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aware that very few coincide with us in opinion on this question. We know it is generally, and almost universally believed, that head and king are synonymous. Yet, notwithstanding, we consider it our privilege and duty with the noble Bereans, " to search the scriptures daily, whether these things are so.” We judge for ourselves on this subject, and on all others, though we hope we duly appreciate man's judgment as helps, and we consider it our duty to humbly show our opinion on this question, and let it rest on its own merits. If this sentiment is from God, it will pre'vail; if from man, it will come to naught.
We have been often surprised to hear ministers of the gospel saying king and head of the church, which appeared to us tautology, according to their view of bead and king, and is equivalent to saying head and head of the church, or king and king of the church. Christ, as head of the church, is manifestly a figure of the same character, as when he represents himself a vine, and his people the branches. The branches receive their nourishment from the root—the human system receives its nourishment from the head. Christ is the mystical head of his church, or head of influences, in which character he unites with the church invisible, by which union she becomes “ bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh; the head from which all the body, by joints and bands, having nourishment,” Colos. ii. 19. The mouth is the avenue through which the body is supported. The figure is taken from the individual human system. By union to Christ, grace is infused, by which she is enabled to obey his laws, as king and law-giver ; or“ bring forth fruit unto God,” Rom. vii. 4. Christ says, “ without me ye can do nothing," John xv. 5; “ but with Christ strengthening us, we can do all things,” Phil. iv. 13. In which character the church's obedience is not active, corresponding to a law or command, but passive. Her obedience consists in receiving this grace freely. Christ gives no laws in his mystical character. A head cannot act separately from a body. If Christ would give laws in his organized capacity, in conjunction with the body, the church would be an active agent in making her own laws, for "the head cannot say unto the feet, I have no need of thee."
Christ makes laws to govern the church in his own dis
tinctive character. All the functions that Christ exercises in his mystical character, are of a mystical nature. There is no mystery in Christ governing the church by written laws or statutes. He governs the church visible by written statutes; but it is only the invisible (that is, true believers) that are one with Christ, in which character he works in and with them. Little as may be thought of passive obedience in a passive sense, did not Christ become obedient unto death?-and was it not the prominent means of procuring the salvation of sinners?
We have said that very few coincide with us in opinion respecting Christ's headship, but believe that king and head are synonymous; yet, we are not alone in our opinion, as others have advanced opinions substantially the same. See Head, in the Symbolic Dictionary, embodied in the supplement, accompanying the Comprehensive Commentary. “ Christ is called the Head over all things to the church,” Ephes. i. 23. The apostle, in this passage, seems to have respect to the famous statue of Diana, who was the great goddess of these Ephesians. Her image was that of a woman, and her body covered or filled with breasts of a woman, to denote, as Jerome tells us, that she was the nurse, supporter, and life of all living creatures; or, as Macrobius informs us, Saturn. b. l. c. 20, she represented the earth or nature, by whose nourishment the whole universe is supported. Now this gives a beautiful turn to the apostle's expression. The church of Christ is that body, that aanpwua or fulness, which he upholds and enriches by his bounty. Diana was esteemed the nurse of all things, and her many breasts denoted her various methods and sources by which she conveyed her nourishment to the universe. Such a one the apostle tells the Ephesians Christ really was, for he filleth all things with all things. He filleth the church and all its members with a beautiful and rich variety of blessings ; hence John, who lived long at Ephesus, uses the same manner of expression. John i. 16. " And from his fulness we have all received grace for grace;" that is, of every grace or celestial gift conferred above measure upon him, his disciples have received a portion, according to their measure. See Chandler on Ephesians. Ewald on the same. Another's views on the same subject :
“ A VINE. - John xv. 5.
The HEAD.—Eph. v. 23.
Evangelical Repository, vol. ii. p. 528. We will now examine the attributes that the Lord Jesus Christ represents himself to exercise when he personates the husband or head, for the purpose of ascertaining how it corresponds with his character as husband or head, which we have endeavoured to describe. We find him personating the husband in Isa. liv. 4, 10, which is nothing but a collection of gracious promises of everlasting kindness and mercy. We find him again personating the husband in Jer. ii. 12, 22, which are gracious invitations to return to her husband, though she had broken the marriage covenant; he earnestly entreats her to acknowledge her iniquity, and turn to him, and promises her spiritual food, the means of grace and salvation.
Again, he personates the husband in Hosea ii., where Israel is represented as an unfaithful wife that had dealt treacherously with her husband. He had most faithfully performed his part of the marriage contract, and supported her abundantly, still she had dealt treacherously with him; but he allured her to return, spoke comfortably to her, told her after her return that she should no more call him Baali, but Ishi—" both signify my husband, and had been used of God. Baali signifies my owner, protector and patron,' and indicates reverence and subjection. Ishi, 'my husband,' or literally, 'my man,' and is a compilation of love, sweetness and familiarity.” See Comprehensive Commentary, Hos. ii. 16. The patron and protector being the benefactor, and the person patronized and protected being the beneficiary, so far as that is concerned, the latter is subject to the former. For example, some protected and patronized the Apostle Paul, Rom. xvi. 1, 4. Now so far as the protection and patronage were concerned, the apostle was subject to them, and owed them reverence and thanks, which he was never backward to give. But under the gospel dispensation, God would not as husband be accosted with the appellation of Baali, and would not represent himself under any character that would remind her (the church) that she was his beneficiary, but his intercourse with her would be on a perfect equality of condition. And the song of Solomon throughout is a representation of Christ's intercourse with the church, which is of a most familiar and endearing character-an interchange of loving and respectful commendations and mutual solicitations. He there represents himself as Ishi in the most emphatic sense of the word, a compilation of love, sweetness and familiarity. He solicits her in the most loving and respectful manner and with encouraging intimations, to comply with his invitations; ch. ii. 10, 11. The husband is the cherisher as well as the nourisher—and she solicits him in the same loving and respectful manner; ch. vii. 11. Christ, as husband, is pleased with this loving familiarity, and represents himself as yielding to her solicitations, as well as her to his.
As a king, she must maintain a respectful distance from, and attitude towards him, Ex. iii. 5, Josh. v. 14, 15, and his laws are peremptory and inflexible. There could not be a more inappropriate figure to represent husband and wife, than king and subject; and they cannot be compared, without placing man in God's stead.
Now we see from the character that the Lord Jesus Christ gives of himself as husband, it exactly corresponds with the character of his headship, which we have endeavoured to describe, and demonstrates that husband and king are separate and distinct, and that there is not one corresponding feature in the husband's character to that of king; excepting in one which is protector. He gives no laws or commands in the character of husband. He there manifests himself as nourisher and cherisher. He makes himself known by encouraging and alluring promises, and as dispensing spiritual support, the means of grace and salvation. Her obedience consists in receiving this grace freely, or her obedience, as we have said before, is of a passive character, not active, corresponding to a law or a command.
It is said in Acts vi. 7, “That a great company of the
priests were obedient to the faith," that is, they received it as the Divine testimony for their soul's salvation. In a passive sense Christ was obedient unto death, Phil. ii. 8. How could the church be obedient to Christ's laws or commands in the character of a husband, when he never gives any laws or commands in that character? We have been always taught by our divines, that the gospel gives no commands, but all promises of good news and glad tidings of grace and salvation. Does Christ as husband represent the law or the gospel? We answer most emphatically, the gospel. What a beautiful example for the friendly intercourse of husband and wife in the connubial relation, is contained in this divine song of loves, see Canticles throughout,--so far as the intercourse of the Lord Jesus Christ and the church can be compared to poor, sinful man standing in that rela
We have often wondered that ministers of the gospel did not take it as their example when they were directing the reciprocal duties of husband and wife, respecting their treatment of each other personally. As we have said before, Christ in his intercourse with the church, in the Song, meets her in perfect equality of condition, as it respects authority. He says, “My sister, my spouse;" she says, “My beloved is mine, and I am his;" and is she not there acting as the obedient wife, according to God's ordinance? Most undoubtedly she is. Does it consist in her obeying His commands? By no means. He gives her no commands, he solicits her respectfully, and she does the same to him. In no one instance did he reject her solicitations. Nay, wonderful! he permitted himself to be constrained by her entreaties. Chap. iii. 4, “I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him to my mother's house." Though she in one instance, very undutifully, did not in a proper time, comply with his requests; ch. v. 2, 3. Husbands ought to bear in mind, as they wish to be considered the superior, that Christ is their only example. Her obedience consisted in her submitting to his nourishing and cherishing, chap. ii. 4, 6. “He brought me to the banqueting house and his banner over me was love,” &c., &c. How could he have feasted her, or protected her, if she had refused to go into his banqueting house, or sit under his banner? Chap. viii. 5. “Who is this