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"and hell;" He is "King of kings, and Lord of lords." The kingdom of nature and providence is administered by him as our Brother and Friend: " All judgment "is committed to him;" "all the fulness of the God"head dwells in him bodily." He is the Head of all things to his church, "the fulness of him that filletli "all in all."
How astonishing is this language! how stupendous his grace; who, from this height of personal and mediatorial dignity and pre-eminence, looks down in compassion on us sinful worms, and seems only to glory in his power, as it enables him to enrich and bless our guilty souls! He reigns upon a mercy-seat, dispensing pardons and gifts to rebellious men, pardons and gifts, which he purchased for them with his own blood! He proclaims his immeasurable love in the blessed gospel; he sends his Holy Spirit to glorify him in our hearts, receiving of those things which belong to him, and shewing them to us, in all their suitableness and inestimable value. He invites all that will, to come and take of these blessings freely; he casts out none that come; and he confers all things pertaining to life and godliness on every waiting soul. With the highest propriety therefore, angel's celebrated the Redeemer's birth in that expressive song of praise, "Glory to "God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will "towards men;" for "God sent not his Son into the "world to condemn the world; but that the world "through him might be saved." Yet, if men "re"fuse him that speaketh;" if they "despise his counsel, and will none of his reproof:", he will most certainly glorify his power in their destruction. "God "hath given him a name which is above every name;
"that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow;"and that every tongue should confess, that Jesus "Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." This agrees with the solemn declaration quoted by the apostle, "As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall "bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God."*
Let it be likewise observed, that "the yoke of "Christ is easy, and his burden light." Not only are all his subjects made heirs of heaven; they have "also the promise of the life that now is;" the full assurance that no good thing shall be withholden from them, and they shall receive an hundred-fold, even in this present time, for all the losses they sustain from love to Christ and the gospel.
II. Then let us notice the exhortation of the text: "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and so ye perish "from the way:" that is, 'Submit and be reconciled 'to him, before the day of vengeance overtake you.'
This implies in the first place, submission to the righteousness of God, and a humble acceptance of mercy in his appointed way. We cannot come to a Saviour, except in the character of lost sinners. We are therefore required to humble ourselves before God, and to allow the justice of his awful sentence: and we must not at all excuse our crimes, or expect deliverance from wrath, and the gift of eternal life, as in any degree our due. "Wilt thou," says JEHOVAHI, "condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?"† This was precisely the case of the ancient Jews; they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and go
*Is. xlv. 21-25. Rom. xiv. 11. Phil. ii. 10, 11. † Job xl. 8.
ing about to establish their own righteousness, have "not submitted themselves to the righteousness of "God." "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."*
There are two principal reasons of men's rejecting the gospel. In general they hate religion, and desire to live without restraint. They take pleasure in worldly objects: and if not compelled by their circumstances to labour, or engaged in covetous or ambitious pursuits; they love to spend their time and money in gratifying their own humour and inclinations: but submission to Christ is absolutely contrary to such a course of life. When, however, this seems to be in a measure got over; and men take a nearer view of Christianity; they are greatly offended at its humiliating doctrines. To come before God as dependent creatures, might be endured: but to approach him as justly condemned criminals is an intolerable degradation; especially when connected with self-denial and renunciation of their darling pursuits. A method of salvation, which paid more respect to their wisdom, learning, or other distinctions, and especially to their virtue and goodness of heart, would meet with a better reception. To speculate and decide as philosophers, to perform duties by their native energies and good dispositions, and to demand a reward of their distinguished piety and charity, would better suit their feelings; than to be saved by grace alone, to sit as little children at the feet of Jesus, to give the Lord the glory of every good desire, thought, word, and
action; to rely on the all-sufficient merits and atoning blood of the Saviour, and to receive eternal life as the gift of God in him. Yet the general tenour of Scripture requires this unreserved submission of sinners to divine justice, and reliance on free mercy and grace,
as essential to salvation.
But the language under consideration, likewise demands implicit obedience to the Saviour, as the anointed King over his redeemed people, and over all worlds for their advantage. "Kiss the Son lest he "be angry, and so ye perish from the way." When Samuel anointed Saul king over Israel, he testified his cheerful and cordial acquiescence in the Lord's appointment, by the kiss of allegiance. In like manner, we are not only required to welcome the salvation of Christ with unfeigned gratitude, and to express our love by obedience in some particulars, according to our own choice or discretion: but we are called upon to submit to his authority, and yield obedience in all things; and if our repentance, faith, and love be sincere, we shall cordially render it. Our past sins will appear to us, as acts of rebellion against our Sovereign and bounteous Creator; present failures will be considered as additional provocations, which need forgiveness through the atoning blood; and our obedience, the only undeniable evidence of our repentance and conversion. We shall regard every interest or object which would draw us aside, as an idol and usurper; every contrary propensity as the remains of our old bondage; and the path of duty as true liberty, the perfection of which we shall long after with groans
But further, we are required, to "honour the Son, "even as we honour the Father that sent him."* Thus the worshippers of Baal kissed his image, and the idolatrous votaries of the golden calves used the same ceremony."† JEHOVAH therefore seems to say in the words of the text, I demand for my be'loved Son that very adoration, which I prohibited ' and abhorred, when offered unto idols.' When our Lord had said, "I and my Father are One," the Jews accused him of making himself equal with God; and their renewed attempt to stone him, together with the immediate cause of his condemnation to the cross, proves that he neither denied nor evaded the charge. On this point, he and the Jews were at issue; for this supposed crime he suffered and died; but "he was "declared to be the Son of God with power, by his "resurrection from the dead." And he, who carefully examines the account given of the worship rendered to "the Lamb that was slain," by redeemed sinners, an innumerable multitude of angels and all creatures, as made known in vision to the apostle John, will not be able to mark any difference between it, and the adoration paid to "Him who sitteth on the "throne, and liveth for ever and ever." It cannot therefore be wonderful, if the disciples of Christ on earth should be required to learn the worship of heaven, as a part of their "meetness for the inheritance "of the saints in light."-But we proceed to,
III. Make some remarks, on the warning and encouragement," If his wrath be kindled, yea, but a
John v. 23. 1 Kings xix. 18. Hos. xiii. 2. Rev. v. 6--13.