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north, and half of it toward the south." And it much confirmeth our interpretation of the preceding clause to find that in the prophet Zechariah this wonderfully distinct description of his alighting once more upon the earth is immediately preceded by a manifestation of power, and a mighty act of war, at the head of the children of Israel: “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle” (Zech. xiv. 3). This appearance, or epiphany, is when Jerusalem is in her utmost extremity, plundered and defiled, and taken in battle, and led away captive; or, as it is expressed in our prophecy, “when many nations are gathered against her, which say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion :" then it is that her King and Counsellor appears for her deliverance : he returns with his brethren to the head of his people, and goes forth and fights against those nations as when he fought in the day of battle. Now in what way was Jehovah wont to fight in the days of old? Not with sword and spear of earthly temper; but with his flaming ministers, the heavenly host, proceeding forth from the bosom of the cloud of his glory. As he fought against Pharaoh and the nations of Canaan, so shall he fight again, over, or upon, the head of the children of Israel, enabling them to discomfit all their enemies; who shall at length discover that their great assemblage to spoil Zion was but like the gathering of the sheaves into the barnfloor, when Christ shall say unto his people “Arise, and thresh, O daughter of Zion : for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass, and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth” (Mic. iv. 13). Such is the action which I conceive to be conveyed in these few words, “And the excellency of his brethren shall return over, or upon, the children of Israel.”

“And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.” This contains the delineation of his government upon the earth over the Jewish people, expressed with the same briefness and force of words, with the same fulness of meaning, as all the other expressions which have been used of Christ in this chapter. His “standing” we have already explained, from the prophet Zechariah, as being intended to distinguish between providential interferences for his

people, and his personal presence in the midst of them ; between his appearance, or epiphany, in the cloud of his glory to fight for them, and his standing upon the earth to rule over them—his dwelling in the midst of them in his holy temple. And with respect to the meaning of the word “feed,” it is the word most commonly in use among the prophets to signify rule and government. And it is worthy of observation, that when the chief priests were interrogated of Herod concerning the place of Messiah's birth, and quoted this prophecy, they use the word “ feed,” and not “rule," as it is rendered in our version : “And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, by no means least in the thousands of Judah; for from thee shall come forth the Ruler, who shall feed (as a shepherd) my people Israel.” In our prophet he is more than once referred to as the Shepherd : in chap. ii. 12, in his character of gathering the scattered flock, and bringing them back to their fold, which is Jerusalem, or mount Zion, the tower of the flock; and in chap. vii. 14, in his character of ruling them, and governing them, and making them to lie down safely and feed prosperously as in the days of old. But while I refer to these, I rather choose to quote a passage from the Prophet Isaiah, which containeth the same sequence of events as in our text: first, his delivering his people with the strength of Joseph, the first-born; and then, his dwelling amongst them with the loving-kindness promised to Benjamin, the youngest child, dearly-beloved of his father. The

act and exploit of war is contained in these words, “ Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him : behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him ” (Isai. xl. 10): and straightway follows, as in our text, the act of peaceful and happy 'regiment; “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." But the language of our text seems to transcend in sublimity, if it do not equal in tenderness, these words of the Evangelical Prophet: “He shall stand and feed in the strength of Jehovah, in the majesty of the name of Jehovah his God.'

In the strength of Jehovah.—These two things most specially appertain to a king, power and majesty; and the same two words are commonly used to denote the style of Christ's second advent: “The coming of the Lord in power and majesty," or “in glory and majesty,” are the forms in which men commonly clothe their idea of that glorious event; and by these very words is the character of the Ruler of Israel expressed : " in the strength and in the majesty of Jehovah.” The first word, which is now before us, denoteth power, or strength, in general, being from the same root which signifies a tree; as is also to be observed in the Latin word robur, which signifies both heart of oak and strength or force of body. Now nothing can be more certain, than that in the days of his flesh Christ was weak, yea, crucified through weakness; and although he might at any time have received the service of ten legions of angels, he made it his delight to empty himself, and enter into the weakness of the weakest of his people; but after his resurrection he declared that “all power was given to him in heaven and in earth.” This strength was ministered to him when lying in the grave, mortal and helpless, and continues fixed in him for ever; as is expressed in Eph. i. 19, 20: “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places." This strength and might of God, with which he is now invested in the heavens, he shall come possessed withal, and shall use for the ends of bringing into impotence and keeping therein all the enemies of God and his people; chaining Satan and his angels with chains of spiritual power, repressing the latent powers of wickedness in the hearts of men, and otherwise reducing the vast universe unto the obedience of God, and preserving it therein. The Prophet declareth, that he, whom heretofore they had smitten with a rod upon the cheek, shall come the second time in the strength of Jehovah, who overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, and scattered the mighty nations of Canaan. And to this he adds,

In the majesty of the name of Jehovah, his God—not in his own name, but in the name of Him for whom he came forth to rule : “From thee shall he come forth to me that is to be Ruler in Israel.” Christ ruleth for God, and not for himself, over the children of Israel. The form of the government is a pure Theocracy, with God for its King and Christ for its Judge; wherefore, also, in the context he is called “the Judge of Israel.” In this he surpasseth the Judge, that he is also the Priest. But by this very condition of being the Priest, as well as the Chief Ruler, it is, that his government becometh substantially a vicegerency, and not an autocracy; held for another, and not for himself; proceeding in the name of another, and not in his own name. For whatever power or prerogative as a King he possesseth-and beyond question it is absolute, so far as every creature is concerned—that same power as a Priest he acknowledgeth, and con tinually offereth up, unto another, doing homage and worship for it continually. He is not, now a Priest, and now a King, but he is in every act at once both Priest and King ; with the one hand holding the reins of all power, with the other ever surrendering it unto God : so that God shall be the ALL IN ALL. Christ is at present the end of all rule, by that decree of the Father, “ Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool ;" but it shall not be so for ever: for when God hath brought all his enemies under his feet, then Christ shall give up the kingdom to the Father, who shall thenceforward be the end of all rule : but for Christ, he shall reign, as the Father's representative, within the bounds of the visible and intelligible

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world; and, by his most obsequious and dutiful service of his invisible Father, teach and require all creation to learn and to practise the lesson of willing homage to the invisible Source and Continuance of its being. This idea of service in the God-constituted kingdom of Messiah, is beautifully expressed in the following parallel passage of Ezekiel: “And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David : he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God; and my servant David a prince among them: I, the Lord, have spoken it" (Ezek. xxxiv. 23, 24). This dependency and subserviency of the visible to the Invisible, of the comprehensible to the Incomprehensible, of the creature (for even Christ as the head of creation is creature) to the Creator, is the point of truth which is expressed by the words he shall feed in the name of Jehovah.” And by the additional words " his God," are expressed the creature standing which Christ shall occupy for ever; worshipping Jehovah as his God, “ acting in the name of Jehovah his God.” Christ shall be the head of the worshippers in those days, as he was in the days of his flesh; and under him “all the fat ones of the earth shall eat and worship.”. It was not an affectation of praying and obeying and living by faith upon his Father, which Christ in the days of his flesh followed out, nor was it a temporary condition of things; which was to cease with the labour of his humiliation : but it is the eternal obligation which, as a creature, as the Son of man, he oweth unto the Creator of man and of all things; and, so far from being temporary, the most precious of the

names of God which he hath bequeathed unto us is, “ the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And when he comes again, as David the Prince of God, he shall come covered with the majesty of the name of Jehovah; as the chosen one of God, of whom it is thus written in Psalm 1xxxix. 26–29: "He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation : also I will make him my first-born, higher than the kings of the earth : my mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.” These two words“ majesty and might,” do together express the complete idea of the Shepherd King; who standeth clothed with majesty, to attract the reverence of all his people; and girt about with strength, to resist and overcome their enemies ;-the one to give dignity and grace to his person, the other to enforce his commandments; the one becoming him as the fountain-head of grace and honour, the other qualifying him to be the Judge and the avenger of righteousness; the one gathering under his wing all the poor and needy and helpless, the other deterring the powers and potentates of darkness from doing them harm.


“And they shall abide: for now he shall be great unto the ends of the earth."--This describes the condition of the flock whom he is to gather like the sheep of Bozrah ; and plant in Zion, the tower of the flock, under the pastoral care of him who is the Shepherd of Israel. They shall abide-literally, they shall sit. He shall stand and feed : they shall lie down at ease, and in safety under his rod and staff, saying, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.... Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever” (Ps. xxiii). Very beautiful is the figure of a shepherd standing and watching over his flock feeding and lying down at their ease, not fearing the wild beasts of the wilderness in the confidence of their shepherd's watchful care,- very beautiful and fit is this emblem, to express the care

, of a king watching over all his people, bearing them upon his heart continually, and through his good government making them all to dwell at peace, and sit, as our prophet expresseth it,

every man under his vine and under his fig-tree, and none to make him afraid.” Very beautiful also, and tender, is the

” relation in which this figure representeth him to the children of Israel, as a shepherd to his flock, which is his only riches, and he their only defence; they his inheritance, and he their protector. Not so doth he represent himself unto all men—whom indeed he hath blessed, but not with the blessing of Israel.-Every thing, in these money-making times, hath gotten a marketable character, and it requires no small acquaintance with better times and simpler states of society to be able to understand the Scriptures. A herd of sheep is now no more than so many living commodities, which may be brought to the market, and sold and exchanged in every way. Not so in other times, and in eastern climes at this day, where the shepherd's flock is his all; from which he feeds and clothes himself and his family; which he entrusts not to an hireling, but himself, or his son,or his son-in-law, hath it in charge. And no small charge it is in those regions, where at every moment they are liable to the inroads of the wild beasts, with which the shepherd must be ever ready to contend, as David did against the lion and the bear. There is a fulness and completeness in this figure for expressing Christ's relation to the church, which is his own, and over which he continually watcheth. They are his own property; he hath given his life for them; he hath purchased them from the hands of all their enemies, and they shall dwell with him for ever: to whom he continually addresseth the words of this song, “ Come, my little lambs, and feed by my side, and I will give you to eat of my body, and to drink of the blood of my flesh, and ye shall be filled with the Holy Ghost :” and he addeth, to those who are not yet entered

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