"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:6,7)
THIS Child born, and this Son given, is the glory of every believing soul. Upon His birth, death, and resurrection depends the salvation of all the saved; no other name is given but his to that end. When he came he was set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and it may be said that thousands and ten thousands have stumbled at him--have been broken, snared, and taken; yea, all that refuse to take him as a complete Saviour, with whom nothing can be mixed: to forsake all for Christ is what the greatest part of mankind cannot do.
But the government of his own kingdom specially is on his own shoulder: and besides this, also, the whole world, which he makes subservient to his own cause. When, upon the fall of man, enmity was put between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, his government, in a spiritual sense, began. Adam and Eve were raised from their fall, by his government; Satan's power over them was destroyed, which none but himself could accomplish. Abel, instructed under his government, was brought to believe in the promised seed that should destroy the works of the devil; was justified by faith, and declared to be a righteous man. This special government of the Child born, and the Son given, is not heeded by the world. His government caused Abraham to wander from his father's house, and traverse the land of Canaan as a pilgrim, as did Isaac and Jacob, heirs of that land with him, saying to the world, "Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm." (1 Chron. 16:22; Ps. 105:15) When He would increase his special government in the world (for of Israel, says God, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth, Amos 3:2) he sends Jacob down into Egypt, and increases his seed to six hundred thousand souls, and manifests them as his chosen nation. When the time set by himself was up, he appears to Moses in the burning bush, and under his government sends him and Aaron his brother to Pharaoh saying, "Let my son go, that he may serve me." Opposition was made, but his government prevailed: the blood of atonement secured his own kingdom, whilst the judgment inflicted by his power destroyed the rest: the government was upon his own shoulder. To his government the Red sea must give way, and that which gives way for his own people shall destroy his enemies.
His government is seen all through the wilderness, in which his power was manifested. Jordan also must recede from its wonted course for a while, under his government, to let his people into the promised land. In the wilderness he gave them laws, and commands, and a tabernacle of witness for his worship, which was extended in the land of promise; when against these they rebelled, and from which, when they departed, he chastened them; and when they repented, and cried to him, he raised them up saviours: by all which, that the government was upon His shoulders plainly appeared.
These were a typical people, and in many things shadowed forth his spiritual kingdom; the law and its services being a shadow of things to come. But the scepter was not to depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, till Shiloh come. (Gen. 49:10) When Christ came, his kingdom and government assumed a different form from the old one; he displayed his power by casting out the devils, restoring one to sight that was born blind, raising the dead by a word, changing water into wine, walking upon the waves of the sea, commanding the winds and sea to be still, and overturning the tables of the moneychangers, driving the buyers and sellers from the temple. The government was on His shoulder, which none could withstand. When the hour of the wicked and power of darkness was come, the ordination of Heaven must be fulfilled, and his government apparently give way; but it was only in disguise to the eyes of men; for through death He destroyed him that had the power of death, the devil, (Heb. 2:14) and in his death and resurrection spoiled principalities and powers, making a show of them openly. (Col. 2:15) At his death the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and (as says Mr. Huntington) God broke up housekeeping with the Jews for good and all. He then sets up his gospel kingdom, the substance of all the shadows that went before. The prophets, by the Spirit, had prophesied of his coming; and the apostles, by the Spirit, were to preach him as come; that he had fulfilled all the work which was given him to do; that, having ascended and sat down at his Father's right hand, all power was his in heaven and in earth; and having received the promise of the Spirit by which he would govern his kingdom in the hearts of his subjects, and by his power preserve them; he sends down the Holy Ghost as cloven tongues of fire, by which they were empowered to speak the things of his kingdom in the languages of all there assembled; and now the government of his kingdom, in its present form, being on his shoulder evidently appeared: no less than three thousand at one time were made to submit, being pricked to the heart by his word, which is sharper than a twoedged sword.
He extended his government so much by these his servants that the old enmity long ago put between the two seeds began to show itself, the rulers saying to them,--"Ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us." They had put them in prison, but the government was upon Christ's shoulder, who brought them out, and gave them power to preach all the words of this life; and also gave them mouth and wisdom, which silenced their adversaries; in these things we see the government of his own kingdom is on his shoulder. But the great folks of the world cannot look at his government; the things that glisten and shine to please fleshly affections suit best for them. When he was in the world he conquered Mary Magdalene, cast the inordinate love of money out of the heart of Zaccheus; the conversion also of the prostitute of Samaria showed the government of his grace to be effectual: and after he was gone from the world, he conquered by his voice (even then) one of the most violent of his enemies, who was obliged to fall at his feet; (but, oh!) he was set for the rise of him;) and Saul of Tarsus, being thus brought down, was raised up (under his government), and was set for the defense of the gospel.
After the Lord's ascension, and he had sent down the Holy Ghost, he set up the gospel kingdom by a few fisherman. But the Saviour's kingdom always did, and always will, meet with opposition in the world; notwithstanding which, by this servant of his (Saul), he extended his kingdom in the Gentile world, and numbers were called and enjoyed the blessings of that kingdom, which casts out Satan and all idolatry, and brings the heart into the knowledge of Christ as the Saviour of the soul. The world observes not the government of Christ, which is carried on in the hearts of men; and if this is withdrawn, and conversion work not carried on, Satan takes the rule, and leads men into ungodliness and superstition: witness the first awful declension of the gospel, when papacy at length got the dominion in what is generally called Christendom.
Another appearance of his government that is past was made in the raising up of William Huntington, and setting him in his kingdom, and sent him to preach it: he met with as much opposition as most, if not, in some respects, more; not the least of which came from what are called by many gospel ministers; but, whether from professor or profane, the government of Christ was made plainly to appear. His writings, I believe, will last as long as time, though the government of Christ herein is observed but by few. The Lord Jesus governs his own by the spirit of the fear of the Lord, and by the spirit of love and of power and a sound mind; and his providence to and for them is in faithfulness engaged, though we cannot at all times observe it.
I now take notice of his name, "Wonderful;" and as a wonder is somewhat that is out of the common way, it must stand for ever as a wonder that the Creator should take flesh and die, to save sinful men and bring them to heaven, and make the miserable happy for ever, besides all the wonderful things he did on earth.
"Counseller:" he by his word counsels the needy to buy of him gold tried in the fire, that he may be rich; white raiment, that he may be clothed, that the shame of his nakedness may not appear; and to anoint his eyes with eye-salve, that he may see. A counselor gives advice, direction, and pleads the cause of his client; the above is his advice; and also, further, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, take my yoke upon you and learn of me, and ye shall find rest to your souls:" this is his direction. And again, "thus saith the Lord, and thy God, that pleadeth the cause of his people; I have taken out of thy hand the cup of trembling, I have drunk it myself; thou shalt no more drink it again."
"Mighty God:" all his work declared this, and he laid down his life of himself; none could take it from him; and he took it again, and was declared to be the Son of God, with power, in his resurrection from the dead. (Rom. 1:4)
"Everlasting Father:"--"have we not all one Father; hath not one God created us?" and, in particular, the Father of all his spiritual seed:--"I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:" (Isa. 44:3)--"all that the Father hath are mine."
"The Prince of peace:" he is called the King of righteousness and King of peace; and none but He could make peace between God and sinners. "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end." The Babylonian, Median, and Persian are gone; Rome secular is gone, and the rod hangs over what remains in its present form: but Christ's dominion is that which shall never be destroyed; it increases upon its proper foundation, and the superstructure is carried on by infinite wisdom and power. When all the predestinated subjects of his kingdom are come in, and the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ is complete, the increase will continue in duration. Eternity will never end: they shall shine forth and be as the morning.
David's throne, as a figure of Christ, has been long promised to the Saviour. Solomon takes the throne after David, who was to be a man of peace, a type of Christ also:--"upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to establish it with judgment and justice, from henceforth and even for ever." David destroyed the enemies of his kingdom before Solomon came to the throne; Christ destroyed the devil, sin, death, and the grave, all enemies of his children, and made an everlasting peace for them, when he died upon the cross; and God promises to keep that man's mind in perfect peace who stays upon Christ, and promises that the covenant of peace shall never be removed. "The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall perform this." It is plain the whole of this springs from God's eternal love: true zeal, it is said, springs from fervent love and true desire: the church says, He hath appeared to me saying he hath loved me with an everlasting love,--"and with lovingkindness have I drawn thee;" (Jer. 31:3) and, says the spouse, "I am my Beloved's, and his desire is towards me." (Songs 7:10)