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heavenly is the kingdom of Messiah, where thou art to be found! Who would not wish to see, who would not labour to promote, the full accomplishment of the last clause of the prophecy we have been considering, in the extension of this kingdom and dominion of Christ" from sea to sea, and from the river to the "ends of the earth;" that so all the nations of the world might remember themselves, and turn to the Lord Jesus, as many did at the first preaching of his Gospel! And let the daughter of Zion lead the way, restored to her pre-eminence among the churches. We will not envy her the honour, as she formerly envied us Gentiles, but rather rejoice and shout with her, in the day when she shall be led to acknowledge her King; the King of Righteousness, Salvation, and Peace; the once lowly, but now highly exalted, Jesus of Nazareth; who, as at this time, came to visit us in great humility, and shall come again, at the appointed hour, to judge the world; when we shall behold him, glorious as Jerusalem herself can wish, riding upon the heavens in power and majesty unutterable, amidst the acclamations of saints and angels.
THE KING OF GLORY.
REVELATION, 1. 7.
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
IT is the peculiar supputation of the Christian church, as a pious writer well observes, to begin the year, and to commence the annual course of her services, at this time of Advent, herein differing from all other accounts of time whatsoever. The reason of which seems plainly to be this, because in the numbering her days and measuring her seasons, she does not so much regard the sun in the firmament, as the great Sun of Righteousness, her Lord and Saviour who is in heaven. She considers herself as "re"deemed from the earth;" and therefore no longer confined to calculations of the world, or obliged to direct herself by the courses of the material luminaries. It is her employment to make known to her children the time of salvation, called in Scripture, "the year of the redeemed;" and this year was introduced by the everlasting day-spring from
on high visiting her; whereby she became, what the Spirit styles her, in the Revelation, "a city that has "no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine " in it, for the Lord God and the Lamb are the light "and glory thereof."
The lessons and services, therefore, for the first four Sundays in her liturgical year, propose to our ineditations the twofold advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, teaching us that it was he who was to come, and did come, to redeem the world; and that it is he, also, who shall come again to be our judge. These two advents involve in them, and comprehend between them, the whole counsel of God for the redemption of mankind, by the coming of Christ in the flesh, with the final issue of that counsel in respect of each individual, to be manifested at his coming to judgement.
The end proposed by the church, in setting these two appearances of Christ together before us at this time, is to beget in our minds proper dispositions to celebrate the one, and expect the other; that so, with joy and thankfulness, we may now go to "Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, "which the Lord hath made known unto us,' even the Son of God come to visit us in great humility! and thence, with faith unfeigned, and hope immoveable, ascend in heart and mind to meet the same Son of God in the air, coming in glorious majesty, to judge the quick and dead.
And certainly, if any thing can lead men to repentance, and turn the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of that Just One, the wisdom which maketh
wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, it must be the united considerations of his mercy and his justice his infinite mercy during the day of grace, when all sins, that can be repented of, are forgiven unto men; his inexorable justice at the day of retribution, when he shall infallibly render unto every man according as his work shall be. And perhaps there is no better method of stirring up our wills to procure an interest, or of discovering the interest we already possess, in the love of Christ, than by viewing in their proper colours the terrors of his judgement, as they will show themselves to the astonished world at that awful hour of his second advent; when the mask put upon false principles and evil actions shall drop off, and all things be estimated by the measures of Christianity, and the standard of the Gospel of Jesus.
The words of the divine and well-beloved John now read, are, it is presumed, not improper for this purpose, as they evidently fall in with the design of our church at this season, and speak the same language with her Advent services-" Behold, he com"eth with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they "also which pierced him; and all the kindreds of the "earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." In these words we may observe,
I. Christ's advent to judgement, with the manner of it: "Behold, he cometh with "clouds."
II. The circumstance of the world's beholding him, and the effect it shall produce: "Every.
"pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth "shall wail because of him."
III. The faith and hope of the church, displayed by her wishing and praying for his manifestation, notwithstanding all the terrors that are to attend it: "Even so, Amen."
First, then, we are to consider Christ's advent to judgement. There is something wonderfully awful and affecting in the short description the text gives us of it. The beautiful manner, particularly, in which it is introduced, is worthy of notice. St. John, having occasion to mention his dear Lord and Master, at whose command he wrote this epistle to the churches, fired and transported at the glorious name, runs on with amazing rapidity, enumerating the blessings of the redemption which is by him; and having carried him from his cross to his throne, and ascribed all glory to him sitting upon it, immediately he sees him in the clouds, and breaks forth in the words of the text. The whole passage runs thus: "John to the "" seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto (6 you, and peace from him which is, and which was, "and which is to come; and from the seven spirits "which are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, "who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten
from the dead, and the prince of the kings of the "earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from "our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings "and priests unto God and his Father; unto him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.— "Behold, he cometh!" It is evident likewise, at first sight, how well this sudden and abrupt introduc