probationer in the Reformed Presbyterian Church.
Daniel 2:44—And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever
The stability of Royal Dominion results from the purity and the righteousness of its constitution. No throne of power can ever be permanent, which is not erected upon the foundation of Eternal Truth, and governed by the laws of moral rectitude. It is thus that the throne of Jehovah is established, and thus it is stamped with immutability and eternity. Founded in the immutable principles of equity and moral right, and characterized in all its operations by justice, goodness and peace; the majesty and glory of his moral empire remain forever untarnished; while its perpetuity is commensurate with his being—”justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne, while mercy and truth go before his face.”
Our text constitutes a part of the interpretation given by Daniel the prophet, in relation to the famous dream of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. That imperious and splendid monarch, having in the providence of God, by the power of his arm subdued all the adjacent kingdoms of the east, and led captive many of the conquered princes and their nobles to the seat of his empire, on the streams of the Euphrates; became highly elevated and borne aloft in his own imagination, with regard to the extent and glory of his dominions, together with the strength and the grandeur of his throne. Under such circumstances he naturally conceived himself to be more than mortal; and that the rising power and majesty of his empire were destined to subjugate and overawe the world. Accordingly we find his mind wholly occupied with such imperial views and lofty speculations. From the banquet and the revel he retires to his bed, but not to rest. The contemplations of his present greatness and the visions of his future glory there press in review before him. “As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter.” While his thoughts are thus revolving on the destinies of his throne, the slumbers of the night fall upon him. He dreams a dream. A great Image, whose brightness is excellent and whose form is terrible, stands before him. The head of this Image is of fine gold—his breast and arms are of silver—his belly and thighs of brass—his legs of iron, and his feet partly iron and partly clay. As the monarch contemplates this Image, behold, a small stone, cut by an invisible power out of a mountain, smites the Image upon his feet, breaks him in pieces, grinds him to powder, and thus he is dispersed before the winds of heaven, while the stone itself becomes a vast mountain, and fills the whole earth. Awaked from sleep by the violent perturbations of his spirit, and having through his great agitation of mind, forgotten the dream, he calls, in haste, for the magicians of his realm and demands of them, not only an interpretation of his dream, but also a revelation of it. This was necessarily beyond their power to give. They expostulated with their sovereign upon the unreasonableness of the latter part of his requisition. He brooks not the declaration of their incapability to satisfy him, but in a paroxysm [i.e., a sudden, violent outburst] of rage issues orders for their immediate destruction. Daniel, one of the Jewish captives then in Babylon, receives from the God of heaven a revelation of the whole matter. He is brought before the king, and makes known to him the dream, together with its interpretation. And it is in his interpreting that part of the dream, which respects the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, that smote the Image upon his feet, and broke him in pieces, and then increased itself until it filled the whole earth, that the prophet declares in the words of our text,—”And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”
In order to a formal discussion of the subject, I shall:
1. Offer a critical analysis of the text, and
2. Investigate the origin and character of that kingdom which, the prophet declares, shall be erected by the God of heaven.
In relation to the first,—It is upon all hands admitted, that the Image seen by Nebuchadnezzar in his dream, symbolized thrones of earthly dominion; and that as it was composed of four different species of metals, viz.: gold, silver, brass and iron; which obtained in regular succession, in the formation of the Image, thus constituting a grand unit, or whole: so it was emblematical of four distinct empires, which should flourish upon the earth in successive order; while at the same time, they would constitute, as to their nature and generic properties, one grand and complex system of worldly power and government. This indeed, is the interpretation of Daniel himself; for he expressly says, that the Babylonian monarchy, which then flourished in the height of its power, majesty and splendor, under the sceptre of Nebuchadnezzar, constituted the first of these. “Thou, O king,” says he to Nebuchadnezzar, “art a king of kings; for the God of heaven has given thee a kingdom, power, strength and glory. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass; and the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron,” verses 37-40. We have thus divine authority for interpreting the four metals, of which the Image was composed, as typical of four grand empires of the world, which should be successive, as to the order of their existence in power and dominion. The same authority we have for understanding the Babylonian kingdom, of which Nebuchadnezzar was then the monarch, as the first in the series of these four, and as corresponding to the gold, the first in the order of the metals. “Thou art this head of gold.” Now as it is well known that the Medo-Persian empire was the one which succeeded the Babylonian, and the Grecian the one which succeeded the Medo-Persian; there is abundant and decisive evidence for applying the second metal in the Image, viz.,: the silver, to the Medo-Persian kingdom; and the third, viz.: the brass, to the Grecian empire. Accordingly all interpreters have made this application; and in fact they could not do otherwise without offering violence to reason, and contradicting every page of the uninspired records of the world, which relates to the history of these monarchies. As full and explicit also is the evidence which we have, that the Roman empire is the fourth one, which was symbolized by the fourth metal in the Image,—the iron. And although some have attempted to give a different interpretation, yet two considerations of primary importance, imperiously demand that it should be understood of the Roman empire. The first is that, according to all authentic history, the Roman empire, and it only was the one, which succeeded the Grecian; being in its origin and characteristic features entirely distinct from it, just as the Grecian was from the Medo-Persian, and that again from the Babylonian. It was as distinct and characteristically different from the Grecian or any of the three that preceded it, as iron, the metal by which it was prefigured, is from brass--that by which the Grecian was prefigured, or as brass is from silver,—that by which the Medo-Persian was prefigured, or as silver is from gold,—that by which the Babylonian was symbolized. We have therefore, the same reason for understanding the Roman empire, and no other, as the one which the Spirit of prophecy designed to typify by the iron, of which the legs and feet of the Image were composed, as we have for understanding the Grecian as the one intended to be represented under the symbol of brass; or the Medo-Persian as the one designed to be prefigured by the silver. The second consideration, which forbids a different interpretation is, that no distinct and independent empire, existing upon the earth, within the obvious range of prophecy, is to be found, in the annals of terrestrial kingdoms, from the days of the Babylonian empire, down till these of the Roman; to which the characteristics of this fourth empire symbolized by the iron of the Image, as they are exhibited by the divine Spirit in the book of Daniel; will in any degree of justice apply, except the Roman empire; and of it they can all be strictly and truly predicted.
Now as our text is clearly the interpretation of that part of the dream which relates to the little stone cut out without hands, that smote the Image upon his feet of iron and clay, and brake them in pieces; and as it was the Roman empire which was symbolized by the iron feet and legs of the Image; it necessarily follows, that it was in the days of the Roman empire,—in the days of its kings, that this kingdom of the God of heaven, symbolized by the little stone, was to be set up or established. “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed.” It was in the days, then, of the Roman kings, or empires, that this Regnum Lapidis, or kingdom of the stone, (the “stone cut out without hands”) was to be organized and established among the kingdoms of the world. And as almost all interpreters, both Jewish and Christian, understand this stone to be emblematical of the kingdom, the spiritual kingdom of Messiah: so the character of this kingdom which is drawn by the prophet, and the parallel passages of the sacred Scriptures, will not suffer it to be emblematical of any other. It is said to be established by the God of heaven; and the spiritual kingdom of Jesus the Messiah is frequently denominated, in the New Testament, the “kingdom of God,” and the “kingdom of heaven.” “Behold the kingdom of God is nigh unto you.” “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” It is said to be “set up,” or established, “without hands,—to break in pieces and subdue all the kingdoms of the world, and to stand forever.” But this can be justly applied to no kingdom upon earth except that of Messiah. It only of all the empires in the world, is established “without hands,” that is, independently of human wisdom and power. It only is destined to subdue all the kingdoms of the earth, and to stand forever. “My kingdom is not of this world,”—”Hallelujah! the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever & ever.” Now we know that this kingdom of Messiah, this spiritual kingdom of the God of heaven, was formally set up and established in the days of Caesar Augustus, one of the Roman emperors. Thus we are informed by the evangelist Luke, that in the days of this emperor, Jesus the Messiah was born, of a virgin named Mary, and laid in a manger. Previously to this, his conception, birth and character, had been announced to Mary by the angel Gabriel, who said unto her, “Fear not, Mary;—for behold thou shalt conceive, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end,” Luke 1:30, 33. And accordingly we are again told by the same evangelist, that as the shepherds were abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night,—”Lo the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them;—and the angel said unto them, Fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people: for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,” Luke 2:9, 11. Hence the wise men of the East, when directed by the star of Bethlehem, came inquiring for the infant Messiah, saying; “Where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him,” Matt. 2:2. Thus, “in the days of these kings, did the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed.”
The original word [in the Hebrew; תִתְחַבַּ֔ל], rendered “shall be destroyed,” though this is its general acceptation in the Chaldee dialect [i.e., Aramaic], in which this 2d chapter of Daniel, with some others, is written: yet the radical and proper idea of the phrase, as it stands here in the third conjugation, Hithpael; would be more clearly and strictly given, by rendering it—”shall be bound over and obliged to seizure and punishment, in consequence of some forfeiture or failure.” And as Hithpael is properly a reflexive voice, or modification of the verb; that is, one in which a verb expresses the idea of an agent acting upon itself, as the legitimate object of its action; the sense here is developed with still more accuracy and precision; and exhibits to us the fact, that the thing which is bound over to be seized upon and destroyed, in consequence of forfeiture; is itself truly and virtually the author or source of its obligation to destruction. It is by an essential failure on its own part that it is thus laid under a moral necessity of being seized upon, punished and destroyed. In this sense, therefore, is it said in our text, that the kingdom of Messiah “shall never be destroyed.” It shall never, in consequence of a radical forfeiture, or delinquency, on its own part, subject itself to seizure and destruction.
“And the kingdom shall not be left to other people.”—The kingdoms of the world are, on account of their impious constitutions, their tyrannical and unrighteous administrations, left in the providence of God, abandoned and permitted to be invaded, ravaged and subdued, one by another. Thus the Babylonian was left to the Medes and Persians,—the Medo-Persian unto the Grecians,—the Grecian to the Romans, and the Roman to the various tribes of Northern barbarians, who dissolved its constitution and subverted its government,—hurling it into a state of the wildest anarchy and most gloomy derangement. And though out of this mass of disordered fragments and melancholy confusion, arose ten young principalities or minor kingdoms, symbolized by the ten horns of the “fourth wild beast,” which [i.e., this “fourth wild beast”] prefigured the Roman Empire; yet all these, if the spirit of prophecy be credited, in as much as they are constituted upon the same principles of unrighteousness, and animated and governed by the same spirit of tyranny, impiety and blood, which characterized their common parent, the Roman Empire and the three that preceded it, shall also, ere long, “be left to other people,” in order to be “overturned, overturned, overturned,”—until they be no more,—”until He shall come, whose right it is to reign, and the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess it forever and ever.” But not so with regard to this kingdom of Messiah—”the kingdom shall not be left to other people”—but “it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and itself shall stand forever.”
The words translated “shall break in pieces and consume,” are much more emphatic in the original than the translation suggests. The former signifies strictly, “to pulverize, to grind to powder;” and the latter, “to collect together and sweep away,” as a whirlwind does the dust of the street. In this sense, therefore, it is said in our text, that the kingdom of Messiah shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms of the world. In this respect it is very appropriately exhibited under the emblem of a Stone or Rock. It shall grind them to powder like a rock, and sweep them away as a whirlwind. And doubtless in allusion to this very prophecy, Christ himself, when speaking to the Jews, respecting his kingdom, or the kingdom of heaven, which they rejected, says: “whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder,” Matt. 21:44. But it may be asked, how the Messiah’s kingdom can be said to break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, when it is only in the days of the last of them, viz.: the Roman, that it was to be set up; and seeing the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian and the Grecian had all been overthrown and destroyed in regular succession long before the period referred to in the Roman had arrived? Two replies may be given. First; Although the throne of power and the regal dominion of the latter three, were, each of them successively, overthrown and removed by the conquering kingdom; yet the subjugated empire still remained, as to its physical extension, the same; it still constituted one integral part of its successor, and was included within the geographical boundaries of the one by which it had been subdued. Thus the Babylonian empire, after its subjugation by the Medes and Persians, composed, in fact, a principal part of the Medo-Persian empire; and this again, when subdued by Alexander [the Great], formed a most important part of the Grecian; and lastly, the Grecian of the Roman. To that the Medo-Persian empire conquered the Babylonian, the Grecian both of them; and the Roman, vanquished the Grecian, Medo-Persian and the Babylonian. Hence the Roman was the most extensive, the most powerful, and the most formidable of all these four great Monarchies of the world: they being all embraced within its limits. And consequently, if the kingdom of Messiah “break in pieces and consume” the Roman empire, it must necessarily “break in pieces and consume” also, “all these kingdoms,” which constitute its integral parts. But in the second instance: These four great monarchies formed one grand and complex whole, as a civil establishment. This was evidently intended by the Image under which they were symbolized. They were all constituted upon the same principles, and animated by the same spirit. They were all, in their constitutions and administrations, deadly hostile to the constitution and government of Messiah’s empire. They were all thrones of iniquity established in blood. But we know that the throne of Light can and will, have no fellowship with the thrones of darkness, Ps. 94:20. It must and will overturn them, until they be no more. It will break in pieces their sceptres of tyrannical and impious domination, and dissolve their constitutions of unrighteousness. “The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.” In this respect then, shall the Regnum Lapidus, the Empire of Messiah, “break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and itself shall stand forever.”
II. This brings me, in the second place, to investigate the Origin and Character of this kingdom of Messiah.
First, as to its origin.—God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the ultimate and true source of all power, both physical and moral. “I am the Almighty,” God, Gen. 17:1. “There is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God,” Rom. 13:1. Hence Jehovah, being the creator and upholder of all things, is naturally and necessarily their governor. “The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all,” Ps. 103:19. “Who would not fear thee, O king of nations? for to thee doth it appertain,” Jer. 10:7. The empire of Jehovah, therefore, as Creator and sovereign Lord of all, extends over all created nature. He is necessarily the moral governor of the universe. His sovereign and supreme majesty are founded on his Divinity or Godhead, inasmuch as he is the creator and sustainer of all, being Almighty. “The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.” This natural and absolute dominion over all created existences, belongs equally to each person of the Eternal Trinity, because these three persons constitute the one undivided and Eternal God. This is particularly urged in the Scriptures, with regard to Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead. And because he is God co-essential, coequal and coeternal with the father; he is expressly declared to have created all things. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God: all things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” “God created all things by Jesus Christ, who is the image of the invisible God,—by whom also he made the worlds,” John 1:13; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:2. The Lord Jesus Christ, therefore, as God and creator, is naturally and necessarily the supreme Governor of the universe. He created all things, and “by him all things consist,” Col. 1:17. But notwithstanding this universal, absolute and legitimate sovereignty and dominion of Jehovah over all the works of his hands; and the inviolable allegiance which all the moral subjects of his vast empire owe to him, their natural Sovereign and rightful Lord: yet some of this class made defection from their duty, and raised the standard of rebellion against the authority of their sovereign Lord and King. This defection took place in the two great branches of Jehovah's moral family,—the angelic and the human. Those “angels who kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, are reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day,” Jude 6. And Adam, the common parent and the representative of the whole human race, seduced by one of these fallen angels also fell, and in him fell the whole family of mankind. Thus sin, rebellion and defection obtained in the moral empire of Jehovah, and hence were brought into derangement, and ruin a part of the angelic and the whole of the human branch of his kingdom. The concussion was tremendous; and from the throne of God to the limits of the universe, rolled the blasting curse of sin,—followed by the thunders of avenging wrath. Nature felt the shock of death, and groaned beneath the weight of woe. But as the arm of Omnipotence is absolutely irresistible, so neither can the counsels of Omniscience, and the designs of infinite wisdom and goodness, be either deranged or rendered abortive. Still “the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.”—Still “justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne; while mercy and truth go before his face.”
Though rebel angels and fallen men had rendered themselves justly liable to eternal perdition;—though divine justice is inexorable in its demands and “will by no means clear the guilty;”—though the apostates had introduced infinite evil, and a partial derangement throughout all Jehovah’s empire; and were of themselves utterly incapable of expiating their crime, and effecting reconciliation with heaven: yet Jehovah from eternity necessarily knowing, from the perfection of his nature, every thing that would certainly take place, in relation to the subjects of his universal kingdom; did make provision for remedying the evil which he foresaw would be introduced through the rebellion of part of the moral empire.—”Known unto God are all his works from the beginning,” Acts 15:18. The angels he determined to leave in their apostacy, and permit them to experience the infliction of almighty justice; which their infinite guilt imperiously demanded. But for man he found a “Redeemer, and a mighty One.” Then was heard concerning that voice of ineffable compassion.—”Deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom.” This Saviour was the second person of the Elohim, the glorious and eternal Godhead. “His delights were with the sons of men;” and therefore he voluntarily and cheerfully engaged with Jehovah, the Father, sustaining and representing the sovereign majesty of the Trinity, or Godhead, to become incarnate, and by death to redeem from death, all those of mankind whom the Father, in his infinite and sovereign love, had determined to reconcile to himself, and to rescue from sin and from wrath, and bring back to a participation in his favour and love. To all such individuals the Son of God voluntarily engaged to become Jesus, a Saviour, and the Captain of eternal salvation; and in doing so, to secure them infallibly from ever again rebelling against Jehovah, their sovereign Lord, and incurring his vindictive wrath. And as to those angels who should remain in their allegiance, and not make defection from the righteous authority of their Lord and Creator; he engaged to confirm them in their state of holy obedience, and render it impossible for them ever afterwards to be in a condition in which they might perhaps fail in their love, duty and firm obedience towards their heavenly King. All this he engaged to perform, and thereby cause the perfections of Divinity to be honored and illustrated in a manner the most glorious and sublime; while justice, received satisfaction to the utmost farthing, righteousness and peace reigned triumphant, and goodness shone in all her radiant benignity. All this he engaged to do, and thereby save from immediate perdition a guilty world,—restore order, peace and harmony in the moral empire of Jehovah,—finally vanquish by an illustrious victory, sin and suffering and death; and introduce the ransomed captives to a kingdom of immortality and glory.
The Father heard his well beloved Son, and pleased, accepted his proffered mediation. “According to thy will,” says he, “so let it be: I will give thee for a Covenant and a Leader unto those whom it is my pleasure to have redeemed and saved; and thou shalt be the Captain of their salvation, even to the ends of the earth. And because in order to purchase for them everlasting salvation, thou dost engage to become incarnate, and in their nature to pour out thy soul unto death; therefore, thou shalt see the travail of thy soul and be satisfied. By thy knowledge shalt thou justify many; I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the ends of the earth for thy possession. And in order that thou mayest most effectually and gloriously discharge, in behalf of those, whom it is my pleasure to have redeemed, the office of a Savior; and fulfill completely this thy covenant engagement.—Lo! I give into thy hands, as Mediator of the covenant, all power in heaven and on earth.—I submit to thy control and government, as my delegate and vicegerent, the vast and stupendous empire of created nature, with all its treasures, its resources and its powers.—Clothe thyself with power and majesty of thy Father.—Still the tempestuous billows of derangement, tumult and desolation, raised by rebellion throughout our moral empire.—Rule thou over all the celestial hierarchies, thrones, dominions, principalities and powers.—Marshal all the faithful beneath thy banner,—launch upon the rebels the thunder bolts of vengeance. Receive at thy disposal all the treasures and magazines of heaven. Render them all subservient to the accomplishment of thy transcendent undertaking, the salvation of My chosen. Rule them over the sphere of earth, the abode of fallen man. Behold! it and all its inhabitants are desolated; do thou bear up the pillars thereof. Receive at thy disposal all its resources and its powers, both physical and moral. Bring them all into subjection to thy sceptre, and cause them to subserve thy purposes of grace, and the eternal counsels of my will, in bringing many sons and daughters unto glory. Rule thou over all the rebel crew of angels—the abodes of darkness and the realms of death. Bend all their powers, their malice and their rage, to the interests of thy glorious plan; and to the arrangements of thy triumphant march, in being the Captain of salvation to as many as I have ordained unto everlasting life. Chain to the wheels of thy victorious chariot all my enemies and thine. Take thy sceptre, O most mighty! ascend the throne of the universe. Hail! God incarnate,—Adore him, ye heavens—earth and hell obey.”
Thus was the eternal Son of God, the second person of [the] Trinity, appointed ‘Mediator between God and man,’ and constituted ‘heir of all things.’ Thus did Jehovah the Father delegate him to be the supreme governor and head over all his mighty empire of creation,—to uphold and sustain the world, reeling and staggering to destruction, with the intoxicating moral draught of sin and death, and to gather together into one grand and immortal family a chosen and definite number of the rebellious sons of men, redeemed from their sins by his own blood, and sanctified by his own Spirit; and having united these to those glorious sons of light, the angels who remained faithful in their allegiance and love to their Almighty Creator and Lord; to form out of the whole, one great, sublime, and indestructible moral kingdom, over which he should reign, in the realms of immortal glory forever and ever. Hence we are told that God the Father hath “gathered together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth: even in him,” Eph. 1:10, and that “having made peace through the blood of his cross, he hath, by him reconciled all things unto himself—whether they be things in earth or things in heaven,” Col. 1:20. So that Jesus, the Mediator of the covenant, was by Jehovah the Father, appointed sole heir and sovereign Lord of all. And in consequence of this disposition of things, the derangements introduced into God’s moral empire were rectified; the angels who kept their first estate, confirmed in their obedience, and a chosen number of the human race reclaimed from their rebellion and redeemed from their guilt, and all the departments of his universal dominion united together in and under Messiah, by whom they are upheld and governed in regular subordination, justice and harmony throughout the whole. Hence the origin of Messiah’s empire—hence is his kingdom universal and eternal. The foundation of this his delegated dominion, is laid in his divinity; while the equity of the grant is sustained by the fact of his being the sovereign Creator and Lord of all. Being the eternal God, he is adequate to sit upon the throne; and having created all things, he necessarily possesses in them an original property and right. Moreover, the equity of this universal grant is further illustrated and confirmed by this, that, in addition to the fact of creation, he exercises jurisdiction over the angels of heaven, from having confirmed them in their state of holiness and happiness forever:—over those of hell, from having vanquished them in conflict and gained over them a splendid triumph:—over the human family, by having redeemed with his precious blood a part of them from eternal perdition; and having conquered the remainder, as implacable in their rebellion against his authority. So that we perceive not only the origin, but also the foundation and the right of this universal empire of Jehovah Jesus. And in harmony with all this, the Scriptures inform us that Messiah, the Saviour, is the “image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature; who being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God:”—”for by him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him,” Col. 1:15; Phil 2:6; Col. 1:16. This Jesus, God “hath appointed heir of all things;—he hath given unto him all power in heaven and in earth; he hath committed unto him all judgment, because he is the son of man; he hath raised from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet:—and because he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; therefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name, which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” Heb. 1:2; Matt. 28:18; John 5:27; Eph. 1:20; &c., Phil. 2:8, &c. Such is our authority for asserting that Jesus the Messiah, God incarnate, has been appointed, in his mediatory character, by Jehovah the Father, to the throne of the universe; and hath received, as Mediator, absolute and royal dominion over every department of created existence. But this, although it is irrefutably a correct view of Messiah’s empire, as delegated to him by God the Father; is still not precisely that kingdom of his spoken of in the text. The former differs from the latter as the whole does from a part, or rather, as a shell does from its kernel. The one necessarily includes the other, and is essentially connected with it. The Regnum Lapidus of Messiah, properly speaking, or his kingdom referred to in the text, is the Christian Church existing in the world; or that society of mankind collected out of every nation, and language and tongue under heaven, and within those limits are to be found those individuals whom Messiah engaged with the Father to redeem from sin and wrath; and whom he actually purchased with his own blood. In this kingdom he is the sole king and lawgiver. The revelation of his will, exhibited in the sacred Scriptures, is the great charter of its rights and privileges, and the exclusive standard of all its regulations. It is Messiah’s peculiar kingdom, because he purchased it with his own blood,—”the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood,” Acts 20:28. He is in a peculiar manner, its founder, its builder, its governor, and its Saviour. He is its “author and its finisher.” It was with the sole view of erecting this kingdom in the world and preparing it for an introduction into the realms of celestial day, that the eternal Son of God, the second person of the adorable Trinity, entered into a covenant stipulation with his Father—to become incarnate—suffered and died—arose from the dead, ascended to the right hand of the majesty in the heavens, and received from his Father “all power in heaven and in earth,” the supreme government of universal nature, prepared to reign as Lord and Saviour, “until he shall have made all his enemies his foot-stool.” It was, I say, for the sake of this peculiar kingdom, his church, that Jesus the Messiah, was appointed by the Father, “heir of all things,”—that he was set, as Mediator, upon the throne of the universe, and the management of all the vast machinery of created nature subjected to his control. He has his church a kingdom, as it were, within a kingdom. It is the centre of his stupendous empire of creation. Around it all the parts of the latter revolve, and to it are they all subservient. He rules upon the throne of nature, as his Father’s vicegerent, causing every part of his universal administration to assume a specific bearing in relation to the particular government and welfare of his church, his peculiar kingdom—that kingdom, for whose sake and in whose behalf, he superintends and governs in his official character, all other kingdoms in the universe. For this, take the testimony of God’s Spirit—”God hath set him at his own right hand, far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all,” Eph. 1:20, &c. Thus it is too, that for the sake, and in behalf of his church, Jesus the Messiah, is appointed by the Father sovereign Lord of all. And consequently, as this church is his body, purchased by his own blood and redeemed by his death; he necessarily will superintend, rule and govern all things—all created existences, in heaven, earth and hell, in such a manner as to extend its limits, promote its interests, secure its safety, and perfect its happiness and glory. He is bound, (to speak with reverence), by every tie of duty, of feeling and of interest, so to do. The church is his body, his spouse, his peculiar inheritance. He is her elder brother, her husband, her King and her Saviour; & he voluntarily entered into eternal, covenant engagements to stand to her in all these important relations. He himself declares that she is as dear to him as the “apple of his eye—that he has a fellow-feeling for her infirmities, and that in all her affliction he is afflicted,” Zech. 2:8; Heb. 4:15; Isa. 63:9. Thus then, we see the origin and predicament of Messiah’s empire, both as to its absolute and universal character; & also as to its limited, qualified and more peculiar one. His church is his kingdom in this world, which shall “break in pieces and consume all the kingdoms of the world, and shall itself stand forever.” The whole empire of created existence in his universal kingdom, subjected to his government by God the Father, that he might through his administration of it, and its instrumentality, protect and govern, and cause to prevail and flourish his more specific and peculiar kingdom, the church, for whose sake, and in whose behalf he was appointed “heir of all things.”—And this in the Second instance, leads to a more particular investigation of the character of this peculiar and specific kingdom, alluded to in the text.
The first distinguishing character of this kingdom is, that it is in the world, but not of the world. All other kingdoms that exist on the earth, are properly kingdoms of this world. Their origin, their prosperity, their objects, their duration and their dissolution, are all together of the world, participating entirely of its nature and character. But of all these, the kingdom of Messiah is directly the reverse. On this point he himself is explicit.—”My kingdom,” says he, in reference to his church, “is not of this world.” It, however, must necessarily exist in the world, because its subjects are in the world. Thus Jesus, in his intercessory prayer to his Father says,—”I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil,” John 17:15. The little stone, the symbol of this kingdom, was cut out of the mountain, and the mountain was necessarily in the world, and of the world: but the stone itself, after it separated from the mountain, and while it was employed in breaking in pieces the Image, and in its ultimate success and character, was characteristically different from both the Image and the mountain. So the church, that kingdom of Messiah, which we are now characterizing, is taken out of the mass of human nature,—the mountain of fallen, depraved mankind, which is in the world; but after it is thus separated from the mountain mass, and put into regular operation; its existence and career are necessarily in the world; though itself is characteristically distinct from all the kingdoms of the world as to its origin, character, duration and end. It is in the world, but not of the world.
A second essential trait in the character of this kingdom is, that it is a spiritual kingdom. But saying it is spiritual, I do not of course mean, that it consists merely of spiritual beings. By no means. It is composed of human beings, and of these only. But I speak as to its origination and its destiny. It is spiritual, with regard to its immediate erection and constitution; its system of laws and government; its objects and its ends. All the kingdoms of the world are erected and constituted immediately by human wisdom and power. Not so with Messiah’s kingdom. This is intimated by the fact of the stone’s being cut out without hands. The efficient agent in erecting and constituting this kingdom is invisible and spiritual. It is the Holy Spirit of Almighty God. He it is alone that seizes upon the individual, “dead in trespasses and sins,” regenerates and quickens him, by “creating anew in Christ,” and thus brings him within the limits of the church, and constitutes him a subject of Messiah’s kingdom, Eph. 2:1, 10. Its laws and government also, are spiritual. The whole system of ecclesiastical powers, institutions, laws, and government flows immediately from the Lord Christ, as Mediator of the New Covenant. He is the sole head and ruler of the church; and according to his laws and prescriptions alone, is she to be regulated and governed. This is recognized by Zion as a ground of confidence and joy.—”The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us,” Isa. 33:22. Hence the apostle declares that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God,” &c. 2 Cor. 10:4. Hence also our Lord’s commission to his disciples,—”Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations—whatsoever I have commanded you,” Matt. 28:19, 20. “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven,” Matt. 16:19. It is spiritual also, as to its objects; for these are the spiritual parts of men. It is the soul and conscience of the individual, over which the laws and powers of this kingdom of Jesus exercise their appropriate influence, and to which they properly reach. They alone are the legitimate objects of the action of these laws. Thus we are told by the apostle, that “the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart,” Heb. 4:12.
The proper objects of earthly powers and discipline are merely the external man, the body and its overt acts. They can properly exercise no control over the internal and spiritual man, the mind and its operations. God only, speaking in the Scriptures is, or can be Lord of the conscience.—”Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,” Matt. 10:28. Its ends likewise are spiritual. These are the salvation of immortal souls and the glory of the eternal God. Thus “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John 3:16. And this Son, in the days of his flesh declared, that he “came to seek and save that which was lost,” Luke 19:10. And the apostle says that when he ascended in glory and triumph, he “led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men;—and he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers: for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,” Eph. 4:8,11. And even unto the angels of light,—those “principalities and powers in heavenly places, is made known, by the church, the manifold wisdom of God,” Eph. 3:10. And hence, in consequence of the revelations of this sublime system of the spiritual kingdom of Jesus; the cherubim and seraphim, who surround the throne of Jehovah, veil their faces and exclaim,—”Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts the whole earth is full of his glory,” Isa. 6:3.
A third and grand characteristic of this kingdom of Messiah, is that it is a belligerent kingdom—destined to break in pieces and utterly destroy all the kingdoms of the world.
The spiritual kingdom of Messiah, we have said, is characterized as a belligerent and victorious kingdom; destined to break in pieces and destroy all the kingdoms of the world, and to establish upon their ruins its own throne of dominion and power. Therefore the Son of God, when he descended from the abodes of glory and immortality in order to establish this kingdom upon earth, says—”Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword,” Matt. 10:34. All the kingdoms of the earth and the whole of human depravity, are in a state of hostility against it—are its irreconcilable foes. It must clothe itself in martial array and “take hold of shield and buckler.” It must “fight the good fight of faith,” and thus “lay hold on eternal life.” Hence the apostle exhorts every faithful subject of this kingdom to “take unto himself the whole armour of God,” and make a magnanimous and decisive stand—yea, “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ,” 2 Tim. 2:3.—To enlist under the banner of the “Captain of salvation,” who goes forth on his horse of war, “conquering and to conquer,” and who hath commanded his heralds to proclaim, through all parts of his empire—”war, eternal war, against all the hosts of Amalek.”
True indeed, the kingdom of heaven consists not in “meat and drink”—not in any of the pleasures arising from carnal gratification, nor in the pomp and splendor of worldly honors; but in “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.”—True indeed, it is a dispensation of peace and pardon to all its real subjects, the children of the covenant.—True indeed, the celestial bands bursting from amidst the glories of the upper world upon the trembling shepherds of Bethlehem’s plains, announced in strains of heavenly harmony the advent of this kingdom of Messiah; and while they sang “glory to God in the highest,” proclaimed also “peace on earth, good will towards men,” Luke 2:14. But still it is a spiritual kingdom, a kingdom of righteousness, and therefore must wage a spiritual warfare, a war of righteousness, against all the “powers of darkness.” It must contend with the powers of this world and “spiritual wickedness in high places.” “For the weapons of our warfare,” says the apostle, “are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds,” 2 Cor. 10:4. “What communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial?” 2 Cor. 6:14, 15.—True indeed, “he is our peace,” for “he has made peace through the blood of his cross,” Col. 1:20,—yea, while “we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,” Rom. 5:10. But still there exists in every heart till the hour of death, a principle of sin—of hostility against God,—”The flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other,” Gal. 5:17. The believer himself, and he only, “sees a law in his members, warring against the law of his mind, and bringing him into captivity to the law of sin which is in his members,” Rom. 7:23.—”What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies,” Song 6:13. This enmity of nature must be destroyed—this innate depravity vanquished. The whole man must be subdued to “the obedience of faith.”—Grace must and will “reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord,” Rom. 5:21.
This kingdom is belligerent and victorious, for “it shall break in pieces and consume all the kingdoms of the earth, but itself shall stand forever.”
The Image in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision, was a symbol not only of the four great civil establishments already noticed; but also of the whole system of civil policy and political government which has obtained in the world from that period till the present time. From the days of the Babylonian monarchy down to the present day, all the kingdoms of the earth have been, as to the grand characteristic principles of their constitutions and administrations, essentially and generically the same; and so have formed one grand whole or unit, typified by the Image. They have all been more or less, either immoral in their constitutions, or tyrannical in their administrations, or both. They have all been more or less, contrary to the law of Jehovah, the moral governor of the Universe, and hostile to the interests of Messiah’s kingdom. The fact is in its nature lamentable and too notorious to be disputed. Christians ought not however, to be astonished at this; for they have all along had the divine testimony as to such an event. This course of things was long since predicted by the prophets of God. Nay, this very vision of the Babylonish monarch, as interpreted by Daniel, is itself a specific and decisive prophecy relative to the fact. The period of time involved in the scope of that vision has not yet come to an end. The fourth empire contemplated by the vision, viz. the Roman, still exists; and it shall exist until the period of “a time and times and half a time” shall have been fulfilled, and it “shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, and then all these things shall be finished. Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days,” Dan. 12:7, 12. But in the mean time, the kingdom of Jehovah’s providence, under the management of Messiah, “Prince of the kings of the earth,” rolls forward the wheels of its administration and executes the counsels of the Eternal. The omnipotent Father of our divine Redeemer “worketh hitherto, and he himself works,” John 5:17. The stone cut out of the mountain without hands, smote the Image upon its feet, brake it in pieces, ground it to powder and dispersed it to all the winds of heaven. So alone, shall the spiritual kingdom of Messiah prove finally victorious. It shall smite upon their feet, or foundations, the thrones of the world, grind them to powder, and disperse them forever. It shall overturn, overturn, overturn them, with the whirlwinds of war, until they be no more,—until the time arrive when the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom and possess it forever, even forever and ever, Ezek. 21:27; Dan. 7:18. It shall encounter in its triumphant march, all thrones of iniquity and of blood. It shall dissolve their immoral constitutions, break their unrighteous sceptres and prostrate the seats of their power. It shall convince them that the “Lord God Omnipotent reigneth,”—that he is the only source of legitimate power, and that all their civil movements and political regulations ought to be adjusted by the standard of his holy and divine law; that this is the only perfect rule of action among all ranks and conditions of men. It shall convince them that, although in their official character and transactions, they neglect and despise this supreme law of Jehovah, the moral governor of the world, and elevate themselves as high as they can in opposition to the throne of heaven; yet this throne of Messiah shall hurl them headlong from the heights of their power, crush them in the dust and annihilate their dominions:—”for strong is the Lord God who judgeth them,” Rev. 18:8.
All this shall be effected by the power of the gospel of Jesus. It is the “rod of his strength which goeth forth out of Zion.” Armed with this, the Father says unto him,—”Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.” Armed with this, he shall, according to the promise of the same Father, “strike through kings in the day of his wrath: he shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries,” Ps. 110:2, 5, 6. And in order that Jesus the Mediator, might conquer the world by the rod of his power, and eternally save those that trust in him; the Father hath set him King upon his holy hill of Zion, and said unto him,—”I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” And to nations he says in a voice of awful warning,—”Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth;—kiss the Son, lest he be angry and ye perish from the way,” Ps. 2:8, 9, 10, 12. “This is that Son, my firstborn, whom I have sworn to `make higher than the kings of the earth; before whose face I have engaged to beat down his foes,—to set his hand of dominion and power in the sea and cause it to extend to the ends of the earth,” Ps. 89:23, 27. This is that Son, and this his kingdom, of which Daniel the prophet speaks, chap. 7:13, 15, “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.” This is the kingdom of heaven spoken of in the text, which was to destroy all the kingdoms of the world, and obtain to itself universal dominion. Here the son of man, who is robed in all the power and majesty of the heavens, receives from his eternal Father, the Ancient of days, the sublime delegation of this kingdom; a kingdom before which, it is declared that the thrones of all nations and languages should be crumbled, while itself, rising in triumphant grandeur upon their ruins, should spread its dominion commensurate with the globe, and establish its throne upon the rock of eternity. And thus in the superintendence and government of this special; Messiah, who is the “Lion of the tribe of Judah;” having received from the hand of him that sitteth upon the throne the sealed book of Jehovah’s counsels in relation to the management of his Universe, opens in regular succession its seven seals, and executes, as the Father’s Vicegerent, all its secret plans, Rev. 5:5, 7. And while he sits upon the throne of his spiritual kingdom, and rules as sovereign Lord in Zion, he has subjected to his sceptre the whole frame of created nature, which he causes to revolve around his throne of grace as a grand centre; in reference to which centre also, with a most specific and direct bearing upon it, he moves, by his omnipotent arm, all that complex, multifarious and stupendous mass of machinery, which constitutes the vast system of political and moral order among the nations of the earth. He moves and balances and directs the whole in regular subordination to the interests and prosperity of the church, his spiritual empire.—
With some remarks by way of improvement, we close the discussion,—and
1st. It is lamentable that with the Scriptures in our hands, so much ignorance prevails relative to the economical dispensation of Jehovah. The necessary, voluntary and economical relations in the Godhead are not generally known, and of course not distinguished. It has been shown that in the exercise of forbearance, God has placed a rebel world under a dispensation of grace and mercy, under the immediate superintendence of a Mediator, thus distinguishing mankind sinners from fallen angels. Every consideration of duty and of interest therefore urges the guilty descendant of fallen Adam, with intense application to search into that covenant economy, which involves in it the sovereignty, love and manifold wisdom of God. Sinful men, wedded to a covenant of works, are still naturally inclined to transact with an absolute God [i.e., deal with God apart from the Mediator], and to rest contented with viewing Jehovah in his essential character. Alas! that all important declaration of the Father’s only Son is little understood or regarded,—”No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” The Father, sustaining the majesty and exercising the rights of Deity “finds a ransom,” “gives his Son,” “anoints him with the Holy Ghost above measure,” invests him with “all power in heaven and in earth”—even “over all flesh, that he may give eternal life to sinners” and “become the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him.” These are things which “angels desire to look into,” and involve mysteries in the investigation of which, their already high and ever expanding intellects shall find scope to expatiate with rapture to all eternity. Associated with younger sons of light, “a multitude which no man can number,” “redeemed from among men and from the earth;”—”ten thousand times ten thousand” of those “who kept their first estate,” shall be employed in the contemplation of that ineffable glory “which the Son had with his Father, before the world was;” and both branches of Jehovah’s moral family [i.e., angels and men] again united, after long separation, shall eternally harmonize in proclaiming the “worthiness of the Lamb,”—emphasizing, to the conviction of all rational creatures the eternal, personal, economical distinctions in the adorable Trinity, while they ascribe “blessing and honor and glory and power, unto Him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” While “every creature which is in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them,” are concurring with one voice, as the “sound of mighty thunderings;” shall any rest in ignorance, or refuse to join in “the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father and of Christ?” “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”
2d. We have seen that God the Father is the fountain of authority. It was the Father’s intention in the mission of his Son, to test the obedience of mankind.—”They will reverence my Son.” It was also an affecting petition of the Father’s Servant, when offering up his intercessory prayer on earth—”That the world might know that the Father has sent him.”—”I am come in my Father’s name.” The event was, that the very appearance of Messiah gave occasion to the outbreaking of natural enmity, and more aggravated, overt acts of rebellion. “He came to his own, and his own received him not.”—”They said, this is the heir; come let us kill him.” “They have both seen and hated both me and my Father.” They “crucified the Lord of glory.” Sinners individually—sinners socially have said, and they continue to stand to their purpose,—”we will not have this man to reign over us.” “Resisting the ordinance of God” subjects to a fearful penalty,—”they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” Egypt’s haughty monarch, impiously demanded—”who is the Lord, that I should obey him?” What followed?—”Thou has broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain.”—”The beauty of the Chaldee’s excellency has been swept with the besom of destruction.” Such awful beacons has Jehovah erected, to warn a senseless world of their danger, in saying, “who is Lord over us?” “Woe to him that contendeth with his Maker.”
3d. The church, Messiah’s peculiar kingdom, is the object of his special regard. “He loved the church and gave himself for it.” For the purpose of founding, erecting and completing the building of mercy, we have seen that the furniture of the universe was donated to the Mediator. “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.”—He “gave him to be the Head over all things to the church.” She is the “bride, the Lamb’s wife.”—He is “jealous for her with great jealousy;” and he is “very sore displeased with the heathen—that help forward her affliction.” “He gave Egypt for her ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for her. Since she is precious in his sight and he loves her; therefore will he give men for her and people for her life.” Long has she been exposed to the insults, the scoffings, the buffetings of the world lying in wickedness. Still, however, she outlives the successive generations of her enemies. Sooner or later she has been made a “cup of trembling—a burdensome stone to all that came against her.” Her glorious Lord, who sits at his Father’s right hand, “ruling in Jacob to the ends of the earth,” assures the church for her comfort, that as “glorious things are said of her,” so they shall in due time be realized by her. “The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High,”—”For the nation & kingdom that will not serve thee (the church) shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.”
Finally,—Seeing that the stone cut out of the mountain, is to break in pieces and consume all the kingdoms of the earth; it follows that those who approve themselves to the Lord’s Anointed, as his loyal subjects; cannot, consistently with their allegiance to him, incorporate or identify with any nation, which in its constitutional provisions recognizes not the Mediator’s authority, nor professes submission to his law. This refusal of public homage to Messiah, on the part of the nations of the earth, together with the violence by them offered to his church, constitutes the matter of his controversy with them. For this, the pride of Babylon, “the lady of kingdoms,” was brought down,—God “sent to Babylon, and brought down all their nobles,” who blasphemously assumed to be “like the Most High,” and cruelly “devoured Jacob.” The nations of the earth have generally been rebellious provinces of the Mediator’s empire; nor do they seem disposed at the present day to change in this respect their policy. Neither from the precept of the divine law, nor from its penalty so awfully inflicted on their predecessors, have the nations yet begun to “learn righteousness.” The language of the Psalmist did not more literally apply to “Herod and Pontius Pilate,” than it does to crowned heads since that period.—”The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his Anointed, saying,—let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” This is, indeed, “their hour and the power of darkness;” but the day of vengeance is in Messiah’s heart, and when the “year of his redeemed is come,” then will he issue the royal order—”those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” In view of both precept and penalty, thus exemplified before them, God’s covenant society have ever “dwelt alone, and have not been reckoned among the nations.”—”That they receive not of their plagues, they must not partake of their sins.” Next to their immunities as citizens of Zion, their civil rights are dear to them: but while nations and kingdoms and empires are successively rising and falling;—the “potsherds of the earth” by collision, dashing each other to pieces: the witnesses of Jesus must prefer “the testimony of a good conscience to the pleasure of sin for a season.” They are warranted, however, to anticipate a period—the condition of society ecclesiastical, political and moral indicates its approach; when the exalted Mediator shall assert the rights of his crown, and display in its full extent his prerogative royal—”taking to him his great power, and reigning in Zion and Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.” “Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.” Amen.