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not forget that it is by the man he hath or- The Lord is our king; we may trust, theredained,' the Lord will judge the earth—that now fore, that he will not allow sin to have dominion he hath committed all judgment to the Son. A over us, nor the guilt of it to subject us to the most consoling truth this is, indeed, to the be- condemnation of hell. liever—for how can he fear, hereafter, the tri- The Lord is our king. We may commit our bunal of his elder Brother—his dear Redeemer, souls
, therefore, in life and death to his keeping, with whom he delights now to hold fellowship, and rest with perfect confidence in his care. on whose arm of love he leans incessantly! But The Lord is our king. Let us not fear, therehow startling is it to the unbelieving and impeni- fore, what men can do unto us--greater is he that tent! Methinks I would rather plead before the is for us than all that can be against us. great and terrible God, than meet, on the day of The Lord reigneth. The church, therefore, is his wrath, the rebuking eye of that Jesus whose built upon a rock, and the gates of hell shall not grace I have so often despised, to whose invita- prevail against her. Though evil days come unto tions of love and mercy for years and years I her, he on whose shoulders is the government have turned a deaf ear!
shall deliver her out of them all. She may be Seeing then that there is a universal judgment, brought down into the dust—but she is the king's we cannot fail to inquire what the rule of it is daughter, and he will loose the bands from her and the answer is plain, “the law of the Lord.' neck, and restore unto her beauty for ashes. It is written, that he who is our Judge, is also she may be cast into the furnace—as often she our lawgiver. The Lord is the Head of his has been—but the fires will only purge her dross. spiritual kingdom; and his part it is to order it Long and heavily the cloud may hang over her, as he sees meet—to prescribe the principles on as again and again it has hung of old—but it is which it is to be administered. On the heart of a cloud surcharged with light, and will but rain every member of it, more or less distinctly, he blessings down as it rolls by. “Look upon Zion, bath written the work of his law; at any rate the city of our solemnities ; thine eyes shall see all men must answer him at last according to the Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that light he has given them. “As many as have sinned shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes without law shall also perish without law; and thereof shall ever be remo
noved, neither shall any as many as have sinned in the law, shall be of the cords thereof be broken. But there the judged by the law.'
glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad Yea, the Lord is not only our Lawgiver and rivers and streams, wherein shall go no galley our Judge; he is also “our King'. All power in with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereearth and heaven is his-he rules in the kingdom by.' of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will; on his vesture and thigh, as Mediator, the name is written, 'King of kings, and Lord of lords.' It is impossible not to see how terrible in this character
Twelfth Day.-EVENING. he must be to his foes. Who can fight against God? who can rush unscathed against the thick bosses of "And hath put all things under his feet, and the Almighty's buckler? The kings of the earth
gave him to be the head over all things to the may set themselves, and the rulers take counsel
church,' Eph. i. 22. together against the Lord, and against his Alas! we do not yet see these blessed words realAnointed, saying, Let us break their bands asun-ized in our world! very far, indeed, to human view, der, and cast away their cords; but he that sitteth are the kingdoms of the earth from being the in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have kingdoms of the Lord Jesus. It is only a few, a them in derision.'
very few, called by his name, who acknowledge Ah! but judgment is his strange work! The him. Multitulles there are who deny his right, exercise of regal power in which he delights most and defy his power. And yet in the eternal is the defence and salvation of his people. How counsel it is fixed that he shall be Lord of all; emphatic are the prophet's words, and which of the book of prophecy is full of pictures of the us with our whole hearts will not join him in peace and blessedness of his universal sway. Who drawing the inference: “The Lord is our king- can help wishing that these bright days would he will save us.'
come speedily—who can fail to pray the prayer Surely, surely, than this there cannot be any that very soon the wilderness and the solitary place thing more mightily calculated to animate the may be glad, and the desert rejoice and blossom people of God.
as the rose. And yet though men see it not, it is true that God hath put all things already growth of empires—the most diverse vicissitudes under the feet of his Son. It was for this that of human affairs—all are under the control of the he endured the cross, despising the shame; this mediatorial dominion—all are subordinated to is the mighty prize which his toils, and sorrows, the growing glory of Zion. and travails have won. The prediction was, “the What then shall we say of a church which Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right owns not Jesus as supreme? How shall we hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.' characterize a spiritual community which fails to And these glorious words abundantly prove that own and confess him before the world as Master the prediction has been accomplished. *Therefore and Lord in his own house? It is no church of God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name Christ at all. It is a body without a head. Let which is above every name, that at the name of us never forget what is written, that his church Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, is ‘Christ's body,' the fullness of him that filleth and things on earth, and things under the earth, all in all; so that such are the riches of his conand that every tongue should confess that Jesus descension, that even He who filleth all in all is Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.' not complete in his mediatorial character without And for what purpose has the sceptre been given the preservation and salvation of its members! to Jesus? To what end does he wield it? How How thankful ought we to be to God that the does he employ the absolute and unlimited church of our fathers has clung to this truth at authority with which as Mediator King he has all hazards; in evil times and prosperous alike; thus been invested ? O how we rejoice to know let us pray that she may never be tempted to that it is singly for the good of his people—for let it go. the glory of his redeemed! The apostle, under Still let me not boast vainly of Christ's Headthe guidance of inspiration, declares that he is ship, if I have not yielded my own spirit to his *Head over all things to the church.'
sway. Such boasting is vain, as it is impious. And well, well may he be styled its sole Head. O Lord, bow thy heavens, and come down and He is its Head—because he hath purchased it subdue me unto thyself. I desire to be wholly with his own blood. Christ loved the church, thine. Casting myself down at the foot of the and
gave himself for it—that he might present it cross, let my believing cry be, “my Lord and my to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or God!' And then, indeed, as the willing subject wrinkle, or any such thing.'
of Christ's kingdom, by whatever name I ain He is its Head—because it is by his grace called here, how may I rejoice in the thought alone that every member of it is converted. He that my Redeemer reigneth, yea, reigneth over came to call not the righteous, but sinners to re- all as a man. He to whom all power in heaven pentance—and not till his word is brought home and earth belongs is bone of my bone, and flesh in power to the heart can any feel their need of of my flesh; on the throne of the universe—on salvation, and flee for refuge to the hope of the the throne of heaven, and earth, and hell—a hugospel.
man heart, the heart of a brother, is beating. He is its Head-because he pours down on it continually from heaven the sanctifying influences of his Spirit. “It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away the Comforter will not
THIRTEENTH DAY.-MORNING. come unto you; but if I depart I will send him unto you. Blessed be Jesus that that pro- ' 4 sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy mise has never failed! He lives still freely to
kingdom,' Heb. i. 8. communicate to all who seek it in faith the free These words plainly refer to the Lord Jesus gift of his Spirit—and all on whom it descends Christ. They are quoted from the xlvth Psalm, are transformed and regenerated-most graciously which contains one of the most beautiful prophetic prepared for the sinless exercises and joys of the descriptions in the whole bible of the grace and habitation whither he has gone before them. glory of Christ's dominion. “Thy throne, O
And what more consoling truth can there be to God, is for ever and ever; the sceptre of thy believers than this, that he who rules the church kingdom is a right sceptre. And most gracious rules the world also—ay, and rules the world in words they are: the truth which they inculcate accordance with the designs of his church. The is one on which it is most pleasant to meditate. kingdom of providence is now subservient to the The sovereign whom we serve is indeed King of kingdom of grace. The rise and fall of kings- kings and Lord of lords; but the height of power the revolutions of governments—the decline and I to which he has been exalted only serves more brightly to display that righteousness which is world, and reprove with equity for the meek : the fairest jewel in his crown! With the sword and he sball smite the earth with the rod of his girt on his thigh, it is true that he rides pros- mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he perously in his majesty; but it is all because of slay the wicked.' ineekness and truth. His arrows are sharp in Who can help reflecting on the difference bethe heart of his enemies, whereby the people fall tween his own people and his enemies under under him. Ah! but faithfulness is the girdle Messiah's sway? of his loins, while his garments smell of myrrh, See the righteous man. Is he subjected to and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces! the reproach of the world, falling on evil days The righteousness in which Jesus rules is par- and evil tongues? He has his appeal to the ticularly exhibited in the forgiveness which he King who sits on his holy hill of Zion with jusbestows on the church. This forgiveness is not tice and judgment as the habitation of his throne, the gift of mere mercy: it is the triumph of and most surely of the King he will be justified. truth not less than of mercy. In the room of Is he the prey of persecution and intolerance his people he satisfied by his death all the de- here? Shall not the Judge of all the earth do mands of the law; by his resurrection from the right, and vindicate his violated truth hereafter dead it was plainly declared that eternal justice in the face of the universe ? Is he called to eat was satisfied with the sacrifice; and having now the bitter bread of penury, or to agonize on the ascended to heaven he has a manifest right to bed of pain and languishing, or to weep often by distribute to whom he will the blessings which the deathbed and over the graves of those he he purchased at the cost of his own blood. Well loves ? It is the will—it is the doing of the then may the sceptre of grace he holds out for righteous One—and whatever he orders is orsinners to touch be styled a sceptre of righteous- dered wisely and well. ness; for in righteousness he has won the power Ah! but these are the stinging thoughts of to stretch it out to the very chief of sinners. the wicked. In the midst of his godless prosIn his salvation, truth and mercy meet together perity a still small voice within whispers fearon equal terms: in the eye of the law he is de- fully that his sin shall yet find him out! Even clared to be just even when he justifies the un- though his fraud, and treachery, and tyranny, godly.
escape unseen and unpunished on earth, he feels And how mightily is this calculated to relieve that there shall be a retribution beyond. He all those desponding souls against whom the ter- cannot believe that the denunciations of the rors of the judgment have arrayed themselves! Judge will not be executed: he cannot persuade The very justice, the very inflexible justice of himself that his threatenings are empty sounds, heaven, is the guarantee of the believer's security. intended merely to frighten the weak and timid. It is because He is faithful who has promised — They are the words of Him who cannot lie— it is because the Judge of all the earth must do whose sceptre is a sceptre of righteousnessright and cannot lie, that the church of Christ is and who speaks as he acts. “Heaven and earth built on a rock, and even the humblest, poorest shall pass away, but not one jot or tittle of his member of it is safe.
word shall perish.' O Lord, I cannot stand Blessed be God that the government which by before thee in my own righteousness: if thou righteousness Jesus hath thus won, in righteous- deal justly with me my portion in eternity shall ness he conducts and shall conduct to the end. be misery and despair. Give me grace now to With him there is no respect of persons: under flee for refuge to the hope of the gospel; that in him neither may any fear to find injury, nor the face of Jesus Christ my Redeemer thou hope to escape if they commit it. The widow's mayest look on me, and in thy truth visit me cause he delights to plead; he is the stranger's with thy salvation. shield and orphan's stay; the humble folk also he forgets not who put their trust in him. But his right hand worketh terrible things to the proud-he breaks in pieces the oppressor. This
THIRTEENTH DAY.-EVENING. was the prophecy of him of old, The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wis- 'I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you dom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and
to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my might; and he shall not judge after the sight of
judgments, and do them,' Ezek. xxxvi. 27. his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his The Lord Jesus, as the Head of his spiritual ears, but with righteousness shall he judge the kingdom, has taken care to provide for the loyalty of his people. In their natural state he finds the catalogue, 'Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, them rebels and aliens, and he makes them will- gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.' ing in the day of his power: in their natural state O how blessed a thing it is to have the heart right they hate his law and his gospel, and he inclines with God! how happy those who account the their hearts unto his word; by a sweet violence statutes of the King their joy, and his testimonies he constrains them to walk in his statutes, and to their song in the house of their pilgrimage! This keep his judgments and do them.
evening let us all search and see whether the If we sit down with the simplicity of little promise of Ezekiel, “I will put my Spirit within children to our bibles,—if we search at all into you,' has been realized in our experience. Is our the sins of our hearts and lives, we will all be affection to the Saviour cold and weak? is our convinced that we must needs undergo a change faith in him a faith merely of the letter? are our of nature ere we can be the true subjects of the services in his sanctuary dull and formal? are our King of Zion! This change is so great, so prayers at his footstool, in the family and the thorough, so pervading, as to be called a “new closet, few and short and heartless? have we no crention:' it is represented by such strong figures love to his truth? are we not diligent to keep his as these, “passing from darkness into light;" from judgments and do them? are we barren and un"Satan to God,' from “death to life.' We may not fruitful in good works? O! then, just as surely be able to point out to others,—we may not know as if a voice from heaven proclaimed it, we may ourselves, the precise time at which it began, or believe that we have not yet the Spirit of Christ, the exact manner in which it was effected. There that we are none of his. are persons indeed who aver that it is always And yet this is not so, because the Spirit has sudden, always violent, ever accompanied with not done his part with us. At some time or strange excitements, and strong agitations and other, to some degree or other, we have all exthroes of the heart and frame. Such persons are perienced his working. Who can say that the presumptuous enough to dictate to the Spirit of arrows of the Lord have been flying around him God the mode of his operations in the conversion for years, and yet that he has escaped utterly unof sinners, which is just as various as the various touched ? In a Christian land, with the bible in tempers and habits of sinners. Sometimes con- our possession, and a gospel ministry at our doors, version is a sudden, sometimes a gradual work: if we are yet unbelieving and impenitent, it is just in one it is wrought in a moment, in others it is because we have grieved, and vexed, and quenched the slow result of diverse processes that may have the Spirit. And yet the Lord is waiting to be been in operation for years; in this man it is be- gracious. O come and let us petition for an outgotten of many labours, and travails, and tears; pouring of God from on high, on our family and in that man it is calm, and soft, and gentle, as the our neighbourhood! Blessed be God that the days heart is opened, and love melts and subdues the of revival and refreshing from his presence are not whole spirit into tenderness. But in all it is a gone by in the land; ever and anon rumours of real work, and though we may not specify the them are filling our ears, from east, and west, and day and date of its taking place, we can take two north, and south. And alas! as we survey the vast different periods of our life, the present and some fields of spiritual death that are spread around us, one gone past, and by the contrast show that it who will not give thanks with his whole heart must have taken place. One thing is certain,' for the gracious visitation? True, there may be every believer can say with him of old, whom extravagance, and fanaticism, and enthusiasm; Christ restored to sight, "one thing is certain, true, there may be extraordinary excitements and that whereas once I was blind, now I see.' agitations, which, as they pass away, leave men
Now the author and agent of this change is the more inveterately ungodly than before.— And Holy Spirit,—whose gifts Jesus hath purchased such things satan loves. But wherever the Spirit for his people. The scriptures tell us that no man of God is vouchsafed, the invariable and eternal can truly call Jesus Christ Lord but by the Spirit, effects are "goodness, and righteousness, and faith.' -that if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he come then, and on our knees let us plead God's is none of his. It is his office to convince men of own promise of this precious gift to the fervent sin; it is his office to guide men to the truth; it prayer of faith; “if a son shall ask bread of any is his office to renew men after the image of God, of you who is a father, will he give him a stone ? and to prepare them for the sinless exercises and or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? or happy society of heaven. There is not a single if he ask an egg, will he give him a scorpion ? if grace of the Christian life which does not flow from ye then being evil know how to give good gifts his influences. Would you know his fruits, mark I to your children, how much more shall your
heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that to leave for ever the old familiar faces. That is ask him?'
a fearful text to the worldling: “Thou shalt have no more a portion in any thing that is done under the sun.' Ah! but the Christian knows that he
is a pilgrim and a stranger here, and as a pilgrim FOURTEENTH DAY.-MORNING.
he lives; all the while his chief treasures are in 'I will ransom them from the power of the
heaven, and a removal from earth in God's good
time he frequently looks forward to as not less good grave; I will redeem them from death : 0
for him than inevitable. It is true that he were death, I will be thy plagues ; ( grave, I will
a traitor to his nature did he not feel, and feel be thy destruction, Hosea xiii. 14.
keenly, as friends and kindred are weeping around We cannot tell what it is to die. We can fol- him. But though his heart be sad, and tears low a man to the very verge of being—but the may flow, he sorrows not as those who have no last step between the two worlds, the final link hope. This is the truth that scatters flowers between time and eternity, is invisible. We around his tomb, “there is a meeting again in heatrace the ravages of the growing disease—we see ven;' and if a fear will sometimes arise within him the body tossing in agony, the multitude of the for the future provision of those whom he is about bones vexed with strong pain—we mark the to leave behind him to the pity of a cold world, gathering paleness, the closing eye, the stiffening it cannot disquiet long. He commends them to features, the shortening, sinking breath-we watch his father in heaven and sweet, soothing to his till the spirit hovers on the very lips—but none soul, beyond ought that thousands of silver and ever returned to tell of the parting struggle which gold can give, are these gracious words, “Leave rent the tabernacle of flesh, none ever returned thy fatherless children, I will keep them alive, to tell us of the experience of the last feeling, of and let thy widows trust in me.' the very severing of the thread of life. The last 3. Again, who can contemplate the gloom enemy must be fought alone-without any earthly which hangs over the tomb of nature, and not companion the gloom of the valley of shadows weep? See the dust given to the dust; see the must be trodden by all; and no one can stand turf wrapping the little heap ; see the flesh conbeside the bed of a dying man without witnessing sumed from the bones; see the very bones moulderthe awful solitariness that sits on his face. Now ing away. O the grave, the grave! Is this the end this is the blessed privilege of believers, that in the of him whose thoughts wander through eternity? situation of all others the most trying to human Man dieth and wasteth away; yea, man giveth nature, they lean with perfect confidence on the up the ghost, and where is he?' Ah! but from arm of their Lord. To them death is a covenant- the Star of Bethlehem light has been flung on the mercy, and the grave a quiet place of rest; to tomb of nature, and athwart the dunnest gloom them death, in his worst shape, environed with of the valley of shadows. "Come, see the place all bis terrors, is but the messenger that calls where the Lord lay. It is desolate, tenantless them home to their Father's house.
for ever; and written over it ineffaceably are Let us meditate for a little on some of those these glorious words, 'I am the resurrection and circumstances in death, which though most ter- the life; if a man believe in me, though he were rible to others, their faith teaches them to over-dead yet shall he live again ; he that believeth
in me shall never die.' 1. Painful, bitterly painful often is the last 4. Finally, it is the doubts and fears—it is the struggle with mortality—the earthly tabernacle apprehensions of wrath and forebodings of judgfalling to pieces—the mysterious bond between ment which accompany it—that make death most soul and body breaking. And yet how often terrible to a man. To enter into the immediate have the testimony of a good conscience, and the presence of the great God—to appear with all hope of a better inheritance through the cross of his sins unshriven on his head before the Judge Christ, inspired composure and fortitude amid of the quick and the dead; how fearful a thought! the worst agonies of the flesh! There are few See that poor conscience-stricken one, vainly better appeals to the infidel than the voice from weeping, and vowing, and confessing, and prothe death-bed, “See how a Christian can die.' mising ; see that weary soul idly casting a look
2. Again, very grievous are the separations every where for some anchor on which to restwhich death makes. It is sad to part from panting hopelessly after any refuge which may scenes we have known long, and objects on which shield it, any thing that may quiet it in that awour fondest affections were lavished; it is sad lful hour! O! how frightful is death to him who