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James Dodson

Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King! No language can more suitably express the state of emotion, which a proper review of the foregoing chapters would seem calculated to produce, in the breast of a saint. It is only a child of God, indeed, who can feel joyful at the contemplation of any view of the Saviour’s character; but every such individual must find, in that which is here presented, abundant cause of grateful and complacent delight. The very place which the regal office of the Mediator holds in the economy of redemption; his glorious and divine qualifications; and the nature, extent, and perpetuity of his dominion, are all fitted to awaken this pious emotion. Authority is thus given to the messages of grace and salvation, by which dignity, force, and efficacy are so secured to them, that the messenger may well be hailed, in the language of entire satisfaction, ‘How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!’ The subject we have had under review, is well calculated, also, to furnish us with a criterion by which to test the character, both of churches and individuals. Professing Christian communities are deserving of esteem, in proportion as their principles and usages bring to light the mediatorial dominion of the Messiah; and persons are entitled to our regard, in proportion as they give evidence of taking pleasure in, and yielding obedience to, the Prince of life.

How admirably fitted, too, to yield abundant consolation! Are the children of God in want? It cannot but rejoice them to know, that the spiritual Joseph is ruler over all the land, has under his management the store-houses of nature and grace, and is ready to satisfy every longing soul with ample supplies of wisdom, pardon, holiness, joy, and strength. ‘Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month, and the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.’ Are they placed amid temptations and trials? No consideration, surely, can be more soothing, than that their Lord reigns, and has every circumstance that can occur, every enemy that can arise, completely under his control. ‘God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble: therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake at the swelling thereof. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.’ Are they led to anticipate a future world? Through faith in the Lord God omnipotent who reigneth, they may confide, in being safely preserved amid the conflict of the present state, being carried successfully forward to full and final victory over every foe, and being introduced at last into all the joys of a never-ending triumph. ‘Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold thy salvation cometh; behold his reward is with him, and his work before him. She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needle work: the virgins, her companions that follow her, shall be brought unto thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the King’s palace. Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!’

Where joy in Messiah the Prince, on such grounds, is felt, the children of Zion can be at no loss to find sufficient opportunities of giving expression to their feelings. By contending for the honours of his regal character; by embracing every opportunity of talking of his qualifications, rights, and acts; by speaking to others, like loyal subjects, of the glory of their Prince; by endeavouring to diffuse correct sentiments, respecting his kingdom and reign, among their friends and fellow-Christians; by standing up, in the midst of enemies, for his crown rights and royal prerogatives; by cherishing the memory, and imitating the example, of those who, in troublous times, contended earnestly for the regal honours of the Mediator, and, rather than forego one iota of his claims, took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, and magnanimously embraced the scaffold and the stake; by cultivating an enlightened zeal for the extension of Messiah’s visible kingdom in the world; and, above all, by promptly submitting to his government, conscientiously observing his institutions, dutifully obeying his commands, and looking eagerly forward to being under his eternal reign in glory;—by such means as these, has every one full opportunity of giving decided expression to his complacent and grateful delight in the mediatorial dominion of Messiah the Prince. Let us see to it, that we improve this opportunity.

Nor let us be satisfied with anything short of an entire and implicit surrender of our hearts to King Jesus. It is possible for the subject of an earthly monarch to make a fair show of loyalty, openly to profess allegiance, and loudly to shout attachment, and yet, all the while, to be treating with contempt the institutions of his country, living in daily disobedience to the laws of the land, and perhaps secretly plotting the overthrow of the throne. The subject in profession may be a rebel at heart. In like manner, if we are not complying with the requirements of the Gospel; if we are not having it as our study to believe and repent; if we are not walking worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called; if we are not living holy and obedient lives, in all godliness and honesty; we are unequivocally saying with our actions, what we should perhaps shudder to pronounce with our lips, We will not have this King to reign over us! It is, alas! too common for men to shew a willingness to be interested in Christ as a Priest, while they obstinately refuse to submit to him as a King. They would gladly be saved from a coming wrath, but they are utterly indisposed to obey. Let them know that these things are inseparable; that the one cannot be had without the other; and that such as will not accept of Christ in all his characters, shall never obtain an interest in him in any. If we are not the subjects, we are the enemies of this King; and, if his subjects have reason to rejoice, his enemies have reason to tremble. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies. Let us reflect, whose authority it is we despise; whose institutions we contemn; whose laws we disobey. They are his, who has all power in heaven and in earth; who can break us with his rod of iron, and dash us in pieces like a potter’s vessel; who can crush us in our impotent rebellion with one stroke of his power, and with one breath of his mouth can bid us away into never-ending ruin. ‘He must reign till all his enemies be made his footstool. Those mine enemies which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them before me.’ These are not empty threats. They are the words of him who cannot lie. They shall be fulfilled, to the utter dismay of all who refuse to submit to the sceptre of the Messiah.

O thou benign Prince! enable us to escape this fearful doom; put forth thine efficacious grace in our hearts. Make us a willing people in the day of thy power. May we raise, instead of the shriek of misery, the hymn of triumph, Alleluia! salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God. Alleluia! or the Lord God omnipotent reigneth! We hail thee, Sovereign of our hearts; we abjure for ever all other lords who have had dominion over us, and declare from the heart, We have no king but Jesus!

Μονῳ τῳ Θεῳ δοξα.