⟨⟩ Lamb in the midſt of the Throne.
UPON Rev. vii. 17.
Preached immediately before the Celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, at Dunfermline, June 10. 1733.
To which is added,
A Word at the Cloſe of the Solemnity on the Monday.
By the late Reverend
Mr. RALPH ERSKINE,
Miniſter of the Goſpel at Dunfermline.
A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our ſanctuary, Jer. xvii. 12.
Printed for George Caldwell, Bookſeller, Paiſley.
Rev. vii. 17. For the Lamb, which is in the midſt of the Throne, ſhall feed them, &c.
WE are met this day to celebrate the memorials of the love of Chriſt, in his death and crucifixion, upon mount Calvary. And that our faith may look to him in the beſt light, and to the beſt advantage, we are to remember, not only where he once was, but where he now is: and we will find, we need not be aſhamed of a crucified Chriſt that was once upon the croſs, for now he is upon the throne. The Lamb that was ſlain, as a ſacrifice to ſatisfy divine juſtice for us, the once dying Lamb in the midſt of the croſs, is now the everliving Lamb in the midſt of the throne. And from this throne of God, where he reigns, we expect our food and provision upon the feaſt-day; according to the words of the text, The Lamb which is in the midſt of the throne, ſhall feed them.
From the 13th verſe of this chapter we have a deſcription of the honour and happineſs of theſe that ſhall faithfully ſerve, and patiently ſuffer for the Lord Jeſus Chriſt. Some interpreters think, that the happineſs of the ſaints militant, even in this world, is here deſcribed; ſome, that it is only the happineſs of the ſaints triumphant in heaven; others, make this place of ſcripture relate to both, and with theſe eſpecially I join; becauſe whatever honour and happineſs of suffering ſaints is here ſet forth, they enjoy the ſame partly in this life, and fully in the life to come, as may appear by the particulars here mentioned.
The happy perſons are ſpoken of, ver. 14th, Theſe are they that have come out of great tribulation. Whatever relation ſome think this may have to the church of Chriſt on earth, after they have eſcaped the Antichriſtian bloody perſecution; or, as others, to the martyrs in heaven, that have ſuffered unto death for the Lord Jesus Chriſt, yet it may be ſaid of all the militant ſaints, who, through much trouble, enter into the kingdom of heaven, and therein are conformed to their ſuffering head, the Lord Jeſus Chriſt, and bear about in their body the dying of the Lord Jeſus. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them all. It may be ſaid of all the ſaints, theſe are they that have come from trouble to reſt, from bondage to liberty, from death to life, and have waſhed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. The perfection of this purity they have in heaven; but even here on earth they are waſhed in the blood of Chriſt, and clothed with the white robe of his imputed and imparted righteouſneſs.
Ver. 15th, 'Therefore are they before the throne of God, and ſerve him day and night in his temple; and he that ſitteth on the throne ſhall dwell among them.' This ſeems to be a further deſcription of the happineſs of the ſaints both militant and triumphant: as they are happy,
1. In their ſtate, being 'waſhed, juſtified, and ſanctified, in the name of the Lord Jeſus, and by the Spirit of their God.'
2. They are happy in their ſtation, being always before the throne of God. The glorified ſaints in heaven are always in that preſence where there is fulneſs of joy; and the ſanctified ones upon earth have this bleſſing alſo beſtowed upon then, they are ſaid to ſit with him in heavenly places; and it is their daily work to come boldly to the throne of grace. Again.
3. They are happy in their ſervice; for, they serve him day and night in the temple. Though theſe that are in heaven ſerve him without weakneſs or wearineſs, which we cannot here do; yet it is the property of all the true circumciſion to worship God in the Spirit and in truth, and to pray without ceaſing; meditating on his law day and night, and going to the altar of God; to God in Chriſt, the true ſpiritual temple.
4. They are happy in their company; for, 'he that ſits on the throne ſhall dwell among them.' This points out friendſhip, fellowſhip, and familiarity between God and the redeemed; which alſo Chriſt allows to the militant ſaints in part, when, upon opening the door of their heart, he comes in and ſups with them, and they with him, Rev. iii. 20. And they are in caſe to ſay, 'Truly our fellowſhip is with the father, and with his Son Chriſt, 1 John i. 3. yea, God ſays, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and will be their God, and they ſhall be my people.'
5. They are happy in their freedom; and ſhall be freed from all want, and all uneaſineſs. From all want; for, 'they ſhall hunger no more, neither ſhall they thirſt any more:' for this freedom will be perfected in heaven, as it is commenced on earth; as the prophet ſays, ſpeaking of Chriſt's ſpiritual kingdom, Iſa. xlix. 10. They ſhall not hunger, nor thirſt, &c. Hence ſays Chriſt, John vi. 35. 'He that comes to me ſhall never hunger, and he that believeth in me ſhall never thirſt;' pointing out the ſpiritual pleaſure and ſatisfaction they ſhall have, and never be altogether deprived of. From all uneaſineſs alſo ſhall they be freed; 'neither ſhall the ſun light on them, nor any heat; or, as it is in the forecited, Iſa. xlix. 10. Neither shall the heat nor ſun ſmite them.' The redeemed above are perfectly freed from all uneaſineſs; and even the redeemed on earth, according to the meaſure of faith, ſuch will be their meaſure of caſe, even amidſt all things that tend to make them uneaſy. Chriſt ſays to them, 'Fear not, only believe; Fear not, I am with you; Fear not him that can at moſt but kill the body; The very hairs of our head are all numbred:' you may be perfectly eaſy. Nothing is more uneaſy than the ſun in the meridian regions; so are afflictions and perſecutions to the ſaints, and the temptations they are attacked with from earth and hell: but 'God is faithful,' ſays the apoſtle, 'who will not ſuffer you to be tempted above what ye are able, but will with the temptation also make away to eſcape, that you may be able to bear it,' 1 Cor. x. 12.
6. They are happy in their proviſion; because The Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne ſhall feed them; hence he is ſaid to feed his flock like a ſhepherd. The feeding here ſpoken of, imports alſo rule and government, ſuch as a ſhepherd hath over his flock. It is in the believing view of the provident loving ſhepherd, the Psalmiſt says, The Lord is my ſhepherd, I ſhall not want, Pſal. xxii. I.
7. They are happy in their direction and conduct; in their director, guide, and conductor: He ſhall lead them unto living fountains of waters. Now, of theſe living waters the Lord Jeſus ſpeaks, as they reſpect even his people in this world, John iv. 14 and vii. 38. 'The water that I give, ſhall be in him a well of water ſpringing up to everlaſting life; and, out of his belly ſhall flow rivers of living waters.' By theſe they have matter of comfort amidſt all their croſſes. Hence,
8. They are here ſaid to be happy in their joys; for, God ſhall wipe away all tears from their eyes; that is, all their griefs and ſorrows shall be ſwallowed up with the fulneſs of joy and conſolation that ſhall be abundantly allowed them. The commencement of this joy is even here, amidſt all the troubles and trials of the militant ſaints; 'For behold, ſays God, I create Jeruſalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy; and the voice of weeping ſhall be no more heard, Iſa. lxv. 18. And hence they are ſometimes filled with joy and peace in believing; yea, with joy unſpeakable and full of glory.'
It is the firſt part of this laſt verſe that I have eſpecially my eye upon; particularly, that deſcription of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt, which the comments, I have conſulted, paſs over more ſlightly than I expected, namely, The Lamb which is in the midſt of the throne, Where we have our Lord Jeſus deſcribed, 1. From his meekneſs and humility; therefore he is called the Lamb. 2. From his majesty and authority; he is the Lamb in the midst of the throne. What benefits accrues to his church, from his meek and majeſtic government, follows in the reſt of the verſe, which, if I have time, I may a little inſiſt upon. But what I eſpecially propoſe to ſpeak to, as the Lord may aſſiſt, is, From the ſweet account given us here of our Lord Jeſus. And this we ſhall eſſay in the following doctrinal propoſition.
Observ. That our Lord Jeſus Chriſt is the Lamb in the midſt of the throne of God.
And, as the Pſalmist says, Pſal. cxxi. 1. 'I will lift mine eyes unto the hills, from whence comes my help;' so let us lift our eyes to the throne, from whence comes our food to-day: and we may the more readily and joyfully do ſo, that the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne, to be the feeder. That I may open and apply this ⟨⟩ for our benefit, I propoſe the following method.
I. Speak a little of the Lamb.
II. Of the throne.
III. How the Lamb comes to be upon the throne.
IV. What is imported in the Lamb's being in the midſt of the throne.
V. Conſider the benefit of feeding, that iſſues from the Lamb's being in the midſt of the throne.
I. We are to offer a word concerning the Lamb. This is a name frequently given to our Lord Jeſus in ſcripture; and he is ſo called, both becauſe of his immaculate whiteneſs and innocency, and becauſe of his incomparable meekneſs and patience: He is a Lamb without blemiſh, and without ſpot, 1 Pet. i. 19. and his meekneſs was matchleſs, of which more afterward: he is the Lamb of God, the worthy Lamb, the Lamb that was ſlain.
I ſhall only here mention four periods wherein ⟨⟩ is repreſented as a Lamb.
1. In his deſignation from the beginning, yea, from all eternity to be a ſacrifice to ſatisfy divine ⟨⟩: hence, Rev. xiii. 8. he is called 'the Lamb ſlain from the foundation of the world;' ſlain de(illegible text)retively, in the purpoſe of God, before the foundation of the world was laid; and ſlain typically, in all the ſacrifices under the law.
2. In his manifeſtation, when he appeared in our nature, he is pointed out as the Lamb that was come to be a ſacrifice for ſin, John i. 29. 'Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the ſins of the world;' and again, ver. 36. Behold the Lamb of God. To this purpoſe ſays the ſame beloved ⟨⟩, 1 John iii. 5. You know that he was manifeſted to take away our ſin.'
3. In his humiliation unto death, he is repreſented as the meek and patient Lamb, Acts viii. 32. 'He was led as a Lamb to the ſlaughter; and as a ſheep before his shearers is dumb, ſo he opened not his mouth; which are the words of the prophet, Iſa. liii. 7. Thus ſaith the Lord by the ſame prophet, ch. 1. 5. 6. He was not rebellious, neither turned away back; I gave my back to the ſmiter, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from ſhame and ſpitting.'
4. In his exaltation, or in the exalted eſtate, he is in ſcripture repreſented as a Lamb, particularly. Rev. v. 6. 'And I behold, and lo, in the midſt of the throne and in the midſt of the elders, ſtood a Lamb as it had been ſlain,' &c. This is the place that our preſent text hath a reference unto and therefore, concerning it you may obſerve the deſcription given of this Lamb.
(1.) As the Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne, of which more afterward. Only, you ſee, in his exalted eſtate at the Father's right hand, he is ⟨⟩ the Lamb; change of place hath not made him change his name, or nature: he took our human nature along with him; and he is still the meek and lowly Lamb, though he be upon the throne.
(2.) He is described by being a Lamb ſlain, (illegible text) Lamb as it had been ſlain. He appears with the marks of his ſufferings upon him, to ſhow that he interceeds in heaven in the virtue of his ſatisfaction because he entred the holy place by his own blood Heb. ix. 12. And the virtue of the ſacrifice he offered is always freſh, as if he were newly ſlain.
(3.) He is deſcribed as a Lamb having ſeven horns: pointing out the perfection of his power to execute all the will of God, and to conquer all ⟨⟩ enemies. This Lamb is the power of God.
(4.) He is described as a Lamb having ſeven eyes; pointing out the perfection of his wiſdom, to underſtand all the will of God, and to do it in the moſt effectual manner. As he is the Power of God, ſo he is the Wisdom of God; for he hath the Spirit of God above meaſure: therefore it is ſaid, The ſeven eyes are the ſeven ſpirits of God; not ſeven in number or in nature, but in reſpect of the diverſity of the gifts and operations of that one and eternal Spirit of God: this Lamb of God, then, is he that hath the Spirit of the Lord God upon him, for the hath anointed him; and he is anointed, that he may anoint. And, O may the Lamb, with the ſeven eyes, look upon this aſſembly, and give eyes to us to ſee his glory this day, that our hearts may join iſſue with the heavenly company, Rev. v. 12. Worthy is the Lamb that was ſlain, to receive power and riches, and wiſdom, and ſtrength, and honour, and glory, and bleſſing.
II. The next thing we propoſed, was a word concerning the throne. Here we would ſhortly conſider, what for a throne it is, and why called a throne.
1ſt, What kind of a throne it is which the Lamb is ſaid to be in the midſt of? I may anſwer, It is the throne of God, Rev. xxii. 1, 3. There it is called the throne of God and of the Lamb; the throne of God is the throne of the Lamb, and the throne of the Lamb is the throne of God; it is the throne of his grace, the throne of his glory, the throne of his holineſs, and the throne of his juſtice.
1. It is called the throne of divine grace, Heb. iv. 16. Let us come boldly to the throne of grace. Why? becauſe we have a High-prieſt there; the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne. And, indeed, the throne of grace is nothing elſe than a God in Chriſt, a God reconciled in Chriſt, a God upon a mercy-ſeat, ſprinkled with the blood of Chriſt.
2. It is called the throne of divine glory, Jer. xiv. 21. 'Do not diſgrace the throne of thy glory; remember, break not covenant with us.' The prophet there ſpeaks of the temple, and the ark in it, the ſymbol of God's preſence; which was typical of Chriſt, in whom the covenant of grace ſtands faſt: and ſo it is called the throne of glory, becauſe all the glory of God ſhines about the throne. As the grace of God is the glory of God, ſo all the glory of God ſhines in the face of Jeſus Chriſt: therefore,
3. It is called a throne of divine holineſs, Pſal. xlvii. 8, God ſitteth upon the throne of his holineſs. Holineſs becomes his houſe, holineſs becomes his throne, and holineſs is his throne; there is nothing there, but the holy God, the holy Lamb, the holy throne; and they that are about it cry, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hoſts, Iſa. vi. 3.
4. It is called the throne of his juſtice, Pſal. lxxxix. 14. 'Juſtice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne. And Pſal. xcvii. 2. Clouds and darkneſs are round about him, yet righteouſneſs and judgment are the habitation of his throne.' His glorious and holy throne of grace ſtands firm upon the baſe and foundation of juſtice ſatisfied for the ſinner, and judgment execute againſt ſin, in the blood of the Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne. It is therefore no hindrance or impediment to our acceſs to the throne of grace, that it is alſo a throne of juſtice; but rather a furtherance and encouragement, becauſe there 'grace reigns through righteouſneſs unto eternal life by Jeſus Chriſt,' Rom. v. 21. And, ſince grace reigns there through juſtice-ſatisfying righteouſneſs, why then, there God may with honour meet with ſinners, and there ſinners may with hope draw near to God. —This is the throne of God and of the Lamb.
2dly, Why it is called a throne? The place, in the midſt whereof the Lamb is, is called a throne, on theſe accounts;
1. A throne is a place of powerful and majeſtic glory', honour, and dignity. Jeſus Chriſt, the Lamb, is ſet in the midſt of this place, crowned with glory and honour, Heb. ii. 9. His Father hath crowned him King there, ſaying, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.
2. A throne is a place of power and authority: Chriſt the Lamb, is ſet in the midſt of this throne; for, 'All power in heaven and earth is given to him,' Matth. xxviii. 18. All judgment is committed to him; and the government is upon his shoulders.
3. A throne is a place of height and eminency. Chriſt the Lamb, is in the midſt of this place, Isa. vi. 7. I ſaw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple.' His Father hath ſet him on the higheſt throne; he hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name.'
4. A throne is a place of plenty; thence the royal bounty is communicated. Chriſt, the Lamb, is in the midſt of this place; hence it is ſaid, Col. i. 19. 'It pleaſed the Father that in him ſhould fulneſs dwell;' and again, 'In him are hid all the treaſures of wiſdom and knowledge, all the treaſures of grace: and out of his fulneſs we all receive, and grace for grace,' John i. 6.
5. A throne is a place of beauty as well as bounty; is a beautiful and ſplendid place. And to ſee the Lamb in the midſt of the throne, is to ſee the King in his beauty, Iſa. xxxiii. 17. 'Strength is within his holy place, and there doth beauty ſhine;' there doth glory ſhine.
6. In a word, a throne is a place of pleaſure, peace, joy, and triumph. The Lamb is in the midſt of this place: having aſcended up on high, and led captivity captive, Pſal. lxviii. 18. he ſits triumphant upon the throne, making all his enemies his footſtool. If he triumphed over them on the croſs, as it is ſaid, Col. ii. 15. how much more does he triumph over them on the throne, making all believers ſharers of his joyful triumph!
III. The third thing I propoſed was, To ſhew how the Lamb comes to be upon the throne. I ſhall tell you in a few words, that he bargained for the throne, he wrought for the throne, he fought for the throne, he died for the throne.
1. He bargained for the throne. In the counſel of peace, betwixt the Father and the Son, it was promiſed to Chriſt, that, upon his doing and ſuffering for his people, he ſhould have a glorious throne, and a numerous retinue: that he ſhould ſee his ſeed, and ſee the travel of his ſoul, and be ſatisfied, Iſa, liii. 10, 11. The Lamb cries out, it is a bargain that I chearfully go in to: 'Lo I come; in the volume of thy book it is written of me: I delight to do thy will, O my God; thy law is within my heart; Pſal. xl. 7, 8. Hence says the Father, I have made a covenant with my choſen,' Pſal. lxxxix. 3.
2. He wrought for the throne. According to the bargain and covenant between the Father and him, he brought in everlaſting righteouſneſs, Dan. ix. 24. he fulfilled all righteouſneſs, Matth. iii. 15. And hence he claims the crown and the throne; 'I have glorified thee on earth, I have finiſhed the work thou gaveſt me to do: And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine ownſelf, with the glory I had with thee before the world was,' John xvii. 4, 5. Thus he wrought for the throne.
3. He fought for the throne. Ye may ſee how he fought,, Iſa. lxiii 1, 2, 3. 'Who is this that cometh from Edom, with died garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatneſs of his ſtrength? I that ſpeak in righteouſneſs, mighty to ſave. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel? and thy garments like him that tradeth in the wine fat? And on this account the Lamb ſits upon a triumphant throne, having ſpoiled principalities and powers; bruiſed the head of the old ſerpent; deſtroyed the works of the Devil; and come off the field like a victorious conqueror. Therefore the Lord ſaid unto our Lord, Sit thou at my right hand,' Pſal. cx. 1. where you read both of the bloody battle, and the glorious enthronement of the Lamb.
4. He died for the throne: 'Having drunk of the brook in the way, therefore did he lift up the head,' Pſal. cx. 7. And, becauſe 'he became obedient unto the death, even the death of the croſs: therefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name,' Phil. ii. 8, 9. When he had the croſs upon his back, he had the throne in his eye; 'For the joy that was ſet before him he endured the croſs, despiſing the ſhame, and is now ſet down at the right hand of the throne of God, Heb. xii. 2. And thus, 'for the ſuffering of death he was crowned with glory and honour,' chap. ii. 9. Our faith then may ſee and be ſatisfied how he came by the throne. But for widening and increaſing faith's view of this enthronement, I proceed,
IV. To the next thing propoſed, namely, To ſhow what may be imported in the Lamb's being in the midſt of the throne. And,
1. That the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne, ſpeaks forth the dignity of his perſon, his ſupreme deity, and equality with the Father. Though, in him infinite love, he thought it no diſparagement, at his Father's call, to 'make himſelf of no reputation, and take upon him the form of a ſervant; yet being in the form of God, he thought it no robbery to be equal with God,' Philip. ii. 6. And his Father thinks it no diſparagement to him, to call even the ſuffering Lamb, the crucified Jeſus, his fellow and equal; 'Awake, O ſword, againſt the man that is my fellow,' Zech. xiii. 7. yea, to crown him King upon his everlaſting throne, saying to him, 'Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever,' Heb. i. 8. O Sirs, if the Chriſt-diſparaging and ſoul-damning doctrine of Arians were true, the Lamb would not be worthy of ſuch a throne, far leſs the midſt of the throne.
2. That the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne, imports and ſpeaks forth the height of his exaltation. Beſide the natural right as God, that Chriſt hath to the throne, he hath a donative right as Mediator; and becauſe, as Mediator, he hath brought in glory to God in the higheſt; therefore, he is exalted to the higheſt throne that his Father can give him: 'I will make him my firſt-born, higher than the kings of the earth,' Pſal. lxxxix. 27. And now, according to his promiſe, 'Let all the houſe of Iſrael know aſſuredly, That God hath made that ſame Jeſus that was crucified, both Lord and Chriſt,' Acts ii. 36. And being now poſſeſſed of the throne, 'he hath on his veſture and on his thigh written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS;' and the rather that it is a ſcarlet robe, a veſture dipt in blood, Rev. xix. 13, 16. to ſhow, that it is the worthy Lamb that was ſlain that is in the midſt of the throne.
3. That the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne, imports, I think, the perfection of his mediation, and exactneſs thereof. O but this part of the throne be fit for him, and he fit for it! It well becomes him to be there; he is the middle perſon between the Father and the Holy Ghoſt, and the middle perſon between God and man; and it well becomes him to have the middle part of the throne. The Mediator and midsman having the midſt of the throne, it ſays, he is a perfect Mediator, a merciful and faithful High prieſt, Heb. ii. 17. faithful to God, and merciful to man; true to both parties, between whom he ſtands in the midſt of the throne.
4. That the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne, imports the beautiful order and equity of his adminiſtration. As the government is upon his ſhoulders, ſo 'It will be a juſt, righteous, and equal government, Behold a King ſhall reign in righteouſneſs; even the man that ſhall be a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempeſt, Iſa. xxxii. 1, 2. With righteouſneſs ſhall he judge the poor, and and reprove with equity, for the meek of the earth. Righteouſneſs ſhall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulneſs the girdle of his reins,' Iſa. xi. 4, 5. His adminiſtration ſhall be ſo righteous and equal, that none ſhall have occaſion to complain that he hath gone too far, either to the right-hand or to the left-hand of the throne: no; he will for ever keep the midſt of the throne; and his government, like his covenant, will be well-ordered in all things.
5. That the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne, imports the acceſſibleneſs of the throne of God on every hand. The Lamb is upon the throne of God, and therefore there is acceſs to the throne; for, the Lamb being there, clothed with his veſture dipped in blood, we may come boldly to the throne of grace, and have Boldneſs to enter into the holieſt by the blood of Jeſus, Heb. iv. 16. and x. 19. If the Lamb were not there, ſuch guilty ſinners durſt not be ſo bold as to look a juſt and holy God in the face, or approach to his throne: but, O good news! The Lamb being our forerunner, we may boldly go as far foreward, as the blood of the Lamb hath run in like a river before us; and that is to the very heart and centre of the throne of God. Yea, not only is the Lamb upon' the throne, which ſpeaks acceſs thither; but he is in the midſt of the throne, which ſpeaks acceſs on every hand, and on every ſide of the throne. If he were only placed at the one ſide of the throne, it might be thought there would be no acceſs at the other ſide; but being in the midſt of the throne, he is ready to welcome all comers from all quarters, saying, Whoſoever will, let him come, from eaſt, weſt, north, or ſouth; let him come on this side, or that side, on or directly before the throne; yea, let any poor creature, who thinks ſhame to be ſeen, come creeping, as it were, behind the throne, like the woman with the bloody iſſue, who came behind him, ſaying, If I may but touch his garment, I ſhall be whole. O to get in if it were behind the throne this day; to get a touch of the royal robes of the Lamb which is in the midſt of the throne! Welcome ſinner, there is acceſs on every hand of the throne, for the Lamb is in the midſt of it. The Lamb of God, which lies in the midſt of his Father's boſom, he ſits in the midſt of his Father's throne to welcome and receive all comers, ſaying, Him that cometh, I will in no ways caſt out.
6. That the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne imports, that the Lamb is the centre of all the glory that ſurrounds and encompaſſes the throne of God, or the throne of grace. —He is the centre of divine fulneſs, and of all the glorious perfections of God; for, in him dwells all the fulneſs of the Godhead bodily, Col. ii. 9. Every attribute of God ſhines gloriouſly in the face of Jeſus Chriſt. —He is the centre of all divine truth; and we cannot know any precious goſpel truths, or myſteries, in a ſaving and ſatisfying manner, unleſs we know the truth as it is in Jeſus, Eph.iv. 21. —He is the centre of all divine promiſes, being the centre of the covenant of grace, in whom it ſtands faſt, and in whom all the promises are, yea and amen, to the glory of God, 2 Cor. i. 20. —He is the centre of all divine bleſſings; for, God bleſſes us with all ſpiritual bleſſings in heavenly places, only in Chriſt, Eph. i. 3. —He is the centre of all divine grace; for, it is out of his fulneſs that we receive and grace for grace, John i. 16. —He is the centre of all divine comfort; for, he is the conſolation of Iſrael, and he is 'anointed with the oil of joy and gladneſs above his fellows, Pſal. xlv. 7. that he may anoint with the ſame oil, and bring his people to fellowſhip with him in the ſame Spirit of joy and conſolation, according to their meaſure. —He is the centre of all ſaving offices: being, as a Prophet, the wiſdom of God, for our illumination; as a Prieſt, the righteouſneſs of God, for our juſtification; and, as a King, the power of God, for our ſanctification. —He is the centre of all ſweet relations; the Saviour, the Surety, the head, the huſband, the all and in all of his people; their light and life, and ſtrength, and righteouſneſs, and rock, and refuge, and portion. —He is the centrical place, where God and man may meet together; for, he dwells between the cherubims, on the mercy-ſeat, and over theſe; There will I meet with thee, Exod. xxv. 22. There will I commune with thee. And no communion with God can we have but in him, who is the Lamb in the midſt of the throne, and middle perſon between God and us. —In a word, being in the centre of the throne, he is the centre of all things: he is the centre of all the ſins of the redeemed, for their expiation; for, 'the Lord hath laid on him, [or, made to meet in him,] the iniquity of us all,' Iſa. liii. 6. —And the centre of all their ſervice, for their acceptation; for, we are accepted in the Beloved, Eph. i. 6. And thus he is ſomeway the centre of all things; for, as all things are in his hands, ſo all things in heaven and earth are ſaid to meet in him, Eph. i. 10. Col.i. 20. And therefore, the Lamb who is in the midſt and centre of the throne, ought to be the centre of our hearts and affections, the centre of our love and delight. Thus, among other things, he is the centre of all our proviſion. Which leads to,
V. The fifth, thing propoſed, which was, to view the benefit of feeding that iſſues from the Lamb's being in the midſt of the throne; He ſhall feed them. Whatever other paſtoral care, rule, or government this word imports; yet I ſhall, becauſe this is a feaſt-day, conſider that part of his paſtoral care that is here expreſt by the word Feed: 'The Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne ſhall feed them.' If I were to enlarge upon this ſubject, I might tell you how the Lamb feeds his church and people, with the manifeſtations of his glory, with the intimations of his love, with the communications of his grace, and with the conſolations of his Spirit: but I confine, myſelf to the doctrine of the Lamb being in the midſt of the throne; and therefore I ſhall ſpeak to his feeding only as it relates to that doctrine. The Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne is the food; the Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne is the feeder; and the Lamb's being in the midſt of the throne makes the feeding of thoſe that are the followers of the Lamb, to have the following qualities. All our ſacramental food and proviſion, this day, muſt come from the throne of God, and of the Lamb. Therefore,
1. It muſt be kindly food and proviſion that comes from that throne, ſince the Lamb is in the midſt of it. The meek Lamb, the loving Lamb, that 'feeds his flock like a ſhepherd, gathers the lambs with his arms, carries them in his boſom, and gently leads thoſe that are with young, Iſa. xl. 11. He makes them to lie down in green paſtures,' Pſal. xxiii. 2. He makes them to go out and in and find paſture, John X. 9. It is ſweet and eaſy, and kindly feeding, that iſſues from the Lamb in the midſt of the throne. And yet,
2. It muſt be powerful feeding that comes from ⟨⟩; it is from the throne of power: and, indeed, you will not feed to advantage this day, unleſs power come from the throne to make you take your food. It is the work of the Lambs in the midſt of the throne, to feed by the efficacy of his grace: all the means and miniſters in the world cannot I make a ſoul open its mouth or heart for this food, will power come from the throne; and yet, when it cometh, it comes ſo ſweetly and kindly, that there is nothing like force or violence. The man is made as frank and free, in the going out after Chriſt, to be the food of his periſhing ſoul, as if there were no power at all put forth in the caſe. Power makes him eat and feed heartily; 'Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,' Pſal. cx. 3.
3. It must be ſpiritual feeding that comes from the Lamb in the midſt of the throne; for his throne, his kingdom, is a ſpiritual kingdom, it is not of this world: The fleſh profits nothing; his words are ſpirit and life. Food for the soul muſt be ſpiritual food: 'The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteouſneſs, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghoſt, Rom. xiv. 17.
4. It muſt be plentiful proviſion and feeding that comes from the Lamb in the midſt of the throne; for it is a rich throne, and all fulneſs is there. There is plenty of wiſdom, righteouſneſs, ſanctification, and redemption; abundance of all ſorts. Here is wiſdom enough, for the moſt ignorant; righteouſneſs enough, for the moſt guilty: ſanctification enough, for the moſt filthy; redemption enough, for the moſt ruined; comfort enough, for the moſt ſorrowful; ſtrength enough, for the weakeſt; 'They ſhall be abundantly ſatisfied with the fatneſs of thy houſe,' Pſal. xxxvi. 8. O the plenty that is about the throne! Plenty of divine perfections to feed upon, when viewed in Chriſt. Indeed, the mildeſt attributes of God, out of Chriſt, will me a terrible fight; but the moſt terrible attributes of God, in Chriſt, are a pleaſant feaſt; even justice, holiness, and truth. Here is plenty of promiſes to feed upon, while the performance is delayed. Every thing in Chriſt is a feaſt; his names, and natures, offices, life, death, reſurrection, aſcenſion, interceſſion; his merit, his Spirit, his word, his fleſh, his blood, and his victory.
5. It muſt be ſuitable food that comes from this quarter; for, the Lamb, being in the midſt of the throne, will diſtribute equally and ſuitably. He cannot possibly fail and miſcarry, by giving too much, or too little: being in the middle of the throne, and the middle person between God and man, to communicate, what is ſuitable for God to give, and ſuitable for man to have, no more and no leſs does he communicate, becauſe he is the Lamb in the midſt of the throne. And, indeed, as a key is ſuited to a lock, so is Chriſt's fulneſs to our wants. We are diſeaſed, he is a phyſician; we are loſt, he is a Saviour; we are debtors, he is a ſurety; we are dead, he is life; we are blind, he is eye-ſalve; we are naked, he is clothing; we are troubled, he is reſt; are we bewildered? he is a guide: are we in danger? he is a guard: are we benighted? he is a ſun: are we aſſaulted? he is a ſhield. —Who in heaven or earth can thus ſupply our wants, heal our wounds, bear our burdens, ſweeten our afflictions, ſubdue our enemies, as Chriſt? O ſuitable feeding to the ſoul is here in all caſes!
6. It muſt be joyful feeding and proviſion that comes from the Lamb in the midſt of the throne; for the throne is a place of joy and triumph. Here muſt be the choiceſt cheer, amidſt the choiceſt company, God, and Chriſt, and angels, and ſaints. There is as much ſweetneſs in Chriſt, as there is fulneſs and ſuitableneſs: he is the fountain of ſweetneſs; his mouth is moſt ſweet, his preſence is moſt ſweet, his fruits are moſt ſweet; I ſat down under his ſhadow with great delight, ſays the church, and his fruit was ſweet to my taſte, Song ii. 3. Here are the ſweet rivers of living waters, that drive away all death and ſorrow, as it follows here in the text.
7. It muſt be free proviſion and feeding that comes from the Lamb in the midſt of the throne. There is nothing to pay about a throne; this would be a diſgrace and diſparagement to the prince that poſſeſſes the throne; ſo here, all is to be had freely. The fineſt feaſt is always the freeſt, Iſa. lv. 1. The legaliſts, that cannot feed upon Christ and his righteouſneſs freely, but only on their own works and duties, they feed upon aſhes: the legal preacher, that cannot offer Chriſt freely, is like the unnatural fathers, that, when their children aſk bread, give them a ſtone; when they aſk a fiſh, give them a ſcorpion. What is our beſt performances but ſcorpions, ſerpents, ſtones, yea, poiſon to them that make them their ſoul-food? Nothing can feed the ſoul but Chriſt. Rabſhaken threatned to make all the people on the wall to eat their own dung, 2 Kings xviii. 26. the legal preacher accompliſhes this threatning, in a ſpiritual ſenſe; our beſt works are but dung; I will ſpread the dung of your ſacrifices on your faces, even the dung of your ſolemn feaſts. But, O Sirs, here the fineſt and ſweeteſt feaſt is the freeſt; from the throne of grace proceed all bleſſings freely.
8. It muſt be durable proviſion and feeding that comes from the Lamb in the midſt of the throne: for he ever lives upon the throne, and his throne is for ever and ever; and therefore everlaſting food comes from thence, and food that nouriſhes to everlaſting life: I am the living bread that came down from heaven, ſays Chriſt; if any man eat of this bread, he ſhall live for ever, John vi. 51. Here is proviſion for eternity, Labour not for the meat that periſheth, ſays Chriſt, but for that meat that endures to everlaſting life, which the Son of man ſhall give unto you, John vi. 27. What a fool was he, that filled his barns, and then ſaid, Soul, take thy reſt, thou haſt goods laid up for many years! while God ſaid to him, Thou fool, this night thy ſoul ſhall be required of thee. But, O what wiſdom were it to lay up for eternity this day, that death may not be able to rob you of your ſtore, but that ye may have it all before your hand! The Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne lives for ever there to feed; he lives for ever to make interceſſion; he lives for ever to make proviſion: they have everlaſting food, who have the Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne to feed them. —Thus you ſee what ſort of feeding is to be had under the throne of the Lamb, and who it is that muſt cover our table this day, even the Lamb in the midſt of the throne; he hath mounted the throne, to be a feeder, and to let down bleſſings to the footſtool.
VI. The last thing propoſed was the application. Is it ſo, that our Lord Jeſus is the Lamb in the midſt of the throne? Hence we may infer theſe following particulars.
1. Surely we need not be aſhamed of a crucified Chriſt, nor our Chriſtian paſſover this day, the Lamb that was ſacrificed for us. Since now the Lamb is upon the throne, and in the midſt of the throne, the ſhame and reproach of the croſs is wiped away, with the glory and ſplendor of the throne. We need not be aſhamed of the croſs of Chriſt, who is now in the midſt of the throne. Let none despiſe thoſe that eſpouſe the cauſe and intereſt of the Lamb, whatever hardſhips they may be brought under before courts, councils, and judicatories on earth: they need not be aſhamed to go forth unto him, without the camp, bearing his reproach. The great apostle Paul ſays, God forbid I ſhould glory, ſave in the croſs of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt. O believer, it is our greateſt glory to be bearing his croſs, who is now wearing the crown; to be followers of the Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne.
2. Hence we may learn, that the church of God is ſafe, ſince the Lamb that is their head is in the midſt of the throne. Believers in Chriſt are happy and ſafe; their head and huſband, their Lord and King, is upon the throne: the militant church, the fighting remnant, are in no great danger while he hath the government. Perhaps there are ſome here, like Eli, whoſe hearts are trembling for the ark of God, and the work of God at this day, when ſo many axes and hammers are lifted up againſt the carved work of the doctrine, worſhip, diſciple and government of God's house: but let this be matter of joy to their hearts, that the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne; and therefore, as he rules in Jacob to the end of the earth, and over-rules all damage done to his houſe, ſo he will make it appear in the iſſue, that according to his word, Upon all the glory there ſhall be a defence, Iſa. vi. 5.
3dly, Hence we may learn, that the enemies of Chriſt may have a quaking heart, ſince the Lamb, whom they deſpiſe, is in the midſt of the throne. His Father, that ſet him on the throne, hath ſaid Pſal. lxxxix. 23. 'I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. The heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing; the kings of the earth ſet themſelves, and the rulers take counſel againſt the Lord and his anointed, ſaying, Let us break their bands, and caſt their cords from us. But he that ſits in heaven ſhall laugh, the Lord ſhall have them in deriſion:' having ſet his king upon his holy hill in Zion, he will 'break them in pieces with a rod of iron, and ſhall daſh them in pieces like a potter's veſſel, Pſal. ii. 1,-9. The Lord reigns, let the people tremble; He dwells between the cherubims, let the earth 'be moved,' Pſal. xcix. 1. The Lamb being in the midſt of the throne, is matter of terror to the enemies of his glory; for he ſits upon the throne of power, and the Lamb will be a lion to tear them to pieces.
4. Hence we may learn, there is a ſure foundation laid for the faith and hope of life and juſtification by the blood of the Lamb. Since the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne, the throne of grace is the door of hope; and that our hearts may be raiſed and lifted up to a lively hope, the Lamb that was ſlain is raiſed and lifted up to the throne. Did he riſe again for our juſtification? and does his reſurrection ſeal upon our conſciences the ſufficiency of his death, and the acceptableneſs of his righteouſneſs unto God? Much more may our faith and hope be confirmed herein, that he is exalted to the midſt of the throne; for his Father had never put ſo much honour upon him, had he not been infinitely well-pleaſed and ſatisfied with his obedience unto the death. We may now read the dream, that Jacob had at Bethel, Gen. xxviii. 12. Behold a ladder ſet upon the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; the ladder is the Lamb; the foot of the ladder was fixt in the midſt of the earth when he was here in a humbled eſtate, and now the top of the ladder is fixed in the midſt of the throne; all the rounds of it are compleated, that we may aſcend by this way from earth to heaven.
5. Hence we may learn, what good reaſon there is for having a high eſteem of Chriſt, ſince God hath ſo highly exalted him, to the very midſt of the throne. O believer, ſhould not Chriſt be very high in our valuation, when God hath ſet him ſo high! No wonder then that it is ſaid, If any man love not, nor eſteem our Lord Jeſus Chriſt, let him be Anathema Maran-atha; that is, accurſed until our Lord come, 1 Cor. xvi. 22. Woe will be to them that will not put honour upon him, whom God put ſo much honour upon, and that as our Redeemer and kinſman!
6. Hence learn, that the throne of God needs not be terrible to us, ſince the Lamb, the meek Lamb, is in the midſt of the throne; ſinners need not fear to go to the throne of God as long as the Lamb is there. If unbelief look toward the throne, it views it only as it is the throne of God, and ſo fills the ſoul with ſlavish fear, and frightful apprehenſions: but true faith views it as the throne of God and of the Lamb; and the view of the Lamb in the midſt of the throne, raiſes ſome joy, hope, and pleaſure in the midſt of the heart. Why, there is meekneſs, as well as majeſty: grace, as well as grandeur, about the throne, becauſe the Lamb is there.
7. Hence we may learn what ground there is to expect the great God to be preſent in the midſt of us this day, becauſe the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne. We would have no ground to expect that God would be with us on the footſtool, if Chriſt were not with God upon the throne. Chriſt promised, upon his aſcending to the throne, that he would be with his people, ſaying, Lo, I am with you always; Mat. xxviii. 20. He promiſed, when he went up to the throne, he would ſend down his Spirit, If I go away, I will ſend him, John xvi. 8. Therefore, if he be, by his Spirit, in the midſt of us this day, it is becauſe he is in the midſt of the throne. It is eaſy for him to be both ſitting gloriouſly in the midſt of the throne, and at the ſame time walking graciouſly in the midſt of the golden candle-ſticks, Rev. ii. 1. He is both the bleſt Λογος, the word of God; and the bleſt Immanuel, God with us. The ſeven ſpirits are ſaid to be before the throne. The Spirit of God is one, but his gifts, operations, and influences are various: and the Lamb, that is in the midſt of the throne, hath the Spirit to give; and, having ſaid that he will ſend him, O let us look to the throne, and thence expect the Spirit, according to his word.
8. Hence we may learn what is the mark of a worthy communicant, namely, if he be a true believer of this doctrine, that the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne. Let a man examine himſelf upon this, and ſo let him eat. I aſk not if you ſay you believe, or think you believe; but I call and injoin you, try if you truly believe that the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne. For helping you to this ſearch, you may conſider two things, namely, what view you have of this truth, and what virtue you find in it.
(1.) What view have you of this truth? If you truly believe it, then you view it with approbation. Is your heart ſatiſfied that the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne? Do you cordially approve of the Father's ſetting him ſo high? Did it ever fill your heart with joy and ſatisfaction, and with ſome ſecret pleaſure and exultation, that God hath put ſuch honour upon Jeſus? And have you received this truth in the love of it, and in the ſweetneſs of it? O did ever your heart leap as it were within you to think that the throne of God is alſo the throne of the Lamb, and ſo a throne open to you to come boldly unto by the blood of the Lamb, that encircles the throne like a rainbow? How does your heart ſtand affected to this truth? With the heart man believes unto righteouſneſs, Rom. x. 10.
(2.) What virtue have you found in this truth for leading you to enthrone Chriſt, as the Father hath done? As the Father hath ſet the Lamb in the midſt of the throne of glory; ſo have you ſet him in the midſt of the throne of your heart? Is he, that is in the midſt of the throne of God, in the midſt of the throne with you? Surely, to them that believe he is precious, [or, an honour,] as the word may be read, 1 Pet. ii. 7. And they put this honour upon him, even to ſet him in the midſt of the throne. O my dear friends, let me tell you, that by this you may try and examine yourſelf, and prove your ownſelf, whether Chriſt be in you: if he be in you at all, he will be in the midſt of the throne. You are not fit for a communion-table, and at your peril be it if you go, and yet ſome other thing than Chriſt have the throne of your heart: If ſelf be in the midſt of the throne, if your luſts be in the midſt of the throne, Chriſt is not in you. It is true, the heart of the believer, while here, is not quite free of ſin, and ſelf, and the world: they may fight for the throne, and many times they may ſeem to win the throne of their heart: but, ſure I am they never got peaceable poſſeſſion of the throne of their heart. The believer is free from peace with ſin, though he is never free from war with ſin in this world: his league with it is broken, he can never conſent to its rule and government any more; and hence, whenever ſin uſurps the throne, like Adonijah, then the believer enters his proteſt againſt it before the King of kings, ſaying, Lord, haſt thou not ſaid, that Solomon ſhall reign? Haſt thou not promiſed, that grace ſhall reign, and that ſin ſhall not have the dominion? O down, down with this uſurper; and let Chriſt have his own proper room and place, which is the midſt of the throne. Hath virtue come from the throne of the Lamb to enable you to enthrone Chriſt in the midſt of your heart? Hath he the throne of your eſteem, the throne of your delight, the throne of your affection? Felt you ever any virtue coming down from the throne of Christ, to dethrone ſin, and to draw your heart up to the throne of God? Did you ever find ſo much grace deſcending from the throne, as to make your hearts aſcend to the throne? And, is it the view of the Lamb's being there, that fires your heart, and makes it flame upward to the very midſt of the throne where he is? Again,
Laſtly, Hence we may learn the duty of ſinners that hear this doctrine of the Lamb's being in the midſt of the throne. I think it is your duty, yea, ſure I am it is your duty, to come and ſee the Lamb in the midſt of the throne, to come and match with the Lamb, and then to come to the marriage ſupper of the Lamb.
(1.) It is your duty to come and ſee this great ſight, the Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne. If the queſtion be, Where is the Lamb? The anſwer is, In the midſt of the throne. But, if the queſtion again be, Where is the throne, that we may ſee it, and the Lamb in the midſt of it? We anſwer, God's throne of glory is properly in heaven; but his throne of grace is really on earth, as well as in heaven; it is erected in the church, and in this goſpel diſpenſation; declaring that God is in Chriſt reconciling the world to himſelf. A God in Chriſt is a throne of grace every where, and a glorious throne every where is the place of our ſanctuary; Jer. xvii. 12. Hence, when the apoſtle says, Let us come boldly to the throne, he does not mean locally climbing up to heaven, but believingly approaching to God in Chriſt, as held forth in the goſpel of his grace. Why then, as Chriſt is in the midſt of the throne, ſo the throne is in the midſt of this houſe.
Queſt. What will we ſee, if we come and ſee the Lamb in the midſt of the throne?
Anſw. You will ſee the throne of God is patent to ſinners, because the Lamb is there, and that there is acceſs with boldneſs from all quarters, at every ſide of the throne, becauſe the Lamb is in the midſt of it. The blood of the Lamb encircles the throne, and ſprinkles the mercy-ſeat; and therefore, guilty ſinners may come, through this guilt-expiating blood. Here you will ſee the moſt dreadful attributes of God diveſted of all their dread and terror, and appearing amiable. Infinite holineſs and infinite juſtice are awful attributes, and both are upon the throne of God, but the Lamb is in the midſt of them; holineſs is gratified, justice is ſatiſfied, every attribute is glorified; 'Mercy and truth meet together, righteouſneſs and peace kiſs each other,' and all harmoniouſly conſpire, becauſe the Lamb is in the midſt of them. The mildeſt attributes would be dreadful to ſinners, if the Lamb were not in the midſt of them, but the moſt terrible attributes are amiable and lovely, when you ſee the Lamb in the midſt of them.
Here you will ſee the moſt terrible diſpenſations of God ſmiling in your face, when you ſee the Lamb in the midſt of them; for, though clouds and darkneſs are round about him, yet righteouſneſs and judgment are the habitation of his throne. He that rides in heaven by his name Jah, and makes the clouds his chariots, as he ſits in the midſt of his throne; ſo he ſits in the midſt of the cloudy and dark diſpenſations of our day, to order and over-rule. Black clouds are over the church of Scotland, and the government, as it is in the hands of men, is all in diſorder and confuſion, and turning upſide down; but, if you ſee the Lamb in the midſt of theſe diſpenſations, you will ſee that the government is upon ⟨⟩ shoulders; and that not only juſtice and judgment are ⟨⟩ habitation of his throne, but that juſtice and judgment ſit with mercy and grace; and that God hath ſet ⟨⟩ glorious deſign on foot, however terrible to ⟨⟩ enemies, yet merciful to all the followers of the Lamb.
In a word, here you will ſee all the glory of God, when you ſee the Lamb in the midſt of the throne. O the throne of glory is a throne of grace, becauſe the Lamb is there; the throne of juſtice is a throne of mercy, becauſe the Lamb is there; the throne of infinite holineſs is acceſſible by guilty ſinners, becauſe the Lamb is there. O come and ſee.
(2.) It is your duty to come and match with the Lamb. O ſinner, who hath been married to the ⟨⟩ hitherto, married to your luſts, married to the world; O man, woman, whether old or young, will you come and be the bride, the Lamb's wife? ⟨⟩ the word is, Rev. xix. 7. Let none dare to go to the marriage ſupper of the Lamb, to the communion-table, until once they have given their heart and hand to the Son of God, and joined in marriage with the Lamb; and, O may this be a marriage-day. It is a great part of our work to court a bride for the Lamb, and then to lead her to the table; and, O may drawing power come from the throne, to draw out many hearts after him! O ⟨⟩, the Son of God, the Lamb of God, is come to court your heart, ſaying, My ſon, give me thy heart; and he is come to offer himſelf to thee, man; to thee, woman, ſaying, 'Behold me, behold me; come to me, that you may have life.' What for a match would you have? Would you be well married, and happy in a huſband to all eternity?
1. Are you for an honourable match, a royal match? O here is the King of kings; the Lamb it the midſt of the throne; the head of all principalities and powers.
2. Are you for a rich and opulent match? Here is the Lamb in the midſt of the throne, in whom are hid unſearchable riches, and all the fulneſs of the Godhead; everlaſting treaſures of grace and glory.
3. Are you for a bountiful match? O there is none like the Lamb in the midſt of the throne for a generous ſpirit, willing and ready to lay out all his riches, that out of his fulneſs ye may receive and grace for grace.
4. Are you for a beautiful match? Behold the Lamb in the midſt of the throne, the King in his beauty; he is white and ruddy, and altogether lovely: no wonder, for he is the brightneſs of the Father's glory; all the glory of God ſhines in his face. Some of God's glory in the works of creation, the ſun, moon, and ſtars; ſome of it in the work of providence: but all the glory of God is here. He is the temple of God, and there doth beauty ſhine, Pſal. xcvi. 6.
5. Are you for a loving, as well as a lovely match? Behold, the Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne is a mirror of love, without all dimenſion: 'O the heighth and depth, the length and breadth of his love!' He loved and prayed for his enemies that murdered him; and how then muſt he love his friends that will match with him? Again,
6. Are you for a beloved match, who is valued and eſteemed of all whoſe love and eſteem is worth the regarding? O! the Lamb in the midſt of the throne is beloved of all the holy angels, they admire and adore him; he is beloved of all the ſaints in heaven and earth, they ſay, This is our beloved; he is beloved of God the Father, who ſays, 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleaſed:' he is hated of none but the devil, and his wicked crew.
7. In a word, are you for an immortal match? Well, here is the Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne, he lives for ever and ever: 'I am he that was dead, and am alive, and behold, I live for evermore.' The beſt friends here in this world are mortal, and may leave you in a moment; but the Lamb is the King eternal and immortal: he lives for ever, and he can make you live for ever. O mortal worms, whoſe bodies will be laid in the duſt in a few days or hours, and who have nothing but a thin wall of fleſh between you and eternity; are ye for a match that can abundantly jointure you for another world, and portion you for eternity? Is this a deſpicable bargain? Are your luſts and idols, and periſhing vanities of a world, a better bargain? Nay, you dare not ſay it for your life. This very offer of Chriſt, accept or reject it as you will, is worth ten thouſand worlds.
8. Are you for a match that can pay all your debt to law and juſtice, that can ſupply all your wants, that can heal all your diſeaſes, that can bear all your burdens, ſanctify all your croſſes, ſweeten all your afflictions, ſubdue all your enemies, manage all your concerns, and make you happy for ever? Then come and match with the Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne: a greater offer cannot be made to you than this moſt glorious King, upon the moſt glorious throne. O great propoſal! Wonder, men, and angels, at this goſpel-offer! Be aſtonished, O heavens and earth! If ſuch a matchleſs match be offered and rejected, all the angels and ſaints that are about his throne will cry, Shame upon you for ever, that reject and refuſe ſuch a bargain, and we muſt ſay, Amen; everlaſting ſhame muſt be upon you. What was the Gadarenes blaſphemy, but their preferring their ſwine to our Lord Jeſus Chriſt, when he was upon the earth, and not yet upon the throne? But greater is your blaſphemy, O ſinner, if you prefer your ſwiniſh luſts to our glorious Lord, now exalted to the throne. What! Prefer the ſwine, that are in the midſt of the dung-hill, to the Lamb in the midſt of the throne! O baſe, brutiſh, mad, and deviliſh blaſphemy!
I hope, by this time there are none hearing me, but are ſo ſelf-convicted, that they ſee they muſt condemn themſelves if they reject ſuch an offer as is made to them; and therefore, I take witneſs upon it, that when the Lamb, that is now in the midſt of the throne of grace, will be the Lamb in the midſt of the throne of judgment at the laſt day, ye muſt own that the ſentence of condemnation, that ſhall be then paſt againſt you, will be juſt and righteous, if you ſtand to your refuſal: therefore, tho' this ſhould be a rejected offer to-day, yet it ſhall redound to the honour of the Lamb at the great day, inſomuch that the condemnation of you will be the juſtification of him; your own conſciences witneſs, that he will be juſt when he ſpeaks, and clear when he judges, and adjudges you to hell and damnation, becauſe of your neglecting the great ſalvation, and rejecting the offer of the great Saviour, the Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne. By way of anticipation, the tribunal is now erected before-hand in your boſom, where God's deputy, conſcience, ſits as the judge; and there the Lamb is aſſolized as free of your blood, and the ſentence comes forth that your blood is upon your own head. Well, I hope your judgment is perſuaded of this, that such an offer is made to you, as is worthy of all acceptation: but, O Sirs, ſince the judgment may be informed and gained, while yet the heart is not engaged; therefore, tho' faith come by hearing what a worthy Lamb is offered to you, yet bare hearing will not do without the heart drawing power of the Spirit which is before the throne: and therefore, this being the pure cryſtal river, that proceeds out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, Rev. xxii. 32. that this river of the drawing influences of the Spirit may run down among you, I will put the best rope in your hand that I know for bringing down this bleſſing; it is even the Lamb's own ſweet promiſe, John xii. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. Where obſerve, 1. The perſons concerned.' 2. The promiſe. And, 3. The condition of it.
[1.] The persons concerned, all men. There is an all among ſinful men, that Chriſt the ſecond Adam hath to draw to him; theſe were given of the Father to him, and they ſhall come, John vi. 37. Yea, theſe he must bring to him, John x. 16. He muſt draw them, and they ſhall hear his voice. But, leſt any ſhould hereupon ſay, perhaps I am not among the number of the ſecond Adam's all, that he is to draw; perhaps I am excluded by the ſecret counſel, or hidden decree of God from all eternity. Therefore, I tell you what may ſatisfy you fully upon this point, that the Lamb, that now is in the midſt of his Father's throne, was in the midſt of his father's counſels from all eternity; the Lamb was at that council-table: therefore, let not the thoughts of the eternal decree be terrible and dreadful to you; for the Lamb was upon the concert, and therefore nothing paſt at that council to the prejudice of any poor ſinner, that would venture his ſoul upon the blood of the Lamb. It was concerted there that the ground and object of faith ſhould be no hidden counſel, no paſt decree, but a preſent openly declared truth; namely, that the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne; and that whoſoever will, might come to him; and him that comes, he will in no wiſe caſt out: and, therefore, if you venture your life and ſalvation upon the Lamb that is at preſent upon the throne of grace, you have nothing either paſt or future to fear; neither any paſt decree, or any future wrath: and now, by this free offer of Chriſt to you all, God is accompliſhing his glorious decree, that you may be for ever happy upon your acceptance, or for ever inexcuſable upon your refuſal.
[2.] The promiſe, which is, I will draw all men after me. In caſe any ſhould ſay, there is indeed a free offer, and a good bargain; but I have a reluctant as well as a deceitful heart; I cannot embrace the offer, nor bring up my heart to cloſe with Chriſt, and make up the match. Why, here is the encouraging promiſe, I will draw; that is, I will ſend the Spirit to draw out your heart, to make it riſe and mount, like a flame, towards the throne, where the Lamb ſits. But, if I do not find this drawing power, what encouragement have I to look for it? Why, obſerve,
[3.] The condition of this promiſe, If I be lifted up from the earth; not an uncertain condition, depending upon us: but a ſure condition depending upon himself: If I be lifted up, or, when I am lifted up. Now, the condition is performed; Chriſt was not only lifted up upon the croſs, but now he is lifted up to the throne. Now, Chriſt ſaid, John xvi. 8. 'If I go to the Father, I will send the Spirit;' If I go to the throne, I will ſend down the Spirit in his drawing influences. And now, may you not plead, “Lord, the condition is performed, the time is come, thou art lift up, thou art upon the throne; therefore let the cryſtal river run down out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb?” is this the language of your heart and ſoul? Lord, draw, draw; thou that art the Lamb in the midſt of the throne, draw my heart to thee, according to thy word. Is your heart burning or beating, ſaying, “O I am the blackeſt, the vileſt ſinner that ever matched with ſuch a glorious one; but yet I find my heart beating and burning within me, ſaying, O to be drawn, O to have the Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne to erect his throne in the midſt of my heart, and to rule there in the midſt of his enemies, and to be all in all to me, for, wiſdom, righteouſneſs, ſanctification, and redemption to me?” Why then, we may ſay, your heart is the throne, and the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne. And, if the drawing power of his Spirit hath made up the match between him and you, we are warranted to lead you next to the marriage ſupper, where the Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne ſhall feed you.
A Word at the Cloſe of the Solemnity on the Monday.
BEFORE you go, I ſhall conclude this ſolemn work in two words, one directed to the enemies of the Lamb, and another to the lovers of the Lamb in the midſt of the throne.
Firſt, To you who are enemies to him. If the Lamb be in the midſt of the throne, then let ſinners ſtoop to him; O ſink down at his feet, and be content to be ruled by him: if you be ruled by your luſts, and by your ſins, you put Chriſt out of his throne in effect, and put your luſts in his room. O ſinner, consider how you croſs and contradict the great God by this means: he hath ſaid of Chriſt, Pſal. ii. 6. I have ſet my King upon my holy hill; I have ſet him in the midſt of the throne: and, are you ſaying to your luſts, Be ye king over me? Man, will ye live in ſin, and ſin againſt him that is in the midſt of God's throne? If a thief cut a purſe when the judge is upon the bench, and the ſentence ready to paſs againſt him, he is worthy to be hanged: Chriſt is on the bench, in the act of judgment; O man, beware of ſinning againſt him: be afraid, O ye that are enemies to the Lamb, Enemies in your minds by wicked works; It is hard for thee to kick againſt the pricks: can you harden yourſelf againſt God and proſper? Nay, you ſhall be ſo far from proſpering in this way, that the Lamb in the midſt of the throne hath a rod of iron, to break and daſh you to pieces. Conſider this, ye that forget God. The Lamb will in a little while be a lion, to tear you to pieces, when there ſhall be none to deliver. The Lamb is yet upon the throne of grace, inviting you; but it may be this is the laſt invitation you ſhall have, till you ſee him upon a judgment-ſeat: and what ſhall be the effect of theſe goſpel-offers ye have enjoyed? These ſolemn feaſts will not always laſt, and perhaps death will daſh you down to the duſt before another occaſion of this fort. Can you find in your heart to let Chriſt go, and this occaſion over, without getting any good of him? Are you content that ſalvation hath come ſo near you, and you loſe it for ever? If not, O will ye take the firſt opportunity of retiring to ſome corner, and crying to the Lamb in the midſt of the throne, to come and draw you, and back theſe precious means with his powerful bleſſing! He that is in the midſt of the throne hath been ſetting his throne in the midſt of Dunfermline, and ſaying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men! O let him not lift his tent till you be taken in!
Again, O crown him king whom God the Father hath crowned! O might this be his coronation day! A day of eſpouſals with the Lamb in his coronation-day: Go forth, O daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of bis eſpouſals, and in the day of the gladneſs of his heart, Song iii. 11. Happy day, if you could go away, ſaying, Such a day, at the communion of Dunfermline, Chriſt was crowned King; I beheld King Jeſus with the crown wherewith his father crowned him, and saw that the Father ſet him in the midſt of the throne, and I helped to put the crown upon his head; for, through grace, I ſet him in the midſt of the throne of my heart, and crowned him King there: I found in my heart to dethrone ſin, and enthrone Chriſt. O is Chriſt crowned King here! Hath no virtue come from the throne to draw my heart, as the adamant draws the iron? The clucking of the hen makes the chickens to run: goſpel-preaching is the voice of the Lord Jeſus; and much of this you have had theſe days bygone. O have you run under his wings? See what Chriſt ſays to Jeruſalem, Matth. xxiii. 37, 38. 'O Jeruſalem, Jeruſalem, how oft would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, ye would not! Behold your houſe is left unto you deſolate.' May we hope that God will not yet leave Scotland desolate, but that Chriſt will be crowned King in the church of Scotland? though he be robbed of his royalties, and notwithſtanding of all unwarrantable acts that tend to the hurt of his government, he is in the midſt of the throne.
2dly, To you that are the lovers of the Lamb. I offer firſt a word of comfort, and then a word of advice!
[1.] A word of comfort. Surely, though the earth ſhould be removed, and the mountains be caſt into the midſt of the ſea; tho' external governments ſhould be diſſolved and overturned, yet, while the Lamb is upon the throne, all ſhall be ruled to advantage unto all the lovers of the Lamb. What though ye ſhould ſee miniſters of Chriſt ſuſpended or depoſed for adhering to the testimony of Chriſt, and endeavouring to keep a good conſcience in an evil day? Though they ſhould be reproached and perſecuted: yet ſtill there is a river, the ſtreams whereof make glad the city of God: and ſtill there is this great ground of comfort, that the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne, and the cryſtal river proceeds from the throne of God and of the Lamb: and upon this throne the Lamb rules righteouſly and mercifully, though men rule never ſo unjuſtly and cruelly; and in a little there will be an end of man's rule and government, but the Lamb's dominion is for ever and ever. God the Father hath proclaimed that he is the everlaſting King, ſaying, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever. The followers of the Lamb have unſpeakable ground of comfort in Chriſt, whatever trouble they have in the world, In the world you ſhall have tribulation, but in me you ſhall have peace, be of good chear; I have overcome the world, and I am now upon the throne; and ye at laſt ſhall overcome, and ſit down with me on my throne.
1. Here is comfort against deſertion. Though the Lord may hide himself, and ſeem to be far away, yet ſtill it is food to your faith, that the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne; and, as he never deſerts the throne, ſo he will never leave you, nor forsake you: Why? the promiſes are all yea and amen in him that is ever upon the throne, to make out his word.
2. Here is comfort againſt the croſs. While you have the croſs upon your back, you may keep the throne in your eye, and you may be ſure of pity and favour thence, becauſe the Lamb is there who went from the croſs to the throne.
3. Here is comfort againſt the power of ſin, corruption, and ſpiritual enemies, be they never ſo powerful: for the Lamb is upon the throne of power, and all power in heaven and earth is given to him; and he is concerned, in honour, to deſtroy theſe enemies.
4. Here is comfort againſt want and weakneſs. Your ſtrength lies in the Lamb, &c.
5. Here is comfort againſt church-tyranny. Times have been, when there was tyranny in the ſtate over the conſciences of men; theſe were reckoned very evil days: but, when there is tyranny in the church over the conſciences of men, it is in many respects worſe: for church-perſecution is a kind of blaſphemy; it is in the name of God to perſecute the people of God. But yet here is comfort in this caſe, that church tyranny cannot keep the throne; ſhall the throne of iniquity have fellowſhip with thee, which frameth miſchief by a law? No, no; They gather themſelves together againſt the ſoul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood, Pſal. xciv. 20, 21. The Lamb will keep the midſt of the throne, and tread down his enemies in due time.
What would make a church government glorious and eminent? When the Lamb is kept in the midſt of the throne, and when his ſpiritual kingdom is kept diſtinct from the temporal kingdoms of this world. The government of the church is quite miſmanaged when the Lamb is put out of the throne, and temporal heritages are made the foundation of ſpiritual privileges: as for example, when in the choice of paſtors to any congregation, which is a ſpiritual privilege relating to immortal ſouls, and heritors of this earth, the heirs of a little yellow duſt, have such a privilege and preference given them by virtue of their temporal inheritance, as if they were lords of the conſciences of men, and lords over God's heritage; ſurely their ſecular advantage in a world can entitle them to no ſpiritual privilege in the houſe of God, no more than an earthly inheritance can entitle them to heaven; but to give them a dominion over the ſouls of men in this matter, is a practical dethroning of the Lamb from the midſt of the throne. Church-officers themſelves are diſcharged to uſurp ſuch a dominion as to be lords over God's heritage: it is unlawful for them to obtrude paſtors upon a Chriſtian people, without their conſent; far less have they power to put ſuch a dominion over mens conſciences into the hands of earthly ſuperiors. How can they give what they have not themſelves? In ſpiritual matters we are to own no man lord, but he that is Lord of lords, the Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne. Church-government is quite overturned, when the throne of Chriſt's ſpiritual kingdom is poſſeſt by any other in this world but only the Lamb.6. Here is comfort against death. Death ſhall not reign, becauſe the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne. and liveth for ever and ever, and hath the keys of hell and of death; and therefore death ſhall be ſwallowed up in victory.
7. Here is comfort againſt the fear of judgment; that awful day needs be no terror to the lovers of the Lamb, becauſe when the fiery tribunal will be erected, the Lamb will be in the midſt of the throne; and the friends of the Lamb will be received into his boſom, while all his enemies will ſtand trembling before his throne.
8. Here is comfort in the view of a long eternity, that the Lamb, that is for ever in the midſt of the throne, will for ever feed you, and lead you unto living fountains of waters, and wipe away all tears from your eyes. O! who can tell the happineſs of the a higher houſe, the glorious feeding and leading you ſhall have there, the everlaſting and everliving fountain of divine conſolation, wherewith ye ſhall be for ever refreſhed! The fountain is God, and his glorious attributes; Christ, and his inexhauſtable fulneſs; the Spirit, and his everlaſting conſolation; a glorious Trinity: God, who is now a promiſing God, will then be a performing God. Who can tell the ſweetneſs of that bleſſing, his wiping away all tears from your eyes? He that hath a bottle for your tears now, hath a napkin to wipe them all away then; for, 'ye ſhall obtain joy and gladneſs, and ſorrow and fighting ſhall flee away.'
Secondly, I offer a word of advice to you. O Sirs, i! the Lamb be in the midſt of the throne, 1. Then be quiet amidſt all the male adminiſtrations of men, amidſt all the miſmanagements of churchmen and church-judicatories; becauſe, though men cannot be juſtified in their church ruining projects, yet the Lamb being in the midſt of the throne, hath a juſt, holy, and ſovereign hand in ordering theſe evils, when he hath a controversy to plead with us. Let us ſee the hand of God in leaving men to themſelves, to rob the church and people of God of their rights and reformation privileges. What was the hand of Pilate againſt Chriſt, the cruelleſt act that ever was done? Why, it was the hand of God himſelf: for it is ſaid, when Pilate ſpake, saying, "Doſt thou not know that I have power to crucify thee, or to ſet thee at liberty?' Chriſt anſwered, 'Thou couldſt have no power except it were given thee of my Father.' Even ſo ſay I, church-men or church-judicatories, courts or aſſemblies, could have no power to break down any of the carved work of reformation; no power to harm the liberties of God's people in chuſing their paſtors; no power to obtrude miniſters on Chriſtian congregations, willing to chuſe faithful paſtors; no power to paſs sentence againſt ſuch as oppose that ſpeat of defection, except it were given them of our Father; and therefore let us be quiet and ſober: we have ſome other thing ado than to break out in a paſſionate reſentment againſt poor mortal men, the ſinful inſtruments of the church's confuſion and diſorder. When Shimei railed upon David, Let him alone, ſays David, may be the Lord hath bidden him. The Lord, for our trial and chaſtiſement, perhaps hath required ſome in our day, go and tread upon the rights of thoſe people; go and reproach and perſecute, ſuſpend and depoſe theſe miniſters for keeping a good conſcience in an evil time: I ſay, it may be the Lord hath bidden; yea, 'Is there evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it?' Is there evil in the church, and the Lord hath not done it? No, no; well what of that? This does not juſtify evil instruments, no; but it ſays, we are to be ſober, and lay our hand upon our mouth, and bear the indignation of the Lord, becauſe we have ſinned againſt him: we are to be dumb, and not to open our mouth, becauſe he does it. The Lamb in the midſt of the throne hath the government upon his ſhoulders, and he is righteouſly, ordering and over-ruling theſe matters for the profitable trial of his people, and the glorious praiſe of his name in the iſſue; The wrath of man fall praise thee, and the remainder of his wrath wilt thou restrain. The Lord hath his own time and way of reſtraining his enemies, and his own time and way of reforming his church; and when the Lord ſhall appear in his glory, he will build up Zion. Sometimes he ſees fit to appear in his wrath, and then he lets out the wrath of man, the enmity of man, to the breaking down of Zion, and of his carved work: but there is another time, when he ſees fit to appear in his glory, and then to reſtrain the wrath of man, and reform his church. And ſince he is appearing in his wrath in our day, letting out the reins of man's wrath, to the ruining of reformation-work; O be ſober and humble, and depend upon him as the Lamb in the midſt of the throne, who hath the reins in his hand, to let them out, or take them in, as he pleaſes. Inſtruments are but his word, his hand, by which he does what he pleaſes, Pſal. xvii. 13, 14. 'Deliver my ſoul from the wicked, from men which are thy hand, O Lord.' Think not then the government is out of Chriſt's hand, when men are doing many ſad things, and giving many heavy blows to the work of God; no, no; men are but his hand; and it is the hand of God that juſtly and righteouſly is lying heavy upon his people. Look above men then; you have not to do with them, there is a turn of matters just as he is pleaſed to turn his hand; the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne, and in the midſt of heavy clouds hanging over Scotland; therefore look to him, that he may turn away his wrath, Pſal. ii. 12. 'Kiſs the Son, leſt he be angry, and ye periſh from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little: Bleſſed are all they that put their truſt in him.' Again,
2. If it is only the Lamb that is in the midſt of the throne, O then be tender of theſe that are followers of the Lamb, while they are yet upon the footſtool, and not yet ſet down with Chriſt upon his throne. They are in danger in an evil day, wherein they are called to give teſtimony againſt the evils and corruptions of the day, to go aſide to ſome extreme or other. There are many thoughts of heart, and many needleſs words among people at preſent about the manner of teſtifying. Some are accuſed as if they were too far foreward; others are accuſed as if they were too far behind, in their teſtimony. Well, not to meddle with miſtakes people may be under, it may be both theſe are true: for, who can ſay, I am clean, and do not err toward the right or left-hand, when they would appear for Chriſt and his cauſe? But, O be tender of the militant followers of Chriſt. I hope you will remember, that it is only the Lamb that is able to keep the midſt of the throne; and, I hope, we are all willing to ſubſcribe to this that this honour only belongs to him, that he was able to keep the midſt of the way to the throne, without going to one ſide or other: none but himſelf was ever able to do ſo; let him alone have the glory.
3. Let me ſay to you that have become the bride, the Lamb's wife, if the Lamb be in the midſt of the throne, O then ſee that ye frequent the throne. What more inviting argument than this can there be, that the Lamb is in the midſt of it? And the farther foreward you approach, ſo much the better. Never reſt till you be in the midſt of the throne, where the Lamb is. You may have boldneſs to go as far in as the Lamb goes; and you will find this the moſt pleaſant exerciſe in the world, and the moſt profitable alſo: for grace and mercy is about the throne of grace; it is a mercy-ſeat, becauſe the Lamb is there.
4. O believer, if the Lamb be in the midſt of the throne, even the Lamb, your head, your huſband, ſee that you live upon him by faith; let the Lamb be your feeder, and the Lamb your food every day, and beware you do not diſgrace your honourable huſband. Are you married to the Lamb in the midſt of the throne? We read that Bathſheba ſaid to her ſon, Prov. xxxi. 4. It is not for a king, O Lemuel, it is not for a king to drink wine, nor for princes ſtrong drink. So it is not for believers in Chriſt to drink and tipple, to ſwear and cheat; he graceleſs world do so. But, O believer, have you been at a communion-table? Hath the Lord graced and honoured you with marriage to the Lamb in the midſt of the throne? Do not diſgrace yourſelf; it is below your rank: ſee that you live as becomes theſe that are matched and married to the prince of the kings of the earth.
I remember ſome years ago, after certain diſputing in the church about the doctrine of the goſpel, we had a ſolemnity here, on which occaſion I was ⟨⟩ to ſpeak of the ſubſtance of GOSPEL-DOCTRINE, Chriſt given of God to be a covenant of the people, and now I am obliged to remark, that after ſome contendings, or rather in the midſt of ſome contendings in the church about the government of his houſe, I have been led, without any deſign in me, but only as the text was pleaſant to my own ſoul, to ſpeak of the very ſum and centre of ECCLESIASTICAL GOVERNMENT, the Lamb in the midſt of the throne. I remember, at that former occaſion the Lord was preſent by his Spirit, and gave evidence thereof unto many; and now, I hope, at this occaſion alſo there shall be some bleſſings dropt down from the throne. And, O to be going away from this place, with this truth ſealed upon our heart, concerning the Lamb's being in the midſt of the throne! Come what will, there is no fear of the followers of the Lamb, and the ſufferers for him for, the Lamb is in the midſt of the throne