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me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father on his throne.”
JII. 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 de. signate 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 endur. ance 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 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 containing 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 bis 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 Fa. ther; 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 ; not 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 över 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 babitation 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 bis will. It hath appeared to go against the good pleasure of his goodness; but bis 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, incommuni. eable, 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.” 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 governnient, that function and charge which God originally intended man to occupy, and which Christ, the Man-Re. deemer 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
ed and restored all things. Christ's throne, whereof we are promised the fellowship, is a throne which all created things shall observe and obey: but itself also is a created thing; whereas the Father's is increate and incommensurate with any created thing. For Christ, to sit down with his Father in his throne, proveth him to be commensurate with God. For us to sit down with Christ in his throne, doth prove us to be commensurate with Christ as a creature. The Father's throne is the Creator's absolute power, Christ's throne is the creature's summit of power ; the one essentially Divine, the other essentially not Divine; the one that cannot be shaken, the other that hath been shaken, but coming into the condition of never being shaken again. And why never again shaken? Because it is confirmed with the Godhead's firmness, being united to Godhead in the person of the Christ, who is therefore the nail fastened in a sure place, whereon is hanged all the glory of his Father's house, and the issue. In describing the throne of Christ, I have been thus insensibly led to the similitude of the nail ; which, when I refer to the Prophet Isaiah, I find used in like manner to illustrate the throne of Christ. 5. I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place, and he shall be as a glorious throne to his Father.”
At this present time then, Christ is seated with his Father on the Father's throne; and not idly seated there, but for the purposes of rule and government: and being seated there, he exerciseth all the Father's rule ; that is, he fulfils Godhead's Divine function: and after the manner of Godhead fulfilleth he it; that is, by the Spirit. His sceptre, since his ascension into glory, hath been a spiritual sceptre. He hath ruled for God, in God's stead, in being God. Unseen, yet every where present; unfelt, yet every where acting. And what then, it may be said, is the Father's function? The answer is, To glorify the Son, to put forth the plenitude of Godhead through the Christ. Christ having made an image for Godhead out of the substance of the creature, it hath been the Father's part to inform that image with Godhead life and power. The Father's works since Christ's ascension into glory, hath been to manifest Christ as very God. He is a man, said the devil, and but a man; he is a man, said the Jew, and but a man; he is a man, saith the unbeliever, and but a man: and God saith, Yea, he is a man, a very man, but behold also he is God; and in proof of it, see I seat him in my throne; see, I put into his hand my sceptre, and be. hold he hath strength to wield it. See that ye worship him, all ye angels: see that ye worship him, all ye gods. Ask of me, O mankind, any prayer in his name, and see whether I will not grant it; ask me any prayer
any other name, and see if I will grant it. By him shall every one swear that sweareth upon the earth; and he that blesseth himself, shall bless himself in the name of Christ. Verily, with what care, frequency, and urgency, Christ, in the days of his flesh, did not his own will, nor spake his own words, nor came at all in his own name, nor sought his own glory, but the Father's; with that same care doth the Father, since the Son hath finished his work of glorifying him, never cease to glorify the Son, to hold him up in that place and prerogative proper to himself, and to insist for the same honour to him as to self. This is the meaning of Christ sitting with the Father in his throne. Christ at present is the end of rule, the Father may be said to be ministering to the glory of Christ, as Christ heretofore ininistered to the glory of the Father. Jehovah said unto David's Lord, “ Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Christ is the enthroned majesty, and the Father is become the active subduer of all who will not bow the knee and confess to him. The Father is acting for him, and Christ is receiving thie fruit of the Father's action. This is the honour which Christ hath now manifestly in spiritual places; that is, in the region of the pure and disembodied, and likewise the embodied spirit,—by the Holy Ghost: and forasmuch as all visible creation, even in its present rebellious state, is subject to the Spirit, either as a leader or restrainer, Christ hath now the Godhead dominion over even the rebelliousness of nature itself. That keeping of every thing to its law, that binding of every thing within its limits, that blessing of every thing according to its goodness, that punishing and restraining of every thing according to its evil, revealing God's hand in the raging and tumult of a wicked world, belongeth now unto Christ, and is by Christ exercised, into whose hand all power and judgment both in heaven and on earth are committed.
Such is the Divine dignity of the man Christ Jesus, such the glory which he now enjoys, the sanie as that