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CHAP. VII. invest them with special power and prerogative to
aid in the vindication of his sovereign rights, to aid in the full acquirement of the heathen for his inheritance, and of the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. O blessed hope! O glorious prospect of the children of God! Behold, O Christian believers, your high calling of God in Christ Jesus! Now called to be saints, now called to be fellow-workers with Him in the pulling down of the strongholds of Satan, now called to the gracious work of winning souls as trophies of his grace, and hereafter, in the era to come, called to be rulers in his kingdom, as kings and priests to be assessors of the great Priest on his throne, that with Him and under Him ye may be fellow-workers in accomplishing the mighty purpose of his dominion, in bringing to pass the grand and glorious consummation of it, the restitution of all things, the subjection and reconciliation unto God of a ransomed and regenerated universe.
What, then, does Scripture lead us to anticipate will be the special character of this reign on earth of Christ and his saints, and what its results ? The answer to this is altogether such as we should have expected, knowing as we do the nature of that kingdom, how it was acquired, and for what purpose all power has been given to the Son of Man in heaven and on earth. What the kingdom of Christ now is, as an invisible spiritual power operating on the hearts of his willing subjects, a kingdom of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, the same will be its distinctive features and its effects in the coming era, only more visibly and universally
developed. It will be a reign of righteousness, of CHAP. VII. righteousness both in the ordering of its government and in the result produced. When Immanuel shall Isa. it. 7. take unto Him his great power and reign, it will be to order his kingdom and to establish it with judgment and with justice henceforth even for ever. When the Lord our Righteousness as a King shall Jer. xxiii. 5. reign and prosper, it will be to execute judgment and justice in the earth. The sceptre of his king- Pe. xlv. 6. dom is a sceptre of righteousness; in rectitude and truth, that is, He will wield his power, and righteousness shall distinguish his sway. "Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, cries the Psalmist, beholding with prophetic ken the future grace and glory of Messiah's kingdom; 'Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most Ps. xlv. 3, 4. Mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty, and in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness.' In the prospect of this, the whole earth is summoned to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, and to make a joyful noise before the Lord the King.
the P8. xcvi. 9--13. heathen that the Lord reigneth, the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved. He shall Ps. xcviii. 3—4. judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad before the Lord; for He cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall He judge the world and the people with his truth.'
And when thus a King shall reign in righteous- Isa. zaxii. 1, 16. ness and princes shall rule in judgment, then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And as the blessed and glorious result of this righteous rule,
Ps. lxxxvi. 9.
Ps. cii, 15, 16.
Ps. lsviii, 31.
Ps. lxxii 10
CHAP. VII. holiness, peace and joy will prevail throughout
the earth. Upon this subject the testimony of Holy
Writ is so abundant, that the only difficulty is that Ps. xxii. 27, 28. of selection. Because the kingdom is the Lord's
and He is the governor among the nations,'' all the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Him.' All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord, and shall glorify thy name.' When the Lord shall appear in his glory and build up Zion, “then the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth his glory.' “Princes shall come out of Egypt, Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God,' the kings of Tarshish and of Seba shall offer gifts, and 'the isles shall wait for his law. “In his days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. And it shall come to
in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go
and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people, and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks : nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.' 'He maketh wars
Isa. xlii. 4.
Ps. lxxii. 7.
Isa, ii. 2-4.
Ps. lvi. 9.
to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow and knappeth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariot in the fire.'
Nor from the human race alone shall discord be removed, but from the beasts of the field. Of this Isaiah gives a beautiful picture, showing how the scenes of Eden shall be renewed under Messiah's reign, the natural ferocity of the brute creation being taken away, so that they shall no longer war upon man or upon each other. The wolf shall 1sa. xi. 6–9. dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed, their young ones shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain ; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.'
Nor, again, is it only to living creatures that the blessings of Messiah's reign shall extend, but to inanimate creation also. 'Behold, I make all things 18. xliii. 19. new,' is his own announcement. Now the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together, under the blight and curse that came upon it from the fall of the First Adam. But under the reign of the Son of Man, the Last Adam, the curse is to be removed. Therefore is the earnest expectation of Rom. viii. 19—23. the creation waiting for the revelation of the sons of God, because when they shall realize their full adoption, then shall the creation also be emancipated
Rev, xxi. 5.
from the bondage to corruption and vanity, and participate in the liberty of the glory of the children of God. Oh, blessed prospect, when the fair face of creation, now so marred and blurred through the
sin of man, shall be restored to its pristine beauty ; Isa. xxxv. 1, 2. when the wilderness and the solitary place shall be
made glad, and when the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose, when it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice even with joy and singing ; when the parched ground shall become a pool, and streams shall break forth in the desert !
Such, then, are to be the characteristics, and such the results, of Messiah's rule, when He shall be manifested in the visible majesty of his kingdom, to reign with his saints as a royal priesthood upon the earth. Thus will He cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations, and thus will He fill the world with the knowledge of his glory. Thus will He undo the work of the First Adam, and as the Last Adam become the source of purity, of holiness and happiness. Very blessed, surely, will that era be when all this shall be brought to pass. Truly will it be the world's new birth or regeneration, as our Lord Himself called it when He said to his apostles, 'In the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel,' intimating the distinguished part which the apostles are to bear in the great process of the world's recovery. Well, too, might St. Peter, looking forward to that epoch of Christ's kingdom, speak of it as the times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord,' the
Isa. lxi. 11.
'Matt, xix. 28.
Acts iii. 19.