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bly, 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 2
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, we 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 2 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 1 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 Caesar; 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 lay in the bosom of the Father, or, singing in the skies of that same Bethlehem, had bent down to gaze with wonder and admiration on the babe of Mary's breast, regard the spectacle in that hall with greater bewilderment—exclaiming, “Is this the Son of God?” These twisted thorns formed the crown wherewith “his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals.” Nor should we leave that to turn our eyes on another scene, till we have thought with godly sorrow of the sins, and with deep affection of the love, which brought Jesus from heaven to meet such sufferings. In these wounds and blows he took our sins upon him ; in these indignities he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him ; and with his stripes we are healed. Turn now from this cruel mockery to the other scene where he received a different crown, in a dif. ferent assembly, and from very different hands. The cross is standing vacant and lonely on Calvary—the crowd all dispersed ; the tomb is standing empty and open in the garden—the Roman sentinels all withdrawn; and from the vine-covered sides of Olivet a band of men are hastily descending—joy, mingled with amazement, in their looks. With the bearing of those that have a high enterprise before them, they are rushing down the mountain upon the world—a stream of life which is destined to roll on till salvation reaches the ends of the earth. While the disciples come down to the world, Jesus, whom a cloud received from their sight, goes up to heaven; and, corresponding to the cus. tom of those olden days, when the successful champion was carried hôme in triumph from the field, borne high through applauding throngs on the shields of his companions, our Lord enters into glory, escorted by a host of angels. His battle over, and the great victory won, the conqueror is now to be crowned, throned, installed into the kingdom. Behold the scene as revealed by anticipation to the rapt eyes of Daniel — “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him : his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Thus our Lord received the crown from his own Father's hand ; and then, it might be said, was the Scripture fulfilled, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” Yet observe, I pray you, that in a sense, he is not satisfied. Is there no satisfying of the greedy grave? None. Death has been feeding its voracious maw these many thousand years; and yet, how does it open that wide black mouth to cry, “Give, give, give s” Nor, in one sense, is there any satisfying of the love of Christ. It is deeper than the grave; and its desires grow with their gratification. Incessantly pleading for more saved ones, Jesus entreats his Father—his cry also, “Give, give.” Yes; he would rather hear one poor sinner pray, than all these angels sing ; see one true penitent lying at his feet, than all these brilliant crowns. In glory, where every eye is turned upon himself, his eyes are bent down on earth. I fancy that amid the pomp of state, and splendid enjoyments of the palace, it is little that the sovereign thinks of the poor felon who pines in lonely prison, crushed and terror-stricken, with hag