Isaiah xxxiii. 17
The Presence of the King.
by J. Denham Smith
An Address Given at the Mildmay Park Conference in 1875.
Just a few words, beloved friends, introductory to the happy, sanctifying truth which is now before us. . . . O dear friends, think of it—"The Presence of the King!". . ."Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty." Isaiah xxxiii. 17. O beloved saints, this is what we want, this is what my own soul so increasingly desiderates! [a keen desire] I long with the breaking of my very soul within me—I long that it shall all be overpast, that stands between the present and the time when, with unveiled countenance, I shall see Him, see His face, see Him for myself, a poor, lost, hell-deserving and hell-going one, but a saved one, a redeemed one, a divinely-accepted one, the very righteousness of God in Him who has redeemed me, so that I shall have something to see Him for when I do see Him, and my soul breaks for the longing that it hath to see the King in His beauty.
"Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty"—this is what we want, and I am able to say it on the authority of the eternal truth, which is a rock under me, that we shall see Him in His beauty, every one of us, redeemed by His own blessed blood and taught out of the book of the King's glory—the book of His grace and glory, the blessed Word on which He has called us to hope. I believe we shall see Him with these eyes, ourselves, and a great multitude which no man can number. Yes, and I am thinking now of those just men made perfect, and those fallen asleep in Jesus who are waiting for the event of seeing Him with resurrection eyes. O beloved friends, how glorious! No words of mine can ever anticipate it. What a concourse of eyes there will be! that mighty multitude will see Him. Armies of angels, they will see Him; the whole Church of God; the Bride, the wife of the Lamb; and all the nations saved through the shedding of His most precious blood, they will see Him.
He is not in His beauty yet; He has not come into His kingdom yet. He has been an exile, as it were, from His kingdom these 1,800 years. Meanwhile, here below, we are now translated into the kingdom of His dear Son. As you have been singing, He has gone "over yonder," that great Nobleman of Luke xix., that He might receive a kingdom; and, blessed be His name, He has gone where He will get it. When He came to His own, they did not give it to Him. It is said, "I will set My King upon My holy hill of Zion.” Set Him there as King, set Him on His throne. But when He came, they took Him and nailed Him upon a cross instead of giving Him His throne. And now He has gone to get the kingdom. Let us be clear on this. All the truths respecting Him are precious; we are interested in them all. All the former dispensations looked forward to His coming as King. A king would reign in righteousness. God, as I have said, would set His King on His holy hill of Zion. He would possess the earth. All nations would call Him blessed. But when He came, instead of receiving His kingdom, He was cut off, and as to His kingdom, received nothing. It is abnormal that He should be King in Heaven, and yet not have His kingdom promised Him on the earth; as it is equally abnormal that He, as Head of the Church, should be with the Father, and the Church not with Him. That the kingdom is yet future; He said to His disciples, "You are they which have continued with Me in My temptations" (My trials, My rejection as King), "and I appoint unto you a kingdom as My Father hath appointed unto Me. That ye may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Having been rejected as King, He is gone, as I have said, the great Nobleman, to get the kingdom from the hand of His Father, to get it where He will not be crucified, and where He will have it (His world-wide kingdom) on the divine right and merit of His own blood which is shed. Dr. Bonar told you how that the blood is the foundation of everything; our own salvation; the kingdom; the glory of the Church; the glory of the new Jerusalem; all the purchase of His blood. We shall see Him nigh; He will come again, as in John xiv., and take us to Himself. It is when He comes as King in His glorious kingdom, we shall see Him in His beauty.
See Him as the Bride in the Canticles, who sings of Him as "chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely." If you saw a friend of yours with a marred brow, if you had a friend whose hands had been torn in death, whose feet had been marred and torn by the bloody nails of Roman soldiers, O believe me, you would say, "I wish these scars could be obliterated." But the Bride says, ''No, notwithstanding the marks He bears"—and may I not say because of them—"He is altogether lovely." She sees no deformity in those signs of His sufferings. How they will tell us through eternity what we owe Him for such love as His, which led Him to suffer, bleed, and die for us! Nay, we shall put down the united lip of the united multitude of the redeemed, upon that brow of His, and we shall say it is altogether lovely. We shall take that hand, marred and torn and pierced for us as it once was, and we shall put it into our hand and say, "It is altogether lovely." The same with His feet and His side.
I believe love may be blind down here; one might be without even eyes to respond to our eyes, yet we should love Him. But yonder, in that glory, love will be all intelligent; and notwithstanding that He is there, having the signs of the nails in His hands and feet, and the brow, which was torn with the thorny crown, we shall gaze with unutterable love and delight upon Him, and say, over and over again, for that for ever and for ever, "Beloved Saviour! Glorious Redeemer! My Beloved is mine, and I am His, the chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely."
And seeing Him, we shall be satisfied—satisfied for the first time, beloved friends, in our mysterious history. Then the eye will be satisfied with seeing. We are not satisfied with anything now. Even this Conference does not satisfy; no fellowship here can fully satisfy. . . . Even this Conference, so blessed, wearies with its delight. It robs the frame of its sleep through its very excitements. I have felt the weakness of an infant consequent on the enjoyment—fruit of the wear and tear of the emotional nature. But it will not be so when we see Him. "In that day, ye shall ask Me nothing." Why? We shall want for nothing; the prayers of the Church will be ended. We shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more. We shall not need to be more holy, or more happy, or to love more. No more need of renewed consecration, or of reviving again. Holy for ever! Like Him for ever! We shall be satisfied when we awake in His likeness.
There are three things concerning the person of Christ, which I may say of every redeemed one here. The one is, that it is immaculately holy; secondly, that it is a glorious body; and the third is, that it is an immortal body. That is the crown of it all—that it is immortal, unchangeable, eternal. There never will come a change over it; it is never to die, or sorrow, or suffer any more. It will be the same with ours. I wanted to speak to you about the moral effect of all this upon us now—we who have such a hope, such a future, to be for ever in the presence of the King—to sit with Him on His throne, to reign with Him, to be like Him. But we are only on the threshold of the theme. I may speak to you from the present moment to the time when we shall see the King in His beauty, and still there would be more to tell. But now you want that other scripture—"Let me see the King's face." This is our present want. I cannot now go into it, as to David and Ittai, who wanted to see the king's face; but I remember when our beloved Queen first went to Ireland, I was a young minister then at Kingston, in 1849. Mr. Sherman, the minister of Surrey Chapel, who was with me, said to me, "Let us go down among the people and see the Queen land." There were many thousands of people waiting to see the Queen land. She said, "See, the people want to see the prince.” The Queen's face beamed with joy as the prince was held up. It seemed as if half-a-million people were there, each one wanting to see their Queen. I could not help thinking how that not one-half could see her. But every eye shall see Him, all looking in one direction.
I have stood by the great Atlantic and have seen all the waves rolling in one direction, as if all were pointing to one common goal—not one wave an exception. That is how it will be with all of us; in the glory we shall all see Him; and we shall all see His face; and like the dear corporal, who died in Gibraltar—he said to a brother soldier, who had been the means of his conversion, "Comrade, I thank you very much; but we owe all to Jesus. And now that I am dying, I shall soon thank Him to His face." And you and I shall do this for ever.
Dear friends, what you would like is, that the Body and the Head, the King and the Kingdom, should be brought together. This we shall be in that golden city, the New Jerusalem, which is to come down from God out of Heaven, and which will overshadow the Jerusalem of the land of Israel. It is there that we shall see the King. It is thence, He will reign—the heavens will rule. It is there, having His throne in the heavens, His kingdom will rule over all. It is there too, in the spirit, again, of another of our passages of the Word for the day, "He hath brought me into His chambers." Oh! we have been with Him—if I may so speak—from the days of eternity. We were with Him in the chambers of the Divine counsels; chosen in Him before the foundation of the world; predestinated to be conformed to His image. And we were with Him in the chambers of His death and His grave. There we were dead together with Him and buried together with Him—all the hell of our sin and guilt left behind for ever with condemnation! and no separation from Him who is risen from the dead and seated at God's right hand; and we are to be with Him in those bridal and coronation chambers which are to come. His glory—the glory given Him—He will give to us; His home, His inheritance, His future will be ours also, with Him for ever and for ever. Oh! Wonderful salvation! wonderful future!
But now that other passage, "Draw me, and we will run after Thee." Mark the change in the number. First it is "draw me," next it is "we will run after." I never was in blessing in my own soul that I did not feel a power for having a blessing to others. The moment it is me, draw me, being seen, His love to be better than mine, then others are in the blessing—we will run after Thee. And having seen Him, the bride wants Him. The song begins with "Draw me," and ends with "Haste" my beloved, or bound, as the word is. She is ready; has nothing to desire but her beloved. Hence, "Haste," bound, "My beloved!"
And now that word "Thine;" we must close with this, though only on the vestibule of our theme. "Thine eyes;” I wonder will it be so that your eyes will see the King? If not to see Him in His beauty, to share in His glory, better for you never to have been born. We all are professedly believers at this Conference, but there may be some who could not say that their eyes will be among those we have described. If lost, you will go deeper down to hell, because of the height of opportunity and privilege afforded by this Conference. But now is the accepted time; Jesus died—died for our sins. He bore their guilt, their load of hell. It is the Gospel to know this. It is salvation this—to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. Seeing this, and knowing this, is salvation. May God write it on our hearts. Amen.