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bis kingly power and dominion for "he is a high priest upon his throne," after the order and similitude of Mekhisedec, Psalm xo. Heb. vii. The" first-born of the dead" also holds him forth to our believing view, as the pattern, pledge, and first-fruits of the resurrection of his people—" for now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first-fruits of them that sleep." 1 Cor. xv. 20.
3. He is the Prtnce of the Kings of the earth. These words evidently denote bis regal character, and bis supreme authority and dominion as "King of kings, and Lord of lords." Rev. xvii. 14, and xix. 16. There is a reference in them to the second Psalm, where the kings of the earth are admonished to be subject to him lest he be angry, ver. 6—12. compared with Rev. ii. 27. ch. xix. 15, 1G. Christ's kingly power is more extensive than his priestly. The latter extends only to his own people, but the former, over all the kings and potentates of the earth, to over-rule, restrain, and subdue them at his pleasure; rendering them subservient to the interests of his kingdom, until the end shall come, when he will put down all role and all authority and power; and every enemy shall be made his footstool". 1 Cor. xv. 24—28. for the Father hath given all things into his hands, John iii. 35. But not only hath he power over the kings of the earth—for all power is given unto him both in earth and heaven, See Matt, xxviii. 18. Eph. i. 20—23. PhiL ii. 8—11. Heb. ii. 7—9. hence in repeating this title, he is called "the beginning," or chief, "of the creation of God," ch. iii. 14. and in Col. i. IS. "the first-born," or supreme Lord, "of every creature." All these sublime epithets, therefore, lay a sure foundation for the most unbounded trust and • confidence in him to his people. 2 Tim. i. 12. And 1.1ms we learn
how Christ is the source of grace and peace to his church. As a prophet, he is full of grace and truth, John i. 16, 17. As a priest, we have access to God through him for mercy to pardon and grace to help in time of need, Heb. iv. 16. As a King he dispenses grace and peace to all his subjects, fs.ix.6,7. Let us next consider what be has done for us answerable to these characters that are ascribed to him.
1. lie hath loved us. The redemption of sinners is often ascribed to the love of the divine Father. See John iii. 16. Rom. v. 8. 1 John iv. 9, 10. This indeed is the grand source and spring of all the blessings of salvation. But it is also ascribed to the love of the Son, who voluntarily undertook the work of redemption, in obedience to his heavenly Father, and from love to the children whom God had given him. See John xiii. 34. Rom. viii. 35, 37. Gal. iii. 20. Eph. iii. 10. ch. v. 2*. This was indeed amazing and unparalleled love, whether we consider the objects of it, or the way in which it was manifested. Rom. v. 6—10. As the eflfect of this love.
2. He washed us from our sins in his oun blood. We were sinners, and in a state of rebellion against God, consequently liable to everlasting punishment. To deliver us from this awful state, Jesus suffered on our account and in our stead; he gave his life and shed his own precious blood for the remission of our sins, and so cancelled our obligation to punishment by bearing it himself, and thus procured for us pardon and acceptance with God. His blood, as the blood of sacrifice cleanseth from all sin,\ n the way of expiation and atonement, 1 John i. 7. for it is the blood which maketh the atonement. When Christ's blood was shed, the fountain was opened for sin and uncleanness; but when through grace we believe in him, we are actually washed from our sins, both as to their guilt and power; we have our consciences purified, and enjoy peace with God, Rom. v. 1. Heb. ix. 14. His blood is also represented a& i ransom-price, buying us off, or redeeming us, from the curse, Gal. iii. 13. from this present world, ch. i. 14. from all iniquity, Tit. ii. 14. and purifying unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. And so the redeemed company ascribe worthiness to the Lamb on this ground, " for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation." ch. v. 9.
3. He hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father. In the song of the redeemed it is, "And hast made us unto our God, kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth, ch. v. 1( . He has not only redeemed us from wrath, but be hath advanced us to the most honourable and dignified relations to God in connection with himself. As believers are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, Gal. iii. 2G. 1 John iii. 1. so are they heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, Rom. viii. 17. Gal. iv. 7. The whole church of the redeemed, are a church of first-born ones. Heb. xii. 23. as ancient Israel are denominated in a typical sense God's first born, Exod. iv. 22. and so like them a kingdom of priests, Ex. xix. 6. or a royal priesthood, 1 Pet: ii. 9. which is the same with kings and priests, having the dignity of God's first-born. All the children of God are raised to royal honours on their becoming sons and daughters of such a Father; they are heirs of the kingdom which he hath prepared, and shall inherit all things. They are consecrated "priests unto God," having access into the holiest of all, to offer up
spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. ii. 3< Heb. xiii. 15, 1Q. They are kings and priests even while in* this world, just as they are sons and heirs, though it does not yet appear what they shall be, when they shall appear with Christ in glory, and obtain the crown and kingdom.
4. He comes with clouds to put them in possession of the inheritance, and punish all his adversaries who have oppressed his people. He now rules in the midst of his enemies; his kingdom is but as a bruised reed and smoking flax; and the subjects of it are called patiently to bear the hatred of the world that lies in the wicked one. But when all his elect are gathered in, "they shall see the Son of man, coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn." Matt. xxiv. 30. Every eye shall see him —for the dead that are in their graves shall come forth, at the voice of the Archangel and the trump of God—they shall awake, some to everlasting life, and others to shame and everlasting contempt. Dan. xii. 2. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him; He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth that he may judge his people: 'Gather my saints together, those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice;' and the heavens shall declare his righteousness, for God is judge himself." Ps. 1. 3-6. Then will he reward every one according to their works—those who have continued patient in well-doing shall receive glory, honour, and immortality, even eternal life; but tribulation and wrath, indignation and anguish, on every soul of man that worketh evil, whether Jew or Gentile. Bom. ii. 6—16.
Wc come now, in the third and I saints in a still more eminent de
last placo to notice, "tlie glory and dominion," that are confrrred upon Christ, on account of the work of redemption which he hath accomplished, and the grateful ascriptions of it which are due from us.
1. God hath conferred upon him the highest glory and honour as the reward of his obedience unto death. Phil. ii. 8—11. Heb. ii. 7—9. Now he is crowned with ineffable blesseducss, and invested with universal power and dominion over all created beings— angels, men, and devils, with a special riew to the interests of his church, John svii. 2. Eph. i. 21,22, Thus his worthiness, or merit, on the one hand, and his Father's infinite delight in him on the other, is manifested in the highest possible degree. In virtue of his original dignity, as God over all and blessed for ever, it was no jobbery in him to claim equality with God; but his love to his heavenly Father, and his good-will to men prompted him to become, for a little while, lower than his angels for the sufferings of death; and the glory to which he is exalted is the reward of his voluntary humility and obedience, while, at the same time, the latter was necessary to bring many sons unto glory. Heb. ii. 10,
2. The most profound and unreserved acknowledgment, and the most grateful ascriptions of this glory and dominion, are due to him from all Ills redeemed people. They cannot, indeed, confer glory and honour upon him; but they can confess his worthiness of it; they can with joy, gratitude, and adoration ascribe it unto him; and they can triumphantly acquiesce in all the 'honour and dominion that has been conferred upon him, and earnestly wish that he may be still higher honoured in the final subjection .of all his enemies, when he-shall be glorified in his
gree, and admired in all them that believe. Amen.
Til P. DUTY OF CONSIDERING THE POOH, AM) TUT. BLESSEDSLsS CONNECTED THEREWITH.
BUiui U he that ccmidertlk the poor.— i'ttlm xli. 1.
It is generally understood that this Psalm was composed by David when in a state of affliction, or on his being recently recovered from sickness, during which be had experienced both ihe sincere sympathy of his friends, and the hypocritical professions of bis enemies, who, while they pretended great solicitude about his welfare, secretly wished his death, and attributed his distress to his guilt, See ver. 5—10. And as David was a type of the Messiah, so we find the 10th verse appplied to the treachery of Judas Iscariot, John xiii. 18.
In opposition to this deceitful and wicked conduct, the inspired penman begins the Psalm with pronouncing the aphorism which forms our text; "Blessed is he that considered the poor." The word translated considereth, is variously rendered in scripture. It signifies to behave discreetly, or with judgment and prudence, towards the poor, that is, in a manner suitable to their state and condition. And hence the Chaldee thus paraphrases the words, "Blessed is he who attendetb to the affairs of the poor, to have pity on them." The word (Dal), rendered poor, signifies one who is emaciated, wasted, or exhausted, and will apply either to a person's means of subsistence, or to his person, and in the latter acceptation it implies a state qf sickness, or disease; and so, in the margin of our Bibles it is rendered "the weak, or sick."
But the words are not be res. tricted to the case of the Psalmist
They declare a truth of general application, viz. the blessedness of the man who considereth the poor; in which view we shall take them up and attempt an improve, nient of them, by illustrating the three following particulars, which are evidently contained in them. —A class of mankind who are denominated the poor—A duty which we owe them; that is, to consider them—And the happiness con. nected with the proper discharge of that duty: for such are pronounced blessed.
1. We have in the words of the text, a class of mankind who are characterised as the poor. It has been already noticed that this term will apply both to penury of circumstances, and to bodily distress, and we shall therefore take it in both these views. The circumstances of men in this world are wonderfully diversified. The allwise and infinitely blessed God hath displayed his sovereignty by the different manner in which he has disposed the lot of his creatures in this life. By creation, indeed, we are all equal in nature; bui in the dispensations of his providence, our situations in life are very different. Some, in their rank and circumstances are high, others are low; some rich, others poor; and in each of these conditions there are various gradations from the beggar on the dunghill lo the monarch on the throne. When each class discharges the duties of their respective station, and the relations that result from the condition in which Providence has placed thern, the happiness of .society is promoted; and, taking the subject in this view, the body politic may be compared to the natural body, where the least honourable members are necessary for the good of the whole, so that the eye cannot say to the hand, nor the head to the feet, I have no need of you, 1 Cor. xii. 21. All whose circumstances are
below mediocrity, may be denominated the poor: yet among these there are various classes. Some are absolutely poor, depending entirely on the beneficence of others. Next, above these, are the labouring poor, who by diligent and constant exertions at useful employ, ments, are barely able to procure daily subsistence for themselves and families. These form a most useful and necessary part of the community: they constitute the operative members of the body; and while they contribute to the comforts, and even to the luxuries of others, cau procure for themselves, from day to day, only the bare necessaries of life. I'et if such persons, by their industry, can procure necessary food and raiment, they ought not only to be content but thankful. "A man's life," that is, "his happiness, "cousisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." God hath distributed happiness among his creatures much more equally than we are apt to imagine.
"Order Is heaven's first law; and this confest. Some are, aud must be, greater than the
rest; More rich, more wise: but who infers from
thence. That such are happier, shocks all common
Happiness consists chiefly in the state of the mind ; and it has been wisely remarked, that be is the richest man who has the fewest wants. If a person's mind be brought to his circumstances, so as to be content with food and raiment, his wants will be few and easily supplied; whereas the worldly lusts of covetousness, sensuality, pride, and ambition, create innumerable artificial wants, which make men unhappy in the midst of plenty. Were this duly attended to, the poor would not envy the rich, but be content with such things as they have.
2.While the industrious poor can find employment, and have health to prosecute their daily labour,
<hey seldom fail to procure the of life for themselves
necessaries ot lite and families. But experience, and daily observation, sufficiently attest the fact, that a state of things may arise in which the former shall not be possible; -while, on the other hand, in the Providence of God, they may be deprived of health, and confined to beds of languishing and sickness. In either of these instances, and more especially when both are united, their case calls aloud for the exercise of bowels of compassion towards them. They are at once cut off from every risible resource, and must immediately feel the accumulatedpressure of penury, distress of body, and anxiety of mind, without having it in their power to do any thing for their own relief, or that of their families. The .case now supposed is pointed out in the words of the Psalmist, and such, alas! is in reality the case with thousands of our fellow-creatures in the present day; for, on which side can we turn our eyes, and not contemplate innumerable melancholy instances of it. Let us, then, attend to the duty incumbent on us in relation to such a case; " Blessed is he that eonsidereth the poor," or the sick and destitute. This duty implies,
1. A suitable consideration of their case and circumstances. We ought to consider the extent of their wants, the nature of their affliction, the number of their dependents, their destitute situation in respect of friends and relatives who are either able or willing to assist them; and having thus entered into the case, we ought, as it were, to make it our own, and then put the question to our minds, "what should we wish others to do to ourselves were we in such a case?" and so make that, according to our ability, the rule of our conduct to them. Much of that unfeeling disposition, and cold neglect which is shewn towards the
poor and destitute, arises, not so much from covetousness, or selfishness, as from a want of a due consideration of their actual state and condition.
2. The duty implied in th" text, includes in it, our sympathizing with and consoling "them under their distresses. Many have it not in their power to contribute much for the relief of the destitute; but all can shew their affectionate concern and tender sympathy with them; and when this is properly expressed, it is a wonderful alleviation of a state of suffering. Those that have been exercised with affliction in their own persons or families, must know this from experience. They need not be told how sensible has been the relief conveyed by a few tender expressions of sympathy, dropped from the lips of one whom they respect and love; and what influence they have had in assuaging the anguish of a troubled mind, calling into exercise their submission, and patience, and resignation, to the divine will; and encouraging them to bear up under their present sufferings. How often lias the drooping spirits of many a martyr been cheered and animated by a few kind words from a christian friend, assuring them that their affecting- situation was neither overlooked nor neglected by their friends, but that they tenderly sympathised with them, bare them upon their hearts, and participated in all their sorrows! The very expression of such bowels of compassion, has armed them with fresh courage for the conflict, and they have been enabled to march boldly to the stake, or to lay their necks composedly on the block.—" Be Pitiful."
3. This duty implies the contributing of our substance to the supply of their wants. There is much said in the present day about good works; but it ought to be carefully regarded by every