Page images

ing whom he may devour.' And against the the heathen for thine inheritance, and the utterworld, which is ever laying snares to entangle most parts of the earth for thy possession. And them. He defends their principles, and enables all this, for “ he hath set him King upon the holy them to maintain them. Their character-hill of Zion.' bringing forth their righteousness as the light, and their judgment as the noon-day.' And their hope_helping them to cling by it through all the perils of life.

Tenth Day.-EVENING. In defending his people, he restrains their enemies. His power reaches to them, and he "My kingdom is not of this world, John xviii. can control them as he will. He is · head over

36. all things to the church. He can hinder their A KINGDOM is one of the most common reprepurposes of injury. When king Jeroboam heard sentations of the church of Christ, to be found in the saying of the man of God, which had cried the scriptures. Particularly was our Lord himagainst the altar in Bethel, he put forth his hand self accustomed to employ it. There must, therefrom the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And fore, be a special propriety in it, nor is it difficult his hand, which he put forth against him, dried to perceive the reason of it. The church is a up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.' kingdom because it is a community, placed under He can incline them to offices of kindness. The the government of Jesus Christ as its King and Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Head—its 'members are closely united by comPersia, and he made a proclamation, saying, He mon interests and pursuits—they are subject to hath charged me to build him an house in Jeru- the same laws—possess the same privileges salem. Who is there among you of all his adopt the same customs—and are called to conpeople! The Lord his God be with him, and tend against common enemies. But while the let him go up. He can employ them for pur-church, in all these things, resembles the kingposes of chastisement. "O Assyrian, the rod of doms of this world, it is very different from them mine anger,

and the staff in their hand is mine in others. In many things it is directly opposed indignation. I will send him against an hypo- to them, and they to it. It has ever been an critical nation, and against the people of my object of the world's jealousy and hatred. And wrath will I give him a charge. Howbeit he while its design has been to bless and regenerate meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so.' the world, the purpose of the world has ever Finally, he will conquer all his and their been directed to its destruction.

The grand enemies. • Why do the heathen rage, and the peculiarity of the church is, that it 'is not of this people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the world.' earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel Its subjects are not of this world. They have together, against the Lord, and against his been chosen out of the world. They are called Anointed. He that sitteth in the heavens shall saints, meaning that they have been separated laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. from others, and that they are set apart, by divine Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou grace, to serve and glorify God. They are called shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel' the elect, implying that they have been chosen 6 • Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed out of a multitude as objects of special favour, garments from Bozrah? Wherefore art thou and subjects of peculiar influences. The very red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him term church is most expressive of the same idea, that treadeth in the wine-fat? I have trodden for it means called out, and imports that it conthe wine-press alone; and of the people there sists of persons who have been called out of the was none with me: for I will tread them in mine world by means of the preaching of the gospel, anger, and trample them in my fury; and their and are now united in the faith and fellowship of blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Men are not members I will stain all my raiment. For the day of of this church, in the sight of God, because they vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my have been born in a land of Christian light, nor redeemed is come. So full is the divine testimony. because they have descended from Christian Jesus shall reign and conquer. The nation and parents, nor even because they have been prekingdom that will not serve him shall perish. The sented to God in baptism, nor because they have kingdoms of this world shall be the kingdoms of sat down at the Lord's table. By these means our God and of his Christ, and he shall reign for they may and are constituted members of the ever and ever. · Ask of me, and I will give thee visible church. But of the church, as its membership is known and approved by God, they can now is my kingdom not from hence.' His become members only by the new birth unto apostles also disclaimed the use of such earthly righteousness. Such are “born, not of blood, nor weapons, saying, the weapons of our warfare of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, are not carnal but spiritual, and mighty, through but of God.'

God, to the pulling down of strongholds. Our And after they have been called out of the Lord, indeed, will not own such weapons in his world, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, they are service, for he has plainly warned his followers, required to keep themselves apart from the 'they that take the sword shall perish by the world. On no subject is the language of the sword.' The officers of the church must exercise divine word more full and pointed. • Love not authority, but even this must be wholly spiritual, the world, neither the things that are in the the sentence and the punishment alike. world. For if any man love the world the love The world is only for a season the residence of of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the church. It is what the wilderness was to the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of Israel. The people of God are journeying the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, through it. They are pilgrims and strangers but is of the world.' Love is an affection of here. All their supplies are furnished by their which the world is unworthy. It may be esteemed great Head. He gives them water to drink from according to its value, but it cannot be loved with the rock, and bread from heaven to eat. He goes out sin. For love is an affection that allows no before them in the cloud of his presence, and rival, and to place our love upon the world is to guides and protects them. And as soon as they shut out Christ. Let us be on our guard against cross the Jordan, and are settled in the heavenly its temptations, for they are dangerous and deceit- Canaan, the wilderness through which they have ful. Against its people, who may allure us into passed shall be left to desolation and destruction. sin. Against its' riches, which may withdraw The world will be destroyed. All its interests our hearts from God. Against its pleasures, which shall perish, while none of those of the church of may fascinate and lead to folly. And against its Christ shall be injured. It is a mere scaffold on honours, which may render us ambitious and which the heavenly architect is pleased to stand proud.

until he shall build up his church, and complete Between the world and the church there is the spiritual building. As soon as that is done, constant enmity. At the fall, God said, 'I will the scaffolding shall be taken down and cast put enmity between thee and the woman, and be- aside, the world shall be consumed with fire, tween thy seed and her seed.' God hath put it while the church shall stand for ever a monument there and none can remove it. It has ever been of the love, and power, and faithfulness, and apparent from that hour to the present. Cain truth, of the divine hand by which it was conhated and slew his righteous brother Abel. Ish- structed. May we be living stones in this temple mael persecuted Isaac. Jacob was the object of of the Lord ! Esau's jealousy. At all times he that is born of the flesh has persecuted and injured him that was born of the Spirit. It matters not that all make one profession. In the visible church itself there

ELEVENTH DAY.-MORNING. have ever been two distinct societies. One has been worldly in its spirit and pursuits, the other Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. spiritual and heavenly. These cannot coalesce.

And the writing was, Jesus of Nazareth, the Many are the forms under which their opposition

King of the Jews,' John xix. 19. has been apparent, but the principle from Not only did he write this title, but the manner which it has proceeded has ever been the same. and spirit in which he did so are truly surprising. Christ himself did not disarm the enmity of the For the historian farther informs us: “this title world. And let us not wonder if his most right- read many of the Jews, for the place where Jesus eous, and consistent, and benevolent followers are was crucified was nigh to the city; and it was misrepresented, and maligned, and injured. written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then

But in this controversy it is to be remembered said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write the servants of Christ are not to employ the not, The King of the Jews, but that he said, I am weapons of the world. This Christ would not the King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I allow in his defence. If my kingdom were of have written, I have written.' What he had this world then would my servants fight, that done he would not recal, nor yet alter the way in I should not be delivered to the Jews, but which he had done it.

Observe here the over-ruling providence of In this inscription, so written, there was an intiGod. We cannot suppose that Pilate understood mation that all nations and tongues were interested what he had done. He could not assign a reason in the death of Christ. He should indeed die

, for having written the title in various languages, not for that nation only who crucified him, but or if he had a reason it was not in accordance with for the whole world. And was there not here a the divine will; nor could he explain, in all like- prophecy, that the time was approaching when lihood, why he preferred to write as he did, rather all should read in their own tongues the wonderthan in the amended form recommended to him. ful works of God, and hear the story of redeeming But having adopted a certain course, his obstinacy love? The providence of God had so ordered it caused him to persevere in it. Nor is this the that at this very time people of all nations were only occasion in which we see a restraint upon assembled at Jerusalem, for the purpose of celethe human will in the history of our Lord. A brating the feast. Thus the wonderful events similar case is recorded by John in chapter xi. which had taken place would be carried throughout 49—52. “And one of them, named Caiaphas, all countries. And it was not many days after being the high priest that same year, said unto when the Holy Ghost came upon the apostles, them, Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that with the gift of tongues, and the representatives it is expedient for us, that one man should die for of all nations were present to attest its reality. the people, and that the whole nation perish not. We do all hear in the language wherein we were And this he spake not of himself, but being high born. This is but a figure and a foretaste of that priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should day when the angel shall fly through heaven, die for that nation, and not for that nation only, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them but that also he should gather together in one the that dwell upon the earth, to all nations and children of God, which were scattered abroad.' people, and tongues, and kindred.? These are two remarkable cases, the one that of Observe here too the Spirit of truth. Pilate the civil governor, the other that of the ecclesias- wrote the King of the Jews,' nor would he alter tical ruler. Both ignorantly and truly bore wit- what he wrote. The form suggested by the chief ness unto Christ. If they attached any meaning priests would certainly have been much more to their own words, it was not the correct one. agreeable both to the Jews and the Romans. The Whatever motive influenced their conduct it was Jews counted it a disgrace that a malefactor not a right one. Yet they were both instruments should be called their king, and they wished the in the hand of the Lord, for the accomplishment title altered. The Romans considered the claim

Even their bad passions and made by the title to be treason against Cæsar unholy purposes were employed for the fulfilment And is it not wonderful that Pilate did not adop of his gracious designs. He made the wrath of the suggestion lest he should offend his roya man to praise him, and the remainder of wrath master? It may have been that he wished t did he restrain. O! how he can turn the hearts annoy and disgrace the Jews, knowing that Chris of men as he will, guide their words, and govern was an innocent man, and that what they did wa their actions. Let us remember he is doing so from envy and the basest motives. Still he ad every day. He is making enemies bear unwilling hered to his purposes. No fear nor desire t or undesigned testimony to his Son. He is em- please could make him change. Yet he was ploying their agencies and activities for his own man devoid of principle. O! see the Spirit ends. He says to their enmity, ‘hitherto shalt God working even by the worst passions of th thou come and no farther. And he moves them human heart, and laying an arrest upon them to do what his hand and counsel lad determined do his will. Truly the king's heart is in th before should be done. Yet they are free and Lord's hand, and he turneth it as the rivers responsible in what they do. God tempts them water. Its turnings may be as numerous ar not to evil, nor puts any constraint on them to do tortuous as the playful, fitful meanderings of t] it, although he may be pleased, in his inscrutable stream, yet the Lord governs them all, and w sovereignty, to leave them to their own will and make them tributary to his counsel.

He mai suffer them to commit it.

the pusillanimous Pilate boldly and determined Observe farther in this conduct of Pilate the to proclaim the truth, and abide by it in this is spirit of prophecy. He wrote the title in He- stance ; saying, “this is the King of the Jew brew, and Greek, and Latin. His reason may So can he ever do, and so is he doing every da have been to make it thus intelligible to the vari- with the hearts of the children of men. ous persons of different countries, who might read Finally, observe here the spirit of love. Jes it. But the Spirit of God had an ulterior object. is proclaimed the King of the Jews, not wit

of his purposes.


standing the baseness of their conduct towards the upholder of all thingsWhat a heaping him. They crucified him, yet did he not disown together of images and illustrations! What a them. Even his murderers among them he en-glorious object must he be in whom all these treated to return and submit themselves to him rays of divine majesty meet! Let us reflect upon when, by his resurrection, he was proved to be them for a moment. their King. The apostles were to preach to all, • The Son of God.' The phrase denotes beginning at Jerusalem.' And still has he pur- equality with God. It applies to Christ in a poses of mercy toward them. In love will he sense which makes him an equal partaker with return to them and yet restore them to his favour. the Father and the Spirit in the nature and He now chastens them for their rejection of his glory of the Godhead. It belongs to him as it claims, but he will be pacified towards them. He does not to any created intelligence. And hence bas commanded that a special regard shall be had is he called his own Son-his beloved Son-his to them by all the churches of the Gentiles. He only-begotten Son—his first-born. How far has promised that they who love them shall pros- short language falls of conveying just ideas of the per. He hath loved them with an everlasting persons of the Godhead! love, and with loving-kindness will he draw them. 'Heir of all things.' Who could inherit all This is his promise, “behold, I, even I, will both things? Who possesses a capacity to do so? Of search my sheep and seek them out. As a shep- what avail were it to a creature to appoint him herd seeketh out his flock, in the day that he is the possessor of the earth? It would profit him among his sheep that are scattered, so will I seek nothing. He could not enjoy it. He could not out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all use it. He might bear the name, but it would places where they have been scattered in the be a name merely. Is this the idle compliment cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them paid the Saviour here? No! No! He is out from the people, and gather them from the capable of being heir of all things. And the countries, and will bring them to their own land, capacity arises from his divine nature. and feed them upon the mountains of Israel, by • Maker of the worlds. Let it not be said he the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the was employed merely as an instrument or agent. country. May the Lord hasten it in his time! A creature is not capable of being employed to

create. And the testimony of scripture is not limited to this mode of expression. If it is said

here, ' by whom he made the worlds'—it is said ELEVENTH DAY.--EVENING.

elsewhere, all things were made by him. He

is the Creator in the fullest and highest sense, · Who, when he had by himself purged our sins, even as the Father and the Spirit. sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on

• The brightness of the Father's glory. He high, Heb. i. 3.

saith himself, · He that hath seen me, hath seen The mediatorial person, and work, and glory of the Father.' The perfections of God shone in Christ, are often found united in the scriptures. him, and were exercised and manifested by him. The dignity of his person qualified him for his In him the character of Jehovah is presented to work, and gave efficacy to it; that work is com- the contemplation of men. What an absurdity, plete in itself, and fully meets the condition of yea blasphemy, it would be to speak thus of a the sinner; and, in consequence of the perfect finite creature! accomplishment of the work entrusted to him, he The express image of his person.” The phrase is now raised to the highest glory in the presence recognizes a distinction of persons, while there and enjoyment of his heavenly Father. An is unity of nature. And that is more fully deexample of this kind occurs in the passage before clared at ver. 8, ‘Unto the Son he (God) saith, us. Let us follow out its views in a few medi- Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.' God it.

said unto God. Is not the only reasonable and 1. The person intended is emphatically marked, right interpretation, the Father said unto the • Who-himself. The work he had undertaken Son? was such that he could have no associate in it. Upholding all things by the word of his He was equal to it, and he alone. And his power. Precisely a similar representation occurs qualifications for it are largely set forth in the in Col. i. 16, 17, where there is added to a most context. “The Son of God—heir of all things sublime description of Christ as the Creator, “by -maker of the worlds—the brightness of the him all things consist. What are we to think Father's glory—the express image of his person of a creature sustaining the universe?

tations upon

Is it not plain that the scriptures labour to He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty raise our views of the Saviour's person to the on high-himself being honoured. Jesus is highest conceptions we can form ? The repre- glorified as the triumphant Saviour of his church. sentations are as exalted, and as numerous and The Spirit has it now for his office to take the varied as of the Father himself. And why? To things of Christ and show them unto men, that lead us to right views of the work he performed. he may be exalted. He waits in glory till his For

enemies shall be made his footstool. His cause 2. He, himself, purged our sins. None but had its foundation securely laid in his death, it is he could do so—he did so fully. The phrase is now carried forward by his grace, and shall be used to signify the removal of sin in every sense brought to a glorious consummation. ·His name in which it attached to man. He atoned for the shall endure for ever. His name shall be conguilt of sin, having borne its punishment in his tinued as long as the sun. Men shall be blessed own body on the tree. And how full is the in him, and all nations shall call him blessed. divine testimony to the complete satisfaction And blessed be his glorious name for ever. And which has thus been made! The blood of Jesus let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin. “Ye Amen and Amen.' were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot. “I will sprinkle clean water upon you,

Twelfth Day.-MORNING. and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness,

The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiter, and from all your idols will I cleanse you. The blood of Christ, once applied to the soul, removes

the Lord is our king ; he will save us,' Isa.

xxxiii. 22. all its guilt. Though its sin may have been as scarlet, it becomes as wool; though red like How seldom do we think of that great day for crimson, it is made white as snow. But not which all other days are passing! How little merely is the guilt removed, the power of sin is do we live under the conviction that before overthrown. The sinner is not only pardoned, the bar of the Omnipotent each one of us must but sanctified. And this purification is ever, in hereafter stand, and render an account of every like manner, traced to the blood of Christ. "For word, and thought, and deed! And yet thus if the blood of bulls and of goats sanctifieth to saith the scripture of truth: "God hath appointed the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall a day in the which he will judge the world in the blood of Christ, who through the eternal righteousness.' "God shall bring every work into Spirit offered himself without spot unto God, judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be purge your consciences from dead works to serve good or whether it be evil. Even here, even in the living God. “Who, his ownself, bare our the present world, it is manifest that he judgeth. sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being How often do we see the sinner caught alive dead unto sins, should live unto righteousness; in his own devices—the wicked man eating the by whose stripes ye were healed. The blood of bitter fruit of the evil he sowed! How often has Christ renews the heart, furnishes the motive of the sudden and terrible destruction of the blasobedience, and is thus, in the hand of the Spirit, phemer constrained the most careless to acknowthe destruction of sin in the heart and the life. ledge that the hand of an avenging God was in Thus has hę purged our sin in the removal of it! But though the sentence of the Judge may both its guilt and its power.

And hence is his have gone forth already, it is not generally exework celebrated in the heavens in these very cuted here; it is only in eternity that divine aspects of it, « Unto him that loved us, and justice will be fully vindicated in the face of the washed us from our sins in his own blood, and universe. And how solemn a consideration is it, hath made us kings and priests unto God and his that he unto whom we must answer is the omniFather, to him be glory and dominion for ever scient one. Ah! there can be no escaping him and ever. Nor can any doubt remain upon the amid the crowd; no darkness nor shadow of completeness of his work. For

death in which to elude his eye! “Rejoice, O 3. His glory has succeeded to his work. young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer Having purged our sins," he sat down on the thee in the day of thy youth, and walk in the right hand of the Majesty on high. He sat way of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes, down-his work being finished. He sat down but know thou that for all these things God will on the right hand-his work being accepted. bring thee into judgment. Ay, and we may

« PreviousContinue »