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in reference to the application. Jesus himself seems to have had this very figure in his mind when in conversation with Nicodemus: 'As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.'* And speaking of his death he said, 'I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.'t Jesus has been lifted up as the Ensign of the people for nearly eighteen hundred years. Millions have flocked around him, and still they come, and all find rest. To him all must ultimately bow; for as certain as it is that Jesus has been lifted up, so certain is it that he will draw all men unto him.' Who can deny the lifting up? Why then deny the conclusion? 'Unto him shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious.'
Indeed, the very inscriptions upon the ensign must ultimately draw all nations to Jesus. They are like the following: 'Our Father;' "God is love;' 'Life and immortality;' 'Saviour of the world;' "Glory to God in the highest: on earth, peace, and good will to men.'
The ensigns of men are designed to arouse to war, but this Ensign is an emblem of peace. Behold, the glories of the Messiah as presented in the rich imagery of the prophet: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain : for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.'* But christians have not been content to rally around this Ensign. They have set up standards of their own; such as partial election; total depravity; endless misery, etc. Around these they have flocked, till they have imbibed the spirit of their own narrow views.
* John iii. 14.
† John xii. 32.
In conclusion, we trust we have rallied around the Ensign of the people, the Lord Jesus Christ. This has been unfurled by the Almighty. Around this all the nations of the earth will ultimately gather: for "he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people, and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.'
* Isa. xi. 69.
XXVIII. EVERLASTING FATHER.
For unto us a Child is born ; unto us a Son is given : and the govern.
ment shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.'
Isa. ix. 6.
ONLY one of these titles will claim our attention here, as the others will be found in their appropriate places. This is the only instance where this phrase presents itself. It is rendered by some, the Father of the everlasting age; i. e. of the Christian dispensation, which is to continue to the end of the world. Bishop Lowth gives that view. By some, it is rendered the Father of eternity. "The Hebrew word here rendered everlasting in its general import "denotes beyond, further, or besides somewhat else. As a particle of time, yet, still, moreover, a long while, until, whilst, during the time that, all along, perpetually. It is used Isa. xlvii. 7, where it is rendered for ever. The words under consideration are rendered by the LXX, pater tou mellontos aionos, and in the Latin of the Biblia Sacra, referred to above, pater futuri seculi, the father of the future age; and admitting the passage to be genuine, this is what we take to be its true import. A very good critic, remarking on the passage, says, 'As to the epithet Everlasting Father, we understand it to mean, that the prince described in the verse should be the perpetual guardian and friend of his people. The rendering Father of Eternity, which
is said to mean eternal, is neither so agreeable to the Hebrew idiom, nor so well suited to the epithets which precede and follow it, and has the support of few scholars of any denomination.'
Cruden gives six different meanings to the word Father, which we need not particularly enumerate; merely observing that God is called heavenly Father, and Father of Spirits. The prophets are sometimes distinguished by this term - My father, my father,' said Elisha to Elijah, 'the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof,' 2 Kings ii. 12. Our Saviour forbids us to give any man the name of father, because we have only one, who is in heaven, Matt. xxiii. 9. Not that we should abandon or despise our earthly fathers. God requires us to honor and respect them; but then what our parents have done for us, is, comparatively speaking, so inconsiderable, that we may say, our fathers are nothing to us, and that God alone deserves the title of our Father. It is worthy of remark, that this was the usual appellation which Jesus employed when he spoke of the Almighty. He seems to have loved this name above all others. In addressing the Being who sent him, he employs no pompous titles, as is the case with many who petition the God of the universe. It was the simple and touching name of Father; and when about to leave a form of petition for all future ages, he directed it to be commenced, by saying, “Our Father.' We would love to dwell on such a striking trait in the character and teachings of Jesus, but our limits forbid.
There is a very interesting sense in which this word is used, which deserves our notice, for it may assist us in arriving at correct conclusions respecting
the title under consideration. A man is said to be a father to the poor and orphans when he takes care to supply their necessities, is affected with their miseries and provides for their wants. 'I was a father to the poor,' Job xxix. 16. God declares himself to be a Father of the fatherless, and a Judge of the widow, Psa. lxviii. 5. Joseph was a father in this sense, Gen. xlv. 8; and as he provided for the temporal wants of Egypt, so will Christ provide for the spiritual wants of the family of man. As all bowed the knee to Joseph, so all will bow before the Redeemer. Jesus, then, is our Father, our Lord and Saviour. But can he be thus called, if he should tyrannize over a part of the human race forever?
This whole passage has been often adduced to prove the Trinity, but we believe that it does not support the doctrine. These were the titles by which Jesus was to be called. In reference to this point, I shall present an extract from one of the earliest treatises published in America on the Unity of God :"That this passage really respects the Lord Jesus, we shall not here undertake to dispute; though there is no certainty, in our minds, that it has any such reference. Be this as it may, the passage is very
far from asserting the supreme and independent divinity of Christ. For,
'1. You will please to notice, that he is declared to be a child born, a son given. This is the description of his nature. This is what he actually IS.
2. The passage does not say, that the government is now upon his shoulder, but that it shall be ; which implies, that he is about to be raised to an authority he does not now possess.