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The Priest-King —Ps cx ,

XLVI.
THE PRIEST-KING.

1 The Lord said unto my Lord,
Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

2 The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion:
Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.

3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,

In the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning:
Thou hast the dew of thy youth.

4 The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent.

Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his

wrath.

6 He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead

bodies;
He shall wound the heads over many countries.

7 He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

Psalm ex.

If ever to inspired seer a clear and close view of future glory was granted, it was when, under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, David sung this prophecy of Christ. From first to last it wholly and solely refers to the Messiah. No other passage of Old Testament Scripture is so frequently applied in the New Testament to Jesus as this (Matt. xxii. 41-46; Mark xii. 35-37; Luke xx. 41-44; Acts ii. 34; 1 Cor. xv. 25 ; Heb. i. 13; v. 6; vii. 17, 21 ; x. 13). Accordingly it has been well designated the crown of all the Psalms, of which Luther saith that it is worthy to be overlaid with precious jewels. More especially does the Reformer call ver. 5 a well-spring,—nay, a treasury of all Christian doctrine, understanding, wisdom, and comfort, richer and fuller than any other passage of Holy Writ. In his own peculiar manner, he styles Christ the Sheblimini (' Sit on My right hand'). 'Full sure, the devil must let alone my Sheblimini, and cannot bring Him down either by his scorn or by his wrath.' 'Christ still liveth and reigneth, and His title is Sheblimini. On His stirrup is engraven, "I will make Thine enemies Thy footstool," and upon His diadem, "Thou art a Priest for ever."'

The Psalm embodies two solemn utterances of Jehovah concerning His Son (vers. 1, 4), around which the twofold prophecy of His first and second coming moves. In consequence of the first saying, the promise of ver. 1 is given. In connexion with the second saying (ver. 4), or the oath of covenant-assurance, the intervention of ver. 5 shall take place. Similarly, the gracious willingness of ver. 3 is contrasted with the judgment of ver. 6, while ver. 7 forms a fit complement and conclusion of the picture of Messiah. When Jehovah the Father maketh the Son of David and Lord of David sit at His right hand, it implies not only the exaltation of the Messiah on the completion of His work upon earth, but His sharing in the government. Accordingly, the sceptre of His power or sovereignty is stretched forth out of Zion, and around Him gather His subjects, bringing them

selves as freewill offerings, or, as one renders it, they gather on the day of Thine army-muster' as freewill offerings. Thus it would indicate, that when Jesus gathers His host, they freely offer themselves. But perhaps, more simply and correctly: 'Thy people, freewill offerings in the day of Thy power; in the priestly garments of holiness; from the womb of the morning, Thou hast the dew of Thy youth,'—the offspring of the morning, the Church of the first-born, sparkling innumerable, like dew on the ground (see also Isa. xxvi. 19). This priestly nation, whose priestly vestments are the garments of holiness, has a priestly King, on whom in His covenant by oath, Jehovah has conferred an eternal priesthood, prefigured at the commencement of the covenant-dispensation by Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem. And now with the public manifestation of this eternal fact commences the Millennial judgment, in which 'He shall wound the head' (or Antichrist) ' over the wide earth.' And thus He 'who humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,' 'shall lift up the head;' 'that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.'

Viewed in this light, the Psalih is a prophetic song in honour of the Priest-King. It sounds the praises of Jesus. Nor does anything find more cordial response in the hearts of Christians than the praises of Jesus. To each announcement of His exaltation, we respond with an Amen. 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.' It seems as if every term were exhausted to express, however inadequately, the feelings of the redeemed. What gives such depth of tone to this Hallelujah is, that the blessings purchased apply to us. . ' Jehovah said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand.' Christ is not only enthroned at the right hand of the Majesty on high, but as our Advocate. All that He is, He is for us. The measure of His greatness is also that of our safety and glory. My salvation is bound up with His exaltation. If it is unbelief not to recognise this, it is surely misbelief not to derive comfort and joy from it. Christ is known in heaven and earth only as our Redeemer. For this purpose He has united His divinity to our humanity; with this object He sitteth at the right hand of the Father, as 'our Priest for ever.' Why, then, should we hesitate to acknowledge and proclaim what He publisheth and showeth forth on earth and in heaven? The first sounds which greeted earth, in the grey morning of her new day, were, ' Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given ; and the government shall be upon His shoulder.' And again, this is the first view to burst upon our sight in heaven: 'Lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain.' Of all the crowns He wears, the brightest is that as 'Melchi-Zedek, King of Righteousness,' Prince of Peace—of our righteousness and of our peace. Thus, when viewing Christ, let us ever cherish a personal apprehension of Him. Thoughts of Christ are cold and theoretical, when the hand of faith is not stretched out to

appropriate, according to the gospel, all that He is. In our present state, we can understand but little of what He is in Himself; but Scripture has told us much of what He is to us, and this we may make all our own. But transcendent as the glory of Christ is even now, as yet it is but dimly manifested. He still 'sitteth' at His right hand—enthroned indeed, but, as it were, at rest. What when He 'shall strike through kings in the day of His wrath!' Indeed, the Psalm seems to furnish a brief outline of the whole Messianic history, from the ascension of Christ to His return to our earth. Connecting itself with the last verse of the preceding Psalm, it describes the sabbatic period in vers. 1-3, with its eternal and immovable basis in ver. 4, and the commencement of the millennial glory in vers. 5 and 6, with the ground and foundation of the covenant arrangement in ver. 7. Jehovah-Jesus, 'my Lord,' at God's right hand, until He maketh His enemies His footstool! Here is the starting point and the terminating point. The enemies seem to throng around Him with vain efforts. When we hear 'the tumult of the people,' let us remember both the present and the. future—what now takes place in heaven, and also the Divine ' until,' or what will certainly take place on earth. This 'until' was in one sense more difficult, in another perhaps more easy, to realize, when He was led forth, and the 'Behold the Man!' evoked the blasphemous fury of His adversaries. 'We see not yet all things put under Him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour.' 'Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.' And what holy calmness and confidence does it afford, when we plant our feet upon this firm foundation of the Divine Word! Meantime 'the government is upon His shoulder;' for He has the key of David. The government both of the world and of the Church is in accordance with the purposes of the covenant of grace (ver. 2). Hence 'all things are ours, for Christ is ours.' 'All things must work together for good to them that love Him, that are the called according to His purpose.' It cannot be otherwise, whether so far as the Church as a whole or individual believers are concerned. How sweet to think of providence and grace as the two arms with which our Saviour-King surrounds and shields His people! There can be nothing to dread in a future which is arranged to carry out the covenant of grace; there can be nothing really dark in clouds which are charged with blessing.

This doctrine of God's providence, which in reality means, Christ's providing, is precious to timid saints, or believers who fail adequately to realize the object of their faith. Notice, next, His gracious influence upon His own, exerted along with and in the course of His 'rule.' Observe His power, and their willingness—they being made willing, and their hearts sweetly inclined by the power of His grace; and then 'the womb of the morning,' the commencement—the 'Let there be light'—of a new creative day, and, as its result, 'the priestly garments of holiness.' 'Thou hast the dew of Thy youth.' It is spring-time, and pearly drops, which reflect the Sun of Righteousness, hang on each blade which has sprung from ' the seed of the kingdom,' till the mantle of earth's fresh beauty covers what winter had bared and overlaid with the sheet of death. And oh, what sure word of promise, what a blessed fact on which to rest our hopes and our joys: 'The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent' (despite our sin, weakness, and ingratitude; for it is the covenant, and that of grace), 'Thou art a Priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek.' 'Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other.' The true Melchizedek is our Priest for ever. 'That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.' Then, when the period of grace has passed, that of judgment comes, when Melchizedek will buckle on His armour— 'my King righteousness'—and arise to judge the earth, and to assume publicly that government which had ever belonged to Him, and with which the Father had long invested Him (vers. 5, 6). Yet—most comforting in the midst of wrath and terror—this Judge and Avenger is He who has humbled Himself, and become obedient unto death (ver. 7). 'Therefore also God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name that is above every name.' Because of His humiliation, His exaltation; and He who so humbled Himself, will, when He appears in all the brightness of millennial glory, be still the same Jesus—who loved us, and died for us, and ever liveth to make intercession for us.

I. 'A Priest for ever'—what blessed assurance this conveys to my soul! He ever intercedeth for me at the right hand of God ; He ever provideth all that is needful; He ever dispenseth all grace. Two scriptural conclusions follow, which, as being the very word of God, I may hold fast and act upon to the fullest. 'Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.' Again: 'Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.'

2. Am I one of the 'willing people'—not only my obedience and allegiance secured from a conviction of the truth, but my heart inclined, and my will renewed? To do the will of God, to bear the will of God, to coincide with the will of God— and that with calm if not cheerful consent of the heart, as seeing Him who is invisible, and holding fast my living apprehension of His Person and character? All unwillingness, whether practical or lurking in the heart, springs from unbelief—from a failure to realize Him or His purposes. Were Jesus, as God become incarnate, and giving Himself for me, and His counsel of grace towards me, ever or even in any measure before my heart, how could I hesitate to yield myself, absolutely and implicitly, to Him and His guidance? Again, this 'willingness' is the essence of holiness; it constitutes ' the beauties of holiness'—the beauty of Christ cast over the soul. The cure, therefore, for all my misery and sin is more faith, more of Christ, and nearer to Him. This let me seek and ask with ever-increasing earnestness. 'For with Thee is the fountain of life; in Thy light shall we see light.'

3. With what holy calmness may we not view the attempts of the enemy, whether against ourselves, the Church of God, or His truth! The future history of the kingdom is as clearly revealed as its past and present state have been declared. This conviction must inspire me with holy earnestness, ardour, and zeal. How should I pray and labour, seeing victory is so certain and near! Let me avoid an idle, selfish Christianity. 'No man liveth unto himself.' I must have something to say to the Lord and to do for the Lord, this day and every day. Were it otherwise, He would not have left me here this day, with the charge, ' Occupy till I come.' An idle Christianity becomes a morbid Christianity. Let me seek to do something for Him, directly, not indirectly. For the what and the hotv, I must wait upon Him. Let me, however, beware of any impatience in that matter. 'He that believeth shall not make haste.' Mine it is to follow, not to go before; but oh, for grace to follow!

Jesus, our Redemption now,
Our Desire and Love art Thou:
God before Creation's prime,
Man born in the end of time.

What compassion vanquish'd Thee,
Brought Thee to the shameful tree;
Bearing our transgressions there,
Thy redeem'd from death to spare!

Piercing to the depths of hell,""

All its strength before Thee fell,—
Ransoming Thy captive band,
Seated now at God's right hand.

Love constrain'd Thee, Lord, to this,
That we might partake Thy bliss;
O'er our sin abounds Thy grace, —
Satisfy us with Thy face.

Anc1ent Hymn.

iVoice of Christian Life in Song.)