Imatges de pàgina

with a determination through grace to obey his voice; “ Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into heaviness: humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God; and he shall lift you up." The very Gospel itself, with all that Christ has done and suffered for us, will do us no good, if we remain impenitent. The command is, “ Repent, and believe the gospel.” We must sow in tears, if ever we would reap in joy."]

8 Jam. iv. 9, 10.



Isai. xxii. 24. They shall hang upon him all the glory of his

Father's house. IN the various changes that take place in human governments, or in the persons who are to be entrusted with the supreme authority, the hand of God ought to be continually acknowledged: whoever be the instruments, or whatever be the means, of effecting those changes, we must look through the second causes to God, as the first great Cause, who ordereth all things after the counsel of his own will, and makes use of men as his agents, to convey blessings to a nation, or to inflict his just judgments upon it. But, in his dispensations towards the Jews, there was often some mystery concealed, where we should have observed nothing but an ordinary occurrence. This was the case with respect to the deposition of Shebna, and the substitution of Eliakim in his place, as first minister of state under Hezekiah. Eliakim seems to have been raised as a type of Christ: the agreement between him and Christ is strongly marked in the passage I. In the authority committed to him

[The appointment of both was of God a. Shebna was a proud, vain-glorious man, far more intent on aggrandizing himself and his family, than on executing the arduous duties of his station. God therefore moved Hezekiah to dismiss him, and inspired Isaiah, not only to predict his degradation, but to

a To put the audience in full possession of the subject, read distinctly from ver. 15. to the end ; and observe that ver. 25. refers, not to Eliakim, but to Shebna.

before us,

foretel the elevation of Eliakim to his post and office. Thus was our Lord appointed to succeed the governors of the Jewish nation, who, both in the civil and ecclesiastical departments, had abused their trust, and rendered themselves unworthy to be continued in it. Humiliating in the extreme are the descriptions.which the prophet gives of the rulers both in church and stateb; and the time was coming, when God would fulfil his word, in "raising up in their place a faithful priest, who should do all his will, and another king who should reign over the house of David for ever." “ With their robe was He to be clothed, and with their girdle was he to be strengthened; and their government was to be committed into his hands d;" and this too, not only according to the commandment of God, but by the immediate agency of his overruling Providence® ]

The authority with which they were invested was supreme

[To mark his office, Eliakim was to have "the key of the house of David laid upon his shoulder, and then to exercise the the most unlimited authority:" nor was he ever to be removed, like Shebna; (whose boasted security would soon fail him ;) but he was to be “ a nail fastened in a sure place.”

Now our blessed Lord applies to himself the very words here used in reference to Eliakimf; thereby shewing that Eliakim was indeed a type of him; and that what was spoken of Eliakim only in a figure, was really, and in the strictest sense, applicable to himself; the power of both being uncontrollable and unalterable, All power in heaven and in earth is committed unto Christs:" in every thing that relates to the kingdom of nature or of

grace, "he openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth, and no man openeth.” None are exalted, or disgraced, either in this world, or the world to come, but agreeably to the orders which he issues: nor can any, even in the smallest degree, resist his will : “He doeth according to his will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; nor can any stay his hand, or say to him, What doest thou ?" Nor will the lapse of ages effect any change on him : “He is the same yesterday, to-day, and for everh." "He is a nail fastened in a sure place." Seated on his holy hill of Zion, He laughs at the impotent combinations of men and devils, and has all his enemies in derision. “His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyedk.”] II. In the benefits resulting from his administration

b Isai. i. 5. and lvi. 10-12.
c 1 Sam. ii. 30, 35. and Jer. xxiii. 2, 5.
d Compare ver. 21. with Rev. i. 13. Isai. xi. 5. and ix. 6.

e As this was marked in the case of Eliakim, (ver. 19—21.) so in that of Christ by the raising him from the dead, and utterly destroying the Jewish polity.

i Rev. iii. 7. g Matt. xxviii. 18. h Heb. xiii. 8.

[A wise and righteous governor is a rich blessing, as well to the prince who appoints him, as to the people whom he governs. Such was Eliakim ; who was most probably of the royal seed; since it would not otherwise have been any virtue in him to seek with so much diligence the exaltation of his father's house.

But in what an infinitely higher degree do the benefits of Christ's administration appear!

Was Eliakim “a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah?” What a blessing is Christ also to the world at large! As, in a state, all are benefited by a wise administration, though many are insensible to the blessings they enjoy; so the world is much indebted to the revelation which Christ has given us, and to his wise government of the universe, though they deny his providence, and despise

his grace

Was Eliakim “a nail, on which all the vessels of his father's house hung” in safety? What security does Christ afford to his dependants in particular! The various orders and degrees of Christians are elsewhere compared to vessels of various kinds'; and every one of them, from the greatest to the least, hangs upon him: were He to fall, they would perish; but as long as He stands, they shall be upheld : “ because He liveth they shall live also mo

Was Eliakim “a glorious throne to his father's house ?" Jesus also, by his righteous administration, advances the glory of his heavenly Father. In ascribing to Jesus the power and dominion over all, we do not derogate from the Father's honour, but add to itn. His mediatorial office he holds from the Father, and improves it, in every instance, for his glory. Whether he open or shut, whether he kill or save alive, every perfection of the Deity receives brighter lustre from the dispensation-and gives reason for unbounded thankfulness to God, for having “committed all judgment to his Son,” and “ laid our help upon One so Mightyo."] We cannot improve this subject better, than by learning

from it, 1. To renounce all creature-dependence

[Great as the power of Shebna was, both he, and all his dependants, were brought down in God's appointed time; and the vanities in which he had gloried, became monuments of his shame, and means of perpetuating his disgrace!: Thus will it be with all who trust in an arm of flesh. God has denounced a curse against them?; and though, through the forbearance of God, it may be awhile delayed, it will surely come at last; and all, wherein we trusted, will turn to our confusion: our wisdom will become folly; our strength, weakness; our righteousness, as filthy rags". We may dream of being “ as a nail fastened in a sure place;” but if we rely on any thing of our own, our hopes will be disappointed, and our expectations will perish. Let us not then lean to our own understanding, or depend on our own strength, or trust in our own righteousness: we must be empty in ourselves, if we would be filled by God; for it is “the hungry alone whom he filleth with good things; the full and the rich he will send empty away:” “He will resist the proud; and give grace only to the humbles."] 2. To trust in the Lord with our whole hearts

i Ps. ü, 1-4. m John xiv, 19.

k Dan. vii. 14.
n Phil. ii. 11.

1 2 Tim. ii. 20, 21.
o Ps. lxxxix. 19.

[Jesus is indeed “a nail fastened in a sure place ;” and able to bear the weight of the whole universe. He is exalted by the hand of God himself on purpose that He

may Prince and a Saviour" unto us. And, if we rely on him, he is “ able to save us to the uttermost." Only let our trust in him be entire, (exactly like that of a vessel on a nail,) and we may rest assured, that all, who so hang on him, shall be " the glory of his Father's house.” As there is no other support for sinful man, so neither is there any fear of disappointment to those who trust in him. Let none then imagine themselves so great as not to need his support; or deem themselves so insignificant, that they shall not obtain it; or think themselves in such perilous circumstances, that He cannot uphold them. “Every vessel, from the largest flagon to the smallest cup, must owe its preservation to him alone; and by him shall all be saved, if they do but “cleave to him with full purpose of heart."]

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P ver. 18.

a Jer. xvii. 5. r 1 Cor. i. 19. Isai. lxiv. 6. s Luke i. 52, 53. Jam. iv. 6.



Isai. xxiv. 23. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun

ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his antients, gloriously.

THE chapter before us seems to refer to the destruction of the Jewish Church and polity by the

Chaldeans. But it looks forward, also, to their restoration, and to the establishment of the Messiah's empire consequent upon it. Of that period it is delightful to speak: for, in fact, the glory of it far exceeds all that language can express, or the most enlarged imagination can conceive.

To give you some idea of the Messiah's advent, as it is here described, I will endeavour to set before you, I. The nature of his kingdom

[It differs widely from all other kingdoms. Other kings have dominion over the persons and the property of their subjects; but his empire is over their souls - The laws of other kingdoms are almost entirely restrictive: his, however restrictively expressed, are not prohibitory only, but preceptive; and intended to call forth into exercise every power of the soul. The substance of them all is contained in these two sayings, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength; and thy neighbour as thyself.” Nor does any one fully approve himself to him as a faithful subject, unless “ every thought of his heart be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.") II. The extent of his dominion

[Never was there a kingdom like unto His. At present, indeed, His is very limited: but, at the period mentioned in my text, it will be absolutely universal : " All kings shall bow down before him, all nations shall serve him," and “the utmost ends of the earth shall be his possession." “ There will then be but one Lord over the face of the whole world, and his name oned.” Nor will there be any who yield him only a forced or partial obedience; for in that day “all will be righteouse :"

nor will there be any more a Canaanite in the land of the Lord of Hosts"."] III. The happiness of his subjects

[If the happiness of a people be estimated by their honours, their wealth, their enjoyments, never was there a kingdom to be compared with His. The most exalted person in any other kingdom is but a child of man: whereas the least and meanest of his subjects is a child of the living God. “ Israel,” says Jehovah, " is my son, my first-born8. The wealth of earthly monarchs, however great, may be counted: that which is owned

a 2 Cor. x. 5. b Ps. lxxii. 11. c Ps. ii. 8. d Zech. xiv. 9. e Isai. lx. 21.

i Zech. xiv. 21. 6 Exod. iv. 22.

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