Will you wear a crown, believer? Will you accept one jot or tittle of the glory? O no, you will each of you disown anything like the Arminian’s proud boast of free selfwill! It will be grace, grace, divine grace, alone, in heaven! There will be no division and no discord in that eternal hymn. We will cast our crowns at once before Him, and we will say, “Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Thy name be all the praise.” [Psalm 115:1] Before the Throne of our Sovereign God our gratitude is mingled with humility.
It is said they cast their crowns before the Throne. They know where they got them, and they know to whom to ascribe the praise. Their crowns are their own, and, therefore, they wear them on their heads. Their crowns were Jesus’ gift, and, therefore, they cast them at His feet. They wear their crown, for He has made them kings, and they cannot refuse the dignity; but they cast the crown at His feet, for they are only kings by right received from Him, and acknowledge Him thus to be King of kings, and Lord of lords.
It was a custom, you know, in imperial Rome, for those kings who held dominion under the emperor, on certain occasions, to take off their crowns and lay them down before the emperor, so that when he bade them put them on again, they had fully recognized that their rights of kingship flowed only through him. So do they who are before the throne of God! With what rapture, with what joy, with what delight, do they cast their crowns there! To think they have a crown, and a crown to cast before Him!
Brothers and sisters, I am afraid when you and I get any graces, or have been made useful in Christ’s cause, we are glad for the thing’s sake; but we are not right, if so; we should be glad because we have something to cast at His feet. Have you faith? I must thank Him for faith, I must lay it at His feet and say, “Jesus, use my faith for Your glory, for You are its author and finisher.” If you and I shall, by divine grace, persevere to the end, and shall arrive at heaven, it will be a joy to think that we are saved, but we will lay it all at the door of divine love!
Why, then, you ask now, do they cast their crowns at the foot of the Throne? There are four answers which may very properly be given.
The first, no doubt, is for the reason of solemn reverence. They see more of God than we do, therefore are they more filled with awe and thrilled with admiration. From what we—who worship, as it were, in His outer courts and get but distant glimpses of His majesty and His mercy—from what we at present know of God we should be constrained to say, “Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Your name give glory for Your mercy and Your Truth’s sake.” But where God more gloriously reveals Himself and where His attributes are more clearly seen, no doubt there is more overwhelming emotion and more intense reverence—therefore at once, and of spontaneous impulse—the soul pays all the homage that it can before the Throne of God.
I think it would seem to them as though it could not be that they could sit with crowned heads in the Presence of the King of kings! That head that once was crowned with thorns, when we see it adorned with the royal diadem, surely we should not bear to be crowned in the Presence of such an One! For what are we, and what is our Father’s house? God has done all He can for us, yet what shall we be as compared with Him, the Infinite and Eternal! And as compared with Christ, the ever-blessed who died for us? O, our reverence will always make us feel in the lowest state of self-abasement at the foot of the Throne!
Moreover, they are, no doubt, actuated by sincere humility. Reverence to God always brings a humble opinion of one’s own self. Here below, Beloved, we sometimes murmur at the Divine will when His appointments cross and foil our inclinations. Were we more humble and less self-opinionated we should utterly distrust ourselves and put implicit confidence in Him. We should at once cast our wills at the Lord’s feet. Here we set up our own opinion in opposition to the revealed will of God. We would not do that if we knew ourselves, but we should lay our judgment at the foot of the Throne. But up there they judge righteous judgments and, knowing God and beholding His Glory, they shrink into nothing and lay themselves at His feet—much more do they renounce their will.
They feel, they know, they confess that any honor or desert they have has been obtained through the Grace of God— that they must fully, heartily, unreservedly ascribe to Grace that which they dare not arrogate to themselves. Doubtless, also, they do this for another reason, namely, because of their profound gratitude. They bless God that they are where they are and what they are. If you ask those before the Throne, they will tell you that not only do they owe their crowns to Grace, but every single gem in their crowns. They have not one single star in their diadem but what the Lord put there and there is not a single sparkle of any crystal sapphire that is in their coronet but what they may trace the flashing gleam to the Sovereign Grace of God.
Therefore, how could they keep anything to themselves? Gratitude constrains them to lay their crowns where their crowns came from. And, above all, they are actuated by intense affection. They love their Lord, and loving their Lord they do anything to adore Him. Self-denial is the name we give on earth to that Grace which not only ignores but consumes one’s self in the fervor of zeal, in the passion of love. What word would answer for the like?—Though the greater vehemence of those in Heaven I cannot tell. They are glad to fling their richest goods, their choicest trophy, their most cherished treasure at His feet—they love Him so. Here we love ourselves and cherish some fond attachment to our fellow creatures, also. And our hearts are stolen away by some earthly object. But there they love God intensely, continually, undividedly, without a flaw—and consequently they cast everything down before Him—and they lay their crowns at His feet.
As we see what they do, let us consider what we should do, and anticipate what we shall do when we join that august assembly. I would like to have a bright crown, bright with many gems of souls turned to righteousness, for they that turn many to righteousness shall shine as stars forever. But I think the sweetness will be to have a bright crown to lay at His feet, not for the sake of wearing it but giving it, if thereby a saved one might give honor to His Savior. You will notice they do not attempt to put the crown upon the Lord’s head. No, we cannot add to His splendor! He is infinitely glorious! Without creatures, without servants, without saints He is glorious—we cannot add to His Glory—we can but lay our crowns at His feet. We cast them at the feet though we cannot put them on the monarch’s head.
And would not we wish to have as bright a crown as possible for the sake of placing it there? O, fight, you soldier of Christ, and bear hardness that your crown may be a precious one! Pray, minister of God, that you may preach with all your heart and soul and strength, that your diadem may be a sparkling one! Dear Sister in your tent, or dear Brother out in the battle, be valiant for God, for we all agree in this, that whatever the crown shall be, at His dear feet we cast it!