Page images

a man

The remainder of the connexion may be omitted in giving time for a word of remark. "The kingdom of heaven," the Saviour says, is like this account of " travelling into a far country." Jesus, though God, was here 66 as a man," or with a human nature, in the fleshhe has since gone into a far country, "that is a heavenly." (Heb. 11:16.) Before his going, he delivered his goods of this world all into the stewardship of mankind as his servants, including even his own atoning sacrifice on the cross, and all the privileges and opportunities necessary, with a faithful improvement on their part, for their severally becoming "good and faithful servants" to obtain the everlasting joy of their Lord. "After a long time," now more specially at hand, he will come again and "reckon with" them all in a final judgment. Some, according to this instruction, will then be found "good and faithful servants," having squandered nor wasted nothing of their Lord's goods, but rather having doubled, or well improved them, then to be for ever commended of their Lord, and to be made rulers "over many things," or to reign as "kings" "with him," over all their enemies, on "thrones"-" for ever." (Mat. 19: 28. 1 Cor. 6: 2. Rev. 5: 10. 20:4. 22:5.) And some of the servants, according to this likeness of things concerning the kingdom of heaven coming, will be found, by their divine Lord, as having made no improvement of all the goods committed unto them, to every individual enough for his capacity. Such unprofitable servants, representing all final impenitent sinners without distinction, shall then at once be deprived of all their privileges, and cast" into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Surely, in all this, Jesus is preaching, not the Gospel dispensation at hand, but the kingdom of himself, which is a kingdom, rather than a dispensation. Or this is the king

dom of heaven at hand which he began to preach, as his first words, text, or leading subject, and which, as long as he lived, he continued preaching, "all about Galilee," as before mentioned.

Mat. 25: 31-46. "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, (Dan. 7 : 9, 10,) then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. And before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was an hungered and ye gave me meat, &c. Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was an hungered and ye gave me No meat," &c.

All this is another striking likeness of the kingdom of heaven at hand, which Jesus began and continued preaching so long as preaching at all; while, indeed, he here speaks almost without figures, of his coming in his glory with all his holy angels, to sit on the throne of his glory, to gather and judge all nations. How literal he makes all this appear of the coming of himself and kingdom, including all his holy angels, together with the events of the general resurrection, or gathering and judgment on that occasion. The righteous, then, as the true flock of Christ, are to "inherit the kingdom" which he has prepared for them "from the foundation of the world," being himself "a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Rev. 13: 8.) This shows, also, that neither the Gospel dispensation, nor any of its appurtenances, were ever in Christ's promise or preaching; for both saints and sinners are in the dispensation as long as they live. But the foretold and promised

kingdom is something which no saints in the flesh have ever yet inherited, and into which they have never yet entered; for if the church is that kingdom, or the Spirit, within the heart that kingdom, or the dispensation that kingdom; so that they have already entered into it, and have it all within the compass of their own breasts, then why are they yet to "enter into" it "through much tribulation?" and why inherit it in meeting the Judge finally, as though it were a gift never before inherited, and as though none were entitled to it until after all their toils and sacrifices for Christ are performed in a state of trial?


First. We see, in this latter clause of Christ's discourse on the doctrine of repentance and the kingdom at hand, (Mat. 25: 31-46,) the dreadfully DEPRAVED CHARACTER, at heart, of every impenitent sinner in the universe, to be cast off in the coming of God's kingdom. Though, externally, they may, many of them, have done many deeds resembling those of the truly righteous; and yet done them from a principle of pride, self-love, natural affection, or human sympathy, all of which are common with impenitent sinners; it will be disclosed, at the final judgment, that there never has been a single unconverted sinner, so living, and so coming to judgment, who, from a moral and righteous principle, has ever done the least good thing, as it regards the moral law, of love to God and love to man. Not one of the multitudes to be cast off, it will then be seen, has manifested the least care for the honor of Jesus, or for his bleeding cause, before them all their days. For when he has been "hungry-thirsty-naked-a stranger -sick, and in prison" before them all their days, they have not had regard enough for him, nor for his little ones,

in whom he dwells, by his Spirit, to offer unto him, or them, for his sake, the least degree of aid in his or their suffer. ing cause. Not one morsel of food will it appear that any one of them has ever given, nor one drop of cold water for Christ's sake; while they themselves have always been living upon his bounties, and spending them all upon their lusts, rather than do any thing with them purposely and from the heart, to honor or aid him in his, and the sufferings of his people on earth, from principalities and powers always prevailing against them. And yet it appears their sin is so great, that even at the very judgment seat they will have the audacity to deny it all, as they do now, in their practice at least, saying, "Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst," &c., " and did not minister unto thee?" After being then distinctly told when, viz. all their lives, they will plead ignorance no longer. And though now they act as if wholly denying their daily treating the blessed Jesus with such shocking abuse, where is their sincerity in denying it while professing to believe his Gospel? and seeing, too, that this trait of their character is among the very things of the Gospel which they profess to believe?

Secondly. In this preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom, we see what that CHANGE is, which all true saints experience in their heart, while here in the flesh, to prepare them for the blessedness remaining for them at the coming of the kingdom. By the character finally to be ascribed to them, it appears they must have repented of all that natural character of the wicked, common even with all the saints before repentance. This then appears as an entire and whole change of heart, by repentance, by the Spirit and word of God; so that on going to the Judge, or meeting him, they are absolutely, in all respects, even in the

[ocr errors]


most minute particulars, or in every moral point of view, new creatures," and diametrically opposite to what they once were without such a change, and opposite to what all incorrigible sinners will be for ever, not having thus submitted themselves to God.

Thirdly. We see most distinctly exhibited in this preaching of the kingdom at hand by Christ, that with him the ALL-PREVAILING MOTIVE for immediate repentance, was the prospect of sudden, everlasting, infinite blessedness and glory, to the immediate faithful, penitent, and of sudden, everlasting shame, contempt, and despair, to every one daring to delay repentance a single moment.

« PreviousContinue »