Why do the heathen rage?Acts 4:25-27). But this was not a literal one. It may be said to have an ever-repeated fulfilment in the history of the Church, which is a history of God's kingdom upon earth, a kingdom which in all ages has the powers of the world arrayed against it, and in all ages the same disastrous result to those who have risen "against the Lord and against His anointed." And so it shall be to the end, when, perhaps, that hostility will be manifested in some yet deadlier form, only to be overthrown forever, that the kingdoms of this world may become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ.
(J. J. S. Perowne.)
2 Samuel 7, which sets forth the dignity and dominion of the King of Israel as God's son and representative. This grand poem may be called an idealising of the monarch of Israel, but it is an idealising with expected realisation. The Psalm is prophecy as well as poetry; and whether it had contemporaneous persons and events as a starting point or not, its theme is a real person, fully possessing the prerogatives and wielding the dominion which Nathan had declared to be God's gift to the King of Israel. The Psalm falls into four strophes of three verses each, in the first three of which the reader is made spectator and auditor of vividly painted scenes, while, in the last, the Psalmist exhorts the rebels to return to allegiance. In the first strophe (vers. 1-3) the conspiracy of banded rebels is set before us with extraordinary force. All classes and orders are united in revolt, and hurry and eagerness mark their action, and throb in their words. Vers. 4-6 change the scene to heaven. The lower half of the picture is all eager motion and strained effort; the upper is full of Divine calm. God needs not to rise from His throned tranquillity, but regards, undisturbed, the disturbances of earth. What shall we say of that daring and awful image of the laughter of God? The attribution of such action to Him is so bold that no danger of misunderstanding it is possible. It sends us at once to look for its translation, which probably lies in the thought of the essential ludicrousness of opposition, which is discerned in heaven to be so utterly groundless and hopeless as to be absurd. Another speaker is now heard, the anointed king, who in the third strophe (vers. 7-9) bears witness to himself, and claims universal dominion as his by a Divine decree. In vers. 10-12 the poet speaks in solemn exhortation. The kings addressed are the rebel monarchs whose power seemed so puny when measured against that of "my King." But all possessors of power and influences are addressed.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
I. THE EXTENT OF THE REVOLT. Nations, People, Kings, Rulers. Christ has encountered this opposition —
1. In all nations.
2. In all ranks.
3. In all generations. Christ was rejected by His own age (Acts 4:27).
II. THE DETERMINATION BY WHICH THIS REVOLT WAS CHARACTERISED. It is —
III. THE SECRET CAUSE OF THIS REVOLT. They rebel against the laws of God in Christ.
IV. THE VANITY OF THIS OPPOSITION TO CHRIST.
1. The unreasonableness of it. "WHY do the heathen rage?" No satisfactory answer can be given.
2. The uselessness of it. It is "vain," because useless.
V. THE CONCLUSION. The Psalmist gives —
1. An admonition: "Be wise now."
2. A direction: "Serve the Lord." Do Him homage.
(W. L. Watkinson.)
I. THE KING (vers. 6-7).
1. Divinely appointed. "I have set." The Father speaking.
2. Divinely anointed. The name Christ or Messiah signifies anointed.
3. Assured of universal rule (ver. 8). The world belongs to Him. He has created it. He has redeemed it. He shall ultimately possess it.
II. MESSIAH'S FOES (vers. 1, 2, 3). The citadel assailed because of its Sovereign; the Church the target of malice and mischief because of the kingly Christ. Crowned heads in general have been sworn enemies of the Lord's anointed. The hostility of these foes is —
1. Deliberate. They "imagine," rather "meditate."
2. Combined. "They take counsel together."
3. Determined. They "set themselves," as fully resolved to accomplish their object.
4. Violent. They "rage." Nothing has ever excited so much hostility as Christ and His Church.
III. MESSIAH'S VICTORY (vers. 4, 5). Fourth verse is strikingly metaphorical. The Victor is in the heavens — watching the plots, reading the thoughts, hearing the decisions of His enemies, and He "sitteth" there, serene as the march of stars and suns, calm as the glassy lake locked in the embrace of summer morning. Shall "have them in derision." Their efforts shall result in self-defeat and self-destruction, and help to the realisation of God's own purposes. The devil and his agents often outwit themselves; they mean extinction, but God overrules it for permanent extension. No decree of the Divine government can be frustrated. Truth must prevail. He shall "speak in wrath." His wrath is not vindictiveness, but the recoil of His love; not revenge, but retribution.
IV. MESSIAH'S MESSAGE (vers. 10-12). This is a call to —
1. Teachableness. "Be instructed." Learn your folly in opposing the Lord.
2. Service. "Serve the Lord." Do His bidding. Be governed by His laws.
3. Homage. "Kiss the Son." The Eastern mode of showing homage to a king.
4. A call backed by the most weighty reasons: "lest He be angry."
(J. O. Keen, D. D,)
Monday Club Sermons.Two contrasted topics, the King and the rebellion of His subjects.
I. THE KING.
1. The dignity of His person. Not a King, or the King, but my King. One able and worthy to represent me.
2. The extent of His dominion. The nations of men measure not the realm of Christ. All grades of intelligences throughout the universe owe Him allegiance.
3. The greatness of His power. Wide as is His kingdom, His power is adequate to hold and govern it. Spiritual supremacy involves supremacy of every name. To secure it, upheavals and overturnings are inevitable. Under the pressure of spiritual forces, all other forces must give way.
4. The blessedness of His sway. The prophetic representations of the Messiah's reign are glorious and happy. All blessings come down upon the people.
II. THE REBELLION OF HIS SUBJECTS.
1. Its universality.
2. Its wickedness. Men's treatment of Christ is more gratuitously wicked than anything else. He came, self-moved, to do them infinite good.
3. Its impotence.
4. Its folly. This rebellion is misery in its progress, and ruin in its result. It fills the soul with wretchedness and fear in time, and leaves it under the wrath of God in eternity.
(Monday Club Sermons.)
I. THE DETERMINED HATE OF THE PEOPLE (vers. 1-3). The word "rage" suggests the idea of Oriental frenzy and excitement of a tumultuous concourse of crowds of people, all wildly angry. "Imagine" is the same word as is rendered "meditate" in Psalm 1:2. While the godly meditate on God's law, the ungodly meditate a project which is vain. Let us not be in league with the world, for its drift is against the Lord.
II. THE DIVINE TRANQUILLITY (vers. 4-6). The scene shifts to heaven; God is ever undismayed.
III. MESSIAH'S MANIFESTO (vers. 7-9). Standing forth, He produces and recites one of the eternal decrees. Before time was, He was the only-begotten of the Father. The world is His heritage, but the gift is conditional on prayer. For this He pleads, and let us plead with Him. The pastoral staff for the sheep; the "iron rod" for those who oppose.
IV. OVERTURES AND COUNSELS OF PEACE (vers. 10-12). "Kiss," the expression of homage (1 Samuel 10:1).
(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)
1. The opposition would be universal, and characterise all classes of men.
2. It is intense. The heathen "rage."
3. It is organised. They consult to find pretexts to justify their hostility. It is violent and aggressive. The restraints of the gospel are irksome and hateful. When argument and oratory failed, force was employed. It was foretold that all the crafty counsel and all the violent opposition should fail. Vain to imagine that human craft can contravene omniscience, or human power overcome omnipotence. It is the potsherd striving with his Maker. If God's expostulation be disregarded, then He speaketh in judgment. While adverse nations perish, the kingdom of Christ shall continue and become universal. When the Son says, "I will declare the decree," He has respect to future revelations as well as to the one then announced. He intimates that henceforth there shall be brighter and more ample discoveries of the Divine purpose. And the promise was verified by fact. The decree is not only declared, it is confirmed by the resurrection, the intercession and the enthronement of Messiah. The universality of the Redeemer's kingdom is certain, but do existing facts look towards its consummation? Wonderful preparations are indicative of this. The great programmes of discovery and of instrumentality nearly complete. The great programme of prophecy is nearly accomplished.
(W. Cooke, D. D.)
(Phillips Brooks, D. D.)
Imagine a vain thing.
(F. W. Macdonald, M. A.)
1. Some young king, entering upon the rule of God's Kingdom, has borne in upon his mind, from his very position, those strange and unprecedented words of Nathan — words of inexhaustible meaning, and yet quite fresh from their novelty — and entering into their spirit as, to a pure and thoughtful mind, they opened up regions of contemplation interminable in extent and full of wonders, and combining them perhaps with some show of opposition to his rule at home, or some threatened defection from his authority by tribes abroad, — the young king east his thoughts and aspirations into this hymn.
2. And what young monarch was in such a condition except Solomon? Every one of the conditions of the problem suits him. He was the seed of David, and therefore the Son of God. He was appointed king on Zion Hill. His rule tended to universality, and his aspirations, being those of a profound intellect and, at the same time, of an uncorrupted youth, must have aimed at conferring on all peoples the blessings of God's Kingdom.
3. If we could realise to ourselves the thoughts and emotions of those early Davidic kings — standing, as all of them did, to Jehovah as His anointed, bearing all of them the title of His Son, and pointing forward to such a heritage, even all peoples; and yet so surrounded with darkness, and having but such imperfect instruments in their hands wherewith to realise their ideal, and so circumscribed on every side — what aspirations must have filled their hearts as they stood thus before so high a destiny! And yet, as all things seemed to make it impossible for them to reach it, what perplexities must have tormented them till, wearied out by the riddles of their position, some of them turned wilfully aside from the true path!
4. But if we can ill fathom the thoughts of these great creative minds, how much less those of the true theocratic King, the true Messiah and Son of God, when entering upon His kingdom, and standing at its threshold with all the possibilities of it clear before Him, and the way needful to be trod to reach it also clear! We know that He was sometimes troubled in spirit, and sometimes rejoiced greatly, alternating between a gloom more dark than falls on any son of man and a rightness more luminous than created light. But with full view of His work He entered on it, and with full view of the glory He prosecuted it to the end.
5. The Psalm, if a typical Psalm in the mind of its human author, referred to the installation of the theocratic king on Zion, who took God's place over His kingdom, and stood to Him in all the endearing relations expressed by the name of Son. The writer to the Hebrews finds in it the statement of the manifestation of the true theocratic King and Son in power from His resurrection and ascension; and His principle is just. The one was a rehearsal of the other. All this Old Testament machinery, and this calling one who was king by the name Son, and the like, would never have been but for the other; it was only in order to suggest the other and prepare for it. It was a prophecy of the other. It contained the same ideas. And its having been imperfect, as it was, implied that the other — that which was perfect — should also be. Only, that which the Old Testament writer had not yet foreseen had now taken place; the material embodiment of the ideas of the kingdom had passed away, and all things had become spiritual in Christ.
(Professor A. B. Davidson.)
Against the Lord, and against His anointed.
(David Caldwell, A. M.)
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.I. THE OBLIGATIONS SINNERS ARE UNDER TO GOD.
1. Natural obligations. Their nature, as dependent creatures, forms an intimate connection between them and their Maker. They cannot exist a moment without the immediate exertion of Divine power. Their dependence is absolute and universal. It respects all their natural powers and faculties, whether corporeal or mental. They are not sufficient to think, or speak, or act of themselves, independently of the presence and efficiency of God.
2. Moral obligations. God is a Being possessed of every natural and moral excellence. He will never do anything contrary to the perfect benevolence of His heart. Every sinner is capable of knowing that God is perfectly good, so he is under moral obligation to love Him for His goodness.
3. Legal obligation. God's absolute supremacy gives Him an independent right to assume the character of a lawgiver. It properly belongs to Him to give law to all His intelligent creatures.
II. SINNERS ENDEAVOUR TO FREE THEMSELVES FROM ALL THE OBLIGATIONS WHICH THEY ARE UNDER TO GOD. They wish and endeavour to break His bands, and cast away His cords.
1. This appears by their mode of speaking upon this subject.
2. By their mode of reasoning as well as speaking. They endeavour to reason away all their obligations to God.
3. It appears from their mode of acting, also, that they desire and endeavour to free themselves from all obligations to become reconciled and obedient to God.
III. ALL THEIR ENDEAVOURS TO GET LOOSE FROM THEIR OBLIGATIONS TO GOD WILL BE IN VAIN.
1. They cannot destroy the existence of God.
2. Or their own existence. Improvement.(1) We may see what is the great subject of controversy between them and their Creator.(2) Though sinners are naturally disposed to free themselves from their obligations to God, yet they are not always sensible of it. They commonly think that they have no such disposition to complain of the bands and cords by which they are bound to God, and to desire and endeavour to break and cast them away.(3) We see why sinners are the most opposed to the most essential and important doctrines of the gospel.(4) If they endeavour to free themselves from their obligations, then they always endeavour to stifle convictions.(5) If sinners are under such natural, moral, and legal obligations to God as have been mentioned, then He can awaken and convince them at any time He pleases.(6) Sinners are extremely averse from prayer.(7) All sinners, without exception, are bound to be religious or to fulfil their obligations to their Maker, who has made them rational, immortal, and accountable creatures.(8) If sinners are bound to God by bands and cords which they cannot break nor cast away, then it is their immediate and imperious duty to cease from contending with their Maker, and to become cordially reconciled to the bands and cords by which He has bound them to Himself.
(W. Emmons, D. D.)
1. From their limited views. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, as it too often encourages self-conceit and lays the foundation for many a hasty conclusion. A slight and imperfect view of the subject is taken as the whole. Judgment is rendered without even hearing the evidence. A few second-hand objections are suffered to cover the whole ground. Bacon says, "It is true that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds back to religion; — for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them, confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity."
2. From their defective training. In the religious education of youth the principal things have not always been made prominent. The youth perhaps knows no other Christianity than that which belongs to his own denomination, or some idle ceremony or some doubtful tenet has been inculcated with all the solemnity of religion and all the sanctions of eternity. The result is a narrow-minded, bitter bigotry. When the charm is broken, and its influence destroyed, the mind, left loose, too often swings at once to infidelity. The training is often defective in another way. That the mind may be free from unfounded prejudice and sectarian predilections, nothing is taught. To escape one evil they run into another and more fatal one. The native soft brings forth thorns and briars.
3. Another source of infidelity is the conduct of too many called Christians.
4. Another is an uneasiness of restraint. The spirit of wildness and wilfulness is manifest in the first dawn of intellect. The earliest period of childhood shows restlessness and hatred of restraint. Thousands are infidels because they dread the inspection of God and hate the restraints of religion. Their lives require such an opiate to their fears.
5. A love of distinction — an ambition to appear above the vulgar. Young men and boys affect infidelity for the same reason that they learn to swear or to chew tobacco. It gives an air of spirit and independence that spurns old traditions and vulgar prejudices.
6. Some are infidels in self-defence. They were once, perhaps, not far from the kingdom of God — it may be, deemed themselves citizens of that kingdom. But the world spread its charms before them. And they have found shelter from scorn and reproach in blank infidelity. Combine all these causes which are continually at work and is it wonderful that in the face of all the light of truth there should still be infidels?
(F. W. Macdonald.)
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh...and vex them in His sore displeasure.
(Joseph Parker, D. D.)
Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion.
I. THIS SOVEREIGN PRINCE. The sovereignty and royalty appears —
1. From Scripture prophecy.
2. From types.
3. From titles.
4. From the concurring testimony of enemies and strangers.
5. From the badges of sovereignty everywhere, ascribed to Him.See what happy persons the true and loyal subjects of Christ are. See the dangerous risk they run that invade His government and contemn His authority. Who are these? They that turn the authority derived from Him, to the hurt and prejudice of His kingdom and interest. They who venture to model His visible kingdom in the world after their own fancy. They who walk willingly after the commandments of men, in opposition to the commands of Christ. They will be found equally guilty who stand by and see those injuries done to the King of Zion by others, and are silent without witnessing against those things.
II. THIS KINGDOM AND THE ADMINISTRATION OF IT. The kingdom of the Son of God is two fold: it is either essential or personal. His essential kingdom belongs to Him as to His Divine nature. His personal or mediatory kingdom belongs to Him as Immanuel, God-man. In this He acts by a delegate authority or a power committed by the Father for the salvation of the elect that were given Him. The mediatory kingdom is either more general or special. His general mediatory kingdom extends itself over heaven, earth, and hell. The kingdom or Church of Christ is sometimes called His "body" and His "flock." This Church is either militant on earth or triumphant in heaven. Why is this Church called the "holy hill of Zion"? The literal Mount Zion had two heads, one called "Moriah," the other "the City of David." Zion was the place of public worship. All the sacred things of God were kept there. In Scripture an opposition is stated between Mount Zion and Mount Sinai. Consider some of the properties of Christ's kingdom.
1. It is spiritual.
2. Of large extent.
3. Not populous. It is —
4. A kingdom of light.
5. A heavenly kingdom.
6. A regular and well-governed kingdom.
7. Much hated by the devil and the world.
8. A stable, firm, and everlasting kingdom.
9. A holy kingdom.Consider the actual execution and administration of this kingdom. By the royal authority of Zion's King He overrules and governs all creatures and all their actions, yea, the most dark and cloudy dispensations for Ills own and His Father's glory. With respect to His invisible kingdom of believers, there are these acts of His royal power that He puts forth.
1. He subdues them to Himself.
2. He writes His law on their hearts.
3. He enforces subjection to His laws.
4. He casts a copy of obedience unto all His subjects, and calls them to imitate Him.
5. He actuates and excites all His subjects to obedience to Him by His own spirit.
6. He meekens the hearts of His subjects to a due regard to all the intimations of His mind and will.
7. He corrects and chastens His subjects.
8. He commands peace, quiet, comfort, and deliverance to them.Prove that Christ has a visible Church from these considerations. He Himself is visible as to His human nature. The laws, ordinances, and officers of Christ are all visible. There is a visible difference between the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of the devil. The charge that is given to ministers in the dispensation of the solemn ordinances of the New Testament proves that Christ has a visible Church. And there is a visible and open war betwixt the seed of the woman and the serpent. Notice some acts of the royal authority of Christ ill His visible kingdom. Giving the lively oracles of His Word to His visible Church. Appointing the form of its government. Appointing its officers, and the way in which they are to be chosen. Appointing ordinances, such as preaching. Appointing censures for good discipline and order in His kingdom. Authorising the officers to meet in a judicative capacity in His name for the better and joint regulating of the affairs of His kingdom. Bounding and limiting all the courts and officers of His kingdom to govern His subjects, and to teach them no other thing than He has commanded. Giving express orders unto all His subjects to examine all spirits, doctrines, laws, impositions at the bar of the Word, and to contend earnestly for the purity of His truth and worship, ordinances and institutions.
III. WHY HAS GOD THE FATHER SET AND ORDAINED HIM TO BE KING IN ZION? This flows originally from the sovereign love and good pleasure of God. It was for the Father's glory and honour to set Him upon the throne. It was that He might bring about salvation to His mystical body, the Church. Because His shoulders alone were able to bear the weight of the government. Seeing Christ bought the Church to Himself with the price of His blood, it was fit that the government of the Church should be committed to Him. Application —(1) Words of exhortation to all those who profess themselves the subjects of Christ's kingdom. Imitate your King. Trust Him at all times. Be much at your King's throne as supplicants. Obey your King's laws. Keep His ordinances of worship. Stand up for the honour of your King.(2) Words of exhortation to you who are yet strangers to Zion's King, or enemies to His kingdom and government. Surrender your rebellious arms, and submit unto His royal authority.
I. REVOLT. Painted in the first three verses. The nations crowded about the Holy Land have become restive under the yoke; a spirit of disaffection has spread. The movement has come to a head, and there has been effected an immense combination of insurgent states. The second verse takes us into the council tent. At last they come to a unanimous resolution (ver. 8), "Let us break their bands asunder." That was the form of the truth; but the truth itself is perfectly modern. It is the resistance of the world to the gospel of Christ; it is the attempt of the persecutor and the traditionalist to arrest the progress of the kingdom of light and love; it is the natural enmity of your heart and mind to God and His Christ.
II. DERISION. At this point the poetic originality of this Psalm reaches its climax. This second scene is in heaven. Up in heaven there is seated One who is observing all this which is going on on earth. It is a very bold stroke of imagination to represent the Deity as laughing. It is not, however, unexampled. I want to say that we do not laugh enough; we do not sympathise enough with God's laughter: we take some things too seriously, we tremble too much for the ark of God. When someone begins vainly to give us his opinions about religion, of which he has no experience, we ought to see the ludicrous side of the matter; we should not become too angry about it.
III. INTERPRETATION. At this point the words of the poet become most pregnant and shorthand, so to speak. The scene is again changed. We are not in heaven now. Not among the insurgents, but in the opposite camp, because it is the Anointed, the Leader of the army, who is the speaker. He says, "I will declare the decree," and then He begins not to repeat it in the exact words, but to give the drift of it and its meaning both to it and to them. "It means this," He says, "The Lord hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee." Among the Hebrews the reigning sovereign was sometimes called God's Son. No doubt all this referred originally to some Hebrew king and. some crisis in his history. But beneath the words is a far more comprehensive reference to another. The reign of Christ is a reign of love. His kingdom is set up not upon the bodies, but in the hearts of men, and yet at the name of Jesus every knee must bow.
IV. ADMONITION. Who is speaking now? Probably the poet himself. Like the chorus in a Greek play, he draws the moral of the whole. He urges the leaders of the insurgents to pause and be admonished. They can see themselves that this enterprise of theirs is hopeless, and that it may be fatal to themselves. Therefore it pleases them to kiss the Son, that is, to give Him the sign of allegiance. It should be, "for His wrath is kindled at a little." It is kindled by the affront shown to His Son; that He will always terribly avenge.
(James Stalker, D. D.)
I. CHRIST IS A KING.
2. He was of old promised to His people under this notion.
3. He has all the ensigns of royalty, Sword, Sceptre, Crown, Escutcheon (Revelation 5:5), Throne.
4. He sealed this truth with His precious blood.
II. THE NATURE OF CHRIST'S KINGDOM. Christ has a two-fold kingdom. An essential kingdom, and an economical or mediatory kingdom. The administration is either external (general or particular) or internal in the hearts of. His people.
III. THE ACTS OF CHRIST'S KINGLY OFFICE. Subduing sinners to Himself, ruling and governing them, defending and protecting them, restraining His own and their enemies, and conquering them. Christ exercises His kingly office in ruling and governing His subjects: both externally, by laws, officers, and discipline; and internally, writing His law in their hearts, and persuading them by His spirit.
IV. PROPERTIES OR QUALITIES OF ZION'S KING. He is of ancient, glorious, and honourable extract. He is an absolute King, who makes laws for His subjects, but is not bound by any Himself, His will is His law. He is a wise, powerful, just, merciful, meek and patient, beautiful, opulent, everlasting King. Improvement.
1. The kings of the earth have no ground to grudge the kingdom of Christ its freedom in their dominions, seeing it is a spiritual kingdom.
2. There is a government of the Church distinct from and independent of the civil government.
3. The government of the Church is not alterable by any power on earth, civil and ecclesiastical.
4. The Church shall ride out all the storms that can blow upon her, whether from earth or hell.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
I. THE KINGDOM DESCRIBED AS GOD'S HOLY HILL OF ZION. Zion was one of the hills on which Jerusalem was built. The name came to be appropriated to the temple and its courts. It is also applied to the worshippers in the temple if not to the whole inhabitants of Jerusalem. It is used to signify the Church of God. Sometimes it is applied to the visible Church, sometimes to the invisible, as Hebrews 12:22. In the text the whole Church is to be understood. The visible Church is as much Christ's Church as the invisible. It owes its existence to Him. Christ is King of Zion, and as King of Zion He is head over all — exalted above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion.
II. THE TITLE BY WHICH HE HOLDS THE KINGDOM. He reigns by the Father's appointment. His dominion as King of Zion is delegated and official. It is not the dominion that belongs to Him essentially as God that is here spoken of, but the power with which He is officially invested as Mediator by the act of the Father. His dominion in this respect is the Father's gift; bestowed on Him in fulfilment of the conditions of the everlasting covenant, as the recompense of His obedience and sufferings, as His reward for finishing the work which His Father gave Him to do. The dominion with which He is entrusted supposes His essential dignity as a Divine Person; for we cannot imagine that such dominion would ever have been committed to a mere creature. His appointment to His mediatorial throne was formally made when the covenant of grace was entered into in the counsels of eternity. It was not till His resurrection and ascension to heaven that His claim to royal dignity was fully recognised. But He exercised this authority from the beginning of time, in virtue of that atonement which He was to offer for the sins of men.
III. THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE KINGDOM. This may be viewed, either in reference to the outward organisation and arrangements of His Church or in reference to that spiritual power — that Divine resistless energy, by which He effectually accomplishes the great ends for which His kingdom has been set up, and is maintained in the world. Christ prescribes the laws and institutions of His Church, and appoints its office bearers. But outward arrangements would be ineffectual without a Divine efficacy — without the power of that Spirit who is sent by Christ, and acts in accordance with Christ's commission.
IV. THE PECULIAR PROPERTIES OF THIS KINGDOM.
1. It is a spiritual kingdom. The great design and purpose for which it has been erected is spiritual and heavenly. Human government views man in connection with this world. The kingdom of Christ views Him in connection with eternity. Its ultimate end is the advancement of the glory of God; its immediate end is the salvation of sinners.
2. It is destined to be universal. All adverse power and authority will be overthrown, all enemies vanquished, and nothing left which is not put under Him.
3. It shall last forever. It will not only continue while the earth exists; it will last through the endless ages of eternity.
I. CHRIST AS KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:16). In these words we have an important part of Christ's mediatorial character brought before us. When this name is applied to Christ we are to understand that power which Christ, as King and Head of Zion, has acquired over the nations and kingdoms of this world, The Church and the State being distinct institutions — the one being positive, expressly revealed, and exhibited in the Word of God; the other being founded on natural principles, and not on scriptural revelation — it is evident that as the rulers in the one hold their appointment directly from Christ as Mediator, so the kings and rulers in the other hold their appointment primarily from God as the Moral Governor of the world. But, whilst recognising this distinction, it does not follow that the powers which be and are ordained of God have no relation whatever to Christ as Mediator. Christ not merely the King and Head of Zion, but Christ the King of nations, by virtue of that power with which He is invested by the Father. Thus it is written, "The Father hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be Head over all things to the Church." Christ has power over all things. He has power and authority over societies and communities, and also over nations, which occupy so important a position in the social scale. Thus kings and rulers are spoken of as holding their appointment from the Father, but in subordination to Christ the Mediator, and subject to His control — "By Me kings reign and princes decree justice" (Ephesians 1:20, 21). It is true that Christ, in a very special sense, is the King and Head of Zion, but it is no less true that, in a very important sense, He is King of kings and Lord of lords. Standing in so important a relation to the Church, it is on her behalf that He takes to Himself this universal power and reigns. Holding this appointment from the Father, Christ is now exalted to the right hand of glorious power and majesty in the heavens. There He is seated on the throne, and wears the crown and sways the sceptre of universal dominion, and we are assured that all kings shall yet fall down before Him, and all nations shall serve Him. But where, it is asked, is the practical importance or application of this truth? We look abroad upon the world, and we see many nations and peoples who have never been brought to the knowledge of the truth, and who are therefore ignorant of the homage which they owe to Christ. We still say the truth is here, and must remain forever. It remains not only an unchanging truth in the Word, but shall yet become an accomplished fact in the history of every nation. What a blessed theme is here set before us for our contemplation! The kings of earth no more combining and conspiring against the Lord and His anointed, but coming with Christian loyalty to pay their tribute at the feet of King Jesus (Philippians 2:10, 11). The fulfilment of these words may be in the far distant future, but of their certainty we are assured by prophecy already fulfilled in the history of those nations that had to make way for the coming of Christ.
II. DUTIES DEVOLVING ON NATIONS UNDER THE KINGSHIP OF CHRIST.
1. Christian nations are bound to frame their laws in accordance with the Word of God. Every nation ought to act according to that degree of religious knowledge which it may possess. The very claims of morality and justice, the best interests of society, the welfare of kings and rulers and of all classes of their subjects, and the claims of God, the Moral Governor, demand that the laws of nations should be regulated by the Word. Was the law to be honoured under the Old Testament dispensation by one solitary nation under a theocratic government, much more shall it be honoured under the New, by many nations under many forms of civil government, but all subordinate to Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. By obedience to the laws of the King eternal shall righteousness be promoted, and righteousness exalteth a nation.
2. Christian nations are to be interested in the advancement of Christ's spiritual kingdom.
III. BY WAY OF IMPROVEMENT OF THE SUBJECT, LET US SEE ITS GREAT IMPORTANCE.
1. It is of the highest importance, because it is frequently and clearly revealed in the Word. Its certainty does not rest on a few solitary passages of Scripture, but large and consecutive portions are employed to describe the power and. glory of Christ, the King of nations.
2. It has been important in the past history and contendings of the Church.
3. Nor is the truth of less importance in the present day. The Kingship of Christ over the nations has become a present truth. There is undoubtedly a spirit abroad in the land in opposition to it. Men in Church and State have condemned the very principle.
4. But in a word, it is of growing importance. It will become still more important when its certainty has been established and its application fully and gloriously carried out. As we have already seen, it is frequently the theme of prophecy. And so, fathers and brethren, believing as we do in the faithfulness of God and in the fulfilment of His Word, we must believe His own prediction — "In His times He shall show who is blessed and only potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords." The works of nature, the discoveries of science, the achievements of art, the efforts of earth's mightiest nations and of the Church universal, shall yet combine to promote the interests of King Jesus. And in prospect of this happy period, shall we say the subject is of no importance? If we are to be indifferent to it, what is to become of the Church's prayer, "Thy kingdom come,"?
(C. S. Findlay.)
I. THE NATURE OF CHRIST'S KINGLY OFFICE.
1. It is not simply as God, but as Mediator — as God-man — that Christ executes the kingly office, and exercises supreme dominion, and is entitled to the profoundest homage and the most implicit submission. Christ's kingship as Mediator is different from His eternal and unchangeable dominion as God, and rests upon a different foundation. We are to regard Christ's kingly office as properly and fully developed at the time when God raised Him up, and gave Him glory, and seated Him at His own right hand. Christ has been invested with the uncontrolled administration of the moral government of the world. He exerts and displays His kingly power —
(1) (2) (3) II. PRACTICAL APPLICATION. To receive Christ in His different offices is just to act in the manner in which the contemplation of Him in His different characters is fitted to lead us to adopt. Advert to the encouraging and consolatory reflections which the contemplation of Christ's supreme dominion is fitted to call forth with reference to the general state of His visible Church, and the interests of religion in the world. (W. Cunningham, D. D.)
(2) (3) II. PRACTICAL APPLICATION. To receive Christ in His different offices is just to act in the manner in which the contemplation of Him in His different characters is fitted to lead us to adopt. Advert to the encouraging and consolatory reflections which the contemplation of Christ's supreme dominion is fitted to call forth with reference to the general state of His visible Church, and the interests of religion in the world. (W. Cunningham, D. D.)
(3) II. PRACTICAL APPLICATION. To receive Christ in His different offices is just to act in the manner in which the contemplation of Him in His different characters is fitted to lead us to adopt. Advert to the encouraging and consolatory reflections which the contemplation of Christ's supreme dominion is fitted to call forth with reference to the general state of His visible Church, and the interests of religion in the world. (W. Cunningham, D. D.)
(W. Cunningham, D. D.)
I. THE CHARACTER OF THIS KING.
1. His sovereignty; as appears from prophecy, types, titles, enemies, and strangers.
2. His attestations of royalty; His enthronement, throne, coronation, sceptre, laws, courts, officers, power, and His universal sway.
3. His characters and qualifications. An ancient, wise, righteous, gracious, sympathising, rich, present, invisible and immortal, independent, warlike, glorious King.
II. The Kingdom. "My holy hill of Zion." It denotes a place of safety; a place of society, of unity, of commerce; a free orderly, peaceable, warlike, beautiful kingdom. It is called Christ's kingdom, because dwells there; He built it; He governs it; it is His property, and the inhabitants are His.
III. WHY THE FATHER CONSTITUTED CHRIST THE KING OF HIS ZION. This springs out of His sovereign love to Him; to advance His own glory; to save His own people. Because Christ could sustain it, and when lost He redeemed it.
IV. THE IMPROVEMENT INTENDED.
1. To the inhabitants. Follow the example of your Prince. Trust your all in His care. Constantly surround His throne. Rejoice in His presence. Obey His commandments; and rest always in His love.
2. To His enemies. You oppose Him, but He will subdue you. You reject Him and He will reject you. You are miserable in this life, and will be in the next, unless His Spirit gain the victory over you.
(T. B. Baker.)
I. CHRIST'S KINGDOM ENJOYS THE APPROVAL AND SANCTION OF GOD. He declares, "Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion." Jesus comes to the throne in an orderly way. He is no usurper. He rules in harmony with the will, and by "the decree" of Him who is Lord of all.
II. CHRIST IS KING BY INHERITANCE. He is God's "Son," His "only begotten Son," and so is entitled to rule,
III. CHRIST, AS KING, PROCLAIMS HIS AUTHORITY: "The Lord hath said." he administers the affairs of government as one divinely endowed. He is Divine, and so possessed of omniscience and omnipotence.
IV. HIS IS AN EXTENSIVE KINGDOM: "The heathen," or the nations, "are given Him for an inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession."
V. HIS IS A JUDICIAL, AS WELL AS A SAVING KINGDOM: His enemies shall be broken with "a rod of iron," and dashed "to pieces like a potter's vessel," which, made of clay, cannot withstand forced contact with the hard ground.
VI. EARTH'S FORCES ANTAGONISE CHRIST'S KINGDOM.
1. The heathen rise up in opposition to it.
2. It is subject to popular machinations for its overthrow.
3. Men in high station and leaders in public opinion conspire against it.
VII. CHRIST'S IS A VICTORIOUS KINGDOM. "The Lord" and His "anointed," or the Messiah, are independent of hostile agencies. "He that sitteth in the heavens shall have them in derision." He, however, gives them reminders of His presence and power, speaking at times to "them in His Wrath," and at other times vexing "them in His sore displeasure." A kingdom so Divine, so potential, so extensive, and so gracious is not to be treated with indifference. It bears upon every person in the wide universe of God. It concerns man's weal or woe. Its proper consideration demands of us personally —
1. Wise action.
2. Due enlightenment.
3. Judicious service.
4. Considerate delight.
5. Timely subjection.
6. Implicit trustfulness.
(H. M. Patterson, D. D.)
(C. A. Dickinson.)
I. THE ENEMIES OF CHRIST. Great men described here partly from their wickedness, and partly from their weakness. They imagine vain things, but cannot carry then: out.
II. CHRIST THE LORD. The prophet brings in God the Father speaking, and the Son answering. The words of the Father are, "I have set My King"; where we have the inauguration of Christ, or His calling to the crown: the answer of the Son, "I will preach the law," which sets forth His willing obedience to publish and proclaim the laws of the kingdom: the reply of the Father, containing the reward that Christ was to have upon the publication of the gospel; which was an addition to His empire, by the conversion and access of the Gentiles, and the confusion of His enemies.
III. ADMONITION TO THE PRINCES AND JUDGES OF THE EARTH. What are they taught? To know their duty, and to do it. And the time for doing it is now. The reason is double, drawn from His wrath and the consequent punishment, and from the happy condition of those who learn to know Him, and fear, and serve, and adore Him.
I will declare the decree.
(Joseph Parker, D. D.)
The Lord hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son.
Weekly Pulpit.At the beginning of the Book of Psalms God gave to the Church a vision of the triumphs of Messiah before that of His sufferings and death. The prospect cheers as we enter the gloom. "My King" was also "My Son." This was determined by the resurrection, as the crowning act of redemption. It was the resurrection which made manifest to the world that Jesus of Nazareth was the Eternal Son of Jehovah.
I. THE RESURRECTION OF THE BLESSED LORD WAS THE FINAL ATTESTATION OF HIS DIVINE MISSION AND IN ONE SENSE THE STRONGEST. Proof after proof was afforded that He was the Son of God; but without the resurrection the chain of evidence was not complete. The life was restored, not through the instrumentality of a prophet, but because He was the Son of God.
II. THE RESURRECTION IS THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH. The disciples were scattered by the storm of the crucifixion. The dispersion would have been final had it not been for the word He had said, "The third day He shall rise again." A new departure was taken at the sight of the living Lord. The commission of the apostles was given in the light of the resurrection. They were to be accompanied by both His power and His presence. There must be the living Christ in the sermon, to make the truth effectual; in the ordinances, to render them spiritual; in the services, to inspire them into life; and in the conduct, to cause its light to shine on a dark world.
III. THE RESURRECTION OF THE BLESSED LORD IS THE CHRISTIAN'S STRENGTH AND HOPE. A very exalted conception of redemption should be entertained. It is the gift of God to the Eternal Son. When the living Saviour is at our side we have power to carry our burdens, and to resist the devil.
I. THE GENERAL MATTER OF THE SERMON. It is a law. What manner of law? A law to be preached, as other laws used not to be. A law concerning what God said. Which is the reason why it is to be preached. Not a law at large, but a statute law (Elchok), which but by publishing none can take notice of.
II. THE TEXT ITSELF. Or the body of the law. In these words, "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. The points in it are five. Of a son. Of My Son, (that is) the Son of God. Genui, the Son of God begotten. Hodie, the Son of God this day begotten. And "dixit genui," (that is) "dicendo genuit," begotten only by saying. Only said the word and it was done, and the word became flesh.
III. HOW CAN THIS (THOU ART MY SON) BE CALLED A LAW? It does not look like one. There be but two laws —
1. Lex fidei; a law limiting what to believe of Him: of His person, His nature, and His offices.
2. Lex factorum; setting out first, what He doth for us; and then, what we are to do for Him. What He doth for us is, convey all filial rights. What we are to do for Him is, return to Him all filial duties.
Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance.I. THE LORD'S INTERCESSION, IN REFERENCE TO MISSIONARY ENTERPRISE. The great object of missionary enterprise is the subject of our Saviour's intercession. The object is the diffusion of the knowledge of Christianity throughout the world; that by means of the knowledge of Christianity, accompanied by the influence of the Divine Spirit, mankind of all nations may be converted to the faith and obedience of Christ, and be made wise, and happy, and good through Him. It is but natural to suppose that what was the leading design of our Lord in becoming incarnate, and suffering, and dying should be a subject of His intercessory prayers. Missionary enterprise, in the grand means by which these objects are to be effected, is one of the principal subjects of our Lord's intercessions. Secondary means are varied; the primary means is the Divine influence. In proportion to the degree in which this is communicated, missionary enterprise is prosperous; in proportion to the degree in which it is withheld, it languishes. And the communication of Divine influence was a leading object of our Lord's atonement, and must be a leading subject of His intercession.
II. THE DIGNITY AND IMPORTANCE OF MISSIONARY ENTERPRISE. It is a clear proof of the estimation in which our Lord holds missionary enterprise, that it is the subject of constant intercession with His Father. In endeavouring to promote missionary enterprise we are doing something that is very pleasing to our Lord and Saviour. We may be sure that we shall have all the assistance that is necessary in order to perform our duty in reference to this undertaking. And the fact of our Lord's intercession gives us the most abundant assurance that this undertaking will ultimately be completely successful.
(John Brown, A. M.)
Homilist.Here is a wonderful donation. The giver is Jehovah, the receiver is the world's Redeemer, and the gift is the heathen world — mighty populations lying outside of the Judaean realm. What an inheritance is this, and it is given to Christ!
I. This vast inheritance is given Him to CULTIVATE.
1. This inheritance is worth cultivation. It is most prolific, its potential value is immense. It will grow the highest wisdom and the noblest virtues. Sages, poets, orators, apostles lie there by millions.
2. The cultivation of this inheritance has been sadly neglected. The fences are destroyed, the surface is crusted and overrun with thorns and thistles and noxious weeds.
3. Christ alone is able to cultivate it. Others have tried, but failed.Christ gives to the soul of heathendom that which it wants, and that which none other can give —
1. A Deity in which all hearts can unite in supreme love.
2. A creed in which all intellects can repose with unwavering confidence.
3. A law which all consciences can approve without suspicion.
4. An enterprise in which all souls can work without hesitancy or lack of interest.
II. This vast inheritance is given Him to ENJOY. It is a possession of immense value. It will be His as the reward of His mediatorial work. When its vast wildernesses will bloom as Edens, "He will see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied." What a joy will be His! Think of the joy of the husbandman surveying in autumn his fields bearing the richest crops of golden grain. Think of me joy of the patriot when he beholds the rebellious provinces bowing again in loyalty to the sovereignty of his country. Think of the joy of the philanthropist in seeing his benevolent efforts crowned with success in the removal of diseases that afflict the body or tyrannies that crush the man.
I. CHRIST IS DECREED TO BE THE SON OF JEHOVAH. As such He is both Priest and King. "Christ toward us," says Gurnall, "acts as a King, but toward His Father as a Priest."
II. AS THE SON HE IS PROMISED AN INHERITANCE. This inheritance includes all the nations of the earth.
III. But though He is a King and has a promised inheritance, YET HIS GOVERNMENT IS TO BE ESTABLISHED BY THE USE OF MEANS.
1. These means are the means of grace.
2. These are to be offered to every creature on the earth.
3. We live in that epoch of the world's history when the Church is actively engaged in having all men reconciled to the Son through the preaching of the gospel.
IV. THE TIME WILL COME WHEN HIS ENEMIES WILL BE SUBDUED.
1. The Church, therefore, should be diligent in the performances of its present duties.
2. The world should heed the offers of grace ere it be too late.
3. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.
4. Let us wait upon God in prayer for the fulfilment of His promise to give the Son the heathen for His inheritance.
(L. O. Thompson.)
The uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession.
I. BY THE PROMISES OF THE BIBLE, which are many, explicit, positive, and world-embracing.
II. BY THE DIVINE ORIGIN AND CHARACTER OF CHRISTIANITY. Christianity is on trial; if it fails to fulfil its promises, then it will be demonstrated that it is not of God.
III. BY THE MEASURE OF SUCCESS WHICH IT HAS ALREADY ACHIEVED. There is nothing comparable with it. It saves "the chief of sinners." It transforms savages, demons, into saints. Christianity thus stands committed to the achievement of universal dominion.
(J. M. Sherwood, D. D.)
(J. P. Newman.)
Break them with a rod of iron.
(David Caldwell, A. M.)
Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vesselIsaiah 60:12), "For the nation and kingdom that shall not serve Thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted." The Canaanites, the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans would not serve God, and they have perished. Kingdoms which will not serve Christ must be destroyed to make way for those who will serve Him. The kingdom of Christ will, sooner or later, swallow up all other kingdoms. The power of Christ's kingdom, the power of His Word, is in a measure conferred upon His believing people. Christ has given to His believing people great power and influence in the earth. The Word of God is powerful; it is irresistible. If the Word of God be once deeply rooted in the hearts of a people it there abideth forever. God has wonderfully shielded England from danger ever since His Word became deeply rooted ill the land. God breaks the power of ungodly nations that He may break men's hearts of stone. He destroys the kingdoms of this world in order to establish and enlarge the kingdom of this dear Son. To change the heart is the work of God. He must go with the missionaries. But much depends on our faith — our faith in God's promises.
(R. Bickerdike, M. A.)
(E. R. Barrett, B. A.)
Be wise now therefore, O ye kings.
1. To begin with our end, and to provide for our eternal estate after this life, in the first place.
2. To inform ourselves certainly how we stand in the court of heaven: whether God's countenance shine upon us, or there be a cloud betwixt it and us.
3. To consider what infirmities or maladies of mind our natural constitution, state, place, or profession, or course of life maketh us most subject unto, and to furnish ourselves with store of remedies against them. To mark where we lie most open to temptation, and there to have our watch ready.
4. To observe the carriage of all affairs in this great city of the world, and to set a mark upon God's wonderful protection and care over the godly, and His fearful judgments upon the wicked.
(D. Featley, D. D.)
Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
I. THE TWO STATES OF FEELING REFERRED TO.
1. Fear. There are two kinds, servile and filial. The latter is indicated here. A noble sensitiveness, an anxious consciousness, a salutary apprehensiveness.
2. "And rejoice with trembling," that is, with diffidence.
II. THESE TWO STATES OF FEELING ARE NOT INCOMPATIBLE. They are only apparently so. How often in nature contradictory materials and forces blend — hydrogen and oxygen, nitrogen and oxygen. Attraction and repulsion are really complementary, and not contradictory.
III. THEY ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. They not only may, but ought, to exist together.
1. We ought to fear. The brighter the star the more it trembles.
2. And we ought to rejoice. "Fear without joy is torment, and joy without holy fear would be presumption."
(W. L. Watkinson.)
Jeremiah 10:2, 3). But we are to take notice of what He does and learn His will thereby. Many fail to do this by the common events of His providence; hence special and extraordinary ones are, at times, sent to us. Men avoid the lessons of them. They say "They did not do us harm." But others may come and destroy you. And is not the fact of such forbearance a reason for not despising them? "But they are natural," say others, And are not life and death natural? Terror alone is of no use, but generally the first motive of reformation. "But our dangers do not proceed from our sins: we are no worse than others" — so speak some. Are we sure that we are not greater sinners than others? Think of our national sins. Some would fly away from God's judgments. Fly from your iniquities, if you. would be safe. Some are afraid to express their convictions lest the world despise them. But take care lest our Lord's words concerning them who deny Him before men apply to you. You are not called to forsake your proper duties, nor even relaxations, but your absorption in these things. Fear not man. The good will not shun you. Let the rest do so. Examine your state of heart. All is well if that be right with God. If not, humble yourself before Hint.
I. THE UNIVERSAL OBLIGATION. "No man liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself." We cannot even die without affecting others, much less can we live without influencing to a greater or less degree the condition and character of those by whom we are surrounded. This is not merely a fact, it is a law. There may be individual unwillingness, as in the case of a miser; or the principle may be socially counter-wrought. All classes unite in working for the common good; knowing it or not, whether they be willing or not, all serve the state-unity which they compose. In the language of the text, the business of all created life is to "serve the Lord."
II. PARTICULAR OBEDIENCE.
1. To serve God consciously.
2. To serve God reverently. Think how great and how good a Master! Our particular place and work may be humble; yet the whole is sublime. Angels, free from all distraction in the sinless world, are working at the grander parts; our work and theirs are yet to be brought together. Ours, therefore, must be our very best, or better be left undone.
3. To serve God fearfully. As having failed, and yet having been forgiven. As having promised better things, and yet as knowing ourselves weak; and finally, as bearing in mind the testing time.
(J. M. Stott, M. A.)
(J. H. Newman, B. D.)
Rejoice with trembling.
I. JOY IS ESSENTIAL TO RELIGION. Religion inspires joy. It confers the two most material requisites of joy, a favourable situation of things without and a proper disposition of mind within. It infuses those mild and gentle dispositions whose natural effect is to smooth the temper of the soul. Benevolence and candour, moderation and temperance, wherever they reign, produce cheerfulness and serenity, The consciousness of integrity gives ease and freedom to the mind. As religion inspires joy, so what it inspires it commands us to cherish. Religious obedience, destitute of joy, is not genuine in its principle. We serve with pleasure the benefactor whom we love. Exclude joy from religion and you leave no other motives to it, except compulsion and interest. As religion destitute of joy is imperfect in its principle, so in practice it must be unstable. In vain you endeavour to fix any man to the regular performance of that in which he finds no pleasure. Bind him ever so fast by interest or fear, he will contrive some method of eluding the obligation. Estimate, therefore, the genuineness of your religious principles; estimate the degree of your stability in religious practice, by the degree of your satisfaction in piety and virtue.
II. WHEN WE REJOICE WE SHOULD REJOICE WITH TREMBLING.
1. Because all the objects of religion which afford ground for joy tend to inspire, at the same time, reverence and fear.
2. As joy, tempered by fear, suits the nature of religion, so it is requisite for the proper regulation of the conduct of man. Let his joy flow from the best and purest source, yet, if it remain long unmixed, it is apt to become dangerous to virtue, It is wisely ordered in our present state that joy and fear, hope and grief should act alternately as checks and balances upon each other, in order to prevent all excess in any of them which our nature could not bear.
3. The unstable condition of all human beings, naturally inspires fear in the midst of joy. Vicissitudes of good and evil, of trials and consolations, fill up man's life. Whether we consider life or death, time or eternity, all things appear to concur in giving to man the admonition of the text, "rejoice with trembling."
(Hugh Blair, D. D.)
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry.I. OUR DUTY. "Kiss the Son." An expression of love. To whom? The Son of God. The testimony of our love to this person is the kiss. This outward act has been diversely depraved and vitiated amongst men. It hath been ill-used. See cases of Joab with Amasa, and Judas with Christ. Treachery often, but licentiousness more, hath depraved this seal of love; and yet God stoops even to the words of our foul and unchaste love, that thereby He might raise us to the heavenly love of Himself and His Son. In innocent and harmless times persons near in blood did kiss one another. There is no person so near of kin to thee as Jesus Christ. The kiss was also in use as a recognition of sovereignty and power. There is the kiss of reconciliation. They kissed in reverence, in the olden times, even false gods.
II. OUR FEAR. "Lest He be angry." Anger and love, in God, are not incompatible. Anger consists with love. If God gave me nothing for my love I should not love Him, nor fear Him if He were not angry at my displeasing Him. Even the Son, whom we may kiss, may be angry.
I. THE COMMAND. A kiss has divers meanings in it, progressive meanings —
1. It is a kiss of reconciliation, a sign of enmity removed and of peace established.
2. A kiss of allegiance and homage. It is an Eastern custom for subjects to kiss the feet of the king. Christ requires of every man who would be saved that he shall yield to His government and rule. Salvation cannot be cut in twain, If you would have justification you must have sanctification too. If your sins are pardoned they must be abhorred. You must give Him the kiss of fealty, of homage, and loyalty, and take Him to be your King.
3. It is the kiss of worship. It was the custom for idolaters to kiss the god which they foolishly adored. The commandment is that we should give to Christ Divine worship.
4. There is another meaning which is the sweetest of all. It is the kiss of penitent love; of deep and sincere affection.
II. THE ARGUMENT. "Lest He be angry," etc. When He is angry it is anger that none can match. What a fearful conjunction of terms — "the wrath of the Lamb."
III. THE BENEDICTION. "Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him."
1. They are really blessed. It is no fiction, no imaginary blessing. It is a blessing that will stand the test of consideration, the test of life and the trial of death.
2. They have a conscious blessedness. They know what it is to be blessed in their troubles, for they are in their trials comforted; and they are blest in their joys, for their joys are sanctified.
3. They are increasingly blessed. Their blessedness grows. They are blessed the more their experience widens, and their knowledge deepens, and their love increases. They are blessed in the hour of death, and best of all their blessedness increases to eternal blessedness — the perfection of the saints at the right hand of God.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. WHAT IT IS TO KISS THE SON. When you kiss your mother it is a sign of love. When a friend brings you a present, you speak your thanks with a kiss. A kiss, then, is a sign of grateful love. A kiss is in some countries a sign of loyalty. In England the hand of the sovereign is kissed. To kiss the Son means much. You thereby give Him your all, and get it back with His goodwill. True loyalty is without selfishness, and without stint. Loyalty never means, how little can I do for my king? It asks only how much?
II. WHY YOU SHOULD KISS THE SON. Because Christ's foes are under God's wrath. In this Psalm David shows us the terrors of God, so that fear may drive us to Him. And because Christ's friends are blessed. Blessed every way and blessed always. It is as plain as day that if all kissed the Son the most of our miseries would straightway cease. Count up all the ills of life, and then ask how many of them could continue if the Spirit of Christ ruled in every heart. But the true subjects of the King are not all blessed in the same way. God does promise that, come what may, all who kiss the Son shall be blessed. The curse and the blessing unite to add force to the appeal, "Kiss the Son."
(James Wells, M. A.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Blessed are all they who put their trust in Him.
1. They have received the forgiveness of sin.
2. They have the indwelling of the Spirit of God.
3. They are the special care of Divine Providence.
4. They enjoy inward peace.
5. When they leave the world they shall be blessed in the open vision of God's glory.They shall be perfectly cleansed from the pollutions of sin, and when they shall see their Saviour they shall be like Him, for they shall see Him as He is.
(A. Alexander, D. D.).