Imatges de pÓgina
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sure to condescend and as, when a king desires, it is always the true sign of reverence and obedience to obey, even though it should be contrary to our sense of what is due to his superior dignity; so when Christ asks to be permitted to come in and sup with us, it is ours to say, "Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus." There is no such mark of fellowship as to enter your house, and eat of your bread. It is in all countries the sign of confidence; and it constitutes a ground of trust, which even our Lord felt and acknowledged, when he said, "He that ate of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me." Christ, therefore, in asking to be admitted to sup with us, condescends to enter into bonds of the closest hospitality and friendship. He wisheth to be indebted to us; he wisheth to appear to take when he is bestowing a grace; he knoweth the greater blessedness of giving than of receiving, and of this he would have us to be partakers: not that he doth so in appearance merely, but that he feeleth it in reality; he feeleth to every man as a brother, and he earnestly desireth brotherly love from every man ; and it is only by being first entertained as our brother, that he afterwards makes us partakers of his throne.

It is the season of the marriage supper, when the bride shall see the Bridegroom, and be divided from him no more. He is sending round the invitation to all men to be guests at that table which shall never be drawn, to sit down with Abraham and Isaac in the kingdom of heaven. He taketh a last round amongst the habitations of men ; he sendeth his messengers far and near, to invite all, both good and bad: he will furnish them with robes, to sit in comely and decent array, in the presence of the king: he is making a feast, and he is obeying his own injunction, sending for the halt and the maimed, the poor and the destitute; he craves it of them to receive his invitation ; he wishes to enter into their heart by faith; he wishes by love to woo his future spouse; he stands at her gate, and entreats her love; he would win her with lowliness, he would entreat her with grace, he would load her with benefits, he would make his own Spirit to enter into her, that in the day of the resurrection he might quicken her from the dust of the earth, and array her in garments worthy of being looked upon by his Father, into whose

presence nothing may enter that defileth and maketh a lie.
I quoted from the Song of Solomon (chap. v.) language
appropriate to this action of a loving bridegroom; and
I now remember, in the great poet of nature, a passage
which not unworthily doth express the same assiduity and
condescension of love contained in the text. One who,
being deeply in love, knew what love's desire is, is made by
our great bard thus to personate a man, and tell how she
would carry herself towards her whose love she sought. She
is asked what she would do: she answers in these words,
which faintly shadow forth the thing which God, in the
person of his Son, hath done to win the soul of man:
"Make me a willow cabin at your gate,

And call upon my soul within the house :
Write loyal cantos of contemned love,
And sing them loud, even in the dead of night.
Holla your name to the reverberate hills,
And make the babbling gossip of the air
Cry out Olivia! Oh, you should not rest
Between the elements of air and earth,
But you should pity me."

Such then is the last of these seven charges, which contain the very essence of a shepherd's love, a shepherd's tenderness, and a shepherd's care. If his rules and canons there expressed be admirable, no less admirable is the spirit in which they are expressed. This spirit he wisheth us ministers of the Gospel and shepherds of the flock to study and to express unto all the people, that they, taking example by us, may carry themselves in like wise towards the brethren, in their several relations, combining the same love with the same wisdom, the same mercy with the same holiness. He wisheth us to shew the example of men in trust under Christ, to act nothing for ourselves, but all for him; this to do out of the submission of our own will, and its devotedness to him who hath redeemed it, to the end that kings and magistrates, and all office-bearers in the political estate, fathers and masters, and husbands, and every person whatever, may follow the example of their minister, and do every thing as the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, honouring him as their Lord and Master. And now we come to the third and last part of this Epistle, expressed in these words: "To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with

me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father on his throne."

III. THE SPIRIT'S PROMISE TO THE CHURCH OF LAODICEA. In the original, throughout the whole of this book, there ofttimes is, as we have already observed in these Lectures, a setting aside of the rules of grammatical construction in the sublimity and condensation of the matter to be expressed. This verse, as well as some of the other verses containing the promises of the Spirit, is an instance wherein the subject stands without any verb, in order that it may appear in stronger relief. It is, being literally rendered," the conqueror-to him I will give to sit with me in my throne, as I also conquered, and sat with my Father in his throne." It is very remarkable, that amongst the many characteristics of the faithful Christian which occur in Scripture, the Spirit doth always make choice of this one, namely, victory, to designate those whom he would reward. Seven times hath he occasion to designate those who should enter into the reward of Christ; and every time he adopteth the same designation of the vanquisher. And why should it be so? Because controversy and conflict, and endurance of hard service, are the conditions of every one who would attain unto glory. Wherefore also, the whole of this book, from the beginning to the ending, is a scene of tumult, war, and bloodshed. To this arena of conflict, set forth in the seals and the trumpets, in the witnesses, in the persecutions and subtility of the dragon, that old serpent the devil, the church is introduced by her great Commander in this first vision; which, as it were, containeth instructions to his army on the eve of battle; his making of them acquainted with the various methods of attack which they should have to sustain, and of defence proper to each; his holding out of the several rewards which, when the battle is ended, he shall bestow on the valiant and the victorious. The vision of the churches, I say, considered as a part of the one great action of this book, is the equipping, instructing, and marshalling of the Lord's host; the furnishing of them with their spiritual weapons of knowledge, and faith, and virtue, and patience, and temperance, and charity. Likewise the propounding of

1225* the spiritual rewards which should come to every one who should stand in his place, and keep his charge, nor flinch from the face of the foe. The last three chapters contain the fruits of the victory, the peace in heaven and in earth, which the long and tedious conflict hath purchased, the glorious crown and reward which the faithful combatants have achieved unto themselves. So that, taken as a whole, this book is certainly one of the most precious in the canon; being to the church at once her law, her history, her prophecy, and her triumphant rest. And yet for all its excellence it had almost gone out of the sight of the church, who, in consequence of neglecting her instructions, hath lost sight of her calling, and fallen from her battle, and knows not friend from foe; hath dropped her weapons from her hand, and is gone to sleep in the midst of her perilous work. I feel that the Lord is awakening and bestirring her to renew the conflict. He is calling upon his ministers to blow the trumpet, and sound an alarm; for the enemy is coming in like a flood, and the Lord is lifting up a banner against him. And because to all well-foughten fields, the first and chief pre-requisite is well-disciplined, brave, and cheerful soldiers, wise instruction, and right order and method, I feel within myself that a very great honour hath been conferred upon me, in being permitted to open and to apply unto the militant church, these instructions of her absent Captain, on this the eve of the perilous conflict. Let me then endeavour, by the Spirit, to present this the seventh and last great prize of battle, to the ambition of every good soldier of Christ.

The promise consisteth of two parts; the first contain ing the assurance of a throne, and that no mean one, the very throne of Christ: "I will give him to sit with me in my throne;"-the second containing the encouragement of his own example, in that, for his conquest, his Father had given him to sit down with him on his throne. In order to lay the basis of an interpretation of this promise, it will be necessary to examine into the difference between the throne of Christ and the throne of the Father; of which the former only is promised unto us, and the latter pertains to Christ alone.

With regard to the throne of the Father, it is that in

which Christ now sitteth; no the throne of David, which is not yet prepared on Mount Zion, nor yet the throne of the Son of Man, which all kingdoms of the earth shall obey, both Jew and Gentile, but the throne of God invisible, yet omnipotent; not in the world, and yet ruling over the world. That throne which is essentially spiritual, because God is a Spirit, which is eternal and unchangeable, and never hath been, neither can be, resisted. The angels which kept not their first estate, and tempted man from his allegiance; and man who hath rebelled against God, and carried with him his whole habitation into evil; have only brought to light the graciousness of that throne of God without in the least disproving its omnipotency. Every thing is working out the purposes of his will. It hath appeared to go against the good pleasure of his goodness; but his kingdom yet ruleth over it all. The angels and man have betrayed their trust; and the consequence hath been, evil and disorder. But God had not committed to the creature any of his own essential, incommunieable, and inalienable attributes, of power and goodness. He could have stricken them and their work into nothing, by the word of his power; but preferred to shew forth his long-suffering and grace unto men, and his power to redeem and save the world which he had created and made. The throne of God remaineth all entire, not a pillar of it is shaken; nor can be shaken, while the grace, and mercy, and righteousness, and holiness of him who sitteth thereon, have conspicuously appeared unto all men, and unto all creatures. "He maketh the wrath of man to praise him, and the remainder of his wrath he doth restrain." "His throne is in the heavens, and his kingdom ruleth over all."

The throne of Christ, again, I take to be the throne of THE MAN, that part of infinite power, that commission of government, that function and charge which God originally intended man to occupy, and which Christ, the Man-Redeemer of man, shall occupy in the fulness of the times. Christ's throne is not the throne of David merely, for that hath respect unto the Jewish nation, and unto them only, but it is the throne of man, taken at the highest, which God for man did purpose;-not as in Adam it appeared, but as in Adam it would have come to, if Adam had not fallen; and as in Christ it will come to, who hath recover

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