« VorigeDoorgaan »
length, of that love which passeth knowledge, and be filled with all the fulness of God.”
Finally, my brethren, we see here the great and intimate connexion between the practical principles of religion, and the great doctrines of christianity. Take away the incarnation of our Lord, and his sacrifice upon the cross, and these sublime and glorious truths lose all their meaning: this great example dwindles into nothing, if we lose sight of Christ's dignity, glory, and humility. It is this which renders his sacrifice of infinite value. It is this which renders his cross so inexpressibly awful and so interesting. It is this which makes it so infinitely precious to his people. The cross of Jesus Christ is the appropriate, the appointed, rendezvous of heaven and earth;* the meetingplace between God and the sinner: thus the principles of the cross become the savour of life unto life, or of death unto death. Deprive Jesus Christ of his dignity, deprive his person of divinity and pre-existence as the Son of God, and all these momentous truths dwindle into inexpressible futilities. Doctrines meant to warm and kindle our hearts, fill us with perplexity. When we look for a glorious mystery, we find nothing but the obscurity and perplexity that make men rack their invention to find out the meaning of those passages which it is plain the apostle poured forth in a stream of exquisite affection and delight.
But “ we have not so learned Christ :” Hold fast
* See Vol. V. pp. 151-158. Ev.
the cross of Christ. You who are not acquainted with the christian religion, come to Jesus Christ by faith; cast yourselves upon the dying love of the Saviour; receive him by faith. And those of you who have received the Saviour, study him more and more; impress still more and more upon your minds the lessons which Christ, crucified teaches. This is the power of God and the wisdom of God unto salvation ; and by means of this only shall we grow up into conformity to our blessed Lord and Saviour: which God grant, of his infinite mercy. Amen.
THE GLORY OF CHRIST'S KINGDOM.
CHED AT KETTERING, IN JUNE, 1813.]
Psalm cxlv. 11.-" They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom,
and talk of thy power.
The absolute dominion of God is a subject worthy to be celebrated by all creatures: it is the frequent theme of praise in the Scriptures, which were dictated by the Holy Ghost.
There is another kingdom, which God has intrusted to the hands of his well-beloved Sonthe mediatorial kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the subject of the most exalted praise, and of the most glorious prophecies of the Old Testament, as well as of all the histories, doctrines, and revelations of the New Testament. This is styled the kingdom of heaven, and of God: it is the kingdom which the God of heaven has set up among men upon the earth. It is contrasted with the kingdom of the power of darkness; and its subjects are described as being translated out of the kingdom of darkness, into “ the kingdom of God's dear Son,”* which is a kingdom of “marvellous light.”
* Printed from the notes of the Rev. S. Hillyard, of Bedford. For Mr. Hall's own notes, see Vol. V. pp. 158—167.
Whether the Psalm before us is designed, in particular, to celebrate this dispensation of the Son of God, I shall not now inquire; but as the kingdom of Christ is so conspicuous an object in both Testaments, and is the only one among men by whose government their happiness can be secured, it cannot be improper, from the words before us, to direct your attention, on the present occasion, to some particulars relating to the glory of this kingdom.
I. The glory of this kingdom is manifested in its origin. It had its origin in infinite mercy
and grace. It was the object of the divine and eternal purposes of the Father; an object to which all other purposes were subservient. It entered into the councils of the Eternal before the foundation of the world was laid. It was a grand design, intended to include the reign of God over the mind of man; a purpose to establish a kingdom, the subjects of which should be raised to be partakers of the same nature as their Sovereign.
* Colos. i. 13.
In order to establish this kingdom, it was necessary that the Son of God should become incarnate; the «
Mighty God” must be a “ child born unto us,” that he might have the “ government laid upon his shoulders,” and be the “ Prince of Peace” to his redeemed people. God purposed to have his tabernacle among men, and to be their God; but this he could not do, consistently with his truth and holiness, till an atonement was made to his law in the death of the person of his Son. The institution of sacrifices under the law intimated that “ without the shedding of blood there was no remission;"* their insufficiency evidenced the necessity of a sacrifice of transcendent value: “Then said he, Sacrifices and offerings thou didst not desire ; lo, I come to do thy will, O God.”+ Thus the foundation of the kingdom was laid in the incarnation and atonement of the Son of God; a foundation proportionate to the grandeur and beauty of the edifice that was to be erected.
The doctrines of the gospel were, and are, the grand instruments in the hand of the Lord Jesus for bringing souls into subjection to his sceptre. The King must ride forth conquering and to conquer; all his subjects must be rescued and subdued: but what a battle is that in which he engages! “ Every battle among men is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood,” but this is “ with burning and with fire.” The warfare
† Psalm xl. 6—8.
* Heb. ix. 22.
is entirely spiritual; it is carried on by the light of truth and the burning of conviction. The mere testimony of the gospel, in the mouth of the witnesses, produced effects more wonderful than any that were ever produced by the violence of the sword: by this the powers of darkness were shaken, their temples deserted, and their oracles silenced. Heavenly truth combated with sophistry and error, and gained a decisive victory, though her opponents were armed with all the persecuting powers of the kingdoms of this world. The Psalmist, foreseeing the contest, said, long since, “ Gird thy sword on thy thigh, O most Mighty, and in thy majesty ride on prosperously, because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness."* These have had no share in the extension of human dominion, but were the principal instruments that were used in the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom. To these, in his hand, and by his Spirit, the success of the gospel is to be ascribed : by these, his people became a “willing people in the day of his power;" a conquered, yet a willing people; led captive, yet obedient. This is a glorious manner of raising a kingdom, worthy of him who is a Spirit, and who reigns by spiritual and intellectual means in the hearts of his people. Could we trace the means by which God has established his empire, it would fill our minds with admiration, and our lips with praise : then should we“ speak of the glory of his kingdom, and talk of his power.”
* Psalm xlv. 3, 4.