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our members to be the servants of sin! Let us confess it. Often are we constrained to say, with Ezra, when he rent his mantle, and fell on his knees, and spread out his hands unto the Lord, "Oh, my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God; for our iniquities are increased over our heads, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens." Yet let not the worldling go away to triumph over such confessions, and allege that there is no such thing as genuine religion or true love to Christ. This much I will venture to say for his people, and for the grace of God, in which their great strength lies—put us to the test, give us time for prayer and reflection, and there are thousands who, rather than renounce Jesus Christ, would renounce their life, and, with unfaltering footstep, tread the well-beaten path that the martyrs have made to glory. Faith, eyeing the opening heavens, would stand on the scaffold, and say, as she changed a Jewish into a Christian hymn—if I forget thee, O Jesus, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth ; if I prefer not Jesus above my chief joy!
Translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.—Colossians L 13.
There was an ancient and universal custom set aside, on his coronation day, by that great emperor who bestrode the world like a Colossus, till we locked him up in a sea-girt prison—chained him, like an eagle, to its barren rock. Promptly as his great military genius was wont to seize some happy moment to turn the tide of battle, he seized the imperial crown. Regardless alike of all precedents, and of the presence of the Roman Pontiff whose sacred office he assumed, he placed the crown on his own head; and, casting an eagle eye over the applauding throng, stood up, in the pride of his power, every inch of him a king. The act was like the man—bold, decisive; nor was it in a sense untrue, its language this, The crown I owe to no man; I myself have won it; my own right arm hath gotten me the victory. Yet, with some such rare exceptions, the universal custom, on such occasions, is to perform this great act as in the presence of God; and, adding the solemnities of religion to the scene, by the hand of her highest minister to crown the sovereign. It is a graceful and a pious act, if, when religion is called upon to play so conspicuous a part, on such a stage, and in the presence of such a magnificent assembly, all parties intend thereby to acknowledge that crowns are the gift of God, that sovereigns as well as subjects are answerable for their stewardship, and that by Him whose minister performs the crowning act, kings reign, and princes decree justice.
According to that scripture, God sets up one and puts down another, plucks the sceptre from the hand of this man, and gives it to that, and, as our days have seen, makes fugitives of kings, to raise a beggar from the dust and the needy from the dunghill, and set him with princes. And what he does in an ordinary and providential sense to all kings, he did in a high, and preeminent, and special sense to his own Son. The "divine right of kings," with which courtiers have flattered tyrants, and tyrants have sought to hedge round their royalty, is a fiction. In other cases a mere fiction, it is in Christ's case a great fact. The crown that rests on his head was placed there by the hands of Divinity. It was from his eternal Father that he received the reward of his cross, in that kingdom, which, as we have already showed, he received neither from the Jews, nor from his own people. "Yet," says God, " have I set my king upon my holy hill of Sion." And so I remark—
3. Jesus received the kingdom from God.
When we look at the two occasions—both of them great occasions—on which our Lord was crowned, what a striking contrast do they present?
The scene of the first is laid on earth. Its circumstances are described by the evangelists—men who were the sad eye-witnesses of the events that they relate. And when we have found ourselves unable, without trembling voice, and swimming eyes, and kindling passions, to read some of those touching letters which tell how brothers, and tender sisters, and little children, and sweet babes, and beloved friends, were pitilessly massacred—when one remembers how, even at this distance from India's bloody scenes, wc were ready to take fire, and swell the cry that called for vengeance on such revolting cruelties, nothing in the Bible seems more divine than the calm, even, unimpassioned tone with which our Lord's disciples describe the events, and write the moving story of their Master's wrongs. Where one would fancy an angel might have been stirred to anger, or would have covered his eyes and wept outright for sorrow, their voice seems never to falter, nor their pen to shake, nor their page to be blotted by a falling tear. Where, we are ready to ask, is John's fond love, Peter's ardent temper, the strong impetuous passions of these unsophisticated men? Nor is there any way of accounting for the placid flow of their narratives, other than the fact that holy men of old spake and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and were the organs of Him whose complacency no event ruffles, and who, dwelling in the serene altitudes of his divine nature, is raised high above all passion.
Let us look then at the scene of our Lord's first coronation as they present it. Jesus is handed over to men of blood. Behold him stripped of his raiments! His wasted form—for it is he who speaks in the prophetic words, "I may tell all my bones; they look and stare upon me,"—moves no pity; no more, his meek and patient looks. They tie him to a post. They plough long furrows on his back. And now cruel work is to be followed by more cruel sport. Laughing at the happy thought, his guards summon all the band, and hurry off their faint and bleeding prisoner to some spacious hall. The expression may seem coarse, but it is true—they make game of the Lord of Glory. And when the shocking play is at its height, what a sight there to any disciple who should venture to look in! Mute and meek, Jesus sits in that hall—a spectacle of woe; an old purple robe on his bleeding back; in his hand a reed; and on his head a wreath—not of laurel, but of thorns, while the blood, trickling down from many wounds over his face, falls on a breast that is heaving with a sea of sorrows. Angels look on, fixed with astonishment; devils stand back, amazed to see themselves outdone; while all around his sacred person the brutal crowd swells and surges. They gibe; they jeer; they laugh; some in bitter mockery bend the knee, as to imperial Cassar; while others, to give variety to the hellish sport, pluck the reed from his unresisting hand, and beat the thorns deep into his brows; and ever and anon they join in wild chorus, making the hall ring to the cry, " Hail, King of the Jews."
The people of Bethlehem, one day as they looked out at their doors, saw a poor widow, bent and gray with grief and age, walking up their street, who was accompanied by a Moabitess—poorly clad and widowed like herself. She is at length recognised. It is Naomi! The news flies through the town. But when her old acquaintances who hastened to greet her, beheld in such poor guise one who had left them in circumstances of envied affluence, happy with a loving husband at her side, and at her back two gallant sons, they were seized with blank amazement. They held up their hands to cry, " Is this Naomi?" And how might the angels, who had adored the Son as he