« PreviousContinue »
LXVI. ROOT AND OFFSPRING OF
I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the
churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.'
Rev. xxü. 16.
The several titles in this verse may all be found in their appropriate places, for we have chosen an alphabetical arrangement, on account of its simplicity and ease to the student.
There is something peculiar in these appellatives. We seem at first confounded. How can a being be both the root and offspring of another? Can the root be at the same time a branch, or the branch be at the same time a root? Here'meet some of those strange and seeming contrarieties which we have frequently had occasion to notice in the character of the immaculate Son of God.
This subject is luminously presented by the Root and Offspring of David himself in his conversation with the sect of the Pharisees. *
The Trinitarian has endeavored to prove from these appellatives that Jesus was the Creator as well as the Son of David. But we think the writer had no such sentiment in view when he penned the passage. Jesus was Lord of David because 'he is Lord
* Matt. xxii. 41-45. See title LORD.
ROOT AND OFFSPRING OF DAVID.
of all,' and yet he descended in a direct line from David, and was therefore his Offspring. He was, therefore, both the Root and the Offspring of David. As Lord of all, he would sustain David as the root sustains the tree. And
yet he was a branch of that very tree which he nourished and supported ! But Jesus is the Root of David only as he is the Root of all. In his spiritual kingdom, 'he is Lord of all,' for he is the source, the fountain, whence come all our spiritual blessings. There he is the Root, sustaining all as the natural root sustains the tree. But he was both the Root and Offspring of David, which cannot be said of any other individual of our race.
What glories meet in the Saviour! What seeming contrarieties! Yet all is blended in perfect harmony! He is King, Priest, Saviour, Mediator, Son of God, Son of Man. And 'he bears the glory.' So many offices never before centered in one being.
A very important inference may be drawn from this title. We have another proof that Jesus was the long-expected Messiah. He was spoken of by Moses, the Jewish lawgiver, by David, king of Israel, and by every prophet, even down to the very period when the prophetic age ceased. The line from which he should descend, the place where he should be born, and the time, were all predicted. All was exactly fulfilled. And when the Root and Offspring of David appeared, he confounded the Jew by his own Scriptures. He could believe that he was the Son of David, for he gave him that title, but then in what way he could be the Lord of David at the same time, he could not understand. And so will the Jew ever be confounded, till he acknowledges that he has 'found him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth.'* But 'blindness in part is happened to Israel till the fulness of the Gentiles become in. And so all Israel shall be saved : as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.'t Yes, the veil will be removed from the despised and blinded Jew, and he will at last see and understand the force of the question of his Lord when on earth, 'If David then call him his Lord, how is he his Son?' And then he will understand in what way his Messiah was both the Root and Offspring of David. Blessed period! May the Lord hasten the happy day!
All hail, mysterious King!
Hail, David's ancient Root !
To give the nations fruit.
Our weary souls shall rest
Beneath thy grateful shade;
By thy blest fruit conveyed.'
* John i. 45.
† Rom. xi. 25, 26.
LXVII. SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD.
And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.'
1 John iv. 14.
This title is found in only one other instance, John iv. 42. But whoever examines the Scriptures will find the office of a Saviour ascribed to Jesus both by prophets and apostles. And even his enemies understood him to have come as a Saviour of the world. For who does not see that if Jesus had declared himself to be the Saviour only of the Jews, they would readily have received him, and had he been an impostor, he would undoubtedly have endeavored to accommodate his conduct to their views. In proportion as the Jew learned the extent of the mission of the Saviour, in that same proportion did his persecution increase, until his anger rose to that height that he cried out, ‘Away with him! crucify him! crucify him!'
There are several views that may be taken of this subject, but we have thought to confine our remarks to three.
I. The nature of salvation.
1. The nature of salvation. On this point the Scriptures are very full. The Saviour is presented before the mind as a Refiner and Purifier; as a
Light; as a Deliverer. Man had corrupted his way, and he needed purifying; his soul had become darkened by sin, and he needed light; he was in bondage, and he needed deliverance. And when the great Saviour came, he spake of the fire that was already kindled; of the light that had come into the world; and of the deliverance that he designed to effect for the human race. He came not to effect an outward salvation, but a salvation within the soul. The reign and chief blessings of Christ are within us. The human soul is his kingdom. It is within us that he rears his throne, and there he will reign, even when all earthly thrones and dominions shall have passed away.
II. The extent of salvation. This we may gather from two sources: the teachings of the Saviour, and his character.
1. He declares that God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.'* He says, 'I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.'t He has been lifted up, and now it remains for him to draw all men unto himself. One is as certain as the other. Then, to strengthen and confirm the whole, we learn that he taught this doctrine distinctly during his ministry on earth. This is evident from the declaration of the Samaritans, among whom he abode two days. In giving an account of this visit, the sacred historian says,
* John iii. 16, 17.
+ Ib. xij. 32.