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Our blessed Lord and his apostles have distinctly pointed out several such psalms, and given an exposition of them ;* others are left to the diligent research and sober interpretation of uninspired Christians.
In the present instance, I persuade myself that the exposition proposed will be not less conformable to the sentiments of this Christian assembly, than it is to the interpretation of the most approved expositors.
David, praying for his son Solomon, foretells his peaceful and glorious reign; and under that figure, with admirable beauty and elegance, delineates the kingdom of the Messiah. He describes its righteous administration; its duration; its blessings; its extent; the accession of the Gentiles to it: the redemption to be procured, and the prayers and praises to be offered up in it; its miraculous increase and fruitfulness; and finally, in the passage before us, its perpetuity and universality. The person and kingdom of Solomon had "been used all along as a channel, "through which to convey a most illustrious proph"ecy concerning those of Christ; but here, the type "seems to be wholly absorbed in the great Antitype."(a) His name shall endure forever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun and men shall be blessed in him; all nations shall call him blessed.
*See Matt. xxi, 42-45; Luke, xx. 42-44; Acts, i. 20; ii. 2935; iv. 11, 25-27; xiii. 32-35; Rom. iv. 6—8.
(a) Bishop Horne in loc. See NOTES.
The Person then, for whom this prophecy was designed, we apprehend to be none other than HE, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, JESUS OF NAZARETH, the promised Messiah, the Son of God, Immanuel, the Friend and Saviour of man, the Prince of peace.
Unto you, who believe, He is precious. Assem. bled therefore, as we now are, for the express purpose of encouraging and assisting the propagation of the knowledge of HIM, you, Christian believers, will spontaneously accompany me, while I am endeavouring to show the perpetuity of his name, and the blessings, and extent, of his kingdom.
I. The perpetuity of the name of Christ claims our first attention. His name shall endure forever: His name shall be continued as long as the sun.
In confirmation of this truth it ought to be considered, that his being is perpetual. One of the names, given to him by the evangelical prophet, is, The everlasting Father, or, The Father of eternity; a name expressive of an eternal existence. Your father Abraham, said Christ to the Jews, rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad. Thou art not yet fiyty years old, they incredulously, if not insultingly, replied, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said to them, Verily, verily I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews declares the perpetuity of his being, in those memo
rable words, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
His government is also perpetual. The Messiah is often described by the ancient prophets under the character of a king; and both his person and government are represented as of everlasting continuance. The inspired psalmist, speaking of the things which he had made touching the king, says, Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee forever. Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty ; and in thy majesty ride prosperously, because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness. Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. That this is a description of Jesus Christ and of his kingdom, we are assured by one of his own apostles.* In the days of these kings, says the prophet Daniel, referring to the times of the fourth great temporal monarchy, In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. The kingdom here predicted can be none other than the spiritual kingdom of Christ, which was set up during the period of the Roman empire by the personal agency of Christ himself. The annunciation of the birth, the kingdom, and character of Christ is confessedly made by the prophet Isaiah,
*Heb. i. 8.
in that most remarkable passage: Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth even forever. In conformity to this prediction, the angel Gabriel declares to Mary, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give him the throne of his father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
His church also is perpetual. The perpetuity of his church is implied in the perpetuity of his kingdom; for it is from the church, that the subjects of that kingdom proceed. But this permanency is insured by the divine Head of the church in that memorable promise to Peter: Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and by that not less memorable promise to the apostles, when he gave them commission to go and teach all nations: Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Will it be supposed, that the end of the world infers the dissolution of the church? The oracles of GOD teach us, that the church is translated, not dissolved. It is taken from
earth to heaven. There the spirits of those just men, who composed it on earth, will be made perfect, and compose the church of the first born, who, with an innumerable company of angels, will form that general assembly which is to possess the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. Here the church has no continuing city; there it will have a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God, and which will therefore continue forever., The relation between Christ and his church will there be renewed; the fellowship will be complete; the vision will be open; and the felicity everlasting. I go to prepare a place for you; but I will come again, and receive you to myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.--So shall we ever be with the Lord.
The church of Christ then shall be continued as long as the sun nay more; it shall endure forever. Incalculable ages after that luminary shall have ceased to shine, the SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS will continue to illuminate the ransomed of the Lord, in their celestial abode. That city has no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it; for the glory of God does lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved, shall walk in the light of it.
If such therefore be the perpetuity of the being of Christ, of his government, and of his church; his name must be perpetual. His existence will preserve it, his subjects will confess it, and his church will celebrate it, forever.