CHRIST'S FAMOUS TITLES
by William Dyer
My dearest friends, whom I love dearly, remember daily, long for greatly, pray for earnestly, and praise God heartily; to whom I could write with my purest blood—I send these lines from my inward affections.
Though I cannot say I am as transported with affection and zeal as Paul—as to wish myself accursed from Christ for your sakes; yet I am persuaded, I could be contented with Jonah, to be cast into the sea, to the pacifying of God's wrath for you; that I may be free from the blood of all men; and by the power of God, to deal plainly and sincerely with all my fellow-creatures, not valuing the smiles, nor fearing the frowns of wicked men. It is better to lose their smiles—than it is to lose their precious souls. Though there are many who are enemies to me—yet I am an enemy to none, a hater of no man's person, but a lover of their souls. He who loved me when I was an enemy, commands me to love my enemies. Dear Christians, cleave to the Lord, and follow after him fully! Neglect no duty, though you know there is danger in doing it. Fear God and sin—more than men and suffering. Let your souls bear up with Christ, bear off from the world, bear down your corruptions, and bear forth your testimony. Respect all, and reject none of God's commandments; and take patiently and thankfully, the hardest dealings of God.
The heaviest afflictions you meet with on earth, are but light in comparison with Christ's sufferings, or the punishment of the wicked in hell. When God's people are humble, and the wicked high enough, and the Lord's appointed time has come—then the godly may expect deliverance, and not before. You should not envy the patience of God towards your enemies, for it is nothing in companion of what love he shows to you; be you diligent at your work, and leave God at his. The Lord will soon turn from his wrath—if men were turned from their wickedness. Look closely to your hearts, tongues and ways. I never trusted God—but I found him faithful. I never trusted my own heart—but I found it false.
Take heed friends, that you be not always wooing Christ, and yet never married to him; therefore do not leave, until you have put the great question out of all doubt. Look upon Christ without—and then search for him within you. He who will clearly see with the eye of faith—shall shut the eye of reason. It is the will of God, that saints should rejoice more in what Christ has done for them, than in what they have done for him. Oh, lay up for Christ, make haste and do your work—and God will give you eternal wages.
Dear brethren, I beseech you to consider well these following things, for they are precious, weighty, and necessary truths.
I shall add no more, but promise you my prayers for a
blessing upon this treatise—that it may bring to glory God, and grace to
you—which is all that is aimed at by him, who is,
Your soul's servant,
To the Christian Reader
It is the great unhappiness of our age, that the greatest part of men busy themselves most, in that which concerns them least. Look among rich and poor, high and low, young and old—and see whether it appears by the whole scope of their lives, that they set their hearts more on the world, than Christ and his salvation. Just so that they may have but some of the earth in their hands—they care for nothing of heaven in their hearts! But gold can no more fill their hearts—than grace their purses!
Most people are like that silly woman, that when her house was on fire, so minded the saving of her goods, that she left her child roaring in the flames! At last remembering it, she cries out, "Oh! my child, my child!" Just so, there are many who drop into perdition, merely for a little wealth!
There are many who are temporally miserable—who are eternally happy! And there are many who are temporally happy—who shall be eternally miserable! Oh! there is a great vanity—in all worldly excellencies! The world is big in our hopes—but little in our hands. It cannot satisfy the senses of men—much less their precious souls!
Dear Christians, according to my talents received, I have endeavored to set forth the riches, the loveliness, the preciousness and excellencies that are in Christ—to draw your heart after him, and to make you desire and love him. Oh! Jesus Christ is a fountain of life, light, love, grace, glory, comfort, joy, goodness and sweetness; always full and flowing, yes, overflowing! Paul was so much captivated by Christ—that he was ever in his thoughts, ever near his heart, and ever upon his tongue! Oh! that our hearts and thoughts were thus busied about, and taken up with Christ, and those treasures of wisdom and knowledge which are in him.
The design of this piece is not the ostentation of the author—but the edification of the reader. Though the author is contemptible—yet the matter is comfortable. I hope none will blow out such a candle, by the light of which they may see the way to heaven. If God had given more spiritual matter to me—I would have given more out to you. If God may have glory, and the Church edification by these labors of mine—I shall have my end. Now my prayer for you is, that the gracious God may bring your heart more and more in love with Christ, who is altogether lovely—that shortly you may enjoy endless felicity in his loving bosom!
Your Servant in Christ,
"He is altogether lovely!" Song of Solomon 5:16
Out of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, comes better and sweeter honey, than out of Sampson's lion! That is the sweetest honey—which we suck out of Christ's hive—for the face of none is so lovely in a saint's eye, as the face of Christ; and the voice of none is so pleasant in a saint's ear—as the voice of Christ. Oh Christian! the God whom you serve is so excellent, that no good can be added to him; and he is so infinite, that no good can be diminished in him. He makes others happy—and yet is not the less happy; he shows mercy to the full—and yet remains full of mercy. Oh come eat and drink abundantly! Oh beloved, there is no fear of excess here, though one drop of Christ is sweet—yet the deeper, the sweeter.
The wine that Christ draws, is the best wine that a Christian drinks! The whole book of Canticles is bespangled with the praises of Jesus Christ; the subject matter of this book is a declaration of the mutual fellowship of love and affection between Christ and his church; what spiritual entertainment is given on both sides, with the sweet contentment they have in each other's beauty! Here you may see the King in his glory—and the spouse in her beauty! Here you may see Christ giving her sweet promises, adoring her with many excellencies, communicating his love, and commending her graces! Here you may also see the church even ravished with the consideration and contemplation of Christ's love and beauty! His beauty is breath-taking, his love is ravishing, his voice is pleasing, his goodness is drawing, his manifestations are enticing! He is the beloved Son—and the Son of love; he is nothing but love—to those who are his love.
But I shall no longer entertain you with a crumb at the door—but carry you to the chapter out of which my text is taken—and so lead you to the cabinet where the jewel lies!
Brethren and beloved, you have a glorious description of Christ in this chapter, and that from verse 10 to 16. where the spouse is setting forth the riches, the dignity, the excellency, the beauty, the majesty, the glory, the preciousness, and loveliness of Jesus Christ. "My Beloved is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand. His head is purest gold; his hair is wavy and black as a raven. His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels. His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume. His lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh. His arms are rods of gold set with chrysolite. His body is like polished ivory decorated with sapphires. His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars. His mouth is sweetness itself! He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved, this my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem." And thus she sets forth her beloved, and at last winds up all with this rare expression, "He is altogether lovely!"
This text is a sacred cabinet, which contains in it:
First, The Jewel Christ, in this word, HE.
Secondly, The value of the Jewel, ALTOGETHER LOVELY.
The observation, or doctrine, is this, That Jesus Christ is infinitely and superlatively lovely. He is the most amazing and delightful object. The very name of Jesus Christ, is as precious ointment poured forth. It is said, that the letters of his name were found engraved upon Ignatius' heart. Jesus Christ is in every believer's heart, and nothing can do better there; for "he is altogether lovely!" That Jesus Christ is thus transcendently lovely, will appear in four kinds of ways:
First, by titles.
Secondly, by types.
Thirdly, by resemblance.
Fourthly, by demonstrations.
I shall only speak to the first of these—his TITLES. Our Lord Jesus has seven famous and lovely titles, which are as so many jewels of his crown.
First, The Desire of all Nations.
Secondly, The King of kings.
Thirdly, The Mighty God.
Fourthly, The Everlasting Father.
Fifthly, The Prince of Peace.
Sixthly, The Precious Elect one.
We will begin with the first of these famous titles, namely,
THE DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS
This title you have in the second chapter of Haggai and 7th verse: "And the Desire of all Nations shall come." But you shall say, "How is Christ the Desire of all Nations? Do not all the nations abhor him and say, We will not have this man to rule over us!" "The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One," Psalm 2:2. The kings of the earth are afraid—lest Christ's government should un-king them. The rulers are jealous—lest he will depose them from their noble places; they are jealous, lest Jesus will encroach upon their power and privileges. Kings are afraid of him, and think themselves but half kings, where Christ sets up his power and discipline. Merchants are afraid of him—lest he should take away their gain. Lawyers are afraid of him—lest the laws of Christ should overtop the unrighteous laws of the land. The people are afraid of him—lest he should compel them to subjection to the law and way which their souls abhor. Oh, how long has the world rebelled against Jesus Christ, and his government!
But tell me, Have the people gained anything by resisting Christ, his gospel and government? by hating his servants, and by scorning his holy ways? I shall leave you to judge of this.
But, beloved, for all this, Jesus Christ is the Desire of all Nations. And that I shall show in five particulars. Though Jesus Christ is not actively desired by all nations—yet he is rightly called, the Desire of all Nations.
First, Because he is most desirable in himself, and all things that are desirable are in him. Beauty is in Christ, bounty is in Christ, riches and honor are in Christ. Jesus Christ is the treasure hidden in the gospel, the pearl of great price; he is the sun in the firmament of the Scriptures, whom to know is everlasting life; he is a spring full of the water of life, a hive of sweetness, a storehouse of riches, a river of pleasures, wherein you may bathe your souls to all eternity!
Oh! he is fullness and sweetness. "He is the chief among ten thousand," Canticles 5:10. "He is more precious than rubies; and all the things you can desire are not to be compared to him," Proverbs 3:15.
Alas! what are all the crowns and kingdoms of the world, all the thrones and scepters of kings, compared to Christ! I say what are the treasures of the east, the gold of the west, the spices of the south, and the pearls of the north, compared to him? These, or whatever you imagine, are not to be compared unto the blessed Jesus! Beloved, the glories and excellencies of Christ excel all others. As all waters meet in the sea, and as all the lights meet in the sun; so all the perfections and excellencies of all the saints and angels meet in Christ! Nay, sirs, Christ has not only the holiness of angels, the loveliness of saints, and the treasure of heaven—but also the fullness of the Godhead; the riches of the Deity are in him! Col. 1:19. "For it has pleased the Father that in him all fullness should dwell," fullness of grace, fullness of knowledge, fullness of love, fullness of glory. He is lovely to the Father, lovely to the angels, lovely to the saints, and lovely to the soul.
And therefore he may well be called the Desire of all Nations, for all desirable things are in him.
Secondly, Jesus Christ is called the Desire of all Nations, because his desire is after all nations, though he has no need of them; he has thousands of angels before him, and ten thousand daily minister unto him; yet such infinite love does he bear to the sons of men in whom there is no loveliness, that he himself says, "My delight is with the sons of men," Proverbs 8:31. That our Lord Jesus has a strong desire after the nations to convert them, and save the nations, will appear by three things:
First, By what he did before he came into the world.
Second, By what he did when he was in the world.
Third, By what he does now that he has left the world.
First, Our Lord Jesus had a great desire after the poor nations before he came into the world—or else he would never have left his crown, his royal court, his Father's bosom, his glorious robes, to come into this world—to be spit upon by men, and to be murdered by men! Nay, he did not only become a laughing-stock to men—but a gazing-stock to angels. Now, beloved, do you not think that Jesus Christ had a great desire after the nations' good, that he would leave all his glory, and greatness, and pomp, and riches—to come into this world, to be poor, to be hungry, to be weary, to be tempted, to be betrayed, to die?
But you may perhaps say, that Christ little thought his own countrymen would have shed his blood, and that one of his own friends would betray him.
Why, beloved, do you think he did not know it? yes, he knew it before he came into the world, how he would be abused in the world, that the Jews would crucify him, and that Judas would betray him, John 6. He knew it from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who would betray him. Christ knew it before he came from heaven, what cruel treatment he would have upon earth. Now, beloved, put all this together, and tell me, had not Jesus Christ a desire after us before he came to us, that he would uncrown himself—to crown us; and put off his robes—to put on our rags; and come out of heaven—to keep us out of hell? He fasted forty days—that he might feast us to all eternity. He came from heaven to earth—that he might send us from earth to heaven!
The Son of God became the Son of man; that we, the sons of men, might become the sons of God; and all this he did to save the nations!
Secondly, He had a longing desire after the nations when he was in the world. Oh! Christ would gladly have saved the nations, and healed them, and enlightened them; therefore he sends forth his apostles, Matthew 28:19. and bids them, "Go and teach all nations." The people were in his eyes, and upon his heart; and so in Matthew 22, Christ sends forth his servants, once, twice, thrice, as if he would take no denial—but they would not come. Nay, beloved, our Lord Jesus Christ did not only send others to poor souls, to beseech them, to entreat them to come in, to repent, and to believe in their Savior, that their souls might be saved; but he went himself and desired them. Nay, that is not all, beloved, he cried to them, and said, "If any man thirsts—let him come unto me and drink!" John 7:37.
Oh! how earnest was Jesus Christ with poor souls to come to him. "Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," Matthew 10:28. So in Luke 14:23. "Go to the highways, and compel them to come in, that my house may be full."
Do you see this—what vehement desires Jesus Christ had after the nations and souls of men, that he might ever make them happy, when he was in the world; and he has the same desire still. How often would Jesus Christ have healed the Jews, that poor nation, as he himself speaks in Matthew 23:37. "How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers in her young ones, and you would not." Nay when he has done all this, he does not leave them—but weeps over them; his eyes were wet—because their eyes were dry. So this is clear from what Christ did when he was in the world, that he desired much the healing and converting of nations.
First, In his bearing with them.
Secondly, In his offers unto them.
Thirdly, He has a great desire after the nations, now he has left the world—and though he has gone to heaven, and entered into glory, and there sits at the right hand of the Father; yet, I say, his desires are as much after poor souls as ever. This will appear by two things:
Firstly, In his forbearance and long-sufferance. Oh! how long has Christ borne with the sinful nations, and yet he bears with them still, notwithstanding they have broke his laws, and despised his gospel, and scorned his ordinances, and shed his saints' blood, and grieved his Spirit, and abused his mercies! This and much more have they done, and yet he spared them that he might be gracious to them, Isaiah 30:18. "Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion."
Now, beloved, do you think that Jesus Christ would take all this at the nations' hands—but that he is unwilling to destroy them, and most willing to save them.
Secondly, His love appears, not only by his bearing with them—but by his offers to them. Oh beloved, how does God stand day after day, month after month, and year after year, offering himself, his Son, his mercy, his love, his grace, and his glory—to poor souls!
Many have the space of repentance, who have not the grace of repentance.
Now my brethren, by these things you may see that Jesus Christ has a great desire after the nations.
Thirdly, Jesus Christ is called the Desire of all Nations, because it is he alone, who can make any person, family, or nation, truly desirable.
Oh! beloved, what is the reason that the Lord Almighty prefers his people before all the sons of men? The Lord prefers his little remnant before all the world besides, Exod. 19:5, "You will be my treasured possession!" "The righteous is more excellent than his neighbor," Proverbs 12:26. Though his neighbor is a king, or emperor, or a pope—yet if he is righteous, he is more excellent than them; they are but base born. Believers be these worthies, of whom the world was not worthy, Hebrews 11:38. "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, God's holy nation, his very own possession!" 1 Peter 2:8. Believers are not only diligent Christians—but excellent Christians.
Now, what is the reason, beloved, that the saints are thus excellent above all others? Is it for their birth, breeding, or learning, or riches, or greatness, or honor? No, no! It is for none of these; but if you would know the reason, it is because Christ is formed in them, and married to them; they have the new name, the new nature, the new heart, the new spirit! Oh, this is the reason! If there were anything beside Christ that would make any nation, or family, or person truly desirable, it must be either birth, or greatness, or learning, or riches, or beauty, or wisdom, or strength; now all these do not make any one desirable, for if they did, then those who reign over the nations would be the most desirable people under heaven, because they have the most of these.
"He has made us to be kings and priests unto our God." Revelation 1:5. Oh! Christ has made every believer a king! It is Christ's beauty that makes us beautiful; it is his riches that makes us rich; it is his righteousness that makes us righteous! He alone makes us truly honorable, and desirable. Well may Christ be called the Desire of all Nations—for it is he who can make a nation desirable.
Fourthly, Jesus Christ is called "the Desire of all Nations," because all nations stand in need of him; Nay, not only all nations—but all people, young and old, rich and poor, high and low. He who will be saved—must have a Savior to save him, or else he can never be saved. The apostle tells us, Acts 4:12, "Neither is their salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we can be saved." And Christ says, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6. So that not only all nations—but all people stand in need of him.
You may go to heaven without health, without wealth, without honor, without pleasure, without friends, without learning—but you can never go to heaven without Christ.
What will you do, if you begin to die naturally—before you begin to live spiritually? If the tabernacle of nature be taken down—before the temple of God be raised up in your soul; if your paradise be laid waste—before the tree of life be set up in it; if you give up the spirit—before you ever receive the Holy Spirit; if the sun of your life be set within you—before the Sun of Righteousness shines upon you; if the body is fit to be turned into the earth—before the soul is fit to be taken to heaven? If the second birth has no place in you—the second death shall have power over you!
Though the nations need nothing more than Christ—yet they slight nothing more than Christ.
Tell me how you will live when you die—who are dead while you live.
Oh, beloved, is it not sad that the nations should resist Christ, his gospel and government as they do!
Indeed, if men might be their own judges, then Christ had no enemies, we are all his friends. If the Jews might so have been their own judges, it was not the Son of God whom they crucified—but an enemy to Caesar. It was not Paul as a saint whom they persecuted—but one that they found to be a pestilent fellow; some men will say now, they do not persecute the saints of God—but seditious lunatics; but God will shortly take off the veil of hypocrisy from their faces!
Oh grieve for them, that cannot grieve for themselves!
And thus you see that all nations stand in need of Christ, who is the Desire of all Nations.
Fifthly, Our Lord Jesus is called the Desire of all Nations, because when he sets up himself in anyone as their desire—then they run after him, and count nothing too dear for him! So the church of God, Isaiah 26:8, 9. "The desire of our soul is to your name; with my soul have I desired you in the night; yes, with my spirit within me will I seek you early."
Oh! when the Desire of all Nations once sets up himself in the soul—then he becomes the desire of the soul.
When he had thus endeared himself to their souls, they count nothing too dear for him—all shall be at his command: their gold, their silver, their strength, their lives. Revelation 12:12, "They did not love their lives in the face of death." So that, beloved, let men be enemies to Jesus Christ—yet as soon as Christ sets up himself in their hearts, they will love him, own him, serve him, and suffer for him!
Now, sirs, put all these together, and it will fully prove Christ to be the Desire of all Nations.
I shall make but a short application of it, and so conclude.
Is it so, that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Desire of all Nations, and that all things desirable are in him? Oh then, let me beg of you, oh let me beseech you, for the Lord's sake, and for your soul's sake—make Christ Jesus the desire of your souls!
He is the Desire of all Nations—and shall he not be the desire of your soul? Whom will you love, if not the KING of saints? Whom will you long for, if not for the Desire of all Nations? Whom will you prize, if not the Prince of Peace? He is the Son of God, before whom angels and archangels, and all the host of heaven bow. He is the glory of glories, the crown of crowns, the heaven of heavens! He is a light in darkness, joy in sadness, riches in poverty, life in death! It is he who can resolve all your doubts, secure you in danger, save your souls, and bring you to glory, where all joys are enjoyed! Oh therefore, give all glory to him, and yourselves to Him. So much, or so little for this time.
Doctrine: That Jesus Christ, is infinitely and superlatively lovely. "Yes, he is altogether lovely! This is my beloved, and this is my friend!" Song of Songs 5:16
I now proceed to the second title, which is given to the Lord
Jesus Christ, and that is King of kings.
THE KING OF KINGS
"On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS!" Revelation 19:16
Beloved, Jesus Christ is a threefold king:
First, His enemies King.
Secondly, His saints King.
Thirdly, His Father's King.
The first, he rules over.
The second, he rules in.
The third, he rules for.
I shall begin with the first, and take them in order.
First, Christ is his ENEMIES King.That is, he is King over his enemies. Christ is a King above all kings, and over all kings, and therefore the Scripture calls HIM, "King of kings!" as you have it in 1 Timothy 6:15. Christ is a King above all kings; for if he were not a King above all kings—he could not be a King over all kings. Two Scriptures prove that Jesus is a King above all kings. God the Father says, "I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth." Psalm 89:27. Now, who is the first-born? Why, it is Jesus Christ; as he is elsewhere called, "the first-born of every creature." "Now," says God, "I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth: higher in glory, higher in power, higher in majesty!" So in Revelation 1:5—there Christ is called, "the Ruler of the kings of the earth."
Alas! alas! what are all the mighty men, the great, the honorable men of the earth—compared to Jesus Christ! They are but like a little bubble on the water; for if all the nations, in comparison to God, be but as the drop of the bucket, or the dust of the balance, as the prophet speaks in Isaiah 40:15— Oh how little then must be the kings of the earth!
Nay, beloved, Christ Jesus is not only above the kings of the earth, and higher than kings—but he is higher than the angels. Yes, he is the head of angels; and therefore all the angels in heaven are commanded to worship him! Col. 2:12, "He is the head of all principalities and powers," which includes angels. And in Hebrews 1:6. "Let all the angels of God worship him." God will have the angels worship Christ—as well as men.
Oh, sirs, Christ is a King, before whom angels veil their faces, and kings of the earth cast down their crowns!
Again, as he is a King above all kings—so he is a King over all kings too. Jesus Christ is an universal King. He is the King over all kingdoms, over all nations, over all governments, over all powers, over all people! Daniel 7:14, "He was given authority, honor, and royal power over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.'' You here see that Christ is not only King of saints—but King of nations too! Therefore you find in Psalm 2:8, "Ask of Me, and I will make the nations Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth Your possession!" The very heathen are given to Christ, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession.
As the Lord Jesus Christ has all the kingdoms of the earth given to him—so likewise he has all power given to him. If this were otherwise, he would have no ability to rule his kingdoms. Matthew 28:18, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." Oh, here is a text that should revive the hearts of saints! So that it is he who binds kings in chains, and princes in fetters of iron! It is he who allows no man to do them wrong; yes, he reproves kings for their sakes, and breaks mighty kings in pieces for the saints' sake! And therefore it is he who over-rules kings, and overcomes the kings of the earth that make war with the saints!
Revelation 17:14, "These will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them," and why? "Because he was King of kings, and Lord of lords!" This is the first, Jesus Christ is his enemies King, that is, he is a King above their kings, and over their kings. As Jesus Christ is his enemies King—so he is his saints King.
Secondly, Christ is his SAINTS King.I will give you two Scriptures to prove it: Revelation 15:3. There Jesus Christ is called the saints' King, "O King of saints." So also in Matthew 21:5, "Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey—even on a donkey's colt." So that by these two Scriptures, you see Jesus Christ is King of saints.
Now, beloved, I beseech you here to listen carefully. Jesus Christ you see, is King of the wicked, and of the godly; but as for the wicked, he rules over them by his power and might; but the saints, he rules in them by his Spirit and graces. Now to this the Scripture witnesses, that Jesus Christ rules in the saints, and is the King of the saints; and therefore it tells them, Col. 1:27, "Christ in you the hope of glory," and elsewhere, "Know you not that Christ is in you." Mark, Christ must be in you, "Christ in you the hope of glory." So in Psalm 24:7, "Lift up your heads, O you gates, and be you lifted up, you everlasting doors, that the King of glory may come in." Here Christ is called the King of glory; and the psalmist calls upon men to open their hearts that the King of glory may come in. So in Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in and sup with him, and he with me."
Oh this is Christ's spiritual kingdom, and here he rules in the hearts of his people, here he rules over their consciences, over their wills, over their affections, over their judgments and understandings; and therefore he is called the King of saints. It is true, other kings may bear rule ever the estates of men; but as for the soul—that only belongs to Christ! Therefore believers are said to be all glorious within. "The king's daughter is all glorious within," Psalm 45:13. The King of glory rules there, and dwells there! God dwells in the highest heavens—and in the humble hearts. Christ is not only the King of nations—but King of saints; the one he rules over, the other he rules in.
Thirdly, Jesus Christ is his FATHER'S King.So his Father calls him in Psalm 2:6, "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill." Well may he be our King—when he is God's King. But you may say, How is Christ the Father's King? Because he rules for his Father. There is a twofold kingdom of God committed to Jesus Christ:
First, A spiritual kingdom, by which he rules in the hearts of his people, and so is King of saints.
Secondly, A providential kingdom, by which he rules the affairs of this world, and so he is King of nations. Now, beloved, the Scripture says, "That the Father has put all things in Christ's hands." And the apostle tells us, "God has put all things under his feet." The Father judges no man—but has committed all judgment to the Son, and he has appointed him over his own house. Now, as Christ has all, so he does all, and rules all for his Father; and therefore the Father calls him his servant. Isaiah 41:2, "Behold my servant." He rules for his Father, and does his Father's will. So that, beloved, in these respects, Christ is a King.
Now I shall lay down some things wherein the Lord Jesus infinitely excels all other kings of the earth.
First, Jesus is a King, who, in a spiritual sense, makes all his subjects kings."He has made us kings and priests to our God!" Revelation 5:10. He has a crown of glory for every subject. Oh, what a glorious King is this!
Oh, sirs, it is better to be a poor member of Christ—than the head of a nation! Oh, how infinitely happy are all Christ's subjects! They are all kings, all heirs, all favorites, all sons! The true believer is the only happy man. Alas! where is there such a king to be found—who makes all his subjects kings? There are many kings that undo their subjects—but Christ makes his subjects kings! There are many kings who make their subjects beggars—but Christ makes his subjects kings! There are many kings who put their subjects to death—but Christ died that his subjects might live! There are many kings who give their subjects titles—but Christ gives all his subjects heaven!
Sirs, in a word, this is the greatest nobility, to be the servant of the great God; he is nobly descended, who is born from above. Oh, how many lords has that man—who has not Christ for his Lord! every sin is his lord, and every lust lords it over him. Now where Jesus Christ comes to be King, he makes them kings to his Father, and kings over their lusts. Now, beloved, here is the excellence and happiness of our King—he makes us all kings, and gives all crowns of glory!
Secondly, Jesus Christ is the most just and RIGHTEOUS King.He reigns in righteousness, he brings peace by righteousness. He makes us righteous, and therefore he is called, "The LORD our righteousness," Jeremiah 23:6. Now, beloved, other kings often deal unjustly, they bear the sword to execute wrath upon the innocent, and strengthen the hands of evildoers! They justify the wicked—and condemn the godly! They break oaths, and falsify their treaties! Many times they oppress their subjects, and wrong their people! And therefore the Scripture says, "When the wicked rule—the people groan!" Proverbs 29:2.
But now, beloved, Jesus Christ, as he is a righteous King—so he rules in righteousness, and you shall have nothing but righteous dealing from him; mind this text of Scripture, which infinitely speaks out Christ's righteous dealing with poor souls, in Revelation 15:3. "Just and true are your ways." Mark who is just and true here. Why, it is the King of saints! "Just and true are your ways, O King of saints." Justice and truth well befits the King of saints.
In Proverbs 3:17 it is said, "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace" speaking of wisdom, which is meant of Christ. Oh, what a golden King is here! What a glorious King is here! He is just and true, and all His ways are pleasantness, and all His paths are peace. Oh, sirs, this is the excellency of Christ, He oppresses nobody, He wrongs nobody! He infinitely excels all the kings of the earth in righteousness, for all His ways are just and true.
Thirdly, Christ is a King who lives forever, and reigns FOREVER!Other kings they are but of yesterday, they are soon dead and gone. What is become of all those great and mighty kings that we read of? Why, they are gone like a tale—like a dream! But it is not so with the King of saints—he is King forever, he reigns forever! And therefore the apostle calls him the immortal and eternal King, because he lives forever. 1 Timothy 1:17. So in Hebrews 7:25, speaking of Christ, "He lives forever to make intercession for us." Now, beloved, here is the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ—he lives forever! Other kings die, and their subjects may do what they will—but Jesus lives forever!
Fourthly, Jesus Christ is a King that has a perfect KNOWLEDGE of all His subjects!Oh, sirs, earthly kings and princes do not know all their subjects; nay, they know very few. Alas! they do not know a quarter of them! They are not acquainted with all the wrongs, and needs, and miseries, that their poor subjects lie under.
The Lord Jesus infinitely excels all other kings—in that He has a perfect knowledge of all His subjects! He knows them all by name. He knows—all their thoughts, all their needs, all their ways, all their conditions. So say I to you, sirs, Your King knows—all your necessities, all your sufferings, all your troubles, all your fears!
Yes, and "My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19. Oh, this is a sweet Scripture! Oh, poor souls, Christ knows everything about you! This is our great happiness, that we have a King who knows us so well. Oh, here is the excellency of our King!
Fifthly, Jesus Christ is an ENTHRONED King!But, beloved, this is not all; Christ does not only sit there Himself—but He has promised that all who overcome, shall sit down with Him upon His throne! "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne!" Revelation 3:21. Mark sirs, Christ promises all His subjects—that they should sit upon the throne with Him!
Now, I wonder where there is any king but Christ, who will allow his subjects to sit upon his throne with him. Alas! this would be treason for a man to attempt it!
I have read of a king, whose crown fell off his head and into the water, while passing over a river. One of his poor servants, out of love to the king, leaped in and fetched it up out of the river, and put it back on the king's head. And for this—the poor man had his head cut off! So arrogant was this king! Yes—but sirs, the Lord Jesus is not so, he is no such proud King! He did not only uncrown himself—to crown us; and wear the crown of thorns—that we might wear the crown of glory—but he brings his subjects to sit upon the throne with him! "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne!" Oh, what a glorious King is this! Every one of his poor subjects shall sit upon the throne with him!
So in Revelation 21:7, "He who overcomes shall inherit all things." One would think this very promise would draw the whole world after Christ! Oh, what a glorious King is this! Every one of His poor subjects shall sit upon the throne with Him! One would think this very promise would draw the whole world after Christ! Oh! what great offers, and privileges, and honors Christ bestows upon all His poor followers! He not only makes them kings—but He brings them to sit upon His very throne with Him!
O believer, you say that it would be an honor indeed, if could you but look into heaven, and merely to see Christ sit upon His throne! But this honor have all His saints; yes, much more—He makes them all kings, and grants to them to sit upon the throne with Him!
Sixthly, Jesus Christ is a King who LOVES all his subjects—and all his subjects love him!And I am sure that this cannot be said of any king under heaven—but it may be said of the Lord Christ. There are nine or ten particulars wherein the love of Christ to his subjects does appear, and is wonderfully manifested.
First, His love to his subjects is a PRIMARY love. It was not man's loveliness that engaged God to love and save men! Says the apostle, "We love him," and why? "because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19
His love is the cause preceding—our love is the effect following. If he had not first fired our hearts with the flames of his love—we would never have bestowed one spark of spiritual love upon Christ. He must draw us—before we can run after him. And therefore says the church, "Draw me—and WE will run after you." Song of Songs 1:4. Sirs, we cannot run after Jesus—without him first drawing us. And when he draws us—we run!
Oh! sirs, since God loved us when we were ungodly—we should strive to be like him who thus loved us! Nothing can engage a saint to love God so much as this—that God loved him so much. A Christian once weeping at the table, and being asked the reason of it, answered, "Because I love Christ no more!" Indeed, friends, this should grieve us who are so much beloved—that we love Jesus so little!
You have a famous saying of Augustine, "He loves not Christ at all—who loves him not above all!" This is the first love with which God loves his people it is a primary love.
Secondly, Christ is a King that loves his subjects with a DISTINGUISHING love, and a separating love. The general love of Christ is scattered and branched out to all the creatures in the world. But his special love, his exceeding great and rich love, is only settled upon his redeemed people. Now, if you ask me what Christ's distinguishing love is—I shall but enumerate it to you:
1. It is Pardoning love.
2. It is Redeeming love.
3. It is Calling love.
4. It is Justifying love.
5. It is Adopting love.
6. It is Sanctifying love.
7. It is Glorifying love.
This I say, is a particular love; Christ's love is not only sweeter than wine—but better than life! He is most lovely, he is altogether lovely! Christ is nothing but love to those who are his love.
Thirdly, Christ loves his saints with a PROTECTING love. "Can a woman forget her nursing child, or lack compassion for the child of her womb? Though she may forget—yet I will not forget you!" Isaiah 49:15
Can a woman forget her nursing child? Is it possible a woman should be so inhumane, to forget her tender infant, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? "Yes!" says the Lord, "Though she may forget—yet I will not forget you!" God may as soon cease to be God—as cease to be good! He may as soon cease to live—as cease to love his people! No, no! He cannot forget them! Did he forget Israel in Egypt, or his church in Babylon, or Daniel in the lions' den? Did he forget the three Hebrew children in the furnace, or Jeremiah in the dungeon, or Jonah in the whale's belly, or Peter in the prison? Did he forget them?
The wicked say indeed, that the Lord does forget, in Ezekiel 9:9, "They are saying—The Lord doesn't see it! The Lord has forsaken the land!" But they are much mistaken! There are three or four texts of Scripture, which I shall humbly offer to your serious consideration, that do wonderfully speak out God's protecting love to his people. The first is in Revelation 7:3. You find there an angel has power given him to harm the earth and the sea. Now there comes another angel, and cries out, "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees!" Why? what is the reason? "Until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." Do not pour out your judgments upon the earth—until we have secured the servants of God. Oh! how wonderfully does the Lord protect his people!
So again, in Ezekiel 9. God had set certain men to destroy that wicked city, but first the Lord calls, "Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it." But for the rest, God says, "Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children—but do not touch anyone who has the mark!"
Oh! sirs, this does wonderfully set out God's protecting love to his people. So in Isaiah, the Lord bids the prophet tell them what dreadful judgments would come upon them, upon the kings, and princes, and great men, and soldiers. Now, says the Lord, say to the righteous, "it shall be well with them, none of this destruction shall come near them!" Oh! how wonderfully does this magnify God's protecting love.
Isaiah 26:20, "Come my people, enter into your rooms, shut the door, and hide yourselves for a little while." Why so, O Lord? "Until the Lord's anger against your enemies has passed by!" "Come," says God, "I am resolved to execute my judgments on wicked men; therefore hide yourselves for a while!"
And therefore, I say, let no man's heart fail him—it is but for a moment—and then your miseries shall end. Beloved, when our miseries are at the greatest—his help is at the nearest! Man's extremity—is God's opportunity. When Mordecai is thoroughly humbled, the crude Haman shall be hanged! But then,
Fourthly, Christ loves his people with a most INTENSE love. He loves them with all his heart! More, they are the dearly beloved of his soul, as himself calls them in Jeremiah 12:7, "the dearly beloved of my soul." Christ's love to his people is not a lip-love, from the teeth outwardly; but a real love from the heart inwardly. Christ loves his people as his Father loves him! And how is that? Can you fathom the Father's love for Jesus? No, all the men on earth, nor angels in heaven, cannot fathom the love that the Father bears to Christ! And yet as God loves Christ—so does Christ love his people. You have a full text for this, they are Christ's own words, "As the Father loves me—SO I have loved you.''
Oh, sirs, how infinitely does the Father love the Son—and how infinitely does the Son love his people! Why, he loves them as much as the father loves him. Oh, Lord, what love is this! that the Savior should love the sinner; that Christ should love the miserable sinner! And thus it is! Oh! sirs, believers are like letters of gold engraved on the very heart of Christ! "Oh the breadth, the height, the length of the love of Christ," says the apostle, "it passes knowledge!" Ephesians 3:19. As if there were both lack of words, and lack in words, to set forth the love of Christ to his people. But certainly it must be very great; for as the Father loves him—so he loves them!
Alas! others love the saints—but how do they love them? Why, not with an intense love; they do not love them for their good—but for their goods; it is more for the money in their purses, than for the grace in their hearts. They love the saints, just as men do with their sun-dials, who never look on them but when the sun shines. Why so? The world never looks upon the saints but in the time of prosperity.
When the Jews flourished and were in their glory, oh what great friends were the Samaritans to them! But when the poor Jews were under affliction, then they had no worse enemies than the Samaritans.
But Christ is not so, he loves you when you are poor, as well as when you are rich; as well when you are in your rags, as when you are in your robes; when you are in adversity, as well as when you are in prosperity. Christ loves his saints as well upon a gallows—as though it were in a palace; for whom he loves, he loves unto the end.
Hebrews 13:5, "He is faithful, who has said, I will never leave you, nor ever forsake you!" I will never leave you in any condition, or any place. Oh, sirs, what a love is this! And therefore, we do not hanker for what the world can do for us, or for the world's love; it is like a Venice glass—soon broken! It smiles now—and quickly frowns! It cries "Hosanna!" today, and tomorrow "Crucify him!" But Christ's love is infinite—from his very heart.
Fifthly, Jesus Christ loves his people with a DEMONSTRATED love. "God so loved the world—that he gave his one and only Son!" John 3:16. Says Paul, "He loved me—and gave himself for me," Galatians 2:20. The Father gives the Son—and the Son gives himself. He loved me—and gave himself for me; all that Christ did and suffered—it is for me! All that Christ has—is mine. Christ's love is mine to pity me! Christ's mercy is mine to save me! Christ's graces are mine to beautify me! Christ's power is mine to protect me! Christ's wisdom is mine to counsel me! Christ's Spirit is mine to comfort me! Christ's Word is mine to teach me! Christ's glory is mine to crown me!
There are four attributes of God which are of great support to Christians:
1. His faithfulness.
2. His mightiness.
3. His goodness.
4. His wisdom.
And therefore, sirs, it is your duty to live upon God promises, when his providences seem to run adverse!
Christ's love to you is free love! All that he has given you is free—his grace is free, his love is free, his salvation is free, and he himself is free. Therefore, a grain of saving grace in the heart—is better than a chain of gold around the neck! Now, beloved, all that Christ has bestowed upon you—it is free, and therefore it is a divine love.
Sixthly, Christ loves his people with a love of COMPASSION, sympathizing with them in all their sorrows and sufferings. Truly this is a great comfort indeed, "In all their afflictions," says the text, "he was afflicted," Isaiah 63:9. So says the apostle, "We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses," Hebrews 4:15. That is, we have a high priest who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities—one who weeps in our tears, and sighs in our sighs, and sorrows in our sorrows, and suffers in our sufferings! And therefore, says Christ, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute ME?" Christ was first persecuted by Paul in his members, and afterward he was persecuted in Paul as one of his members. Oh, what a sweet love is this! a love of compassion, and sympathizing with us in all our sorrows and sufferings!
Now, beloved, Jesus Christ loves his subjects with a love of compassion, and therefore let your sufferings be what they will, Jesus Christ does only as it were, bear a share with you.
Seventhly, Jesus Christ loves his people with a love of DELIGHT. Speaking there of Christ the King, "The King shall greatly delight in your beauty," Psalm 40:11. The King shall greatly delight in your beauty—with great delight and joy. And therefore, beloved, Christ calls his church—his love, his dove, his beloved, his lovely one. Oh, how infinitely does Christ love his church! Certainly Christ bears a great love to his church; and hence it is you read, "Christ walks among the golden candlesticks, and he feeds among the lilies, and his delight is with the sons of men."
Although poor believers are 'ravens' in the world's eye—yet they are 'doves' in Christ's eye! They are very precious in his esteem! Though they are loathed by wicked men—yet they are dearly beloved by God—he delights in them. The King shall greatly delight in them.
Eighthly, Christ loves his people with an EVERLASTING love. He loves them with an undying love—a love that never fades, never waxes cold. Christ's love is like a fountain ever flowing, and never dried up! Whom he loves from all eternity—these he loves to all eternity! Now, sirs, is not this a great favor to be so loved by Christ? "Having loved His own who were in the world—He loved them to the end!" John 13:1. He did not love them for a day, a month, or a year—but even unto the end. And in Jeremiah 31:3, speaking there of his love, it is called an everlasting love; "I have loved you," says God, "with an everlasting love."
Oh, sirs, this is a love that shall bed and board with you—that shall lie down and rise up with you—that shall go to your death-bed with you—that shall go to the grave with you—that shall go to heaven with you! The saints shall put off the jewel of faith when they die—but not the jewel of Christ's love; for that shall remain with them to eternity. He loves his saints with an everlasting love!
Ninthly, Christ loves his people with a UNIVERSAL love. His love is universal to all his saints. Oh, Christ infinitely loves every true believer! He loved poor Lazarus—as well as rich Abraham! He loved despised Job—as well as honorable David. He loves the poorest saints—as well as the richest. He loves them all alike—God is no respecter of persons. Oh, where is there such a king now, as Christ! They love their nobles, they are their favorites; but Christ loves all his subjects. Christ's love extends to all his saints; his love is like the beams of the sun, which reaches all ways, east, west, north, and south—so does Christ's love.
Tenthly, Christ loves his people with a CORRECTING love. "The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he scourges everyone he accepts as a son." Hebrews 12:6
Eleventhly, Christ loves his people with a DIRECTING love. He has promised to guide and direct his people in the way wherein they ought to walk.
Oh, put all these particulars together, and surely you must confess that Jesus Christ loves his subjects INFINITELY. As it was said of Lazarus, when Christ wept for him, they made this construction of it, "Oh, how he loves him!" Oh, how does Christ love you who are his people! He loves you infinitely, even beyond all measure!
Now, oh sirs, for the Lord's sake, consider of it, and let
this draw forth your love to him.
I now come to show you the love of Christ's people—to Christ.
"Yes, he is altogether lovely! This is my beloved, and this is my friend!" Song of Songs 5:16
"Oh, feed me with your love—your 'raisins' and your 'apples'—for I am utterly lovesick!" Song of Songs 2:5
The Spouse indeed was love-sick! But Christ exceeded her love—for he died for his love! "While we were sinners, Christ died for us!" He loved us more than his own life! Yes, the very life of Christ to him was not too dear for us. The 'pelican' feeds her young ones with her own blood. Oh! sirs, Christ is our pelican, who has nourished and fed us with his own blood. "My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed," says Christ, John 6:55. Christ's red blood—has taken away our red guilt! Scarlet-red sinners have become milk-white saints, when washed in his blood! All our precious mercies, come swimming to us in Christ's precious blood!
Christ bled love at every vein! His drops of blood—were drops of love! Yes, the more bloody he was—the more lovely! He was most lovely upon the cross—because then he showed most love to us!
In the last section, I showed you the great love which Jesus Christ bears to all his subjects; and the sum of my discourse was this—that Jesus Christ loves his subjects with an everlasting and undying love.
That which I am now to show to you is this—that all Christ's subjects love him; and what kind of love they have for Christ.
The saints' love to Christ is VEHEMENT and STRONG.This will appear, if you consider to what the Scripture likens and compares the saints' love. Now it is compared to four things:
1. To sickness.
2. To death.
3. To the grave.
4. To fire.
To these things is a believer's love compared in Scripture; I shall handle them in order.
First,SICKNESS. This is the first comparison which sets forth the strength of the believer's love; this is set down in two places of this book of Canticles. "Oh, feed me with your love—your 'raisins' and your 'apples'—for I am utterly lovesick!" Song of Songs 2:5. And in chapter 5, verse 8, "Make this promise to me, O women of Jerusalem! If you find my beloved one, tell him that I am sick with love!"
She is overwhelmed, she is overcome, and even ravished with his love and beauty. "Oh! I thirst, I faint, I pant, I long for him!" O! The Christian should be very sick, and ready to swoon with love to Jesus. Never was Ahab so sick for a vineyard, never was Sisera so desirous for milk, nor Samson for water, nor Rachel for a child, nor Amnon for his sister Tamar—as poor broken-hearted sinners are for Christ! When Christ gets into the heart, he draws all the affections to him.
I remember the speech of a gracious woman, I have borne, said she, nine children, with as much pain as other women, and yet I could with all my heart bear them over again; yes, bear them, and bear them all the days of my life, that 1 might be sure of a part in Christ.
Oh how infinitely do believers love Christ! David wonders at his own love in Psalm 119:97, "O, how love I your law!" He makes a wonder at it here; with what vehemency he loves God's Word. "O how love I your law!" Just so, the spouse here, she does not only love him—but she is utterly love-sick. Oh! sirs, here is a sickness not unto death—but unto life; it is a sickness that still brings blessedness and happiness with it, a sickness that shall be cured by him who is the great Physician of souls. This is the first kind of love; she compares her love to sickness.
Secondly, The next thing whereby she expresses the strength of her love to Christ, it is byDEATH. This you have in Canticles 8. She there tells you, "her love is strong as death." Beloved, you know death is strong, it is the king of terrors, and the terror of kings; it subdues all sorts of people—high and low, rich and poor, old and young, good and bad. The greatest monarchs, kings, and emperors, have all been thrown down by death. Where did that man dwell—who was too strong for death? If strength could have resisted it—then Samson would have escaped it. Could greatness have overlooked it—then Nebuchadnezzar would have eluded it. Could beauty have outfaced it—then Absalom would have never met it. Could riches have bribed it—then Dives would have avoided it.
But, alas! none of these gallants were hardy enough for death—it trod on the necks of them all! And therefore, oh look upon death—as a thing you must reckon with! Look upon yourselves—as a thing you must part with.
Now, by this you may guess what love is—It is as strong as death; yes, strong indeed. Oh, how strong is death! Nay, believers' love to Christ is not as strong as death—but stronger than death—as some Scriptures make it appear.
A believer's love to Christ is stronger than death, "I am persuaded," says Paul, "that neither life, nor death, principalities nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, shall ever be able to separate us from the love of Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38, 39.
Death, though it may kill us—it cannot hurt us! Though death may send us to the pit of darkness—yet it cannot send us to the place of torments! Though it may take away our lives—yet it cannot take away our loves! Bloody tyrants have taken away the martyrs' lives for Christ—but they could never destroy their love to him. One of the primitive Christians, when he came to suffer, said, "Oh, I shall die for my Savior but once—but I have no more lives to lay down! Oh, I could die a hundred times for him!" Oh! sirs, love is a thing that outlives all enemies, all persecutions, all dangers; nay, death itself!
Revelation 12:11 says, "They loved not their lives unto the death." And so says Job, "Though you slay me—yet will I trust in you;" as if he had said, "Oh, Lord, though you take away my possessions, my greatness, my health, my goodness, my children; yes, my life itself—you shall never take away my love! Though you kill me—yet will I trust in you!" Job. 13:15. So love to Christ is not only as strong as death—but stronger than death; for love is the conqueror at the last.
Thirdly, Another thing whereby she expresses the strength of her love, and her strong affection to Christ, it is theGRAVE. This you have in chapter 8:6. Her "love is as unyielding as the grave." The grave is the bed of darkness, which is always craving, and never satisfied—but devours all that comes. Christ tells us in John 4:14. "He who drinks of the water that I shall give him, shall thirst no more." What, thirst no more? No more thirst after the world, and worldly things; but more and more thirst after Christ and heaven.
"He who drinks of the water that I shall give him, shall thirst no more." No more after those base poor things—but more and more after Christ.
"My soul thirsts for You!" Psalm 42:1. Why, David—how does your soul thirst for God? He tells you, "As the deer pants after the water brooks—so my soul pants after you, O God." Now mark, sirs, the poor deer which is hunted by dogs—it is, as it were, all in a burning heat, and then it pants, and thirsts, and is ready to die for water. Now, says David, "As the deer pants after the water brooks—so pants my soul after you, O God." Oh, the vehement fire of David's thirst!
No hungry man ever longed for bread, nor a thirsty man long for water, nor a naked man long for clothes, nor a covetous man long for riches, nor a sick man long for health, nor a condemned man long for pardon—than truly gracious soul thirsts for Jesus!
David tells you elsewhere, "Whom have I in heaven but you, and there is none I desire on earth in comparison of you!" Psalm 73:23. David—do you not desire your wife, your children, your crown, your kingdom? "Yes, these be desired in their places—but these were nothing in comparison of God." I remember the saying of a martyr, to one that asked him if he did not love his wife and children, when they wept by him? "Love them! yes!" says he, "if all the world were gold, and mine to dispose of, I would give it all to live with them, though it were in a prison;" says he, " yet, in comparison with Jesus—I love them not." Oh! sirs, we must tread upon father, and run over mother—to come to Christ.
You know Peter, to come to Christ—he would go upon the bare water! Rather than sail, he went upon the sea to Christ! Truly it was a dangerous passage—but Peter bore up excellently well, while his faith bore up—but when his faith sank, then Peter began to sink too. In Scripture, the world is called a sea; and you must go upon these waters to Christ, and be sure to keep up faith, and then you will hold out; but if faith fails, you shall be sure to sink.
Oh! sirs, the believer's love is unsatisfied like the grave. "None but Christ, none but Christ!" says the martyr. Ad as Augustine says, "Oh Lord, take away all—only give me yourself!"
Fourthly, Love is compared toFIRE. Canticles 8:6, "It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame!" Now, beloved, the saints' love to Christ, is not only compared to fire for its warming and heating—but for its kindling, and increasing, and flaming; "While I was musing," says David, "the fire burned," Psalm 39:3. What fire? Why, the fire in his heart—and not the fire on the hearth.
Now, beloved, as the saints' love is compared to fire in the Scripture, so you shall find afflictions, and persecutions, and dangers, and these cruel things that accompany the poor saints in the world, are called waters and floods. Revelation 17:15, "The waters which you saw, where the whore sat." Revelation 12:14, "Then the dragon tried to drown the woman with a flood of water that flowed from its mouth." Now, what is the flood here? Why, this flood is bloody persecutions, and devilish persecutions. Now, beloved, how long has the dragon been spewing out her water upon the church? And why is all this water thrown out? It is to quench the fire that I speak of; but can they do it? No, alas! they may spew until their eyes come out of their head, and to no purpose! Canticles 8:7, "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it!" All the bloody persecutions and afflictions cannot quench love; and therefore let wicked men send forth as many floods as they will—they cannot drown the saints' love.
All the water that Saul and his party threw upon David did not quench his love. No, says he, "Though I walk through the valley and shadow of death—yet will I fear no evil." Psalm 23:4. David is not afraid to go by death's door.
All the waters that Herod and the rulers threw upon the apostles, could never quench their love.
Now, beloved, you will find after the apostles where whipped soundly, that they went away rejoicing, and rejoicing in this very thing, that they were accounted worthy to suffer for Jesus Christ. "They took joyfully accepted the confiscation of their property." Hebrews 10:34
Says Paul, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us!" Romans 8:35-37
Believe it, sirs, all these are trying things, and yet, says he, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" No, no, they cannot do it! There is nothing that shall ever be able to separate us from the love of Christ! The believer's love is not made of such metal, as to be quenched by this flood; the saints are all on fire for Christ. And so we find that great flood which Nero and Julian poured out upon the primitive Christians; what—did it quench the fire? I remember one of the martyrs said, "Had I ten heads—they should all suffer for Christ!" And another said, "If every hair of my head were a man—they should all suffer for Christ!" Alas! the poor Christians grasped their torments like so many crowns! For the Scripture tells you, that "many waters cannot quench love."
Now, beloved, put these four things together, and it is very clear, that the saints' love to Christ is vehement and strong. They will hang for him, they will burn for him, they will do anything for him, and suffer the greatest torments rather than he should lose the least grain of glory!
But you will say, WHY do all God's subjects love Him with such great love? The reasons are two:
First, Because he deserves it.
Secondly, He commands it.
First, Christ deserves our love. Why do we love him? Because he deserves it at our hands, even it it were ten thousand times more than it is. Beloved, it was he who created us; it is he who sanctified us; it is he who redeemed us, and loved us; it was he who changed our natures, and pardons our sin! It was he who made our peace, and pacified his Father's wrath for us, and satisfied his Father's justice for us, and wrought everlasting righteousness for us! It is he who bore our cross—that we might wear his crown. He waded through a sea of sufferings for us—to bring pardon to our souls! And does not this Christ deserve our love? Oh infinitely, infinitely! And truly, sirs, the more Christ has done and suffered for us—the dearer shall he be unto us.
Secondly, As Christ deserves our love, so he commands it. Christ commands us to love him above life, above wife, above relations. Christ will have all—or none at all. Jesus Christ must weigh heavier than all relations in the balance of our affections; he commanded to love him above all.
APPLICATION. I now proceed to the application of all to ourselves, which is the third thing in order to be handled, and I shall make three uses of it.
1st, For Consolation.
2nd, For Examination.
3rd, For Exhortation.
First, forCONSOLATION. Is it so that Christ loves us with an everlasting and never-dying love? Why, then, here is comfort for you who are his people. I speak only now to such. "Comfort, comfort, comfort, my people," says God, Isaiah 40:1. And Christ says, "Let not your hearts be troubled." John 14:1. Christ would not have his poor saints troubled!
"Rejoice evermore!" says the apostle in 1 Thess. 5:17. "Rejoice evermore!" Alas! how can we rejoice? When men vilify us, when men reproach us, and abuse us, and persecute us—how can we rejoice? But harken what Christ says, "Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all manner of evil against you falsely, for my name's sake." Matthew 5:11. Mark, Blessedness goes in the first place, "Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you."
Oh sirs, it is a matter of blessedness, and therefore be not cast down. You know what was said of old, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world!" John 16:33. Cheer up, Christian! this world is all the hell that you shall ever have! Here you have your bad things—your good things are yet to come! Here you have your bitter things—but your sweet things are yet to come! Here you have your prison—but your palace is yet to come! Here you have your rags—your royal robes are yet to come! Here you have your sorrow—your joy is yet to come! Here you have your hell, your heaven is yet to come! After the cup of affliction, comes the cup of salvation! The sweetness of the crown which shall be enjoyed—will make amends for the bitterness of the cross which was endured. "Then the King will say to those on His right—Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!" Matthew 25:34
One passing by a place where a cross lay on the ground, he lifted it up, and found much riches and treasure under it. Oh, sirs, under the greatest troubles—lie your greatest treasures! The seed of sorrow on earth—shall reap a golden crop of joy in heaven! Those who sow holiness in the seed-time of their lives—shall reap happiness in the harvest of eternity! Oh! sirs, never think to have an end of your sorrow—until there be an end of your sin! The apostle tells us, "Our light affliction, which is for a moment—works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!" A grain of affliction—to a weight of glory! Oh what a short moment of pain—to an eternity of pleasures! Therefore saints, be of good cheer! Here is comfort for you—your best days are yet to come! You are subjects of King Jesus, who loves you entirely and infinitely, with an undying love!
Use 2. For the use ofEXAMINATION. Is it so—that the saints' love to Christ is vehement and strong? Why then, I beseech you examine, and try, and search yourselves—how does your pulse beat after Christ? Oh that you would examine yourselves, that you may know whose you are while you live, and where you shall go when you die, and what will become of you to eternity! Oh sirs! Do you love Christ? Are you love-sick for Christ? For the Lord's sake, sirs, examine yourself, and see whether you have true love to Christ.
It is to be feared, there are but few in the world, who are sick with this disease. Many are love-sick for honors—which are but rattles to still men's ambitions! Many are love-sick for gold and silver, which is but a little shining dirt! Many men are love-sick for blood, who eat up the Lord's people like bread! God will lay on them the hand of vengeance, who lay on his saints the hand of violence! Many are love-sick with superstition, and the human traditions of men—which, instead of bringing their souls to heaven, will beguile them of heaven! Alas! many are sick of their sufferings! But who need to fear the cross—who are sure of the crown? But oh! how few are there that are love-sick for Christ! how many are therein this congregation that are love-sick for Christ? For the Lord's sake, do not deceive yourselves; you see the spouse was ready to swoon, and faint, and die for Christ!
Secondly, Her love was as strong as death; nay, stronger than death! Is your love so? Oh soul! can you endure a prison for Christ, burning for Christ, hanging for Christ, forsaking all for Christ? Will you venture on the waves for Christ, as Peter did? Oh, sirs, for the Lord's sake, look to yourselves! There are many who profess love to Christ in words—but more that deny him in their works! God was never more in men's mouths—and never less in men's lives! Beloved, is your love for Christ like the grave, never satisfied? Do you cry out more for Christ? "Oh, give me Christ—and let others have the world." Is this flame in your souls? For the Lord's sake try yourselves, deal cordially with your poor souls!
Now, beloved, I have given you a taste of sincere love to Christ. Blessed are they who cast their love into the sweet bosom of their Maker.
Use 3. I shall now close all with a word ofEXHORTATION. Well, sirs, if I should preach here until tomorrow morning, what more can I say to make you to love Christ? He is most lovely, "he is altogether lovely!" Therefore, love Christ, love Christ! All springs of love are in him!
O, sirs, love Christ—for if you do not, there is a dreadful curse pronounced against you! "If anyone does not love the Lord—that person is cursed!" 1 Corinthians 16:22. There is no heaven, no happiness, no crown, without Christ! For in him does all fullness dwell; all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ, and the Father gives forth all his loving kindness through Christ. Beloved, is it not better swimming in the water-works of sincere repentance, than burning in the fire-works of divine vengeance! One of them you must experience! There is no coming to the fair haven of glory—without sailing through the narrow strait of repentance!
Plead what you will, unless you believe in your Savior, your souls will be miserable forever; and therefore consider what I have said, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. Love Christ more than ever, more than all, and above all—and then you shall be happy forevermore!
Christ is a King, Priest, and Prophet.
He is a King for government and rule.
He is a Priest for sacrifice and intercession.
He is a Prophet for teaching and revealing the secrets of his Father's bosom.
Beloved, you know how far we proceeded in our last section—that Jesus Christ is the King of kings, and does surmount and excel all other kings. And it is as King of kings, that Jesus Christ loves all his subjects, and all his subjects love him. And I showed you the wonderful love of Christ to his subjects, and his subjects' love to him in many particulars. I now proceed to other particulars, wherein Christ excels the kings of the earth.
Seventhly, Jesus Christ makes all his subjects—his subjects do not make him. "By him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth," Col. 1:19. By whom? By Jesus Christ—by Christ were all things created. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not, John 1:10. So in the 3rd verse, "All things were made by him, and without him was nothing made." There was nothing made without Christ—all things were made by Christ. Beloved, Jesus Christ creates his subjects; he makes his subjects; and gives being to his subjects.
"In him we live, move, and have our being." He gives us a threefold being:
our first being in the state of nature,
our second being in the state of grace,
and our third being in the state of glory.
This is the seventh thing wherein Jesus Christ excels all other kings; he makes his subjects, which none else can do.
Eighthly, Christ is the richest of all kings.
O sirs, he is rich in love, he is rich in knowledge, rich in goodness, rich in wisdom, rich in grace, rich in glory! He is as rich as the Father himself; the riches of the Deity are in him! "In him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily," Col. 2:9.
O sirs, in him there dwells all fullness. Of what? Why, of the Godhead! Alas! sirs, what are princes' single crowns, or the pope's triple crown—compared to Christ's many crowns? Christ has not one, or two, or three crowns—but many crowns upon his head! Revelation 19:12, "His eyes were bright like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns!"
Christ is richer than any king—nay, richer than all the kings in the world, "for he is heir of all things," Hebrews 1:2. He is the greatest heir in heaven and earth!
The Spanish ambassador coming to see the treasure of the cathedral at Venice, which was so much cried up through the world for a famous treasury—he fell a groping into it, to find whether it had any bottom. And being asked the reason of it, said he, "My master's treasury differs from yours in this—his has no bottom as yours has!" alluding to the mines of the Indies. But alas! what is the proud Spaniard's treasure, compared to Christ's treasure? And what are his mines, compared to Christ's mines? What are all the jewels, and diamonds, and crowns, and the scepters of all the kings of the earth, compared to Christ's treasures?
"The whole Turkish empire, which is a great part of the world indeed," says Luther, "is but a crust that God throws to dogs—it is no more than a bone, a crust that God throws to dogs!" O! sirs, Christ's riches are so many—that they cannot be numbered! They are so precious—that they cannot be valued! They are so great—they cannot be measured! O the infinite riches of our King! Christ is a mine of gold, which we will dig into throughout all eternity!
Ninthly, Christ excels all other kings in this too—he is a king whose POWER is absoluteover all nations, and people, and kindred, and tongues. Now, sirs—his will is law! No man's will in the world is sufficient to be a law—but the will of our King is sufficient.
Tenthly, Jesus Christ is a King who rules over the souls and consciences of men, over the wills and hearts of men!Other kings may rule over the estates of men, over the bodies of men—but not over their consciences! Now this is Christ's glory, which he will give to no other—Christ by his power is able to subdue the wills of men, and the hearts of men, though ever so stubborn and stout before. All the power of the world cannot do this! If all the kings, and princes, and emperors, of the world were put together—they would not be able to subdue the heart of one poor man! They may beat his body, afflict his body, torment his body—but as for his heart, I say—all the kings and potentates in the world, nay, all the angels in heaven, cannot subdue the heart of a poor man! And this is the glory of Christ—than he can do this. Heart work is God's work. The great heart-maker must be the great heart-breaker! None can do it but he.
Eleventhly, Christ is a King who has no need of any instruments.He makes use of them sometimes, but he needs none! Alas! sirs, what can the kings of the earth do without instruments? How can they govern their kingdoms without instruments? They must have this instrument here, and the other there—or else quick farewell crown and kingdom! But Jesus Christ has no need of any, he can simply do anything by his own power.
By HIMSELF he destroyed Pharaoh and his great army in the Red sea, Exodus 14. By himself he overthrew Jericho, that great city, Joshua 6. By himself he smote the vast army of a million men—the greatest army that ever we read of, 2 Chronicles 14. By himself he overthrew Ammon and Moab, and the nations who warred against Judah. This now, he did by himself.
Secondly, See what he has done by WEAK means. He smote the kings about Sodom, even by Abraham and his poor family, Genesis 23. By weak means he overthrew that mighty army of the Midianites, by Gideon's 300 men, Judges 7. By weak means he destroyed the great Goliath—even by David; and the great warrior Sisera—by a woman. By weak means he destroyed a garrison of the Philistines, even by Jonathan and his armor-bearer, 1 Samuel 14:4. Now this he did by weak means—and much more!
Now, Thirdly, See what he did CONTRARY to means. Why, contrary to means—he delivered the three Hebrew children from being burned in the blazing fire! Contrary to means, he delivered Jonah from drowning in the sea. Contrary to means, he delivered Daniel from being devoured in the den of lions. Contrary to means, he kept the Israelites from being drowned, being in the sea. I say, this he did contrary to means. And I might show you what he has done by contrary means—but I pass by that.
So that you see that our King has no need of instruments, and therefore he wonderfully excels all other kings.
Twelfthly, Christ is a King who will overcome and subdue all our enemies!Yes, ALL our enemies, both spiritual and temporal—he will utterly overthrow!
Our enemies are very many, and very mighty! They are high in power, and high in pride—and we very weak! We may well speak in David's words, "I am weak this day—though anointed king." How David—weak today, and yet made a king today? Yes, says he, the sons of Zeruiah are too hard for me! Why, believers, you are all kings in a spiritual sense—you are kings, elected kings in a disguise; but yet, poor hearts, you are weak, though you are kings elected; the sons of Zeruiah are too hard for you!
Why—but sirs, Jesus Christ is a King of kings, a King above all kings, and over all kings, and he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet, 1 Corinthians 15:25. Mark, "He must reign!" He must of necessity, for God has spoken it, until he has put all enemies under his feet, not only some—but all.
O! this is good news to saints, excellent news; what king can do this but Christ? What king can put all his enemies under his feet? What earthly king can subdue all his enemies? Alas! they cannot subdue their own; for the most flourishing kings that we read of, have fallen before their enemies for lack of strength. But Jesus Christ can subdue all his enemies; he has all power in heaven and in earth given to him, (Matthew 28:18). So that if he but speaks the word, all his enemies are overthrown, even in a moment!
In the thirteenth place, Christ surmounts all other kings in this; he is a King that gives his subjects the richest and the best gifts of any other king!John 10:27, 28. "My sheep," says he, "hear my voice, and they know me, and they follow me, and I give to them eternal life." The wise God, that he may invite and encourage poor sinners to a holiness of life, sets before their eyes the recompense of reward; that if the equity of his precepts do not prevail—the excellency of his promises may; he would gladly catch men with a golden bait.
Abraham's servant gave jewels of silver, and jewels of gold to Rebekah, that he might win her heart over to Isaac, in Genesis 24:23. Oh! the jewels, the excellent jewels that Christ gives to poor souls to win their heart to him! Christ gives us richly all things to enjoy—what more can we desire!
Alas! the men of the earth give but poorly and scantily—but Christ gives richly! Christ gives freely—no man in the world gives so freely as Christ! Christ gives frequently, every day, every hour he scatters jewels to poor souls. The great king of Persia gave a gift two of his courtiers—to the one a golden cup, to the other a kiss, and he who had the cup complained to the king, that his fellow's kiss was better than his golden cup. Oh! sirs, Christ does not put off with a cup of gold—but he gives us his kiss! He gives best gifts to his beloved ones, he gives his best love, his best joy, his best peace, his best mercies. Oh! where is there a king like this King?
Alas! earthly kings may give great titles, or a place in the court, and the like. They may give a title today, and a halter tomorrow, as in the case of Haman. They may smile today—and frown tomorrow. They may kiss today—and kill tomorrow. But not so does Christ give; he gives the best of everything, the best of his love, his best blood, not the blood of his finger—but the blood of his heart.
Oh, sirs, how far does Christ excel all others in giving his subjects the best gifts! Oh, sirs, what a gift is heaven! what a gift is a pardon of sin! I wonder what earthly king can give his people such gifts; and herein the Lord Jesus excels all others.
In the last place, Christ makes all his subjects free. There is not one subject that he has—but is a free man or woman. There are some things that Christ frees from—and some things that he makes us free of. Some things that he frees us from—and what are they? Why, that which if we were not freed from, would undo us to all eternity.
First, He frees us from the CURSE—the cursed curse! If Christ had not freed us from the curse—we would have lived cursedly, and died most cursedly, and been damned forever; but Jesus Christ has freed us. "Stand fast," says Paul, "in the liberty with which Christ has made you free." And in John 8:36, "If the Son makes you free—then are you free indeed!"
Again, he frees us from the GUILT of sin. Our pride would damn us, our covetousness would damn us, our unbelief would damn us, had he not freed us from the guilt of sin; but Christ frees his people from this.
Again, he has freed us from the power of the DEVIL, insomuch that the devil has nothing to do with us.
And he frees us from the flames of HELL, from the pit of hell. Christ has freed us from hell and damnation. "He has freed us from the wrath to come,'' that is, Christ has freed us from the flames of hell.
Again, Christ has freed us from the yoke of bondage, in Galatians 5:1, "Stand fast in the liberty with which Christ has made you free, and be not again entangled in the yoke of bondage." We are no longer strangers and foreigners—but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God," Ephesians 2:19. And Christ tells us himself, in Matthew 11:30, "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Here on earth, we have burden upon burden, and yoke upon yoke; but says Christ, "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Christ has delivered us from the slavery of the LAW. We are not under the law—but under grace.
The above things we are free FROM. But there are other things that we are made free TO: to heaven, to all the promises, and to all the privileges of the saints.
Now, is not this a wonderful mercy that our King has done for us; he has freed us from all those miseries which would ruin us forever—and made us free to all the excellent privileges which poor souls can enjoy. Now, O! how far does Christ excel all other kings! The rulers of the earth, they may perhaps lay heavy burdens upon the consciences of men, and bodies of men, and estates of men—but Christ lays no such burdens upon us; no, Christ has made us free—and no people are so free, because Christ has freed us upon the cross. Christ bought our freedom dearly enough; it cost him his best blood, his noble blood.
I might name more particulars, wherein Christ excels all other kings; but I think these are very sufficient to demonstrate it.
I shall close upon this head with a word ofAPPLICATION, and so shall finish Christ's second title, "King of kings".
Use 1.Is it so that Christ is a threefold King, as I have showed you? And is he a King that does so far surpass all the kings of the earth? Oh! then, however the world goes with us—here is comfort for saints, that Christ is such a king! Oh! what a mercy is this! What a comfort is this to the Lord's people—that Christ is King above all kings, and over all kings, and must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet! All his enemies must be brought down and made his footstool.
Some earthly kings would do great matters—but they lack power. But Christ is omnipotent; for all power is in heaven and in earth is his! Now, sirs, did you really believe this, that all power is certainly given to Christ, certainly it would be a cordial to revive you in the worst times, and saddest of trials. He, who is our Savior, he who is our Head, our Brother, our Friend—is King of kings! Oh! sirs, this doctrine of Christ's kingly power, is a very sweet doctrine to the members of Christ! And, I beseech you, let these considerations which I have laid before you, bear up your spirits.
I have showed you how Christ loves his subjects with an entire love; that he is King of kings, and can do anything without instruments; that he needs none to help him to do his work; that he can, if he pleases, enable the most despicable creatures, as flies, and frogs, and caterpillars, and grasshoppers, to do his work; therefore let these considerations take impression upon your souls.
Now I have told you a relation of Christ's kingly power; and therefore let this quiet your spirits, "Be still," says the Lord, "and know that I am God," in Psalm 46:10. That is, "It is enough for you to know that I am God, and therefore be still, consider what I am."
Use 2.By way of exhortation, I have one word to say to the saints—and another to sinners.
First, Tosaints. If it is so, that Christ is King of kings, and King above all kings, and over all kings—oh! then you who are the people of God, you who are near and dear to him, upon whom, and in whom Christ is formed and stamped; oh, that you would give all the glory, and praise and honor, to Christ, and study to advance his fame!
He has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light, says the apostle, to show forth his praise. Oh, sirs, this should be our great endeavor. Oh, that you who pretend friendship and love to Christ, would endeavor in your places to advance Christ.
Secondly, Tosinners. A word or two to such as are not the subjects of Christ; let me exhort you to believe in Christ, embrace him, receive him, to lay hold upon him! Oh! you should give ten thousand worlds, if you had them to give, for a part in Christ. Alas! sinner, what is the reason that Christ is no more in your esteem? You will part with Christ—rather than part with your swearing, and drunkenness, and filthiness. Oh this is sad, for there is no other name under heaven whereby we can be saved. He is the Desire of all nations, and we can never be happy without him! And therefore, for the Lord's sake, sirs, as you love your own souls—lay hold on him, that he may be the Savior of your souls, the joy of your hearts, and your all in all. Oh that I could but tempt you to Christ! Oh that I could prevail with you to love Christ, and to have strong desires after him!
Alas! sirs, if you do not believe, and part with all your iniquities—you must part with Christ at last! Ah, what a sad parting will that be—to part with God, and Christ, and heaven! When you will come to know what you have lost by hugging your darling corruptions; oh what a sad condition will it be! And therefore I beseech you, think of it in time, and believe in the Savior—that your souls may be saved in the day of Christ!
THE MIGHTY GOD
"He is altogether lovely!" Song of Solomon 5:16
Doctrine—That Jesus Christ is infinitely and superlatively lovely.
"His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
I finished the second title which is given to Christ in Scripture, King of Kings. I now proceed to a third, and that is, Mighty God. One of Christ's titles is, the Mighty God.
Beloved, I have showed you from the second title, that Christ is a King, a King above all kings, and a King over all kings, and the King of kings, and that his laws are most equal, and his subjects most happy—having no other tax laid upon them than love and fear.
But now this title holds him forth, not only as a great King—but as a GREAT GOD, before whom all kings and kingdoms are but as little drops, or as small dust, Isaiah 40:15. From this title, The Mighty God, I shall lay down this proposition, That Jesus Christ is true and perfect God. That is the point I shall insist upon.
There are two sorts of people in the world that deny my doctrine, who deny the Deity of Jesus Christ, who say the second Person of the Trinity is not God.
First, The unbelieving Jews; if Christ had come as the Jews dreamed, as a great monarch, treading upon nothing but crowns and scepters, and the necks of kings, and had all the potentates of the earth to attend his train; I say, had Christ came in this worldly glory, and pomp, and power—then it may be that the Jews would have believed on him; maybe then he would have been their God. But now, beloved, because Christ came poorly and lowly, and made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant; therefore the Jews slighted him, and disowned him. The Turks mock us at this day with our "crucified God". Oh, say they, "you worship a crucified God!" And some of the heathen say they would not believe in a "hanged God". Oh blessed Jesus, thus are you reproached and despised by the unbelieving world, because you came and lived poorly, and died shamefully for our sins. Those who despise the death of the Lamb—shall surely feel the wrath of the Lamb! Those who turn away their ears from hearing Christ's voice now—Christ will turn away his ears from hearing their cries then!
Secondly, There are others who deny the Deity of Christ in this nation, who say that Christ is but a mere man, and that every saint is as much God as Christ. And others say, that to equal Christ with God is high blasphemy. Those who will not own Christ in his first coming—Christ will not own them at his second coming! Those who will not obey the truth of God revealed from heaven unto them—shall suffer the wrath of God revealed from heaven against them!
Express Scripture speaks it forth, that Jesus Christ is true and perfect God. Titus 2:13 says, "looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearance of the great God." Mark, Christ is here not only called God—but the great God. Oh, saints, he who came from heaven to make us righteous—will also come from heaven to make us glorious! Not only so—but Christ is also called Mighty God; nay, not only Mighty God—but again, "God blessed forever." Romans 9:5. Christ is God blessed forever. Not only blessed forever—but the true God, 1 John 4:20. Jesus Christ is there called the true God; and not only the true God—but a God forever and ever, Hebrews 1:8. Mark there, "unto the Son he says, Your throne O God is forever and ever!" The Father himself calls the Son, God—and therefore well may we.
Thus you see the doctrine fully proved, that Jesus Christ is the true and perfect God. But, beloved, because the Deity of Christ is so much questioned at this day, and this being one of the serious and chief points in divinity, therefore I shall give you some considerations, or demonstrations, or arguments, to fortify you against this great error before named.
First, That Jesus Christ is true and perfect God.
Jesus is for TIME, co-eternal with the Father.
Jesus is for NATURE, co-essential with the Father.
Jesus is for DIGNITY, co-equal with the Father.
First, Jesus is for TIME, co-eternal with the Father.John 17:5, "Oh Father, glorify me with yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world was." You see here, sirs, Christ was before the world was, Christ was from everlasting, from the beginning, Proverbs 8:23, speaking concerning Christ, "I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began." And therefore Christ is called the Everlasting Father in Isaiah 9:6. Revelation 1:8, Christ here, speaking of himself, says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty!"
Mark, sirs, Christ is the same in time, before time, and after time, "Who is, and who was, and who is to come."
Now, beloved, none can be eternal—but God. Christ is eternal, and therefore he is God, and co-eternal with his Father.
Second, Jesus is for NATURE, co-essential with the Father."I and my Father are one," says Christ in John 10:30. "There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, and these three are one." Mark here, they are one.
John 14:8, When Philip desires to see the Father, "Show us the Father—and it is enough;" says Christ, in the 9th and 10th verses, "He who has seen me has seen the Father." How so? "For I am in the Father, and the Father is in me." So that you see Christ is more than mere man; he is one with the Father. Oh, sirs, he is God-man. If you make the Son mere man, you must make the Father mere man also.
Third, Jesus is for DIGNITY, co-equal with the Father.Philippians 2:6, "Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with the Father." Christ thought it no diminution of his Father's glory—to be equal with his Father in glory. And you shall further find that all the honor which belongs to God—the Father has commanded us to give it to the Son. "That all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him" John 5:23.
Therefore it is clear to every eye, that Christ is for dignity, co-equal with the Father; for the Father has commanded us to give the same honor to Christ which is due to him. Therefore it is no blasphemy at all, certainly, to equal Christ with God; for in him are the riches of the Deity, and the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in him; as you may see Col. 2:9. This is the first argument. He is for time co-eternal, for nature co-essential, for dignity coequal with the Father.
Secondly, consider the work of CREATION.I shall lay down this argument to prove the Deity of Jesus Christ: surely he who made heaven and earth, must needs be a God; you will yield to this. So says the Lord himself, "These 'gods', who did not make the heavens and the earth—will perish from the earth and from under the heavens." Jeremiah 10:11.
But now, beloved, Jesus Christ made the heavens and the earth, and all things therein, and therefore he is God! See a few Scriptures for this, John 1:3, "All things were made by him;" mark, this is by Christ! All things were made by him, and without him was nothing made that was made, Col. 1:16, "By him were all things created in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible; all things were by him, and for him." So again, John 1:10, "He was in the world, and the world was made by him." Now, beloved, had Christ been less than God, he could not have made heaven and earth, and therefore he is God of glory, the great God who now sits upon the throne; for he created the heavens and the earth, and all things therein.
Thirdly,That Christ is the true and perfect God, appears—if you consider the WORKS and MIRACLES which he did in the days of his flesh; here is another unanswerable argument to prove the Godhead of Jesus Christ. The winds and the seas obey him, the devils came out of the possessed, the blind received their sight, the lame walked, the deaf heard, the dumb spoke, lepers were cleansed, the dead were raised, the sick were healed. Oh, who could do this but God?
But you may say, the apostles did great miracles, and yet were not gods. Why, it is true they did great miracles; but in whose name did they do them? Was it in their own names—and by their own power? No, beloved! They themselves confess the contrary, Acts 4:10. They tell you, it is not in their own power—but in the name and power of Jesus Christ. Beloved, this is a strong argument to prove the Deity of Christ; they did great miracles in his name, and by his power!
And with this argument, Jesus satisfied the disciples of John, "Go and tell what things you hear and see—how the lame walk, and the blind receive their sight."
Now, I say, these great miracles could be done by none but by a great God; and therefore Jesus Christ is not only the Son of man—but the Son of God, even God blessed forever.
But, Fourthly, Consider divine WORSHIP is due unto Christ.Worship only is proper to God alone. "Worship him who made heaven, and earth, and the sea," said the angel in Revelation 14:7.
Now, beloved, all the acts of worship that belong to God the Father, are given to the Son Jesus Christ; both angels and men are commanded to worship him. Hebrews 1:6, "Let all the angels of God worship him!" Philippians 2:10, "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, both of all things in heaven, and on earth." Mark, sirs, things in heaven, as well as things on earth, must worship Christ; and Christ himself says in John 14:1, "You believe in God, believe also in me." Now, beloved, we are commanded to pray to Christ, to glorify Christ, to believe in Christ, to honor Christ, and worship Christ; and therefore the saints have prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," as Stephen did. So that you see worship is due to Christ, both from angels and men—and therefore he must needs be God.
Fifthly, There are clear promises of the coming of Christ under the Old Testament.No sooner was man fallen—but Christ was promised, "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." All the prophets foretold of the Messiah, (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Daniel, Malachi, and the rest of them,) how falsely he would be accused, how basely he should be used, and this will be enough to condemn the unbelieving Jews, and make them speechless in the great day of accounts. I might give you the sayings of the same prophets—but you may find them yourselves; search the Old Testament, and you shall find them all speak more or less of Jesus Christ. Thus I have clearly proved, by express Scripture and undeniable arguments, that Jesus Christ is true and perfect God. I proceed to the USE and APPLICATION of it to ourselves.
TheFirst use shall be for INFORMATION. If it is so that Jesus is true and perfect God, then, though this is a strange truth to some—yet it is a sound truth; though the mystery is deep—yet the divinity is true, that he who made man became man, suffered by man, and for man, is Jesus, the true and perfect God. "Without controversy," says the apostle, "great is the mystery of godliness." What is the mystery? "God was manifested in the flesh!" 1 Timothy 3:16. Without controversy, without all doubt, a great mystery, says the apostle "God was manifested in the flesh!"
And truly, sirs, it is a great mystery: for happiness—to become a curse; for him who made the angels—to become lower than the angels; for the Creator—to become a creature; for him who had the riches of all in himself—to become poor. Oh! this is a great mystery, that he whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain—that his glory should be enwrapped in the rags of flesh; that the great God should take upon him a piece of earth; that he who hangs the earth upon nothing—should hang upon a cross between two thieves! Truly a great mystery; that he who rules the stars—should suck the breast; that he who thunders in the clouds—should be cradled in a manger. Oh! a great mystery, that Abraham's Lord—should become Abraham's son; that the God of Abraham should take upon him Abraham's seed; what a mystery is this! He was conceived in the womb of his mother, that he might be received into the bosom of his Father. "Therefore," says the apostle, "without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh." God's Son became man's son—that we poor man's sons might become God's sons.
But,Secondly, is Jesus Christ true and perfect God? My second inference is this—That Jesus is a precious God! He is honey in the mouth, beauty in the eye, joy in the heart, and music in the ear.
"Let all their money perish with them—who esteem all the gold in the world worth one day's society with Jesus Christ!" said a great Marquis, when he was tempted with money.
Oh! sirs, Christ's members are the happiest, Christ's comforts are the sweetest, Christ's reward is the highest, Christ's precepts are the purest, Christ's glory is the greatest, Christ's love is the truest, Christ's riches are the most precious! He is the glory of God, the paradise of angels, the beauty of heaven, the Redeemer of men. In Hebrews 1:3, he is called "the radiance of God's glory," he is the riches jewel in the cabinet of glory, he is the sparkling pearl; whoever has him cannot be poor—but whoever lacks him cannot be rich.
Thirdly, If Christ is the true and perfect God—then Christ's members are the greatest and happiest! If Christ is God Almighty's only Son, believers are God Almighty's only daughters. You read of God's daughters in Psalm 45. Christ is the King—and believers are his queen! Christ is the Bridegroom—and believers are his bride! Christ is the Lamb—and believers are his wife! Revelation 21:9.
What more shall I say? The angels in glory are in a very glorious state—but let me tell you, believers in Christ are higher than angels. They are servants, we are members. They are the friends of the Bridegroom, we are the bride. They have their personal glory, we have the same glory, for substance, with Jesus Christ! John 17:22, "The glory which you have given me," says Christ, "I have given them." Believers are nearer the throne than angels—this wonderfully speaks out that we are higher than the angels. Oh! beloved, how great are believers advanced! how high have we become, poor dust and ashes—to be above angels! and this is the greatest happiness, which we get by Christ's assuming our nature for the salvation of our souls.
Again, Christ's members be not only the greatest—but the happiest! Our renewed condition is as good in Christ—as it was bad in Adam. Oh, sirs, we were no more cursed out of Christ—than we were blessed in Christ! Christ is as full of life—as Adam was full of death! Christ is as full of sweetness to us—as Adam was of bitterness to us! Truly, soul, if you say Christ is yours—I will say, "Soul, you have that which is of more worth than a king's ransom! You have that which is more worth than all that which the devil promised Christ, when he showed him all the kingdoms of the world!" Oh! the happiness of poor believers! "There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus," says Paul in Romans 8:1. Therefore they are happy.
But,Fourthly, Christ Jesus is true and perfect God. Then we infer from hence, that God's love and goodwill to mankind was very great, that Jesus Christ should come from heaven to take our nature—that we might be partakers of the divine nature. Christ took upon him our shame—that we might be partakers of his glory. One drop of his blood—is worth a sea of ours; and yet he died our death—that we might live his life; he suffered our hell—that we might enjoy his heaven. Oh! how infinitely did he love us! He endured the sorest pains—that we might enjoy the sweetest pleasures!
"The voice of my Beloved! Look! Here He comes, leaping over the mountains, bounding over the hills!" Song of Songs 2:8. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus came leaping! He came with such love—that He came leaping! When a man goes leaping—you may know that it was with a great eagerness. Jesus came leaping—how so? He came leaping . . . from the throne to the womb, from the womb to the cradle, from the cradle to the cross, and from thence to the throne again! This was His great leap! Oh! sirs, oh! sirs, how eagerly did Jesus suffer and die for poor believers! He was hanged upon the cross on mount Calvary—that we might sit on the throne with him on mount Zion!
Fifthly, by way of EXHORTATION. To unrepentant sinners, to unbelievers, to graceless people, I have a few words to say. "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed." Romans 2:4-5
Oh! sirs, oh! sirs, methinks I can only do towards you, as Christ did once toward Jerusalem, when he came near the city—he wept over it! Truly, sinner, your state is a weeping state; your state is a miserable state! You lie open to all the wrath, to all the vengeance, to all the curses under heaven!
Oh poor miserable sinners—will you not pity yourselves? The Lord of heaven pities you! Did Jesus Christ come from heaven to you sinners—and will not you come out of your sin to come to Christ? Did Christ come from his Father's bosom, and leave his throne and crown, and all his glory—to come to a poor lost world, and to die and suffer here for poor lost sinners? And what, sinners—will all this make no impression upon you? Let me tell you, sirs, Christ came into the world, for no other end and reason—but only to die for poor sinners. It was the great design of Christ to save poor sinners. Sirs, if you will not credit me—then look into the Scripture, and then surely you will believe it, 1 Timothy 1:15, "This is a faithful saying," says the apostle, "and worthy of all acceptance, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners." Mark sirs, he came into the world to save sinners! Christ hanged upon the cross, and wept upon the cross, and died upon the cross—to save sinners! All the hardships, all the trials and sufferings which he met with—it was for the sake of poor sinners. Christ has suffered all this woe and misery for sinners—and will not you leave your swearing, and your drunkenness, and your wickedness for Christ? Oh! the sad, sad day that is coming on you! How can you answer this before God Almighty, that Jesus Christ, the King of kings, should come into the world, and abase himself so much as to be in a poor and suffering state—and yet this should have no affect on you!
Oh! who will pity you who would not pity yourselves—when you are damned—when you are howling and roaring in hell? Oh! for the Lord's sake, consider that God should come and take our nature, and that he should take our rags—that we might wear his glorious robes! What, will you rather remain in your sins and die and go to hell—than come to Christ for eternal life? Oh! sinner, for the Lord's sake, put off your beggar's rags—that you may put on his lovely robes.
I have read of Alexander the Great, that when he came against a city, he used to set up a candle, and if they yielded to him before the candle was out, they would be shown mercy—but if they stood out against Alexander, they could expect nothing but death. Oh! sirs, Christ sets up a candle—and if you will come in today, you shall have mercy! But if you do not yield to him—you will have none of his mercy. If all the angels and saints in heaven would fall upon their knees, and say, "Oh! Lord, spare this poor creature, one grain of mercy for him!" it would not be regarded, the Lord will not hear them! And therefore, consider that men are sentenced to hell, not only for their sinfulness—but for their slothfulness! Men may perish for being unprofitable servants—as well as for being abominable sinners!
Methinks you should take as much delight in those precepts that enjoin holiness—as in those promises that assure happiness! If the day of mercy leaves you graceless—the day of judgment will find you speechless! Though you may resist the judgment that he lays before you—yet you can never resist the judgment that he lays upon you! There is no standing before Christ—but by standing in Christ. Ungodly men fear no wrath—because they presently feel no wrath. Because their sin is now unpunished—they think there is no punishment for their sins! Because God continues to spare them—they go on to provoke him! Because he adds to their lives—they add to their lusts! Because he is very merciful—they will be very sinful! Because He is very good to them—they will be very bad to him! Because justice now winks—men think he is blind! Because he does not reprove them for their sins—therefore they think he approves them in their sins!
But JUSTICE will soon avenge the quarrel of abused mercy! The longer God forbears, not finding amendment, the sorer he strikes when he comes to judgment.
Oh! sinners, though the patience of God is lasting—it is not everlasting! If by the warnings of God, you are not alarmed—you shall be consumed by his wrath! The longer God is in raising his arm—the heavier will be the blow when it comes! "I gave her time to repent, but she would not turn away from her immorality." What follows? "Therefore, I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely!" Revelation 2:21.
The day that begins in mercy—may end in judgment! God is silent for only so long; but know, that God has vials of wrath filled with indignation—for vessels of wrath fitted for destruction! If God's mercy does not draw you to repentance—God's judgments will drive you to destruction! The sea of damnation shall not be sweetened with a drop of compassion!
Oh! sinners, either seek out a Savior to deliver you from the wrath of God—or else find out a shoulder to bear you up under the wrath of God!
Oh, that you would consider your ways! Has not God said, "You can be sure that no immoral, no impure, no greedy person, no swearer, no drunkard—shall enter into the kingdom of heaven?" And such are some of you! God knows it, and your own consciences know it! And yet you flatter yourselves, and speak peace to yourselves—when God speaks not a word of peace to you. Oh! sinners, think of this—before the bottomless pit has shut its mouth upon you! Oh, do no longer forget God and your own salvation! Hebrews 2:3, "How will we escape—if we neglect such a great salvation!" If you neglect the great salvation—you cannot escape the great damnation!
Sixthly, Believers, let me beseech you to stand fast, and to hold fast that which you have already, Revelation 2:19. "Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life!" He has a crown for runners—but a curse for runaways! As you look for happiness as long as God has a being in heaven—so God looks for holiness as long as you have a being on earth! "As many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them," Galatians 6:16. To tread in any other path but holiness on earth—is but to mistake your way to heaven! While you are on this side of eternity—you must hold the scepter of grace in your hands, until God set the crown of glory upon your heads! This is the sparkling diamond that is set in the apostle's crown, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7. O believer! it will be your happiness, your glory, your honor throughout eternity—if you are faithful while on earth. Oh! do not turn your backs upon the truths of God, as too many in our days have done. That man's beginning was in hypocrisy, whose end is in apostasy; indifference in religion is the next step to apostasy from religion.
Oh! do not make him a stone of stumbling, whom God has made a stone for building. If the golden chain of duty will not hold you—the iron chain of darkness shall bind you. If you abuse your liberty in this world—you shall lose your liberty in the next world. That soul was never related to Christ—that was never devoted to Christ; there is no obtaining the prize of happiness—without running the race of holiness!
Oh! for the Lord's sake, do not you begin in the spirit—and end in the flesh. O do not put your hand to the plough—and look backward. Be not true to the father of lies—and false to the Father of truth! Keep close to the Son of God, to the Word of God, to the ordinances of God, to the day of God, to the ministers of God, to the people of God—and you will be safe. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up!" Galatians 6:9.