TAKE the royal office of the saints. They are KINGS. They are not merely to be kings in heaven, but they are also kings on earth; for if my text does not say so, the Bible declares it in another passage: “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.” We are kings even now. I want you to understand that before I explain the idea. Every saint of the living God, not merely has the prospect of being a king in heaven, but positively, in the sight of God, he is a king now; and he must say, with regard to his brethren and himself, “And hast made us,” even now, “unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign upon the earth.” A Christian is a king. He is not simply like a king, but he is a king, actually and truly. I shall show how he is like a king.
Remember his royal ancestry. What a fuss some people make about their grandfathers and grandmothers and distant ancestors? I remember seeing in Trinity College the pedigree of some great lord that went back just as far as Adam, and Adam was there digging the ground — the first man. It was traced all the way up. Of course I did not believe it. I have heard of some pedigrees that go back further. I leave that to your own common sense, to believe it or not. A pedigree in which shall be found dukes, marquises, and kings, and princes. Oh, what would some give for such a pedigree! I believe, however, that it is not what our ancestors were, but what we are, that will make us shine before God; that it is not so much in knowing that we have royal or priestly blood in our veins, as knowing that we are an honor to our race — that we are walking in the ways of the Lord, and reflecting credit upon the church, and upon the grace that makes us honorable. But since some men will glory in their descent, I will glory that the saints have the proudest ancestry in all the world. Talk of Caesars, or of Alexanders, or tell me even of our own good Queen: I say that I am of as high descent as her Majesty, or the proudest monarch in world. I am descended from the King of kings. The saint may well speak of his ancestry — he may exult in it, he may glory in it — for he is the son of God, positively and actually. His mother, the Church, is the Bride of Jesus; he is; a twice-born child of heaven; one of the blood royal of the universe. The poorest woman or man on earth, loving Christ, is of a royal line. Give a man the grace of God in his heart, and his ancestry is noble. I can turn back the roll of my pedigree, and I can tell you that it is so ancient, that it has no beginning; it is more ancient than all the rolls of mighty men put together; for, from all eternity my Father existed: and, therefore, I have indeed a right royal and ancient ancestry.
And then the saints, like monarchs, have a splendid retinue. Kings and monarchs cannot travel without a deal of state. In olden times, they had far more magnificence than they have now; but even in these days we see much of it when royalty is abroad. There must be a peculiar kind of horse, and a splendid chariot, and outriders; with all the etceteras of gorgeous pomp. Ay! and the kings of God, whom Jesus Christ has made kings and priests unto their God, have also a royal retinue. “Oh!” say you, “but I see some of them in rags; they are walking through the earth alone, sometimes without a helper or a friend.” Ah! but there is a fault in your eyes. If you had eyes to see, you would perceive a bodyguard of angels always attending every one of the blood-bought family.
You remember Elijah’s servant could not see anything around Elijah till his master opened his eyes; then he could see that there were horses and chariots round about Elijah. Lo! there are horses and chariots about me.
And thou, saint of the Lord, where’er thou art, there are horses and chariots. In that bedchamber, where I was born, angels stood to announce my birth on high. In seas of trouble, when wave after wave seems to go over me, angels are there to lift up my head; when I come to die, when sorrowing friends shall, weeping, carry me to the grave, angels shall stand by my bier; and, when put into the grave, some mighty angel shall stand and guard my dust, and contend for its possession with the devil. Why should I fear? I have a company of angels about me; and whenever I walk abroad, the glorious cherubim. Kings and princes have certain things that are theirs by perspective right. For instance, her Majesty has her Buckingham Palace, and her other palaces, her crown royal, her scepter, and so on. But has a saint a palace? Yes. I have a palace! and its walls are not made of marble, but of gold; its borders are carbuncles and precious gems; its windows are of agates; its stones are laid with fair colors; around it there is a profusion of every costly thing; rubies sparkle here and there; yea, pearls are but common stones within it. Some call it a mansion; but I have a right to call it a palace too, for I am a king. It is a mansion when I look at God, it is a palace when I look at men; because it is the habitation of a prince. Mark where this palace is. I am not a prince of Inde — I have no inheritance in any far-off land that men dream of — I have no El Dorado, or Home of Prester John; but yet I have a substantial palace.
Yonder, on the hills of heaven it stands; I know not its position among the other mansions of heaven, but there it stands; and “I know that if the earthly house of this tabernacle be dissolved, I have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
Have Christians a crown too? Oh, yes; but they do not wear it every day.
They have a crown, but their coronation day is not yet arrived. They have been anointed monarchs, they have some of the authority and dignity of monarchs; but they are not crowned monarchs yet. But the crown is made.
God will not have to order heaven’s goldsmiths to fashion it in after-time; it is made already hanging up in glory. God hath “laid up for me a crown of righteousness.” O saint, if thou didst just open some secret door in heaven, and go into the treasure chamber, thou wouldst see it filled with crowns.
When Cortes entered the palace of Montezuma, he found a secret chamber bricked up, and he thought the wealth of all the world was there, so many different things were there stowed away. Could you enter God’s secret treasure-house, what wealth would you see! “Are there so many monarchs,” you would say, “so many crowns, so many princes?” Yes, and some bright angel would say, “Mark you that crown? It is yours;” and if you were to look within, you would read, “Made for a sinner saved by grace, whose name was —;” and then you would hardly believe your eyes, as you saw your own name engraved upon it. You are indeed a king before God; for you have a crown laid up in heaven. Whatever other insignia belong to monarchs, saints shall have. They shall have robes of whiteness; they shall have harps of glory; they shall have all things that become their regal state; so that we are indeed monarchs, you see; not mock-monarchs, clothed in purple garments of derision, and scoffed at with “Hail, king of the Jews;” but we are real monarchs. “He hath made us kings and priests unto our God.”
Kings are considered the most honorable amongst men. They are always looked up to and respected. If you should say, “a monarch is here!” a crowd would give way. I should not command much respect if I were to attempt to move about in a crowd; but if any one should shout, “here is the Queen!” every one would step aside and make room for her. A monarch generally commands respect. We think that wordly princes are the most honorable of the earth; but if you were to ask God, he would reply, “my saints in whom I delight, these are the honorable ones.” Tell me not of tinsel and gewgaw; tell me not of gold and silver; tell me not of diamonds and pearls; tell me not of ancestry and rank; preach to me not of pomp and power; but oh! tell me that a man is a saint of the Lord, for then he is an honorable man. God respects him, angels respect him, and the universe one day shall respect him, when Christ shall come to call him to his account, and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” You may despise a child of God now, sinner; you may laugh at him; you may say he is a hypocrite; you may call him a saint, a Methodist, a cant, and everything you like; but know that those titles will not mar his dignity — he is the honorable of the earth, and God estimates him as such.
But some 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 he 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? Oh, 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!”