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and strength?" If we consult the Apostles, they declare, that every blessing we enjoy is “ IN him, even in HIM;" yea, that “IN him we are blessed with all spiritual and eternal blessings m."] III. Its universality
[The greatest monarchs of this world have had a very limited sway: and many who have been called their subjects have been so rather in name than in reality. But Christ's dominion shall be strictly and literally universal : “ the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ n." Already there are some of all nations who submit to his government. We may go to the most uncultivated parts of the earth, where human nature seems but little elevated above the beasts, and there we shall find some who acknowledge him as their sovereign Lord. But his dominion is certainly at present very limited. There is a time however coming, when all nations shall call him blessed." The rich and great shall take upon them his yoke : according as it is said, “ All kings shall fall down before him ; all nations shall serve him.” The
also shall devote themselves to his service, according to that prediction, “ Holiness to the Lord shall be written upon the bells of the horses P.” Thus shall “ all know the Lord, from the least even to the greatest 9.” As at this present time all the subjects of his kingdom are blessing and adoring him as the one author of all their happiness, so, at a future period, shall“ every knee bow to him, and every tongue confess";” and “ the whole earth shall be filled with his glorys.” But it is not till the day of judgment that the full accomplishment of this prophecy shall be seen. Then “a multitude that no man can number, of all nations and kindreds, and people and tongues, shall stand before him, and cry with united voices, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain ! Salvation to our God, and to the Lamb for evert!”] We cannot more profitably improve this subject, than
by inquiring, 1. What blessings have we received from Christ?
[If we be indeed subjects of his kingdom, it cannot fail but that we must have received many blessings at his hands. Has he then “ blessed us” with the pardon of our sins? Has he filled us with joy and peace in believing? Has he endued us with grace and strength to subdue our spiritual enemies? and transformed us into his own image in righteousness and true holiness? This is the criterion whereby we must judge of our interest in him: for he cannot be a Saviour to us, unless he save us from the dominion, as well as from the guilt, of all our sins.]
1 Isai. xlv. 24, 25. m Eph. i. 3—13. where it is repeated at least eight times. Strange that any should overlook this truth.
n Rev. xi. 15. over. 10, 11. p Zech. xiv. 9, 20, 21. 9 Jer. xxxi. 34. Rom. xiv. 11. 8 ver. 19, t Rev. v. 11, 12. and vii. 9, 10.
2. What is the disposition of our minds towards him!
[Can we possibly be partakers of his benefits, and feel no disposition to "bless his name?” Surely a grateful sense of his goodness must characterise those who are so greatly indebted to him. To those who believe, he is, and must be, precious -]
PRAISE TO GOD FOR REDEMPTION. Ps. lxxü. 18, 19. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,
who only doeth wondrous things : and blessed be His glorious name for ever : and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.
RELIGION, as experienced by the generality, is selfish and superficial: it consists almost entirely in a desire to obtain mercy through the Lord Jesus Christ, and an endeavour, through faith in him, and a surrender of the soul to him, to flee from the wrath to come. The religion of the more eminent saints is of a more diffusive and ingenuous cast: it interests the soul in all that relates to God and to the world : it delights in heavenly contemplations: it surveys with wonder and gratitude all that God has done for a ruined world; and looks forward with holy joy to those richer manifestations of his glory, which, by all his holy Prophets and Apostles, he has taught us to expect. Of this kind was the piety of David, whose Psalms display a noble, generous mind, occupied with the honour of his God and Saviour, and deeply intent on the welfare of the whole human race. The psalm before us was written, primarily, to describe the kingdom of Israel, as it should exist under the government of his son Solomon. But, beyond all doubt, a greater than Solomon is here: and it is the Messiah's kingdom to which David ultimately refers, and which alone fully corresponds with the description here given of it.
In our further elucidation of this truth, we shall consider, I. The “wondrous things” here referred to
These are particularly specified throughout the psalm. We notice, 1. The nature of the Redeemer's kingdom
[It is truly a kingdom of righteousness and peace a. In it no law exists which does not tend to promote the best interests of him that obeys it, and of all connected with him. Nor are the laws recorded merely in books that are inaccessible to the great mass of the people: they are inscribed on the very hearts of the people themselves; to whom a disposition is given to love and obey them: so that every subject of the empire is made both holy and happy: and of every obedient subject the King himself espouses the cause; so that, how numerous or powerful soever his enemies may be, they shall all be subdued before him, and the great leader of them all be bruised under his feet 6.] 2. The extent of it
[Solomon's kingdom extended over the whole of that country which had originally been promised to Abraham : but the Messiah's shall embrace the whole earth : “All kings shall fall down before him ; all nations shall serve him “ From the rising of the sun to the going down thereof his name shall be great among the Gentilesd: he shall have “the utmost ends of the earth for his possessione ;” and “ all the kingdoms of the world become his" undivided empire.] 3. The means by which it shall be established-
[It was by the effusion of blood that David subdued his enemies, and conquered for his son that vast dominion : but it is not by carnal weapons that the Redeemer extends his empire. The word of God is that sword whereby he “subdues the nations to the obedience of faith.” The preachers of it go forth without any human aid, like sowers to sow their seed: and it is by “an handful of corn cast by them on the tops of the mountains,” that the vast field is cultivated : so
d Mal. i. 11. VOL. v.
c ver. 11.
that “ the fruit thereof shakes like the woods of Lebanon, and the converts spring up and flourish like the countless piles of grass upon the earth 8." It is “ a stone cut out without hands, that breaks in pieces all other kingdoms, and that fills the whole earth b."] 4. The duration of it
[Solomon's kingdom endured but for a little time. His son and successor had scarcely assumed the reins of government, before ten tribes out of the twelve revolted from him, and have never since been re-united into one kingdom. But Christ's kingdom shall endure for ever', even " throughout all
The mode of administering the kingdom will be changed, when there shall be no more occasion for the exercise of the mediatorial office. Then, I say, "the kingdom shall be delivered up to God, even the Father," from whom it was received: but of the kingdom itself there shall be no end: nor shall Christ ever cease to be the Head, the joy, the glory of his redeemed people m.]
Such are the wonders here celebrated : and from the Psalmist we may learn, II. The spirit with which they should be contemplated
— The Psalmist closes his review of these wonders, as we also should do,
1. With grateful adoration to God as the author of them
[Truly, it is “God alone” that doeth these wonders. Whatever instruments he may make use of, the work is his alonen: and his should be the glory. For these things he is adored in heaven : and from us on earth should they call forth the devoutest acknowledgments. In truth, we should be even lost in wonder at the contemplation of them ;—that God should ever so pity our fallen world! that he should ever use such means for our deliverance from our great enemy! that he should send his own Son to die, and “ by death to overcome him that had the power of death, and thus to deliver those who, through fear of death, were all their life-time subject to bondage !" What shall we say to these things? If they do not fill us with wonder and gratitude and praise, “the very stones may well cry out against us."]
8 ver. 16. k
ver. 5, 17. m I sai. ix. 7.
h Dan. ii. 34, 35.
i Dan. ü. 44. i Dan. vii. 13, 14. with 1 Cor. xv. 24, 28. n 1 Cor. iii. 6, 7.
2. With an ardent desire for the manifestation of them to the whole world
[However persuaded we may be of our own interest in these things, we should not be satisfied without seeing the whole world brought to the knowledge of them. We have a debt to God, and a debt to our fellow-creatures also : to Him, to glorify his name; to them, to diffuse as widely as possible among them the blessings of salvation. On both these accounts, if there be a promise in God's word to extend this kingdom, we should say “ Amen” to it. If there be a proposal amongst men to aid its extension, we should add “ Amen” to it: and to every effort that is made, in whatever way, we should say “ Amen, and Amen." We should long for the time, when “there shall be but one King upon all the earth, and his name One°; " when“ the whole earth shall be filled with his glory,” and "all flesh shall see the salvation of God."] But, in EXAMINING ourselves in relation to these
things, have we not need to be ashamed ?
[How little sense have we had of these wonders; and of God's glory or man's happiness, as connected with them! If we might but be saved ourselves, it has been, with the generality amongst us, of little moment whether God's glory were ever revealed to others, or his salvation experienced by others. Basely selfish as we have been, we need, every one of us, to be humbled in dust and ashes. O that we could imbibe a better spirit! Dear Brethren, let us henceforth determine, like David, to meditate on the wonders of God's love P, and to recount them gratefully with songs of praise 9, Permit me to call upon you to bear your part, and to unite with me now in this blessed work. With David, I would say, "Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel, our father, for ever and ever! Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name'.” Having thus set them the example, " David said to all the congregation, Now bless the Lord your God. And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshippeds.” O that I might be alike successful! ( that this whole congregation might resemble them! Verily, if you considered what a mercy God has vouchsafed unto you, in
o Zech. xiv. 9.
p Ps. lxxvii. 11–13. 9 Neh. ix. 5—24. Here the whole series of mercies, from the first election of the seed of Abraham to their complete establishment in Canaan, is distinctly mentioned, and might be very briefly noticed.
11 Chron. xxix. 10, 11, 13. s 1 Chron. xxix. 20.