Sermon 807. Good News for Loyal Subjects
Delivered on Sunday Morning, April 19, 1868, by
C. H. SPURGEON
at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
"He must reign." 1 Corinthians 15:25.
"MUST" is for the king, and concerning King Jesus there is a Divine necessity that He must reign. He was once the King ofmisery-in that kingdom He reigned supreme. That crown of thorns is preeminent in the sorrows which it signifies. O King ofgrief and tears and death, who shall rival You? Today He is the King of glory, enthroned far above all principalities andpowers! He is so glorious that when seraphs are asked, "Who is the King of glory?" they mention no other name but His! Heis the King once dishonored but now exalted in the highest Heaven. Of Him the text says not only that He must live, thoughthat is a precious truth, for while He lives we shall live, also! Nor merely does it say that He shall enjoy a degree of reverence,though it is delightful to us to think of His being honored in any heart and being had in reverence by even a handful of men.
But it is said, "He must reign'" Not a place, but the chief place shall be His. Not bare existence, but preeminence. Not honor,but superlative glory. He must reign! No seat but the Throne shall become Him. No ornaments but those of royalty shall befitHim-"He must reign." He must reign because He is God. "The Lord reigns" must ever stand a Truth. Jehovah exists eternally,infinite in power and wisdom. Who but He should be King of kings and Lord of lords? And since the Man of Nazareth is the EverlastingFather, since of His generation there was no beginning, and none can count the number of His years, He must reign from thevery fact of His essential Deity. He must reign as Man-for the Lord has made a Covenant with David that the scepter shouldnot depart from him, that of his seed there should sit upon the throne of Israel forever a King to rule in righteousness,and Jesus of Nazareth is that King!
Israel has no other monarch, neither have they sought after any other king. As a nation they have been broken and scatteredand peeled. And as a united people they cannot be gathered under any other headship than that of the house of David, of whichJesus Christ is the lineal and rightful descendant, and who claims and keeps the scepter in His own hand. He must reign alsoas the Mediator, the Intercessor, the Interposer, the Interpreter, one of a thousand. "He must reign." Behold, at this timethe sovereignty of the world is committed to His keeping. He is the Headship of His Church, the Originator of Providence.His is the ruling of Heaven, and earth, and Hell, as the mediatorial Monarch. And until that time when He shall deliver upthe kingdom to God, even our Father, He must reign, for so has God appointed and settled Him to be a King and a Priest foreverafter the order of Melchisedec.
What a sweet comfort it is to think that none can snatch the government from the hand of Jesus, for, "the government shallbe upon His shoulder." None can drive Christ from the Headship of the Church, nor the Headship of Providence for the Church.He must be at the helm, none shall remove Him. Both as God and Man, and as the Mediator of the New Covenant, according tothe express words of our text, "He must reign." There seemed to me to be so sweet a thought wrapped up in these three words-soprecious, so full of all manner of delights-that if the Holy Spirit did but enable us to enjoy it, we should not lack todayfor wines on the lees, well refined, and fat things, yes, fat things full of marrow!
I shall endeavor, as I may be helped, first, at some length to discuss the reasons for this "must." Then, secondly, to drawout encouragement from it. And, thirdly, to dwell upon its admonitions.
I. First, "He must reign." WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR THIS "MUST"? The answer shall be sevenfold. The Lamb, as seen by John,had seven horns of power, and here are seven reasons why He should possess the Throne forever.
1. First, because His empire in itself is such as to ensure perpetuity. There have been many empires in this world of whichmen said, for the time, that they must exist-and they supposed that if they were overthrown, the very pillars ofthe earth would be removed. Yet in due time they grew gray with years and were swept away as worn out things, and it was ajoy for the nations when the hoary abominations were consumed.
The most colossal empires have melted like visions of the night, and the most substantial creations of human power have passedaway like the fleeting dew of the morning. But, "He must reign." He must reign, first of all, because His reign over humanmind is based upon the Truth of God. There have been various dynasties of thought-at one time Plato reigned supreme over thoughtfulminds. Then Aristotle held a long and rigid rule-he so ruled and governed the entire universe of mind that even the Christianreligion was continually infected and tainted by his philosophical speculations.
But another philosophy found out his weakness and supplanted him, to be in its turn subverted by the next. As men grow moreenlightened, or the human mind passes through another phase of change, men say to their once-revered rabbis and honored teachers,"Stand out of the way! A new light has arisen! We have come to a new point of thought, and we have done with you." Thingswhich were accounted sure and wise in years gone by are now ridiculed by us as the height of folly. And why? Because thesesystems of philosophy and thought have not been based upon the Truth of God. There has been a worm in the center of the fairapple of knowledge. There has been a flaw in the foundations of the great master-builder-they have built upon sand, and theiredifices have tumbled to irretrievable ruin.
But the Truth, which Jesus taught from the mountaintop, reads as if it were delivered but yesterday! Christianity is as suitableto the 19th century as to the first. It has the dew of its youth upon it. As Solomon's Song says of Christ, His locks arebushy and black as a raven to show His youth and vigor. So may I say of the Gospel-it is still as young and vigorous-as fullof masculine energy as ever it was! We who preach it fear not for the result-give us a fair stage and no favor, and the Samsonof Divine Truth, its locks still unshorn-will yet remove the pillars of the temple of error, and bring ruin to the powersof Hell. Jesus must reign as the royal Teacher because all He teaches is based upon the surestTruth.
Our Lord's dominion over human hearts, too, is absolutely sure, because it is based upon love. To illustrate what I mean,I need only remind you of the life of the great Napoleon. He founded an empire-an empire which has not always been justlyestimated-for perhaps unwittingly Napoleon was a grand advancer of human liberty, since he first taught the old kings thatthe pretense of Divine right could not keep crowns upon unpopular heads, and that young men from the ranks might yet mounta throne. He produced a code of laws, which, for simplicity of justice, has never been surpassed. Still, he relied too muchupon coercion and the sword-his enormous armies were his bulwark and security.
Strong battalions were the cornerstone of his empire, and though for awhile he stood firm, and armies advancing against himwere only like so many waves dashing against the rocks of his tremendous power-yet, after all his many wars, he was overthrownand he was said to have uttered in St. Helena that memorable speech-"My empire has passed away. I founded it upon the sword,and it is gone. Jesus Christ established an empire upon love, and it will last forever." So it will last. When all that kingsand princes can do with state-craft, and with power, shall have dissolved as hoar frost in the sun, Christ's kingdom muststand because it is based upon the law of love. His Person is the incarnation of love. His teachings are the doctrines oflove. His precepts are the rule of love. His Spirit is the creator of love. His whole religion is saturated with love-andbecause of this His kingdom cannot be moved!
Once more, the empire of Jesus must exist because it is the one great remedy which this sad woe-begone world requires. Thoughmen know it not, this is the only balm for earth's poor bleeding wounds. Earth cries out every now and then like a sleeperin delirium. She cries out for the coming man, and eyes everywhere are watching! Men scarcely know why-they look for a manwho shall right the wrong of mankind and commence on a glorious era-that good time coming for which men have looked so long.Jesus is the coming Man-He alone is the daystar from on high who shall visit us with light and healing-and replace our darknesswith an everlasting morning!
The world is like the troubled sea that cannot rest, tossed to and fro, and there is but one foot which can tread its waves,and but one voice which can say, "Peace, be still." The world's joy lies now in the tomb. It has been dead four days already,and by this time it stinks and the poor world does not know that there is only one voice that can bring back earth's paradise,give a resurrection to her buried mirth. Jesus of Nazareth it is who is the true Liberator of captive nations, "To give lightto them that sit in darkness, and in the valley of the shadow of death."
The world will never rest till it rests in Christ! It groans and travails in pain together until now, scarcely knowing whatit wants. But to us it is given to know that earth needs her Lord to reign over her, and He shall bring her joy and peace.The agonizing groans of earth demand the sovereignty of Jesus and therefore we believe that He must reign, for God will yetgive His creature what it needs. Our Lord's dominion is, in itself, so securely founded upon Truth and love, and is so demandedby a bleeding world, that "He must reign."
2. Secondly, He must reign because His Father decrees it. How delightful it is to think of the eternal purposes concerningour Lord! Our God did not make this world without a plan, nor does He rule it without a scheme. Whatever Jehovah decrees,stands fast and firm, for these are His words, "Has He said, and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not makeit good?" Whatever the eternal mind resolves upon is certain to be fulfilled! Though men should strive against it, and devilsshould rise with infernal rage, yet, if Jehovah decrees it, who shall stand against the eternalwill?
Go, Fool, who thinks to stand against God, and dash yourself upon the bosses of His buckler and be broken in pieces! Or runupon the point of His glittering spear to your own destruction, for, against the Eternal, who shall stand? His thunder inthe heavens, though it is but the whisper of His voice, makes the nations tremble! The going forth of His might in nature,though it is the hiding of His power, makes all the inhabitants of the earth shake. Who shall stay His hand, or say unto Him,"What are You doing?"
The eternal purpose of God has ordained that Jesus Christ shall reign eternally! He must reign from the river even to theends of the earth. Up till now God has maintained the Throne of His Son. Read the second Psalm and see: "The kings of theearth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against His Anointed, saying, Let us breaktheir bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sits in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have themin derision. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath and vex them in His sore displeasure. Yet have I set My king uponMy holy hill of Zion."
Yes, the Divine determination, the Everlasting Covenant, and the immutable promises of Covenant Grace all unite in the resolvethat Christ shall reign, and therefore well says the text, "He must reign."
3. But in the third place, Divine justice demands it. Jesus Christ must reign. Beloved, you cannot imagine for a moment thatHe who judges all the earth will be unjust, and unjust to His own Son! Our Lord came into this world to bleed and die thatHe might have a reward for His pains. And the Father covenanted with Him: "He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days.""I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong." The Father promised that He shouldbe a leader and a commander of the people, and determined, as the result of His humiliation, that He should mount to a superiorThrone as the Son of Man and the Son of God.
Shall God belie His word? Begone, blasphemous thought! Shall God defraud the Only-Begotten? Down, suggestion of the pit! ShallJesus die in vain? Shall He pour out His soul unto death, and shall there be no crown for Him? Shall the promised diadem bewithheld? Beloved, we know it cannot be so! As we stand at the foot of the Cross we feel that every pang He suffered guaranteedto Him that He should be King of kings, and Lord of lords. Oh, it were, indeed, sad for us to imagine that yonder wondrouswork of His in redemption should remain unrewarded with the promised crown! It were vain for us to trust in the Redemption,for we might be as well deluded in it as He if there were no honor brought to Him for all that He endured for us. Courage,Brothers and Sisters, there can be no doubt about it-since immutable justice demands it, Jesus "must reign."
4. The fourth reason is found in this, that Christ's reigning is inwrought into the order of Providence. A few months agosnow was on the ground. The frost was sharp, the winds were cold, the trees were bare-but it was in the order of Providencethat there should be a spring. And though the seasons grew colder and the dreary months passed on and not a snowdrop peepedup from under the soil, nor a golden crocus opened its cup, yet God had purposed it-the spring must come.
Walk in your gardens today when all the fruit trees are opening their blossoms and pouring forth their perfumes in the air,and the birds are at the highest point of song, and you will think, "Yes, it has surely come. Spring smiles on us, after all."The cold blustering winds and the cold dark nights could not prevent it! The vernal blossoms are on every bough. Here is spring,and in its right hand it holds a faithful promise of the coming summer. We cannot say that in anyone day in all these last months spring seemed to make any great advance. You cannot put your finger upon a certain day orhour, and say, "Now the weather is manifestly turning."
But the sweet days of bud and blossom have been introduced with a beautiful gentleness and growth. Even when the days lengthenedwe saw no great progress, for the cold strengthened-and if we enjoyed a mild day, there came a biting night of frost. But,surely and steadily the veins of the trees were filled with the life-blood of sap, and the buds first swelled and then revealedtheir glories! Mother earth yielded to the roots of plants and trees fresh vigor, and helped them to put on their green array-andnow we look for the beauties of summer and the golden sheaves of autumn with sure and certain hope.
So Christ's reigning is woven into the warp and woof of Providence, and though He has long been lifted on high and has notyet drawn all men unto Him, it is coming-and if we have faith we may almost see it. His kingdom is coming! The time of thesinging of the birds is drawing near! There have been dark times, but the light has arisen! There have been times of shamefullukewarmness, but, now and then a live coal has been sent from off the altar to touch the lip of some favored seer whose powerhas turned the tide of the Church's zeal once more. Rest assured that nothing can possibly resist the kingdom of Jesus Christ-Hiskingdom shall come! He shall have dominion and His foes shall bow.
He shall come in His own proper Person and shall sit upon David's throne. Though the wheels of Providence are so high thatthey are terrible, they are all full of eyes, and every eye looks to Christ. "Upon one stone shall be seven eyes," yes, allthe eyes of Providence look upon Jesus our Cornerstone, and in the Divine economy, "all things work together for good to themthat love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose," and chiefly for the glory of Him who loved God best ofall, and was first chosen in the Divine decree.
That Jesus shall reign is the end, aim, and design of Providence. How I rejoice to believe that if we serve God the very stonesof the field are in league with us, and the beasts of the field are at peace with us! And as it was said by Deborah in hermemorable song, "The stars in their courses fought against Sisera," so all created things are allies of the righteous causeand adversaries of evil. The marches of years, the advance of months, and the arrangements of days all fight like armed menthe wrong, and march side by side with the armies of the Lord of hosts-sworn to do battle for Jesus and His Throne-for, "Hemust reign."
5. I must not tarry long on any one point, and, therefore, our fifth argument for Jesus' kingdom is that the Holy Spirit hasbeen given to the Church to promote this glorious end. At the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out-then the wholeChurch was baptized with a sacred influence-and ever since then the Holy Spirit has never been withdrawn from the ChristianChurch. "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever."
We often unbelievingly pray for the Holy Spirit as if He were not still with us-as if He were not perpetually resident amongthe sons of men. He is here, always here-always dwelling in the Christian Church. Now consider who the Holy Spirit is-He isthe blessed God Himself-one Person of the glorious Trinity in unity, and He is therefore the possessor of infinite power.In the world of mind He can work according to His own will, and can convince men of sin, of righteousness and of judgment.He can soften the most hardened! He can turn to kindness the most cruel, and lead into light the most darkened. There arenone beyond the range of the operation of the Holy Spirit, and none who shall be able finally to resist His influence whenHe puts forth the fullness of His might, for who can stop Omnipotence?
Now, Brethren, the possession of the Holy Spirit is the Church's treasury. Here is her battle-ax, and here her weapons ofwar. Do you speak of the tower of David where a thousand bucklers did hang, all shields of mighty men? The possession of theHoly Spirit secures a far greater power than all the bucklers of mighty men could be! Solomon speaks of the Church's bed,and says that around it were fourscore men, each man with his sword upon his thigh, because of fear in the night. But theHoly Spirit is a greater protection than the ablest bodyguard of warriors! His dove-like wings perpetually brood over theLord's chosen and guard them from every ill, according to the promise, "I, the Lord, do keep it, I will water it every moment:lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day."
Ho, you who preach Christ in the street, or teach Him in the school, do not become discouraged under difficulties when youremember that you are workers together with God, and that with you, when you speak the truth for Jesus, there goes forth anirresistible power from the Holy Spirit Himself which none shall be able to gainsay or to resist! This is the Church's power-lether seek more of it, and, possessing it-let her rest assured that the purpose for which she hasbeen raised up will be accomplished, for Jesus Christ must and shall reign if the Spirit of God is at work to ensure His Sovereignty.
6. Sixthly, our Lord Jesus Christ must reign because He is naturally the Chief of the human race. When all Israel were gatheredtogether to choose a king, they selected Saul who was in stature head and shoulders taller than the rest. They would havethe strongest soldier to lead the van. But if my Lord and Master were to come into this world-if men's eyes were but opened,and their senses were but trained to right perception-they would no sooner put eyes on Him than they would say, "He is thechief among 10,000 and the altogether lovely: let Him wear the crown." Remember that in this present state the good oftengo to the wall, and the most worthy are the least esteemed-but in the long run it is a rule of God's government that the bestshall be uppermost.
And when the last great rectification shall come, you will find that those who were really lowest in character will be lowestin perdition, and those who were highest in their service of God shall be highest in esteem among the sons of men. Jesus Christmust take the highest place, because He is highest and there is none to rival Him-
"No creature can with Him compare
Among the sons of men,
Fairer He is than all the fair
That fill the heavenly train."
Once but get a clear, spiritual glimpse of Him and you will acknowledge His surpassing superiority-
"Soon as faith the Lord can see,
Bleeding on the Cross for me,
Quick my idols all depart,
Jesus gets and fills my heart."
O stone-blind eyes, if you could but see Him, how you would be fixed on Him in one long fascinated gaze! O blind world, ifyou had Grace enough to see but half the beauties of Christ, how you would cease your rebellion and fall down to worship thematchless Prince! But the blindness and obduracy of humankind make men enemies to their best Friend and make them see no beautywhere there is all beauty, and no perfection wherever perfection dwells.
As well might men say that there is no light from the sun as declare that there is no loveliness in Him! As well might theysay that there is no salt in the sea as that there is no sweetness in Christ, for He is altogether lovely! All preciousness,at its very highest degrees, is found commingled in His gracious Character. Let Him be King, then! He must reign! It is impossiblethat yonder black prince, that fiend of Hell, that traitor, that enemy of the human race should always reign! Down with him!Down with him as they did in the town of Mansoul when they broke the images of Diabolus, casting them to the ground.
It is not possible that the devil should always be king over God's creatures. Let Immanuel be exalted, and let His loyal subjectsbow before Him and rejoice in His crown and scepter. He must reign, then, because of the excellence of His Character.
7. And lastly upon this point, He must reign because the power to reign belongs to Him. "It pleased the Father that in Himshould all fullness dwell." "He has all power given unto Him in Heaven and in earth." "Go you, therefore," says He, "and teachall nations." Jesus Christ is no puny pretender to the Throne, nor a rightful owner without power to win His own, but as Hiscause is good His arm is strong. The power of Immanuel is equal to His right-He must, therefore, reign! What a vision thatis of Christ on the white horse, riding forth conquering and to conquer, and all His saints following Him in the same triumphantstyle, His sword going out of His mouth, the preaching of the eternal Gospel being still the power of God unto salvation!
This is what He is doing now-this is what He shall do till He comes with His iron rod to break the nations in pieces, likea potter's vessel, and dash His enemies to pieces. He has the power to reign, a power of love which He puts into the Gospelwhich, by-and-by, He will exchange for the power of vengeance, when He takes the Throne and sits there to judge the nationsaccording to their works. What a total overthrow the powers of darkness will sustain! They will not have a thought with whichto comfort themselves. When the last great battle shall come and the campaign between Christ and the Prince of Evil shallbe over, there will not remain a handful of spoil in the hand of the enemy-not one old banner or tattered flag belonging tothe Lord's hosts to hang up in the hall.
"They will be beaten," as the text puts it, "like the chaff on the summer's threshing floor." "And you shall winnow them,"says the Prophet, "and the wind shall carry them away." The black horse went down to the sea of almighty love with his riderand began to drink up that sea, but he could not do it. He snorted, and drank, and drank again of the brine which sickenedhis very soul, but malice urged him on, and so he drank again, and waded breast-deep into the ocean. Nor stayed he in hisfury, but plunged farther and farther, till he was drowned in the inexhaustible depths.
I think I see the black carcass submerged far down in the abyss-death and Hell drowned in the sea of almighty love and power,and the kingdom of Jesus rolling like a mighty stream over all those who were determined upon His destruction. Glory be untoGod! We fight and victory flies to congratulate our banner. Ours is no desperate warfare, but a royal crusade in which everysoldier is even now a priest and a king, and is on the way to the banqueting halls where men feast with God, and Jesus foreverand ever wears the fadeless diadem.
II. Time allows but a few words upon THE ENCOURAGEMENT to be gathered from the "must" which lies in the soul of the text.
1. The first encouragement is that if He must reign, then all our enemies shall be subdued. This text occurs in that memorablechapter concerning the resurrection and it especially points to death. "He must reign until He has put all enemies under Hisfeet." "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Now, beloved Believer, you are called to fight daily with sin andhere is your consolation-Jesus must reign! The Christ in you must bruise Satan under your feet! His Atonement has foreverdestroyed the damning power of your sins. Christ reigns supreme on the milk-white Throne of mercy as the pardoning God.
Even so Jesus must reign over the active power of sin within your heart, for His death is the double death of sin. He haspierced its heart and nailed its hands and feet-it shall not have dominion over you. Jesus, the King of kings, must hold Hiscourt in the castle yard of your heart, and all your powers and passions must do Him cheerful homage. Most sweet Prince, Youshall wear Your royal robes in the coronation chamber of my affections! You shall reign over my quick imperious temper! Heshall put His foot on the neck of my pride and shall command my every thought and wish. Where I cannot rule, Jesus can!
Rebellious lusts acknowledge the spell of the Cross and indwelling sin falls like Dagon before that ark. Jesus has made uskings and priests that we may reign over the triple monarchy of our nature-spirit, soul, and body-and that by our self-conquestHe may be undisputed sovereign of the Isle of Man. O you who are contending with your corruptions, push on in the war forHe must reign! Corruption is very strong, but Christ is stronger, and Divine Grace must reign through righteousness unto eternallife-through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I think I hear you groaning, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Hearken to theanswer! It rings like a sweet Sabbath bell, "I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." You may die with Jesus but you shallcertainly rise with Him, for He will leave none of His members in the grave of their corruptions. This Joshua will slay allthe Canaanites! He will drive out the old dragon from his throne with all his hellish crew and your entire manhood shall bea fair temple for the Holy Spirit's indwelling!
As long as we live in this world, and when we live again in the coming world, Jesus shall be the Well-Beloved Monarch of ourhearts! This ought to put away all fears of death, for Christ must reign, must reign over death! When the last enemy appearsin view it shall only be an opportunity for new triumphs, when the Lord of life shall reveal Himself with renewed splendor.Imagine not that death shall ever reign over Christ! Ah no, in your departing moments you shall have most extraordinary Grace-sothat with joyful heart your lips shall sing, "O Death, where is your sting? O Grave, where is your victory?"
When your body shall have molded to ashes, Christ must reign, and every precious particle of that dust shall be attractedto its fellow-bone shall come to bone, and the flesh shall come upon the whole-and you shall live! Though worms destroy thatbody, yet in your flesh shall you see God. And so in your resurrection Jesus Christ shall reign! What a lamp is shining inthe vaults of death! The day breaks upon all our darkness when we see that He must reign!
The next cool cup of encouragement springing from this well is this-our efforts are, after all, not in vain. If Christ mustreign, then every soldier who fights for Christ is contributing to the victory, and everyone who in any way advances the causeis working with sure and great results. You have not wasted those many silent prayers and those bitter tears.
Those feeble efforts of yours which were so imperfect that you could scarcely hope them to be successful are all cooperatingto produce a victory the shouts of which shall be heard all down the ages!
You may but lay a single stone of the heavenly temple, but if it is done for Christ, it is a stone which will stand the fireand your share of the building will remain to the last, while many a great one who has built a mass of wood, and hay, andstubble shall see his labors all consumed in the day that tries every man's work. O my fellow Soldiers, as we rest in thisbivouac today waiting till another fight begins, let us be of good courage and the Lord shall strengthen our hearts! Wait,I say, on the Lord, for the Lord is on our side!
Our foes are tall as Goliath, and mighty as Pharaoh, and proud as Nebuchadnezzar-but in the name of God will we destroy them!In the name of Jesus we will again say Jehovah-Nissi, and setting up the banner we follow our Captain whose vesture is dippedin blood. He rides forth conquering and to conquer, and we follow Him to absolute victory! It is but a little before we shallhear the shout, "Hallelujah! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns." One sweet drop of comfort may be pressed from this text,"He must reign"-I must confess the sweetest comfort I have ever tasted. I know not why it is, but if I sink in spirit (andI do full often) I very seldom get any cordial anywhere except from this one thing-that Christ must reign.
"There," I have said in my soul, "then what becomes of me is of no consequence at all! If He will only take me into the royalgalley and chain me down to the oar, and let me tug and pull till I have no more life left, I will be satisfied if I may butrow my Lord towards His Throne and have but the smallest share in making Him great and glorious in the eyes of men and angels."What cares my heart for herself if she may but see Jesus set on high? It is a Heaven to me to think that Christ is in Heaven,and another Heaven to believe that He will reign among men! If Christ is glorious, it is all the Heaven I ask for! If He shallbe King of kings, and Lord of lords, let me be nothing! If He shall but reign, and every tongue shall call Him blessed, itshall be bliss to me to know it! And if I may be but as one of the withered roses which lie in the path of His triumph, itshall be my paradise!
Comrade in arms, as you and I in this ditch lie bleeding on the skirts of the battle, it is sweet to hear the shouts of victory!This is better than wine, better than healing, better than life! See yonder He rides with His crown upon His helmet! ThereHe rides on His white horse in the very front of the fray! Can you not hear Him as He cries, "Onward!" and the enemy flees,and His forces march on to victory? You and I may lie down and die-what matters it, for the cause is safe-Jesus is King! Restassured that Christ's victory is ours and He will no more forget us than a woman will cease to think of the son of her womb.Oh, to put our heart into Christ's heart! To wish His wishes and to love His loves! This is to enjoy peace like a river, andbliss like the waves of the sea. Blessed thought for you who love Him! Treasure it. "He must reign."
How this ought to inspire all of you who grow downhearted about the cause of Christ. Some of my friends are frightened withthat everlasting bugbear of Roman Catholicism. According to some we are going back to Rome, every mother's son of us, andold England is to be a rank popish country. Many in these days are fine hands at painting ugly pictures and believing themto be realities. But I believe my text, namely, that Jesus must reign. Therefore I do not fear the Pope or the devil. Allthe driveling priests of Rome with their Jesuitical tricks, shall find their master, for Hell itself cannot shake that decree,"He must reign."
"Jesuits," you say, "are creeping in unawares." I know it! But behold, we shall tread upon the lion and the dragon-yes, theyoung lion and the dragon shall we trample under our feet. Do you not believe in the Gospel as the power of God? Do you imaginethat an unrighteous and unscriptural church establishment is needed as a bulwark to the Gospel? Shall rotten wood defend thesteel? Nonsense! Blow the establishment to a thousand pieces with the big guns of Justice and then the Gospel will hold itsown with all the greater ease. The Gospel is quite able to take care of itself without your hierarchies, and tithes, and royalheadships-you encumber the Church with your bulwarks of wood, and hay, and stubble! You clog our David with the royal armor.
My Lord Jesus Christ can do well enough in Ireland without Caesar or his pennies. He needs you not to drain wealth from thosewho serve another Lord in order to uphold His cause. He hates your robberies which you call burnt-offerings. He always hastaken care of Himself and His ministers and will continue to do so. The ark of God of old was never captured till it was defendedwith carnal weapons, and even then, as soon as it was left alone it rescued itself. When therewas not a soldier to take care of it-when it was imprisoned in the temple of Dagon-Dagon fell, and Philistia was humbled.
And so in England and Ireland, State alliance is bringing the Gospel into jeopardy, but if that alliance can be broken whichis the worst of ills, then the Gospel in its grandeur of unaided might will confound all adversaries. Never be afraid-it doesnot become a Christian to fear-it is unmanly, unchristian, to talk as if Christ's cause were going to be trampled out likea spark under our feet! It cannot be! As enduring as the earth itself, and more eternal-as far as everlasting as the Throneof God are the Cross and honor and dignity of Christ. Let us feel this, for He must reign, and anticipated changes, insteadof preventing Him from reigning, will help Him to reign more universally. And the shaking off of old abuses, instead of beingan injury to the Cross of Christ, will give its glories ampler space, for He must reign, let men say what they will.
III. Once more, and I have done. There is an ADMONITION in the text, "He must reign." My Hearer, has He ever reigned in yourheart? Where are you, my Hearer? For I want you now. I must get you by the ear. "Jesus must reign." What have you to say tothis? You have been opposing Him, have you? You are kicking against the pricks with naked feet-you are stumbling upon thisstone and you will be broken-and if the stone shall take to rolling down, like a massive rock, on you, it will grind you topowder.
Persecutor, beware! You have gone upon a very very desperate errand. You are like a crawling worm that is fighting with thefire-you wiggle already in the heat of it-but if you continue long, what can you expect? You are like stubble contending withthe fire-brand, or like chaff wrestling with the whirlwind. What can you do? O Man, sheathe that sword! Take counsel whileyou are in the way, "whether you can, with 10,000 meet him that comes against you with twenty thousand." "Kiss the Son, lestHe be angry and you perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little."
Another thought, if Jesus Christ must reign, then you who have never submitted yourselves to Him to accept Him as your Monarchwill find His reign as terrible as it is sure. He will reign over you, either by your own consent, or without it! He willeither reign over you with that glorious glittering silver scepter of mercy in His hand, or He will rule over you with theheavy iron rod with which He will break you in pieces. Now, which is it to be? One or the other. His blood must be on you-eitherit must be on you to accuse and condemn you, as the Jews found it when they said, "His blood be on us, and on our children"-orelse it shall be on you to cleanse, to pardon, to save. Which shall it be?
This morning, in the name of God I do entreat you answer this question for your own good! Does Jesus reign over you this morning,or not? Oh, if He never should reign over you in this life, then, when you die you shall find that you cannot escape fromHis power! He will reign over you while you are a prisoner, manacled in fetters of iron in the place of everlasting misery!He will reign over you, and you will be compelled to confess it, too, as you bite your iron bands and weep, and gnash yourteeth in anger and in shame! He will reign over you absolutely, for you will not be able to lift a finger to contend againstHim in the day when He comes to judge the quick and the dead-
"You sinners, seek His Grace,
Whose wrath you cannot bear!
Fly to the shelter of His Cross,
And find salvation there."
May eternal mercy bring you, now, like loyal subjects, to bow before Jesus! May you be granted saving Grace to give yourselvesup to Him, trusting in Him, and in Him alone. That is the matter-to confide simply in Him is life eternal! There is the wholesum and substance of godliness. Then shall it be your joy to know and feel that "He must reign." The Lord bless you, and makeyou a blessing, for Jesus' sake. Amen.