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my kingdom for ever, and his throne shall be established for evermore.")
This is the whole divine oracle, from whence the apostle takes the testimony under consideration ; and the difficulty wherewith it is attended ariseth from hence, that it is not easy to apprehend how any thing at all in these words should be appropriated unto the Lord Christ; seeing Solomon seems in the whole to be directly and only intended. And concerning this difficulty, there are three opinions among interpreters.
1. Some cutting that knot, which they suppose could not otherwise be loosed, affirm that Solomon is not at all intended in these words, but that they are a direct and immediate prophecy of Christ, who was to be the Son of David, and to build the spiritual house or temple of God. And for the confirmation of this assertion, they produce sundry reasons from the oracle itself: as,
1st, It is said, that God would raise up to David a seed, or son; intimating, that he was not as yet born, being foretold to be raised up; whereas Solomon was born at the time of this prophecy.
2d, It is also affirmed, that this son or seed should reign and sit upon the throne of David after his decease, and after he was gathered unto his fathers; whereas Solomon was made king, and sat upon the throne whilst David was yet alive, and not entered into rest with his fathers.
3d, The throne of this Son is to be established for ever, or as the same promise is expressed, Psal. lxxxix. 36. “ Whilst the sun and moon continue.” The throne of Solomon and his posterity failed within a few generations.
4th, The title there given unto him who is directly prophesied of, shews him, as our apostle intimates, to be preferred above all the angels; and none will say that Solomon was so, who, as he was inferior to them in nature and condition, so by sin he greatly provoked the Lord against himself and his posterity.
But yet all these observations, though they want not some appearance and probability of reason, come short of proving evidently what they are produced for, as we may briefly manifest. For,
1st, It doth not appear that Solomon was born at the time of the giving forth of this oracle; if we must suppose that God intimated in it unto David, that none of the sons which he then had should slicceed him in his kingdom ; yea, it is manifest from the story that he was not. Besides, raising up doth not denote the birth or nativity of the person intended, but his designation or exaltation to his throne and office, as is the usual meaning of that expression in the Scripture ; so that Solomon night be intended, though now born, yea and grown up, if not yet by the providence of God marked and taken out from amongst his brethren to be king, as afterwards he was.
2. Although a few days before the death of David, to prevent sedition and division about titles and pretensions to the kingdom, Solomon by his appointment was proclaimed king, or beir to the crown, yet he was not actually vested with the whole power of the kingdom, until after his natural decease. Moreover also, David being then very weak and feeble, and rendered unable for public administration, the short remainder of his days after the inauguration of Solomon, needed not to be obser. ved in the prophecy.
The other two remaining reasons must be afterwards spoken unto. And for the present removal of this exposition, I shall only observe, that to affirm Solomon not at all to be intended in this oracle, nor the house or temple which afterwards he built, is to make the whole answer of God by the prophet unto David to be equivocal. For David inquired of Nathan about building an house, or material temple unto God. Nathan returns him answer from God that he shall not do so, but that his son should perform that work. This answer David under. stands of his immediate son, and of a material house, and thereupon makes material provision for it, and preparation in great abundance, upon the encouragement he received in this answer of God. Now if neither of these were at all intended in it, neither his son nor the material temple, it is evident that he was led into a great mistake, by the ambiguity and equivocation of the word; but we find by the event that he was not led into any such mistake, God approving and accepting of his obedience in what he did. It remains then that Solomon, first and immediately, is intended in these words.
2. Some on the other hand affirm the whole prophecy so to belong to, and so to be fulfilled in Solomon, and in him alone, that there is no direct respect therein unto our Lord Jesus Christ. And the reason for their assertion they take from those words which immediately follow those insisted on by the apos. tle, namely, “ If he commit iniquity, I will chastise him with the rod of men;" which cannot be applied unto him who did no sin, neither was there guile found in his mouth. They say therefore, that the apostle applies these words unto Christ, only by way of an allegory; thus he deals with the law of not muzzling the ox which treadeth out the corn, applying it to the provision of carnal things to be made for the dispensers of the gospel. As he also in another place representeth the two Testaments in the story of Sarah and Hagar.
That which principally is to be insisted on for the removal of this difficulty, and which will utterly take it out of our way, will fall in with our confirmation of the third interpretation to be proposed. For the present, I shall only answer, that as the words cited by the apostle do principally concern the person of Christ himself, yet being spoken and given out in form of a covenant, they have respect also to him as he is the Head of the covenant, which God makes with all the elect in him. And thus whole mystical Christ, head and members, are referred to in the prophecy; and therefore David, in his repetition and pleading of this oracle, Psal. lxxxix. 30. changeth those words, “ if he commit iniquity,” into, “ if his children forsake my law.” Notwithstanding then a supposition of transgression in him, concerning whom these words are spoken, the Lord Christ may be intended in them ; such failings and transgressions as disannul not the covenant, often falling out on their part, for whom he undertaketh therein. But I offer this only in majorem cautelam, to secure the testimony insisted on unto our apostle's intention. The difficulty itself will be afterwards clearly assoiled.
3. We say therefore with others, that both Solomon and the Lord Christ are intended in this whole oracle; Solomon literally and first, as the type; the Lord Christ principally and mystically, as he who was typified, figured, and represented by him. And our sense herein shall be farther explained and confirmed in the ensuing considerations.
1. That there never was any one type of Christ and his of. fices that entirely represented him, and all that he was to do. For as it was impossible that any one thing or person should do so, because of the perfection of his person, and the excellency of his office, which no one thing that might be appointed to prefigure him as a type, because of its limitedness and imperfection, could fully represent ; so had any such been found out, that multiplication of types which God in his infinite wisdom was pleased to make use of, for the revelation of him intended in them, had been altogether useless and needless. Wherefore, according as God saw good, and as he had made them meet and fit, so he designed one thing or person to figure out one thing in him, and another for another end and purpose.
2. That no type of Christ was, in all things that he was or did, a type of him, but only in that particular wherein he was designed of God so to be, and wherein he hath revealed him so to have been. David was a type of Christ, but not in all things that he was and did. In his conquests of the enemies of the church, in his throne and kingdom he was so; but in his private actions, whether as a man, or as a king or captain, he was not so. The like must be said of Isaac, Melchisedec, Solomon, and of all other personal types under the Old Testament, and much more of other things.
3. That not all things spoken of him that was a type, even in those respects wherein he was a type, are spoken of him as a type, or have any respect unto the thing signified, but some of them may belong unto him in his personal capacity only. And the reason is, because he, who was a type by God's insti:ution, might morally fail in the performance of his duty, even then and in those things, when and wherein he was a type. Hence somewhat may be spoken of him as to his moral performance of his duty, that may no way concern the antitype, or Christ prefigured by him. And this wholly removes the difficulty mentioned in the second interpretation of the words, excluding the Lord Christ from being directly in the oracle, upon that expression, “ If he sin against me ;" for those words relating to the moral duty of Solomon, in that wherein he was a type of Christ, namely, the rule and administration of his kingdom, may not at all belong to Christ, who was prefigured by God's institution of things, and not in any moral deportment in the observance of them.
4. That what is spoken of any type, as it was a type, and in respect of its institution to be such, doth not really and properly belong unto him, or to that which was the type, but unto him who was represented thereby. For the type itself, it was enough that there was some resemblance in it of that which was principally intended; the things belonging unto the antitype being affirmed of it analogically, on account of the relation between them by God's institution. Hence that which follows on such enunci. ations, doth not at all respect or belong to the type, but only to the antitype. Thus at the sacrifice of expiation, the scape goat is said to bear and carry away all the sins of the people into a land not inhabited ; not really, and in the substance of the matter, but only in an instituted representation : for the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Much less may the things that ensue upon the Lord Christ's real bearing and taking away of our sins be ascribed to the devoted beast. So is it in this case. The words applied by the apostle to prove the Son to have a more excellent name than the angels, and consequently to be preferred above them, do not at all prove that Solomon, of whom they were spoken merely as he was a type, should be esteemed to be preferred above all angels, seeing he did only represent him who was so, and had these words spoken unto him, not absolutely, but with respect unto that representation. And this removes the fourth objection made in the behalf of the first interpretation, excluding Solomon from being at all intended in the prophecy; for what was spoken of him as a type, required not a full accomplishment in his own person, but only that he should represent hiin who was principally intended.
5. That there is a two-fold perpetuity mentioned in the Scripture, the one limited and relative, the other absolute; and both these are applied unto the kingdom of David. First, there was a perpetuity promised unto him and his posterity in the kingdom, as of the priesthood to Aaron, that is a limited perpetuity, namely, during the continuance of the typical state and condition of that people ; whilst they continued, the rule by right belonged to the house of David. There was also an absolute perpetuily promised to the kingdom of David, to be made good only in the kingdom and rule of the Messiah ; and both these kinds of perpetuity are expressed in the same words, giving their sense according as they are applied. If applied to the successors of David, as his kingdom was a type of that of Christ, they denote the limited perpetuity before mentioned, as that which respected an adjunct of the typical state of that people, that was to be regulated by it, and commensurate unto it. But as they were referred to the kingdom of Christ represented in the other, an absolute perpetuity is expressed in them. And this takes away the third reason, excluding Solomon from being intended in these words; the perpetuity promised being unto him limited and bounded.
These considerations being premised, I say, the words insisted on by the apostle, « I will be unto him a Father, and he shall be unto me a son,” belonged first and next unto Solomon, denoting that fatherly love, and care, and protection, that God would afford unto him in his kingdom, so far forth as Christ was represented by him therein ; which requires not that they must absolutely, and in all just consequences from them, belong unto the person of Solomon. Principally therefore they intend Christ. himself, expressing that eternal unchangeable love which the Father bore unto him, grounded on the relation of Father and Son.
The Jews, I confess, of all others, do see least of any thing typical in Solomon. But the reason of it is, because that his sin was the occasion of ruining their carnal earthly glory and wealth, which things alone they lust after. But the thing was doubtless confessed by the church of old, with whom Paul had to do; and therefore we see, that the writer of the book of the Chronicles, written after the return of the people from their captivity, when Solomon's line had failed, and Zerubbabel of the house of Nathan was governor amongst them, yet records again this promise, as that which looked forward, and was yet to receive its full accomplishment in the Lord Christ. And some of the rabbins themselves tell us, that Solomon, because of his sin, had only the name of peace, God stirring up adversaries against him : the thing itself is to be looked for under Messiah Ben David.
The allegation of these words by the apostle being thus fully