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And when we stand around Him on that day, right fully shall we know and own that the Father chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, and that He is the One who, having made ready the Father's house, will then be come back to receive us unto Himself, that where He is there we may be also. But the pre-eminence is altogether His — declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.
Creation, Providence, Redemption, all pay their tribute to Him; and it is due to Him alone.
6th. The Prince of the Kings of the Earth.— The term Prince (archon) is one that implies relationship. Chief of the kings of the earth. This is more than His Lord. ship. Now, indeed, and in truth, inasmuch as He is the Centre and End of all the divine counsels and plans, the kings of this disordered world cannot get away from the effect which His glory has over everything. Hereafter, too, He will, as King, put down and lift up those whom He will. But there is a royal priesthood, in direct relationship to which, as its Head or Prince, He will in that day be displayed; and I judge that it is this which is here referred to. He will be the Chief and supporter of the royal priesthood, whose residence is to be in heaven, as also their priestly service, though they are to be associated with Him in His rule over the earth.
This comes out more fully in detail in the two verses which follow, in which, seventhly, His grace in having made associates for Himself, and the considerateness of His love in so doing, is opened up. For that which opens up the song of praise, "Unto Him that loved ... Amen (ver. 5 and 6), is the mention of Him as the Prince of the Kings of the earth.
How should John write to the churches, of grace and peace being to them from Him, as the Prince of the Kings of the earth, without the grace in Him, which had displayed itself in giving to John and us a special place in connection with that title, moving his heart, and drawing forth a burst of praise from him.
He is not only, as we have seen, 6thly, Prince (archon), but this has, 7thly, a tale of its own as to the kings of the earth.
The Firstborn from among the dead has a place of universal Lordship pertaining to Him (Acts ii. 36, Phil. ii. 11), Title over all is His; title, also, to all, as the appointed Heir of all things, is His. He has also a place of peculiar honour and glory belonging to Him, as Head before God, for the direction of worship and government among men. This headship is His alone; but, in grace, He shares the honours of it with one peculiar class. His will is, according to divine counsel, to have a royal priesthood with Himself
, when He, in one aspect of His glory, shall be “The priest upon His throne" (Zech. vi. 13).
When His eye lighted, so to speak, upon the children whom God had committed to Him, sin was in them, and on them; and nothing but sin in nature. To meet their need in this respect, that they might be able to stand before God, He washes in that blood which Himself has provided. By nature, we had nothing but sin. God claimed us, and the sin would have excluded us from His presence; but He loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood. But His love, who had taken us up as at the hand of God, stopped not there; sin set aside was set aside in order that His heart might have its joy in associating us with Himself, as the Priest upon His throne — Head in government and worship in a world yet to come before God. Surely the rays of a glory burst forth here—the glory of His own unselfish, divine love; the light descends in fulness enough to return an answer of praise and thanksgiving from John.
8thly. The glory of His return, as to man on earth, is spoken of-Ver. 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.”
If man now shuts out His light, and denies His faith, the Lord's coming will be the irresistible answer to this when He rises up; and, if a present faith can rejoice in the glory to come, unbelief may well be alarmed at the thought of that coming, and its effects upon the heart found then in unbelief. Faith has, already, its praise because of Him. Unbelief knows Him not now, but will wail when He comes. The expression, “ Even 80, Amen," is the expression of the servant of the Lord's faith. Faith can, and does enter into the righteousness of God in sending forth His Son a second time; faith's one great interest is the Christ of God — the triumph of this seed of the woman; and while its own side of the truth is in joy and peace, in believing, and in the tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, yet can the believer be so subdued to his own right place in Christbe so enlarged in his own soul as to the place which Christ has in the counsels and plans of God — as to take his place with God and with Christ in every glory that pertains to Christ, and say, as to every detail of His counsels, "Even so, Amen!"
FRAGMENTS. 1. LCEE XV.–The truth which was dominant in the blessed Lord's mind at this time seems to me to have been-neither that of the privileges or experience of disciples, nor that of the way of making man such ; and though, doubtless, it had connection with both of these topics, they are so entirely subordinate to it, that if either of them absorb the attention, it, in all its magnificent splendour, is, for the moment, necessarily lost sight of.
The goodness of God, which had recognised man (though a sinner) under His governmental way--if, haply, man could so be blessed-having been shown out to be insufficient, through the sinfulness of man, for man's blessing, God, if He would bless man, must act upon the ground of His own immutable character, and position, and rights, as God upon that which it was meet that He should do, according to His own position, and character, and will.
Sinful man's being satisfied with any position of blessing whatsoever, is vanity, unless God, in His own immutable character and grace, fill both man and the position with power.
The governmental ways and dealings of God include, not only the Mosaic economy, but the Noahic and Abrahamic blessing also; for ere ever there was a people for Moses to take up in Egypt, God had separated Abram from among idolaters, and even Lefore that, had given a charter of providential blessing through Noah.
People are so awfully full of self and man, that they can hardly read the Lord's teaching with the thought, that God and the full range of His ways were what occupied Him.
2. “I do not know that the unity of the House is stated anywhere in Scripture, any more than the unity of Christ ; and are you Scriptural in saying, the Spirit dwells in the body? Scripture speaks only of the unity of the Spirit --- only says, “There is one
body' (Eph. iv., and 1 Cor. xii.). The unity of the body is as foreign from Scripture thought as a thing to be kept, as is the unity of the house. The unity of the Spirit, to be kept in the bond of peace,' is all that Scripture speaks of. _“There is one body: unity, in this sense, cannot be broken. — The use of the term 'unity' is often ambiguous. It means practical union, when contrasted with schism; and immutable oneness, when used of the Body. But what underlies much of the ignorance on these subjects is the denial of the unity of the body on earth ; the result would be isolate churches, and unity there alone. The body and the house cannot be separated as to responsible position. No doubt the house is not really the body of Christ-it is another order of ideas ; but they who call themselves 'Church' (assembly), take upon themselves the responsibility of the body, as well as of the house. The assembly, which is His body how one ought to behave oneself in the House of God, which is the assembly of the living God. Rome is not the house, nor is a national establishment; the whole is. The question is this: The assembly is the house, the assembly is the body. What is the assembly i He hath set in the assembly apostles ; gifts of healing: not in a local body, apostles-not gifts of healing-but on earth."
3. If I were an Englishman, I do not think that I should be able to entertain a thought, which supposed that the three things represented by the kingdom of Great Britain, the Royal Household, and the family of Queen Victory, were now separable.
Loving and honouring the powers that be, such would be the expression of my heart and moral feeling about my country.
A stranger, as an Indian or a savage, ignorant of the subject, might suppose, on hearing me talk, that the three expressions“Great Britain,” “ Queen Victoria," “ The Royal Household": were three synonyms for one and the same thing. At first, I might let this assumption pass; after a time, I might endeavour to explain to him how these three terms were like three circles drawn from one and the same centre, one outside the other ; three circles having, indeed, one common centre, and, in one sense, "all one,” yet, in another sense, each of them having ideas distinctly peculiar to itself.
Queen Victory-she, while she lives, is the centre and pillar of the State ; her family are separated from everybody else in the nation, the alone right inheritors of the throne.
The Royal Household contains them all and such as are necessary for their comfort and state.
Great Britain is (not herself, nor her family, nor her household, nor the whole of her empire, but) the kingdom more peculiarly hers; — kingdom which owns and puts her forward, the wide world over, as its representative.
Yet, while each circle has ideas peculiar to it - they all go together, and form an inseparable unity in the heart of an Eriglishman.
1 PETER. The First Epistle of Peter is addressed to believers among the dispersed of Israel found in those provinces of Asia Minor which are named in the first verse. The Second Epistle declares itself to be a second, addressed to the same persons; so that the one and the other were destined for the Jews of Asia Minor; i.e. to those among them who had received the same precious Faith as the Apostle.
The First Epistle is founded on the doctrine of the Heavenly calling (I do not say on that of the Church, which is not brought before us here), in contrast with the portion of the Jews on earth. And thus it presents Christians--and in particular Christians among the Jews—as pilgrims and strangers on the earth. The conduct suited to such persons is more largely developed than the doctrine. The Lord Jesus, who was Himself a pilgrim and a stranger here, is presented as a pattern in more than one aspect. At the same time, both Epistles pursue the righteous government of God in all its phases, froin the beginning to the consummation of all things, in which the elements melt with fervent heat, and there will be new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness shall dwell.
Nevertheless, in presenting the heavenly calling, the Apostle necessarily presents Salvation, the deliverance of the soul, in contrast with the temporal deliverances of
The following is the description which the Spirit gives of these believers. They are elect; and that, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. Israel was a nation elected on the earth by Jehovah. Here, it is those who were foreknown of the Father. The means by which their election is carried out, is Sanctification of VOL. XII. PT. II.