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tion of gospel-light, which would burn up and consume the lusts and corruptions of men, and all the works of the devil, even as fire consumes any combustible matter that is cast into it.
Now, If any should ask who is he, and where is he, that shall do all these great things ? Why, here you have an answer in the words of my text, For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, &c. The prophet, chap. vii. 14. had told them that “ a virgin should conceive, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel;” now, says he, this is he that shall do all these great wonderful things on his appearance upon the stage of time, for to us he is born, and to us he is given.
In the words we may notice these things following. (1.) The incarnation of the great Messias ; for here the prophet speaks of his birth. (2.) His donation ; he is the gift of God to a loft world, Unto us a fon is given. (3.) His advancement, to the supreme rule and authority, The government fall be upon his boulder. (4.) His character and delignation, in five names here given him, which shows that he has a name above every name, Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of peace. (5.) We have the relation he stands in to loft sinners of Adam's family; he is born to us, he is given to us, and not to the angels which fell. (6.) We have the application and triumph of faith upon all this; for the church here lays claim to him, and triumphs in her claim; for the words are uttered in a way of holy boasting, Unto Us this child is born, unto us this fon is given ; much like the triumph of the spouse, Cant. v. 16. “This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem ;" as if she had challenged the whole world to thew his match. I have difcoursed already of the first two of these particulars, and now I go on to the third, viz. the authority wherewith Christ is vefted in the church, by his Father's ordination, The governInent shall be upon his shoulder,
Sirs, ye liave been this day travelling with him to Golgotha and Calvary, where you might see him bearing his cross, yea, nailed to it, and pouring out his soul unto death, in a way of fatisfaction to juslice for our sins. But now I would lead you unto mount Sion, that ye may view him swaying the fceptre of heavca ; for the government is laid upon his thoulder, the Father hath put all things into his hand for the good of his church. What is needful for the explication of these words, will occur in speaking to this doctrine. Doct.--.“ That as the church is Christ's peculiar kingdom in
this world; fo the government thereof is, by the Father's ordination, committed to him, or laid upon his shoulder.”
For confirmation of the doctrine, I need only repeat the words of the text, though many other scriptures might be adduced, which, to gain time, I wave at present, Unto us a child is born, unto us a fon is given, and the government shall be upon his fboulder.
In discoursing of which doctrine, through divine asistance, I shall endeavour to do these things.
I. I would offer a few thoughts anent the church or kingdom of Christ in the world.
II. Speak a little of the government of his kingdom.
IV. Why it is committed to him, or laid upon his shoul. der.
1. The first thing is, to offer a few thoughts anent the church er kingdom of Christ in this world.
1. then, By the church I understand that remnant of Adam's family, who being determined to break their covenant with hell, and their agreement with death, join themselves to Christ, as their prophet, priest, and king, either in reality, or by a visible and credible profession of their faith in him. This remnant of Adam's family, as they are scattered through the world, make the church universal: and any particular member of this, whether in a nation, congregation, or family, are called particular churches, national, parochial, or domestic ; but still these are but branches of the church universal, which makes the mystical body of Christ in the world.
. 2. The church or kingdom of Christ, during the Old Ter. tament dispensation, was peculiarly confined to the posterity of Abraham, to the nation of the Jews, excepting a few Gentile proselytes; but now since the coming of Christ in the flesh, and his resurrection from the dead, is extended also to the Gentile nations, according to Psal. ii. 8 The partition-wall being removed, and a door of faith opened to the Gentiles, Christ is now set for an ensign to the Gentile world : 11. xi.
“ And in that day there shall be a root of Jeffe, which shall stand for an ensign of the people ; to it shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious.
3. All the subjects of Christ's kingdom and government, are originally brought out of the territories of hell, being "children of wrath, even as others.” Every man by nature comes into this world wearing the devil's livery of original fin, and of a depraved nature, till Christ, in a day of power, come and set the captive of the mighty at liberty; the strong Vol. II. B
man keeps the house, till Christ, who is the stronger, enter in and spoil him of his goods, and translate the poor soul from the power of darkness into his kingdom of light.
4: The great engine whereby Christ rears up a kingdom to himself in the world, is the preaching of the everlasting gofpel, accompanied with the power and efficacy of his Spirit. This is called "the rod of his strength,” whereby be makes “a willing people.” The gospel is “ the power of God unto lalvation;" and it is by thefe weapons which “ are not carnal, but mighty through God,” he cafts down strong-holds.
5. The church and kingdom of Christ being founded and governed by him, "in whom all the treafures of wisdom and knowledge are hid,” cannot miss of being one of the best regulated societies in the world as under his management, whatever irregularities may be found in her through the corruptions of men intermingling with the concerns of the kingdom. The church, because of her comely order and regularity, andas she is moulded by her King in the midst of her, is compared unto a city lying foursquare, Rev. xxi. ; she is said to be “ comely as Jerusalem, beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth.” Every thing neceffary to render any kingdom or fociety regular, is to be found in the church or kingdom of Christ. As,
A, A kingdom well constitute hath its laws; and so hath the church of Christ. And the laws given by her King are all holy, jus, and good ; and all the true subjects of the kingdom delight in the laws of their King, as being the tranfcript of infinite wisdom and equity.
2dly, A kingdom hath its officers under its king; and to hath the church of Christ, for "he gave fome, apoftles: and fome, prophets : and some, evangelists: and fome, pastors and teachers ; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ," Eph. iv. 11. 12. 13. And it is by his officers, or office bearers, that ye have been served this day at his table, according to his direction.
3dly, A kingdom hath its courts, where the fabjects attend to receive the will of the king, and the benefits of his administration; and fo hath the church. David speaking of the Old Testament church, and particularly of Jerusalem, a type of the New Testament church, tells us, “ There are set thrones of judgement, the thrones of the house of David, whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Ifa Tael." The church of Christ, even the church militant, hath
her courts'for government, where the key of discipline is exercised ; and her courts for worship, where the doctrine, the ordinances of worship, are dispenfed.
4thly, A kingdom hath its seal : we hear frequently of the broad feal of the kingdom, which is commonly appended unto charters for their confirmation. So in the kingdom of Christ he hath appended two public seals unto the charter of his covenant of grace, viz. baptism, and the Lord's supper; the last of which we have been this day dispenâng unto you, for the confirmation of your faith, as to the validity of the charter: and happy for ever is that man who has got the internal seal of the sacrament, and privy seal of the Holy Spirit with it; for he is “ sealed up to the day of redemption."
5thly, A kingdom commonly hath its enemies to grapple with, both foreign and intestine; and fo hath the kingdom of Christ. The gates of hell, and its auxiliaries, have in all ages been attempting to overthrow the kingdom of Christ in the world; the dragon with his angels and armies make war against Michael and his angels: and the war between the feed of the woman and the feed of the serpent, like that betwixt Amalek and Ifrael, will never end while the world stands. But besides the foreign enemies the church of Christ hath to deal with, inteftine enemies, corrupt officers, members, and ministers, pretending to build, and yet causing the work to cease, in as far as in them lies. Yea, the true subjects of this kingdom of Christ, have the enemy of a deceitful and corrupt heart within them, that is ready to join hand with the enemy that is more foreign. The kingdom of Christ is a theatre of continual war, from the disturbances perpetually created by some of these enemies, and will be militant while in this world; “ for we wrestle not against flesh and blood only, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places :" and ye who have been this day at the banqueting-house, provide and prepare for the battle, &c.
6thly, A kingdom hath its armies and auxiliaries; and so hath the church of Christ, being in a confederacy with the Lord of hofts. The armies of heaven are ready to fight her quarrel, and to step into the assistance of the true believer, who is minting to fight the good fight of faith, under the conduct of the Captain of salvation. And because all the sub. jects are soldiers, here is a suitable military equipage provided for them, “the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation," &e.
7thly, A kingdom hath its fortifications and strong-holds ; and so hath the church of Chrift: Is. xxvi. 1. “In that day thall this song be sung in the land of Judah, We have a strong city, salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. The ftrong ramparts of the kingdom are the divine attributes; for
as the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord encompasseth them that fear him." A God in Christ is the church's refuge, Pfal.xlvi. 1."God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
II. The second thing was, to speak a little of the government and administration of the kingdom. What I have to offer as to this, take in the particulars following.
1. Christ himself you see in the text is the great and glorious Governor, The government shall be upon his shoulder, Pfal. ii. 6. " Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion," Mic. V. 2.
“ But thou, Bethlehem. Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee fhall he come forth unto me, that is to be Ruler in Israel; whofe
goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Mic. ji. 13 “ And their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.” Eph. i. 22. 23. " He hath given him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Oh how may the church of believers pride themselves in their King and Governor, saying, “The Lord is our defence, the holy One of Israel is our King: in him thail all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory!"
2. All things in heaven, earth, and hell, are put under the power of Christ
, for the more advantageous government of his church, Eph. i. 22. 23. just now quoted, and Phil. ii.
So that not only the government of the church, but the government of angels, men, and devils, of all things vifible and invisible, are in the hand of Christ for the sake of his church. Hence is that promise or article of his latterwill, Rom. viii. 28. “All things work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
3. Christ the King of Zion is wonderfully fitted by his Father, for the government and adminiftration. You read of his qualifications for it, Il. xi. 2. 3. 4. “ And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord : and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord, and he shall not judge after the fight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears. But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity, for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and