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“ God the Father.” This agrees with the solemn declaration quoted by the apostle, “ As I live, “ saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and
every tongue shall confess to God.” 1
Let it be likewise observed, that “ the yoke of “ Christ is easy, and his burden light.” Not only are all his subjects made heirs of heaven; they have “ also the promise of the life that now is ; the full assurance that no good thing shall be withholden from them, and that they shall receive a hundred-fold, even in this present time, for all the losses they sustain from love to Christ and the gospel.
II. Let us then notice the exhortation of the text: “ Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and so ye
perish from the way:" that is, Submit and be reconciled to him, before the day of vengeance
This implies, in the first place,“ submission to “ the righteousness of God,” and a humble acceptance of mercy in his appointed way. We cannot come to a Saviour, except in the character of lost sinners. We are therefore required to humble ourselves before God, and to allow the justice of his awful sentence : and we must not at all excuse our crimes, or expect deliverance from wrath, and the gift of eternal life, as in any degree our due. “Wilt thou,” says JEHOVAH,“ condemn me, that “ thou mayest be righteous ?”2 This was precisely the case of the ancient Jews : “ They being “ignorant of God's righteousness, and going
Isa. xlv, 21-25. Rom. xiv. 11. Phil. ii. 10, 11. : Job, xl. 8.
“ about to establish their own righteousness, have
not submitted themselves to the righteousness “ of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”l
There are two principal reasons of men's rejecting the gospel. In general they hate religion, and desire to live without restraint. They take pleasure in worldly objects: and, if not compelled by their circumstances to labour, or engaged in covetous or ambitious pursuits, they love to spend their time and money in gratifying their own humour and inclinations : but submission to Christ is absolutely contrary to such a course of life. When, however, this seems to be in a measure got over, and men take a nearer view of Christianity ; they are greatly offended at its humiliating doctrines. To come before God as dependent creatures, might be endured: but to approach him as justly condemned criminals is an intolerable degradation ; especially when connected with selfdenial and renunciation of their darling pursuits. A method of salvation, which paid more respect to their wisdom, learning, or other distinctions, and especially to their virtue and goodness of heart, would meet with a better reception. To speculate and decide as philosophers, to perform duties by their native energies and good dispositions, and to demand a reward of their distinguished piety and charity, would better suit their feelings; than to be saved by grace alone, to sit as little children at the feet of Jesus, to give the Lord the glory of every good desire, thought, word, and action, to
i Rom. x. 3, 4.
rely on the all-sufficient merits and atoning blood of the Saviour, and to receive eternal life as the gift of God in him. Yet the general tenor of scripture requires this unreserved submission of sinners to divine justice, and reliance on free mercy and grace, as essential to salvation.
But the language under consideration likewise demands implicit obedience to the Saviour, as the anointed King over his redeemed people, and over all worlds for their advantage. “Kiss the Son lest "he be angry, and so ye perish from the way." When Samuel anointed Saul king over Israel, he testified his cheerful and cordial acquiescence in the Lord's appointment, by the kiss of allegiance. In like manner, we are not only required to welcome the salvation of Christ with unfeigned gratitude, and to express our love by obedience in some particulars, according to our own choice or discretion : but we are called upon to submit to his authority, and yield obedience in all things; and, if our repentance, faith, and love be sincere, we shall cordially render it. Our past sins will appear to us as acts of rebellion against our Sovereign and bounteous Creator ; present failures will be considered as additional provocations, which need forgiveness through the atoning blood; and our obedience, as the only undeniable evidence of our repentance and conversion. We shall regard every interest or object which would draw us aside, as an idol and usurper ; every contrary propensity as the remains of our old bondage ; and the path of duty as true liberty, the perfection of which we shall long after with groans and tears.
But further, we are required, to “honour the
“ Son, even as we honour the Father that sent “ him.”! Thus the worshippers of Baal kissed his image, and the idolatrous votaries of the golden calves used the same ceremony."? Jehovah therefore seems to say in the words of the text, “I demand for my beloved Son that very adoration, which I prohibited and abhorred, when offered unto idols.' When our Lord had said, “I and
my Father are One,” the Jews accused him of making himself equal with God ; and their renewed attempt to stone him, together with the immediate cause of his condemnation to the cross, proves that he neither denied nor evaded the charge. On this point, he and the Jews were at issue; for this supposed crime he suffered and died; but “ he was declared to be the Son of God " with power, by his resurrection from the dead.” And he, who carefully examines the account given of the worship rendered to “ the Lamb that was “ slain,” by redeemed sinners, an innumerable multitude of angels and all creatures, as made known in vision to the apostle John, will not be able to mark any difference between it, and the adoration paid to “Him who sitteth on the throne, “ and liveth for ever and ever.”3 It cannot therefore be wonderful, if the disciples of Christ on earth should be required to learn the worship of heaven, as a part of their “ meetness for the inhe“ ritance of the saints in light.”—But we proceed,
III. To make some remarks, on the warning and encouragement, “ If his wrath be kindled,
i John v. 23.
? 1 Kings xix. 18. Hos. xiii. 2.
but a little ; blessed are all they that put 6 their trust in him.”
What is this but a declaration that, if you refuse the salvation of Christ, reject his authority, and deny him the honour due to him, his love will be turned into fiery indignation, and he will glorify his name in taking vengeance on his despisers, as well as in saving and blessing his humble disciples ?—With allusion to the day of judgment it is said, “ The kings of the earth, and the great
men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, “ and the mighty men, and every bondman, and
every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and “ in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the “ mountains and rocks fall on us, and hide us from “ the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and “ from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day “ of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to “ stand ?”1 Observe the words, “ the wrath of the “ Lamb,” the wrath, not only of an offended King and Judge, but also of a despised Saviour. This will enhance the guilt and condemnation of those who neglect the gospel, and render their condemnation more intolerable than that of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Our attention should be peculiarly fixed on the expression, “ If his wrath be kindled, yea, but a little,"—that is, Should
be found among the more plausible and moderate of those, who refuse submission to the Saviour ; among those who have least provoked his indignation ; your doom will yet be very tremendous. This comes home to the
Rev. vi. 15–17.