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which in us are exercised by the means of such corpo real members. As the hand is the chief instrument of exerting strength, it is applied to God to signify his mighty power. The right hand is among men the usual place of honor and respect; and therefore denotes, in our text, superior dignity. Sitting, in the case before us, intends not any posture of body, but the things implied in that posture. The prophet describes a state of peace and security, by every man's sitting under his own vine. In allusion to this use of the metaphor, Christ is said to sit on God's right hand, to signify that he has ceased from his labors and sufferings, and entered into a state of repose and joy. Sitting also denotes continuance in the same place. Christ is therefore said to sit on God's right hand, to signify that the heavens have received him, until the time of the restitution or completion of all things. It farther imports authority and power; and is hence applied to Christ to express his dominion over the natur al and moral world.
Christ is exalted to the right hand of God, not only as a ruler, but also as an intercessor. "He has entered into the holy place to appear in the presence of God for us." In the character of an advocate, he is described as being on God's right hand to signify his nearness to God, and the prevalence of his intercession. "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea rather, that is risen again; who is even at the right hand of God; who also maketh intercescion for us." But it is observable, that the scripture, when it speaks of Christ as interceding, or acting in behalf of believers, describes him, not as sitting, but as being, or standing on God's right hand, to signify his gracious attention to their exigencies and wants. Paul says, "He is at the right hand of God, making intercession." When Stephen called on Jesus to receive his spirit, he said, "I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." VOL. III.
John says, "In the midst of the throne and of the elders, there stood a Lamb, as it had been slain."
So wonderfully the scripture condescends to our manner of conceiving and speaking, that it may encourage our faith and hope. Sitting is a posture of dignity and repose: Standing is a posture of attention and earnestness. Christ is exhibited to us in the lat ter attitude, to signify how graciously he regards our necessities-how readily he affords us help in the time of need-how fervently he intercedes for us, when we draw near to God in his name. And he is said to be on God's right hand, to signify his power to grant us whatever our wants require, and his interest with the Father to obtain for us an answer to our humble requests. When faith beholds the divine Saviour in this powerful state, and in this interceding attitude, Will it not encourage us to prayer, animate us to duty, fortify us against fear, and comfort us in death? Let us seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God; and set our affections on things above, and not on things which are on the earth; for our life is hidden with Christ in God.
III. The Apostle farther instructs us, that "God has set Jesus Christ in heavenly places, far above all principality and power, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and hath put all things under his feet." In like manner he describes Christ's glorified state, in his epistle to the Philippians. "Being found in fashion, as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue should confess, that he is Lord to the Glory of God the Father.""
It is the doctrine of this Apostle, that Jesus Christ is "the image of the invisible God, the first born," i. e. the heir, or the Lord," of the whole creation; for by him all things were created in heaven and earth, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist." As the divine creator, he is naturally and essentially possessed of supreme dominion over all creatures. When he became flesh and dwelt among men, the Apostle says, "He made himself of no reputation; he took on him the form of a servant; he humbled himself, and was obedient to the death." In reward of this humiliation and obedience, he is highly exalted above all principality and power, and is made head over all things. Though his essential kingdom is coeternal with himself, yet there is a mediatorial kingdom, to which he was exalted in time and in consequence of his mediatorship. This kingdom had a beginning, and will have an end. It cormenced with the covenant of grace; it was solemnly announced in its full extent, at the time of his ascension; and it will terminate at the final judgment, when he will deliver it up to the Father.
The Apostle describes this kingdom, as extending to all creatures in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. All the angels of God worship him; they are subject to his authority, devoted to his pleasure, and employed in his service. The government of the natural world is in his hands; he guides the wheels of Providence; he directs and overrules all events according to the scheme of the divine counsel. He is represented in the revelation, as receiving from the right hand of him who sits on the throne, the book which contains the decrees and purposes of Providence, and as breaking the seals, and opening the leaves of this book in their successive order. When he received the book, the whole consistory of saints and angels fell down before him, saying, "Thou art
worthy to take the book and open the seals thereof, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us unto God with thy blood."
The government of the Church is in the hands of Jesus Christ. He has instituted laws and ordinances in it, and has appointed officers to administer them. He dispenses the influences of the divine Spirit to give power and efficacy to his word. He watches over his church to defend it from enemies. He will one day enlarge its bounds, and render it more glorious, than it has ever yet been, in its extent, its numbers and its purity.
He has dominion over devils. His superiority to them he displayed on earth, by expelling them with his word from their ancient possessions. They fell as lightning from heaven before the power of his name. "He spoiled principalities and powers and made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them on the cross." Though he has not perfectly extinguished their influence among men, yet he has greatly dimin ished it by the light of his gospel; and he sets bounds to their power. He will not suffer their malice so far to prevail, as to pluck out of his hands any of the souls which believe in him; much less to subvert and destroy his church: This he has built upon a rock, and against it the gates of hell will never prevail. In the Revelation, St. John describes the conflict between the kingdom of Christ, and the kingdom of Satan, as issuing in a complete and final victory of the former over the latter. "There was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not, neither was their place any more found in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world, and his angels were cast out with him.”
The last and most glorious act of Christ's supreme dominion is the judgment of the world. "God has
committed all judgment to the Son." As Jesus has gone into heaven; so, we are told, he will, in some unknown period, come down from heaven in flaming fire, attended with all his mighty angels. He will appear sitting on the throne of his glory, and before him all nations will be gathered; and every man will be judged according to his works. They who are found approved, will be received into that glorious kingdom, into which nothing can enter that defiles. But unbelievers and hypocrites, the disobedient and abominable will be cast into the place of everlasting punishment prepared for the devil and his angels. Then will these material heavens pass away, and the earth with its works will be burnt up; and the great Redeemer, having finished the solemn trial, will return to his exalted seat in the heavens, attended with his exulting train, who will enter with songs of joy and praise into the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. When Christ shall have put down all rule, and principality and power, shall have destroyed the last enemy, death, and shall have made the final distri bution of rewards and punishments; then shall he deliver up the kingdom to the Father, that God may be all in all.
In the view and expectation of this solemn and tremendous scene, let us now humbly submit to the gov. ernment of Jesus Christ, and thankfully accept the gracious proposals of his gospel. Let us be careful what manner of persons we are in all holy conversation. Let us judge ourselves, that we may not be condemned with the world. This is the divine admonition to the children of men: "Behold I have set my king on my holy hill of Zion-I will give him the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession-He shall rule them with a rod of iron, and break them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise now, therefore,; serve ye the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss ye the Son, lest he be angry and ye perish from the