« 前へ次へ »
1. His qualifications for it. David who well knew what was requisite to a civil ruler, or governor, says, He that ruleth over men, must be just, ruling in the fear of God; and this he said with a view to the Messiah, as appears by what follows, 2 Sam. xxiii. 3, 4. ard with whom these characters fully agree; he is the righteous Branch, raised up to David; and sits upon his throne, and establishes it with judgment and justice; a king that reigns in righteousness, and governs according to the rules of justice and equity; who with righteousness judges, and reproves with equity; the girdle of whose loins is rigliteousness, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins, all the while he is executing his kingly office; his sceptre is a sceptre of righteousness; and his throne is established by it; and one of the characters of Zion's King, by which he is decsribed, is just, as well as lowly ; see Jer. xxiii. 5, 6. Isai. ix. 7. and xi. 4, 5. Zech. is. 9. And the other character, ruling in the fear of God, is found in him; on whom the Spirit of the fear of the Lord rests, and makes him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord, so he judges impartially: not through favour and affection to any, nor according to the outward appearance; but with true judgment, Isai. xi. 2, 3. and a king should be as wise as an angel of God, to know all things appertaining to civil government, as the woman of Tekoah said David was; even to know and to be able to penetrate into the designs of his enemies, to guard against them, to provide for the safety and welfare of his subjects: and such is David's Son and Antitype, the Messiah; on whom rests the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and of knowledge; and who has all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and all that wisdom by which kings reign, and princes decree judgment, is from him; to which may be added, the spirit of might rests upon hiin, Isai. xi. 2. he has power and authority to execute judgment, to enforce his laws, and command obedience from his subjects; all power in heaven and on earth is given to him, and which he exercises ; yea, he is the Lord God omnipotent ; and as such reigns, and how capable therefore, on all accounts, must he be to exercise his kingly office? The next enquiry is.
11. Who are his subjects? a king is a relative term, and connotes subjects ; a king without subjects, is no king. The natural and essential kingdom of Christ, as God, reaches to all creatures; as has been observed; His kingdom ruleth over all, Psal. ciii. 19. but his kingdom, as Mediator, is special and limitsed, and is over a certain number of men; who go under the names of Israel, the house of Jacob, the holy hill of Zion, and are called saints; hence Christ is said to be King of Israel; to reign over the house of Jacob; to be ser King upon the holy hill of Zion; and to be King of suints, Luke i. 33. Psal. ii. 6. Rev. xv. 4. and by Israel, and the house of Jacob, are not meant the people of the Jews, as a body politic, of whom Christ was never king in such a sense: nor carnal Israel, or Israel according to the Aesh, especially the unbelieving part of them, who would not have him to reign over them, in a spiritual sense; nor only that part of thein called the election of grace among them; the lost sheep of the house of Israel Christ came to seck and save, and so to rule over, protect and keep: but the whole spiritual Israel of God, consisting both of Jews and Gentiles; even that Israel God has chose for his special and peculiar people, among all nations; whom Christ has redeemed by his blood, out of every kind. red, tongue, and people ; and whom, by his Spirit, he effectually calls, through grace; and who are saved in him, with an everlasting salvation: and these are meant by the holy hill of Zion, over which he is set, appointed, and anointed King; even all those whom God has loved with an everlasting love, and choser. in Christ his Son, and who are sanctified and made holy by his Spirit and grace; and are brought to make an open profession of his name, and become members of his visible church, and are immoveable in grace and holiness; for all which they are compared to mount Zion, the object of God's love and choice, a hill visible, holy, and immoveable: and to these Christ stands in the relation, and bears the office of a King; and they are his voluntary subjects; and who say of him and to him, Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints! Rev. xv. 3. the church of God is Christ's kingdom, and the members of it his subjects.
111. The form and manner of Christ's executing his kingly office; which is done, - Externally, by the ministry of the word; and administration of ordi. nances; and in the exercise of discipline in his church, which is his kingdom. And, - Internally, by his Spirit and grace, in the hearts of his people; and by his power, with respect to their enemies:
1. Externally, by the word and ordinances, and church-disciplinė:
1. By the ministry of the word; which is his sceptre he holds forth, and by which he invites his people to come and subinit to him; and by which he rules and governs them when come; it is the rod of his strength he sends out of Zion, and which is the power of God unto salvation to them that believe: it is signified by the weapons
of warfare, the sword of the Spirit, the bow and arrows, with which Christ rides forth, couquering and to conquer; and with which he smites the hearts of his people, while enemies to him, and causes them to fall under him, and be subject to him; it is the rule and standard of their faith and pracfice, he sets before them, shewing thein what they are to believe concerning him, and what is their duty in obedience to him; it is the magna charta which contains all their privileges and immunities he grants them; and which he, as their King, inviolably maintains ; and it is according to this his word, that he will execute that branch of his kingly office, judging the world in righteousness at the last day.
2. By the administration of ordinances ; as baptism : Christ, in virtue of that power in heaven and earth, which he received as King of saints, issued out a command, and gave a commission to his apostles, as to preach the gospel, so 80 baptize, such as are taught by it, in the name of the three divinc Persons; and directed that all such who become members of his visible church, the subjects of
his kingdom, should first submit to this ordinance of his; as the instance of the :: first converts after the commission given, shews; who were first baptized, auid
then added to the church: this is part of that yoke of Christ's kingdom, which is easy; and one of those commandments of his, which are not grievious. The Lord's Supper is another of the ordinances kept by the church at Corinth, as delivered to them; for which the apostle commends them; the account of which he had from Christ himself, and delivered to them; and which he suggests was to be observed in his churches, and throughout his kingdom, to the end of the world. Public prayer in the house of God, is another appointment in Christ's kingdom, the church; which is distinct from the duty of private prayer, in private meetings, and in the family, and in the closet; and is what goes along with the public ministry of the word; and is meant by what the apostles proposed to give themselves continually to; and which was attended to by the first christians, and continued in, and by which they are described, and for it commended. Singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, in a public manner, in the churches, is another ordinance of Christ, enjoined them, Eph. v. 19. and in doing which, they express their joy and gladness in Zion's King.
3. In the exercise of church-discipline; about which, Christ, as King in his church, has given orders and directions; in case of private offences, the rules how to proceed, are in Matt. xviii. 15-18. In case of public, scandalous sins, which bring a public disgrace on religion, and the church; the delinquents are to be rebuked before all in a public manner, and rejected from the communion of the church, 1 Tim. V. 20. In case of immoralities and disorderly walking, such are to be withdrawn from, till repentance is given to satisfaction; and in case of false doctrines, and heretical opinions, such that hold them, are not only to be rebuked sharply, in a ministerial way, that they may be sound in the faith; but being incorrigible, are to be cut off from the communion of the church, Tit. i. 13. and iži. 10.
4. For the execution and due performance of all this, the ministry of the word, administration of ordinances, and exercise of church-discipline, Christ has appointed officers in his church and kingdom; whoin he qualifies and empowers for such purposes; who have a rule and government under Christ, and over the churches, to see his laws and rules carried into execution; and who are to be known, owned, and acknowledged, as having rule over the churches; and to be submitted to and obeyed by them, so far as they act according to the laws of Christ, Eph. iv, 12. i Thes. v. 12.
11. The kingly office of Christ is exercised internally, by his Spirit and grace in the hearts of his people, and by his power, with respect to their enemies; and which chiefly lies in the conversion of his people ; in the protection of them from their enemies; and in the utter abolition and destruction of them.
1. In the conversion of his people; which is no other than a rescue of them out of the hands of those who have usurped a dominion over them. Whilst unregenerate, they are in a state of enmity to Christ, and in open rebellion against him; they who are reconciled by him, are not only enemies in their
minds, by wicked works; but enmity itself, whilst their minds remain carnal and such they were when reconciled to God, by the death of Christ; and so they continue until the enmity is slain, by his powerful grace in them; by which the arrows of his word are made sharp in them; and thereby they are conquered, and fall under him. Whilst in 'a state of nature, other lords have dominion over them, sin, Satan, and the world; sin reigns in their mortal bodies, and they yield their members instruments of unrighteousness! and are servants and slaves to sin, even under death; for it reigns in them to death ; and though its reign is so severe and rigorous, vet they yield a ready obedience to it; We ourselves, says the apossle, were foolish and disobedient, disobedient to God, and disobedient to Christ, serving divers lusts and pleasures: Satan, the prince of the power of the air, works in them, whilst they are the children of disobedience; and they have their conversation according to him, and according to the course of the world, whilst in such a state; and live according to the will of men, and not according to the will of God, Eph. ii. 2, 3. Satan particularly, the god of this world, has power over them, and leads thern captive at his will, until the prey is taken from the mighty, and the lawful captive is delivered; he is the strong-man armed, that keeps the palace and goods in peace, till a stronger than he comes; who is Christ, the King of glory, who causes the everlasting doors of men's hearts to lift up, and let him in, when he enters, binds the strong-man arined, dispossesses him, and spoils his armour, wherein he trusted; seis up a throne of grace in the heart, where he himself sits and reigns, having destroyed sin, and caused grace to reign, through righteousness; and will not suffer sin to have any more doininion there. By the power of his grace he makes those his people willing to submit to him, and serve him, and him only, disclaiming all other lords, Isai. xxvi. 13. Christ, as King in Zion, 'enacts laws, appoints ordinances, and gives out commands, which he enjoins his subjects to observe and obey; and those he writes, not on paper, nor on tables of stone, nor on monuments of brass, but upon the tables of the heart; and puts his spirit within his people, to enable them to walk in his statutes, and to keep his judgments, and do them. Moreover, Christ being set up as an ensign to the people, they flock unto him, and enlist themselves under his banner, and become volunteers, in the day of his power, or when he musters his armies; and declare themselves willing to endure hardness, as good soldiers of Christ; to fight the Lord's battles, the good fight of faith, and against every enemy; when they are clad by him with the whole armour of God, and become more than conquerors, through their victorious Lord and King; by, and under whom, they abide as his faithful subjects and soldiers unto death.
2. Christ's kingly office is further exercised, in the protection and preservation of his people from their enemies; out of whose hands they are taken, and who attempt to reduce them to their former captivity and slavery: they are protected and preserved from sin: not from the indwelling and actings of it in thein; but from its domnion and damning power; and the grace that is wrought in them
is preserved, and its reigning power is continued and eonfirmed. Christ, as a Prince, as well as a Saviour, gives repentance to his people, attended with the manifestation and application of pardon of sin; and he not only gives this grace; , but every other, faith, hope, and love: these are his royal bounties, and are prin. ciples of grace, wrought in the souls of his people; according to which, and by the influence of which, he rules and governs thein: and these he preserves, that they are not lost; that their faith fail not; their hope remain, as an anchor, sure and steadfast: and their love continue; and the fear of God, put into thein, abide; so that they shall never depart from him: he is able to keep them from falling, finally and totally, and he does keep them; they are in his hands, out of which none can pluck them : they are protected by him from Satan; not from his assaults and temptations, to which the most eminent saints are exposed; but from being destroyed by him, who goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, and would gladly devour them: but Christ is able to succour them, and does; and knows how to deliver them out of temptation, and does, in his time and way, and bruises Satan under their feet; so that, instead of being destroyed by him, he himself is destroyed by Christ: and they are protected from the world, its force and fury; he makes their wrath to praise him, and restrains the remainder of it. In short, he protects them from every enemy; and from the last enemy, death; not from dying a coporal death, but from the sting of it; and from it as a penal evil; and from a spiritual death ever more taking place in them; and from an eternal death, by which they shall not be huit, and which shall have no power over them.
3. Christ's kingly office appears to be exercised in the utter destruction of the said enemies of his people. He came to finish transgression, and make an end of sin; and he did it meritoriously, on the cross; where the old man was crucified, that the body of sin might be destroyed; and by his Spirit and grace he weakens the power of sin in conversion; and will never leave, till he has rooted out the very being of it in hie people : he came to destroy Satan, and his works; and he has destroyed him; and spoiled his principalities and powers, on the cross; and rescued his people out of his hands, at conversion; and will not only bruise him under their feet shortly, but will bind him, and cast him into the bottomless pit for a thousand years; and after loosed from thence, will cast him into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, where he will continue for ever. Christ has also overcome the world; so that it could not hinder him from doing the work he came about: and he gives his people that faith by which they overcome it also; and nothing they meet with in it, even tribulation, persecution, and every thing of that kind, shall not be able to separate them from Christ, from a pro. fession of him, and love unto him; but they become more than conquerors over the world, through Christ that loved them; and who must reign till all enemies are put under his feet: and the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death: whiɔh will be destroyed at the resurrection: when mortal shall put on inınorLality, and corruption incorruption; and then that saying will be brought to pass,