New unpublished
Jonathan Edwards Sermons! 


Sound Cloud

Listen to my Songs at









Written by Oshea Davis   
Tuesday, 11 June 2013


(Edited by Oshea Davis)


This lecture from May 1733 delineates the nature of Christ's rule after coming into his kingdom after his ascension--specifically his rule over his enemies--and the fulfillment of that rule after the judgment occurs. Though he is surrounded by foes, Christ nonetheless rules and shall rule, in spite of devils, multitudes of sinners, "great ones" and "heathen lords," and Antichrist. His opposers will not be able to hinder his rule, because they will be governed by him no matter what they do; whether voluntarily or involuntarily, they will be "in subjection." Herein, Christ's purposes for them will be fulfilled, and they are in his power. Indeed, God's power is most manifest in the way that Christ overcomes and will overcome the "utmost opposition." God the Father has determined that the Son shall have dominion as his Son and heir, and in reward for his work of redemption. And Christ has infinite power of his own to maintain that dominion.

Edwards asks his listeners to consider in what ways they may act the part of enemies to Christ. They can avoid this if they accept Christ as their king. If they refuse, they only secure their own misery. Consider, on the other hand, the happiness of those who willingly submit to Christ, whose government is not slavish but consistent with the "most perfect liberty." Interesting, obtaining liberty is achieved only by subjecting oneself to Christ. Christ disposes his power for the happiness of believers, who, by becoming servants, will rule with Christ.

*  *  *  *  *

The manuscript is twelve duodecimo leaves. At the top of the first page is Edwards' notation, "Lecture, May 1733." The fourth leaf, with only a small part of the recto utilized, was tipped in. Edwards repositioned several passages via cue marks.







Psalm 110:2. 

The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.


            This psalm is prophetical of Christ's exaltation and the success of this gospel and glory of his kingdom, that was consequent on his death and resurrection. When Christ arose from the dead and ascended into heaven, then did God say to him, as in the 1st verse, "Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." As those words are applied in Acts 2:32, etc., "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool."

            When Christ ascended, he was visibly inaugurated into his mediatorial kingdom and glory; then, after he had gone through the labors of the arduous work of our redemption, did as God-man in a glorious manner take possession of the kingdom that the Father had promised, and began the actual administration of his regal power with conspicuous and unveiled glory.

            The Psalmist in this place mentions a twofold and very different exercise of this power, viz., with respect to his enemies and with respect to his people. The exercise of his regal power with respect to his enemies, is expressed here by their being made his footstool, and his ruling in the midst of them.

            The exercise of regal power over his people, is expressed in the words following the verse of the text: "thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning" [v. 3].

            Which was gloriously fulfilled by that great success of the gospel in the primitive times of the church, soon after Christ's ascension; which perhaps is what is here called the time of Christ's youth, being soon after Christ's appearance in the flesh and his resurrection, and in the beginnings or youth of the Christian church, or Christ mystical.

            The multitude of dewy drops, which appear on the face of the earth when the morning appears and the sun arises, well represent the multitude of saints as souls sanctified by the Word of God, which drops on men's souls as the rain, and "distills as the dew on the tender herb" [Deut. 32:2]. In the morning of the gospel, and upon the first rising of the "sun of righteousness" [Mal. 4:2], the people of God are compared to the dew, in Mic. 5:7.

            When God the Father in the text says to the Son, "Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies," it may be understood either that he should rule in the midst of those who were once his enemies, that they being conquered by his power and grace should submit themselves unto him, and that he should set up the kingdom amongst those that had been his enemies; and so the following words in the next verse, "thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power," will be exegetical of those: as much as to say, "Though they were enemies, yet by thy power they shall be made thy willing people."

            Or it may be understood of those that remain his enemies: and this better agrees with what is said elsewhere in the psalm when his enemies are spoken of, as in the preceding verse, "Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool"; and in the 5th and 6th verse, "The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings."

            It also better agrees with what is elsewhere said of Christ ruling over his enemies. Second psalm, 9th [verse], "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel"; which is rendered in Rev. 2:27, "He shall rule them with a rod of iron."

            And then it seems to be the design of the Psalmist here to set forth Christ's dominion both over his own people and over his enemies: over his enemies in this verse, and over his people in the following.



Christ shall rule in the midst of his enemies.


            This is true in two senses, viz.:

            I. Christ shall rule in spite of his enemies, though he be as it were in the midst of enemies all around.

            Christ don't reign with the consent and goodwill of all. The devils in hell, the principal and powers of the infernal world, do violently oppose Christ's government; they have always from the beginning of the world opposed it with all their strength, and with all the subtilty they are masters of, and have laid their heads together and united their strength to hinder or overthrow Christ's dominion. This is the design that the armies of hell are busied about, and that they have wholly employed themselves in for more than this 5,000 years.

            And there are multitudes on earth that join with the devils in this, and do also oppose Christ reigning; the greater part of mankind have always listed themselves into Satan's army. There are, and always have been among men, many secret enemies: many that are like Judas, that bear the name of disciples, but are enemies and traitors. And there are many open, professed enemies.

            Many of the great ones of the earth have vehemently set themselves against the dominion of Christ, men of great power and policy. Christ's dominion was vehemently opposed when he was on earth by the Jews, and especially by the great men among them; the scribes and Pharisees and priests were his most implacable enemies, and proceeded so far in their opposition of his dominion that they killed him, put him to a cruel death.

            But yet, Christ reigned in spite of them, in the sight and even in the midst of those enemies. Though they killed [him], yet that could not hinder his ruling. God raised him up from the dead and exalted him with his own right hand, and made that same Jesus whom they crucified both Lord [and] Christ [Eph. 1:20, Acts 2:36], and caused his kingdom gloriously to flourish, notwithstanding all that they could do.

            There have been many kings and powerful monarchs that have violently opposed Christ's reigning. Many of the heathen Romans, that were lords of the world, set themselves with all their power to oppose it. And since that, Antichrist hath with greater subtilty and more virulent malice, and for a longer time, opposed it. Many whole nations and vast empires have set themselves against [Christ]. And all wicked men do oppose Christ's reign, and would gladly pull him down out of his throne. Never was any kingdom that had so many enemies, or that was opposed with that virulence and inveterate opposition, as the kingdom [of Christ]. But Christ reigns in spite of all these enemies. Though he be as it were surrounded with enemies, and he is in the midst of them, yet he reigns, and will reign forever and ever.

            Neither the gates of hell, nor the powers of earth, are not able to prevail against it [Matt. 16:18]. Ps. 2:1-4, "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh." [V.] 6, "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion."

            God needs not men's help to enstate Christ in his dominion, or to uphold him in it. In spite of all his enemies, Christ will be supreme. Ps. 118:22, "The stone which [the] builders refused is become the head stone of the corner."

            II. Christ shall rule over his enemies.

            They shall not only be unable to hinder his possessing a kingdom, but neither shall they be able to hinder his ruling over them. They cannot get themselves from under his government, how great enemies soever they are to it.

            All the world don't yield obedience to Christ. But all the world shall be judged by him, and Christ will as much appear as universal Lord over mankind, and as much in the exercise of his kingly power over them, in that he shall be the supreme judge of all mankind, as if they voluntarily subjected themselves to his authority. The day is coming when all mankind shall be gathered before his judgment seat: high and low, rich and poor, righteous and unrighteous must stand at his bar, and then the book of his laws shall be opened, and men shall be judged out of the things found written in that book [Rev. 20:12-13].

            Though men can choose whether or not they will yield obedience to the law of Christ, yet they shall not choose whether they shall be subject to its determination and sentence. It is an easy thing[1] for men to refuse an active, voluntary subjection to the law of Christ; yet they won't find it an easy thing at last to get out of its reach, and from a subjection to the power of it. They must all stand and abide the sentence that Christ shall pass upon them according to his own law, and shall find it in vain for them to endeavor to avoid the execution of it. This is spoken of in Scripture as being as much a subjection (though not an active, voluntary subjection) to the authority of Christ, as obedience. Rom. 14:10-11, "for we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.""

            Though Christ's enemies won't ascribe to Christ the honor of his supreme dominion and authority over them, yet Christ shall nevertheless appear in the honor of this his dominion. Though they have cast contempt upon his kingly majesty, yet that majesty shall be fully vindicated.

            If they don't give him the glory due to him as king, yet Christ will have his glory by glorifying himself upon them. Christ will appear in no less kingly majesty when all wicked men, great and small, stand trembling and astonished before his judgment seat, and when they shall receive the sentence from his mouth with fearful horror and amazement, than if he would have done if they all had cheerfully served and obeyed, and willingly ascribed to him the glory due to his name as King of kings [Ps. 29:2].

            Christ will appear no less exalted above them, when he shall execute the sentence upon them and thrust them down into the greatest misery and disgrace, and make them his footstool, than he would have done if they had willingly abased themselves before him, humbly prostrating themselves at his feet, ascribing all glory to him.

            First. Christ's purposes shall be fulfilled concerning them.

            Second. Though they refuse to submit to his disposal, yet he hath them altogether in his power. They can't wrest themselves out of his hands. After all their opposition to the government of Christ, and their proudly exalting themselves against him, he'll still be above them, and will dispose of them just as pleases him. Everything in their state and circumstances to all eternity shall be of Christ's ordering, and he'll not fail to fulfill the whole of his pleasure concerning them.

            God's disposing power is in some respects more gloriously manifest in the exercises of it towards his enemies than towards his people, because in his enemies it is opposed, and the greatness of that power appears in overcoming their utmost opposition. His power is exercised towards them in that that is very contrary to them. He disposes them to eternal misery and ruin. Herein, Christ's strength gloriously appears above the utmost power of all his enemies: for we may be sure if their power was such that they could resist the power of Christ, they would do it, to deliver themselves from that extreme misery and everlasting destruction which he brings upon them.

            Christ, notwithstanding all the opposition of his proudest and mightiest enemies, takes and puts them to what use he pleases; he makes them subservient to his ends in his own way. The use that Christ designs them for, is to glorify his awful majesty, justice and wrath in their extreme, everlasting torment: and this use he'll put them [to], in spite of all their opposition. Yea, he'll make their very opposition and enmity itself subservient to his end. He has his use to make of that. As in a great house, "There are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth, and some to honor, and some to dishonor" [II Tim. 2:20]; so in the kingdom of Christ, besides vessels of mercy filled for and filled with glory, there must be some that are vessels of wrath. Christ will make use of his enemies to the latter purpose.

            His laws shall take place concerning them. Though they refuse to submit themselves to his laws, yet he will be their judge according to those laws; though they refuse to do his law, yet his law shall be fulfilled concerning them. There are two ways of a law's being fulfilled in the subjects of it: viz., either the fulfilling the precepts of it by the subject, or the fulfilling the threatening upon the subject.

            If wicked men refuse to submit to the legislative authority of Christ over them, yet it shall nevertheless take place.

            Christ will exercise this power of his fully towards them, in judging them according to those laws.

            Ruling[2] over others consists in the ruler's fulfilling his will and purposes concerning them, and in maintaining his laws that he has given them. By the one he manifests his power or strength towards them; by the other he upholds his authority. In both these ways, Christ will rule over his enemies.


            [Reason] 1. ‘Tis the fixed purpose of God, that his Son shall have an universal dominion. ‘Tis a thing that God has resolved upon by an unalterable decree, that he will exalt his Son. Ps. 2:7-9, "I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron."

            God the Father hath given him all power in heaven and in earth; he hath exalted him with his own right hand to be prince; he hath made him head over all things, and hath put all things in this world and the world to come under his feet, Heb. 2:5-8.

            God hath done this for two reasons, viz.:

            (1) Because he is his Son and heir. As Christ is the eternal, only begotten Son of God, so he hath a natural right to inherit the kingdom of the Father. Matt. 21:38, "But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir." And accordingly, God hath appointed him to be heir of all things, Heb. 1:2. ‘Tis because he is his Son, that he has given the heathen for his {possession}.

            (2) God the Father gives it [to] him in reward for that glorious work of redemption that he wrought here on earth. God looks on it as but a suitable reward for that obedience which he performed, and that hard and difficult work which he accomplished and suffered, that he endured out of respect to his glory, and from grace and love to men. Philip. 2:8-11, "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name 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; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." God promised to his Son this reward upon condition of his {obedience}; he made it over to him by covenant before the foundation of the world. Is. 53:12, "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death." And Christ has merited this glory by the work that he hath done. Rev. 5:12, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." And God won't fail to do him justice.

            Now ‘tis in vain for Christ's enemies to think to resist the immutable purpose of God; they'll all fall and perish in such an attempt. [So the] 5th and 6th verses of the context: "The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries." And Ps. 89:23, etc., "And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague him that hate him."

            Reason 2. Christ himself hath infinite power to maintain that dominion which the Father hath given him. He himself is "the mighty God," as he is called, Is. 9:6. ‘Tis because he is most mighty, that the people shall fall under him. Ps. 45:3-5, "Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Thine arrows are sharp in the hearts of the king's enemies; whereby the people shall fall under thee."



            [Use] I. I would improve this Doctrine, in the first place, by putting all upon examining themselves whether they are not acting the part of enemies to the kingdom and government of Christ. Are you not opposing his interest, casting contempt upon his majesty and dishonoring his holy religion? Don't you live so as rather to strengthen the cause of wickedness and the interest of Satan in the world, than otherwise?  Don't you oppose Christ's dominion by refusing to yield to it yourself, refusing to give up yourself to Christ as your supreme Lord and absolute owner? Have you subordinated other concerns, your own temporal interest to your duty to him, or don't you rather subordinate the service and honor of Christ to other concerns, and making religion not your great end and business, but a thing by the by.

            Have you ever given up your heart to the dominion of this Lord, and set him upon the throne there, or do you not subject it to other lords? Do you not give it to enjoyment? Is it not subject to your lusts, that are Christ's irreconcilable enemies?

            Do you not refuse obedience to Christ's commands? What his commands are, you have often heard. You know your Lord's wish, or are willfully ignorant. He that knows Christ's commands, and hears ‘em often repeated and urged, and yet refuses to do them, acts the part of an enemy, much more than he that knows them not. Has not Christ called upon you from time to time, and you have stopped your ears? heard with such a slight of his commands, that you have not so much as entertained any serious thoughts of yielding obedience? And though you may seem in some things, for self-ends, to comply with his laws, yet is there not some way of allowed disobedience and rebellion against him that you live in? And however universal your obedience may seem to be at some times, yet is it not your manner to desert his cause and turn your back and be on the other side, when your duty to him crowds hard on your ease or appetites or temporal interest? If this be your manner, you are one of Christ's enemies; and therefore, it behooves you [to] consider of what you have heard under this Doctrine, that he will rule even in the midst of his opposers. ‘Tis in vain for you to endeavor to break his bonds asunder or cast his cords from you; you may sooner break the strongest bonds of iron or brass.

            Use II of Exhortation, to acceptance of Christ as your king, and entirely yield yourself to his rule. By what has been said, you may learn that there is nothing to be got by the contrary. Why should you go to engage in a foolish and vain attempt of resisting God's immutable decree and almighty power of his Son, and kick against the pricks?

            But to influence you to this consideration further, in the

            First place, if you refuse willingly to submit to his government, his dominion over you hereafter will only promote your misery. Christ will have dominion over you that you can't help, if you oppose it never so much.

            If you refuse acceptance of Christ as your king, Christ will be your king notwithstanding. But all that he'll to do to you as your king, will be to make you miserable. This will be the very design of all the exercises of his kingly power over you, to all eternity.

            To this purpose will he exercise his kingly authority: his laws, if they are disobeyed, this will be all the influence that they will have upon you, to condemn you and call down wrath upon your head. And Christ will exercise his disposing power towards you, only to this purpose, to dispose of you and hold you in a most miserable state forever.

            He will use his strength towards you in this way, only to make you miserable, and more miserable than any being of less strength could do: for God will damn wicked men to make his power known upon them, Rom. 9:22. If, therefore, you would be wise for yourself, don't oppose but yield to the government of Christ. This is the improvement the Holy Ghost makes of the same doctrine. Ps. 2:10-12, "Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."

            Second. Consider how happy his government will be to those that willingly submit to it. It will wholly tend to the misery of [those] that oppose and resist, but will be most happy to those that cheerfully yield to it.

            1. The government of Christ over his people is such, as is consistent with the most perfect liberty. There is no liberty that is any part of happiness, or any way tends to profit or comfort, nor anything in any liberty that is upon any account desirable, that is at all infringed by this government. There is nothing either in the matter of Christ's commands, or manner of their injunction, inconsistent with perfect liberty. His commands, as to the matter of them, are the proper excellency of our nature, and nothing is forbidden but what is the corruption of it. And again, the things [that] are required, are only such things as are the proper foundation of our happiness. Now surely, ‘tis no abridgment of any desirable liberty that those things are required of us that are our proper perfection and happiness, and to be restrained from corrupting our natures and making ourselves miserable. ‘Tis no abridgment of any desirable liberty of a child, to be under a restraint from drinking poison, and an incitement to eat his necessary food.

            And so neither is there anything in the manner of Christ's enjoining these commands on his people, or of Christ's influencing them to obedience, but what is agreeable to the most perfect liberty. Believers are not under the law as servants; they are not subject to it. As a rule of judgment, it has no condemning power over them; they are not in danger of having its penalty exacted of them. As soon as ever [they] become his people, Christ sets them forever free from the penalty of the law, that their obedience may be from nobler motives. He governs them as children and not as servants, and their obedience, so far as it is evangelical, is filial and not influenced by a spirit of bondage. Gal. 4:7, "Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son"; and v. 31, "So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free." And Rom. 8:15.

            The church of Christ is his kingdom of grace. Christ don't rule in it with a rod of iron, but a golden scepter of grace. His reign is not maintained by rigor and severity, but by love; his government is a government of love, like that of a tender father over dutiful children, or such as may be between the most dear friends. And therefore, the relation that Christ stands in to his people, [is] so often compared to that between husband and wife. Christ don't rule his people by driving of them, and as it were forcing them by terrors and rigorous exaction; no, but he sets up his kingdom in their hearts: he sweetly draws and inclines their wills by his Holy Spirit; he rules them by causing of them to do their duty to him of free choice and with delight, and from love to him. As in the verse following the text: "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." Surely persons' liberty is not infringed by their being influenced by love, and the free inclination of their souls, with delight to do what it is their perfection to do.

            If you submit to Christ commands, his commands will not be grievous. If you willingly take his yoke upon you, you will find it easy, and his burden light, Matt. 11:30.

            Yea, Christ's government over his people is not only perfectly consistent with liberty, but gloriously promotes [it]; ‘tis the very means of their liberty. Hereby, they are set free from the bondage of sin and Satan, the most cruel masters. There is no other way of obtaining liberty, but by subjecting oneself. John 8:36, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." The law of Christ, therefore, is called "the perfect law of liberty," Jas. 1:25.

            2. If you willingly subject yourself to Christ, you'll find his commands only the way to your happiness. Not one command, but what Christ has contrived on purpose to promote the happiness of his people. The commands of Christ are but the methods of Christ's wisdom and love, to render happy and blessed those that serve him.

            Your subjecting yourself to Christ's commands, will [be] but his opportunity to manifest his love to you. And you'll find those very commands so many testimonies of his love, or they are but so many gracious directions where to find that treasure [and] happiness.

            3. If you yield to Christ's authority, you'll find the way [of] obedience to Christ's commands a great part of your happiness: not only find happiness as the proper feast of obedience, but you'll find the very practice and acts of obedience a happiness to you. Men's happiness don't consist in mere inactivity and passion, but very much in action; and this is that kind of action {or} exercise wherein it consists, viz., serving, following and glorifying Christ. This is that pleasant and delightful exercise, which is a great part both of men's excellency and happiness. Christ, the wisdom of God, declares that his ways are "ways of pleasantness, and all his paths are peace," Prov. 3:17. That exercise is its own reward, and a great reward. Ps. 19:11, "in the keeping of them there is great reward." Great part of the happiness of heaven, consists in serving Christ; as Rev. 22:3, "And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him."

            4. If you submit to Christ's government, he'll use his disposing power wholly for your happiness. His disposing power of you shall be thus used: he'll dispose of you in the most glorious and blissful state; all that he shall do with you, concerning you to all eternity, will be to make you happy. He'll exercise his infinite wisdom and power to make you exceeding happy, and he will make you so happy, that it shall appear that ‘tis infinite wisdom and power that doth it, in that nothing short of it could [make] you so happy.

            And so, God will dispose not only of you in particular, but of everything else, for your happiness. Christ will use his universal dominion for this purpose; he'll dispose of everything, the whole world, so as to promote and advance your happiness.

            Yea, one end that he'll aim at and obtain in disposing of wicked men and devils in misery, will be the more to advance your happiness. Therefore, the godly are said to be possessors of all things; and all things, life and death, angels, principalities and powers, or things present, or things to come, are said to be the saints' [Rom. 8:32, 38; I Cor. 2:22]: for they shall be disposed for them, and in subordination to their happiness. This is the very end of Christ's government, the very design of his being made by the Father the Lord of all things, that he might dispose all things to the happiness of his people. Eph. 1:22, "and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church."

            5. If you {submit to Christ}, you shall rule with Christ. You shall not only be subject to him, but it shall be in such a manner, and with such circumstances, that you shall reign with him. Believers are co-heirs with Christ of the same kingdom, and shall have communion with him in reigning. Luke 22:29, "as my Father hath appointed to me a kingdom," so "I appoint unto you a kingdom."

            You shall be with Christ in his governing and his judging the world; you shall be with him to judge with him angels and men. I Cor. 6:2-3, "Know ye not that saints shall judge the world? [. . .] Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" You shall be with Christ in ruling in the midst of his enemies, sitting with him on his throne, and dashing his enemies in pieces with a rod of iron with him. Rev. 2:26-27, "he that overcometh, and keeping my works to the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father."



[1] MS: "then."

[2] This paragraph is the sole content of L. 4, which JE tipped in.

< Prev   Next >