Psalm 89:14
Prayer book Version, "Righteousness and equity are the habitation of thy seat;" Revised Version, "Justice and judgment are the foundation of thy throne." The terms "justice," "righteousness." stand for the abstract virtue; the terms "judgment," "equity," stand for the applications and adaptations of justice to times, circumstances, and men. Equity is the law of right applied to particular circumstances. The double assertion made concerning God is that what he does is always right judged by the standards of righteousness, and always right judged by the frailties and infirmities of men. Both these considerations help to bring men full confidence in him, and assurance concerning his ways with them.

I. GOD'S WAYS ARE ALWAYS RIGHT TO THE STANDARD. "Righteousness is the basis of his throne;" the distinguishing feature of his rule. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" If it be asked - Where is the standard of righteousness? we may reply - In man's own moral sense. If he knows right from wrong, he must know right. The appraisement man can make of his own acts involves his power to appraise acts which are said to be acts of God. But this caution needs to be fully presented and illustrated - that the standard of right is not the sentiment of any single individual, but the harmouious sentiment of all the race in all the ages. It is a human standard, not an individual standard. There has grown up in the world a standard of righteousness, which is now well established; by it the acts declared as God's may be judged; and it will always be found that inspired descriptions of righteousness are, in effect, descriptions of the established human standard; and that all acts of God commended in the inspired record will stand the test of that established human standard. It should be carefully shown that there is not one standard for man, and a differing standard for God. Right for God is right for man. Cases that seem doubtful are simply cases misapprehended. Poets may say, "Whatever is is right." Pious men say, "Whatever God does is right."

II. GOD'S WAYS ARE ALWAYS RIGHT TO THE CIRCUMSTANCE. There is a temporary right as well as an eternal right. There is an uneducated right, and a cultured right, dependent on conditions of conscience. There is a right at the moment, and a right forever. There is a right absolute, and a right in adaptation. Illustrate from the mother's idea of right in relation to her child. She has to fit her right to the capacity and condition of her child. There is a right form and setting and clothing of the eternal right. So the psalmist may find God's right in the adjustment of his dealings with the wilful and wayward Davidic king, Rehoboam. - R.T.

Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne.

1. What it is, and why so called. It is God manifesting Himself in our own nature, and dealing with sinners through Christ according to the grace of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 5:19, 20). Now, God's administration of grace toward guilty sinners through Christ may be called a throne, either —(1) With allusion unto the mercy-seat in the typical temple of Jerusalem; or —(2) Because of the glorious greatness and royal majesty of God flint shines in this administration of grace through Christ.

2. What comfortable views of God are to be had by a guilty trembling sinner from this throne of grace. In general, every view of God here is inviting and encouraging. More particularly —(1) God upon a throne of grace is to be seen as "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).(2) From a throne of grace, God is to be seen as a God of love — yea, as love itself (1 John 4:16).(3) From a throne of grace, a guilty sinner may view Him as a God of peace (Hebrews 13:20).


1. It is an ancient foundation; for Christ was "set up from everlasting, or ever the earth was"; He is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

2. It is a foundation of God's own laying, and He had pleasure in laying it (Isaiah 28:16).

3. It is a firm foundation (Matthew 16:18).

4. It is a tried foundation. Justice tried it, and found it firm and stable. The powers of hell tried to overturn this foundation; but their kingdom and power was broken in pieces in the enterprise. The saints have all tried this foundation, and proclaim it sufficient to bear their weight; yea, it is sufficient to bear the weight of all mankind — yea, of millions of worlds, if they existed, and would venture upon it (Hebrews 7:25).

5. It is a precious foundation (1 Peter 1:19).

6. It is a most beautiful foundation. What God says of His Church (Isaiah 54:11) is much more true of the throne of grace.

III. NOTICE SOME PILLARS WHEREWITH THE THRONE IS SURROUNDED AND SUPPORTED. The foundation of this throne being laid in the satisfaction of justice, all the other perfections, or attributes, of the Divine nature, fall in for the support of the reign and administration of grace.

IV. INQUIRE WHY GOD WILL HAVE JUSTICE AND JUDGMENT FOR THE FOUNDATION OF HIS THRONE OF GRACE. The answer is, "That grace might reign through righteousness"; that the glory of grace might be displayed in a consistency with the honour of Divine justice. Here a question offers, How does grace reign, or how is the glory of grace displayed in and by the righteousness of a surety?

1. Grace reigns and is displayed in the contrivance of this righteousness; for it is the device of infinite wisdom, animated and inspired by free grace.

2. Grace reigns and is displayed in the acceptation of this righteousness. What but infinite love and grace could prevail with inexorable justice, so far to dispense with the rigour of the law, as to admit of a surety's righteousness in the room of the sinner!

3. Grace reigns in the impetration of this righteousness; for " God (in His amazing grace) sent forth His Son made of a woman," etc.

4. Grace reigns in the revelation of this righteousness. Grace was not content to contrive and bring about this righteousness, but the news of it must be proclaimed to a lost world, as it were by sound of trumpet.

5. Grace reigns through righteousness, inasmuch as that it is by the revelation of this justice-satisfying righteousness that grace conquers and powerfully subdues sinners, brings them under its own government and dominion.


1. Is it so that justice satisfied, and judgment executed upon the ever-blessed Surety, is the foundation of a throne of grace, then, hence we may see what an expensive piece of work a throne of grace is. Why, the foundation of it is laid in the death and blood of the Son of God.

2. See from this doctrine the glory of a Gospel-dispensation.

3. If it be so that justice satisfied, and judgment executed upon Christ, is the foundation of throne of grace, then see hence, that the salvation of a lost sinner by grace is very consistent with the honour of Divine justice.

4. Has God erected a throne of grace at the expense of the death and satisfaction of His eternal Son? Then I would have you to try, whether you be courtiers about this throne.

(E. Erskine.)


1. Sin having entered, they could have no more benefit by the throne of law-goodness, which runs in that channel, "Do this and live" (Genesis 3:22, 24).

2. They were bound over to answer at the throne of strict justice; for so was the law-treaty related and determined (Genesis 2:17).(1) They could have no claim to law-goodness and bounty, but upon perfect obedience (Galatians 3:12).(2) They were utterly unable to stand before the tribunal of justice (Psalm 130:3; Psalm 143:2).(3) The criminal once falling under the weight of the sentence a sacrifice to justice, there is no rising again (Psalm 94:23).(4) Justice had determined the execution-day to be the same with the sinning-day (Genesis 2:17).


1. The justice of God could not suffer it to be erected but on these bases (Genesis 18:25; 1 Thessalonians 1:6).

2. The holiness of God and His hatred of sin would not suffer it (Psalm 5:5; Habakkuk 1:13).

3. The truth of God was a bar in the way of emanations of mercy and grace without satisfaction to justice (Genesis 2:17).

4. The honour of the holy law, the eternal rule of righteousness, stood in the way of erecting a throne of grace but on these foundations; it behoved to be "magnified and made honourable" (Isaiah 42:21).

5. If there had not been an absolute necessity of these foundations for a throne of grace to stand on, they had never been laid at the cost of the blood of the Son of God (Romans 3:25).


1. The general ends of this new erection.(1) The saving of sinners from the wrath of God due to them for their sins.(2) The making of sinners positively happy in the favour of God for evermore.

2. The necessary foundations of this throne.(1) Justice, as distinguished from judgment, whereby God gives good unto any, agreeably to the laws of righteousness, which the justice of His nature requires to be observed in His government of the world (Genesis 18:25).(2) Judgment, whereby vindictive justice is satisfied for sin, for the breaking of the holy law; vengeance is taken upon it in proportion to the offence, which in a sort is an infinite offence.

3. How these foundations were laid. There being no help among the creatures, God laid help on His own Son (Psalm 89:19).Thus He made provision —

1. For the first foundation of the throne of grace, namely, justice, by His obeying the law completely in the sinner's room, observing exactly and giving obedience to its commands.

2. He made provision for the other foundation, namely, judgment, by suffering in the sinner's stead (Galatians 3:13).

(T. Boston, D.D.)

Consider the justice of God —



(W. H. H. Murray.)

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