet said, “Hear ye now, O Interpreters give more than one anhouse of David; Is it a small thing swer to this inquiry. for you to weary men, but will ye The prophecy, say some, had a weary my God also ? Therefore the twofold signification ; referring, in Lord himself shall give you a sign ; the first instance, to an event about Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and to take place in the time of Ahaz; bear a son, and shall call his name and also, in a higher sense, to the Immanuel. Butter and honey shall more distant and more important he eat, that he may know how to re- event, the birth of Messiah. They fuse the evil, and to choose the good think it probable that Isaiah referred For before the child shall know to to some virgin then about to be refuse the evil, and to choose the married, perhaps to himself, and degood, the land that thou abhorrest clared that after her marriage she shall be forsaken of both her would give birth to a son, who kings."
would be no more than a mere inReader. Do you clearly under- fant when Syria and Samaria should be overthrown; and who should be few who still remained, and to whom named Immanuel, in token of the the prophet now chiefly directed his presence of God among his people, discourse. His words may thus be pleading their cause, and defeating paraphrased : Since the king has their enemies. This was the sign to refused the sign offered to him, JeAhaz and the men of his day. But
hovah himself shall give you a sign, it was also a type or pattern of a not which you shall behold with your still greater event, even the future eyes, or hear with your ears, but birth of the Messiah from a virgin, in which, to those among you who have an unprecedented and miraculous any real faith in his word, and any manner, who should be, in the full confidence in me, his prophet, will be sense of the expression, God with us, more satisfactory than any other. God united to our own nature, and In token, then, that the house of dwelling in the world.
David shall not now be utterly deOther commentators, however, re- stroyed, but that God will fulfil the ject this interpretation, as being un- promise he once made to Judah, that necessarily complex, and at the same the sceptre should not depart from time low and unworthy of the sub- his posterity till the coming of Mesject. They think that the prophecy siah, and to David, that his throne related primarily and entirely to
should be established for ever, BeChrist, without any other allusion hold, at some future period, a virgin whatever. And, say they, the pro- of David's house shall conceive, and mise of a future Messiah became a bring forth a son, whom she will call sign to Ahaz, inasmuch as it implied by a name significative of his divine the continual preservation of his fa- and human nature. Now, to those mily, from which, according to pro- who believed, this would be a suffimise, the Messiah was to spring. cient assurance that the attempt of Perhaps this view of the prophecy Rezin and Pekah to dethrone Ahaz, is most approved, and most commonly and set up one of another nation in adopted. And, in order that you may his stead, would be fruitless. For completely understand it, I will read how could this sign be accomplished to you a passage from a commentator
if the family of David were deon Isaiah, by whom it is strenuously stroyed ?" defended. “ What reference," says In this case, the following words he, “ had the birth of Christ to the of the prophet, Butter and honey present circumstances of the king shall he eat, &c., denote that the Mesand people of Judea ? Or what had siah, although God with us, should this sign to do with their deliverance yet, at the same time, be truly man, from the kings of Israel and Syria ? and, as such, should pass through I answer, that this sign was given not the various stages of childhood, to Ahaz, or to any of the rebellious “growing in wisdom and stature." unbelieving Jews, for they could not And the child mentioned in the sixappreciate it; but to the faithful teenth verse is not Immanuel, but
Shear-Jashub, the prophet's own What a happy step is hereby taken son, whom, according to divine com- toward the settling of a peace bemand, he had taken with him into tween God and man, that the two the presence of Ahaz.
natures are thus brought together in When it is said they shall call the person of the Mediator ! Behis name Immanuel, what is implied hold in this the deepest mystery, and and meant ?
that Theophilus. That he should really By the light of nature, we see God be what the name denotes; namely, as a God above us; by the light of God with us.
the law, we see him as a God against Reader. True; it was
us; but by the light of the Gospel, we among the Jews, especially in pro- see him as Immanuel, God with us, phetical writings, to say that a thing in our nature, and (which is more) should be called so or so, meaning that in our interest.” (M. H.) it should really be of such or such a When the angel announced to Jocharacter or quality. I will not weary seph the approaching birth of this you with references to prove this divine Redeemer, he said, “thou point; but I must request you to shalt call his name Jesus, for he compare Matt. xxi. 13, with Luke
shall save his people from their sins.” xix. 46.
What is the precise meaning of that Theophilus. Matt. xxi. 13, “It is
name which has now become so sawritten, My house shall be called the cred ? house of prayer.”—Luke xix. 46, Theophilus. You have sometimes "It is written, My house is a house told me that it is the same as Joshua, of prayer."
and means a Saviour or Deliverer; Reader. Let our thoughts dwell, or rather, Jehovah the Saviour, since for a few moments, upon
the name was formed by prefixing to ing and power of this name, Imma- Hosea the first syllable of the name nuel, most holy and reverend, and full Jehovah. Numb. xiii. 16. of consolation to ourselves.- God Reader. True. Can you tell me with us ;-that is, says Baxter, “God what remarkable persons, bearing taking our nature, appearing to us, that name, are mentioned in the Old and reconciling and bringing us to
Testament? himself.”—“A mysterious name, but Theophilus. Joshua, the successor very precious. God incarnate among of Moses, the captain of the Israelus, and so God reconcilable to us; at ites at their first settlement in Capeace with us, and taking us into co- naan; and another, who was their venant and communion with himself. high priest on their return from the The people of the Jews had God with Babylonian Captivity. Zech. vi. them, in type and shadow, dwelling 11, 12. between the cherubim ; but never so Reader. Let us thankfully regard as when the Word was made flesh,' Christ as the true Joshua ;-being at - that was the blessed Shechinah. once the Captain of our salvation,