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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
From The Pulpit Cyclopedia, 185
"And at the end of the days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth for ever; whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation," &c. (Daniel 4:34, 35)
Our text is the language of Nebuchadnezzar after his restoration to soundness of mind. His affliction was happily sanctified to the good of his soul, and he learned to venerate the true and blessed God, and to give homage and praise to his glorious and exalted name. Both the words and sentiments of the text are striking, powerful, and instructive, and convey a truly sublime view of Deity to our minds. But we desire especially to regard them as presenting a lucid and comprehensive representation of the divine government. Our subject directs us:
I. TO THE SUPREMACY OF THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT. God the Most High exercises his unconstrained authority over the universe. His throne is exalted in the highest heavens, and his kingdom ruleth over all. He is the God of all the kingdoms of the earth. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion from generation to generation. Men may possess authority and power, sway sceptres over vast empires. Angels may have power delegated to them. But all right and power is in the hand of the God of heaven and earth. As the creator of all and the sustainer of all—intimately acquainted with all—present everywhere by his ubiquity—having unwearying strength—an infinity of resources—who so fit for the supremacy of the universe now below all righteous contempt do idols appear when contrasted with the God of heaven and earth! Notice,
II. THE ETERNITY OF THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT. "Whose dominion is an everlasting dominion." How appropriate with the title given to Jehovah in the text, "That liveth for ever and ever." As such he existed before all things. His wisdom and might brought all things into being. With him is no mutability, so that he has ever stood in the same relationship to his works. Of his years there will be no end, so that he will reign forever and ever.
III. THE IRRESISTIBLE CHARACTER OF THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT. "He doeth according to his will, &c., and none can stay his hand." (v.35) His will is ever in harmony with justice, holiness, and benevolence. His will is his law, his indisputable law. His will cannot be effectually resisted. Angels may dispute it, and man may rebel against it, but in both cases inevitable discomfiture must be the result. How arrogant for created intelligences to arraign it—for created power to oppose it! Stubbornness, determination, or combination, can only lead to the ruin of those who exhibit them. The breath of his nostrils would consume them together. Notice,
IV. THE INFINITE EXTENT OF HIS GOVERNMENT. He executes his will in the "army of heaven." (v. 35)The host of angelic intelligences all obey him. His commandments in heaven are received with joy, and obeyed with alacrity and delight. His government extends to the whole earth, with all its inhabitants. None are without, or beyond the pale of his control. Every human being of every nation, color, people, and tongue, all classes and conditions are subject to him. He restrains the wrath of the wicked, and overruleth all the purposes and plots of the ungodly so as to secure the counsels of his will. Besides, the divine dominion is exercised over the material parts and elements of the universe. His government extends over all the inferior creatures. Everywhere he is present, and everywhere his power is exercised and his authority indisputably displayed.
1. The divine government is worthy of highest wonder and adoration. How vast —how high—how perpetual—how infinite—how incomprehensible the idea of one universal pervading Spirit—observing all, diffused through, and governing all!
2. It is a subject worthy of our frequent contemplation. Much of God is seen in his works, and much in his boundless dominion. Here we may meditate until our minds are filled with the loftiest feelings of awe and admiration.
3. It is a subject which should lead to fervent thanksgiving. "The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice." (Ps. 97:1) How cheering that the world is not left to the contingencies of chance. Not left to the powerful control of some evil despot. Not left to the unrestrained reign and rage of the god of this world. That wicked men have not the sole reins of government. The great disposer of all events—the great governor of heaven, and earth, and hell, is Jehovah, the righteous, ever-blessed God.
4. It shows us the importance of religion. For what is religion, but our acquiescence in the will of God? Our conformity to his revealed will? This must tend to our dignity, security, and blessedness.
5. The folly of rebelling against his authority. Let the doom of fallen angels —the expulsion of our first parents—the judgments with which he has visited our world warn the incorrigible of the certainty of final and endless ruin. "Kiss the Son," &c. (Psalm 2:12)
6. The certainty of God's universal dominion over our world. By the power of his truth, by the might of his Spirit, he has destined our world to become the kingdom of Christ, and that he shall reign over all, and forever and ever.