The Kingly Priesthood Of The Saints
“And has made us unto our God kings and priests. And we shall reign on the earth.”
“MUSIC has charms.” I am sure sacred music has. For I have felt something of its charms while we have been singing that glorious hymn just now. There is a potency in harmony, there is a magic power in melody which either melts the soul to pity or lifts it up to joy unspeakable. I do not know how–it may be with some minds they possibly may resist the influence of singing. But I cannot. When the saints of God, in full chorus, “chant the solemn lay,” and when I hear sweet syllables fall from their lips, keeping measure and time, then I feel elevated–and, forgetting for a time everything terrestrial–I soar aloft towards Heaven.
If such be the sweetness of the music of the saints below, where there is much of discord and sin to mar the harmony, how sweet must it be to sing above with cherubim and seraphim! Oh, what songs must those be which the Eternal ever hears upon His Throne! What seraphic sonnets must those be which are thrilled from the lips of pure immortals, untainted by sin, unmingled with a groan–where they warble ever hymns of joy and gladness, never intermingled with one sigh, or groan, or worldly care. Happy songsters! When shall I join your chorus? There is one of your hymns that runs–
“Hark! how they sing before the Throne!”
And I have sometimes thought I could “hark! how they sing before the Throne.”
I have imagined that I could hear the full burst of the swell of the chorus, when it pealed from Heaven like mighty thunders and the sound of many waters. I have almost heard those lull-toned strains, when the harpers harped with their harps before the Throne of God. Alas, it was but imagination. We cannot hear it now. These ears are not fitted for such music. These souls could not be contained in the body, if we were once to hear some stray note from the harps of angels! We must wait till we get up yonder. Then, purified like silver seven times from the defilement of earth, washed in our Savior’s precious blood, sanctified by the purifying influence of the Holy Spirit–
“We shall, unblemished and complete,
Appear before our Father’s Throne,
With joys divinely great.
Then loudest of the crowd we’ll sing,
While Heaven’s resounding mansions ring
With shouts of sovereign grace.”
Our friend, John, the highly favored Apostle of the Apocalypse, has given us just one note from Heaven’s song. We shall strike that note and sound it again and again. I shall strike this tuning-fork of Heaven and let you hear one of the key notes. “And have made us unto our God kings and priests. And we shall reign on the earth.” May the great and gracious Spirit, who is the only illumination of darkness, light up my mind while I attempt, in a brief and hurried manner, to speak from this text.
There are three things in it–first, the Redeemer’s doings–“and have made us.” Secondly, the saints' honors–“and have made us kings and priests unto our God.” And, thirdly, the world’s future–“and we shall reign upon the earth.”
- First, then, we have THE REDEEMER’S DOINGS. They who stand before the Throne sing of the Lamb–the Lion of the tribe of Judah who took the Book and broke the seals thereof–“You have made us kings and priests unto our God.” In Heaven they do not sing–
“Glory, honor, praise and power
Be unto ourselves forever;
We have been our own Redeemers–Hallelujah,”
They never sing praise to themselves. They glorify not their own strength–they do not talk of their own freewill and their own might. But they ascribe their salvation from beginning to end, to God. Ask them how they were saved and they reply–“The Lamb has made us what we are.” Ask them from where their glories came and they tell you–“They were bequeathed to us by the dying Lamb.” Ask from where they obtained the gold of their harps and they say, “It was dug in mines of agony and bitterness by Jesus.” Inquire who stringed their harps and they will tell you that Jesus took each sinew of His body to make them. Ask them where they washed their robes and made them white and they will say–
“In yonder fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins.”
Some persons on earth do not know where to put the crown, but those in Heaven do. They place the diadem on the right head. And they ever sing–“And He has made us what we are.” Well, then, Beloved, would not this note well become us here? For “what have we that we have not received?” Who has made us to differ? I know, this morning, that I am a justified man. I have the full assurance that–
“The terrors of Law and of God
With me can have nothing to do.
My Savior’s obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view.”
There is not a sin against me in God’s Book–they have all been forever obliterated by the blood of Christ and cancelled by His own right hand. I have nothing to fear. I cannot be condemned. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Not God, for He has justified. Not Christ, for He has died. But if I am justified, who made me so? I say–“And has made me what I am.” Justification from first to last is of God. Salvation is of the Lord alone.
Many of you are sanctified persons, but you are not perfectly sanctified. You are not redeemed altogether from the dross of earth. You have still another law in your members, warring against the law of your mind and you always will have that law while you tabernacle in faith. You never will be perfect in your sanctification until you get up yonder before the solemn Throne of God–where even this imperfection of your soul will be taken away–and your carnal depravity rooted out. But yet, Beloved, there is an inward principle imparted. You are growing in grace–you are making progress in holiness. Well, but who made you have that progress? Who redeemed you from that lust? Who ransomed you from that vice? Who bade you say farewell to that practice in which you indulged? Cannot you say of Jesus, “And has made us”! It is Christ who has done it all–and to His name be honor, glory, praise and dominion.
Let us dwell one moment on this thought and show you how it is that it can be said that Christ has made us thus. When did Christ make His people kings and priests? When could it be said, “And has made us kings and priests unto our God”?
First of all, He made us kings and priests, virtually, when He signed the Everlasting Covenant. Far, far back in eternity, the Magna Charta of the saints was written by the hand of God and it needed one signature to make it valid. There was a stipulation in that Covenant that the Mediator should become incarnate, should live a suffering life and at last endure a death of ignominy. And it needed but one signature–the signature of the Son of God–to make that Covenant valid eternally and “ordered in all things and sure.” Methinks I see Him now, as my imagination pictures the lofty Son of God grasping the pen. See how His fingers write the name. And there it stands in everlasting letters–“THE SON!”
O sacred ratification of the treaty! It is stamped and sealed with the great seal of our Father in Heaven. O glorious Covenant–then forever made secure! At the moment of the signature of this wondrous document, the spirits before the Throne–I mean the angels–might have taken up the song and said of the whole body of the elect, “And have made you kings and priests unto your God.” And could all the chosen company have started into existence, they could have clapped their hands and sung, “Here we are by that very signature, constituted kings and priests unto our God.”
But He did not stop there. It was not simply agreeing to the terms of the treaty. But in due time He filled it all–yes, to its utmost jot and tittle. Jesus said, “I will take the cup of salvation” and He did take it–the cup of our deliverance. Bitter were its drops–gall lay in its depths. There were groans and sighs and tears within the red mixture. But He took it all and drank it to its dregs and swallowed all the awful draught. All was gone. He drank the cup of salvation and He ate the bread of affliction. Look at Him as He drinks the cup in Gethsemane, when the fluid of that cup did mingle with His blood and make each drop a scalding poison. Mark how the hot feet of pain did travel down His veins. See how each nerve is twisted and contorted with His agony.
Behold His brow covered with sweat. Witness the agonies as they follow each other into the very depths of His soul. Speak, you Lost! Tell what Hell’s torment means. But you cannot tell what the torments of Gethsemane were. Oh, the deep unutterable! There was a depth which couched beneath, when our Redeemer bowed His head–when He placed Himself betwixt the upper and nether millstones of His Father’s vengeance–and when His whole soul was ground to powder. Ah, that wrestling Man–God–that suffering Man of Gethsemane. Weep over Him, Saints–weep over Him when you see Him rising from that prayer in the garden, marching forth to His Cross.
When you picture Him hanging on His Cross four long hours in the scorching sun, overwhelmed by His Father’s passing wrath–when you see His side streaming with gore–when you hear His death-shriek, “It is finished”–and see His lips all parched–moistened by nothing save the vinegar and the gall–ah, then prostrate yourselves before that Cross, bow down before that Sufferer and say, “You have made us–You have made us what we are. We are nothing without You.” The Cross of Jesus is the foundation of the glory of the saints. Calvary is the birthplace of Heaven. Heaven was born in Bethlehem’s manger. Had it not been for the sufferings and agonies of Golgotha we should have had no blessing.
Oh, Saint! In every mercy see the Savior’s blood–look on this Book–it is sprinkled with His blood. Look on this house of prayer–it is sanctified by His sufferings. Look on your daily food–it is purchased with His groans. Let every mercy come to you as a blood-bought treasure. Value it because it comes from Him. And evermore say, “You have made us what we are.”
Beloved, our Savior Jesus Christ finished the great work of making us what we are by His ascension into Heaven. If He had not risen up on high and led captivity captive, His death would have been insufficient. He “died for our sins,” but He “rose again for our justification.” The resurrection of our Savior, in His majesty when He burst the bonds of death, was to us the assurance that God had accepted His sacrifice. And His ascension up on high was but as a type and a figure of the real and actual ascension of all His saints–when He shall come in the clouds of judgment–and shall call all His people to Him. Mark the man-God as He goes upward towards Heaven. Behold His triumphal march through the skies, while stars sing His praises and planets dance in solemn order. Behold Him traverse the unknown fields of ether till He arrives at the Throne of God in the seventh Heaven.
Then hear Him say to His Father, “I have finished the work which You gave Me to do, behold Me and the children You have given Me. I have fought a good fight. I have finished My course. I have done all. I have accomplished every type. I have finished every part of the Covenant. There is not one iota I have left unfulfilled, or one tittle that is left out. All is done.” And hark, how they sing before the Throne of God when thus He speaks–“You have made us unto our God kings and priests. And we shall reign on the earth.”
Thus have I briefly spoken upon the dear Redeemer’s doings. Poor lips cannot speak better, faint heart will not rise up to the height of this great argument. Oh, that these lips had language eloquent and lofty, that they might speak more of the wondrous doings of our Redeemer!–
“Crown Him! Crown Him!
Crowns become the Savior’s brow.”
II. Now, secondly, THE SAINTS' HONORS–“And have made us unto our God kings and priests.” The most honorable of all monarchs have ever been esteemed to be those who had a right not only to royalty, but to sacerdotal supremacy. Those kings who could wear at one time the crown of loyalty and at another the miter of the priesthood–who could both use the censer and hold the scepter–who could offer intercession for the people and then govern the nations. Those who are kings and priests are great, indeed. And here you behold the saint honored, not with one title, or one office, but with two. He is made not a king merely, but a king and a priest–not a priest merely, but a priest and a king. The saint has two offices conferred upon him at once–he is made a priestly monarch and a regal priest.
I shall take, first of all, the royal office of the saints. They are KINGS. They are not merely to be kings in Heaven, but they are also kings on earth. For if my text does not say so, the Bible declares it in another passage–“You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.” We are kings even now. I want you to understand that–before I explain the idea. Every saint of the living God not only has the prospect of being a king in Heaven, but positively, in the sight of God, he is a king now. And he must say, with regard to his Brethren and himself, “And have made us,” even now, “unto our God kings and priests. And we shall reign upon the earth.” A Christian is a king. He is not simply like a king, but He is a king, actually and truly. However I shall try and show you how He is like a king.
Remember his royal ancestry. What a fuss some people make about their grandfathers and grandmothers and distant ancestors. I remember seeing in Trinity College the pedigree of some great lord that went back just as far as Adam and Adam was there digging the ground–the first man. It was traced all the way up. Of course I did not believe it. I have heard of some pedigrees that go back further. I leave that to your own common sense to believe it or not. A pedigree in which shall be found dukes, marquises and kings and princes–oh, what would some give for such a pedigree? I believe, however, that it is not what our ancestors were, but what we are, that will make us shine before God. It is not so much in knowing that we have royal or priestly blood in our veins, as knowing that we are an honor to our race–that we are walking in the ways of the Lord and reflecting credit upon the church and upon the grace that makes us honorable.
But since some men will glory in their descent, I will glory that the saints have the proudest ancestry in all the world. Talk of Caesars, or of Alexanders, or tell me even of our own good Queen–I say that I am of as high descent as Her Majesty, or the proudest monarch in the world. I am descended from the King of kings. The saint may well speak of his ancestry–he may exult in it, he may glory in it–for he is the son of God, positively and actually. His mother, the Church, is the Bride of Jesus. He is a twice-born child of Heaven–one of the blood royal of the universe. The poorest woman or man on earth, loving Christ, is of a royal line. Give a man the grace of God in his heart and his ancestry is noble. I can turn back the roll of my pedigree and I can tell you that it is so ancient, that it has no beginning. It is more ancient than all the rolls of mighty men put together–from all eternity my Father existed–and therefore, I have indeed a right royal and ancient ancestry.
And then, again, the saints, like monarchs, have a splendid retinue. Kings and monarchs cannot travel without a deal of state. In olden times, they had far more magnificence than they have now. But even in these days we see much of it when royalty is abroad. There must be a peculiar kind of horse a splendid chariot, outriders with all the etceteras of gorgeous pomp. Yes, and the kings of God, whom Jesus Christ has made kings and priests unto their God, have also a royal retinue “Oh,” you say, “but I see some of them in rags. They are walking through the earth alone, sometimes without a helper or a friend.” Ah, but the fault is in your eyes. If you had eyes to see, you would perceive a body-guard of angels always attending every one of the blood-bought family.
You remember Elijah’s servant could not see anything around Elijah, till his master opened his eyes. Then he could see that there were horses and chariots round about Elijah. Lo! There are horses and chariots about me. And you, saint of the Lord–wherever you are–there are horses and chariots. In that bed-chamber, where I was born, angels stood to announce my birth on high. In seas of trouble, when wave after wave seems to go over me, angels are there to lift up my head. When I come to die, when sorrowing friends shall, weeping, carry me to the grave, angels shall stand by my bier–and, when put into the grave, some mighty angel shall stand and guard my dust and contend for its possession with the devil. Why should I fear? I have a company of angels about me. And whenever I walk abroad, the glorious cherubim march in front. Men see them not, but I see them. For “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We have a royal retinue–we are kings, not merely by ancestry, but by our retinue.
Now, notice the insignia and regalia of the saints. Kings and princes have certain things that are theirs by perspective right. For instance, Her Majesty has her Buckingham Palace and her other palaces, her crown royal, her scepter and so on. But, has a saint a palace? Yes. I have a palace! And its walls are not made of marble, but of gold. Its borders are carbuncles and precious gems. Its windows are of agates. Its stones are laid with fair colors–around it there is a profusion of every costly thing–rubies sparkle here and there, yes, pearls are but common stones within it. Come, call it a mansion. But I have a right to call it a palace, too, for I am a king.
It is a mansion when I look at God. It is a palace when I look at men, because it is the habitation of a prince. Mark where this palace is. I am not a prince of India–I have no inheritance in any far-off land that men dream of–I have no El Dorado, or Home of Prester John. But yet I have a substantial palace. Yonder, on the hills of Heaven it stands–I know not its position among the other mansions of Heaven, but there it stands–and “I know that if the earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved, I have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
Have Christians a crown, too? O yes, but they do not wear it every day. They have a crown, but their coronation day is not yet arrived. They have been anointed monarchs, they have some of the authority and dignity of monarchs–but they are not crowned monarchs yet. But the crown is made. God will not have to order Heaven’s goldsmiths to fashion it in later–it is made already–hanging up in Glory. God has “laid up for me a crown of righteousness.” Oh, saint, if you did just open some secret door in Heaven and went into the treasure chamber, you could see it filled with crowns. When Cortez entered the palace of Montezuma, he found a secret chamber bricked up and he thought the wealth of all the world was there, so many different things were there stowed away.
Could you enter God’s secret treasure house, what wealth would you see? “Are there so many monarchs,” you would say, “so many crowns, so many princes?” Yes and some bright angel would say, “Mark that crown? It is yours.” And if you were to look within, you would read, “Made for a sinner saved by grace, whose name was ____.” And then you would hardly believe your eyes, as you saw your own name engraved upon it! You are indeed a king before God, for you have a crown laid up in Heaven. Whatever other insignia belong to monarchs, saints shall have. They shall have robes of whiteness. They shall have harps of glory. They shall have all things that become their regal state, so that we are indeed monarchs, you see. Not mock-monarchs, clothed in purple garments of derision and scoffed at with, “Hail, King of the Jews.” But we are real monarchs–“He has made us kings and priests unto our God.”
There is another thought here. Kings are considered the most honorable among men. They are always looked up to and respected. If you should say, “a monarch is here!” A crowd would give way. I should not command much respect if I were to attempt to move about in a crowd. But if anyone should shout, “here is the Queen!” everyone would step aside and make room for her. A monarch generally commands respect. Ah, Beloved, we think that worldly princes are the most honorable of the earth, but if you were to ask God, He would reply, “My saints, in whom I delight, these are the honorable ones.” Tell me not of tinsel and gewgaw. Tell me not of gold and silver. Tell me not of diamonds and pearls. Tell me not of ancestry and rank. Preach to me not of pomp and power. But oh, tell me that a man is a saint of the Lord–for then he is an honorable man!
God respects him. Angels respect him and the universe one day shall respect him, when Christ shall come to call him to his account and say, “well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.” You may despise a child of God now, Sinner. You may laugh at him, you may say he is a hypocrite. You may call him a saint, a Methodist, a cant and everything you like. But know that those titles will not mar his dignity–he is the honorable of the earth and God estimates him as such.
But some persons will say, “I wish you would prove what you affirm, when you say that saints are kings, for, if we were kings, we should never have any sorrows–kings are never poor as we are and never suffer as we do.” Who told you so? You say if you are kings, you would live at ease. Do not kings ever suffer? Was not David an anointed king? And was he not hunted like a partridge on the mountains? Did not the king himself pass over the brook Kidron and all his people weeping as he went, when his son Absalom pursued him? And was he not a monarch when he slept on the cold ground, with no couch save the damp heather? O yes, kings have their sorrows–crowned heads have their afflictions–
“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
Do not expect that because you are a king you are to have no sorrows. “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes strong drink.” And it is often so. The saints get but little wine here. It is not for kings to drink the wine of pleasure. It is not for kings to have much of the intoxicating drink and the surfeits of this world’s delight. They shall have joy enough up yonder, when they shall drink it new in their Father’s kingdom. Poor Saint! Do dwell on this. You are a king! I beseech you let it not go away from your mind. But in the midst of your tribulation, still rejoice in it. If you have to go through the dark tunnel of infamy, for Christ’s name. If you are ridiculed and reviled, still rejoice in the fact, “I am a king and all the dominions of the earth shall be mine!”
This last idea and I have done with this part of the subject. Kings have dominion. Do you know I am a fifth monarchy man? In Cromwell’s time some said there had been four monarchies and the fifth would come and overturn every other. Well, I never wish to do as they did. But I believe with them, that a fifth monarchy shall come. There have now existed four great empires, arrogating universal dominion and there never shall be another world-wide monarchy until Christ shall come. Jesus, our Lord, is to be King of all the earth and rule all nations in a glorious spiritual, or personal reign. The saints, as being kings in Christ, have a right to the whole world.
Here am I this morning and my congregation before me. Some persons say, “Keep to your own place and preach.” I have heard the advice, “Do not go out of your parish.” But Rowland Hill used to say he never went out of his parish in his life–his parish was England, Scotland and Wales–he never went out of it. I suppose that is my parish and the parish of every Gospel minister. When we see a city full of sin and iniquity, what should we say? That is ours, we will go and storm it. When we see a street or some crowded area, where the people are very bad and wicked, we should say, “That is our alley, we will go and take it.” When we see a house where people will not receive the Gospel, we should say, “That is our house, we will go and attack it.”
We will not go with the strong arm of the Law. We will not ask the policeman or government to help us. But we will take with us “the weapons of our warfare” which “are not carnal but spiritual and mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds.” We will go and by God’s Spirit we shall overcome. There is a town where the children are running about the street uneducated. We will go and take those children–kidnap them for Christ. We will have a SabbathSchool. If they are ragged urchins who cannot come to a Sabbath-School, we will have a ragged school. There is a part of the world where the inhabitants are sunk in ignorance and superstition–we will send a missionary to them. Ah, those who do not like missionary enterprise, do not know the dignity of the saint.
Talk of India, talk of China. “They are mine,” says the saint. All the kingdoms of the earth are ours. “Africa is my wash pot–I will triumph over Asia. They are mine! They are mine!” “Who shall bring me into the strong city?” Is it not you, O Lord? God shall give us the kingdom of Christ. The whole earth is ours. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, Baal shall bow, Nebo shall stoop, the gods of the heathen, Buddha and Brahma shall be cast down and all nations will bow before the scepter of Christ. “He has made us kings.”
Our second point, upon which I shall be very brief, is, “He has made us kings and PRIESTS.” Saints are not only kings, but priests. I shall go to it at once, without any preface.
We are priests, because priests are divinely chosen persons and so are we. “No man takes this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” But we have that calling and election. We were all ordained to it from the foundations of the world. We were predestinated to be priests and in process of time we had a special effectual call, which we could not and did not resist. And it at last overcame us that we became at once the priests of God. We are priests, divinely constituted. When we say we are priests, we do not talk as certain parties do, who say they are priests, wishing thereby to arrogate to themselves a distinction.
I always have an objection–I must state it strongly–to calling a clergyman, or any man that preaches, a priest. We are no more so than you are. All saints are priests. But, for a man to stand up and say he is a priest, any more than those he preaches to, is a falsehood. I detest the distinction of clergy and laity. I like scriptural priestcraft, for that is the craft or work of the people who are all priests. But all other priestcraft I abhor. Every saint of the Lord is a priest at God’s altar and is bound to worship God with the holy incense of prayer and praise. We are priests, each one of us, if we are called by Divine grace. For thus we are priests by Divine constitution.
Then, next, we are priests, because we enjoy Divine honors. None but a priest might enter within the veil. There was a court of the priests into which none might ever go except the called ones. Priests had certain rights and privileges which others had not. Saint of Jesus! Heir of Heaven! You have high and honorable privileges which the world knows not of! Have you ever been within the veil in communion with Christ? Have you ever been in the court of the Lord’s house, the court of the priests, where He has taught you and manifested Himself to you? Have you? Yes, you know you have–you enjoy constant access to God’s Throne.
You have a right to come and tell your griefs and sorrows into the ear of Jehovah. The poor worldling must not come there, the poor child of wrath has no God to tell his troubles to. He must not go within the veil, he has no wish to go–but you may. You may come to God’s ear, swing the censer before the Throne and offer your petition in the name of Jesus. Others have not these Divine honors. You are divinely honored and divinely blessed.
Then another remark, to finish up with, shall be, we have a Divine service to perform. And as I want you all, this morning, to turn this chapel into one great altar–as I want to make you all working priests and this the temple for sacrifice–look earnestly at your service. You are all priests, because you love His dear name and have a great sacrifice to perform–not a propitiation for your sins–for that has been once offered–but a sacrifice this day of holy thanksgiving. Oh, how sweet in God’s ear is the prayer of His people! That is the sacrifice that He accepts. And when their holy hymn swells upwards towards the sky, how pleasant it is in His ears, because then He can say, “My hosts of priests are sacrificing praise.”
And do you know, Beloved, there is one point in which most of us fail in our oblations before God? We offer our prayer. We present our praise. But how little do we sacrifice of our substance unto the Lord! I had thought this morning seeing I desire to make you amazingly liberal, to have made this my text, “Honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your increase–so shall your barns be filled with plenty and your presses shall burst out with new wine.” And I had thought of showing that our substance was the Lord’s–that we were bound to devote no small portion of it to Him–and that if we did do so we might expect prosperity even in worldly business, for He would make our barns full and our presses burst with new wine.
However, I conceive it to be needless to preach a collection sermon–I thought I would rather tell your about your honor and dignity and then you shall just give what you like, for the only free will I like, is a free will offering. Suffer, Beloved, a few words! God has said in His Word that you are to honor Him with your substance. As a priest of the Lord will you not sacrifice something to the Lord this day? Here we have a great object before us. We want more room for the crowds who come to hear the Gospel. It seems important, when such a throng is gathered, that none should go away. Ought we not to bless God that they come? There was a time you were few indeed and the cry was, “Who has believed our report?”
But God has given us great success. The ministry here has been blessed to the conversion of not a few souls. I have many cases, now in this chapel, of broken hearts and contrite spirits. Doubtless, there are many more than I know of and I believe the blessed Spirit will bring them out in due time. Oh, do you not grieve that any should have to turn away from the voice of the ministry–that any who come here should have to go away, perhaps to spend the Sabbath in sin? You know not where they have to go, when they cannot get within these walls. The thing is we have come to the resolution that this chapel should be enlarged so that there should be accommodation for a larger number. Now, you priests, sacrifice to the Lord! Let the priests build the house of Lord. Let those who worship in the sanctuary take up the trowel today. Let the mortar and the brick be laid and let this house be once more filled with the glory of the Lord and an abundant congregation.
III. Now I have to close up with THE WORLD’S FUTURE. “We shall reign on the earth.” I have not much time for this and I dare say it is expected that I shall tell you about the millennium and the personal reign of Christ. I shall not at all, because I don’t know anything about it. I have heard a great many people talk of it. If anybody shows me a book on the millennium, I say, “I cannot read it just yet.” A good man has lately written a book on it and a gentleman recommended it to me so strongly that I could not but buy it out of courtesy. But I elevated it to the aristocratic region of my library–in the higher ranks–and there it rests in quiet repose.
I do not think myself capable of threading the labyrinths of the subject and I do not believe the very respectable author can do it. It is a subject so dark and I have read so many different views upon it, that it is all a phantasmagoria with me. I believe all the Bible says of a glorious future, but I cannot pretend to be a maker of charts for all time. Only this I gather as a positive fact–that the saints will one day reign on the earth. This Truth appears to me clear enough, whatever may be the different views on the millennium. The saints do not reign visibly now. They are despised. They were driven, in old times, into dens and caves of the earth–but the time is coming when kings will be saints and princes the called ones of God–when queens shall be the nursing mothers and kings the nursing fathers of Christ’s Church.
The hour is coming when the saint, instead of being dishonored, shall be honored. And monarchs, once the foes of Truth, shall become its friends. The saints shall reign. They shall have the majority. The kingdom of Christ shall have the upper hand. It shall not be cast down–this shall not be Satan’s world any longer–it shall again sing with all its sister stars, the never ceasing song of praise. Oh, I believe there is a day coming when Sabbath bells shall sprinkle music over the plains of Africa–when the deep thick jungle of India shall see the saints of God going up to the sanctuary and I am assured that the teeming multitudes of China shall gather together in temples built for prayer! As you and I have done, they, too, shall sing to the ever glorious Jehovah–
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
Happy day! Happy day! May it speedily come! Now, to close up, one very practical inference. You are kings and priests unto your God. Then how much ought kings to give to the collection this morning? Thus speak you to yourselves. “I am a king. I will give as a king gives unto a king.” Now, mark you, no paltry subscriptions! We don’t expect kings to put down their names for trifles. Then, again–you are a priest. Well, priest, do you mean to sacrifice? “Yes.” But you would not sacrifice a crippled lamb, or a blemished bullock, would you? Would you not select the best of the flock? Very right. Then select the very best of the Queen’s coins and offer, if you can, sheep with golden fleece.
Excuse my pressing this subject. I want to get this chapel enlarged. So do you. We are all agreed about it. We are all rowing in one boat. I have set my mind on £50 and I must and will, have it today, if possible. I hope you won’t disappoint me. It is not my own cause, but my Master’s–at other times you have given liberally–I am not afraid of you–but hope to come forward, next Sabbath morning, with the cheering announcement that the £50 is all raised. Then I think my spirit will be so elevated, that, by the help of God, I will venture to promise you one of the best sermons I am capable of delivering.
[The Christian reader will be pleased to learn, that after this appeal, the sum of £50, 11 1/2d. was collected at the doors, towards defraying the expenses of the enlargement.]