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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 following particulars:

1. Christ himself, you see in the text, is the great and glorious Governor; The government shall be upon his shoulder, Psal. 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 shall he come forth unto me, that is to be Ruler in Israel ; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Mic. ii. 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 shall 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. See Eph. i. 22, 23, just now quoted, and Phil

. ii. 9-11. So that not only the government of the church, but the government of angels, men, and devils, of all things visible and invisible, are in the hand of Christ for the sake of his church. Hence is that promise or article of his latter-will, 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 Fa. ther for the government and administration. You read of his qualifications for it, Is. xi. 2-4: " 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 sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears. But with righteousness shall be judge the poor, and reprove with equity, for the meek of the earth: and be shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” Oh! where was there ever such a well qualified Governor? It is impossible he can err in his administration. And what sweetens this is, that the qualifications of the King are communicable, and actually communicated to all the loyal subjects of the kingdom; for he is not only a head of government, but of influences: for " out of his fulness do all we receive, and grace for grace.”

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4. Christ's government and administration is very wonderful and surprising; you see here that the name of the Gover. nor is Wonderful. He is wonderful in his person, and wonderful in his administration; for, by his skill of management in his kingdom, he brings light out of darkness, order out of confusion, life out of death, strength out of weakness: and therefore the subjects may be easy amidst the greatest apparent confusions, even though the mountains were removing, and heaven and earth mingling; for he is “the Lord that doth wonders, and rules even in the raging of the sea,” &c.

5. Christ's government and administration in and about his church and people is exceedingly wise; so much is imported in his being called the Counsellor. • Wisdom and counsel are his;- there is no searching out of his understanding." The deepest laid plots of hell are all open before him; for “ he discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death;" he rules in the midst of his enemies, and turns all their counsels to foolishness. And as for his loyal subjects, “ he will guide them by his counsel, and afterward bring them to glory."

6. Christ's government and administration is irresistible; for the Governor is “ The mighty God," who will go through with his designs: “Who can stay his hand, or say unto him, What dost thou? O let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad;" for her King in the midst of her is mighty, yea, the almighty God, who is able to protect his servants, and is both able and resolved to destroy his enemies : “ Strong is his hand, and high is his right hand; and bis right hand doth ever valiantly.” How valiantly did he spoil principalities and powers on the cross? And he is as valiant as ever.

7. Christ, in the government of his church and people, is exceedingly tender and compassionate; for his name is The everlasting Father," with whom“ compassions flow;" and his "mercy is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him.-As a father pitieth his children: so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. He gathers the lambs in his bosom, and gently leads those that are with young." And “in him the fatherless findeth merey. He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax."

8. Christ's government and administration of his church is very peaceable; for his name is The Prince of peace, and “ of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end." It is true, he has told his subjects, that “in the world they shall have tribulation, but yet in him they shall have peace,” for “ he hath overcome the world;" and the peace he

gives is such as the world can neither give nor take away; John xiv. 27: “ Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: : not as the world giveth, give I unto you.”

9. This government is everlasting; for, of the increase of his government there shall be no end. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion that which shall not be destroyed : his seed shall endure for ever, and his throne built up to all generations.” Other kings die, and their kingdoms moulder away into nothing; but he is “the King eternal, immortal," and his kingdom endureth for ever.

Thy throne O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.-Judgment and justice are the habitation of his throne:" and this is what renders his government everlasting, because this King doth rule in righteousness, and his throne is established in justice.

III. The third thing was, to inquire how the government of the church is committed to Christ, or laid upon his shoulder. Interpreters think, that in this expression there is an allusion to the ancient custom of carrying the ensigns of government upon the shoulders of those who were invested with it, or of their officers. The plain meaning is, that the government and supreme authority of the church, whether militant or triumphant, is devolved upon him.” An expression much of the same import you have, Is. xxii. 22: “ And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder: so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. Now, the government is committed to Christ, or laid upon his shoulder, with a three or fourfold solemnity.

1. With the solemnity of an unalterable decree: Psal. ii. 6–8: “ Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the Heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." Now, can this decree of Heaven be reversed, or these mountains of brass be overturned ? No, surely, “ The counsel of the Lord shall stand ;” and therefore the crown shall stand on the Redeemer's head, and the government lie upon his shoulder.

2. With the solemnity of a covenant transacted betwixt him and his eternal Father, when the council of peace was between them both. And what is the issue of that grand council, which was held in heaven, from the ancient ages of eternity? It was just that the man, whose name is the BRANCH, should come out of his place, that he should bear the glory, and that he should sit and rule upon his throne, Zech. vi. 12, 13.

3. With the solemnity of an oath, ratifying the determination of the council of peace in this matter: Psal. Ixxxix. 3, 4: “I have made a covenant with my chosen; I have sworn unto David my servant. Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations." And you see, ver. 35, that in his oath he impignorates his holiness, the most orient and dazzling jewel of his crown, for the greater security, “Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David;" that is, I will as soon cease to be a holy God, as turn my Son out of the government; no, it shall lie upon his shoulder, as long as I am holy, and that is for ever and ever. The government is committed to him by a solemn election and investiture; he was elected to the government by his own Father, and the joint concurrence of all the subjects: Is. xlii

. 1: He is, “ mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth.” Psal. Ixxxix. 19, 20: “I have exalted one chosen out of the people. I have found David my servant: with my holy oil have I anointed him.” And the whole family of heaven and earth concur in the choice, without a contradictory voice: hence when he mounts the throne, and ascends up on high, they all clap their hands, saying, as Psal. xlvii. 5, 6, “God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises." That passage, Rev. v. 11, 12, is thought by some judicious interpreters, particularly the great Owen, to have a respect to the reception Christ met with, when he returned to heaven, and sat down on the throne in our nature: “ And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;" and what say they ? how cordially do they give their vote, that he should reign? “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”

IV. The fourth thing was, to give the reasons of the doctrine. Why is the government said upon his shoulder ? I answer,

1. Because his shoulder alone was able to bear the weight of the administration and government of the church. They who usurp the administration, take too much upon them: it is a burden too heavy for angels or archangels; how then should sinful worms bear it? God the Father saw that none in heaven or earth but his own eternal Son was match for such a province; and therefore commits it to him, with a promise of his own assistance in the government, Psal. lxxxix.

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VOL. II.

19–21 :: “ I have laid help upon one that is mighty.—I have found him:-I have anointed him.-With whom

my

hand shall be established : mine arm also shall strengthen him."

2. It is laid upon his shoulder, or committed to him, that he might be in better capacity for accomplishing the salvation of his people, and bringing many sons and daughters unto glory; hence we find his kingdom and salvation frequently joined together: "Thou art my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth;" and Zech. ix. 9: “ Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, 0 daughter of Jerusalem: behold thy King cometh unto thee'; he is just, and having salvation. Let his kingdom be ever so low, his subjects in the worst of bondage and misery, whether as to the external or internal man, if their Governor and King give but the word of command, immediately deliverance comes; Psal. xliv. 4: “Thou art my King, O God, command deliver. ances for Jacob.” His command dried up the Red Sea, divided Jordan, and brought Israel into the promised land.

3. The government is laid upon his shoulder, that he may “still the enemy and the avenger,” that he may resent his Father's quarrel against Satan, and entirely bruise his head, for his defacing and striking at his and his Father's image in our first parents, and disturbing his government, which he had established in innocence. Christ's great business, when he appeared in this world in person, and when he appears in the dispensation of the gospel, and power of his Spirit

, is to destroy the works of the devil, to rear up his own kingdom, in the ruin of the old serpent and his seed. Hence it is, that when he takes the field, he gives the shout of war against that enemy and all that join him, Is. Ixiii. 4: “ The day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my Redeemed is come."

4. The government is laid upon his shoulder, or committed to him, because he has a just title to it. As,

1st, He has a title to it by birth. He is God's first-born, and therefore he will make him " higher than the kings of the earth :" yea, he is “ King of kings, and Lord of lords.”

2dly, He has a title to it by purchase. He hath redeemed his church by his own blood, and therefore has the best right to govern her: his cross was the

way

in which he came to the crown; he suffered, and then entered into his glory.

3dly, He has a right to it by his Father's promise and charter, granted him

upon the footing of his death and satisfaction; Is. liii. 12: " Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong: because he hath poured out his soul unto death ;" and, Phil. ii. 8-10, we are told, that “because he endured the cross,

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