Imagini ale paginilor

and then shall the end come.” Matt. 24 : 14.“ And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord; for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son ; that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy socd as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess

the gate of his enemies : and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” Gen. 22:-16—18. It has already been shown that the Gentiles as well as the Jews were to be blessed in the Messiah. (p. 172.) Christ's kingdom differs with respect to design.

10. The great design of his coming into the world was " to seek and save them that are lost;" to rescue enslaved souls from the tyranny of sin and Satan, and to recover them again into a state of liberty and loyalty. “To turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Acts, 26 : 18.

The design of his reign. The end of the kingdoms of this world is frequently to wallow in sensuality, to display pomp or vain-glory, or to conquer the whole world. But even the best and most laudable designs of the kingdoms of this world are not to be compared with the ends of the reign of King Messiah. Suppose that the sincere design of a sovereign's reign was to make a state respectable, to make trade flourishing, to establish peace, to conquer in a just war, to procure a life of quiet and tranquillity for his subjects; could this make them really happy? Could this quiet a guilty conscience, make death, the king of terrors, a welcome messenger? How much nobler the design of the Messiah's kingdom. "Represent to yourselves," says the eloquent Mr. Saurin, “the divine Savior in the bosom of God, himself the blessed God. He cast his eyes down on this earth. He saw prejudices blinding the miserable sons of Adam, passions tyrannizing over them, conscience condemning them, divine vengeance pursuing them, death seizing and devouring them, the gulphof hell yawning to swallov them up. Forth he came, to make prejudice yield 10 demonstration, darkness to light, passion to reason. He came to calm conscience, to disarın the vengeace of heaven, to swallow up death in victory, 1 Cor. 15 : 54, and to close the mouth of the infernal abyss. These are the designs of the King Messiah, designs too noble, too sublime for earthly kings. "My kingdom is not of the world."

$ 11. Further it is evident that Christ's kingdom was not of this world, for it is eternal.

Though enemies rage and roar, and leave no means untried to hinder the erection and establishment thereof; yet all their plots shall be unsuccessful, and all their deliberations shall come to naught. The kingdom of Christ is fixed upon a firm basis which cannot be subverted. The decree, the corenant, and the oath of the unchangeable Jehovah secure it.

The kingdoms of this world have their rise, their pro. gress, persection, declension and ruin; but the kingdom of Christ, although it began very small, yet has gradually in. creased, and never declined, and will increase until all the elect of God are brought to glory. Our Lord himself compares this kingdom to a mustard-seed—to leaven-and in Daniel's vision it is a stone cut out without hands, and shall outlive all other kingdoms. Jehovah himself has declared the perpetuity of this kingdom, Heb. 1 : 8; “but unto the Son he says, thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” His throne is established for ever, and he is unalterably fixed upon it. It cannot be shaken or undermined. He cannot be displaced or dethroned by all the powers of earth and hell. For thus saith the Lord: “ Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, let us


break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. For I have set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.” Psa. 2:1-6.

Having, at considerable length, explained the nature of Messiah's kingdom, I will now notice his administration of the kingdom. No kingdoin can be without government. And as Christ Jesus is “ a God of order and not of confusion, it was prophesied that he should rule and govern. Mica, 5 : 2. Matt. 2 : 6. He rules and governs his kingdom by himself as the supreme Head and Monarch. This government extends both to his willing subjects, and to his determined enemies. In my next letter I will be more particular.


Letter X.


My beloved Benjamin,

Let me invite your further attention to the things belong. ing to the kingdom of Christ. I am now to describe to you the administration of this kingdom.

I will commence with his administration amongst his willing subjects.

1. They are made willing. Christ's subjects, by nature and practice, are his enemies. Though they are his, both by donation and purchase, yet until their conversion they are in the hand of their enemies. As the land of Canaan was Abraham's by promise, yet his seed had to obtain it by conquest; so Christ also obtains his people by conquest. They possessed by nature, in common with others, a prin ciple of opposition and enmity to Christ. They have sworn allegiance to the prince of darkness, and live in actual re bellion against Christ, and will never yield to him till they be overcome by his mighty power. In this respect there is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile.

We our selves also," saith the apostle, who was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, "were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hated, and hating one another," Titus, 3:3; but by the word of his power and the operations of his Spirit he overcomes their enmity, makes them willingly submit to him, renounce obedience to the devil, the world, and their own base lusts, and causes them cheerfully to bow to his sceptre, to take upon them the yoke of obedience, and say, "O Lord our God, other lords besides thee have had dominion over us; but by thee only will we make mention of thy name," Isa. 26: 13; and with Paul, “ Lord, what will thou have me to do ?'' Acts, 9:6. To effect this great, wonderful, and glorious change, Christ acts very differently from the kings of the world, as has already been observed. They have their arms, their - swords, their cannon, and other instruments of destruction, by which they acquire and extend their dominions; but Jesus Christ has appointed the preaching of the Gospel, which is "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Rom. 1:16. Hence the Gospel is call. ed the kingdom of God and of heaven. When Christ sent out his seventy disciples, he directed them to say, "The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.” Luke, 10:9; Matt. 21 : 43; Mark, 1:14; Col. 4:11. Thus you perceive, my dear Benjamin, that, agreeably to the prediction (Psa.

110:1-3) that Messiah, after his ascension, should send forth the rod of his truth to make his people willing, so Christ Jesus, after his resurrection, commissioned his apostles to go and preach the Gospel in all the world, &c.; having been with them for forty days, and spoken of the things pertaining to his kingdom, he commanded them to wait at Jerusalem until they should receive the Holy Ghost; and O how great, wonderful, and glorious were the effects! Three thousand of Messiah's enemies, who, with wicked hands, had nailed him to the accursed tree, became now the willing subjects of King Jesus.

In the same manner Christ continues to extend his glorious kingdom. The preaching of the same Gospel, though feeble in itself, yet is the rod of his strength, which does wondrous things. No other word, no other system possesses any efficacy in comparison with this. Hereby the stoutest and most obdurate sinners are awakened and subdued; the rebellious are subdued to a state of cheerful obedience; the very dead are quickened and raised to newness of life.

I would, however, here observe, my dear Benjamin, that the mere outward means are not sufficient of themselves to make his people willing, till Christ is pleased to incline and enable them, by the operations of the Spirit, to submit to him. He must conquer them before they will obey. By the Spirit's internal work upon the heart every thing that hindered their compliance is removed, and they are drawn by his power, without which none can come unto him. John, 6:44.

§ 2. He rules them by his laws; they are administered both externally and internally. He has given them laws, both with respect to God and man. These laws are written in the Bible, and are a transcript of his perfections, and derive all their authority and vigor from him alone; and none have power to add to or diminish from the laws of this great King. Isa. 32:22. He has given them the law of faith, " Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ;" and the law of sanctity, "Be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” To make

« ÎnapoiContinuați »