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experience, and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, righteousness and peace will fill the earth. All the prophecies describe this succession of events. The past and present fulfilment of them must remove from wise minds, all doubts concern, ing the future.'
We pass to consider the next verse in the text, which is the language of the combined enemies of Christ and his church. “Let us break their bands, and cast their cords from us.”
These words are a daring and impious declaration of the enemies of Christ, that they will reject his law and contemn his gospel. It is as if they had said, we will not have this man to reige
This they did : “he came to his own, and his own received him not."
By bands and cords are meant those things that unite them to Christ and to one another ; love to Christ and his cause, which animated them amidst all their sufferings. Their enemies attempted, by threatenings on one hand, and promises on the other, to make them deny their Master ; but they chose death rather than such a shameful and wicked conduct.
The last verse now comes under consideration. “ He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” These words are David's, and teach us that Jehovah, who sitteth in the heavens, observes and controls all the events that take place on earth. He beholds the rage of the heathen, the combination of wicked kings and rulers against his church, and laughs at them, and will finally have them in derision, They are his instruments to execute his purposes ;
* Mr. Strong's Sermon from Rev. xvüi. 4.
and when they have completed the work for which he uses them, he will bring them to their end and none shall help them. This is a blessed truth for such a day as this, in which the world is in convulsions.
We may illustrate the truth of this part of the text by the following instances.
1. Herod, in the slaughter of the infants, was disappointed. Christ was preserved. He who sitteth in the heavens defeated the wicked designs of his enemies.
2. Thus it was with respect to the Jewish rulers and people in the crucifixion of Christ. His death was necessary in order that he might save sinners. They brought about, though with wicked hands, the event for which he came into the world, and finally they met their punishment in being conquered and dispersed. The Lord now hath them in derision. They are now a reproach, a proverb, a taunt, and a curse, in all places to which they are driven.
3. Persecution hath been overruled for the spread of the gospel, contrary to the design of persecutors. They meant to suppress, not promote the cause of Christ. They also sent many good men to heaven, by their cruelties, and the gospel to our America. Here we sit under our own vine and fig-tree, and there are none to make us afraid.
4. The Lord may be said to laugh at the enemies of his church, and to hold their weak designs in the utmost derision, as appears in the following instances. In the reign of queen Elizabeth, the Spanish armada was sent to invade England, in order to suppress and root out the reformed religion; and therefore they brought
in their fleet all manner of instruments of cruelty wherewith to torture the Protestants, who would not renounce their religion.' But they were baffled in so extraordinary a manner, that the Spanish admiral blasphemously swore that he feared Jesus Christ was turned Lutheran.'
In the rage of the papal party against the Protestants, Ireland was doomed to drink of the bitter cup of persecution, but was delivered in the following remarkable manner. Dr. Cole being sent 'with a commission for that purpose, called on a friend at Chester, and being pleased with his appointment, informed his friend of his determination to proceed to the utmost extremity when he should arrive at the place of his destination. A Protestant lady being present, and hearing what was said, found means to take his commission from a small box which contained it, and to place in its room a pack of cards. When the Doctor came to Ireland, and was about to produce his commission to the proper persons, (a large collection of people being present,) on opening the box, to his extreme mortification he found only a pack of cards, with the knave of clubs uppermost !* He returned to obtain a new commission, but the queen died before it could be procured. The unhappy people were, in consequence of this, saved from death and ruin. Thus he who sitteth in the heavens doth have them in derision.
I might proceed to illustrate the prophecy before us, and to encourage the friends of Christ, by historical facts in abundance; but these may suffice. .
* The chief officer observed to him, as things were, he had only to return and obtain another commission'; and with a de. gree of pleasantry added, “and we will shuffle the cards while you are gone.”
We must now close the subject with a few reflections.
1. We are taught the depravity and wickedness of mankind in different ages, and nations; which they have manifested in their rage and opposition to the cause of Christ. This wicked disposition hath led to reject or corrupt Christianity, and finally to renounce it, and embrace positive infidelity. • This,' says the author we have quoted, is the last part of the antichristian apostacy. They can go no farther; and when they have spent themselves in destroying one another, Christ Jesus will appear to vindicate his insulted, injured cause.” “We are come,' says one, “to what the scripture emphatically calls the last day. The last tyrannical form of govern. ment is falling to pieces, viz. the Roman ; for which event there hath long been a growing preparation in the state of the nations. It is the dy, ing pangs of this fourth beast that now convulse the world.' “ He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh ; the Lord will have them in derision.”
2. We learn this pleasing, animating truth, that the cause of Christ shall be preserved amidst all the convulsions of nations, and at last triumph gloriously. To this end he who sitteth in the heavens will conduct the present distressing scene of things ; Christ will reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet. Remarkable is the fol. lowing part of the psalm, in which the text is. “ Then shall he speak unto them, (his enemies,) in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zi
I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, thou art my Son; this day have I
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
Thus you see that this psalm is remarkably applicable to the present condition of the church and of the world. God will accomplish all his pleasure as it respects the downfall of antichrist, the punishment of the enemies of his church, and finally cause her to come forth in triumph.
3. Let Christians duly consider what their duty is in such times as these. They should be much in prayer and supplication in private and in public, keep themselves unspotted by the flesh, and provoke one another to love and good works. Our God is a God who heareth prayer. “Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence; and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth."
4. There are several sources of encouragement for us amidst the distresses of the times; the principal is the promise and prophecy, and what God hath done in the extraordinary revivals of religion in different parts of the United States. God
grant that they may be more universal, and we become a pious, a reformed people. These beginnings give us reason to hope that the Lord will not forsake us, though our iniquities abound.