No. 4

Rev 19 4

No. 4 [1]

Revelation 19:11

[2nd sermon on this text]

His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns;
and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
We have entered upon the most astonishing subject, that can engage our thoughts or affect our hearts – God manifest in the flesh, not as he appeared once under a veil of poverty and sorrow, when his visage was more marred than any of the sons of men, but as he now shines forth: the life, joy and worship of the heavenly world, the head of the Church triumphant, and, O wonderful condescension! the Friend and Advocate of poor sinners.  We have spoken a word of his personal glory, and are now to consider his authority and dominion.  But who is sufficient for these things!

The many crowns are expressive of his many kingdoms and victories. The right to all his kingdoms is essential to his divine nature, but the possession and administration in the nature of Man, is the effect and reward of his obedience unto death (Phil 2:9,10 [2]).  But in the union of both natures, he is One Person, Christ Jesus the Lord.  All the riches and fulness of the Godhead and all the honours of the Mediator centre in him; they may be distinguished, but are inseparable, and may therefore be considered together.  He wears:
1. The crown of Universal Creation
  All things were created not only for him, but by him.  This is attributed to him expressly both in the Old and New Testament.  Our help is laid on him, and it is laid on him who made Heaven and Earth (Ps 102:25,26 [3] compared with Heb 1:10; [4] so John 1:3, [5] Col 1:16, [6] Ps 95 and 100, Isa 40).  But time would fail in adducing all the texts which might be brought in proof of this point.  Let us close with the Psalmist's inference, Psalm 146:5,6. [7]  What can they want, or what need they fear, whose hope is in this Jehovah, and to whom he is pleased to say, I am thy God?
  Rev 19 4 Jehovah
2. The crown of Universal Providence
  His mighty arm sustains the vast fabric of the universe.  He upholds the stars in their courses.  Their magnitudes, distances, from us and from each other, and the amazing swiftness and regularity of their motions, are all dependent upon his power and agency.  And they are his faithful witnesses and pledges for the accomplishment of all his promises. [8]  If we fix our thoughts upon this lower earth, though in comparison with the rest it is but as a point, a little grain of sand – his eyes run to and fro continually, and all the various creatures which inhabit it, have their existence and support from him. [9]  He feeds the sparrows, the ravens and the young lions that traverse the woods.  The instinct of animals, whereby they are unerringly instructed in what concerns the preservation of their species, so vastly exceeding the boasted wisdom of man, that he can neither imitate or comprehend it, is communicated by him.  He teaches the birds to build their nests, the spider to weave her web, and instructs the communities, of bees and the insignificant emmets, [10] to form their admirable policies and governments among themselves.  If we speak of intelligent beings, he does what he pleases in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth.  He overrules and directs the counsels and purposes of men, so that while they act freely, the event of all their various interfering schemes is only the fulfilling what he has before ordained and shall come to pass.  When they are employed as his instruments, from small beginnings, and in defiance of difficulties apparently insuperable, they attain success beyond their own expectations.  When unhappily engaged against him, in vain they rage and plot; he takes the wise in their own craftiness, pours contempt upon their power and policy, and all their mighty preparations melt like a mist, or snow before the sun, and leave no trace behind.  Still more wonderful is his control over Satan and the powers of darkness.  To these for the manifestation of his own glory, he gives as he gave to Pharaoh, a permission to try how far they can prevent his designs – But in vain: with all their subtlety and strength, they cannot detain one soul in bondage a moment longer than his appointed time of release, nor recover one soul back to their power, of which he is pleased to undertake the care.  On the contrary, he breaks the heads of these Leviathan, turns their counsels against themselves, and makes them unwilling[ly] instrumental in purifying his people and extending his church, by the very methods which they employ with a view to the destruction of both.  Thus they who dwell under his shadow are safe – for all things are in his power and he always careth for them, [11] and keeps them as the apple of his eye. [12]
3. The crown of the Kingdom of Grace, as the Head, King and Saviour of His Zion
  3.1 He reigns upon a throne of grace
    He possesses and exercises unlimited power and authority as a Sovereign to save whom he pleases, to pardon all manner of sins, and to enrol the vilest rebels into the number of his children and friends.  Seldom do the kings of the earth publish an act of grace in favour of rebels without clogging it with exceptions.  Either they feel a resentment against some, which their hearts are not large enough to withstand, or there are some, whom they fear and dare not trust.  But his mercy is infinite, and he knows how to change their hearts when he forgives their sins.
  3.2 He rules them by wise and gracious laws and ordinances
    He releases them from all other authority in point of conscience, and commands them to acknowledge no Master but himself.  He frees them from the yoke of men, from the fetters of custom and tradition, superstition and will worship, [13] and then they find that his service is a state of perfect liberty, for
  3.3 He reigns in each of his people's hearts
    There he writes his precepts, erects his throne, and impresses his image, and governs them not merely by an outward rule, but by an inward sweet constraining influence, breathing his own life and spirit into their souls – so that their service and obedience becomes necessary and, as it were, natural, easy, delightful and its own reward.
4. [Many crowns]
  It was a custom among the Romans, that whoever saved the life of a citizen received a crown – a crown or garland of leaves of no great value indeed in itself, but the occasion made it honourable.  In this sense our Saviour has many crowns indeed, equal in number to the souls and lives he has saved from going down to the pit of destruction.  Each of his redeemed people in the day of their espousals when they behold his glory, taste his love, and feel his power, go forth to crown him; they offer him a wreath of acknowledgement, that the praise of their whole salvation is due to him alone.  And these crowns he condescends to wear.  How glorious will he appear in that great day, when surrounded with his whole family, he shall in the presence of an assembled worlds, receive this public and united act of homage, which here they have so often rendered to him separately in their retirements, families and congregations.
But we must close this glorious subject with a word to:
1. Believers
  What manner of persons ought you to be.  How thankful, how humble, how satisfied and happy under his protection and rule.
2. Seekers
  Remember that as his Majesty, so is his Mercy.  Be not afraid; he calls you to his mercy seat to bless you, in freeing you from your guilt and turning you from your iniquities. [14]
3. Unconverted sinners
  Will you not yet fear before this Holy Lord God?  Will you not yet melt and bow to the grace of this loving Saviour?  Are you determined to perish – and to dash yourselves to pieces against the Rock of Salvation?  O harden your hearts no longer, lest his wrath burn like fire, and you perish under the double aggravation, of having broken the law, and despised the Gospel.


[1] In addition to his usual full week, Newton still had the two Oxford students to cater for, recording on Wednesday 13th August: ‘Though I know not how to find time, or to improve time for my own immediate use, it seems my duty to assist the young men thou hast sent hither. They were with me this morning, and I spoke to them upon the adorable and wonderful method of redemption. O that this great subject dwelt more in my thoughts and affections.’ His second sermon on Revelation 12:12 was preached on Sunday morning 17 August 1777, writing at the end of the day: ‘I thank thee my Lord for supplying me with bodily strength, and furnishing me with subject matter for this day's service, which was rather larger than ordinary. For besides twice at home I preached at Weston, and in the evening at Clifton, Mr Scott and Jones being both abroad. Thou wert pleased to lead me comfortably through the day, and at night I was not over-weary, found no inconvenience, but lay down in peace and awoke in safety, for thou wast with me.’
[2] Philippians 2:9-10 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
[3] Psalm 102:25-26 Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
[4] Hebrews 1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
[5] John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
[6] Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
[7] Psalm 146:5-6 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:
[8] e.g. Genesis 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
[9] 2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him...
[10] 'emmets’: ants
[11] 1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
[12] e.g. Deuteronomy 32:10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
[13] ‘will worship’
[14] Reflected in Olney Hymns, Book 3, Hymn 12, by Newton, entitled ‘The effort’:
  Approach, my soul, the mercy-seat
Where Jesus answers prayer;
There humbly fall before his feet,
For none can perish there

Cowper & Newton Museum, Olney

Marylynn Rouse, 09/08/2016