“That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto
eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”— Romans 5:21
I SHALL not pretend to enter into the fulness of this text, but merely select that topic, “Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Our apostle represents man as being subject to two great kings. Sin is the grim tyrant, to whom, in the first place, man has bowed his willing neck. The reign of sin is a reign of terror and delusion; it promises pleasure, but being full of all manner of deceivableness, of unrighteousness, it gives pain even in this world, and in the world to come, death eternal. An awful contemplation is that of the reign of sin. Permitted to come into this world as an usurper— having mounted its throne upon the heart of man by flattering blandishments, and crafty pleasantries, it was not long ere it fully developed itself. Its first act was to smite Eden with blast and mildew by its breath; its next act was to slay the second child of man and that by the hand of the eldest-born. Since then, its reign has been scarlet with blood, black with iniquity, and fraught with everything that can make the heart of man sad and wretched. Oh sin, thou tyrant monster, all the demons that ever sat upon the throne of Rome, were never such as thou art; and all the men, who, from the wild north, have come forth as the scourges of man, the destroying angels of our race, though they have waded up to their knees in the blood of mortals, have never been so terrible as thou art. Thou hast reigned unto death, and that a death eternal— a death from which there shall be no resurrection — a death which casts souls into an eternal grave— a grave of fire.
Our apostle now changes the subject, and represents man under the gracious state, as rejoicing in another government, ruled by another king. Just as sin has reigned, and with despotic and irresistible power has ground his subjects in the very dust, and then cast them into the flames, so doth grace with irresistible goodness, constrain the chosen multitude to yield obedience, and thus prepares them for eternal bliss. See it lifts up the beggar from the dunghill, and makes him to sit among princes. Mark its shining course, and behold it blessing the sons of man wherever it stretches out its silver sceptre, chasing away the misery of night, and giving the gladsomeness of gospel day; sending back the fiends of discord and of cruelty to the dens from which they once escaped, and bidding the angels of mercy keep perpetual watch and ward over the sons of Adam who have given themselves up to its sway of the kingdom of grace.
My business this morning is not with sin, but with grace— a pleasing and a glowing theme. May God fill our souls, and touch our tongue, that we may speak of those things which we may have made touching the king, and may God greatly bless what shall be said to each of our hearts.
I shall invite you, first of all, to see grace in its reigning acts, and then I shall bid you come with joy and wonder, and behold grace as it sits upon its throne.
I. First, then,I shall need your attention to a series of pictures, in which you shall see grace manifesting its REIGNING POWER, and reigning, too, in places the most unlikely ever to have yielded to its power. Come with me then, men and brethren, and I will take you in spirit to the Valley of Vision. See, strewn there amongst the rugged rocks, the bleached and dried bones of the house of Israel— a skull there and the arm which once was allied to it, scattered so far apart that human wisdom could not bring them bone to bone, much less could human strength clothe the bones with flesh. Death reigns there— that irresistible all-subduing power, before whom monarchs and all their armies, though they be numberless as the host of Xerxes, must bow themselves. O Death! we come this day to see thee defeated, to see thee cast from thy throne. But who shall do it? Come forth, ye ministers of Christ, and see what ye can do. Here are souls spiritually dead— nay, dry— as far away from hope as the bones of the charnel-house are from life. Come, ye ministers, attune your eloquence and see what ye can do. Behold, Chrysostom speaks, the golden-mouthed John showers forth his marvellous sentences, but the bones stir not; and now Whitfield speaks with seraph voice as though he would move heaven and earth, but there is not a motion amongst those crisp particles that once might have lived, but which live no more. Come, Esaias, and let us hear thy thundering appeals, or thou Jeremy, cannot thy tears bedew these bones with the circulating drops of life? Come thou Ezekiel, with thy eagle eye and with thy soaring wing, or thou Daniel, with thy fiery words piercing through the thick clouds of the future, and exposing, as with lightning fire, the glory that is to come. I hear them speak, and seer follows seer in noble emulation of earnest utterance, but the dry bones move not; they are locked in the fell embrace of death, and life cometh not to them even by these living words. Alas 1 eloquence, and human might and wisdom, and rhetoric and logic, aye, and zeal and earnestness, and God-given passion cannot wake the soul of the spiritually dead. Though all the men whom God hath chosen to be his representatives from the beginning of the reign of grace even to the end thereof, — though all should strive and persuade, and plead with eloquence that might move a rock, yet souls dead in trespasses and sin could not and would not live by power so weak as this. Come, ye apostles and confessors, Paul, and Peter, and John, and all the holy brotherhood of inspired ambassadors; come, I say, and spend your strength in vain, for apart from divine grace, ye cannot charm the dull cold ear of death, or stir the torpor of a spirit dead in sins. And now Moses, thou who didst smite the firstborn of Egypt, the chief of all her strength, come thou forth and lift up the fiery tables of stone, and bid these men live by the works of the law. But no, he declines the futile task; he knows that he is of no power to deal with souls that are dead. But hearken, the voice Divine exclaims with trumpet voice, “Almighty grace, arise and quicken these dead souls,” and behold, grace stands before you, in angel form, — nay, better in the form of man, or rather incarnate God, and I hear him say, “Thus saith the Lord, Ye dry bones live.” Hark to the rustling as every bone hastens to its fellow; see how the skeleton starts upright, and how the flesh grows on the frame. “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live!” It is done, and in the place of a charnel-house you see an army and what once seemed to be the rubbish and sweepings of a tomb now stands before you a great host as the host of God, a host of men full of life, and who shall soon be clothed with glory. “Grace reigns unto eternal life.”
Ah! do ye understand this parable? Has this act ever been performed in you? Oh! there are some of you over whom a mother wept and for whom a father prayed; and many a time have these eyes wept for you too, and I have longed for your soul’s salvation, and sought out goodly words which might move your heart. But you were like the deaf adder, you would not hear nor be charmed, — charm we never so wisely. Ah! but glory be to God, you heard at last. How was it? How was it, I say? Speak! Speak! ye that have been brought out from spiritual death, how was it accomplished? By the might of the creature? by the power of the law? by the energy of nature? “No, unanimously you cry, ‘grace hath done it, grace hath reigned in us unto eternal life.’”
Rest awhile, and now come with me and behold another scene. The man is alive; he has been quickened, — but no sooner is he quickened than he feels the terrible bondage of sin. See him yonder. I see him now in vision before my very eyes. He is a man who has been a drunkard, a swearer, and all else that is vile? All manner of sins has he committed, but now he feels that this mode of life will surely end in eternal death, and he therefore longs to escape. But see how he is bound with a hundred chains, and held in bondage by seven devils fierce and strong! See him yonder! The hot sweat is on his brow while he strives to free his right arm of one huge bloated devil, called drunkenness, who seeks to hold him down and rivet the fetters about his wrist. See how he struggles with foot and hand, for he is a prisoner everywhere, like Laocoon of old, whom the serpents enfolded from head to foot, although he strove to rend away those awful folds, and to escape the jaws which stained his holy fillets with their venom. Shall that man ever be delivered? Can that slave of lust snap fetters so strong, which have for years been about him till they have grown into his very flesh and become part of his nature? Shall that lip be freed from the propensity to swear? Can that heart be delivered from pride? Shall that foot be so turned from all its paths that it shall hate the road of wickedness; and shall that eye no longer be filled with lust and crime, but shall it flash with purity and joy? Come hither, sirs, ye that are wise. Ye who understand how to reform mankind — come and ply your arts upon him and see what ye can do. The man sincerely longs to be delivered, but when he thinks he has pulled off one coil of the old serpent, lo! like a huge constrictor it hath foldeth itself again. He goes back again, like the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. There seems for him no deliverance. His nature still is vile, and though he longeth to be free, yet that nature hath the mastery over him. Oh, some of you know what this means. You know how you took the pledge, perhaps a score times, but you broke it as often. You know how you promised yourself you would never curse God again, but in a moment of passion you were overpowered, and again the oath came trembling from your tongue. All these things— all your resolutions and your vows were powerless. They could not deliver you; they could not set you free. But, grace come hither, and see what thou canst do. Grace speaks the word, and says, “Get thee hence, Satan— avaunt ye fiends— let the man be free;” and free he is, no more to be a slave. Now he hates the things which once he loved. Now he abhors the vice in which he once indulged. Now to be holy is not hard to him; it would be harder far to make him live in sin as once he did. His nature is changed. Grace has so entirely new-created the man that he is a new creature in Christ Jesus, and he runs with delight and joy in all the paths of holiness. Grace hath done it. Grace reigns unto eternal life.
But now come with me to another scene. There in the prison-house of conviction, bound in affliction and iron — there sits a miserable wretch. The walls of his dungeon are of solid granite, and the door thereof is of brass, with many bolts most fast and firm. The captive sits both day and night with tangled hair, weeping, weeping, weeping. Ask him why and wherefore, and his answer is, ‘I have sinned— I have sinned, and I cannot look up. Beneath me there is the yawning gulf of death, and deeper still a devouring hell; above me there is an angry God, and a judgment-seat blazing with vengeance; within me there is an accusing conscience, the foretaste of the wrath to come.” “But is there not hope for thee?” “No,” saith he, “none; I am righteously bound, and ’tis only longsuffering mercy which spares me yet a little while, for if I had my due deserts I should be taken out to execution and that at once.” Oh, come hither, ye sons of mirth, and see what ye can do for this poor prisoner. Can your music and your dancing open yonder gates, or shake those adamantine walls. Come hither, ye that are masters of the art of consolation, see what ye can do. But as one that singeth songs to a sad heart, and as vinegar upon nitre, so are ye. In vain even the minister himself, knowing the blessings of the gospel, sets before that man the grace of Christ and the riches of his love; all that the minister can say, though sent of God, seems but to plunge him deeper in the mire. “Ah,” groans the mourner, “Christ is merciful, but I have no part in him. Yes, I know lie is able to save the chief of sinners, but not such an one as I am; my heart is too hard, too vile.” He pats from him the way of salvation, and goes back again to his cold stony state, weeping, weeping, weeping, both by night and day. Grace, come and see if thou canst reign even here. I see him come, and bearing in his hand the cross, he speaks to the prisoner and cries, “Look hither, look hither,” and oh! let us wonder to tell it, when the prisoner lifts his eyes he sees a Saviour bleeding on the tree, and in a moment a smile takes the place of his sorrow; he receives the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. “Rise, rise,” saith grace, “thou art free, thou art free; shake thyself from the dust, pluck off thy sackcloth, and put on thy beautiful garments, lo,” saith he, “see what I have done.” And he breaks the gates of brass, and cuts the bars of iron in pieces. As the walls of Jericho fell down before the blast of the trumpet, so fall the walls of the dungeon, and the man finds himself rejoicing, and glad, and free; an heir of heaven, a child of God, his feet are set upon a rock, and his goings are established. Oh! grace divine, what hast thou done? — thou art indeed triumphant, O reigning grace, where despair itself had triumphed.
Thus have I painted you three pictures. O that I had the hand of those mighty masters who could depict these things until they stood out visibly before your eyes. I shall want your patience this morning— I know I shall have your attention, as 1 take you from place to place, and show you how grace reigns. And now, the sinner set free both from the chains of his old lusts, and of his old despairings, says within himself—
“I’ll to the gracious king approach,
Whose sceptre mercy gives;
Perhaps he may command my touch,
And then the suppliant lives.”
I see him journeying towards a palace exceeding fair and beautiful to look upon; as he enters the gate, he hears a whisper in his heart which is, “This is the palace of justice, thou wilt be driven forth with shame from these walls for thou art too vile to have an audience here.” Ah! but saith he
“I can but perish if I go,
I am resolved to try;
For if I stay away I know
I must for ever die.”
He traverses the passages of the house with beating heart, until at last he comes to the audience chamber, and there, enthroned on light, he beholds a glorious king. The sinner dares not so much as look up, for he knows not whether he shall feel devouring fire, or whether mercy shall speak to him with her silver voice. He trembles° he all but faints; when lo, reigning grace who sits smiling upon a throne of love, stretcheth out its sceptre and says, “Live, live.” At that sound the sinner revives; he looks up, and ere he has fully seen the wondrous vision, he hears another voice — “Thy sins which are many are all forgiven thee; I have blotted out like a cloud thine iniquities, and like a thick cloud thy sins; I have chosen thee and not cast thee away,” And now, the sinner, bowing low before the throne of mercy, begins to kiss its feet with rapture and delight, and mercy cries, “Rise, rise, my beloved one; I have put a lair jewel upon thy neck; I have clothed thee with ornaments; I have decked thee with pearls and precious stones as a bridegroom decketh out his bride. Go then, and rejoice, for thou art my son who was lost, but art found, who was dead, but is alive again. Never, perhaps, does grace seem more glorious than when, with the silver scepter in her hand, she touches the despairing, fainting sinner, and cries, “Live.” My soul remembers that glad hour. I speak from out of the fulness of my heart. Oh, thou golden moment, thou shalt never be forgotten, when mercy said, “Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee.”
But we must pass on. The man has now become a forgiven one – a saint; but grace has not ceased to reign, nor has he ceased to need its reign. ‘Tis after sin is forgiven that the battle begins. If we had only grace enough to transform us from sinners into saints, it were not worth having, because saints would soon return to their sins, unless grace were constantly bestowed. And now let me show you a saint after he has been renewed by grace. There he stands, sir; and did you ever see a man in such a position as that! You have heard of battles, and you have sometimes read the story of some valiant hero around whom the battle made a fearful centre; who had to fight with horses slain beneath him, standing on heaps of bodies which he had slain. Behold his ardour, his courage, his burning valour, as he finds that he is the target for all arrows, that all the battle-axes and the spears are dashed and thrust against his person; that every son of wrath is thirsting for his blood. See now he hurls about him a hail of iron blows. Right, left, and all around, his sword sweeps in awful circle. Now such is the true Christian – such and yet more solemn is his position. There has never such a fight been seen on earth as that man must wage who hopes to enter into the kingdom of heaven, for no sooner are we converted than at once hell is alive against us, and earth is on fire with anger, and we have both earth and hell to dispute our salvation. Young Christian, dost thou tremble? Let me do with thee as Elias did with his servant of old. Young man, thou seest horses and chariots that are innumberable; come with me, and I will pray for thee, and touch thine eyes. What seest thou now? “Oh!” saith he, “I see the mountain, full of horses of fire and chariots of fire that are round about Elijah!” Blessed be his name; ‘tis no vision – ‘tis the very truth, “More are they that are for us than all they that be against us,” and if the fray thickens, angels shall rush to the valley with their good swords to drive back the foe, and the standard-bearer shall not fall, though fall full well he may. The soldier of Christ shall stand, for underneath him are the everlasting arms; he shall tread upon his enemies and shall destroy them, in the words of Deborah of old, “Oh my soul, thou hast trodden down strength.” So then, grace reigns in the thick battle of temptation, and makes those who are the subjects of its kingdom more than conquerors through him that hath loved them.
To push further still. The man, begin kept in temptation, has a work to do for his Lord, and I have often felt that there is no case where grace reigns more powerfully than in the use which God makes of such poor, infirm, feeble, decrepit creatures as hi servants are. Let me show you a picture of grace reigning. Do you see Petere there in the hall afraid of a little maid? He denies his Master, and with oaths and curses he says, “I know not the man.” Wait awhile. Some six or seven weeks have passed, and there is a great crowd in the streets; there is a multitude gathered from all countries – Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia. Who is to preach to them – who shall be the minister? Grace, – to thine honour let it be told– thou didst not select John who stood at the foot of the cross, nor he who was surnamed Zelotes, because of his zealousness– no, Peter who denied his Master, must come forth to own him afresh. And here he comes. Methinks I see him. Perhaps as he ascends the place where he is to speak his heart whispers to him, “Simon, son of Jonas, what doest thou here?” The cock crows Simon, and it reminds thee that thou didst deny thy Lord; what doest thou here? And then conscience seemed to say, “Art thou the man to be a preacher– thou! Give place; canst thou hope to do any good, or to save immortal souls, such a feeble head-strong, presumptuous worm as thou art?” But grace is with him. Grace has touched his lip, and the cloven tongue is like a sword of fire within his mouth; he comes forward, – and he begins to speak. Soon the heavenly fire descends from him upon the multitude, and that day, three thousand baptisms tell what God can do, and how grace can reign in the feeblest instrumentality. I am the living witness that God can make use of the weakest means to accomplish the mightiest results. In that day when you shall review the sling of David, and the ox-goad of Shamgar, when you shall have to look back upon Jael’s nail, and these little things which have done great exploits, then shall I beg you to write down my name as that of one by whom many souls have been saved, but who, himself has wondered more than ye all, whenever God has blessed him, and whenever a soul has been saved by such an unworthy one. Grace, grace, thou canst prevail; thou hast don’t it; thou canst make use of the meanest instruments to produce the grandest effects, and to increase thy glory among men.
I must still trespass upon you while I take you to another spot, to show you how grace can reign where you little think it would ever live at all. The sea is agitated with a great storm, and a man has just been thrown into the sea, it is Jonah. A fish has swallowed him; that fish dives into unfathomable depths, till the ocean has covered up both fish and prophet. The earth with her bars is about him for ever; the weeds are wrapped about his head. As the creature sucks in mouthful after mouthful of its food, there lies this man, and yet he lives. Grace is there preserving his life; grace was there, even when the fish was led to swallow him. But can that man ever find deliverance? Is he not in trouble too great, and cast out from the very presence of God? Hear! he groans out of the darkness of that living prison, he begins to cry, towards the temple of God. Grace, grace, come forth – she divides the sea – she speaks to Leviathan – he comes up upon the dry land, he vomits forth the prophet, and he lives. Have you ever seen the like of that in your own case? Have you ever been in a strait and a trouble so difficult that you imagined there was no deliverance? If you ever have, I turn you to your own history as an illustration of how grace can reign in redeeming you out of the most terrible trials. I tell you brethren, if all the troubles that ever came from heaven, all the persecutions that ever came from earth, and all the afflictions that ever arose from hell, could meet on your poor devoted head, the reigning grace of God would make you master of them all. You have never need to fear. Storms are the triumph of his art, and grace can steer the ship the better for tempestuous waves. Trust in the Lord, and do good; rest thou on his grace, and hop thou in his mercy. When the water is very deep he will put his hand beneath thy chin, so that thou shalt not lose thy breath, or if thou shalt sink, he will sink with thee; and if thou shouldest go to the very bottom, he will be at the very bottom with thee. Where’er thou goest, he will be thy companion, saying to thee “Fear not, I will help thee; I will be with thee; when thou goest through the waters thou shalt not be drowned, and when thou goest through the fire thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
I have thus shown you grace reigning in the midst of spiritual death, spiritual bondage, spiritual despair; grace reigning in the court of judgment, grace in the battel of temptation, grace in the quagmires of infirmity, and grace triumphant also in the midst of our direst afflictions. I shall need to give you but one other picture, grace reigning in the hour of death, and triumphing in the moment of our entrance into heaven. Last Friday evening, as I lay upon my bed, having been much tossed about, and tempted, and tried, it pleased God to visit his servant and give him some what to cheer him. And among many sweet thoughts which gladdened my mind, I fell into a dose, half sleeping and half waking, and I thought I saw an angel who came from the upper skies, and who had in his hand a crown. He said to me “Thou hast fought the good fight, behold thy reward.” And I waved my hand and said, “No, no, I cannot receive it, I am not worthy of it; I cannot take it.” He said “Heaven lies before thee – enter.” And I said “No, I cannot; I deserve it not. I have no claim to any reward, no right to any rest, though it will be given to the children of God.” And he looked at me, and he said “It is of grace, and not of merit.” Then I thought I would take the crown, but lo! I awoke and the dream was over. Ay, and I mused on that long, long while, and I thought, if heaven were by merit, it would never be heaven to me, for if I were even in it I should say, “I am sure I am here by mistake; I am sure this not my place; ‘tis not my heaven; I have no claim to it.” I should walk among the redeemed with their golden harps, and say, “No, no, you have what you have fought for, and have won, but I am an intruder here.” I should be afraid of losing an inheritance to which I had no title, and of being cast out at last from a portion which I had no right to have obtained. But if it be of grace and not of works – why then we may walk into heaven with boldness. We may receive the crown with gladness, and sit down with the redeemed with joy and confidence. I protest I never could enter heaven, even if I might, if it were not of grace. I dare not in common honesty enter. Neither you nor I could claim a reward, or could ever dare to take it as a merited recompense. It must be given simply of God’s free love and covenant faithfulness, or else indeed when given we should seem like robbers who had taken to ourselves what was not ours, and should always feel that the possession was not safe, because the title was not sound. It is of grace, then. And so, beloved, when you come to die, grace shall bear you up in the midst of Jordan, and you shall say, “I feel the bottom, and it is good.” When the cold waters shall chill your blood, grace shall warm your heart. When the eye gathers the death-glaze, and the light of earth is being shut out from you for ever, grace shall lift the curtains of heaven, and give you visions of eternity; and when at last the spirit leaps form time into eternal space, then grace shall be with you to conduct you to your Father’s house. And hwn the judgement throne is set, grace shall put you on the right hand; grace shall robe you about with Jesu’s righteousness; grace shall make you bold to stand where sinners tremble, and grace shall say to you, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
“It lays in heaven the topmost stone.
And well deserves the praise.”
And now I have conducted you into the many scenes, or rather into a few of them, where grace reigns. I want you now if you can before we close, to take by faith a view of GRACE SITTING ON ITS THRONE.
Begone vain thoughts; far removed by every worldly imagination now. We are about to come into an awful presence, and well may we cry, “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” Methinks I see the throne of grace. ‘Tis but through a glass darkly, but these eyes behold it. The throne is placed upon the eternal hills of God’s immutable purpose and decree. Deep settled in unfailing wisdom and unswerving love these mountains never move. There they stand; while nature changes they move not, and though the sun may rise and set, they abide for ever and for evermore the same. The throne itself, standing upon those lofty hills, has for its pedestal divine fidelity, divine faithfulness, and the eternal will of God. Didst ever see such a throne as that? The thrones of monarchs rock and reel, but this is settled and abideth for ever in God’s faithfulness and truth. ‘Tis true that the throne of many a dynasty has been cemented by blood, and so is this indeed, but not with the blood of murdered men, or of soldiers slain in battle. To make this throne secure it is cemented with the precious blood of the Son of God, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Nay, as if this did not suffice, this throne is settled by the eternal oath. God swears by himself because he can swear by no greater, that by two immutable things wherein it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to Christ Jesus our Lord. Oh! grace – I see thy throne; I mark its solid base. A faithful and unchanging God lays the foundation of the throne in oaths and promises, and blood. And now look upward. Do you see the shining steps? The throne is of pure white alabaster, and every step is of solid light. The steps are the divine openings of providence as he gradually developes his mighty scheme. And see on either side – as on the throne of Solomon there were lions that did lie upon the steps – so on either side of the steps of the throne of grace I see two lions ready to guard and protect it. And who are these? Their names are Justice and Holiness. Let any attempt to assail that throne, and Justice will devour them, and Holiness with its fiery eyes will utterly consume them. Oh! glorious thought, Christian! That very justice which once seems to stand in the way of grace is one of the lions which guard the throne; and that very holiness which seemed once to put a barrier between thy soul and bliss, now stands there as a mighty one to guard the seat and throne of sovereign grace.
Now look upward if your eyes can bear the light. You cannot see the full form and visage of the Lord of Grace – the King; but if ye can dimly discern it – I see upon that throne one who
"Looks like a lamb that has been slain,
And wears his priesthood still."
Ay, though ye cannot see him, yet he sees us, and that Divine image is scattering mercies upon us now. The eyes of grace are the suns of the spiritual universe; the hands of grace scatter lavish bounties throughout all the church of the firstborn, and those lips of grace are uttering continually those once unspoken decrees which speak when they are fulfilled are carried out in gracious providences. But come hither and look upward. Bow thyself in that presence before which the angels cry “Holy, holy, holy,” and veil their faces with their wings. See above the throne, and above the image and likeness of him that sits thereon, – above that throne of grace, behold, behold, THE CROWN. Was ever such a crown? Nay, ‘tis no one, ‘tis many: there are many crowns and many jewels in each of the many crowns. And whence came these crowns of grace? Oh! they are crowns that have been won in fields of fight; they are crowns, too, that have been given by grateful hearts. And there, as I gaze, methinks I see many a soul that was once black with sin, made bright and sparkling, and there it is in the crown of grace, glittering like a diamond. And, my soul, shalt thou be there? Shalt thou be one of those ever-glittering, undimmed jewels? Shalt thou be in that crown? Oh! glorious day, when shalt thou come, when I shall be a real jewel in the crown of Jesus? But are ye not there now, men and brethren? Have you not crowned Jesus Christ already, some of you? Have not you in yours songs, and in your lives, felt that you must crown him? And often, as we have sung that hymn, could you not sing it again? –
“All hail the power of Jesu’s name,
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown him Lord of all.”
Jesus, we crown thee, we crown thee. All hail ! all hail ! thou King of kings— thou God of love. Behold thy church bows herself before thee
“With vials full of odour sweet,
And harps of sweeter sound.”
The elders chant before thy presence, and we, even we adore thee. Though silver of angelic praise, and gold of perfect melody we cannot boast, — yet such as we have we give thee. Unto him that sitteth upon the throne— unto him that liveth and was dead — unto grace in the person of the Lord Jesus be glory, and honour, and majesty, and power, and dominion, and might, for ever and ever. Amen.