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cerning the kingdom; that it is one thing to be an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven ; and another thing, to be a subject of that kingdom, when it shall be manifested on earth. The inheritors of the kingdom are glorified saints ; the subjects of the kingdom are the nations upon earth that shall survive the troubles of the last time, and the judgment of the apostate churches and nations. To inherit the kingdom, is, to be made partakers of its sovereign rule and authority in joint heirship with Christ. The Scripture, when it promises the people of God that they shall be “ kings and priests,” and shall reign in life, has not used an indefinite language, merely expressive of greatness and dignity; but it has used proper terms to convey appropriate ideas. saints of the Most High” are to stand in the relations of kings and priests, to the inhabitants of a new world; they are to reign upon earth, and to be “ priests of God and of Christ." On earth they reign — here is the seat of their dominion: but, they inhabit not houses of clay :
“ the children of God being the children of the resurrection," are “like unto the angels." In order
” to inherit and take a share in this kingdom, they must of necessity be divested of flesh and blood. kingdom implies a people to be ruled; and a priesthood implies also a people for whom its functions are ordained. Those who are heirs of a kingdom, become kings. Those that receive a priesthood, " are ordained for men in
, things pertaining to God.”
We saw, clearly, in former prophecies, that the earth and multitudes of its inhabitants survive, to submit to the sceptre of Christ and his saints. « The saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever." Other Scriptures
have shown us, in this new world, the Jews restored to their own land; a new temple, and new services instituted ; a sacred character given to Israel among the nations upon earth; their priests and Levites restored : all these things pertain to the regulation of things among men, in flesh and blood; and place will be found for the fulfilment of every prediction. But the dominion of the Lord and his heavenly hosts will be paramount to all this. “ And 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, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”
The Sixth Chapter of the First Epistle to T'imothy.
We next pass to St. Paul's notice of this blessed epiphany, in the sixth chapter of his First Epistle to Timothy :
“ I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Jesus Christ, who, before Pontius Pilate, witnessed a good confession, that thou keep the commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which in his times” — “which, appearing-he will manifest—God in his own good time shall manifest - who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords: who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see, to whom be honour and power everlasting.".
There are two remarks I would make on this
It was ever matter of surprise to me, as perhaps it has been to my reader, to find the epithets of “only, Potentate," King of kings, and Lord of lords :" applied to God, as distinguished from the Son, in his capacity of Lord and Christ; since these titles generally designate the Son's office and authority among men — the office especially which he is to assume at the last day. But the right understanding of the last passage of Scripture which we have considered, has presented to us the business of the second advent in another point of view. It hath shown us not only the kingdom of Christ, and of his saints, which is to rule over the earth; but it has also shown us the places of Christ, and his redeemed, in “ the kingdom of their Father.”
It represented to us the glorified Saviour, not only as coming to receive a kingdom upon earth, but as also delivering up one in heaven, which he had held as Mediator between God, even the Father, and his redeemed people ; the absolute Deity having veiled itself in light not to be approached, and having committed all power and authority to the Son of man.
But it was represented to us, that when the many sons are brought to glory, the mediatorial reign, as to them, will cease;' and the Son, as glorified man, will descend from the station he occupied before, arranging himself among his brethren, to go again with them, " the first-born among many brethren,” with delegated power from the Deity.
We have seen, how, with respect to these glorified saints, Christ is not upon the throne of the SUPREME, otherwise than he is one God with the Father and the Holy Ghost, “ God is all in all.” As Lord and King,
I“ A Mediator is not of one."
he is as one of them, having exalted them to his throne. They with him are lords and kings, and are to reign with him upon earth.
But these kings and lords have themselves a King and Lord, and the Son himself, as glorified man, "is arranged in order under HIM that put all things under him," in his capacity of Son of man. He sits with them in the kingdom of his Father" equal to the FATHER, as touching his Godhead, and inferior to the FATHER, as touching his manhood." So that whenever he acts as "the Son of man," or in his character as Messiah, he acts in the character of a subject, acknowledging in GOD," the only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords:" meaning, not of earthly kings and lords alone, but also of the children of the resurrection, whom he also "makes to inherit a glorious throne," and to be the heirs, lords, or possessors of the world.
The second remark that I would make upon this passage is, that though Timothy is personally addressed, whom Paul could not but know would not continue till the appearing of Jesus Christ: yet, in the usual style held by Scripture, when addressing the church generally on this subject, he is considered as waiting that coming: not only in that he must be raised to stand in his lot at the last day but he is addressed as officially continuing and attending his charge until the second advent. And this style is uniform in Scripture, both as addressed to churches and to ministers.
The reason is plain: as the church is addressed as a body that never dies, so the ministerial character is addressed as that which never dies, but continues till the chief Shepherd appear. To apply, in illustration, the strictly analogous language of our laws; the one is a
corporation aggregate, the other is a corporation sole; both are deathless. Whatever becomes of the individuals or individual, the corporation dies not, till dissolved by a superior authority. What is said, therefore, in these Scriptures to churches and to ministers, is said to all churches and to all ministers.
The Manifestation of the Sons of God, Rom. viii. 18., &c. The next passage we have to quote, which is found in the eighth chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, respecting “the manifestation of the Sons of God,” will appear
with great interest in this connexion. The apostle had been comforting those who suffered here with Christ, by assuring them “ that they should be glorified also together with him;" he proceeds in the eighteenth verse :
“ For I reckon" - or, “I conceive, indeed, that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.”
We have here the apostle's calculation of what deduction ought to be made from his former estimate of a Christian's happiness, on account of those present sufferings, which he had just acknowledged to be his frequent portion. And the apostle made his calculation at a time when the sufferings of Christians were abundant, and himself had also very largely partaken of them: yet, he says, he reckons that the afflictions of the believer in this present world, as well what he endures for Christ in the way of persecution, as those troubles with which it pleases God to visit him, in