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nationsi:" and, in another Psalm, which is altogether on this subject, he says, “ Christ shall have dominion from sea to sea : all kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him k.” To cite what Isaiah speaks to this effect, would be to repeat whole chapters! Jeremiah, confirming at the same time the truth we have before insisted on, that true religion consists in the knowledge of the Lord, says, “In that day they shall no more teach every man his neighbour, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least to the greatest of them, saith the Lordm.” Daniel assures us, that * the kingdom which God himself will then erect, shall break in pieces all adverse powers, and fill the whole earth"." Zechariah tells us, that “ Holiness to the Lord shall be written upon the very bells of the horses; that the most common things in every place shall be consecrated, as it were, to God in their daily use : and that there shall then be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of Hostso." The apostles also, and our Lord himself, add their testimony; St. Paul affirms, not only that "the fulness of the Gentiles shall be brought in,” but that “ the Jews shall be again engrafted on their own olive-treeP;” and our Lord says, that all, Jews and Gentiles, “ shall be one fold under one shepherdo:” and St. John, passing over the intermediate space of time, represents the angels in heaven as already rejoicing in the accomplishment of this event, and saying, " The kingdoms of the world are become the kingdoms of the Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever"."] 2. Deep in its degree
[The knowledge which the Jews enjoyed was very contracted: ours, since the completion of the canon of Scripture, is considerably enlarged; insomuch that the least of true Christians is, in respect of knowledge, greater than even John the Baptist, who was himself the greatest of all the prophets $. But in that day the light will shine far brighter; and the knowledge of all true converts will be, in comparison of ours, as the ocean's depth to a shallow stream. This also is declared with very abundant evidence in the prophetic writings. “ The veil that is spread over all nations, is then to be taken away t." Nor are any, whose eyes are opened, to have an indistinct view of the truth : the Prophet Isaiah says, “ the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken; the heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly u.” In another place the prophet supposes men to have received a stroke or wound upon their eyes, and that, by the healing of that wound, a vast increase of light shall shine into their minds; “ The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their woundx.” To mention no more passages, the same prophet represents the saints in that day as seeing Christ, not as in a shadow, like the Jews, nor as in a mirror, like us, but eye to eye, and face to face; “ Then shall they see eye to
i Ps. xxii. 27. k Ps. lxxii. 8, 11, 17. I See Isai. xlix, and lx. m Jer. xxxi. 34. n Dan. ü. 44.
• Zech. xiv. 20, 21, P Rom. xi. 24, 25. 9 John x. 16.
r Rev. xi. 15. s Matt. xi. 11.
t Isai. xxv. 7.
when the Lord shall bring again Zion Y."] INFER, 1. What a glorious period will the millennium be!
[The time referred to in the text is often called the millennium, because it is to last a thousand years. And how blessed will be the state of the world during that period! How will the whole face of the earth be changed! The description of it in the preceding context, figurative as it is, will be almost literally accomplished : men, savage as the most ferocious animals, will be transformed into meek and lowly followers of the Lamb. No more wars, no more enslaving of our fellow-creatures, no more public feuds or private animosities; all will be love ; “there will be none to hurt or destroy in all God's holy mountaina.”. O that the day were already come! O that “ God would hasten it in his time!" But, if we cannot be privileged to see it, let us at least help it forward by every means in our power: let us diffuse the savour of the knowledge of Christ in every place; and exert all our influence to send the light of the Gospel to the heathen world, till “ Ethiopia herself shall stretch out her hands unto God.”]
2. How thankful should we be for that little knowledge, with which God, in his mercy, has favoured us !
[Surely God has not left himself without witness amongst us, but “ has given testimony to the word of his grace," and evinced its quickening, transforming efficacy. Doubtless there are some amongst us, whose dispositions and habits were once as adverse to the Gospel, as the wolf is to a lamb, or the leopard to a kid, who now harmoniously unite with the saints of God, and approve themselves to the world as new creatures. Till they knew the Lord, nothing could effectually tame their spirits, much less transform them into the divine image: but since the light of divine truth has shined into their hearts, they have enjoyed the peace, and exercised the love, and maintained the purity u Isai. xxxii. 3, 4.
* Isai. xxx. 26. y Isai. lii. 8.
2 ver. 6-9.
of God's dear children. Let such then be thankful for the distinguished mercies vouchsafed unto them: let them remember that “all things, which pertain unto life and godliness, are communicated to us through the knowledge of Christ a;" and let them seek to “grow both in grace and knowledge,” till from “ beholding Christ only as in a glass darkly,” they shall him as they are seen, and know him as they are known b."] a 2 Pet. i. 3.
b 1 Cor. xiii. 12.
CHRIST A STANDARD FOR THE GENTILES. Isai. xi. 10. In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which
shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek : and his rest shall be glorious.
IN the Scriptures, you frequently see a particular period referred to under the designation of “ that day.” This term very generally marks the season of the Messiah's advent; of which season the prophet speaks in the words before us. In the preceding chapter he has predicted the total destruction of the Assyrian empire, which, having already brought into captivity the ten tribes, now menaced, with every prospect of success, the other two tribes, which had been reduced to the lowest ebb of weakness and misery: “ The Lord, the Lord of hosts shall lop the bough with terror; and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled: and he shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron; and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one.” Then, in the beginning of this chapter, he declares, that, whilst Assyria should be destroyed to rise no more, the Messiah should rise from the family of David, when it should have sunk to a state of utter insignificance : “ And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." He mentions the stem of Jesse, rather than of David ; because David was a powerful monarch; whereas Jesse, his father, was but a private individual of low rank. Then, in my text, he repeats that same prophecy, saying, “In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the
people; to it shall the Gentiles seek; and his rest shall be glorious.” Now that this refers to Christ there can be no doubt; since an inspired Apostle, speaking of Christ as having come in order “ that the Gentiles should glorify God for his mercy,” quotes this very passage; “ Again Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust."
With this inspired explanation of my text for our guidance, we may proceed to consider, I. The advent of Christ as here announced
We are told, that “ He shall stand for an ensign of the people.” Now what is “an ensign ?” It is a standard raised by the authority of a monarch, inviting his subjects to flock unto it, and to fight under his guidance against his enemies.
Now such an occasion existed before Christ came into the world, and still exists in every quarter of the globe
(Behold, the whole universe has risen up in rebellion against “ the Lord and his Christ.” I confidently ask, Who amongst you has not been a rebel against God? Who has not trampled on his laws, and set at defiance his authority?--Who has not said, respecting the Lord Jesus Christ in particular, “We will not have this man to reign over us?” Who has not ranged himself under the banners of Beelzebub, and executed his will in direct opposition to Christ's ? It is not for nought that Satan is called “ The god of this world;" for “ he works in all the children of disobedience,” and “ leads them captive at his will” ---]
To meet that occasion, Christ is come into the world
[He comes to effect deliverance for the captives." He erects his standard in the world. He bids us to throw down the weapons of our rebellion, and to join his ranks against the common enemy. He gives us armour from head to foot; and offers to discipline us for the warfare; and assures us of final victory. Nor is it to those only who are in full vigour of life, and amongst the lower ranks of society, that He sends his invitation; but to those of every rank, and every age. There is with him no preference of age or sex: all are equally called to fight his battles; and are assured of ultimate success. Nor is it in this, as in common warfare, that they who fight endanger their lives; and they who stay at home consult their safety: on the contrary, they who fight shall both conquer and live for ever; but they who decline the combat shall assuredly and eternally perish.]
a Rom. xv. 12.
Though Christ's advent, in this view of it, appears formidable, we shall rejoice in it, if we consider, II. The blessedness arising from it
To all who view it aright, shall this blessedness be sooner or later vouchsafed. For,
1. The whole Gentile world shall in due time be subdued before him
["To him shall the Gentiles seek.” Thousands and millions were converted to him in the apostolic age. The whole Roman empire was, within the space of a few years, filled with those who had flocked to his standard. And still is his kingdom advancing in the world. In the very place where we are, I trust, there are not a few whom “God has brought from the kingdom of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of his dear Son.” But the time is near at hand when “all kings shall fall down before our Lord, and all nations shall serve him ;" yes, “all the kingdoms of the world will be subdued to him," and become a part of his universal empire. Now there are kings many and lords many: but“ in that day there shall be but one Lord to all the earth, and his name One.”
Only then contemplate the change which has taken place in any one regenerate soul, and then say, whether this reign of Christ over the whole race of man be not an event greatly to be desired ---]
2. “ His rest” after all these conflicts shall be *glorious”
[Here is no change of metaphor, as a superficial observer would imagine. When this Mighty Warrior went to deliver his people from their captivity in Egypt, he“ brought them forth with a mighty hand and a stretched-out arm.” And, when he subdued their enemies in Canaan, he abode by the ark (the symbol of his presence) even for five hundred years," between curtains" in the tabernacle, moving about from place to place. But David then prepared for him a settled habitation on Mount Zion, and said, in reference to it, " Arise, O Lord, into thy rest, thou and the ark of thy strength. For the Lord, having chosen Zion, and desired it for his habitation, hath said, that is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it b.” Such was
Ps. cxxxii. 8, 13, 14.