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life and beauty to it, that Paul compares it to a “resurrection from the dead,” (Rom. xi. 15.) do still retain their prejudice against him, and obstinately refuse subjection to him.
We ought therefore to pray that the gospel, which hitherto has been confined within very narrow bounds, may gradually spread and extend itself on every side, till at length it obtain possession of the whole earth, and “ all the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God, and of his Christ." Rev. xi. 15.But,
2dly. We are more especially to pray for a divine blessing to accompany the means of
grace, That the gospel may come to men, not in word only, but also in power, and prove effectual for turning “ them from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan onto God." That where Christ doth already reign in his external ordinances, there be would also erect his throne in the hearts of men, subduing sinners to him. self, and training up his saints, by the influences of bis holy Spirit, to a meetness for that undefiled inberitance which he hath purchased for them. And,
3dly. We are likewise authorised by this petition to pray, that whatever stands in opposition to the kingdom of our Redeemer, either with respect to the extent or influence of it, may be removed out of the way:
Particularly, that Antichrist, that “man of sin and son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth bimself above all that is called God,” (2 Thess. ii. 3, 4.) and hath long been “drunk with the blood of the saints," (Rev. xvi. 6.) may be brought to the ground, and never arise any more: that the delusions of the false prophet, and blasphemous impostor Mabomet, which have overspread so great a part of the world, may at length be detected, and his kingdom of darkness and violence plucked up by the roots.
And though it doth not belong to us to choose the time, or means, or manner of doing it, for these must be wholly submitted to Him “who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working;" yet surely it is lawful for us, to desire in general, “ that God would arise and scatter all his enemies,” (Psal. Ixviii. 1.): and even to make mention of those enemies in particular whom he hath described in Scripture by such plain and legible characters, that we can be in no danger of mistaking them; and to plead, that what he hath purposed and spoken concerning them may be fulfilled in the most speedy and effectual manner. In a word, whatever is conducive to the present glory of the Redeemer, and the prosperity of his kingdom upon earth, may justly be comprehended in this petition; and it will never cease to be of use in the church, till all the Redeemer's enemies are made his footstool; and then it shall be exchanged for that triumphant song, (Rev. xii. 10.) “ Now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ. Alleluia! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad, and rejoice, and give honour to bim; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." Rev. xix. 6, 7.
Thus have I endeavoured to give you a short account of the sense and import of this petition.—Let us now proceed, in the
Second place, To consider more largely what may reasonably be expected from us in consequence of our using it; or rather, indeed, what is absolutely necessary to prove that we are sincere when we thus pray,
“ Thy kingdom come." —And,
1st. It is necessary that we should become the subjects of this kingdom, not in name only, but in deed and
in truth, otherwise we cannot wish the prosperity and advancement of it.
This King of Zion, who sways a sceptre of grace over those who cordially submit to bim, is likewise armed with a rod of iron, to dash in pieces his obstinate enemies; and therefore, to all such, bis coming must be most terrible; and neither their inclination nor interest will suffer them to desire it. No man can wish the increase of a power which he knows to be opposite to him, especially when the opposition is so great, and the difference so irreconcilable, as that which subsists between the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of Satan; for the one must necessarily be built upon the ruins of the other.
Let us then, my brethren, throw down the weapons of our rebellion, and yield ourselves to this gracious Sovereign ; and then the increase of his power shall become the matter of our joy. Let us invite him into our hearts, and erect a throne for him there; or rather, let us beseech him to erect one for himself, to cast down every thing within us that would exalt itself against his authority, and to take the full and perpetual possession of our souls. Let us unfeignedly accept of him, in the whole extent of his office as Mediator; that standing related to him as the members of his body, we may derive from him wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and every thing necessary to our complete redemption. Let us secure to ourselves a title to the protection and privileges of his government, by submitting to the laws and constitutions of it; and then it will become easy and natural to us, to pray for the prosperity of a kingdom to wbich we belong, and the glory of a Sovereign who employs all his power and authority for our good.-A
21 Duty incumbent upon us, in consequence of our using this petition, is to endeavour, by all the methods
we can, to persuade others likewise to become the sub. jects of this kingdom.
Many indeed call Christ, “ Lord, Lord; but few," alas! “ do the things which he says:--they profess that they know God, while in works they deny him,-being abominable, and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate." And shall not this move our pity and compassion? Can we look around us, even within the limits of the visible church, and see human nature exposed in every deformed and sickly shape? Can we behold multitudes of men, who are called by the name of Jesus, counteracting the most sacred obligations of conscience, and even pouring contempt upon the only Saviour of lost sinners? Can we see all this, I say, and not afford our helping hand? Do we pray that the kingdom of God may come, and will we do nothing to introduce it into the bearts of others, who by nature are less disposed to entertain it than we ourselves once were? If we are sincere in using this petition, let us show our sincerity by our endeavours to obtain what we ask. Let us labour, with all our might, to awaken poor sinners to a sense of their danger, that they may fly to the protection of that merciful Saviour, who hath expressly said, “ Him that cometh uuto me I will in no wise cast out." John vi. 37.
Various are the means which may be used for this purpose: I shall mention one, which all of us may employ, and that is a holy and exemplary life. There is grandeur and majesty in the image of God, which ex. acts homage to itself from every heart. There is something within us, which, in spite of our degeneracy, confesses and approves of what is right; truth in our speech; justice and honesty in our commerce with others; patience under allliction, and pity to the afflicted; a generous contempt of the world, and a readiness to do good
to all. These are virtues which the worst of men secretly honour, and the practice of them explains them bet. ter, and enforces them more, than words can do. Would we then prevail with men to become Christians indeed, let us draw out Christianity in our lives, and make it visible to their eyes, and it will speak for itself more intelligibly and convincingly than we can do: for men, by beholding it, will see at once, that it is not only excellent, but, by the grice of God, practicable too. This is an argument that hath more persuasion in it than any other can have; and then it is recommended to us by our Lord himself, (Matth. v. 16.) “ Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
3dly. If we sincerely desire the prosperity and advancement of Christ's external kingdom, we will mani. fest this by our endeavours to support and maintain it where it is already established, especially among ourselves.
This is an evidence which may reasonably be expect. ed from us; and indeed without it, all our professions of love to the Redeemer, and of zeal for his glory, must pass for vain and flattering pretences, which deserve no credit. We only mock God, when we pray that the reli. gion of his Son may become universal, and fill the whole earth, if at the same time we do not discover, by our conduct, a hearty concern for its continuance in our own land; yea, if we do not actually resist and oppose all attempts whatever to carry it away from us.
It bath pleased God to distinguish us by our religious privileges above most other nations in the world. They were purchased by our fathers, with the expense of much blood and treasure; and it would be highly cri. minal in us to resign them tamely, but far :nore to throw