For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful…
I. I would offer a few thoughts concerning THE CHURCH OR KINGDOM OF CHRIST IN THE WORLD.
1. By the Church I understand that remnant of Adam's family who, being determined to break their covenant with hell, and their agreement with death, join themselves to Christ, as their Prophet, Priest, and King, either in reality, or by a visible and credible profession of their faith in Him.
2. The Church or kingdom of Christ, during the Old Testament dispensation, was peculiarly confined to the posterity of Abraham, to the nation of the Jews, excepting a few Gentile proselytes; but now, since the coming of Christ in the flesh and His resurrection from the dead, is extended also to the Gentile nations.
3. All the subjects of Christ's kingdom and government, are originally brought out of the territories of hell, being "children of wrath, even as others."
4. The great engine whereby Christ rears up a kingdom to Himself in the world, is the preaching of the everlasting Gospel, accompanied with the power and efficacy of His Spirit.
5. The Church and kingdom of Christ being founded and governed by Him, "in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid," cannot miss of being one of the best regulated societies in the world as under His management, whatever irregularities may be found in her through the corruptions of men intermingling with the concerns of the kingdom. Everything necessary to render any kingdom or society regular is to be found in the Church or kingdom of Christ.
(1) A kingdom well constituted hath its laws and so hath the Church of Christ. And the laws given by her King are all "holy, just, and good"; and all the true subjects of the kingdom delight in the laws of their King, as being the transcript of infinite wisdom and equity.
(2) A kingdom hath its offices under its king; and so hath the Church of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13).
(3) A kingdom hath its courts, where the subjects attend to receive the will of the king, and the benefits of his administration; and so hath the Church.
(4) A kingdom hath its seal. So in the kingdom of Christ, He hath appended two public seals unto the charter of His covenant of grace, namely, baptism and the Lord's Supper.
(5) A. kingdom commonly hath its enemies to grapple with, both foreign and intestine; and so hath the kingdom of Christ.
(6) A kingdom hath its armies and auxiliaries; and so hath the Church of Christ, being in a confederacy with the Lord of hosts. The armies of heaven are ready to fight her quarrel.
(7) A kingdom hath its fortifications and strongholds; and so hath the Church of Christ.
II. I would speak a little of THE GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE KINGDOM.
1. Christ Himself is the great and glorious Governor.
2. All things in heaven, earth, and hell are put under the power of Christ, for the more advantageous government of His Church (Ephesians 1:22, 23; Philippians 2:9-11).
3. Christ the King of Zion is wonderfully fitted by, His Father for the government and administration (Isaiah 11:2-4).
4. Christ's government and administration are very wonderful. The name of the Governor is Wonderful.
5. Christ's government and administration in and about His Church and people are exceeding wise. So much is imported in His being called the "Counsellor."
6. Also irresistible. The Governor is "The Mighty God," who will go through with His designs.
7. He is exceeding tender and compassionate; for His name is "The Everlasting Father" from whom compassions flow.
8. Christ's government and administration of His Church are very peaceable; for His name is "The Prince of Peace," and "of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end."
9. This government is everlasting.
III. Inquire HOW THE GOVERNMENT OF THE CHURCH IS COMMITTED TO CHRIST. The government is laid upon Christ's shoulder with a three-fold solemnity.
1. The solemnity of an unalterable decree (Psalm 2:6-8).
2. The solemnity of a covenant transacted betwixt Him and His Eternal Father, when the council of peace was between them both.
3. The solemnity of an oath, ratifying the determination of the council of peace in this matter (Psalm 89:3, 4, 35).
IV. GIVE THE REASONS OF THE DOCTRINE. Why is the government laid upon His shoulder?
1. Because His shoulder alone was able to bear the weight of the administration and government of the Church.
2. 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; "Thou art my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth"; and Zechariah 9:9.
3. 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.
4. Because He hath a just title to it.
(1) By birth.
(2) By purchase.
(3) By His Father's promise and charter, granted to Him upon the footing of His death and satisfaction (Isaiah 53:12).
(4) By conquest.
(1) The wonderful love of God which He bears to His Church in providing such a Ruler and Governor for them.
(2) What a happy government and administration believers are under, namely, the government of the Child born, the Son given to us, whose, name is Wonderful, etc.
(3) The misery of a wicked, unbelieving world who will not have Him to rule over them.
(4) The nullity of all acts, laws, and constitutions that do not bear the stamp of Christ, and are not consistent with the laws and orders He has left for the government of His Church.
(5) They run a very serious risk who do injury to His servants(6) They have a hard task to manage who attempt to jostle Him out of His government and take it upon, their own shoulders.
(7) All odds will be even, and Christ will render tribulation to those that trouble, vex, and harass His poor people in their spiritual rights and privileges.
2. Consolation to the poor people of God; particularly to those who are spoiled of their liberties and privileges as Christians,
(1) Your God does not stand as an unconcerned spectator.
(2) God hath founded Zion.
(3) He who hath the government upon His shoulder rules in the midst of His enemies, and has so much of the act of government that He both can and will bring good out of evil.
(4) The most dark dispensations towards the Church and people of God are in the event found to have been pregnant with love and mercy.
(5) He on whose shoulders the government is laid hath power to provide you with honest ministers.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.