MEDITATION: The Prince of Peace, by Jonathan Holt Titcomb, Bishop of Rangoon

From Before the Cross

In His days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. (Psalm 72:7)

What a contrast between the reigns of David and Solomon!  I see the former reaching his throne through suffering and persecution, and then occupying it in perpetual warfare against his enemies.  I behold the latter inheriting his throne without a struggle, and occupying it as a Prince of Peace.  He builds a magnificent temple for the glory of God, without the noise of a chisel or hammer; he reigns amidst a profusion of wealth for which there was no parallel in history; and he speaks, both as prophet and king, with a wisdom which was never equaled by man.  Thus conflict and bloodshed came first, and afterwards the peace and glory!

My soul, contemplate this picture; for is it not a portrait of thy suffering, conquering, and all-glorious Savior, whose kingship united within itself the double fulfillment of these experiences?  Yes, blessed Jesus, thy cross was the road to thy crown!  Let me love thee, and embrace thee with eternal gratitude, because thou wast first the man of sorrows, in order that thou mightest afterwards be the Prince of Peace; building up a temple of living souls with the noiseless touch of thy gentle Spirit; spreading out treasures and riches of grace for thy people; and speaking to us all with the voice of infinite and never-ending wisdom!  This is peace indeed.  But it is peace purchased by thy precious blood!  “Transported with the view, I’m lost in wonder, love, and praise!”

Yet when I look back on the age of Solomon itself, how can I suppose that any such thoughts as these were in the minds of God’s covenant people?  The most I can see is that, as certain Psalms throw a light of mysterious suffering on the promised seed, reflecting, as it were, the character of David, from whose house He was to spring, so other Psalms, written in Solomon’s reign, threw rays of coming glory and peace upon the portrait, intimating that these results should follow after the conflict had ended in victory.  The revelation, indeed, was so far clear, that peace and righteousness, glory and dominion, throughout all nations, should be the final outcome of the Redeemer’s mission; and that all these blessings should alone be brought about through victory over the opposition of an ungrateful world.  That opposition, however, was doubtless anticipated from the forces of heathendom.  Little did the people of Israel at this time dream that the Messiah would come to his own, and that his own would receive him not.  Still, the principle was laid down that he should rule at last as Prince of Peace, through triumph over mental, moral, and physical suffering.  Possibly some of the more spiritual may have even penetrated the idea of his having to endure a temporary death.  For they could not have supposed that David spoke of himself when he said, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”  But, be this as it may, the real doctrine of the cross was not yet given to the people.  The teaching of the Spirit, that there is finished and perfect peace through the blood of the cross, was still hidden in the background.  There it lay, embedded beneath poetic imagery, but too obscurely to be interpreted, too vaguely to be understood.  Pardon and peace, for the present, circled themselves only around obedience to the legal sacrifices.  And though the hope of something better rose beyond, the reality was not seen.

Oh that my privileges may never rise up to condemn me!  How can I “escape,” if I “neglect so great salvation”?

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