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In the Fifth place, the First-born is higher than the kings of the earth, as to the extent and duration of his empire.
Earthly monarchs exercise authority over a limited extent of territority and number of subjects. Rome was named the “ mistress of the world;" but what the Romans ignorantly or vainly called the world, was comparatively but a small portion of the globe. But the empire of the First-born is universal. “ His kingdom ruleth over all.” “ He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.” Invested with “all power in heaven and in earth,” he “is gone into the heavens, and is on the right hand of God; angels, and authorities, and powers, being made subject unto him.” The kings of the earth as well as their subjects are bound to do him homage.“ To him every knee should bow, and every tongue confess.” His authority, indeed, is not as yet so universally acknowledged on earth as it is destined to be. 6 The stone cut out of the mountain without bands, shall become a great mountain and fill the whole earth.” Messiah's " dominion shall extend from sea to sea, and from the river to the end of the earth."
66 The gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to all nations ;" " and the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ.” The sway of the First--born is not only over vast regions, but also over many people. Russia commands a more extensive empire than ever did Rome, but her sceptre is swayed over many a trackless and unpeopled desert. But the subjects of the Messiah are more numerous than the stars of heaven, or the dew-drops of the morning. “ The mountain of the Lord's house shall be established
the top of the mountains, and all nations sball flow unto it."
In duration as well as in extent, the kingdom of the Firstborn surpasses those of the kings of the earth. Their dominion is of short continuance. They themselves are mortal, and must soon exchange their robes of majesty for shrouds, and
their thrones and palaces for sepulcbres. The kingdoms over which they preside perish by the sword, or are dissolved
Where the renowned Nimrods and Pharaohs, the Cesars, the Alexanders, now are; there shall all the kings of the earth soon be. What the once proud Assyrian, the rich Persian, the learned Grecian, and the widely extended Roman Empires now are, such sball all the kingdoms of the earth ultimately become. The words of the Prophet have long since received their accomplishment, “the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart.” There now remain but few specimens of Grecian art, but few monuments of Roman greatness. The First-born is a King immortal and immutable, ever living to enjoy the honours and splendours of his throne, to protect and bless his people. His kingdom defended by the power, and preserved by the grace of God, is impregnable and imperishable. Its extent no power can diminish, its glory no time can tarnish. It is a kingdom which the “God of heaven hath set up, which shall never be destroyed,”—a kingdom which cannot be moved”- a kingdom against which the gates of hell shall not prevail,” and much less man's strength which is weakness, or his schemes which are folly. At its first establishment when its subjects were few and mean, without learning, influence, or power, neither the subtility of philosophers, nor the intrigues of statesmen, nor the power of kings; neither the smiles of pretended friends, nor the swords of avowed enemies; neither the blandishments of prosperity, nor the fires of persecution, could effect its de. struction. Resting on a foundation which no artifice can undermine, no time impair, no power overthrow, the kingdom of the First-born shall survive all secular dominions, and shall have attained but the zenith of its ceaseless splendour, when the kingdoms of the world, and the world itself, shall have passed away.
In concluding, I observe First, Since the First-born is
higher than the kings of the earth, he must be independent of them, for the establishment and maintenance of his kingdom. He cannot need their aid, and must be able to accomplish every purpose of his grace in spite of their opposition. To say that the countenance of kings is necessary to impart respectability to the institutions of the King of kings, is to insult his majesty, and to suppose that the Infinite depends for his honour on the finite. To affirm that the patronage of sovereigns, who are often not themselves subjects of Messiah, is required to secure a reverential celebration of bis ordinances, is to calumniate his people, as if they would regard the authority of man more than that of heaven. To assert that the support of the State, is necessary to the establishment and maintenance of the kingdom of the First-born, is to belie the power of the truth, to contradict the history of the past, and the observation of the present. With no other arms than those of truth, and no other recommedations than those of the piety, prudence, and zeal of his subjects, this kingdom flourished during the three first centuries of its history. Unconnected with government, and unaided by the State, this kingdom now subsists and prospers in America. Enjoying the patronage and support of the State, this kingdom now languishes on the Continent of Europe. The unhallowed hands of statesmen and of warriors have touched the ark of the Lord, on pretence of upholding a kingdom which God has pledged himself to maintain, and which bas sustained no injury so great as what has resulted from their officious interference. As individuals, rulers may advance the interests of this kingdom. They may aid it by their liberality, adorn and recommend it by their piety. But in their official capacity they may not interfere, farther than for the protection of its subjects as members of Civil society. And when kings shall know its spiritual nature and divine resources, relying on the power of truth, and feeling that power themselves, as rulers they will let this kingdom alone,
and as individuals will set examples of liberality for its extension and support. How are the millions of the heathen in foreign lands to be brought to the knowledge of the truth? By miracles ? By grants of public money? By legislative enactments ? No: but by the enlightened zeal, the Christian liberality, the piety, self-denial, and perseverance of those who love the Saviour, are loyal to his government, and interested in his honour. And can the means by which we expect the world to be converted, be inadequate for the conversion of a nation? Or when a nation has by the agency of missionaries become subject to Messiah, will its population rather revert to heathenism than contribute for the support of Christian institutions ? This were a slander on the
power of religion. History, experience, and the gospel, dictate an opposite conclusion. Obeying the command of their Saviour, “freely ye have received, freely give,” they will not only support the institutions of religion at home, but contribute to the extension of Christianity abroad.
These observations I make relative to that most important question which now engages so much of the minds of our people. Its discussion has given occasion to much that can be a credit to no party, and do good to no cause. Nevertheless, the agitation of it cannot be suppressed, and must not be abandoned. Go on it must until the public mind, duly enlightened, shall have become prepared for dissolving the unscriptural anti-Christian and injurious alliance between the Church and the State. We must contend for the scriptural simplicity of Christian institutions, as well as for the purity of “ the faith which was once delivered unto the saints:” But while with the firmness of men fully persuaded in our own minds, yet with the meekness, forbearance, and candour of Christians—while with the zeal of men feeling the power of the truth, yet with the integrity and honour of men conscious of the goodness of their cause, and certain of its ultimate triumphs.
Secondly. Since the First-born is higher than the kings of the earth, it should be our chief ambition to be subjects of his kingdom. Earthly kings have much in their power. They can bestow riches and honour, and elevate to stations of dignity and authority, but inward peace and satisfaction they cannot give; and what they do give, the riches and honour, the dignity and power, all perish and come to nought. And their favours are conferred on but a few. The Firstborn bestows on all his subjects true and enduring riches and honour, genuine and abiding peace and satisfaction. Be concerned to become his subjects, for he can perfect your bliss. He is all, and has all that is necessary to complete your happiness. Uniting in his person every office and every relation which your exigencies require, you shall find in him a king to defend, a father to provide, a teacher to instruct, a physician to heal, a husband to cherish, and a friend to sympathize. Remember, however, you can become his subjects not by birth, nor in virtue of residence, nor in consequence of living and associating with his people, nor by a mere outward acknowledgment of submission to his authority, but by the regenerating influence of his Spirit, and the purifying efficacy of faith. Pray to the Father, and he will give you the Spirit to induce faith in your hearts, and holi
your lives. Let those of you who profess to be subjects of the First-born, renounce submission to all other
Suffer no authority to come into competition with his. Acknowledge Him as the only Lord of conscience. Do every thing he enjoins, abstain from whatever he prohibits. Walk worthy of your king. Pay bim the homage he demands. Evince your attachment to his person, and your loyalty to his government, by loving his people, and contributing to the extension of his reign.
Thirdly. Since the First-born is higher than the kings of the earth, his subjects have nothing to fear, his enemies nothing to hope. As to the former, disease may attack them, foes