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DISCOURSE 8.] APPLICATION. 117
he who is their head shall reign over them, not, indeed, with the delegated authority of the Father, nor with the mediatorial dominion which will then have ceased, but with that inherent power which belongs to him as the Son of God and the Prince and Saviour of his people, through 'whom they were redeemed from sin and death, and admitted into the inheritance of glory.
It is not easy to say of what nature the authority of the saints shall be, but it is certain that they shall be kings and priests unto God and the Father, and shall reign in the kingdom of Christ. To the Apostles, he said, on one. occasion, 'ye shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the tribes of Israel.' Again, saith St. Paul, ' Know ye not that we shall judge angels?' Whether the dominion of the redeemed shall be exercised amongst the countless planets of the universe, or over the regions of the fallen and condemned, or over the hosts of angels, cherubim, and seraphim, who are even now said to be <ministering spirits' to the heirs of salvation, or only over their brethren, in a regular system of subordination, or over all these, it is impossible for us even to conjecture; but thus much we may assert, because it is the express assurance of the Saviour, that the saints shall have some ' dominion' committed to them under Christ, that he shall reitm over them, and God the Father over his own well beloved Son, for ever, the redeemed in Christ, Christ in the Father, and God in all.
My beloved brethren, how fervent the gratitude and how exalted the hope, with which this glorious inheritance should inspire us. In Christ Jesus there is neither' male nor female, bond nor free. All, without exception, are presented with the same assurance, all are offered the same gracious reward. O forget not, I beseech you, the blessed prize of your high calling. Meditate often upon the ascen-.
sion of your Lord to the right hand of the Majesty on high. Think of the power by which he led captivity captive for your sakes, and of the gifts of honor, and dominion, and happiness, and joy, which are his to bestow upon his people. Let not the transient and low attractions of earth deprive you of the blessings of heaven. Let not the cares of earth keep you back from your celestial kingdom, nor its pomps and pleasures rob you of an eternal crown. But press towards the mark. Run with patience the race that is set before you. Strive after the meek and lowly spirit of your gracious Redeemer, and remember that God exalted his human nature to his own right hand, because he was 'obedient unto death.' Obedience, my brethren, obedience is the only sure test of our profession. It will avail us nothing to say unto him, Lord, Lord, if we do not those things which he commands us. O then, pray earnestly that the same mind may be in you that was in Christ Jesus, and the Lord God Almighty grant you grace so to follow him in this world, that you may ascend to the throne of his glory in the world to come.
But to what portion in the kingdom of Christ are you looking forward, my careless and procrastinating fellow sinners. The Omnipotent Father has exalted him to the highest seat of Majesty, with the express promise that he 'will make his enemies his footstool.' O is it possible that you shall be overwhelmed among those enemies, in the day of his wrath? Will you persist in being numbered amongst his foes? Will you array yourselves against him who has all power in heaven and in earth? Shall sin and death and eternal misery be your awful choice, when the kingdom of peace and joy is set before you? Alas! my brethren, deal not so madly with your own souls. Rush not with such desperate frenzy upon sure destruction. For you, also, Christ Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame; for you he ascended up on high, leading captivity captive; for you he has the same precious gifts in store, yea, ' for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell amongst them? O then repent, believe, and obey his Gospel. Refuse not the offer of his loving kindness and tender mercy; but seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. Now is the accepted time. Now, even now, is the day of your salvation.
John V. 26. 27.
For As The Father Hath Ltfe Tn Htmself, So Hath He Gtven To The Son To Have Ltfe Tn Htmself: And Hath Gtven Htm Authortty To Execute Judgment Also, Because He Ts The Son Of Man.
The text, my brethren, contains a clear annunciation, in the words of our blessed Lord himself, of two doctrines of the Christian faith ; the one, the Divinity of the Redeemer, and the other, that the awful office of Judge has been committed to him by the Father. Of this last alone we propose to treat in the present Discourse, so as to explain, not merely the language of the Saviour, but al so, in connexion with it, that article of the Creed by which we profess to believe that our Lord will come from heaven to judge both the quick and the dead. In itself, this is a proposition which most closely concerns us all, for' it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.' Suffer me, then, to bespeak your attention, my brethren, while we endeavor to consider the fact that there will be a final judgment,—the declaration that Christ will be the Judge,— the reason why the Father hath given him this authority,— the subjects on whom it is to be exercised,—and the time and manner of its execution.
1. First, then, as to the proposition that there will be a • final judgment, it seems probable from a variety of reasons, independently of the express authority of Scripture. The light of conscience, or what some have called the moral
sense in all mankind, furnishes one strong argument upon the subject; for why should God have enabled us to judge ourselves, if He did not intend to judge us? Why should we feel so much uneasiness and remorse at the recollection of evil actions long since committed, unless to forewarn us, as it were, by an instinctive recoiling of the mind, of the doom which awaits such actions hereafter'? No trace of this is discoverable in the inferior orders of creation; and if, like them, We were only created for the present life, why should we have been troubled with so restless an adversary to our peace as conscience proves to most men? From this alone it is not unreasonable to infer, that the judgment thus established in our breasts was given in order to intimate a judgment to come; so that, as saith St. Paul,' Men are a law unto themselves, and have the work of the law written in their hearts; their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another;' and this' also, in reference to that 'day, when God»shall judge the secrets of them all.'
But again, the same result may be considered probable from the acknowledged attributes of the Deity, who is admitted by all to be perfectly just to his creatures. For when we look around us in the world, and see the extraordinary differences in the situation of our fellow creatures,— how frequently the virtuous are cast down, and the profligate are exalted,—how uncertain and precarious is the possession of every blessing,—how often our best efforts are frustrated, while others succeed in the very same pursuits, without either wisdom or worth to recommend them,—and how commonly the most amiable and deserving are found to have experienced the bitterest trials,—it seems to be a very reasonable inference, that the just God would never permit these vast inequalities in the condition of mankind,