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Son's coming into a new subjection unto the Father, that God may be all in all, as ver. 28. they seem to imply directly the ceasing of bis kingdom.'
Though this matter be not indeed without its difficulty, yet the different opinions about it seem capable of a fair reconciliation ; which we shall attempt in the ensuing propositions.
1. The Lord Christ, as the Son of God, shall unto all eternity continue in the essential and natural dominion over all creatures, and they in their dependance upon him, and subjection unto him. He can no more divest himself of that dominion and kingdom, than he can cease to be God. Suppose the being of any creatures, and that subjection unto him, which is the rise of this kingdom, is natural and indispensable.
2. As to the economical kingdom of Christ over the church, and all things in order to the protection and salvation thereof, the immediate ends of it will cease. All his saints being saved, all his sons brought unto glory, all his enemies subdued, the end of that rule which consisted in the guidance and preservation of the one, in the restraint and ruin of the other, must necessarily cease.
3. The Lord Christ shall not so leave his kingdom at the last day, as that the Father should take upon himself the administration of it. Upon the giving up of his kingdom, whatever it be, the apostle doth not say, the Father shall rule or reign, as though he should exercise the same kingdom, but that God shall be all in all; that is, God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, without the use or intervention of such ways or means as were in use before, during the full continuance of the dispensatory kingdom of Christ, shall fill and satisfy all his saints, support and dispose of the remnant creation.
4. This ceasing of the kingdom of Christ, is no way derogatory unto his glory, or the perpetuity of his kingdom ; no more than his ceasing to intercede for his people is to that perpetuity of his priesthood, which he hath by oath confirmed unto him. His prophetical office also seems to cease, when he shall teach his people no more by his Word and Spirit.
5. In three respects, the kingdom of Christ may be said to abide unto eternity. First, In that all his saints and angels shall eternally adore and worship him, on the account of the glory which he hath received as the King and Head of the church, and be filled with joy in beholding of him, John xvii. 22. 24. Secondly, In that all the saints shall abide in their state of union unto God through him as their Head; God communicating of his fulness to them through him, which will be his eternal glory, when all his enemies shall be his footstool. Thirdly, In that, as the righteous Judge of all, he shall to all eternity continue the punishment of his adversaries.
And this is the last testimony insisted on by the apostle to prove the pre-eminence of Christ above angels, and consequently above all that were used or employed of old in the disposition and administration of the law, which was the thing he had undertaken to make good. And therefore in the close of this chapter, having denied that any of these things are spoken concerning angels, he shuts up all with a description of their nature and office, such as was then known and received among the Jews; before the consideration whereof, we must draw out, from what hath been insisted on, some observations for our own instruction, which are these that follow. · I. The authority of God the Father in the exaltation of Jesus Christ as the Head and Mediator of the church, is greatly to be regarded by believers.--He says unto him, “ Sit thou at my right hand." Much of the consolation and security of the
church, depends on this consideration. · II. The exaltation of Christ is the great pledge of the acceptance of the work of mediation performed in the behalf of the church. Now, saith God, “ Sit thou at my right hand ;" the work is done wherein my soul is well pleased.
- III. Christ hath many enemies unto his kingdom.-Saith God, I will deal with all of them.
IV. The kingdom and rule of Christ is perpetual and abiding, notwithstanding all the opposition that is made against it.His enemies rage indeed, as though they would pull him out of his throne; but it is altogether in vain. He hath the faithfulness and power, the word and right hand of God, for the security of his kingdom.
. V. The end whereunto the Lord Jesus Christ will assuredly bring all his enemies, let them bluster while they please, shall be unto them miserable and shameful, to the saints joyful, to himself victorious and triumphant.
It is the administration of the kingdom of Christ in the world, that this truth principally respects. Great is the enmity of this world against it, great the opposition that is, and hath always been made unto it; but this will be the assured issue of it, ruin to the enemies, joy to the saints, glory to Christ. This is that which is represented to us in the prophecy of Gog. That prophecy is a recapitulation of all the enmity that is acted in the world against the interest of Christ. What his counsel is, the prophet declares, Ezek. xxxviij. 11. “ I will go up to the land of unwalled villages : I will go up to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates.” They look upon the church of Christ as a feeble people, that hath no visible power or defence, and therefore easy to be destroyed; this encourageth them to their work. Who or what can deliver them out of their hand ?
With this resolution they come upon the breadth of the earth, and compass the camp of the saints, and the beloved city, Rev. xx. 9. They go about their work with glory and terror, as if they would do it in a day. So they have done in all ages, so they continue to do to this day; and what is the issue ? This city which they look on as an unwalled town, no way defensible or tenable, is not yet taken by them, nor ever shall be ; but there they fall before it, one after another, and their bones lie under the walls of the city which they oppose. They fall upon the mountains of Israel, and leave a stink behind them, the shame and reproach of their names unto eternity. Sometimes they seem to have prevailed, and to have done their work, but still the issue is, that they die, or are destroyed and go down to the pit, and come under the feet of Christ, leaving the city untaken. Disappointment, shame and everlasting punishment, is their portion; and they find at last by experience, that this feeble folk whom they so despise, are wise, and have their habitation in a rock. This pledge we have already of the truth proposed ; that all who have formerly risen up in enmity to the kingdom of Christ, are dead, gone, perished under his feet, and have left their work undone, as far from accomplishment as the first day they undertook it: the same shall be the lot of those that are, and those that follow, to the end of the world. And when they have all done their utmost, then shall the end be, then shall all their misery be completed, the joy of the saints filled, and the glory of Christ exalted.
For the enemies themselves, what can be more shameful unto them, than to be so stupid, as not to learn from the experience of so many hundred of years to give over a work wherein never any prospered ? more miserable, than to engage in that design, wherein they must necessarily fall and be ruined ? more woful, than to work out their own eternal destruction under the wrath of Christ, in a business wherein they had no success ? And what profit is it, if for the present they grow a little rich with the gain of oppression, if there be a worm in it that will devour both it and them? What advantage, if they drink a little precious blood, and find sweetness in it, if it make them sick, and swell, and die. The beloved city still abides, and their misery shall never end. • For the saints, what more joyful thing can there be, than for
them to take a view of these things; to look backwards, and see all the Nimrods of the earth that have opposed the kingdom of Christ, lying in shame and misery, with their necks under the footstool of his feet? There they may see Pharaoh lie, and Nebuchadnezzar, Nero, Domitian, Dioclesian, with all their multitudes, and all that have walked in their steps, brought down to the sides of the pit, in shame and eternal misery for
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their opposition to the kingdom of Christ. There are they fallen, and perished all of them, who laid their swords under heads, and fallen by the sword, which caused terror in the land of the living.
And the like prospect may they take of what is to come. They may by faith see Babylon fallen, the whole conspiracy that is in the world against them and their Lord disappointed, and all his enemies that shall arise even to the consummation of all things, brought to ruin. How may they triumph in a glorious prospect of this certain and unavoidable issue of the opposition that is made to the kingdom of their Redeemer? And this must be the issue of these things. For,
1. God hath promised unto the Lord Christ, from the foun. dation of the world, that so it should be. It was part of his eternal covenant and compact with him, as hath been declared. And after the first promise of breaking the serpent's head, and prevailing therein against the enmity of his seed, no season of the church passed, where the promises of the same success and issue were not renewed ; and hereunto do the writings of Moses, the Psalms and the prophets, bear witness. And hereof it was that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied so expressly unto the old world before the flood, Jude 14, 15. Other prophecies and promises to the same purpose, occur every where in the Scripture. And this God also, in several ages, for the greater pledge of his veracity, typified; as in the victory of Abraham over the four kings, representing the great monarchies of the world, wherein he had a pledge that he should be heir of the world in his seed; in the conquest of Canaan, the seat and inheritance of the church by Joshua ; in the successes and victo. ries of David, and by many signal instances given in the visible ruin of the most potent opposers of his interest in the world. And it cannot be that this word of God should be of none effect.
2. The Lord Christ expects this issue and event of all things, and shall not be frustrated in his expectation. Having received the engagement and faithful promises of his Father, he rests in the foresight of its accomplishment. And thence it is that he bears all the affronts that are put upon him, all the opposition that is made unto him, and to his kingdom, with patience, longsuffering and forbearance. When we consider the injuries, reproaches, oppressions, persecutions, blasphemies, that he is ex. posed to in his ways, his servants, his Spirit and worship, we are ready to admire at his patience (as we ought to do) that he breaks not forth against his enemies as a consuming fire. But he knows the time and season that is allotted for the execution of vengeance upon them; and nothing of their pride, rage, boasting or triumphing against him, shall ever provoke him to anticipate their ruin ; so secure he is of their destruction in the appointed season, and so certain of their day that is coming.
3. He is himself furnished with authority and power for the accomplishment of this work, when and as he pleaseth. He hath not only assurance of the Father's concurrence, but is hinself also thoroughly armed and furnished with power to destroy all his enemies even in a moment. And he will not fail to put forth his power in the appointed season : he “ will bruise them all with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” If all his enemies should at once combine theniselves against him, should the world receive the utmost contribution of craft, subtlety and strength, that hell is able to afford to it, what is it all to stand before the incomprehensible power of Jesus Christ? See Rév. vi. 16, 17.
4. His glory and honour require that it should be so. This is a thing that he is very tender in. God hath raised him up, and given him glory and honour, and care must be taken that it be not lost or impaired. Now if his enemies should go free, if they could by any means subduct themselves from under his power, or be delivered from his wrath, where would be his glory, where his honour? Here they reproach him, blaspheme him, despise him, persecute him : Shall they escape and go free? Shall they always prosper? What then would he do to his great name? The glory of Christ indispensably requires that there be a season, a day appointed for the eternal ruin of all his stubborn adversaries.
5. His saints pray that it may be so; and that both upon his account and their own. Upon his, that his glory, which is dearer to them than their lives, may be vindicated and exalted ; upon tlıeir own account, that their miseries may be ended, that the blood of their fellow-servants may be revenged, that the whole church may be delivered, and all promises fulfilled. Now he will not disappoint their prayers, nor frustrate their expectations in any thing, much less in those that are of so great importance. He will avenge his elect, he will avenge them speedily.
6. His enemies deserve it unto the utmost; so that as well his justice as his glory, and interest, and people, are concerned in their destruction. In the most of them, their outrage against him is notorious, and visible in the eyes of men and angels; in all of them there is a cruel, old, lasting eninity and hatred, which he will lay open and discover at the last day, that all shall see the righteousness of his judgments against them. God hath given him a kingdom, appointed him to reign: they declare that he shall not do so, and endeavour their utmost to keep him from his throne, and that with scorn, despite, and malice, so that while God is rigbteous, and the sceptre of Christ's kingdom a sceptre of righteousness, they call aloud for their own destruction.