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. LET US EXPLAIN THE PREDICTION. The grandeur of the titles sufficiently determines the meaning of the prophet; for to whom, except to the Messiah, can these appellations belong This natural sense of the text is supported by the authority of an inspired writer, and what is, if not of any great weight in point of argument, at least very singular as a historical fact, it is supported by the authority of an angel (Matthew 4:12, etc.; Luke 1:31, etc.). To remove the present fears of the Jews, God reminds them of the wonders of His love, which He had promised to display in favour of His Church in ages to come: and commands His prophet to say to them: Ye trembling leaves of the wood, shaken with every wind, peace be to you! Ye timorous Jews, cease your fears! let not the greatness of this temporal deliverance, which I now promise you, excite your doubts! God hath favours incomparably greater in store for you, they shall be your guarantees for those which ye are afraid to expect. Ye are in covenant with God. Ye have a right to expect those displays of His love in your favour, which are least credible. Remember the blessed seed, which He promised to your ancestors (Genesis 22:18). "Behold! a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and call His name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). The spirit of prophecy that animates me, enables me to penetrate through all the ages that separate the present moment from that in which the promise shall be fulfilled. I dare speak of a miracle, which will be wrought eight hundred years hence, as if it had been wrought today, "Unto us a Child is born," etc.
II. LET US SHOW ITS ACCOMPLISHMENT. Who is a king? What is a throne? Why have we masters! Why is sovereign power lodged in a few hands? And what determines mankind to lay aside their independence, and to lose their beloved liberty? The whole implies some mortifying truths. We have not knowledge sufficient to guide ourselves, and we need minds wiser than our own to inspect and to direct our conduct. We are indigent, and superior beings must supply our wants. We have enemies, and we must have guardians to protect us. Miserable men! how have you been deceived in your expectations? what disorders could anarchy have produced greater than those which have sometimes proceeded from sovereign authority? You sought guides to direct you: but you have sometimes fallen under the tuition of men who, far from being able to conduct a whole people, knew not how to guide themselves. You sought nursing fathers, to succour you in your indigence: but you have fallen sometimes into the hands of men, who had no other designs than to impoverish their people, to enrich themselves with the substance, and to fatten themselves with the blood of their subjects. You sought guardians to protect you from your enemies: but you have sometimes found executioners, who have used you with greater barbarity than your most bloody enemies would have done. Show me a king who will conduct me to the felicity to which I aspire; such a king! long to obey. Such a king is the King Messiah. You want knowledge: He is the Counsellor. You want reconciliation with God: He is the Prince of Peace. You need support under the calamities of this life: He is the Mighty God. You have need of one to comfort you under the fears of death, by opening the gates of eternal felicity to you: He is the Father of Eternity.
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.