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by the poorest of his subjects is “ unsearchableh.” “ Though he have nothing (of an earthly nature), he actually possesses all things.” In earthly kingdoms, a few only, and those of the higher ranks, have access to their king; and that only for a short season, on some particular occasions. But in Christ's kingdom, every one of his subjects has access to him at all times; yea, and has liberty to“ ask whatsoever he will;" with an absolute certainty, that (provided the gift will be beneficial to his soul) he shall obtain itk. In other kingdoms, the subjects are only subjects : but in Christ's kingdom every subject is himself a king', having a thronem, a crown", a kingdomo, for his unalienable and everlasting possession. The subjects of other kingdoms have their pleasures and their joys; but the subjects of Christ are " full of joy and peace in believing P,” yea, “ of joy unspeakable and glorified 9." Well might Moses say, “ Happy art thou, O Israel, O people saved by the Lord, who is the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thine excellency"!"] IV. The glory of his reign
[Truly, never did there exist among men such a kingdom as this. In this there will not be found one enemy unsubdued; ar one subject of the realm debased, or destitute, or unholy, or unhappy. Even at present, so far as Christ really reigns in the heart, this is found a truth: but in that day, when his power will be universally operative and effectual, it will be productive of these effects in every place and in every bosom. But, as the crown and summit of all, every soul will refer to Christ as the life, the peace, the strength, the joy, the glory of his whole Church. There will be stars differing from each other in splendour; but all will acknowledge him as the sun, from whence all their lustre is derived, and to whom alone all the glory must be ascribed. In the reign of Solomon, so great was the prosperity of the Jewish people, that “ silver was common as the stones,” and “ of no account” in the public estimations. But that was poverty itself, in comparison of what shall be the portion of God's people in the millennial age: for then the very poorest amongst them shall be able to say, “ All things are mine; for I am Christ'st."
That there may be trials then, as well as now, I do not deny: but they will all be made subservient to the advancement of the people's happiness : seeing, that was their tribulations abound, their consolations also by Christ shall much more aboundu."] h Eph. iii. 8.
i 2 Cor. vi. 10. k John xiv. 13, 14. and xv. 7.
i Rev. i. 6. in Rev. ii. 21. n 2 Tim. iv. 8. o Luke xxii. 29. p Rom. xv. 13. g 1 Pet. i. 8.
r Deut. xxxiii. 29. $ 1 Kings x. 21, 27. t 1 Cor. iji, 22, 23. u 2 Cor. i. 5.
SEE then, Brethren,
1. What you should affect on earth
[The sun and moon may well be considered as emblems of all that is great and glorious upon earth: but “glorious as they are, they have no glory, by reason of the glory that excelleth.” Before the superior lustre of the Redeemer's kingdom they must hide their diminished heads, “ ashamed and confounded,” as unworthy of regard, in comparison of Christ, and of the felicity that is enjoyed through him. Let this, then, be the one object of your desire, to become subjects of his kingdom. Verily, "to be a door-keeper in his house, is better than to dwell in the most magnificent and richly furnished tents of the ungodly." Seek to be able to say, “ My Beloved is mine, and I am his y;" and you can have no richer bliss out of heaven.]
2. What blessedness awaits you in the eternal world
[There you will “behold the King in his beauty?,” yea, in the full effulgence of his majesty and glory. There, too, will you yourselves be freed from all your present infirmities: for there " the spirits of the just are made perfecta." There your powers will be enlarged, beyond all that you can now conceive; and you will be filled with bliss, to the utmost extent of your capacity to contain it. And what will you think of earthly honours and enjoyments then ? Verily you will wonder how it was ever possible for you to be so enchanted with them as you once were. The sight of Christ “ face to faceb” will swallow up every inferior object, even as the meridian sun eclipses and banishes the stars : and then your bliss will be complete, because there will no longer remain any object to distract your mind, or so much as a thought that does not emanate from, and centre in, your Saviour and your King. Methinks, in the anticipation of that day, I hear you already saying, “ Allelujah ; for the Lord God omnipotent reignetho!"]
x Ps. Ixxxiv. 10. y Cant. ii. 16. 2 Isai. xxxiii. 17. a Heb. xii. 23. b 1 Cor. xii. 12. c Rev. xix. 6.
DCCCXCI. CHRIST A SUITABLE AND ALL SUFFICIENT HELP. Isai. xxv. 4. Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength
to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
IT is generally thought that no great comfort can arise from meditating upon God: and this is true, as far as it respects those who are determined to live in sin : but to those who desire to serve and enjoy God, there cannot be a richer source of consolation : a view of his attributes, as displayed in the works of his providence and grace, would soon elevate our minds, and turn our fears and sorrows into “ thanksgiving and the voice of melody.” We find the prophet breaking forth into rapture,
“ O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee; I will praise thy name:" but what was the foundation of this joy? It was, as he adds, “ for thou hast done wonderful things*:” and what those wonders were, he informs us in the words which we are about to consider, in which we may see, I. What is here supposed respecting the Lord's
peopleWe forbearto mention the temporal calamities which God's people are called to suffer, because they are common to the wicked as well as to the righteous. But there are many and severe afflictions peculiar to the godly. They are often in great distress,
1. From a sense of guilt and danger
[When persons first begin to turn to God, they are often filled with horror at the sight of their past iniquities, and terrified with apprehensions of the wrath they have so justly merited. However “ stout-hearted” any man may have been in the days of his ignorance, he no sooner sees what transgressions he has committed, and what a God he has defied, than, like Belshazzar at the sight of the hand-writing on the wall, his loins are loosed with fear, and his knees, as it were, smite one against the otherb. The jailor, it should seem, from his treatment of Paul and Silas, was of a very ferocious disposition; but, when God smote him with a sense of sin, how was his heart appalled! he " sprang in with trembling, and cried out before his prisoners, Sirs, What must I do to be saved ©?” Thus it is, in a greater or less degree, with all: and many in this state have even envied the beasts the privilege of annihilation.] 2. From the persecutions of an ungodly world
[From the days of Cain, even to this present hour, they who have been born after the flesh have persecuted those who were born after the Spirita. And the more eminent any have
a ver. 1.
b Dan. v. 5, 6.
been for piety, the more have they been the objects of the world's hatred and contempt. With what astonishing cruelty were the saints of old treated! They, of whom God world was not worthy, were made as the filth of the world, and the off-scouring of all things. What though the same violence does not rage at present? is the enmity of the carnal heart slain? Does not the same aversion to religion exist now as in former times ? and is it not still found in many instances that our“ greatest foes are those of our own household ?" Yes; and in many instances is this a source of deep affliction, even as “a terrible blast, and as a wintry storm."] 3. From the temptations of Satan
[“ Whoever will set himself to seek the Lord must prepare his soul for temptation.” Satan will not lose any of his vassals without endeavouring to reduce them to their former state of subjection. For this end he will harass the soul with his temptations, which, as fiery darts, will inflame it with evil passions, and with a
venom will even drink up the spirits?." How inexpressibly grievous these are to a child of God, may be seen by the bitter complaints of Paul respecting that thorn in his flesh, and his entreaties for deliverance from the buffetings of Satan. Never does a saint feel himself more "needy and distressed” than in circumstances like these ; nor could any endure this “conflict with the principalities and powers of darkness," if not upheld by an invisible and almighty arm.] 4. From the hidings of God's face
[God oftentimes, for wise and gracious ends, withdraws himself from his people, and suffers them to “walk in darkness for a season, and without light. And this is incomparably the most distressing of all the trials that can be endured in this world. Our blessed Lord, who never complained of the cruelties exercised upon his body, cried out with inexpressible anguish, by reason of the dereliction he experienced in his soul, “ My God, my God! why hast thou forsaken meh?” Many too of his dearest children have mourned like him, and been ready to conclude that God had forsaken and forgotten them'. To estimate aright the greatness of this affliction, it must be felt; for neither words can express, nor imagination conceive, the gloom and misery of a deserted soul.]
Were we to view them in this light only, we should dread, rather than desire, to be of their number. But in the text, we see,
e Heb. xi. 36–38. 1 Cor. iv. 13.
i Isai. xlix. 14. Ps. lxxvii. 7-9.
II. God's compassionate regard towards them
God is never more concerned about his people than when they are “in heaviness through manifold temptations:" nor will he merely afford them succour, but will himself be to them, 1. A suitable help
[As the trials of the saints are various, so, of course, must their necessities be also : but whatever it be that they need, they shall surely receive it out of the Redeemer's fulness. it a sense of guilt that oppresses them? God will “ apply to their lips a live coal from the altar, and say, Thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged k." Are they bowed down under a weight of persecution, and destitute of human aid ? He will strengthen them in their inward man, that they shall even rejoice in being counted worthy to suffer for his sake!. Are they buffeted by Satan? He will clothe them with armour, whereby they shall be enabled to resist him manfully, and to bruise him under their feet m. And has he himself forsaken them? It shall be but for a little moment", that they may learn when in darkness to stay themselves on himo, and rejoice with more exalted joy in the renewed expressions of his love. Thus it is intimated in the text itself, that whether it be strength or protection, or whatever else, that we want, he will surely impart it to us.] 2. A seasonable help
[God may suffer his people to lie a considerable time under their afflictions: but in the very instant that he sees it best to interpose, he will come to their support. This is not only intimated in the parable of the Importunate Widow, but absolutely promised, as a deduction from that parable ; " Shall not God avenge his own elect, who cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them ? Verily I say unto you that he will avenge them speedilyP," that is, in the very best and fittest season. And how remarkably was this exemplified in his conduct towards Abraham! That holy patriarch was made to go
three days' journey to the mountain where he was to slay his son : he was permitted to take the wood, the fire, the knife, for the execution of the divine command; he was even suffered to bind his son, and lift up the knife that was instantly to inflict the fatal wound; and then it was that God stopped him by a voice from heaven. Thus in ten thousand other instances has that proverb been verified, In the mount of
k Isai. vi. 6, 7. 1 Acts v.41. 2 Tim. iv. 17. Eph. vi. 11. n Isai. liv. 7, 8. o Isai. l. 10.
p Luke xvii. 7, 8.