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spired to reveal many of the Christian promises, and there are no other such significant disclosures made of them since the days of Abraham and the Patriarchs, nor perhaps even then. For what have we in the Prophetic Psalms (and those all, or most of them, ascribed to David,) but an assemblage of many of the most considerable attributes of the reign and religion of the Messiah foreshewn? There is a king set upon the holy hill of Sion; his law; the opposition made to him by the kings of the earth; their rage defeated; his extraordinary sceptre of righteousness; his unchangeable priesthood; his divine sonship; his exalted nature; his death and early resurrection outrunning the corruption of the grave; his dominion embracing both Israel and the Gentile world*. On which account this becomes one of the most distinguished periods of the prophetic revelation; and whoever would study that revelation, and see into the order and scope of it, in both its kinds, must take this æra of it for one of his principal points of view. And as
* See Psalms ii. xvi. xlv. cx. Also lxxxix., and others.
† Hence the joint reference which is made in the New Testament to Abraham, and to David. St. Matthew begins with "the book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, "the son of Abraham." The inspired hymn of Zacharias runs upon the same persons, in "blessing the Lord God of Israel, "for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised
up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant "David-To perform the mercy promised to our Fathers, and
we have a great increase of the prophetic light breaking forth, and encompassing the family and kingdom of David, so subsequent prophecy reverts often to the same subjects, insomuch that there is no individual, king or other person, one only excepted, of whom more is said by the prophets, than of this king and his throne; "the throne of David," "the sure mercies of David," being recalled again and again, in the progress of their revelation; and the single person who is made still more the care and object of the divine oracles, is he who was both the son of David and his Lord, and to whom the glory of David's kingdom, and of the prophecies relating to it, most eminently and perfectly belongs.
Upon this statement, some remarks come to be made concerning the frame and tenour of Prophecy so exhibited.
I. "Of the seed of David, according to the flesh," the Messiah was to be born into the world. This being the divine purpose, the first exaltation of the
"to remember his holy covenant, the oath which he sware to
our father Abraham (a).”—In the Old: "My Covenant will "I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips; I "have sworn once by my holiness, that I will not fail David (b).” It is the divine pledge, the oath "shewing the immutability of "God's counsel;" as in the case of Abraham (c). ·
(c) Heb. vi 17.
(a) Luke ii. 68.
(b) Psalm lxxxix. 34.
house of David is chosen, as we see, to be the time of originating some of the clearest and most illustrious prophecies concerning him: as the heir of David's throne, the great King of Israel, the predestinated ruler of the people of God. Who can hesitate to say, that there is a congruity in this order of prophecy,-a congruity both as to its time of promulgation, and also as to the evidence, which it thereby affords in the most sriking way, of the ultimate purpose of God in the selection and elevation of the house of David.
It is the same order as we saw observed in the Call of Abraham, and the Constitution of the Tribes. When God first separated the family in which the Messiah was to be born, the Seed of Blessing was revealed to the founder and Patriarch of that family. When that family began to divide and branch into Tribes, the tribe of Judah had the designation of prophecy fixed upon it in respect of the Messiah. When the kingdom of David appears, the reign and power of the Messiah are brought into view.
II. There is a further congruity in this frame of Prophecy. For the evangelical end is not only foreshewn with the temporal appointment, but it is stamped upon it. How is this done? In the house of David is founded a kingdom; but Christ has his kingdom, his protecting power and rule over the people of God, as truly as Solomon, and the other
heirs of David, had theirs. The temporal kingdom bears some image of the other; they are two analogous subjects, and fit to be combined together, as prophecy has combined them; though the likeness would be more confessed, if the kings of the earth always answered to their high office, "if they would reign in righteousness, and princes rule in judgment," which is the model of the kingdom of Christ. But now that he has come into the world, and received his kingdom, and fulfilled the promises made to David, as well as the prophecies delivered by him, the relation between the two subjects is made so evident, that it is out of all reason not to admit that the relation was designed to be expressed in the prophecy, as it is illustrated in the fact.
III. This age of prophecy, in particular, brings the doctrine of "the double sense," as it has been called, before us. For Scripture Prophecy is so framed in some of its predictions, as to bear a sense directed to two objects; of which structure the predictions concerning the kingdom of David furnish a conspicuous example; and I should say, an unquestionable one, if the whole principle of that kind of interpretation had not been by some disputed and denied. But the principle has met with this ill acceptance, for no better reason, it should seem, than because it has been injudiciously applied,
in cases where it had no proper place; or has been suspected, if not mistaken, in its constituent character, as to what it really is.
The double sense of prophecy, however, is of all things the most remote from fraud or equivocation, and has its ground of reason perfectly clear. For what is it? Not the convenient latitude of two unconnected senses, wide of each other, and giving room to a fallacious ambiguity; but the combination of two related, analogous and harmonizing, though disparate subjects, each clear and definite in itself; implying a twofold truth in the prescience, and creating an aggravated difficulty, and thereby an accumulated proof, in the completion. For a case in point; to justify the predictions concerning the kingdom of David in their double force, it must be shewn of them, that they hold in each of their relations, and in each were fulfilled. So that the double sense of prophecy in its true idea is a check upon the pretences of vague and unappropriated prediction, rather than a door to admit them. But this is not all. For if the prediction distribute its sense into two remote branches or systems of the Divine Economy; if it shew not only what is to take place in distant times, but describe also different modes of God's appointment, though holding a certain and intelligible resemblance to each other; such prediction becomes not only more convincing in the argument, but more instructive in the doc