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Towards Millennial Blessings


Extract from a sermon of Robert Gordon's on Ezekiel 17:22-24, entitled “Christ the Goodly Cedar”

Robert Gordon (1786-1853) was a minister of the Gospel in Scotland. A Presbyterian who held fast the doctrine of his forefathers in the faith – the Puritans and Covenanters – the writings left by him for posterity exhibit much earnest and skilful work in revealing Christ as Saviour and Redeemer. 


The prediction before us unfolds also larger and more glorious views of the kingdom of Christ than it did, or could do, to the Church of old. While it opens up to us the prospect of a spiritual kingdom, which will one day be universal, it conveys also much information respecting the privileges and responsibilities of Christ’s people. It intimates, from the very nature of the figure employed, that the progress of that kingdom is to be gradual; and so we have seen it to be in the actual fulfilment of the prediction.


But we cannot think of this without being reminded that the gradual nature of this progress is connected with the means, or method, or instrumentality which Christ has been pleased to appoint for the establishment of his kingdom. That instrumentality is the co-operation of his own people, – the communication of the Gospel by those who know and believe it, to those who do not know it, in all the countries and kingdoms of the earth, and through every successive generation of the children of men. Christ has not employed angels, as he could easily have done if he had chosen, to carry his message of peace to the nations. He has chosen men to this honourable office, – redeemed men, – those who have themselves been set free from the bondage of sin and Satan, that they may have the honour and the privilege of carrying to others who are enslaved still, as they themselves once were, the glad tidings of life and liberty. It is a privilege, – a great and glorious privilege, – whatever professing Christians may think of it. And those who feel it to be so will admire the grace and wisdom manifested in the gradual progress of Christ’s kingdom, in so far as provision is thereby made for affording them an opportunity of being fellow-workers together with Christ in advancing his cause. But the privilege carries with it great responsibility. If Christ’s professing people are the instruments which he has chosen to employ for the extension of his kingdom, they must conclude that the progress of that kingdom will, in some measure, correspond with the zeal, and ardour, and diligence with which they do their part. They cannot expect that the work should go on if they are idle. And if, at any time, therefore, they should be disposed to become impatient, or should be discouraged and desponding, because of the slowness with which the Gospel spreads, let them reflect whether they are not passing sentence on their own indifference, and indolence, and sloth. It is true that they have many and powerful antagonists to encounter. But let them not measure the strength of their enemies by their own weakness. They are but the instruments; another hand uses them. They are but the means; the power resides elsewhere, even with Him who is “the King of glory,” “the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” Hitherto, the kings of the earth, and the princes, and the mighty men, have been too often arrayed in hostility to the cause of Christ. But they cannot prevail. They cannot uproot the goodly cedar which Jehovah’s own right hand hath planted, nor prevent it so spreading as to afford shelter to all fowl of every wing; for “all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the Lord have spoken and have done it.”    



"Christ in the Old Testament," vol. 4, Free Presbyterian Publications 2002, pp. 216, 217.