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and sorrow, “I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains !” He need say no more: Nathan already understands the king; he rejoices over his plan; and, convinced that it cannot be otherwise than well-pleasing in the sight of God, thus addresses him, “ Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee." Yet here the holy prophet errs: for though the feeling which originated the project of the king was certainly acceptable in the eyes of God, yet another man, at another period, had been appointed to carry the inspired idea into execution. This man was David's son and successor: for it was Solomon that was destined to erect a temple to the King of Peace. On the following night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, and revealed to him things the most important to his sovereign. The Lord made known to David, through Nathan, that he needed not a house of cedar; and then reminded him of the numerous proofs of grace and love which he had showered upon him from his youth upward.
“ So shalt thou say unto my servant David," saith Jehovah, “ Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel. And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth.” God then announced to “ the man after his own heart,” that he would build him an house ; promising him to set up his seed after him, and establish his kingdom. “ He shall build an house for my name," saith Jehovah, referring to Solo
mon, "and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
I will be his Father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men; but my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.” This was the divine revelation which Nathan was to repeat to his monarch; containing certainly a prohibition with regard to the proposed building of the temple, but softened by glorious prospects and assurances of grace.
II. Scarcely has Nathan received those divine revelations, than he hastens to impart them to his king. He repeats to him, word for word, what the Lord had said unto him; and it fills the soul of David with such joy, that he feels as though he were raised far above all the cares and anxieties of earth. The king receives the divine intelligence that Jehovah will build a houseFor whom ?-for me, a poor sinner! Boundless and unheard-of grace! After I am gathered to my fathers, my branches shall still continue to flourish
Mount Zion. One of my sons shall wield the sceptre. The Lord shall be with him, and he shall build unto Jehovah a temple. He now inquires what is the meaning of the words which the Lord hath spoken: “ Thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee; thy throne shall be established for ever!" His soul is full of mighty thoughts and anticipations while he asks this question. It seems to him, on a
sudden, as though a thousand veils were snatched away, and as though scale after scale fell from his eyes. Now, for the first time, he understands the mighty word of God, and sees into the depth of his mysterious counsels. A golden future opens to his gaze, replete with supernatural glory and beauty. He beholds in spirit another seed than Solomon, and another temple than that built of stone and cėdar; he sees another kingdom than that earthly one upon the throne of which he sits; another dominion, another sceptre, and another crown, of which his own in Zion are but feeble types, or dark and miserable shadows. What blessed images does he see, like friendly constellations in the horizon of the coming day !--a rapturous train of lovely forms, which, in festive procession, pass before his soul! He is transported out of himself with wonder and joy, and ere one is aware of his intention, he has risen and quitted his palace. Away he hastens, with agitated mind, and his feet carry him to the summit of Mount Moriah. He rushes to the Holy Tabernacle, and here, in the presence of God, the deeplymoved king prostrates himself before the mercy-seat, and pours out his soul in thanksgiving and prayer.
It is while in this state, that the heaven of the new testament is first opened to him, and that the veil is completely removed from his eyes. It is here he breaks forth in the memorable words, “ And is this the manner of man, O Lord God ?”—or according to Luther's version, which appears to us the most accurate, “ Is this the manner of a Man who is God the Lord ?" In other words;“ Is this the manifestation and establish
ment of the kingdom of the Man who is God the Lord ?" In the first book of Chronicles also Luther translates it thus : “ The form of a man who is God the Lord in the highest.” If this be correct, it is a certain proof that David had not merely a general knowledge of his great Descendant, and of his future kingdom; but that the Saviour had been manifested to his eyes in a wonderful and glorious form. The great mystery of Jehovah's love, in the foundation of an eternal kingdom of peace upon earth, under the mild sceptre of an Incarnate God, was now revealed in extraordinary clearness to the soul of David. His spiritual eyes now behold in all its brilliancy that unsearchable plan of God, by which a Shepherd was to be sent to sinful mankind, to gather them together with the staff of mercy, to bruise their great enemy under his feet, to govern them with love, and to shelter and cover them with the shield of Almighty grace and compassion. All these manifestations of divine mercy are comprised in the sentence, “In the form of a man, who is God the Lord.” But, as said before, David does not merely hear this; he sees also-living pictures pass before him; all that is glorious takes form and substance in his eyes—he beholds in spirit the God-man, and he rejoices. The promised One stands so vividly revealed before him, that he feels as though he were touched by his breath. What a wonderful manifestation! A man, and yet not a man! a mortal, and yet illuminated by the
of eternal splendour! in form like unto himself, but with the countenance of the Almighty Father! a child of clay, and yet the Godhead in his person! his feet rest
ing upon the earth, but his head touching the stars of heaven! the words of man proceeding from his lips, and around him the thunder which makes the universe tremble ! kindness and benevolence beaming from his eyes, and at the same time a majesty which constrains every knee to bow. His hands laden with blessings, are extended towards sinners, though at the same time they appoint to the stars their course, and set bounds to the whole universe. Thus David in spirit beholds him ; around him the blessed inhabitants of his kingdom are basking in the rays of his mercy; in the midst is the wonderful temple, built of living stones, resounding with jubilees and hosannas; and on its summit the ladder reaching up to heaven, by which the angels of God are descending to the earth. What a beatific vision! Is he awake, or is his enraptured soul merely deluded by happy dreams? Is he in reality enjoying the full and sunny splendour of the new testament; or is it only airy forms which he beholds in the mirror of the future? What a heaven of peace surrounds him ! and what a vivid consciousness of the grace and mercy of God is uplifting his heart! In beholding the Incarnate God, he seems to participate already in the joys of heaven; and without doubt it was this manifestation, hovering in his recollection, that caused him to break forth to the music of his harp in those words of rapture, « Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips ; therefore God hath blessed thee for ever."
O, be ashamed, ye who have not once uttered an hosanna to that Redeemer whose far distant Advent