« ZurückWeiter »
DELIVERED BY THE REV. E. BICKERSTETH,
AT ST. MARY'S CHURCH, ISLINGTON, IN AID OF THE FUNDS OF THE CHURCH MISSIONARY
SOCIETY, ON SUNDAY MORNING, JULY 28, 1833.
Psalm xcvi. 10–13.-“ Suy among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also
shall be established that it shall not be moved : he shall judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad ; let the sea roar and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord; for he cometh, he cometh to judge the earth : he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth."
Ir is, my brethren, with feelings of who neglected to do so. We, like the deep interest that I stand in this Scribes and Pharisees, may reject pulpit, where our honoured and be- our only refuge, and help, and bring loved friend, the Bishop of Calcutta, ruin over ourselves and our country, so long laboured to uphold a cause if like them we discern not the signs so dear to him as that of the pro- of the times, and like them know pagation of the Gospel of Christ-a not, in these our days, the things because to which he devoted himself in longing to our peace. his own country, and to advance This psalm relates to the full eswhich, he is devoting his best ener- tablishment of our Saviour's kinggies abroad. Now it shall be my dom on earth ; and it is to this subject aim rather to direct your minds to I would direct your attention, as calthat only Master, only Lord, only culated to call forth your best enerSaviour, whose cause this pre-emi- gies in the support of Christian misnently is. For the salvation of all sions of the church missionary society. mankind he left his heavenly glory, We feel the extreme difficulty of the for this he lived and died-for this he subject, which relates to events yet gave his last command, “Go ye unto in a great measure unfulfilled ; and all the world and preach the Gospel we would, therefore, touch but lightly to every creature”-for this he bled upon the nature and precise period upon the cross- --for this he pleads of our Saviour's coming, and confine above--and to accomplish this, he our observations to those things in will return again to destroy his ene- which Christians generally agree. mies, and everywhere establish his I will then consider two thingsown blessed empire.
first, the KINGDOM OF CHRIST, and Our lot is cast in a grand crisis of secondly, the SIGNS OF ITS APPROACH. the world, and all the events that In considering THE KINGDOM OF are taking place have a constant, Christ, we will notice the coming of though often
bearing on that kingdom, and its effects. The the subjection of the kingdoms of event foretold in our text, is clearly this world to our Lord Christ. Then the coming of Christ to govern the we ought, every Christian ought to earth-it is the same event as that discern the signs of the times : our for which we daily pray, “Thy kingLord has strongly reproved those dom come.” This kingdom did in
“ He com
deed, in its spiritual character, com- | Ghost. The expression, mence just after the crucifixion of our eth,” is twice repeated to mark its Lord: but we are also told that it certainty and importance; and it leads was not to come in all its glory and us to expect and wait for bis coming, fulness, till the man of sin had been as what may be always looked for, vanquished and the fulness of time in that extended hope which has been had come. The time for Christ's the prop of his church from the coming is clearly pointed out to us beginning. in the Revelation-we are told there Such is the coming of this kingto mourn in sackcloth for twelve hun- dom. Now, what are the effects condred and sixty years, and when the nected with it? I notice two effects, end of that period was fulfilled, there judgment and mercy. would come great voices from hea- We may justly anticipate judgven saying, “ The kingdoms of this ment. The phrase in our text, “ He world are become the kingdoms of shall judge the world with righour Lord, and of Christ.” Then also, teousness,” intimates the punishment “ Christ shall reign for ever and of the wicked, as well as the hapever.” It is to this full establishment piness of the righteous. That the of Christ's kingdom, that this psalm Lord is merciful to the church, has mainly refers: the term “judge” is always been connected with the day there used with reference to this deli- of wrath. The words of prophecy verance as it is in the Holy Bible when are very impressive on this point; applied to the deliverances which thus in the twenty-sixth chapter of Gideon, Samson, and others accom- Isaiah and the ninth verse-" When plished, from time to time, for Israel, thy judgments are on the earth, the punishing and destroying their ene- inhabitants of the world will learn mies, and governing the land as its righteousness.” And the prophet Dadeliverers. Our Saviour will then de- niel, in the twelvth chapter and first stroy popery, Mahomedanism, infide- verse, shows us, that before this pelity, and paganism; he shall save his riod comes, “there shall be a time of church from all its enemies, and extend trouble such as there never was since its influence to the end of the earth : there was a nation even to that same there shall be one Lord, and his name time; and at that time thy people one. He is to judge, as we see in the shall be delivered, every one that psalm before us, the earth, not a few shall be found written in the book. countries,--the world, not a few na- And many of them that sleep in the tions—the universe, not a part of it. dust of the earth shall awake, some Heaven and earth are to rejoice to everlasting life, some to shame and before him; the people, of every ca- everlasting contempt.” And again, pacity, colour, and tongue, are to be our Lord, in the twenty-fourth chapter under the influence of his righteous- of St. Matthew, and thirty-seventh ness and his truth. Where Christ is verse, tells us that, “as the days of Noah unknown, wickedness and error uni- were, so shall also the coming of the versally prevails—every false religion Son of man be. For as in the days sanctioned and multiplied, and Satan that were before the flood they were has then unlimited sway. Christianity eating and drinking, marrying and alone establishes unmingled and holy giving in marriage, until the day our Saviour's empire. The character that Noah entered into the ark, and and description of this empire is righ- knew not until the flood came and teousness, peace, and joy in the Holy took them all away; so shall also the he says,
coming of the Son of man be.” How is in our text, heaven and earth, the practically instructive are these sure sea and its fulness, the field and all intimations of judgment! By similar that there is therein, are represented warnings the early Christians who as full of joy and gladness. Is it not were there fled from the devoted city so now? How different the scene ! of Jerusalem and escaped the divine Oh, if we could ascend the heights wrath. Are there any before me this above, and from one of the battlemorning given up to this vain world ? ments of heaven discern all that is if so, may they be led to see the passing here below, how should we danger of a worldly course, and flee see “ the whole creation groaning and from the wrath to come. Days of travailing in pain together until now!" trouble to the wicked are at hand, Could we with one comprehensive and you have nought to vanquish glance, survey the land laying in them—the conflicts are near, and you fatal darkness, the three hundred have no defence. The Saviour ap- millions of Chinese, the one hundred proaches, and ye are not his people; and fifty millions of Indians, the im
Watch and pray, for ye mense continent of Africa, the wide know neither the day nor the hour spreading regions of America, who when the Son of man cometh.” Search still lay in fatal darkness; or could through the whole volume of inspi- we discern the hundreds of thousands ration, and you will find that judgment who are now bowing the knee to on God's enemies, as well as mercy idols, and taught by their religion to his people, marks the coming of every abomination-Oh if you could the Son of man and his kingdom. see what six or seven hundred millions But to those who love his appearing, of your fellow men are now doing, and wait for his coming, this event how would your hearts sink within is full of consolation. To you the you! You would then see more of the address is, “ Be strong: fear not; meaning of that prayer, “Thy kingbehold, your God will come with dom come. Thy will be done on earth vengeance, even GOD with a re- as it is in heaven”-and long for that compense ; he will come and save happy day when love and joy, peace you.” He who treads underfoot all and holiness and happiness, shall fill his enemies, is mighty to save you every land—when every knee shall He again declares, “ The day of ven- bow to Christ, and one song of praise geance is in mine heart, and the year ascend from every tongue, and one of my redeemed is come.”
universal joy, gladden every heart. I proceed then to notice the mercy There will be then an avowed and real of this coming. There are, as concerns subjection of all the nations of the his followers, peculiar happy effects earth to our Lord Christ, all human attending the coming of our Saviour's laws will then be conformed to his kingdom. Thus, in a bold and striking word and his glory, and administered figure, the whole creation, animate in the fear of God and love of man. and inanimate, is represented as re- Those scenes which for a short season joicing together on this event. Need gladdened the primitive church of I recall to your recollection how Judea, shall be found in every place every varied image descriptive of and every nation. But what is the
ve, holiness and righ- cause of this joy? The King cometh teousness, prosperity and happiness, He is the King of glory-He is the is used by the prophetic writers to Prince of Peace-He speaks in righdescribe that blessed time? As it teousness--He is mighty to save-He
is mild and beneficent-He is full of There are peculiarities marking truth and full of compassion. Jesus the present time, in providence and Christ is the only source of genuine in prophecy, which may brighten our joy to the fallen heart of man; and hopes of the approach of Christ's uniwhen he comes to that heart, he re-versal kingdom. We will point out lieves it from the load of guilt and first, the peculiarities of Providence, burthen of sins which has bowed and here I would bring before you it to the earth. He imparts and con- the state of the world in its two asfers his blessed Spirit-the spirit of pects—the unchristian and Christian. truth, love and holiness. He “gives The state of the world is very rebeauty for ashes, the oil of joy for markable, I have no doubt you will mourning, the garment of praise for have noticed it to be most singular: the spirit of heaviness.” And when he there is a general excitement, a moveshall come to establish his universal ment in every profession of religion, kingdom, it will be to put an end to false or true. Regard then first the the long usurped dominion of Satan unchristian world; and notice it in its and cause false religion to perish. three leading divisions, the Jews, The Jew shall be converted, Maho- Mahometans, and Pagans. medanism for ever abandoned: not I begin with the Jews. Their state one idolatrous nation, not one ido- is of immense moment, for no one later shall be left. He comes to es- can know either the Old or the New tablish righteousness through the Testament, without being aware that earth, and all nations shall serve it affects every nation. Their conhim. This universal joy is reserved version shall be as life from the dead for the church of Christ; and it is our to the world. Now never was the privilege to help to bring it in by Christian Church so roused, so geneour prayers, our gifts, and our la- rally alive to compassionate the Jews bours of love, now to enlarge our as at the present time; never was own happiness and our own joy on there a more general spirit for their that day. You have talents given to conversion abroad than now exists ; you ;, and your Master's direction is never was there a greater spirit of in“Occupy till I come.” Confess your quiry among them : there is an awakSaviour in these days of infidelity and ing excitement among the Jews, that worldliness, and he will confess you is unparalleled since the destruction in the day of his appearance. of their city of Jerusalem. The
Having thus brought before you servants of God think of them, and these happy events here predicted, pray for them, and labour for them. this question may arise, Have we any Those who know the Scriptures, know personal interest in it? May it not that these are scriptural evidences, be an event far distant? “Where is that “ the time to favour Zion, yea, the promise of his coming ? for since the set time is come.” Brethren, the fathers fell asleep, all things have a thoughtful share in seeking continue as they were.” Is there any the spiritual good of Israel. thing that distinguishes the present Notice next, the Mahometan, in time from former years? We reply, which are contprehended one hunthere are many most remarkable fea- dred millions of the human race. It tures in the present day, and to this is a religion which spread with pesI would now direct your attention, tilential influence, from the great considering, secondly, the SIGNS OF wall of China, even to the Straits of THE APPROACH OF THIS KING DOM. Gibraltar ; but now the whole seems ready to crumble to dust. Greece, Gospel of the kingdom shall be and Palastine, have already esc preached in all the world for a witcaped from its errors. The remaining ness unto all nations. chief regions are Turkey, Persia, and Such is the state of the unchristian Morocco: but a flame has been kin- world. Let us regard the world now dled there which will never be extin- in another aspect-in its Christian guished; the false prophet's power aspect. And here also I would view has been so crippled, that he can no it under three great divisions—the longer triumph, though all his ener- Roman, the Eastern, and the Regies were put forth now through all formed Churches, the Mahometan nations: the way of The Roman churches are unquesthe king of the East is preparing. tionably in a very exhausted state ;
View, then, the whole pagan world, they seem awakened to a new sense and you will find that in no preceding of danger, and to be making new and age has the pure church of Christ enlarged, though dying efforts, for made such progress, and laboured so their extension. Part of this church strenuously to spread so general a ' indeed seems to be coming out of its diffusion of the Gospel as it now puts errors; for now they are distributing forth: for into every heathen coun- the word of God, they have set about try, Christians have carried it; and it with great spirit, and have had into almost every heathen land they thousands of copies of this Holy Book have entered and testified of Christ; widely circulated among the poor be. and, wherever they have gone, the nighted people of South America: cry has been raised for more la- but the head of this corrupt church, bourers : “ Come over, and help us like the Maliometan Antichrist, has in our labours which our Lord has issued his vain prohibitions against blessed abundantly." The heathen the wide spread of the Bible. It is are manifestly more and more de- , the prelude to his fall. I have no sirous of receiving the Gospel: and idea from God's word, that popery wherever it has entered prejudices will ever rise again, after so many have given way, education advan- desolating judgments for thirty years ces, the Scriptures are translated and on that apostate church, or that the widely circulated, the preaching of efforts of infidels to resist the blaze of the Gospel increases, and numerous light in the nineteenth century, will converts have been baptised. Mis- reestablish its own institutions, its sionaries in the South Sea Islands have palpably vain, gross, and corrupt sulived to see the people there casting perstition. You see an infatuation in their idols to the moles and to the this that indicates speedy roin 10 bats. We may adopt the apostolic popery; and though there may be a language, and say—“They turn from great conflict, which this appears to dumb idols to serve the living and indicate, the result is certain error, true. Gud.” Our Lord's declaration must fall before truth.,
HI! has been abundantly realized, This
( To be continued.)