Imágenes de páginas

He ought to be so, yet he is not to despair. | any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst Enough for him, The Lord reigneth." The of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them convulsions of society, as the storms in the unto living fountains of water, and God shall atmosphere, may be the means of its purifica- wipe away all tears from their eyes.' Well may tion. The interests of religion are dearer to his we say, 'Blessed are all they that put their trust Master than they can possibly be to him. He in him.' could hinder what now agitates and distresses, but he is pleased, for purposes known only to himself, to permit it. In his own hand the believer leaves his cause-assured it is safe, well knowing that he will bring light out of darkness, and order out of confusion. He will make the wrath of man to praise him, and the remainder of wrath will he restrain.' Christ reigns, therefore all shall be well.

Even in death his hope does not forsake him. He trusts in Christ, and is not disappointed. He can sweetly sing of Israel's Shepherd, Yea, though I pass through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.' Death is the hour of satan's triumph, and therefore is it commonly the chosen hour when Jesus is pleased to glorify himself in his overthrow. By death he conquered him that had the power of death,' and in death he makes his people partakers of his victory. In much submission he enables them to say, 'Father, thy will be done;' or in confidence to cry, I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day;' or it may be that he elevates them to the spirit of a holy triumph, and they sing, O death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.'

In eternity the principle of trust is consummated in both its nature and enjoyment. Faith becomes sight, and hope, fruition. The song of victory is sung, 'Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.' He becomes one of the holy, happy throng so beautifully described in answer to the elder's question, Who are these, and whence came they? These are they that have come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple, and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor


'He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied,' Isa. liii. 11.

THE sorrow of Christ is called the 'travail of his soul.' The phrase is borrowed from what is known to be the greatest example of human suffering, and to which our Lord has frequently alluded as emblematic of painfulness. It is particularly his mental anguish that seems intended. For although his bodily sufferings were great, those of his soul were greater. He suffered from persecution when a child, and was obliged to be concealed among strangers. He endured great privations, so as to be led to say 'foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.' And at the time of his arrest, and trial, and death, many and grievous tortures were inflicted upon his person. But these seem to be comparatively overlooked, and we are directed to his internal anguish as answering to the 'travail of his soul.' There are many periods of his history in which this was pointedly apparent.

Such was the hour, when in full prospect of his agony and death, he said, 'Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. But for this cause came I unto this hour. The prospect of suffering is perhaps equal to the reality. Of this distress we are happily free, by our ignorance of futurity. But Christ foresaw what he was to suffer. We do not wonder if the tradition be correct, which says he was never known to smile. What a load must have rested on his spirit! And there were times when this was peculiarly oppressive. He had vivid apprehensions of his coming sorrow, and this appears to have been one of those afflictive seasons.

Of the same kind was his temptation in the wilderness. Satan cast out his vilest poison, and sought to pollute his soul. The temptations were all mental-distrust, presumption, and pride. There was a conflict of his soul with the great enemy of himself and of his people. Some of his followers have had bitter experience of 'the depths of Satan,' but they have endured little in comparison with their Master.

It is only on this principle we can understand | in their present struggles, and will detain them our Lord's agony in the garden. At this time here no longer than is necessary for his purposes there was no violence done to his person, yet his and their own good. His prayer is, 'Father, I suffering seems to have been as acute as any he will that they also whom thou hast given me be ever endured. He said, 'My soul is exceeding with me where I am, that they may behold my sorrowful, even unto death.' And thrice did he glory.' Daily and hourly are they arriving there. fall upon his face and cry, ‘O my Father, if it be And as each is ushered in, heaven bursts with possible, let this cup pass from me.' We cannot new songs of praise and victory. And the bosom explain his exercises on any other ground than of the Redeemer heaves with growing satisfaction. that he gave his 'soul an offering for sin.' 'Being Let us anticipate this hour and be able to say, 'I in an agony he prayed more earnestly, and his shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.' sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground.' It must have been the wrath of God, which his soul then endured, that so drank up his spirit.

And so upon the cross. The height of his anguish was when he cried, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.' The nails that pierced his hands and feet, the crown of thorns that was placed on his head, the reed that smote him, all these were painful, but beyond them all was the withdrawal of his Father's countenance, while he hung a sacrifice for sin! This completed the travail of his soul.

O! what must sin be that so agonized the Son of God! What the love of God that gave up his Son to endure such sorrow! What the spirit of Jesus, who voluntarily submitted to all this for man's redemption! And what ought to be our humiliation, and gratitude, and sense of duty and obligation when we thus behold the travail of the Saviour's soul.

But this is past. As his anguish was bitter, his joy is proportionably great. It is described in terms expressive of perfection: 'he shall be satisfied.' He is satisfied now, and shall be so more and more, as he sees the fruit of his labour brought to consummation.

He is satisfied in the retrospect of what he has done. As when God surveyed the work of his hands, at the conclusion of the creation, and pronounced it good, so Christ can look back upon redemption and echo his own dying cry, 'It is finished.' In it all he sees no imperfection. Redemption is complete. Let us rest in it too.

He is satisfied, while he sees the work of salvation carried forward in the hearts and lives of men, by the operation of his own Holy Spirit. He convinces men of sin, and righteousness, and judgment. He keeps his saints by his own mighty power. He is ripening their souls for glory. And Jesus joyously awaits their arrival. Let us not be satisfied, unless the work of salvation is begun and carried on within us.

He is satisfied as he sees his sons and daughters brought safely home to glory. He sympathizes

He shall be satisfied still more, when he shall have gathered all his people home. 'He shall send out his angels with a great trumpet, and they shall gather his elect from the four winds of heaven.' He shall cause them to sit down in the kingdom of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and they shall go no more out. Not one of all his redeemed family shall be left, and he shall rejoice over them with exceeding joy. O! shall we be there?

He shall be satisfied when he shall contemplate the great and numerous purposes that have been answered by his mediation. He shall restore all things.' His voice shall be heard, 'behold I make all things new. He shall command, and the earth, polluted by sin, shall be burned up, while a new heavens and a new earth' shall rise out of the ruins. O! where shall we then be, and what shall be our destiny?

He shall be satisfied while, as the exalted Saviour of the church, he receives the praises of eternity. I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands: saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.'


'The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes,' Rev. vii. 7. THE martyred saints of God are here specially intended. The multitude of the redeemed are described at ver. 9, 10. Among these some ap

peared peculiarly distinguished, and the elder in- | saints; who would not fear thee and glorify thy quires, 'what are these?' They are represented name?' They are represented name?' As the God of providence they admire as those who have particularly borne tribulation, and adore his ways, acknowledging them to be and the description so accords with that given of great and marvellous; but as King of saints, they the martyrs in the preceding chapter, ver. 9- bow in lowliest reverence, and own them to be 11, that we doubt not they are the characters just and true. Thus they follow the Lamb specially designed. Still the account of their wheresoever he goeth, drinking in knowledge blessedness applies to others also. Although in from his instructions; and as they learn more and degree their happiness may be exalted, in kind it more of God, rising in their rapturous praises, and is the same with that of all the saints of God; so making the mansions of glory to resound with that the representation now before us may be their songs. understood of the redeemed universally.

They are in the presence of Christ, who is described as a 'Lamb in the midst of the throne.' The double figure is common, and it is designed to hold forth the Saviour in his glory, under the most endearing character, as a Lamb, and at the same time as clothed with supreme dominion, so that he is a Lamb in the midst of the throne. The very same are the ideas expressed in another part of this book, only that the imagery is a little more full and complete. 'I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb, as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth,' Rev. v. 6. 'A Lamb,' meek and gentle. A Lamb in the midst of the throne,' clothed with authority and power. A Lamb on the throne, having seven eyes and seven horns'-the emblems of knowledge and power. Once he endured affliction, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.' But now he is exalted to honour. He has passed from the cross to the crown. Yea, because he was humbled in the character of Mediator, now he is exalted. In the presence of that great and gracious Being do the redeemed now stand. They are admitted to the most intimate and endeared fellowship with their once crucified but now exalted Lord. He still bears to them the relation of their Shepherd, and as such he is here represented to guide, satisfy, and cherish them.

He feeds them with knowledge. It is of their abode the prophet speaks, saying, 'the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.' His presence is enough. He makes all mysteries plain. The dark providences of earth are now fully unfolded. Much that once distressed them is now made to minister to their joy. And they can heartily join in the song of Moses and of the Lamb, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of

[ocr errors]

He satisfies them, 'leading them to living fountains of waters.' What a heaping up of figures, to convey some faint idea of the rich provisions of the upper sanctuary! Water-fountains of water fountains of living water. Water is employed

to convey the idea of luxurious enjoyment, for what a blessing is it esteemed by those who dwell beneath the scorching influence of a burning sun. It is a favourite emblem in the scriptures, and with good reason, for it was well understood by those to whom it was then addressed. And here it is carried even into the description of the joys of heaven, to impart some idea of the refreshment there provided for the soul. But it is not water merely, but 'fountains of water.' There is no limit to the enjoyments of heaven. Unlike those of earth they are never spent. On the contrary they are still increasing. God is better and better known, and more and more enjoyed. The glories of redemption are becoming more and more endearing. The fountain of their blessing is exhaustless. To complete the description, they are fountains of living water.' They proceed from the throne of God and the Lamb. They are living themselves, and they impart life to all who partake of them. As they quaff the sacred draughts of heavenly love and consolation, they grow increasingly vigorous in the service of their God. They rest not day nor night. They have life, and are continually made to have it more abundantly, while the Lamb leads them to the fountains of living waters. Finally, the Lamb cherishes and comforts 'God shall wipe away all tears from their And the Lamb is God. The terms are used promiscuously. In no part of scripture are the views of Christ more exalted than in this book of the Revelation. And the prophet describes him as he saw him in heaven. As God, the Lamb dries up the tears of the redeemed. Many did they shed on earth. Over their own sins. Over the sins of others. Over their own and others' calamities. But now sorrow and sighing are fled away for ever. There is no more sin, therefore no more curse, and no more




sorrow. They now rejoice in their former sorTheir tears were carefully put into the bottle of the Lord, and now their joys are proportioned to their bitterness and number.

Happy, happy world! Are we prepared for its exercises and joys? O! let us not deceive ourselves. There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.'

Now let us hear the heavenly exhortation, 'Be ye ready.' Now let us 'prepare to meet our God.' Are we ready? The time is short. 'Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.' Let us not defer till to-morrow. Death determines our eternal destiny. As the tree falls so it lies. And once having entered on the eternal world, the unchanging sentence is pronounced, he that is unjust let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous let him be righteous still; and he that his holy let him be holy still.'


leading captivity captive. And when revealed to the prophet who was favoured with visions of his ascended glory, he beheld him 'having on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.'

The description of kingly authority, in the passage before us, is as complete as language could render it. 'I'—Jehovah-have set him'— firmly and unchangeably—' my King'-mine own chosen and anointed One-' upon my holy hill of Zion'-supreme over my beloved people-all the interests of Zion, which is the church, being committed to his hands. In language, justly approved and familiar to our ear, Christ executeth the office of a king in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies. What an office! Subduing, ruling, defending, restraining, conquering.

[ocr errors]

'Subduing.' He subdues his people to himself. Like all other men they are born estranged from him, and their hearts are enmity against him. They soon discover dispositions of bitter hatred, and fall in with the company of his betrayers and murderers. But he has power over the human heart. He made it at the first pure and holy, and now that it has become corrupt, he can create it anew. He comes in the power

'Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of of his Spirit and touches their hearts. He reveals Zion,' Psal. ii. 6.

'YET' although at one time nothing seemed more unlikely. For this is he who was crucified as a malefactor, who, when he said, Ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven,' caused the high priest to 'rend his clothes,' and cry, 'He hath spoken blasphemy,' while all the people shouted, 'He is guilty of death.'

'Yet'—in spite of all the opposition that was given to him. The princes, the priests, and the people were all leagued against him; the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Herodians laid aside their jealousies and dissensions, and joined their power to crush him; rulers who before were at enmity, forgot their alienation, and became one to make common cause against him; his own friends, terrified and despairing, forsook him and fled; satan mustered all his forces to overthrow him, so much so, that our Lord said to him, 'This is your hour and the power of darkness;' death and hell combined their power to make him their prisoner. But all in vain he rose from the dead, spoiling principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.' He hath ascended on high,

himself to them as their almighty Saviour. He discovers to them what he has done for their redemption. They are made ashamed of their rebellion, lay down their arms which they had lifted up against him, adore his mercy, praise his name, love him supremely, and devote themselves to his service. Thenceforth they are subdued to his will.

Having subdued them, he continues to rule over them. He does so by his word-putting it into their hands, inclining them to acknowledge its authority, and follow its lessons in all things. By his Spirit-causing Him to accompany the word that he may explain, recommend, and enforce it. By his providences-disposing the events and circumstances of their lives so as to accomplish his purposes of mercy towards them. Thus he rules in their hearts, in their lives, in their families, and in the church. Everywhere his supremacy is acknowledged, and his will is their law.

And while he rules them, he defends them. Against their own hearts, which are deceitful and would draw them aside to vanity. Against temptations, which continually assail them and seek to overthrow their constancy. Against satan, who 'goeth about, as a roaring lion, seek

ing whom he may devour.' And against the | the heathen for thine inheritance, and the utterworld, which is ever laying snares to entangle most parts of the earth for thy possession.' And them. He defends their principles, and enables all this, for he hath set him King upon the holy them to maintain them. Their character- hill of Zion.' 'bringing forth their righteousness as the light, and their judgment as the noon-day.' And their hope-helping them to cling by it through all the perils of life.

[ocr errors]


'My kingdom is not of this world,' John xviii.


to them, and they to it. It has ever been an
object of the world's jealousy and hatred. And
while its design has been to bless and regenerate
the world, the purpose of the world has ever
been directed to its destruction.
The grand
peculiarity of the church is, that it 'is not of this

In defending his people, he restrains their enemies. His power reaches to them, and he can control them as he will. He is head over all things to the church.' He can hinder their A KINGDOM is one of the most common reprepurposes of injury. When king Jeroboam heard sentations of the church of Christ, to be found in the saying of the man of God, which had cried the scriptures. Particularly was our Lord himagainst the altar in Bethel, he put forth his hand self accustomed to employ it. There must, therefrom the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And fore, be a special propriety in it, nor is it difficult. his hand, which he put forth against him, dried to perceive the reason of it. The church is a up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.' kingdom because it is a community, placed under He can incline them to offices of kindness. The the government of Jesus Christ as its King and Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Head-its 'members are closely united by comPersia, and he made a proclamation, saying, He mon interests and pursuits-they are subject to hath charged me to build him an house in Jeru- the same laws-possess the same privileges— salem. Who is there among you of all his adopt the same customs-and are called to conpeople! The Lord his God be with him, and tend against common enemies. But while the let him go up.' He can employ them for pur-church, in all these things, resembles the kingposes of chastisement. O Assyrian, the rod of doms of this world, it is very different from them mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine in others. In many things it is directly opposed indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge. Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so.' Finally, he will conquer all his and their enemies. Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his Anointed. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.' 6 Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine-fat? I have trodden the wine-press alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.' So full is the divine testimony. Jesus shall reign and conquer. The nation and kingdom that will not serve him shall perish. The kingdoms of this world shall be the kingdoms of our God and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever. 'Ask of me, and I will give thee


Its subjects are not of this world. They have been chosen out of the world. They are called saints, meaning that they have been separated from others, and that they are set apart, by divine grace, to serve and glorify God. They are called the elect, implying that they have been chosen out of a multitude as objects of special favour, and subjects of peculiar influences. The very term church is most expressive of the same idea, for it means called out, and imports that it consists of persons who have been called out of the world by means of the preaching of the gospel, and are now united in the faith and fellowship of the Lord Jesus Christ. Men are not members of this church, in the sight of God, because they have been born in a land of Christian light, nor because they have descended from Christian parents, nor even because they have been presented to God in baptism, nor because they have sat down at the Lord's table. By these means they may and are constituted members of the visible church. But of the church, as its mem

« AnteriorContinuar »