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firmed to Isaac and Jacob; nor did God disdain even to be called the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. This compact with Abraham contained two parts: one, which belonged to his carnal progeny and the land of Canaan; the other, which regarded the blessed seed and the whole human race.
After the death of Isaac, it pleased the Almighty in His wisdom to send Jacob and his family into Egypt. This holy patriarch died, after minutely explaining God's promises to his children, and foretelling what would befall each of them in their generation. He informed them that their posterity should increase to a great and independent people, and also assured them, “ that the sceptre should not be taken away from Judah, nor a ruler from his thigh, till the Messias came, the expectation of all nations." When the increasing mul. titude of the Israelites had excited the envy of the Egyptians to persecute them, God delivered his people from servitude, with an outstretched arm, under the guidance of Moses. The Almighty then became not only their tutelary, and, as it were, domestic God, but He likewise took upon Himself the government of their commonwealth, and formed with them a compact, the conditions of which He delivered to His servant Moses.
After having thus taken upon Himself the regal authority, God immediately proceeded to the exercise of that power: He enacted laws never to be abrogated by man; He constituted judges and magistrates as His ordinary vicegerents, and reserved to Himself the determination of more weighty and difficult questions. He moreover displayed, in the Jewish commonwealth, all the marks of regal power; a most splendid tabernacle
was erected, at the entrance of which, as at the gates of a royal palace, a constant guard attended; a certain number of ministers, maintained at the public expense, were deputed to the service of the King, and a tax was levied in testimony of His supreme authority. In short, God performed in the midst of His people all the acts of sovereignty; He led their armies into the field; He administered justice; He distributed rewards and punishments; and manifested so peculiar a providence towards them, that the safety and prosperity of the state was made manifestly to depend upon the people's obedience and fidelity.
Thus things went on for a long period, until, despising their high privilege of being ruled and governed by God Himself, the Israelites asked of the prophet Samuel a king to judge and rule them, as all the Gentile nations had. Samuel, sorrowing, prayed to God, and the Lord answered him : “ Hearken to the voice of the people in all that they shall say to thee. For they have not rejected thee, but Me, that I should not reign over them.”1 And because the people would not hear the voice of Samuel, and said: “There shall be a king over us. We will be like all nations; and our kings shall judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles for us ;" Samuel was directed by God to appoint Saul over them, whom he anointed. But Saul soon forgot the fidelity which he owed to God. And as he refused to obey the voice of God, the Lord rejected him from reigning over Israel, and appointed David, His holy servant, who accordingly was anointed by Samuel. David was a man according to God's own heart, who faithfully fulfilled all His will, and the Lord 11 Kings viïi. 7.
2 Ib. viii. 19, 20.
made him the promise of a perpetual kingdom. “ When thy days shall be fulfilled," said the Lord to him, "and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house to My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever.” This promise of the Lord to David began to be accomplished in his son Solomon; andwas continued in other kings of Juda; but it has its perfect fulfilment in Christ Jesus, the Son of David according to the flesh, and the Eternal King of Glory, who, notwithstanding the rebellion of His people, lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Thus we see that God chose for Himself the Jewish nation, and took upon Himself to reign and rule over them: first, immediately in His own person; secondly, by the appointment of kings; and, lastly, by His only incarnate Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The children of Israel, it is true, are now in punishment of their rebellions, but especially in chastisement for the awful crime of putting to death their King and Saviour, rejected by God, and scattered through the nations as sheep without a pastor, deprived of all the blessings of the kingdom of Christ. Yet the time will come when they will bewail their blindness with bitter tears. The time will come when they will recognise Him who is come in the name of the Lord, and will fall down to adore Him as their Saviour and Sovereign Lord. Then the sweet and bountiful Jesus will show mercy to them, and number them again among His beloved people. “For there shall come out
1 2 Kings vii. 12, 13.
of Sion He that shall deliver, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” i As regards the Gospel, they have been and are still enemies of God, who has rejected them for their unbelief; but as regards the election, they are most dear to Him for the sake of the fathers.
Jesus Christ King of the Jews. Our Lord Jesus Christ, being a true son of David, and his heir, according to the flesh, was, and still continues to be, the King of the Jews. The following passages of Holy Scripture put this fact beyond all possibility of doubt.
1. The angel Gabriel, when speaking to Mary of the Incarnate Word, whom she was to conceive in her womb, said, “ The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His Father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for
2. The sages who, in obedience to God's call, came from the East to Jerusalem, in search of the Lord Jesus, asked, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews ? For we have seen His star in the East, and are come to adore Him.” 3
What could have induced these wise men to call Jesus the King of the Jews, unless they had learnt from supernatural inspiration, that He was really such as they proclaimed Him to be?
3. The prophet Micheas, whilst predicting the place of the nativity of Christ, calls Him, by excellence, “the Ruler of Israel." + Hence the chief priests and the scribes of the people, who, in 1 Rom. xi. 26.
2 Luke i. 32. 3 Matt. ii. 2.
4 Mic. v. 2.
obedience to Herod's command, assembled to declare the place where Christ was to be born, said to him, " In Bethlehem of Juda, for so it is written by the prophet: And thou, Bethlehem the land of Juda, art not the least amongst the princes of Juda; for out of thee shall come forth the Captain that shall rule my people Israel.” 1
4. When Christ, at His last public entrance into Jerusalem seated upon a colt, was coming near the descent of Mount Olivet, the whole multitude of his disciples began with joy to praise God, saying, "Blessed be the King, who cometh in the name of the Lord.” 2
5. The evangelist St. Matthew, speaking of the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem upon an ass, says, "Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: Tell ye the daughter of Sion : Behold thy King cometh, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt, the foal of her that is used to the yoke."3
6. The Jews accused Christ before the tribunal of Pilate, of calling Himself their King, and Jesus did not say a word to contradict the charge.
7. Christ, on being asked by Pilate whether He was truly the King of the Jews, answered in the affirmative by those words, “Thou sayest
8. After Christ had been scourged at the pillar, the soldiers of the governor, knowing that He called Himself the King of the Jews, derided and mocked Him as a false king. Stripping Him, they put a scarlet cloak about Him, and platting a crown of thorns they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand, and bowing the knee 1 Matt. ii. 5, 6.
2 Luke xix. 37, 38. 3 Matt. xxi. 4, 5.
4 Ib. xxvii. 11.