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on earth, he retains in heaven. And as both God and man, he occupies the throne of grace, and the throne of providence--holding under his dominion all worlds, and principalities, and powers; for, in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and he has been made Head over all things to the church. This must be so. He got the kingdom ; and, simply as God, there could be no addition made to his possessions. Simply as God, he could get nothing, because all things were already his. You cannot add to the length of eternity ; nor extend the measure of infinity ; nor make absolute perfection more perfect; nor add one drop to a cup, nor even to an ocean, already full.
And as, on the one hand, our Lord did not get this kingdom simply as God, neither, on the other hand, did he receive it simply as man. To suppose so, were to entertain an idea more absurd, more improbable, more impossible, than the fable of Atlas, who, according to wild heathen legends, bore the world on his giant shoulders. How could an arm that once hung around a mother's neck sustain even this world ? But he, who lay in the feebleness of infancy on Mary's bosom, and rested a wayworn and weary man on Jacob's well, and, faint with loss of blood, sank in the streets of Jerusalem beneath the burden of a cross, now sustains the weight of this and of a thousand worlds besides. It is told as an extraordinary thing of the first and greatest of all the Cæsars, that such were his capacious mind, his mighty faculties, and his marvellous command of them, that he could at once keep six pens running to his dictation on as many different subjects. That may, or may not be true ; but were Jesus Christ a mere man, in the name even of reason, how could he guard the interests, and manage the affairs of a people, scattered far and wide over the face of the habitable globe ? What heart were large enough to embrace them all ; what eyes could see them all ; what ears could hear them all? Think of the ten thousand prayers pronounced in a hundred different tongues that go up at once, and altogether, to his ear! Yet there is no confusion ; none are lost; none missed in the crowd. Nor are they heard by him as, standing on yonder lofty crag, we hear the din of the city that lies stretched out far beneath us, with all its separate sounds of cries, and rumbling wheels, and human voices, mixed up into one deep, confused, hollow roar-like the boom of the sea's distant breakers. No ; every believer may feel as if he were alone with God--enjoying a private audience of the king in his presence-chamber. Be of good cheer. Every groan of thy wounded heart, thy every sigh, and cry, and prayer, falls as distinctly on Jesus' ear as if you stood beside the throne, or, nearer still, lay with John in his bosom, and felt the beating of his heart against your own.
Jesus Christ, God and man for ever, what a grand and glorious truth! How full of encouragement and comfort to those, like us, who have sins to confess, sorrows to tell him, and many a heavy care to cast upon his sympathy and kindness. Since Mary kissed his blessed feet, since Lazarus’ tomb moved his ready tears, since Peter's cry brought him quick to the rescue, since John's head lay pillowed on his gentle bosom, since a mother's sorrows were felt and cared for amid the bitter agonies of his dying hour, he has changed his place, but not his heart. True man and Almighty God—God and man for ever-believer, let hiin sustain thy cares. Thy case cannot be too difficult, nor thy
burden too heavy for one who guides the rolling planets on their course, and bears on his unwearied arm the weight of a universe.
IV. Let me urge you to seek an interest in this kingdom.
Your eternal welfare turns on that. You must be saved or damned ; crowned in heaven or cursed in hell. Jesus said, “ My kingdom is not of this world;" and blessed be God that it is not. For those very features by which it is distinguished from the world's kingdoms are among its most encouraging aspects to us. They are bright with hope to the chief of sinners.
The poor say there is little chance or hope for them in this hard world. Well, are you poor? I had almost said, so much the better. “To the poor the Gospel is preached.” You can get on well enough to heaven without gold. The wealth on which the kingdoms of this world set so high a value, and which, for all their talk of blood and breeding, has bought the coarse plebeian a marriage into proud patrician families, is here rather a hinderance than a help. Has not the Lord of this kingdom said, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God ?
In the freest and best governed states, birth, and wealth, and rank, and blood, give to their envied possessors great--often too great advantages. It is the high-born chiefly that approach the person of the sovereign, enjoy the honors of the palace, and fill the chief offices of the state. Royal favors seldom descend so low as humble life. The grace of our King, however, is like those blessed dews that, while the
mountain tops remain dry, lie thick in the valleys ; and, leaving the proud and stately trees to stand without a gem, hang the lowly bush with diamonds, and sow the sward broadcast with orient pearl. This is the kingdom for the mean, and the meek, and the poor, and the humble! Its King has said, Not many mighty, not many noble, are called, Blessed are the poor in spirit ; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
There is no degradation in honest poverty. But are you degraded, debased, an outcast from decent, good society--characterless? Nor does that exclude you from the mercy and grace of God—“Go ye,” he said, “ into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Go to the gallows; and preach it to the man with a rope on his neck, and his feet on the drop. Go to the jail ; and preach it to the scum of the city. Go to her dens of iniquity; and preach it as freely and fully as in her highest and holiest congregation. Saving, gentle, pitying mercy, turns no more aside from the foulest wretch, than the wind that kisses her faded cheek, or the sunbeam that visits as brightly a murderer's cell as a minister's study. Nay —though the holiest of all kingdoms--while we see a Pharisee stand astonished to be shiut out, mark how, when she approaches, who, weeping, trembling all over, hardly dares lift her hand to knock, the door flies wide open ; and the poor karlot enters to be washed, and robed, and forgiven, and kindly welcomed in.
Have you done nothing to merit this kingdom ? Who has ? Did Manasseh? Did Simon Peter ? Did Saul of Tarsus ? Was it his hands, reeking with the blood of Stephen, that earned for him the saving grace, and the honors of the chief apostleship? Was it for one look of pity, one word of kind sympathy from their lips, that, as his murderers nailed him to the tree, our dying Lord raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, Father, forgive them ; for they know not what they do? No. They say, and why may not we, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost ?
Yet, though not saved by obedience, remember that submission to Christ's commandments is required of all those who belong to his kingdom; and that the very foundations of spiritual as of common liberty are laid in law-are right government and righteous laws. There is no true liberty without law. Nor can you fancy a more happy condition for a country than that of Israel when, without king or government, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Ours is a free country, for instance; yet where is law so paramount? The baton of the humblest constable carries more authority here than sceptres have done elsewhere. Liberty is not only the birthright of its sons, but should a slave once touch these shores, he drops his chain, and is free as the waves that beat them. Still, it is freedom under, not without, law. He is not at liberty to do what he chooses—he cannot seize my property. He is not at liberty to go where he chooseshe cannot enter the humblest cottage without its owner's consent. He is not at liberty to act as he chooses --commit a private wrong or disturb the public peace, Yet he is free ; only, in escaping from a slave-cursed soil to a land of freedom, he has not placed himself beyond authority ; but has exchanged lawless oppression for lawful government. So is it with you whom the truth has made free. To you the gospel is “a law