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AND thus I pass the second, and come to the third particular, and that is to show the head and spring from whence this river proceeds.
Rivers have their heads from whence they rise, out of which they spring; and so accordingly we read this river has. Wherefore he saith, “He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb.” 1. God is here to be taken for the whole Godhead, Father, Son, and Spirit; for grace proceeds from them all. The grace of the Father, the grace of the Son, and grace of the Spirit, is here all included. Hence, as the Father is called the God of grace; so the Son is said to be full of grace, grace to be communicated; and the Holy Ghost is called the Spirit of grace. 1 Peter 5:10; John 1:14-16; Hebrews 10:29. So then by this we perceive whence grace comes. Were all the world gracious, if God were not gracious, what were man the better? If the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Ghost were not gracious, if they were not all gracious, what would it profit? But now God is gracious; the three persons in the Godhead are gracious; and so long they that seek grace are provided for; for there proceeds from them a river, or grace like a flowing stream. Indeed, the original of grace to sinners is the good will of God! None can imagine how loving God is to sinful man. A little of it is seen, but they that see most, see but a little. 2. But there is added, “And of the Lamb.” The Lamb is Jesus as sacrificed, Jesus as man, and suffering. Hence you have the Lamb, at the first vision of the throne, set forth unto us thus, that is, as slain. “And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain.” Revelation 5:6.
Wherefore by this word Lamb, we are to understand, who, or by what means, grace doth now run from the throne of God, like a river to the world. It is because of, or through the Lamb. “We are justified freely by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.” Romans 3:24.
Nor doth the Lamb of God, by becoming a means, through death, of the conveyance of grace to us, at all darken the nature or glory of grace, but rather doth set it off the more. For wherein can grace or love more appear, than in laying down his life for us? I speak now of the grace of the Son.
And wherein could the nature and glory of the grace of the Father more appear than in giving his Son to death for us, that grace might in a way of justice as well as mercy be bestowed upon the world? Wherefore, as he saith here, that the river of water of life proceedeth from God, so he adds that of the Lamb, because he would have us, while we are entangled and overcome with this river of God’s pleasure, not forget what it cost the Lamb of God that this grace might come unto us. For the riches of grace and of wisdom is, that grace comes to us not only in a way of mercy and compassion, but in a way of justice and equity. But that could be by no other means, but by redeeming blood; which redeeming blood came not from us, nor yet through our contrivance or advice. Wherefore, whatever it is to the Lamb, still all is of grace to us. Yea, the higher, the greater, the richer is grace, by how much the more it cost the Father and the Lamb, that we might enjoy it. When a man shall not only design me a purse of gold, but shall venture his life to bring it to me, this is grace indeed. But, alas! what are a thousand such short comparisons to the unsearchable love of Christ?
The Lamb then is he from whom, by or through whom the grace of God doth come to us. It proceeds from the throne of God and of the Lamb. And it proceeds from him now as a donor; from him, not only as a means of conveyance, but as one that has power to give grace; power as he is the Son of Man. For as the Son of Man, he is the Lamb; and as he is the Lamb, it cometh from him. “The Son of Man had power on earth to forgive sin,” and that before he had actually paid to God the price of our redemption. Matthew 9:6; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3. But how much more now? Wherefore Paul in his prayer for grace and peace for saints, supplicates both God and the Lamb. “Grace to you from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1:2. 3. “Proceeding out of the throne.” Formerly this river of waters is said to come from under the threshold of the house of the Lord. Ezekiel 47:1.
And it is said again, they shall go out from Jerusalem, ( Zechariah 14:8,) that is, the church or house of God still. In that they are said to come out from under the threshold, it may be to intimate that they ran but low formerly, if compared to what they do now: which might also be signified by this, that they issued out; that that issues out, ordinarily comes forth but slowly. Also the prophet saith, the first time he went through the waters they were but up to the ankles. Ezekiel 47:3,4. But what is uncle deep, to that which followeth after? It is said also to come out from Jerusalem, where I perceive were no great rivers, to intimate that as long as the first priesthood, first temple, and type were in their splendor, only the shadows of heavenly things were in use, and that then grace ran but slowly, nor would run much faster, because Jesus was not yet glorified. For the Spirit and the abundance of grace was to be given, not before, but after his ascension. Wherefore, now Jesus is ascended; now he is glorified; now grace proceeds from the throne, not from the threshold of the house! “He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from or out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb.” Revelation 22:1. 4. “The throne.” That of which the mercyseat was a type: that which is called “the throne of grace.” Hebrews 4:16. And it is called the throne of grace even therefore, because it is that from, or out of which proceeds this river of water of life; this overflowing grace of God. Now it may be asked, What is the throne of grace? And I shall answer, it is the humanity of Christ. Isaiah 22:22,23. He is the throne in which God sitteth. Revelation 4:3. “And he shall be for a glorious throne to his Father’s house.” The fullness of the Godhead dwells in him bodily, and God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself; nor can grace come to men but by Christ, nor can God rest as to our salvation but in him. But because I have spoken of this thing more particularly upon that text, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace,” etc.(* See “The Saint’s Privilege and Profit,” in the volume of Bunyan’sDEVOTIONAL WORKS) I shall therefore here say no more.
Only methinks it is a glorious title that the Holy Ghost has given to the humanity of Christ, in that he calls it the throne of God. And methinks he gives it the highest preference, in that he saith, out thence proceeds a pure river of water of life. We will a little therefore speak something to this word “the throne,” the throne of God. First . A throne is the seat of majesty and greatness. It is not for things of an inferior quality to ascend or assume a throne. Now then, since this river of water of life proceeds from the throne, it intimates that in grace and mercy there is great majesty. For grace, as it proceeds, has a voice from the throne. And, indeed, there is nothing in heaven or earth that can so awe the heart as the grace of God. Hosea 3:5. It is that which makes a man fear; it is that which makes a man tremble; it is that which makes a man bow and bend, and break to pieces. Jeremiah 33:9; Exodus 34:6,7,8,9.
Nothing has that majesty, and commanding greatness in, and upon the hearts of the sons of men, as has the grace of God. So that, when he saith, that this river of grace proceeds out of the throne of God, it is to show us what a majesty, what a commanding greatness, there is in grace. “The love of Christ constraineth us.” When Moses went up to the mount the first time to receive the law, he did exceedingly fear and quake. Why? Because of the fire and smoke, thick darkness and thunder, etc. But when he went up the second time thither, “he made haste, and bowed his head towards the earth, and worshipped.” But why? Because it was before proclaimed, that “the Lord was gracious and merciful, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth: keeping mercy for thousands; forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin,” etc.
There is nothing over-mastereth the heart like grace, and so obligeth to sincere and unfeigned obedience as that. “Examine me, O Lord,” said David, “prove me, and try my reins and my heart; for thy loving-kindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in thy truth.” Psalm 26:2,3.
Therefore he saith again, “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy lovingkindness in all the earth!” And again, “thy loving-kindness is marvelous,” for it has that majesty, and that glory in it, as to command the heart and subdue sin. And therefore grace has given to it the title of sovereignty, or of one that reigns. The throne is called, the “throne of grace,” that on which it sits and reigns, as well as that from whence it proceeds. Hebrews 4:10. “Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:21. Secondly , As a throne is a seat of majesty and greatness, and so can awe; so it is the seat of authority and legislative power, and so will awe. This is confirmed from what was said but now, grace REIGNS. Wherefore it is expected, that they that hear the word of God’s grace, should submit thereto, and that at their peril. “He that believeth not shall be damned,” is a word of power, of law and authority; and the condemner shall find it so.
Wherefore, sinner, here is laid a necessity upon thee, one of the two must be thy lot; either thou must accept of God’s grace, and be content to be saved freely thereby, notwithstanding all thy undeservings, and unworthiness, or else thou must be damned for thy rebellion, and for thy rejecting of this grace. Wherefore consider with thyself, and think what is best to be done. Is it better that thou submit to the grace and mercy of God, and that thou accept of grace to reign for thee, in thee, and over thee, than that thou shouldst run the hazard of eternal damnation, because thou wouldst not be saved by grace? Consider this, I say, for grace is now in authority, it reigns, and proceeds from the throne. Now, you know, it is dangerous opposing, rejecting, despising, or disowning them in authority.
Better speak against twenty, than against one that is in authority. Proverbs 16:14. If the wrath of a king, “is as messengers of death,” if the wrath of the king is as the roaring of a lion, ( Proverbs 19:12;) what is the wrath of God? And you know, to despise grace, to refuse pardon, to be unwilling to be saved from the guilt and punishment due to treason in the king’s way, since that also is the best way, how will that provoke? How hot will that make wrath? But to accept of grace, especially when it is free grace, grace that reigns, grace from the throne; how sweet is it! His favor is as dew upon the grass.
This therefore calls for thy most grave and sedate thoughts. Thou art in a strait. Wilt thou fly before Moses, or with David fall into the hands of the Lord? Wilt thou go to hell for sin, or to life by grace? One of the two, as was said before, must be thy lot; for grace is king, is upon the throne, and will admit of no other way to glory. Romans 5:2. In and by it thou must stand, if thou hast any hope, or canst at all rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Thirdly , As the throne is the seat of majesty and authority, so it is the highest seat of authority. There is none above the. throne, there is no appeal from the throne. There are inferior courts of judicature, there are under-governors, and they may sometimes perhaps be faulty; wherefore in some cases an appeal from. such may be lawful, or permitted; but from the throne none can appeal. Now grace is upon the throne, reigns upon the throne, proceeds from the throne. A man may appeal from the law to the throne, from Moses to Christ; from him that spake on earth, to him that speaks from heaven; but from heaven to earth, from Christ to Moses, none can appeal. Moses himself hath forbid it. “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you, and it shall come to pass, that every soul that will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” Acts 3:22,23.
See here, this New Prophet judges in the highest court. He is Master of grace, the throne by which grace reigns; and even Moses admits, that from himself an appeal may be made to this Prophet; yea, he allows that men may flee from himself, to this Prophet for refuge; but there must be no appeal from him. Thou must hear him, or die. “How shall we escape, if we turn away from him, that speaketh from heaven.” Hebrews 12:25.
This therefore is to be duly weighed, and deeply considered by us. It is not a saint, nor a minister, nor a prophet, nor an angel that speaks, for all these are but servants, but inferiors. No, it is a voice from the throne, from authority, from the highest authority; it is “the Lord from heaven.” This grace proceeds from the throne; and therefore men must stand and fall by what shall come from hence. He that comes not hither to drink, shall die for thirst. He that refuses this water now, shall not have so much as will hang upon the tip of his finger (if it would save his soul) hereafter. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” Hebrews 2:3.
Apostates will therefore from hence find griping pains and burning coals.
For they have turned themselves away from this throne, and from the grace that proceeds therefrom; nor is it to any purpose whatever they plead for themselves. They are fallen from grace and what can help them! Galatians 5:4. Christ is become of none effect unto such, whosoever is, that is, seeks to be justified by the law, “ they are fallen from grace.” Fourthly , The throne is the seat of glory. Matthew 25:31. “When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him; then he shall sit upon the throne of his glory.” And if the throne of judgment is the seat of glory, much more the throne of grace. We will then venture to say, that the throne of grace, is the throne of God’s glory, as the throne of judgment will be the throne of Christ’s glory; and that grace proceedeth from his throne, that both IT and HE, might have glory, glory in a way of mercy! 1. That IT might have glory; therefore has he designed, that grace shall be effectual in, and to the salvation of some, even to “the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us accepted in the Beloved,” Ephesians 1:5,6. He has designed, not the glory of man’s works, but the glory of his own grace; and therefore has put man’s works, as to justification before God, under his feet, and counts them as filthy rags; but hath set his grace up above, has made it a king, given it authority to reign, has provided for it a throne, and called that throne, the throne of grace; from whence it also proceeds to its own praise and glory, in and by the effectual salvation of those that receive it, and receive it not in vain. 2. As grace is exalted, and made to proceed out of the throne to its own praise, to its own glory; so is it also thus exalted and made to flow to us like a river, that we should be to the praise of the glory of him that hath exalted it. We that receive it, and submit unto the throne whence it proceeds, have thereby “obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, that we should be to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:11,12.
Now what follows from this, but that they that accept of his grace, give glory to God, to his grace, and to the word of his grace. Such, I say, glorify God for his mercy. They glorify God by their professed subjection to the gospel of Christ, which is the gospel, or good tidings of the grace of God. They with Abraham believe and give glory to God, and with the Gentiles they “glorify the word of the Lord.” Romans 15:9; Corinthians 9:13; Acts 20:24; Romans 4:20; Acts 13:48.
But to slight grace, to do despite to the Spirit of Grace, to prefer our own works, to the derogating from grace; what is it, but to condemn God? to condemn him when he is on the throne, when he is on the throne of his glory? I say again, it is to spit in his face, even then when he commands thee to bow before him, to subject thyself to him, and to glorify the grace of his glory that proceeds from the throne of his glory! If men in old time were damned because they glorified him not as God, shall not they be more than damned, if more than damned can be, who glorify him not for his grace? And, to be sure, none glorify him for his grace but those that close in therewith, and submit themselves thereto. Talkers of grace are but mockers of God, but flatterers of God! Those that only talk highly of grace, and submit not themselves unto it, are but like to those that praise a look, or flatter him in his own conceits. Grace, God has exalted; has set it upon the throne, and so made it a king, and given it authority to reign; and thou goest by and hearest thereof, but wilt not submit thyself thereto, neither thy soul, nor thy life. Why, what is this more than to flatter God with thy lips, and than to lie unto him with thy tongue; what is this but to count him less wise than thyself, while he seeks glory by that, by which thou wilt not glorify him; while he displays his grace before thee in the world from the throne, and as thou goest by, with a nod thou callest it a fine thing, but followest that which leadeth therefrom? Tremble, tremble, ye sinners, that have despised the riches of his goodness! The day is coming when ye shall behold and wonder, and perish, if grace prevaileth not with you to be content to be saved by it to the praise of its glory, and to the glory of him who hath set it upon the throne. Acts 13:38-41. Fifthly , The throne is the seat of wisdom. Hence he is called the Ancient of Days, infinite in wisdom, that sits on this throne, the throne of God; “whose garments are white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool.” Daniel 7:9. By Ancient of Days, and in that it is said the hair of his head is like the pure wool, his wisdom is set forth unto us. Wherefore when we read that out of the throne proceeds a river of grace, when we read that this proceedeth out of the throne of God, it is as much as to say, the wise God, who most perfectly knoweth all ways, counteth in his wisdom, that to save men by grace is the best, most safe, and sure way. “Therefore it is of faith that it might be by grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed.” Romans 4:11.
Wherefore to set grace upon the throne, to let grace proceed out of the throne as a river, is, by the wise God, the only wise God, counted the best way, the safest way, the way that doth best suit the condition of a sinful man, and that tends most to the utter disappointment of the devil, and death, and hell. Grace can justify freely, when it will, whom it will, from what it will. Grace can continue to pardon, favor and save from falls, in falls, out of falls. Grace can comfort, relieve and help those that have hurt themselves. And grace can bring the unworthy to glory. This the law cannot do, this man cannot do, this angels cannot do, this God cannot do, but only by the riches of his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. Wherefore seeing God has set grace on the throne, and ordered that it should proceed from this throne to the world; yea, seeing he has made it king, and granted to it, to it only, the authority and sovereignty of saving souls; he has magnified, not only his love, but his wisdom, and his prudence before the sons of men. 2 Samuel 14:14; Proverbs 8:11,12. This then is his great device, the masterpiece of all his witty inventions: and therefore it is said, as was hinted afore, in this thing he hath proceeded toward us “in all wisdom and prudence.”
So then, he that comes to, and drinks of this water, glorifies God for his wisdom, praises God for his wisdom. Such a one saith, that God is only wise, and bowing his head, saith again, “to God only wise, be glory, both now and for ever. Amen.”
But he that shall condemn this grace, confronts the highest wisdom, even wisdom upon the throne! He saith of himself, ‘I am wiser than Daniel, than the judgment of God! I could have found out a more safe way to heaven myself, and had I been of God’s counsel, I would have told him so!’ All this so horrible blasphemy, naturally proceeds from him that liketh not that grace should be king on the throne, and should proceed out of the throne to the world. “But shall he that contendeth with the Almighty, instruct him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it.” Job 40:2.
The word says, that this very doctrine, to the Greeks, to the wise, is foolishness, and the preaching of it a foolish thing to them. Corinthians 1:21-25. But it will appear even then, when the conclusion of all things is come; and when these wise ones by their wisdom have fooled themselves to hell, that this foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God stronger than men.
Christ Jesus, because he was low in the world, is trampled upon by some, but he is a glorious throne to his Father’s house. For since his humility was the lowest of all, now he is exalted to be the throne of God; yea, is made the fountain whence grace continually flows, like the rivers, and comes down to us like a mighty stream. Wherefore, I will conclude this with both comfort and caution. With comfort, and that because of the security that they are under, that indeed have submitted themselves to grace. “Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace.” And let it be a caution to those that despise. Take heed! It is dangerous affronting of the wisdom of God. Now here is the wisdom of God, even wisdom upon the throne. It pleased God, for the glory of his wisdom, to make this the way; namely, to set up grace to reign. I have often thought, and sometimes said, If God will be pleased with any way, surely he will be pleased with his own. Now this is the way of his own devising, the fruit and effect of his own wisdom. Wherefore, sinner, please him, please him in that, wherein he is well pleased. Come to the waters, cast thyself into them and fear not drowning; let God alone to cause them to carry thee into his paradise, that thou mayest see his throne. Sixthly , The throne is the seat of faithfulness; the place of performing engagements and promises. “When I shall receive the congregation,” saith Christ, “I will judge uprightly;” ( Psalm 75:2;) that is, faithfully. And now he has received it, and is made head over all things to it; and for this cause he is upon the throne, yea, is the throne, from whence proceeds all this grace, that like a river doth flow, and glide from heaven into the world. Ephesians 1:2,3. This river then is nothing else, but the fulfilling of promises, the faithful fulfilling of promises. “If I go not away the Comforter will not come; but if I depart I will send him unto you.” John 16:7.
This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel; “And it shall come to pass in the last days, (saith God,) I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh,” etc. Acts 2:16,17,18. Now this river is the Spirit, the Spirit and grace of God, which was promised by the Father and the Son, and now comes running “from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” “For being now by the right-hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Spirit, he hath shed forth that which ye now see and hear.”
Behold, then, how mindful our Father is! How careful, how faithful the Lamb of God is! It is not exaltation, nor glory, nor a crown, nor a kingdom, nor a throne, that shall make him neglect his poor ones on earth.
Yea, therefore, even because he is exalted and on the throne, therefore it is that such a river with its golden streams, proceeds from the throne to come unto us. And it shall proceed to be far higher than ever were the swellings of Jordan. True, it runs not so high now, as in former days, because of the curse of God upon Antichrist, by whose means the land of God’s people is full of briars and thorns. Isaiah 32:13-17. But when the tide is at the lowest, then it is nearest the rising. And this river will rise, and in little time, be no more so low as but ankle deep. It will be up to the knees, to the loins, and be a broad river to swim in. Ezekiel 47. “For there the glorious Lord shall be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams.” Isaiah 33:21. And there shall be no more curse in the church, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him, that is, without molestation. Revelation 22:3,6. These sayings are faithful and true, and in faithfulness shall they from the throne of God and of the Lamb, be performed to the church. Faithfulness in him that rules, is that which makes Zion rejoice; because thereby the promises yield milk and honey. For now the faithful God, that keepeth covenant, performs to his church, that which he told her he would. Wherefore our rivers shall run, and our brooks yield honey and butter. Job 20:17.
Let this teach all God’s people to expect, to look, and wait for good things from the throne. But Oh, methinks, this throne out of which good comes like a river! who would not but be a subject to it? who would not but worship before it? But, Seventhly , A throne is the seat of justice. “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne.” Psalm 89:14.
And it is also from justice that this river of grace flows to us. Justice to Christ, and justice, to those that are found in him. Romans 3:24. God declares that he can justly justify, justly forgive. Now if he can justly justify, and justly forgive; then can he give grace and cause that it should proceed to, yea, flow after us as a river. The river that gushed out of the rock in the wilderness ran after the people there, wherever they wandered therein. They drank of the rock that followed them. The rock was not removed out of his place, but the flood followed them whither they went. 1 Corinthians 10:3,4. “He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out, they ran in dry places like a river.” <19A541> Psalm 105:41.
This rock, saith he, was Christ, that is, figuratively, and this throne is Christ really. And the water gushing out of the rock, and following them in the wilderness, was to show, how when Christ became a throne, grace and goodness should follow us in the wilderness from thence so long as here we abide. Wherefore David considering this, said, “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Psalm 23:6.
But whence must this come? The text says, from the throne; from the throne, the seat of justice. For from thence, by reason of what He hath found in Christ for us, he in a way of righteousness and justice, lets out to us rivers of his pleasures; whose original is that great and wide sea of mercy, that flows in his infinite heart beyond thought.
All is paid for, both us and grace. We are bought with a price. Corinthians 6:20. He has obtained eternal redemption for us: yea, and as we are made his, and heaven made ours thus; so this river of grace has been also obtained by him for us. Hebrews 9:12; John 7:39.
Wherefore all comes to us in a way of justice and righteousness. Hence we are said to obtain “faith through the righteousness of God;” ( 2 Peter 1:1;) that is, through the justice of God, and of Jesus our Lord. Mark, here is the justice of God, and the justice of Jesus our Lord; and we have our faith from the justice of God, because of the righteousness of Jesus our Lord. That is, Jesus answered with the works of justice, the demands of justice: and therefore in a way of justice, grace reigns and comes to us like a river, as here signified, for it is said to come to us out of the throne.
Again, grace is said to “reign through righteousness, unto eternal life.” Romans 5:21. Through what righteousness? The righteousness or justice of God, by Jesus Christ our Lord. By Jesus Christ, or for his sake.
For, for his sake, as I said, we are forgiven, and for his sake have all things pertaining to life and godliness. Which all things come to us, through, or down the stream of this river in a way of justice, and therefore it; is said to come from the throne. Eighthly , This throne, is the seat of grace and mercy. And therefore it is called the mercy-seat, and throne of grace. This throne turns all into grace, all into mercy! This throne makes all things work together for good. It is said of Saul’s sons, ( 2 Samuel 21:10-14,) they were not buried, after they were hanged, until water dropped upon them out of heaven. And it may be said of us, there is nothing suffered to come near us, until it is washed in that water that proceeds from the throne of grace. Hence afflictions flow from grace; persecutions flow from grace; poverty, sickness, yea, death itself is now made ours by the grace of God through Christ. ( <19B967> Psalm 119:67-71; 1 Corinthians 3:22; Revelation 3:19; Hebrews 12:5-7.) O grace! O happy church of God! All things that happen to thee are for Christ’s sake turned into grace. They talk of the philosopher’s stone, and how, if one had it, it would turn all things into gold. Oh! but can it turn all things into grace! Can it make all things work together for good? No, no; this quality, virtue, excellency, (what shall I call it?) nothing has in it, but the grace that reigns on the throne of grace; the river that proceeds from the throne of God! This, this turns majesty, authority, the highest authority, glory, wisdom, faithfulness, justice, and all into grace. Here is a throne! God, let us see it! John had the honor to see it, and to see the streams proceeding from it. O sweet sight! O heartravishing sight! “He showed me a pure river of water of life, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb.”
Now he holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth a cloud upon it; but the preserving, saving benefits thereof, we have, as also have all the saints, in the most cloudy and dark day. And since we can see so little, we must believe the more; and by believing, give glory to God. We must also labor for more clear scripture knowledge of this throne; for the holy word of God is the perspective-glass, by which we may, and the magnifying- glass that will cause us to behold with open face the glory of this Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18.
But methinks I have yet said nothing of this throne, which is indeed none other but the spotless, and glorified Humanity of the Son of God. This grace comes from the Divine Majesty, as dwelling bodily in the Lord Jesus.
O, how should Jesus be esteemed! The throne of the king is a royal seat. 1 Kings 10:20. It is said of Solomon’s, there was not its like in any kingdom; but of this it may be said, there is not its like in heaven and earth. Revelation 4:1-8. At the setting up of this throne the angels flocked round about it, and the beasts and the elders gathered together to see it.
When this throne was set in heaven, there was silence; all the heavenly host had no leisure to talk; they were surprised with sight and wonder. When this throne was set in heaven, what talk there was, it was as the music of the trumpet! “And behold,” says John, “a door was open in heaven; and the first voice that I heard, was as it were of a trumpet talking with me, which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter.
And immediately I was in the Spirit, and behold a throne was set in heaven, and one sat upon the throne.” This throne, was Jesus Christ exalted. ‘Set,’ that is, lifted up, not as upon the cross, to the contempt and scorn of his person; but, as I said, to the wonderment of the four beasts, and the elders, and all the angels in heaven. “A throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne; that is, God. And this intimates, his desirable rest for ever: for to sit, is to rest, and Christ is his rest for ever. Was it not therefore well worth the seeing? yea, if John had taken the pains to go up thither upon his hands and knees! I say, to see the Lord Jesus as a throne, set in heaven, and the glory of God resting and abiding upon him, and giving out by him all things, not only his word, but all his dispensations and providences to the end of the world; and this blessed thing among the rest, “even a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal.”