The Kingdom That Is, and Is To Come

A SERMON – Preached on Tuesday Morning,   Sept. 19TH, 1865, by

MR.   JAMES   WELLS

 

AT THE NEW SURREY TABE RNACLE, WANSEY STREET

 

FIRST SERMON IN THE NEW SURREY TABERNACLE.

''The kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem."-Micah iv. 8.

 

The Christian feels that in every difficulty that  overtakes him he needs faith in the Lord and prayer to him; but then at the same time that Christian knows  that  there  is  no  faith  in  the  Lord,  nor  is there  any prayer  to the Lord, that  can avail with him which hath not his authority.  Hence God has in his holy word given unto us exceeding and precious promises in which to believe, and upon which fund our petitions unto the throne of grace.    And I do not know anything that we can desire that is not embodied in the language of our text, “The kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem;” the daughter of Jerusalem there meaning, of course, the true church of the blessed God; and if the kingdom come, why, then everything comes that we can need for present and eternal welfare.   Also just  observe  that  it  is  customary with prophets and  with the apostles to pray for the coming  of  those  things that are already  come.    Now the Saviour’s kingdom is come, the Holy Spirit has come, Christ has come, God has come, wherein, then, lies the propriety of praying for the kingdom to come when it is come?    The propriety lies here, that it has come, but only partially; and that we as yet know but little, and that there is infinitely more still to be known. And so we may go on praying for the kingdom to come more and more, because there is more to come.  It is not as  it is in  this world;-when we shall be called upon  to lay our heads  on a dying pillow, then we may say there is no  more  of  a  temporal  kind  to  come; we  have  done with everything under  the  sun;  it  is  of  no  avail  to  ask  for  any  temporal mercy for there is not another for us, we are just leaving this lower scene of things; all is finished,  all is completed.    Not so in eternal things; no, after eternity has run many millions of its vast cycles, the kingdom will always be to come, the glory will always be possessed, and yet to come.  Here then is the blessedness of godliness above everything else; having the promise of life that now is, and when that life shall be unto such no more, then godliness hath the promise also, the infinitely greater promise of life which is to come.   I may just  observe  that Jerusalem is spoken here as a mother; sometimes  spoken  of  as  a  metropolitan mother, that is the mother city, and the church on earth the daughter  of that mother city. But here the church above, the Jerusalem above, I should say, seems spoken of as a personal mother, and she is, in the 8th of Proverbs, called wisdom.  I shall therefore notice our text in the two fold form in which it lies before us.   First, we shall distinguish  who  are the daughters of Zion by their listening to the instructions of their mystic mother; and then, secondly, read out, as far as time permits, the meaning of the promise," The kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem."

 

Now, then, this daughter of Jerusalem, we observed, is the church of God on earth. And I will just take up a fourfold view of this mystic mother in her instructions to men, as represented to us in the 8th chapter of Proverbs;-I think it will suit the present occasion; because it is right that we should, in entering upon this new scene of things, at once present the principles we hold, and the practices which through grace we hope to follow. Hence, then, the first part of the instruction of this mystic mother-that is to say, the gospel of the blessed God-in the character of wisdom, is this; it cries unto us in our state by nature, " 0 ye simple, understand wisdom; and ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart." Now it thus applies to us in our state by nature, "A prudent man foresees the evil, and hides himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished." Therefore the simple means an ignorant man; the word simple there does not mean what it in other places it means; it means there a man who is acting and living as though he had no soul to be saved, and as though he had no sins to be pardoned, and as though he had no death before him, and as though he had no eternity to meet, and as though there was no judgment to come, and as though there was no righteous judge to meet, and as though there was no solemn tribunal at which to appear.  The word comes into the sinner's conscience, "0 ye simple, understand wisdom." And when such a one sees how he has lived, that he has hitherto been one of these simple ones, that he has never had the prudence to fly to a hiding-place, he has never known his need of a hiding-place, he has never sought a hiding-place; when this word comes home with power, this simple man becomes a prudent man; he says now, How shall I escape all the evil of which I am the subject? And the answer is concise, and at the same time extremely suited: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Such a one, when convinced thus of his state, though he may be some time before he will understand the great framework of eternal salvation, yet such a one recognizes at once the infinite worth of the Lord Jesus Christ; and that Saviour that was as nothing to him before; there is no name now that seems to such a one good enough for him. Such a one now will sing and say concerning the Saviour,-

 

"All are too mean to speak his worth,

To mean to set this great redeemer forth."

 

Then there is another clause:  "Ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart ;" so that such a one is convinced that he has been the worst of fools, that he has been trifling with God, trifling with his Maker, playing with his condition; and he says, What a fool I have been! here all my concern has been to build larger barns for worldly purposes, and to say to my soul, " Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry."            Presently the voice comes "Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee; and then who’s; shall these things be?”  Ah, such a one is thus brought down on the knee of prayer, such a one thus becomes concerned for eternity, and such a one thus receives the instructions of the Holy Spirit, the instructions of that wisdom that makes him wise unto eternal salvation. The second point is the incomparable excellency of acquaintance with Jesus, the incomparable excellency of that wisdom that enables us to understand how the soul is saved, to know that we are saved. Hence it saith that this "wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it;" that is, they are not to be compared to the excellency of this experimental knowledge of Christ, the excellency of this acquaintance with God’s eternal truth; because acquaintance therewith hath in it everything that we can need.  Hence you read that the vengeance is to them that live and die, and that the  gospel  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ;  and  the  Lord  saith  of  another people, "It is a people  of  no  understanding; therefore  he that  formed them will  show them  no favor, and  he that  made them will not  have mercy upon them."   The people, then, that constitute the church on earth are a people  who thus  are brought  into a vital  concern for their  eternal welfare, and  are  brought  to  see  there  is  nothing  that  they can possess equal in value to an experimental knowledge of the Saviour.   Hence the apostle was right when he counted all things but dung and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord.  And then, thirdly, this mystic mother, this gospel, leadeth us on a little further; after bringing us into this solemn concern, and impressing upon our minds the infinite superiority of eternal life to temporal life, and of eternal things to temporal things, and of godly things to ungodly things,-after thus setting the mind so far right, then saith this wisdom, “I lead in the way of righteousness.” What righteousness? Why,  Christ's  righteousness, not our own righteousness; for they who are not taught of God are ignorant  of  God s  righteousness;  and if  such  persons  turn  religious,  why, they go about  to  establish their own  righteousness; but those who are taught of God,  they are convinced  of  the  solemn  truth  declared,  that their  righteousness’s  are as filthy rags, and that they do fade as a leaf, that they are altogether as an unclean thing, and that their iniquities, like the wind, have carried them away.   "I," saith wisdom, "lead in the way of righteousness.”  And I do desire to bless the Lord that there are such words to quote as I am about to quote, to explain how this wisdom leads in the way of righteousness.   And I am sure if any minister, and especially your humble servant, were to make such a declaration as that I am about to quote, why I do not know what would be said about him; and what is it? Why, it is this, - “To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."    That is the righteousness.” That is the righteousness into which true wisdom leads; it makes you see and feel that you are nothing but an ungodly creature, and you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, in his righteousness; that he is the end of the law, that you are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.  Thus wisdom leads in the way of righteousness; "in the midst of the paths of Judgment;” that is, gospel judgment; and what are God's gospel judgments?    I will tell you.   One is, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love;" that is God's decision; another is, "Ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you, and ordained you; another is that, “by grace ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God;” another is, that he hath entered into a sworn covenant that he will not leave nor forsake you.   Thus, then, wisdom leads in the way of righteousness, in the midst of these paths of Gospel judgment.  “That I may cause those that love me.” That love this gospel, and of course and of course that love God as represented by this gospel, “to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures."   Jesus Christ is that substance we are to inherit; he is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.  "And I will fill their treasures.  Well, now, if we have a people thus alive from the dead; if we have a people thus that appreciate the infinite superiority of this heavenly wisdom to all  other things;  if we have a people thus led into this way of righteousness, and into these paths of judgment, and if they are rich, and their treasures are to be filled, I think  it is very natural  to  suppose that such a people will also, in addition to the things I have stated, need some sustenance; and so it is said, "Wisdom hath builded her house; she hath hewn out her seven pillars; she hath killed her beasts; she hath  mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens; she cried upon the highest places of the city,”- namely,” “He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” I take this crying upon the highest places of the city to denote that this glorious gospel, this wondrous provision, shall be proclaimed in the most public way possible. And there is nothing that will so well bear the daylight as the glorious truths of the gospel of the blessed God no grandeur I can think of that would surpass the grandeur of crying or uttering the gospel of the blessed God; although we know that no man can reveal it to others while he himself remains unacquainted with it.  Then see the kind way in which this wisdom speaks; "She hath sent forth her maidens "-little churches; and they, by their ministers, invite poor sinners that know their need of these things to come.  She saith, "Whoso is simple."   Now the simple here is a very different character from the simple I spoke of just now.   The simple I spoke of just now is the simple that cares naught for his state as a sinner, naught for eternal things; but here the word simple means a man who is honest, and whose object is simply the salvation of his soul; who joins the church with honest purpose, who makes a profession with simple, and single, and honest purpose,-the man that is simple; simplicity here stands in contrast to duplicity.  Now, then, she saith, "Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither; as  for  him  that  wants understanding,"- mark  that, " that wants understanding,"-she said to him, "Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.  Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding."  And there are four foolish characters that such a person is to forsake.  First, they are to forsake the foolish adviser; those that would advise you to turn away from God and goodness, and things pertaining there to; you are to forsake such foolish people.   Hence Job's wife said, "Curse God, and die;" but Job turned away from her advice; she was a foolish adviser; he saith, “Thou speaketh as one of the foolish women."  “Curse God, and die." No, saith Job; though the Lord hath treated me as he hath, I have said, and I have said it with a kind of vow, with a kind of oath, the strength of which I feel, I have  said, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." So, then, this wisdom will lead you to forsake the foolish, adviser and come to God's blessed word, to be guided by that wisdom which cannot err. The second foolish character you must forsake will be the foolish traveler.   Hence, "the labor of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knowest not how to go to the city." They think to go to the city of God partly by their own doings; but those who are better taught well know that Jesus Christ is the way to the city, that he is the truth, and that he is the life.   And so all that know not the way, and would try to get you out of the way, you must forsake these foolish travelers, and travel in the footsteps of the prophets and apostles; then you will come right at last. Then, also, you are to forsake the foolish builder that rests his hope upon something that can give way, and it may well be called a sandy foundation; you are to forsake the foolish builder, and to be one with the wise builder, rest your hope upon that foundation, Christ Jesus, and upon those promises of the blessed God which can never, never, no, never give way. Fourth you are to forsake the foolish professor.   The foolish virgins, they took their lamps, but took no oil: that oil I take to represent God's truth; they did not  take God's truth with  them; they  took  a profession  with them  but  they did  not  take the  living  truth of God  with  them.    Now those that did not take God's truth, the testimony of what Christ has done, the testimony of his grace in calling you, the testimony of his grace in securing your eternal welfare, ­ those that do not take this gospel, they have no oil. The wise virgins bought oil-they sought the truth,-and when the foolish virgins wanted the wise to share it with them, "Give us of your oil. What! Give up part of the truth, and you have part and we have part? I know that is the fashion of the day; there are plenty of places where one gives up one part, another gives up another part, and so they share it among them, and the truth is so divided as to be no use to anyone.   But those who were taught of God in this, they wanted the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, therefore they said, "Go to them that sell, and buy:" go and buy it as we have done; we have bought  it by  dear experience; we have it by soul-trouble, we have bought it by faith and prayer; we have bought it thus, and we will sell it at no price; no, we cannot give it up, for if we  give up any one part of the gospel there won't be enough left for us; so we must hold fast the whole; and if you, therefore, would be saved, you must do as we do-buy the truth at any price, and sell it at no price. Thus, then, the daughter of Zion, or those people that make up the inhabitants of Zion, are people  that are thus brought  to a solemn and saving concern for their souls.  This is one doctrine that will be aimed at aimed at here from time to time; in order that we may not put people off with the form without the power, the semblance without the substance, the scabbard without the sword, the casket without the jewel, the name without the life.  And  I am sure the second doctrine preached here will be, also, the infinite superiority of eternal things over time things; and I am sure that the third doctrine preached  here will be, also, the righteousness of Jesus Christ  leading us  in these  paths  of gospel judgment  where  the blessed God giveth judgment from time to time in our favor, and where he will fulfil the great promise, "No weapon that  is formed against thee will prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” And I am sure the fourth doctrine preached here will be those provisions which wisdom hath made.  And this will be another mark of distinction; you can tell people by their spiritual tastes; and the man who is thus made wise unto salvation will have a taste, shall I say, for free grace bread, bread of eternal life, and a thirst for the pure water of life, and a thirst for the blood of the everlasting covenant, the wine of the kingdom. These doctrines, then, we hope to preach here.

 

Now having made these few remarks, I go to the other part of my subject.  Unto these people that are thus believers in Jesus Christ, unto these people that are thus looking to God, the kingdom shall come.  And now I will try to be as clear as I can upon this kingdom. The first feature of it, then, is that it is a substitutional kingdom.   Let us see if we can understand it.  2nd chapter of Daniel, you read of a stone cut out of the mountain without hands.  The mountain there means the Jewish nation, out of which Christ was taken, and as long as Jesus Christ was one with that nation, there called a mountain, so long as he was one in that nation, the mountain cohered; nor could their Babylonish captivities dissolve the national mountain; they still retained a coherence, a vitality, a unity; and when  they  returned  from  Babylon  that  unity  still remained: the mountain cohered, the mountain could not yet be cast into the sea of general confusion, nor could the mountain yet be dissolved.  But no sooner is the dear Saviour cut out of the mountain, no sooner does he forsake the mountain, no sooner is he born, lives, and dies, rises again, than the Roman armies roll in, dissolve the mountain-the mountain can no longer cohere- and the particles, mean the people, the Jews that formed that nation were at once scattered to the four winds; and they have been from that day to this without any national vitality, national unity, or mountainous characteristic. Thus, while Jesus was there the whole cohered and all was firm.  Now, then, there is another Jerusalem, there is another Zion,  the true mount Zion- in which the Saviour dwells- the true church, the spiritual church that will cohere to all eternity; the new covenant church that will never be dissolved, that can never be cast into the midst of the sea, can never be scattered. Hence the people and Christ’s kingdom are spoken of as one.  “They shall trust in the Lord,” what shall they be like?  Why they shall be like that in which they trust, - “They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever." So, if I have an immoveable kingdom, I have an immoveable standing; we have an unchanging God, and what more can we need?    But forgive this digression.  'Now this stone became itself a great mountain, and filed the whole earth.   I am very unpleasantly situated in many respects in this, that it seems to be my lot (and I must judge for myself, because I have to die by myself, and to give an account of myself); but the unpleasantness that falls to my lot is this- to differ upon the meaning of some of these scriptures from many other ministers, good men, too.  Now this stone became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

 

I will not stop here to give you the opinions of men in general; I will give my own opinion, and they must give theirs. My own view of the subject is this,-that substitution, that one word, is the explanation.- The earth at that time was reckoned, not as we now know it to be, a sphere or globe but  an extended  plane  and  this  stone is represented as covering the whole, so  that  the earth  as  actually out of  sight, and  the good and the bad and everything covered, and there was nothing left but his stone, Christ Jesus.  Now can you understand it? Why, the Christian can in a moment.  I see, he says, Christ is a substitute for my sin, a substitue for my sorrow, and for death, and for all that is bad, and for all that is good in this world as well, for by-and-bye I must leave all that is good, all that is natural, and Christ himself will be all and in all.  He is all and in all in our faith now; he is a substitute for everything. If I have some earthly comforts, Jesus Christ will by-and-bye take their place; I have earthly friends, he will by-and-bye take their place. You have built yourselves a beautiful chapel here, but by-and-bye that will pass off, and he will take the place thereof, so that neither churches, nor chapels, nor earthly friends, nor anything else, but Christ the substitute will cover everything; he will be all and in all, and the great God will be all and in all by Christ Jesus the Lord.  Now, then, this substitutional kingdom shall come, and I pray it may in the ministry of all of us that are employed in preaching the gospel. I pray that from Sunday to Sunday, as the people come up, beauty may often be given for ashes, and the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.  And what is this but substituting from time to time in your happy experience the things of God for your sorrows and troubles? Now “the kingdom shall come."    So, if the Lord fulfil his promise here,   the kingdom will come to us; it will come to us, l say, in the substitutional form, and I shall have to take instrumentally your troubles, and your sins, and doubts, and fears away from you, and your hard hearts too.  It is putting life into the place of death, light into the place of darkness, holiness into the place of un-holiness, righteousness into the place of unrighteousness, liberty into the place of bondage, Christ into Satan’s place, Satan cast out, the dear Saviour enthroned, and his grace reigning. Thus, then, the kingdom, the substitutional kingdom, shall come. Now it saith of this stone that it is this stone that it is this stone that smites the image, not our poor puny hands, and that this image became-, like the chaff of the summer threshing-floor, broken to pieces. Just so you preach Jesus Christ; there is a man, gold is his god, silver is his god, brass-- presumption, iron-his neck like an iron sinew; yet the poor wretch has but clay feet either, does not stand firm where he is; the minister preaches Jesus, shows that man his real condition. Ah, that man says, now silver and gold to me, the world to me and all the pleasing attractions to me that once so charmed me, they are all gone now; they are mere chaff of the summer threshing floor compared with the kingdom of Christ, compared with the glory of Christ. Such a one can look up with all his heart and say,-

 

"Jewels to me are gaudy toys,

And gold is sordid dust.”

 

And thus the world in that Christian's experience is broken to pieces, and becomes comparatively as nothing; "And what is the chaff to the wheat, saith the Lord?"  Thus, then, this stone filling the whole earth means, so I take it, that it covers the whole earth, becomes a substitute everything; and so it is an old saying among my brethren in the ministry here,-I have got it somewhere, and I have repeated it many times, and like the saying very much,-namely, that Jesus Christ is a substitute for everything, but not anything can be a substitute for Christ soon as ever you take the Saviour away, whatever you put into his place is an awful perversion of God's blessed truth; but, on the other hand, whatever the Lord takes away, if that vacancy be filled up with the person and work of Jesus Christ, we rejoice in the change the Lord has made.   Thus, then, the first meaning of the kingdom coming is, that Jesus Christ shall come more and more as the substitute for everything.   One earthly hope  fails,  another  fails,  another fails,  till  all is  gone,  and yet triumph shall the believer at last, and say, "While the outward man,  perisheth, yet the inward  man is renewed day by day."

 

"Here, then, I cheerful live and joyful die,

Secure, when mortal comforts flee,

To find ten thousand worlds in thee."

 

But, second, it is a kingdom, not only of substitution, but also of peace. Hence it saith in the next chapter, “This man "-this wonderful king­ shall be the peace when the Assyrian shall come into our land, and when he shall tread in our palaces."   The Assyrian there means an enemy, from any quarter, in any shape or form; and when he shall come into our land as Popery has done in ages gone by, to rob the people of God, not only of the gospel, but of their civil and social rights, and to rob them also of their liberty and of their very lives.   Well, what did the martyrs find?  They found that when the Assyrian thus came in, and they must be martyred, they found that Jesus Christ was their peace; they found that by him, if they had peace nowhere else, they had peace with God, and peace with God is able to sustain us, let our troubles in other respects be what they may; for if he giveth peace, who then can give trouble?  And it is said that they shall raise against the enemy “seven shepherds and eight principle men."   Now why should there be any difficulty in understanding that the scripture of seven shepherds and eight principal men?  Where is there a minister that would not take the seven shepherds and eight principal as definite numbers for indefinite?  and then it would mean the prophets and apostles.  And when the enemy comes, then what do we do?  We bring in the prophets and their testimony; we bring in the apostles and their testimony; and it is a good plan too. Now-a-days, if a minister says something that others cannot understand, they lift up their hands and say “How awful!” But  that  does  not  convince  anyone  that  he  is wrong; you should bring the prophets and apostles, and bring them in quietly, and show what they say and not let your words be “How awful”  not lift up your hands and eyes and say “How awful!” any old woman could say that.   A minister ought to say what anyone could not say.   They should bring in the testimony of the prophets and apostles, and bring them in quietly, and set them side by side with what they think to be wrong, and thus they would cleanse the visual ray, and on what they supposed to be the sightless eyeball they would pour the day. But instead of this they put themselves and others too into a storm, and make the fog thicker still. Now, then, to raise against the enemy those seven shepherds and eight principal men means to bring in the testimonies of prophets and apostles for our good, for our defense; and where they do not defend us, let us not be defended; let us have them on our side, then if we have these inspired testimonies on our side, such will never forsake the testimonies of the prophets, such will never forsake the testimonies of the apostles.  This is a kingdom of peace, and that peace is to be maintained by the testimony of God’s word, the power of his Spirit, the perfection of the Saviour, and the immutability of the blessed God.   But there is something in this part of the kingdom of Christ I like: "They shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof."   Now, of course, you must take the sword there to mean the sword of the Spirit, and you must take Nimrod there to mean the devil; and we are to waste his land and run away with as many people out of the devil's territories as we possibly can.   A minister, every  sermon he preaches  should go into the  devil's territories with the sword of God's  Spirit, and cut the  devil  down, and bring  the sinner  away whose  soul  Satan hath  bound.   Thus they shall waste the land of Assyria.  So it was with  the apostles, they went into the territories of Satan right and left, and they handled  the two-edged sword of the Spirit, cast out devils, and while they fell before the Word, the cry rose from thousands and thousands of souls, east, west, north, and south, "God be merciful  to me a sinner."   What  was this but the out­ casting  of  the  enemy,  the ingathering  of  souls,  the uprising  of  truth, the progress  of the  Saviour's kingdom, and the  fulfilment  of the  45th Psalm, "Gird thy sword upon  thy thigh, 0 most  mighty, with  thy glory and thy majesty.   And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.  Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies. Thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land "? I like a minister to make some stir; what is the good of going sleeping on, and afraid of saying something your brethren won’t like? Nothing to do with it; speak as in the sight of God, and if you have his approbation, the approbation  of  the  great  God, and  your  brethren  are offended,  let them  alone,  and  they  will  be  glad  to  get pleased  again by-and-bye.  Let  everyone  enjoy  full liberty  in  this  matter,  for,  my hearers, our work  is a solemn work; we must not stand nice to a few words; our object is to drag, if I may so speak, poor sinners out of their sins, and out of their guilt, and out of hell, and out of error, and to be the means of thus bringing them into the kingdom of Jesus Christ, revealing to them, as far as God  shall enable us, the wonders  of everlasting love; and such will turn round and bless us in the name of the Lord; such will tum round  and  bless  us  in the name  of  the  Lord;  such  will say, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publishes peace, that  brings good tidings of good, that publish salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! "Thus, then, the kingdom is substitutional, peaceable, but at the same time progressive.   People say, Ah, you ought to let other people alone, never meddle with other people.   Now, then, if the apostles had taken that advice, they would not have preached at all.   Very bad advice that is; the  gospel  is  progressive; there is nothing  takes so much  liberty  as the gospel; it will come and put a negative upon anything and everything that is contrary to the name of Jesus, contrary to his loving kindness, contrary to his great salvation.

 

But, thirdly, this kingdom is not only substitutional, peaceable, and progressive, but it is also a kingdom strongly marked with the sovereignty of God.  And it stands thus, that “the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass that tarries not for man, nor waits for the sons of men." How came Saul of Tarsus by his conversion? Sovereign grace found him. How come you to have a praying heart?  Sovereign grace. How came the Lord to have mercy upon you? Did he ask leave of your fellow creatures whether he should or not?   Did 'he consult you?   No.

 

"He saw you ruined in the fall;"

 

he saw you as an infant cast into the open field, and Sovereignty passed by you, and said unto you, "Live;" and that life made you sensible of your danger; and then he passes by again, and it is the time of love and he spreads his skirt over you, and enters into a covenant with you, and you become his, and he becomes yours; the matter is settled. “This God is mine, and mine forever; this God is our God for ever and ever, and will be our guide even unto death."  And this knowledge of the sovereignty of God will lead you to depend much upon the Lord, very much upon him; it is one of those doctrines when rightly understood, that will lead you to depend very much upon the Lord.  You may take a sample even from the leper; what did the leper appeal to but the ability and sovereignty of Christ?   "If thou wilt,"-there is his sovereignty.  I have no reason, Lord, to assign why thou should, but if the wilt, I know thou hast power, and if thou art pleased in thy sovereignty to show mercy, thou canst.   And just so sure as that man cleansed, if you are brought spiritually into the same spirit, as sure as he was cleansed, your soul will be saved.  Oh, what confidence in the Lord does this doctrine of divine sovereignty gives when once rightly understood!  Only think of the Christian, whatever difficulty he is in, to say Lord, I know if thou wilt thou canst. I know thou art sovereign, thou do as thou pleases.” And there is my security; for if any other could have his way in opposition to God’s counsel, where would be the security of kingdom? 

 

“The kingdom shall come.”  I have here given a small sample, but I have a few more things to say still, I think, suited to our present position. Is it not our desire to enjoy his substitutional kingdom, this peace with God, this progression, and this sovereignty of the blessed God?  But another feature of this coming kingdom is its triumphant character.  "The remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among flocks of sheep, who, if he go through, both treads down, and tears in pieces, and none can deliver."   Well, when you first set out to build this chapel, one said, what an unwise undertaking!  Another said whatever will these feeble Jews do?   Another said, Why, it is one of the monstrous undertakings that ever was, they will never accomplish it.  But  the  Lord  has  kept  up  your courage; you  have  never fainted, never  faltered  once; he  has  given  you  one heart, and one mind; and like a young  lion  among  the  flocks  of  sheep, you have through every obstacle, you have trodden down every opposition, so that the Lord has been with you, and it may well be said, "The righteousness is bold as a lion."  Mark again, "Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off."  It is, therefore a triumphant kingdom.   So, then, his kingdom shall come; his substitution shall come; his peace shall come; his progression shall come; his sovereignty shall come; his glorious triumph shall come.