THE PERPETUITY OF CHRIST'S KINGDOM.

BY CHARLES SIMEON

Ps. Ixxii. 17. His name shall endure for ever : his 7iame shall he continued as long as the sun : and men shall he blessed in him : all nations shall call him Messed. NONE of the Prophets, except Isaiah, have written so copiously and so plainly respecting Christ as David. His prophecies are very frequently referred to in the New Testament ; and their accomplishment in Jesus is frequently asserted, incontestably proved, and copiously illustrated. The psalm before us was most probably the last that David penned. It was written at the close of his life, on occasion of Solomon's coronation. The dying monarch hearing tliat

G21.1 PERPETUITY OF CHRISt's KINGDOM. 541 his son Adonijah had usurped his throne, gave immediate orders that Solomon should be anointed with the holy oil, and placed upon the throne, and be proclaimed king throughout all his dominions ; that by this means his oath to Bathsheba, respecting the succession of Solomon, might be fulfilled, and the nation be rescued from the calamities in which a disputed succession might involve if*. The psalm begins with a prayer for Solomon, and proceeds to foretell the peace, glory, extent, duration, and happiness of his government. But beyond, a doubt, a greater than Solomon is here : the Messiah himself

is manifestly referred to : and the words of our text must be considered as describing his kingdom : I. Its perpetuity — [The names, not of the Jewish monarchs only, but also of many heroes of antiquity, have been handed down to us, and probably will be transmitted to the latest generations. But there are several points of view in which the remembrance of Jesus' name differs widely from that of any other person whatever. It is transmitted to us in a ivay of filiation. — Other names come down to us by means of historic records : but that of our blessed Lord " is continued," or propagated (as the word means) in the same way as the name of a father is continued in his children. Children were born to him by the preaching of his Gospel ; and, after him, were called Christians : from that period, others have risen up, in constant succession, to perpetuate his name : nor shall the line ever be broken : " instead of the fathers there shall be children, who shall make his name to be remembered in all generations'*." It is heard ivith the same regard that it ever zvas. — There was a time when the name of Ctesar or of Alexander made whole nations tremble : but who fears them now ? What is their love or their hatred unto us ? Wliat is Solomon himself to us ? We admire his character ; but for his person we have no regard. But it is not thus with the sacred name of Jesus. We tremble at it with a holy awe ; we love it, as expressing all that is amiable and endearing. We dread his displeasure above all tilings, and covet his favour more than life itself. And as long as the sun shall continue its course, so long shall the name of Jesus be venerated and adored.

It " endures" in spite of all the endeavours that have been a 1 Kings i. 33—35. ^ Ps. xlv. 16, 17. and cxlv. 4—6.

542 PSALMS, LXXII. 17. [621. made to blot out the remembrance of it from under heaven. — No sooner was the name of Jesus exalted by the preaching of the Apostles, than the rulers exerted all their power to suppress it : they beat and imprisoned the preachers, and menaced them with yet severer punishment, if they should presume to speak any more in his name". Thus also, in all subsequent ages, " the potentates of the earth have taken counsel together against the Lord, and against his Anointed, saying. Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us '^." What name, like that of Jesus, is proscribed at this day? We may descant upon the virtues of ancient sages; and the more light we can throw upon their characters, the more acceptable we shall be in every company : but let us speak of Jesus, let us set forth his transcendent excellencies, and expatiate upon all the wonders of his love, and we shall excite in our hearers nothing but disgust. But has this confederacy prevailed to banish his name ? No ; rather, " the more his people have been afflicted, the more they have grown and multiplied :" and however earth and hell may combine their efforts to efface his memory, or diminish his influence, " He who sitteth in the heavens shall laugh at them, and have them in derision^."] IL Its excellency —

[The administration of Solomon was attended with great benefit to his people : and such a king as he must be considered as a rich blessing to any nation. But there are many benefits which it is not in the power of any king to communicate. Wliat can a creature do to mitigate our pains, or to rescue us from the dominion of unbridled lusts? It is otherwise with the Lord Jesus : he can impart to his subjects whatever blessings they need, for body or for soul, for time or for eternity. Do we desire the pardon of our sins? We maybe "justified freely through his blood ^." Do we long for peace of conscience? He has left it to his subjects as a legacy s, and gives them " a peace which passeth all understanding^." Do we stand in need of strength ? " Through him we shall be enabled to do all things'." Do we extend our desires to all the glory of heaven? "In him we may be saved with an everlasting salvation ''." It is not ufficient to say that the subjects of Christ's kingdom may be thus blessed ; for they actually are so : there is not one in all his dominions who is not thus highly favoured. If we consult the prophets, they declare this uniformly ; and represent them all as saying, " In the Lord have I righteousness c Acts iv. 17, 18. and v. 28, 40. ^ Ps. ii. 2. « Ps. ii. 4. f Rom. v. 9. s John xiv. 27. ^ Phil. iv. 7. ' Phil. iv. 13. ^ Isai. xlv. 17.

PERPETUITY OF CHRISt's KINGDOM. 543

621.]

and strength'." If we consult the Apostles, they declare, that every blessing we enjoy is " in him, even in him ;" yea, that " IN HIM we are blessed with all spirit ual and eternal blessings™."] III. Its universality — [The greatest monarchs of this world have had a very limited sway : and many who have been called their subjects have been so rather in name than in realitv. But Christ's dominion shall be strictly and literally universal : " the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ"." Already there are some of all nations who submit to his government. We may go to the most uncultivated parts of the earth, where human nature seems but little elevated above the beasts, and there we shall find some who acknowledge him as their sovereign Lord. But his dominion is certainly at present very limited. There is a time however coming, when " all nations shall call him blessed." The rich and great shall take upon them his yoke : according as it is said, " All kings sliall fall down before him ; all nations shall serve him°." The poor and mean also shall devote themselves to his service, according to that prediction, " Holiness to the Lord shall be written upon the bells of the horses p." Thus shall " all know the Lord, from the least even to the greatesf^." As at this present time all the subjects of his kingdom are blessing and adoring him as the one author of all their happiness, so, at a future period, shall " every knee bow to him, and every tongue confess'^;" and "the whole earth shall be filled with his glory ^" But it is not till the day of judgment that the full accomplishment of this prophecy shall be seen. Then *' a multitude that no man can number, of all nations and kindreds, and people and tongues, shall stand before him, and

cry with united voices. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain ! Salvation to our God, and to the Lamb for ever*!"] We cannot more profitably improve this subject, than by inquiring, 1. What blessings have we received from Christ ? [If we be indeed subjects of his kingdom, it cannot fail but that we must have received many blessings at his hands. Has he then " blessed us " with the pardon of our sins ? Has he filled us with joy and peace in believing? Has he endued 1 Isai. xlv. 24, 25. ™ Eph. i. 3 — 13. where it is repeated at least eight times. Strange that any should overlook this truth. n Rev. xi. 15. ver. 10, 11. P Zech. xiv. 9, 20, 21. <i Jer. xxxi. 34. r Rom. xiv. 11. ^ ygr. 19. t Rev. v. 11, 12. and vii. 9, 10.

544 PSALMS, LXXII. 18, 19. [622. us with grace and strength to subdue our spu'itual enemies ? and transformed us into his own image in righteousness and true hoHness ? This is the criterion whereby we must judge of our interest in him : for he cannot be a Saviour to us, unless he save us from the dominion, as well as from the guilt, of all our sins.]

2. What is the disposition of our minds towards him ? [Can we possibly be partakers of his benefits, and feel no disposition to " bless his name ? " Surely a grateful sense of his goodness must characterise those Avho are so greatly indebted to him. To those who believe, he is, and must be, precious ]

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