“King of kings, and Lord of lords.” (Rev. 19:16)
The twofold nature of Jesus brought him into the closest personal relation to, and sympathy with, the two great divisions of the race — the Commonalty and the Nobility — and thus he becomes a proper subject of instructive study to both. We have considered his obscurity and abasement as man; it remains that we study him as possessing the highest rank and as wearing the noblest title as God — “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” The present reflection, therefore, addresses itself to those upon whom is conferred the honor, the duties, and the responsibilities of high birth and rank. It is not often that such are especially selected by the ministers of religion as objects of pious instruction. For every other class Christian sympathy is felt, and religious efforts made; while those of higher caste in society are passed by in cold neglect, as if their eternal interests were not equally as precious, and as if their soul-perils were not transcendently greater. But what are the godly instructions we may gather from a consideration of Jesus in the light of his elevated rank?
The first that impresses us is that, human rank is of divine appointment. Every privilege of nobility originates with God. “He puts down one, and raises up another.” Human society in its framework manifests his molding hand. It is impossible to trace the various grades which exist, the dependent relation of each to the other, and of all to God, and not admire his wisdom and adore his goodness in the marvelous construction of societies. To him, then, you are to refer your rank. Whether by inheritance, or by privilege, you are bound to acknowledge God in its bestowment, seriously pondering the end for which it was given, the responsibilities it involves, the duties it imposes, and the solemn account you have to give of its use at the last Great Day.
Consider Jesus as on no occasion either denying or renouncing his rank. On the contrary, at the very moment that he was engaged in the most condescending act of his life he asserted it. “I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet.” It has been the mistaken idea of some good men that, conversion to Christ imperatively demanded and necessarily involved a relinquishment of their social position. No judgment could be more at fault, no step more unscriptural. The religion of Christ levels and destroys nothing but ungodliness and error. The Bible teaching is, “Let every man abide in the calling wherein he was called.” If, then, the grace of God has called you in the higher walks of life, ennobled and titled, to relinquish your position and, consequently, its moral influence in the Church and in the world, were a folly and a sin. Providence and grace never clash. Where grace has called you, there let providence keep you, and use you for God.
Consider Jesus in the humility and condescension which rank imposes. Was there ever a being so high, and yet ever one so meek and lowly, as Christ? Watch against the arrogance of high birth. The costliest and brightest gem in your coronet will be the humility with which you wear it. “Condescend to men of low estate.” (Rom. 12:16) “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.” (Matt. 11:29)
Consider Jesus as consecrating his rank to the good of man and the glory of God. See that yours is not selfishly possessed, but magnanimously employed. Wear it not as a mere adornment, but use it as a mighty power, capable of conferring elevation, prosperity, and happiness upon all who are privileged to come within the warmth and glow of its sunshine. Keep the impressive fact full in view that, at Jesus’s feet every princely diadem, and sacred mitre, and noble coronet, and ermined robe must be laid, and into his hands the stewardship be surrendered! Lay your title at his feet now — a holy and a consecrated thing to God! Under a solemn sense of its dreadful responsibility, seek grace from Christ to devote it to the increase of his kingdom, the furtherance of his gospel, and the well-being of man in the world.