Page images

(3) The possession of the highest perfection, natural and moral, of which created existence is susceptible.

(4) The especial and unparallelled dignity, happiness and delight, resulting to the human nature, in all its capacities and feelings, from its conjunction with the Divine Nature of the Christ; a union immortal, unique, and intimate beyond all created capacity to conceive.

v. The possession of a peculiar KINGDOM or REIGN.

Under no designation was, the Messiah described in prophecy, more clearly than under that of a Sovereign.* One passage may serve as a representative of all. Daniel foretold him as "THE MESSIAH, THE PRINCE," and described his empire thus; “I looked in visions of the night, and, behold! with the clouds of heaven came [one] like a Son of man: he approached to the Ancient of days, and was brought near into his presence. And unto him was given dominion and glory and empire; and all peoples, nations and languages shall serve him. His dominion is an eternal dominion which shall not pass away, and his empire that which shall not be destroyed."+

The substance of the New Testament doctrine on this topic may be collected from the following passages. "He shall be great and he

+ See Vol. I. Book II. xvii. xviii. xxi. xxii. xxvii.

Chap. IV. Sections v. viii. x. xi. xiv. † Dan. ix. 25. vii. 13, 14.

shall be called THE SON OF THE MOST HIGH; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Moreover, those mine enemies, who would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay before me. My kingdom is not from this world: if my kingdom were from this world, then would my attendants fight that I might not be given up to the Jews: but now my kingdom is not from hence. The King shall say,-Come, ye blessed of my Father. All power is given unto me, in heaven and upon earth. I am the First and the. Last and the Living One and I became dead, and behold! I am living for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of the unseen world. Christ is the Head of the church; he is the Saviour of the body: the church is subjected to Christ. [God] hath raised him from the dead, and hath seated him at his right hand in the heavenly [regions], far above all principality, and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this state, but also in that which is to come. He hath ascended above all the heavens, that he might fill all things. The Lamb shall conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings. He is able to subject all things unto himself. The crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous Judge will give to me in that day; and not only to me, but also to all those who love his appearing. The



revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven, with his angels of might, in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance upon those who acknowledge not God, and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall suffer punishment, eternal destruction, from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power, in that day when he shall come to be glorified by his holy ones, and to be admired by all those who have believed. Then is the end; when he shall deliver back the kingdom unto God even the Father, when he shall abolish all principality and all authority and power: for he must reign, till he shall have put all the enemies under his own feet. Death, the last enemy, shall be abolished. For [God] hath subjected all things under his feet.' But when it saith that all things are subjected,' it is manifest that it is with the exception of HIM who hath subjected all things to him. But when all things are subjected to HIM, then also the Son himself shall be subjected to HIM who hath subjected all things to him; that God may be all in all."*


These and similar testimonies represent the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* Luke i. 22, 23. xix. 27. John xviii. 36. Matt. xxv. 34. xxviii. 19. Rev. i. 18. Eph. v. 23. i. 19–23. iv. 10. Rev. xvii. 14. Phil. iii. 21. 2 Tim. iv. 8. 2 Thess. i. 7—10; The close of this passage receives illustration from these in the LXX. Ex. xv. 11, Δεδοξασμένος ἐν ἁγίοις, θαυμαστὸς ἐν δόξαις, ποιῶν τέρατα Tépara "Glorified in his holy ones, admirable in glories, doing wonders !” Is. v. 16, Ὁ Θεὸς ὁ ἅγιος δοξασθήσεται, ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ "God the holy shall be glorified in righteousness.

kingdom of the Messiah as a Constitution, Establishment, or Systematic Arrangement; originating in the Divine Wisdom, Righteousness, and Benevolence; and administered, pursuant to the will and appointment of the Father, by the Son of God, whose office in this respect is figuratively described by the ancient mode of expressing the highest dignity, next to that of the Sovereign himself, the being seated on the right side of the throne.* These passages fur


* See 1 Kings ü. 19. Ps. cx. 1. Matt. xx. 21. Rev. iii. 21. The usage and its correspondent phraseology were known to other nations. Ælius Aristides refers to a lost passage of Pindar describing Minerva as "sitting at the right hand of her father to receive his commands for the gods." His comment is worthy of notice : - For she is greater than a messenger (or angel), since she distributes to each of the messengers their respective commands, first receiving them from her father, being to the gods in the place of an interpreter and introducer [to the presence of Jove.”] Πίνδαρος δ ̓ αὖ φησὶ δεξιὰν κατὰ χεῖρα τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτὴν καθεζομένην τὰς ἐντολὰς τοῖς θεοῖς ἀποδέχεσθαι· ̓Αγγέλου μὲν γὰρ ἐστι μείζων ἥδε, τῶν ἀγγέλων ἄλλοις ἄλλα ἐπιτάττει, πρώτη παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς παραλαμβάνουσα, ἀντ ̓ ἐξηγητοῦ τινος οὖσα τοῖς θεοῖς καὶ εἰσαγωγέως. Orat. in Minerv. Opera, ed. Jebb, tom. i. p. 10. Pindar. Heyné, tom. ii. p. 88. Another very remarkable passage occurs in Callimachus :

Τὸν χορὰν ὁ ̓πόλλων, ὅτι οἱ κατὰ θυμὸν ἀεῖδει,
Τιμήσει ̇ δύναται γὰρ, ἐπεὶ Διt δεξιὸς ἧσται.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Apollo will reward the choir, when they sing so as to please him; for he is able, since he sitteth at the right hand of Jove." Hymn in Apoll. v. 29. on which see the Notes of Madame Dacier, Ezech. Spanheim, and J. A. Ernesti; and Wetstein on Matt. xx. 21.

It is observable that the apostle explains the phrase (evidently referring to Ps. cx. 1.) by reigning; 1 Cor. xv. 25. and in Heb. i. 13, 14, he represents the sitting at the Father's right hand

[ocr errors]

ther declare, that this kingdom derives not its authority from any earthly institutions, nor is supported by external force or any other human sanctions: that its authority is supreme and its power universal, extending to all created beings and their operations, heavenly, earthly, and infernal; to the minds, motives, and moral actions of men; to all the events of providence, and all the influences of religion; to death and to the future state that, among its special acts are the giving and enforcing of religious laws, the diffusion and success of the gospel, the heavenly intercession, the operations of divine grace, the vanquishing of all antichristian and other inimical powers, and the adjudication of eternal rewards and punishments: that its unfailing result shall be the most illustrious display of the infinite Divine Excellency and Glory, the Lord Jesus being glorified and admired, and the Father being glorified in him: that, when all its designs are accomplished, the Mediatorial system, as to all these modes of its exercise, shall cease; Christ will no longer have to act as a Redeemer and Saviour; the number of his elect will have

as a manifestation of dignity, contrasted with the station and employment of the most exalted of created intelligences. I conceive therefore that the learned and judicious Ernesti had solid reason for his remark on the above-mentioned passages of Callimachus, and Aristides; "These passages may be suitably compared with Matt. xx. 21; but not with those in which Jesus Christ is said to sit at the right hand of God, which in the sacred writings, signifies something far different, and much greater than this phrase in the Greek authors."

« PreviousContinue »