Page images
PDF
EPUB

fairly surmount.-But how would you answer our Saviour's question, Theophilus?

Theophilus. Jesus Christ was the son of David, according to his human nature; but he was the Lord of David, even when David wrote, inasmuch as he was the eternal Son of God, the Word who "was in the beginning with God," and who "was God."

Reader. True. Well may we be reminded of that expression of St. Paul (Rom. ix. 5), "Whose are the fathers," such as Abraham and David,—“ and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen." "Whose goings forth," to use the noble language of the inspired Micah (v. 2)," have been from of old, from everlasting."

It should be borne in mind also, that when the Lord Jesus Christ is spoken of as the son of David, he is presented to our notice chiefly in his exalted character of the king or head of his people. When the heavenly messenger proclaimed to the Virgin Mary the honour which she was about to receive in giving birth to the expected Messiah, he finished his salutation by applying to our blessed Lord a portion of an illustrious prophecy which had been delivered by Isaiah (ch. ix.), wherein the Redeemer is described as being at once the Son of the Highest, and the Son of David, and as being established in the possession of an endless dominion." He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him

the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of David for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." Luke i. 32, 33.

We must content ourselves, at present, with the reading and examination of the single verse which has thus occupied our thoughts. But we shall derive no small degree of profit from the consideration of these few words, if we have been hereby assisted in forming any correct idea of the greatness and glory of our Saviour's person, and the honours of his mediatorial kingdom. Let me exhort you to direct your minds, especially, to the contemplation of the wonderful constitution of our Saviour's person, who is at once the Lord and the son of David, or, as it is elsewhere expressed, "the root and the offspring of David." Rev. xxii. 16. Think of him as "God manifest in the flesh,"-so constituted that in him "two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God and very man." Think of him as that glorious Being to whom the Lord has said, "Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool." And, before we part, let me remind you that this subject, the glory of Christ, in his person and in his office, is one of the most important and most salutary which you will find in the whole compass of the word of revelation. Let it be one leading desire of your hearts, while we are engaged in our

proposed study of the New Testament, to behold here" the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." May we be enabled truly to behold "his glory, the glory as of the onlybegotten of the Father," and may we know him to be "full of grace and truth."

In conclusion, I read to you a few lines from the pen of an old writer, containing some sentiments on this point which I wish to leave upon your minds. "Alas," says he, "after our utmost and most diligent inquiries, we must say, how little a portion of him is it that we can understand! His glory is incomprehensible, and his praises are unutterable. An illuminated mind may conceive something of it; but what we can express, in comparison of what it is in itself, is even less than nothing. But as for those who have forsaken the only true guide herein, endeavouring to be wise above what is written, and to raise their contemplations, by fancy and imagination, above Scripture revelation (as many have done), they have darkened counsel without knowledge, uttering things which they understand not, which have no substance or spiritual food of faith in them.

"Howbeit, that real view which we may have of Christ and his glory, in this world, by faith, however weak and obscure, and that knowledge which we may obtain of them, by divine revelation, is inexpressibly to be preferred above all other wisdom, understanding, or knowledge whatSo it is declared by him, who will be acknowledged a competent

ever.

judge in these things: yea, doubtless,' saith he, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.' Phil. iii. 8. He who doth not so, hath no part in him.

"The revelation made of Christ in the blessed Gospel is far more excellent, more glorious, and more filled with rays of divine wisdom and goodness, than the whole creation and the just comprehension of it, if attainable, can contain or afford. Without the knowledge hereof, the mind of man, however priding itself in other inventions and discoveries, is wrapped up in darkness and confusion.

"This, therefore, deserves the severest of our thoughts, the best of meditations, and our utmost diligence in them. For, if our future blessedness shall consist in being where he is, and beholding his glory, what better preparation can there be for it, than in a constant previous contemplation of that glory, in the revelation that is made in the Gospel, that, by a view of it, we may be gradually transformed into the same glory."

PSALM LXXXIX.

For ever shall my song record
The truth and mercy of the Lord;
Mercy and truth for ever stand,
Like heaven, establish'd by his hand.

Thus to his Son he sware, and said,
"With thee my covenant first is made;
In thee shall dying sinners live;
Glory and grace are thine to give.

Be thou my Prophet, thou my Priest;
Thy children shall be ever blest;
Thou art my chosen King; thy throne
Shall stand 'eternal, like my own.

[blocks in formation]

boam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;

8 And Asa begat Josophat; and Josophat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias;

9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias;

10 And "Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias;

11 And "Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:

0

12 And after they were brought to Babylon, "Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat' Zorobabel;

13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;

14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud ;

15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;

16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away

6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; 7 And 'Solomon begat Ro- into Babylon are fourteen ge

nerations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.

d Gen. xxi. 2, 3. e Gen. xxv. 26. f Gen. xxix. 35.g Gen. xxxviii. 27. h Ruth iv. 18, &c. 1 Chr. ii. 5, 9, &c.-i 1 Sam. xvi. 1, & xvii. 12. k2 Sam. xii. 24.1 Chr. iii. 10, &c.-m 2 Kin. xx. 21. 1 Chr. iii. 13.Some read-Josias begat Jakim, and Jakim begat Jechonias. n See 1 Chr. iii. 15, 16. 02 Kin. xxiv. 14, 15, 16, & xxv. 11. 2 Chr. xxxvi. 10, 20. Jer. xxvii. 20, & xxxix. 9, & lii. 11, 15, 28, 29, 30. Dan. i. 2.-p 1 Chr. iii. 17, 19. q Ezra iii. 2, & v. 2. Neh. xii. 1. Hag. i. 1.

Reader. In these verses I find little occasion for verbal explanation. Perhaps, however, your acquaintance with Old Testament history may suggest some inquiries respecting the individuals mentioned in this genealogy, and the order of their succession.

Theophilus. Is Ozias, in the eighth verse, the same as Uzziah, of whom we read in 2 Chron. xxvi. 2?

Reader. Yes; this is the same Uzziah, whose history stands upon record as a warning against a proud neglect, or violation, of divine institutions and appointments. He reigned well, for some time, and prospered; but afterwards, "when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction; for he transgressed against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense." This was a bold and arrogant invasion of the priests' office; and Uzziah was smitten with leprosy as a punishment for his presumption.

Theophilus. But it is said that Joram begat Ozias; whereas the father of Ozias was Amaziah, and the father of Amaziah was Joash, and the father of Joash was Ahaziah, and it is he who was the son of Joram. Reader. True; the three more

immediate descendants of Joram, namely, Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah, are omitted; and the words "Joram begat Ozias," are equivalent to "Joram was the ancestor of Ozias," just as the phrase "son of David” is the same as "descendant of David."

This manner of speaking was common among the Jews. Perhaps the omission existed in the genealogical table from which St. Matthew took his account; and the Evangelist saw no occasion to supply the deficiency; especially as it did not affect his argument, the line of succession being unbroken. It must also be borne in mind that Joram married wicked Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab, from whom the succeeding sovereigns descended; and, perhaps, the omission of three names in the genealogy is designed as is designed as a mark of disgrace "to the third and fourth generation," in token of the Lord's displeasure against Joram on account of his connection with an impious and idolatrous house, and because "he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord."

Theophilus. I find also a little difficulty in the eleventh verse, where it is said that Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren. If I remember rightly, Josias was the father of Jehoiakim; and Jehoiakim was the father of Jechonias. Besides this, we do not read of the brethren of Jechonias, but we do read of those of Jehoiakim, in the Old Testament. So that I should have expected to find, "Josias begat Jehoiakim and his brethren, and Jehoiakim begat Jechonias."

Reader. Exactly so; and if you refer to the margin of your Bible, you will discover an allusion to a reading found in many manuscripts, which some critics adopt as genuine, -"Josias begat Jakim (i.e. Jehoiakim), and Jakim begat Jechonias." Calmet accordingly would read the eleventh and twelfth verses thus, "Josias begat Jehoiakim and his brethren; and Jehoiakim begat Jechonias about the time of the first Babylonish captivity; and Jechonias begat Salathiel, after they were brought to Babylon." Others, receiving the reading adopted in our text, avoid the difficulty by supposing Jechonias, in the eleventh verse, to be only another form of the name Jehoiakim. Or again, allowing a certain latitude of expression not uncommon in such cases in Jewish writings, some would understand the eleventh verse thus, Josias begat, i.e. was the ancestor, namely, the grandfather, of Jechonias and his brethren, i.e. his relatives, namely, his uncles. In either way, the agreement of the genealogy with the history becomes easily apparent.

Theophilus. We read, in the twelfth verse, that Jechonias begat Salathiel; whereas it is said concerning Jechonias, in Jeremiah xxii. 30, "write this man childless;" and St. Luke speaks of Salathiel as being the son of Neri.

Reader. The whole prophecy to which you refer is as follows, "Thus saith the Lord, write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days; for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the

throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah." Now some suppose that Salathiel, and others who are mentioned in 1 Chron. iii. 17, 18, were really the sons of Jechonias; and that the prophecy was fulfilled in the calamities which befel their house, and in its loss of the throne. None of the posterity of Jechonias sat upon the throne of David; but yet the regal line was continued from that prince, through his son Salathiel. Interpreters who take this view of the matter conjecture that Salathiel was adopted by Neri.-On the other hand, some suppose that Jechonias was the father of Salathiel only by adoption, the latter being really the son of Neri, who was the heir of Zedekiah, brother of Jehoiakim, and uncle of Jechonias.

Theophilus. My recollection of the history of Jehoiakim and Jechonias, and their lives, is rather indistinct. Perhaps this is owing to the similarity of the two names, and the confusion of events at that period.

Reader. It occurred to me that a little historical information on this point would be acceptable; and I have brought out of my library a volume of Doddridge's Expositor, in order to read to you the following note in which you will find a clear account of the succession of Jewish princes, and other circumstances, about the time of the captivity.

"On the death of Josiah, the people took Jehoahaz, otherwise called Shallum, though a younger brother, and made him king in his father's stead (2 Kings xxiii. 30, 31); but Pharaoh Necho, in three months'

« PreviousContinue »