But some persons will say, “I wish you would prove what you affirm, when you say that saints are kings; for, if we were kings, we should never have any sorrows; kings are never poor as we are, and never suffer as we do.” Who told you so? You say if you are kings, you would live at ease. Do not kings ever suffer? Was not David an anointed king? and was lie not hunted like a partridge on the mountains? Did not the king himself pass over the brook Kedron, and all his people weeping as he went, when his son Absalom pursued him? And was he not a monarch when he slept on the cold ground, with no couch save the damp heather? O yes, kings have their sorrows—crowned heads have their afflictions. Full oft
“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
Do not expect that because you are a king, you are to have no sorrows. “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink.” And it is often so. The saints get but little wine here. It is not for kings to drink the wine of pleasure; it is not for kings to have much of the intoxicating drink and the surfeits of this world’s delight. They shall have joy enough up yonder, when they shall drink it new in their Father’s kingdom. Poor saint! do dwell on this. Thou art a king! I beseech thee, let it not go away from thy mind; but in the midst of thy tribulation, still rejoice in it. If thou hast to go through the dark tunnel of infamy, for Christ’s name; if thou art ridiculed and reviled, still rejoice in the fact, “I am a king, and all the dominions of the earth shall be mine!”
That last idea, and I have done with this part of the subject. Kings have dominion. Do you know I am a fifth monarchy man? In Cromwell’s time some said there had been four monarchies, and the fifth would come and overturn every other. Well, I never wish to do as they did; but I believe with them, that a fifth monarchy shall come. There have now existed four great empires, arrogating universal dominion, and there never shall be another world-wide monarchy until Christ shall come. Jesus, our Lord, is to be King of all the earth, and rule all nations in a glorious spiritual, or personal reign. The saints, as being kings in Christ, have a right to the whole world. Here am I this morning, and my congregation before me. Some persons say, “Keep to your own place and preach,” and I have heard the advice, “Do not go out of your parish.” But Rowland Hill used to say he never went out of his parish in his life; his parish was England, Scotland, and Wales, and he never went out of it. I suppose that is my parish, and the parish of every gospel minister. When we see a city full of sin and iniquity, what should we say? That is ours, we will go and storm it. When we see a street or some crowded area, where the people are very bad and wicked, we should say, “That is our alley, we will go and take it.” When we see a house where people will not receive the gospel, we should say, “That is our house, we will go and attack it.” We will not go with the strong arm of the law; we will not ask the policeman, or government to help us; but take with us “the weapons of our warfare.” which “are not carnal, but spiritual, and mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds.” We will go, and by God’s Spirit we shall overcome. There is a town where the children are running about the street, uneducated; we will go and take those children—kidnap them for Christ. We will have a Sabbath school. If they are ragged urchins who cannot come to a Sabbath school, we will have a ragged school. There is a part of the world where the inhabitants are sunk in ignorance and superstition: we will send a missionary to them. Ah! those who do not like missionary enterprise, do not know the dignity of the saint. Talk of India; talk of China.; “it is mine,” saith the saint. All the kingdoms of the earth are ours. “Africa is my washpot—I will triumph over Asia. They are mine! they are mine!” “Who shall bring me into the strong city?” Is it not thou, O Lord? God shall give us the kingdom of Christ. The whole earth is ours; and by the power of the Holy Ghost, Bel shall bow, Nebo shall stoop, the gods of the heathen, Budha and Brahma, shall be cast down, and all nations bow before the sceptre of Christ. “He has made us kings.”
Our second point, upon which I shall be very brief, is, “He hath made us kings and PRIESTS.” Saints are not only kings, but priests. I shall go to it at once, without any preface.
We are priests, because priests are divinely chosen persons, and so are we. “No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” But we have that calling and election; we were all ordained to it from the foundations of the world. We were predestinated to be priests, and in process of time we had a special effectual call, which we could not and did not resist, and which at last so overcame us, that we became at once the priests of God. We are priests, divinely constituted. When we say we are priests, we do not talk as certain parties do, who say they are priests, wishing thereby to arrogate to themselves a distinction. I always have an objection—I must state it strongly—to calling a clergyman, or any man that preaches, a priest. We are no more so than you are. All saints are priests. But, for a man to stand up and say he is a priest, any more than those he preaches to, is a falsehood. I detest the distinction of clergy and laity. I like scriptural priestcraft; for that is the craft or work of the people, who are all priests; but all other priestcraft I abhor. Every saint of the Lord is a priest at God’s altar, and is bound to worship God with the holy incense of prayer and praise. We are priests, each one of us, if we are called by divine grace; for thus we are priests by divine constitution.
Then, next, we are priests, because we enjoy divine honors. None but a priest might enter within the vail; there was a court of the priests into which none might ever go, except the called ones. Priests had certain rights and privileges which others had not. Saint of Jesus! heir of heaven! thou hast high and honorable privileges, which the world wots not of! Hast thou ever been within the vail in communion with Christ? Hast thou ever been in the court of the Lord’s house, the court of the priests, where he has taught thee, and manifested himself to thee? Hast thou? Yes, thou knowest thou hast; thou enjoyest constant access to God’s throne; thou hast a right to come and tell thy griefs and sorrows into the ear of Jehovah. The poor worldling must not come there; the poor child of wrath has no God to tell his troubles to. He must not go within the veil; he has no wish to go: but thou mayest; thou mayest come to God’s ear, swing the censer before the throne, and offer thy petition in the name of Jesus. Others have not these divine honors. Thou art divinely honored, and divinely blessed.