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Moses and the Prophets that joyful time of the Messiah succeeds, when the Zur, or Rock himself of Israel reigns, that he might by his free bounty plentifully bestow upon us righteousness and eternal life. This, I say, is that delightful and joyful season, when the whole face of things is changed, as in the spring, to a new and all-gladdening aspect; when, before the clear shining, a genial shower has fallen ; that is, when the sweet and healthful voice of the Gospel is heard, and afterwards the sun himself, Christ, arises in our hearts, and they are raised up and enabled to receive the consolation, the clouds and storms of Moses, together with the thunderings and lightnings of his law, being wholly dispelled.--Hereupon, all things truly look green, flourish, and blossom. There is a new light, and a day full of new joy, gladness, and life; like unto which, there is no time in the whole of this world's year. Now, all that tempest and winter of clouds, thunderings, sin, death, and all kinds of terrors, are overcome, dispersed, and utterly disappear; and there arises an all-clear and allgladdening day of a new and eternal Passover, or of victorious rejoicing in our risen, living, and eternally reigning Lord.
This is what David means, when he says, that the government of the Messiah, his Son, is like unto that spring day, when, after a morning of copious and genial rain, the sun rises with a sweet serenity, and shines forth and clothes all things with verdure and beauty. And among many other testimonies, Lactantius thus deseribes the time of the resurrection of Christ,
Behold! the beauties of the 'new-born world,
For my house is not so before God: because he hath made with me an everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure.
It has been before observed, that the meaning of these words is the same as that which is found in 2 Sam. vii. 18, “Who am I, O Lord, and what is my house?” As though he had said, Surely my house is not such, nor so great, that it should in the eyes of God be worthy of so infinite an honour and blessing, as that the Messiah should be born from it, the Rock of Israel, the Son of God, the just God, the just ruler among men! - Thus, in these words, he casts himself with all humility and self-abasement at the feet of God, as if astonished at so wonderful a gift of God,--that God should will to effect such mighty things from his flesh and his blood.
And; with respect to the everlasting covenant, and the house of David, and how this promise was fulfilled in his house, upon these things I have spoken with sufficient fulness in another work, which I wrote concerning the Jews and their shameless lies: and perhaps some other occasion, besides the present, may offer for saying more upon that subject.
But those Hebrew terms ARUCHA and SEMURA, which are found in this place, are not made use of to no purpose: the former of which signifies 'ordered,' or, ‘rightly ordered in all things :' the latter signifies, kept sure and safe,' or, become sure and established by fact and observation. These words, I say, are added purposely both for doctrine and consolation. For if one take a cursory view only of the history of the events relative to the people of God, or the political Israel, and consider them just as they present themselves at first sight, as it were, it will seem, as to first appearance, that what is here so grandły declared, was by no means performed to that people. Nay, reason and human wisdom will judge just the contrary;—that God utterly forgot his covenant, and did nothing that he had promised; seeing that, there are so many scenes of confusion, trouble, and
evil in this very house of David itself, to say nothing about the whole of his posterity. And yet that house, until the coming of the Messiah, was not only actually visible to external observation, but beautifully continued in all its established order and ordinance, and remained so proof against all the opposition of devils and men, that it could not be overturned by any one, nor even altered; but all were compelled, even against their wills, to leave that political economy, or the sceptre of Judah, as it was first instituted, and according to the word of the divine promise, until the manifestation of Christ.
And, if you look at the visible face of the kingdom or church of the Messiah, as to its appearance in the world, since the time of his manifestation, there will seem to be still greater confusion and scattering; nay, it will appear that there never was less order, more distraction and misery, or a more deplorable state of things in any common government, than in this kingdom of the Messiah the Son of God. For, on the one hand, tyrants in power furiously scatter and lay it waste by fire, sword, and cruelty of every kind. And, on the other hand, fanatics and authors of false doctrines and sects shamefully divide and sunder it. And moreover, there appear in the lives and conduct of many who profess the name of Christ, an open and hardened presumption and impurity. So that, as I before observed, in no government does there appear a more ruinous state of things, or less order, than in this government, For all those external enemies that I have mentioned, and those internal members, or rather, the devil in both, strives with all his might, that this dominion of Christ might be utterly destroyed and brought to nought, or be kept in a state of the utmost misery and turbulence.
In a word, as I said, Christ appears to be such in the world, as if he felt no concern whatever for his kingdom and government; as though he had no wish that it should be manifestly seen any where; and as if it were any thing but a kingdom all-wisely constituted and happily administrated, or ARUCHA and SEMURA, as it is here said. And yet, it is true that it is such a
kingdom as is here described : and it must of necessity answer to both these terms in all things and through all things. And although it does not appear to be so, acı cording to human judgment and human observation, yet; it is so in the eyes of him who declares concerning this kingdom, Song. viii. 12, "My vineyard which is mine is before me." And also, Matt. xxviii. 20, “And lo! I am with you alway even unto the end of the world." And, again John xvi. 33, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” - For, when those who fear God contemplate the church through all this series of time, they see, and themselves experience, that there ever was, and still exists and remains among the human race, a small company collected together by the power which is from above, who profess and worship the name of Christ in true faith and godliness, who go on to spread abroad the true doctrine of the gospel by their teaching and profession, who hold the true use of the sacraments and of the keys' of the church, who experience the Holy Spirit working effectually in them by his illuminations and gifts, and who stand fast in this kingdom of the Son of God, invincible against the gates of hell.--It now follows For all my salvation and all my desire are nothing.
If, saith he, I may be allowed to glory at all in myself,- I am a king appointed of God, and have a dignity bestowed upon me above all other kings. I have often conducted wars, in which I have fought bravely and gained signal victories; and, by the help of God, have experienced many wonderful deliverances.
And moreover, in my administration of government; I have done many things that have been beneficial, and that, with singular success. (This is what he means by “my salvation.”) I have diligently governed the state, and have exerted my utmost endeavours that all things may be done rightly and in order, and that each one may have his right: and I have also suffered many things. But all this glory, not of my government only, but of that belonging to all other kings and
princes together, when compared with the kingdom of this Lord, the Messiah, the Rock of Israel, my Son, that shall be born of my seed, is nothing as it were but a dry tree or branch, from which no bud or shoot can ever spring forth. For no king of all the human race ever was, or ever will be, the conqueror and destroyer of those evils, sin, death, the devil, hell, and the world. Nor did any one ever effect this by his government—the giving to his citizens the blessings of righteousness, the fear or reverence of God, and eternal life and felicity! The government of us all, is poor, miserable, dry and vain. But, this my Son, the Messiah, the Rock of Israel,—he it is, I say, who alone triumphs a conqueror over death, sin, hell, the world, and all the powers of adversaries. He it is, whose government brings with it, and bestows, this on all his,--the making them righteous before God, and giving unto them eternal life and blessedness. And this is, indeed, a truly flourishing, prosperous, and fruitful kingdom, which never withers nor decays.
But the sons of Belial are all of them as thorns destined to be thrust away, which cannot be gathered with hands. But the man that shall pluck them out must be fenced with iron and spears; so that they shall be utterly burned with fire in their own place.
Here David is now prophesying concerning his own people the Jews, the greatest and most powerful part of whom would not receive this Lord and King, the Messiah. . These he calls, Hebraically, “the sons of Belial:”. which signifies, wicked and unprofitable men, who are of no other use than to do evil and hurt: such as Paul calls, “ abominable and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate :” and, who in every government and political institution are called vagabonds, and pests of the human race.
But David is here speaking of the kingdom of Christ: in which, such is the appearance of things, that those who are the enemies of this Lord and the most noxious pests to his government, are such, that the world would judge them to be the best of characters, the most holy,