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Chapter 8 Verse 9
she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver:
and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar.
are the words of Christ, in answer to the solicitous concern of the old Jewish church for her little sister, the Gentile; declaring what should be done for her on such and such considerations.
I.If, or “seeing she is a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver.”
II.“And if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar:” all which is expressive of what strength and ornament should be added to her, and what grace and glory should be conferred upon her.
I.He promises, that if or seeing she was a wall; that is, well walled, built upon a sure foundation, and firmly established in her faith in and love to Christ, and is constant therein, and stands as a wall against the attack of enemies;10161016So Ajax is called the wall of the Grecians, Homer, Iliad. 6. 5:5. & 7. 5:211 and Achilles also, Graium murus Achilles, Ovid. Metamorph. 1. 13. 5:281. a palace or tower of silver should be built upon her: by which may be meant, either, the scriptures of truth, with which she should be furnished: which, for their impregnableness and store of spiritual armor that is in them, may be compared to towers; and for their purity, richness, and excellency, to silver ones: or else, the ministers of the gospel may be intended, who are set for the defense of it: or this phrase may in general signify, that she should be fortified and put into a posture of defense against all her enemies, having on the panoplia, or whole armor of God; walled towns and cities, to which the allusion is here made, usually to have towers built upon the walls thereof; so Zion is said to have such (Ps. 48:12, 13), which also this little sister, the Gentile church, should not be without: though the word may as well be rendered, a palace;10171017ãsk tryf edwke, Sept propugnacula argentea, Vulgate Latin version; propugnacuium argenteum. Tigurine version; arcem argenteam, Mercerus: castellum argenti, Michaelis. and signifies, that she should be built up an habitation for Father, Son, and Spirit, who would come and make their abode with her; and being such noble and uncommon guests, a silver palace must be erected for them. The persons who were to do this work, are either the Jewish church, with her ministers as instruments, and Christ as the principal agent; for Psalm 127:1. “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it:” or else, by the we, are intended the blessed Trinity, as in chapter 1:11, who were all jointly concerned in raising up a church-state in the Gentile world. From the whole may be observed, 1. That he that begins the good work, whether it relates to a particular person, or to a church, must and will finish it; the same hands which lay the foundation, must raise up the superstructure, and complete the whole building, by bringing in “the head-stone with shoutings, crying, grace, grace unto it.” 2. This verifies the saying of our Lord (Matthew 25:20), that “unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance” grace is usually but very small at first, but it afterwards increases much; frequently from small beginnings great things arise: this Gentile church at first had but a very small appearance of a building; a foundation was just laid, and a side-wall erected; but in a short time, a noble structure, a silver palace for God, is built up.
II.Christ also assures her, that if she was a door, she should be inclosed with boards of cedar: the meaning of which may be, either, 1. If the Gentiles had the door of the gospel opened among them, as they had in many places (see Acts 14:27; 1 Cor. 16:8, 9; 2 Cor. 2:12), this should be succeeded for the building up of an holy temple for the Lord; which should be of such ornament and strength, so well fenced and enclosed with the grace and power of Christ, that it should not be in the power of all their enemies to deface or demolish it. Or, 2. If the door of their hearts was opened to Christ, as Lydia’s was (Acts 16:14), so as to receive and let in this king of glory, with his numerous train of graces; then she should be adorned and beautified with a larger measure of them. Or, 3. If when they came into a church-state, the door was set open, that so “the righteous nation which keepeth truth, may enter in,” and yet at the same time careful to exclude others; this should make much for their honor, comfort, safety, and security. Or, 4. This phrase is expressive of the building being completed; but only it wanted some farther decorations and ornaments, which it should not be long without: so the setting up of gates or doors to towns or houses seems to signify (see Neh. 3 though 5). It seems rather to intend the mean, low, and weak state and condition the Gentile church was first in, when there was but very little appearance of a building: there was only as it were a door set up; which afterwards grew up to be a magnificent and stately temple, built up of cedar-boards of the wood of Lebanon; of which Solomon’s temple was made: and to which an allusion here seems to be. But, 6. Some10181018Vid. R. Aben Ezram & Sanctium in loc. have thought that these words carry in them some intimations of her inconstancy to Christ, and the wandering of her affections after other lovers; as also the methods which Christ would take to restrain and prevent her: “If she be a door;” that is, if she will not keep at home, but will gad abroad, and go in and out at pleasure, we will use some methods to keep her in; “we will enclose her with boards of cedar;” or, as it is expressed in Hosea 2:7. “I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.” Though, 7. The meaning rather seems to be, that however mean and abject she might appear to be, even as a door, yet she should be adorned with grace here, and enjoy glory hereafter; both which, for their perpetuity and incorruptibleness, may be compared to cedar-boards: besides, the safety and security of the church in this present state, her walls being salvation, and her gates praise, may be here intended; as well as the delights and pleasures of the heavenly state, signified by the fragrant cedar, which she should, ere tong, be inclosed and surrounded with.
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