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rely, you need not fear though earth and hell should be combined against you.]
2. Those who are entire strangers to disquietude and dejection
[We are far from congratulating you on your exemption from such feelings as these. On the contrary, we would propose to you, in reference to that exemption, the very same things as we recommended to others in reference to their distresses.
First, inquire into the reason of your never having experienced such feelings. “Why art thou not cast down, O my soul? and why art thou not disquieted within me?” Does it not proceed from an ignorance of your own state, and from an unconcern about that account which you must soon give of yourself at the judgment-seat of Christ?-.
Next, expostulate with yourself ; “O my soul, why art thou thus callous and insensible? Will not thy contempt of God's judgments issue in thy ruin ?-- It must not, it shall not be: thou hast neglected thine eternal interests long enough: thou shalt, God helping thee, bend thine attention to them from this time: for if thou be summoned before thy God in thy present state, it had been better for me that I had never been born." But you
also, no less than the disconsolate, must found your hopes on God. All your expectation must be from Him," with whom there is mercy and plenteous redemption.” If you will but turn to him in earnest, you have nothing to fear: for his word to you is, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts ; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."]
8 Ps. xi. 1, 4. and xxvii. 1, 3. and cxxv. 1.
THE REIGN OF CHRIST DESIRED.
Ps xlv. 3–5. Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most Mighty,
with thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously, because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.
THIS psalm is called “a song of loves :" and it is supposed to have been written on occasion of Solomon's marriage with Pharaoh's daughter. But, beyond all doubt, a greater than Solomon is here. Solomon was altogether a man of peace : but the King here spoken of was “a man of war;" and all the address which is here made to him has reference to him under that character. It may seem strange that this view of him should be introduced on the occasion of a nuptial solemnity; but it must be remembered, that as the Jews were wont, by God's special permission, to connect themselves in marriage with females whom they had taken captive in war, allowing them a month to forget their former relatives, so the Messiah first takes captive those with whom he afterwards unites himself in the nuptial bonds. This is particularly marked in the address to the spouse herself: “Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; so shall the King greatly desire thy beautya." Hence, even whilst contemplating the Lord Jesus under the idea of an husband, we see why we should be anxious to behold his conquests extended over the face of the whole earth. That we may attain the spirit which David breathed, let us consider, I. The frame of his mind
In reading the Holy Scriptures, we should not be content with noticing the mere sense of any particular passage, (though that is doubtless in the first place, and with the greatest diligence, to be examined ;) but we should mark the peculiar spirit of it, the spirit which the passage itself breathes, the spirit of the person who wrote it, or which it has a tendency to produce in those who read it. Now, when David penned this psalm, His mind was full of zeal for Christ
[He had been contemplating the glory and excellency of Christ: "My heart,” says he, "is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King.” And so full was his heart of this glorious subject, that "his tongue was as the pen of a ready writer," which yet was scarcely capable of keeping pace with the ardour of his mind, or of giving utterance to the vast conceptions with which his soul laboured.
a ver. 10, 11.
He beheld the Lord Jesus Christ as possessing in himself an excellency far beyond that of any created being: “Thou art fairer than the children of men. He saw that, both in the subject and manner of his ministrations, there was a grace which nothing could equal, and which God would honour with the most wonderful success : “ Grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.' And anxious to behold the full accomplishment of all that the Messiah had undertaken, he further calls upon him to take to him his great power, and to subdue the whole world unto himself: “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, and let the people of every nation under heaven fall under thee." In all this you will perceive, that, instead of speaking of Christ, as he had intended to do, he is constrained, by the ardour of his own mind, to address himself directly to Christ; and, instead of making his thoughts a subject of communication with man, he is led by them into the exercise of immediate communion with his God. Now,] Such should be the frame of our minds also
[We should be in the constant habit of meditating upon Christ; and of so musing upon his glorious excellencies, that a fire should be kindled in our bosoms, and we should speak of him with our tongues. And what other subject is there under heaven to be compared with this ? Reflect a moment, who the Saviour is! He is “the mighty God.” Consider what he has done! He has assumed our nature, and become a man, in order that, by substituting himself in our place and stead, he might deliver us out of the hands of our great enemy, and bring us into an everlasting union with himself, as “our Friend and our Beloved.” Consider how rich and free and full are all his invitations and promises: and what blessings will attend the progress of his arms, wheresoever men shall be subdued unto him. Should we not long to see his glory advance, and his kingdom established in the world? Should it not be grievous to us to behold so great a part of the world both ignorant of him, and in rebellion against him? Should we not be urgent with him in prayer, to make bare his arm, and to subdue the world unto himself? Surely these are the meditations that become us; and our hearts should be so full of them, that, wherever we go, and whatever we do, He should be present to our minds; and his praise should be, as it were, the constant effusion of our souls.]
But in my text we are more particularly led to notice, II. The object of his desire
He desires that Christ's kingdom may be established in the world. But, that I may open this to you the more fully, I wish you to mark,
1. Wherein that kingdom consists
[It is “ in the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness” that the Saviour advances to the combat. The whole world is lying in darkness; and he comes to dispel error from their minds. The whole world is full of all manner of abominations: pride stalks through the earth, defying even God himself: “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice ?” and every species of wickedness is indulged, without either remorse or fear. But the Lord Jesus Christ comes to humble man in the dust before God; and to transform the children of the wicked one into the very image of their God, in righteousness and true holiness. Who must not wish for such a kingdom to be established throughout the whole world? Who must not make it his very first petition from day to day, " Thy kingdom come?" --- Truly, wherever that kingdom is, which consists “ in righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost," there is heaven itself begun in the souls of men.] 2. By what means it is to be erected
[The sword of the Messiah is the word of God, which, proceeding from his mouth, subdues the universe before him. “ That sword is quick and powerful, and pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Nothing can eventually stand before it: weak as it may appear, it is "mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strong holds, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christa." Look at the primitive ages of the Church: what was it that brought down all the power and policy both of men and devils? It was not human wisdom, or worldly power: it was the simple exhibition of the cross of Christ, and the preaching of Christ crucified. “This word came to the hearts of men in demonstration of the Spirit and of power;" and, to every soul that received it, it was made “the power of God to. his everlasting salvation."] 3. The certainty of its establishment
[Very sharp were the arrows which were thus sent forth from the Messiah’s bow. Truly “ he was a polished shaft in the quiver of Jehovahe,” and nothing could stand before it'. True, indeed, God has not yet seen fit to accomplish all the purposes of his grace: but the time is quickly coming, when Satan, that great adversary of God and man, shall be bound, and “ all the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of our God and his Christ.” “Terrible things will God work," either in a way of mercy or of judgment. He has sworn, that “ unto his Messiah every knee shall bow 8." And every soul that bows not to the sceptre of his grace shall be “ broken in pieces, as a potter's vessel h."] Methinks you will now be disposed to ask
b Rev. i. 16. and xix. 15. e Isai. xlix. 2.
c Heb. iv. 12. d 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. f Isai. lix. 16-18.
1. How shall I know whether this kingdom be yet begun within me ?
[Consider only wherein this kingdom consists; and you will be at no loss to ascertain the state of
souls before God. Has the truth of the Gospel been so revealed in your hearts, as to “ bring you out of darkness into marvellous light"?
Have you been so humbled by it, as to put your hand on your mouth, and your mouth in the dust, with a deep consciousness of your vileness, and of your desert of God's wrath and indignation ? And, lastly, are you so under “ the constraining influence of the love of Christ, that you die daily unto sin, and live altogether, not unto yourselves, but unto Him who died for you, and rose again?” These are questions which, if put to your consciences with fidelity, and answered with truth, will shew you at once whose you are, and whom you serve. Truly, by such marks we may infallibly " distin guish the children of God from the children of the devili:” and I entreat you to examine yourselves by them with all imaginable care ; because, if you still continue to cast off the Saviour's yoke, the time will quickly come when he will say, “ Bring hither those that were mine enemies, who would not that I should reign over them, and slay them before me."] 2. How shall I get it established in my soul ?
[You have seen the frame of David's mind. You have seen how he contemplated the Saviour's love, till his soul was ravished with it, and he burst forth into the devout raptures which we have been contemplating. And this is the way in which the Saviour will acquire an ascendant over our souls. The Apostle tells us : “We, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord?” I am far from saying that we ought not to search out our own evil ways, and to mourn over them before God; for it is by such repentance that the preparatory work is usually wrought within us: but I say, that nothing but the love of Christ will ever perfect that work, or bring us into the full liberty of the children of God.
& Isai. xlv. 23.
h Ps. ii. 8, 9.
i 1 John iii. 9, 10.