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6 All power

only in a figure, was really, and in the strictest sense, applicable to himself; and that, as Eliakim's power, so more especially was his, uncontrollable and unalterable. in heaven and in earth is committed unto Christ:"i in every thing that relates to the kingdom of nature or of grace," he openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth.” None are exalted, or disgraced, either in this world, or the world to come, but agreeably to the orders, which He issues: nor can any, even in the smallest degree, resist his will; “He doeth according to his will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; nor can any stay his hand, or say to him, What doest thou?" Nor will the lapse of ages -effect any change on him: “ He is the same yesterday, today, and for ever”k” He is a nail fastened in a sure place:” seated on his holy hill of Zion, he laughs at the impotent combinations of men and devils, and has all his enemies in derision.? “ His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”m] III. In the benefits resulting from his administration

[A wise and righteous governor is a rich blessing, as well to the prince who appoints him, as to the people whom he go.

Such was Eliakim; who was most probably of the royal seed; since it would not otherwise have been any virtue in his to seek with so much diligence the exaltation of his father's house.

But in what an infinitely higher degree do the benefits of Christ's administration appear!

Was Eliakim “ a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah?" What a blessing is Christ also to the world at large! As, in a state, all are benefited by a wise administration, though many are insensible of the blessings they enjoy; so the world is much indebted to the revelation which Christ has given us, and to his wise government of the universe, though they deny his providence, and despise


his grace.

Was Eliakim “a nail, on which all the vessels of his father's house hung" in safety? What security does Christ afford to his dependents in particular! The various orders and degrees of Christians are elsewhere compared to vessels of various kinds:” and every one of them, from the greatest to the least, hangs upon him: were He to fall, they would perish; but as long as He stands, they shall be upheld; “ because He liveth they shall live also.”.

Was Eliakim “ a glorious throne to his father's house?” Jesus also, by his righteous administration, advances the glory

i Matt. xxviii. 18.
sa Dan. vii. 14.

k Heb. xiii. 8.
1 % Tim. ii. 20, 21.

I Ps. ii. 1-4.
o John xiv. 19.

of his heavenly Father. In ascribing to Jesus the power and dominion over all, we do not derogate from the Father's honour, but add to it.P His mediatorial office he holds from the Father, and improves it, in every instance, for his glory. Whether he open or shut, whether he kill or save alive, every perfection of the Deity receives brighter lustre from the dispensation; and gives reason for unbounded thankfulness to God, for having committed all judgments to his Son," and "laid our help upon One so Mighty.”]

We cannot IMPROVE this subject better, than by learning from it 1. To renounce all creature-dependence

[Great as the power of Shebna was, both he, and all his dependents, were brought down in God's appointed time; and - the vanities in which he had gloried, became monuments of his shame, and means of perpetuating his disgrace.' Thus will it be with all, who trust in an arm of flesh. God has denounced a curse against them;' and, though through the forbearance of God, it may be awhile delayed, it will surely come at last; and all, wherein we trusted, will turn to our confusion: our wisdom will become folly; our strength, weakness; our righteousness, as filthy rags. We may dream of being “as a nail fastened in a sure place;" but if we rely on any thing of our own, our hopes will be disappointed, and our expectations will perish. Let us not then lean to our own understanding, or depend on our strength, or trust in our own righteousness: we must be empty in ourselves, if we would be filled by God; for it is “the hungry alone whom he filleth with good things; the full and the rich he will send empty away:" " He will resist the proud; and give grace only to the humble.”u] 2. To trust in the Lord with our whole hearts

(Jesus is indeed “a nail fastened in a sure place;" and able to bear the weight of the whole universe. He is exalted by the hand of God himself on purpose that He may Prince and a Saviour” unto us. And, if we rely on him, he is “ able to save us to the uttermost. Only let our trust in: him be entire (exactly like that of a vessel on a nail) and we may rest assured, that all, who so hang on him, shall be “the glory of his Father's house.” As there is no other support for sinful man, so neither is there any fear of disappointment to those, who trust in him. Let none then imagine themselves so great as not to need his support; or deem themselves so insignificant, that they shall not obtain it, or think them

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P Phil. ii. 11.,
9 Ps. lxxxix. 19,

r Ver. 18. • Jer. xvii. 5.

ti Cor. i. 19. Isai. Ixiv. 6. Luke i. 52, 53. Jam. iv. 6. VOL. II.


selves in such perilous circumstances that He cannot uphold them.“ Every vessel, from the largest flagon to the smallest cup,” must owe its preservation to him alone; and by him shall all be saved, if they do but “cleave to him with full purpose of heart.”]


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Zech. iv. 7. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerub

babel thou shalt become a plain. OUR eyes are generally fixed more on the creature than on God

Hence we are apt to entertain many unnecessary fears

Nor are we unfrequently diverted by them from the path of duty

This was the case with the Jews when rebuilding their temple

Cyrus had given them permission to rebuild it

But they met with opposition from their envious neighbours

And through this they were intimidated and disheartened

But God encouraged them with an assurance of success—V.6, 7.

We may notice
I. The difficulties that obstruct the building of God's

spiritual temple
The temple at Jerusalem was typical of that, which
God erects visibly in the world, and invisibly in the hearts
of men'-

The visible temple of the church has much to obstruct its erection in the world

1. There is an impenetrable hardness in men's hearts

[Men are immersed in ignorance and sinThey pay little, if any, attention to the word of GodThey set themselves against what is spoken to them in God's

Their state seems to destroy all hope that the gospel should spread among them-]


2 In proof of this see Eph. ii. 21. and I Cor. iii. 16.

2. There is much opposition made to it by all descriptions of people

Many pretended friends, as well as open enemies, strove to impede the building of the material templeba

They sought to prevent it even by means of a legal proeess

Thus both force and stratagem are used to stop the progress of the gospel

And the united opposition of all ranks of men seems like an impassable mountain in its way-]

3. Those employed in erecting this spiritual temple are weak and insufficient [The work might call forth all the wisdom and


of angels

But God has put his “ treasure into earthen vessels”

Even St. Paul cried, 66 Who is sufficient for these things?”

Much more may inferior ministers adopt his language

Whoever knows his own insufficiency for so great a work, must often have felt it a source of discouragement, and almost of despondency-]

The invisible temple also which God is erecting in men's hearts is retarded by many difficulties and obstructions 1. The Christian finds many outward impediments

[The terrors and allurements of the world have great influence

And every Christian is, more or less, beset with these

Many, after running well for a season, are turned aside by them

Yea, all find them obstacles very difficult to be surmounted-] 2. He has also many inward difficulties to encounter

[The believer still feels sad remains of corruption within him

These are ever counteracting the efforts of his better principle

And he is often apprehensive that sin will regain its dominion-]

3. Above all, he finds his strength to be perfect weakness

[He has learned by bitter experience, how weak he is He has found, how his strongest resolutions have failed him

b Ezra iy. 14.

c Ezra iv. 5.

'd Gal. v. 17.

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Hence he is led to fear, that he shall not persevere to the end-]

But whatever obstructions there be to God's work, God will manifest II. Their inefficacy to stop


progress God enabled Zerubbabel to proceed in spite of all opposition

Nor will He suffer any obstacles to counteract his designs

1. The visible temple of his church shall still be carried on

[In the first ages of Christianity the gospel was victoriNeither the lusts nor prejudices of men could withstand its power

The very persecutions raised against it were overruled by him to promote its progresse

Nor did the weakness of those, who preached it, prevent its success

That promise had then a glorious accomplishment
So now

neither, open nor secret assaults shall prevail against the churchOf this we are assured by him who governs alls-]

2. The invisible temple also shall be advanced in our hearts

[The work has hitherto been maintained notwithstanding the most unpromising appearances

It has often been advanced by the very things which seemed most likely to counteract it

There is an invisible and Almighty Agent engaged to carry it on"

He will fulfil what he has spoken by the prophet

Of this comforting třuth we may be confidently assuredk-] INFER 1. In what manner we should regard difficulties

[We are apt to exaggerate the difficulties that lie in our way

But, if we inspected them morè narrowly, they would often appear contemptible

& Acts viii. 1. 4. and Phil. i. 12-14.

f Ps. lxxii. 16. & Matt. xvi. 18.

h Isai. liv. 17. Ps. cxxxviii, 8. i Luke iii. 5.

k Phil. i. 6.

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