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God, to reverence, adore and honour it, in their hearts, lips, and lives. O! let us then be excited to the practice of this duty, considering that it is the end for which God gave us a being; that if we do not hallow it, we contradict this very petition, praying for a thing we have no mind to comply with; that if we live in the neglect of this duty, God will get honour to himself by inflicting heavy judgments upon us in this life, and by making us eternal monuments of his vengeance in the next; that when we come to encounter with the king of terrors, it will tend to sweeten the awful prospect, that we have made it our business to glorify the name of God; that we will loose nothing, but be great gainers, by ho nouring the name of the Lord; for they that do so shall be reckoned among his jewels, and be a royal diadem in the Lord's hand; they shall be happy in death, and be safely conveyed to Immanuel's land where glory dwells. Let us then make it the principal business of our lives to glorify God, that so we may come to enjoy him for ever.
THE SECOND PETITION.
MATTH. vi. 10.-Thy Kingdom come.
S the first petition relates to the name of God, this second relates to the kingdom of God, the kingdom of our Father which is in heaven; the coming of which, that is the advancement thereof, is desired by all the children of God. And that is the great mean of glorifying his name; for then is his name hallowed, when his kingdom comes, is advanced and carried on, till it come to perfection.
In discoursing further from this subject, I shall shew,
I. What is meant by the kingdom of God.
II. What is the import of this petition, for its coming. III. The reasons of the concern of the children of God for the coming of his kingdom.
I. I am to shew, what is meant by the kingdom of God. There is a fourfold kingdom of God mentioned in scripture.
1. The kingdom of his power, which reaches over all the world. The subjects of this kingdom are all creatures whatsoever, Psal. ciii. 19. His kingdom ruleth over all.' It reaches from the highest angel to the meanest worm that creeps on the earth. It is a vast dominion, comprehending heaven, earth, seas, and hell, and all that in them is. He made them all, and therefore has dominion over them all; and to him they must all submit themselves, willing or unwilling, Rom. xiv. 11. As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.' Compare Phil. ii. 10, 11. At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth; and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.' In this respect God is universal Monarch, and all the kings and emperors of the world are but his vassals.
2. The kingdom of his gospel, Matth. xxi. 43. The kingdom of God shall be taken from you,' says Christ to the Jews. This is not so large as the former. It is erected within it, but comprehends the whole visible church, in which God has set up the light of his gospel and Christ's name is known, and men profess subjection to him.
(1.) The subjects of it are all members of the visible church, whether godly or ungodly, sincere or hypocrites, (Matth xiii. 47.), with their children. Even the worst of them are privileged persons, in comparison of those of the world without the church, Psal. cxlvii. 19, 20. He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them.
(2.) The King of it is Jesus Christ, Psal. ii. 6. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.' He is the alone Head of it, and only supreme in it. And neither Pope nor King can pretend to the supremacy over it, without invading his royal prerogative to their own cost, Eph. i. 22, 23. • God hath put all things under his feet, and given him to be the Head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.' And his glory he
will not give to another.
(3.) The laws of it are the word of God. The Bible is
the book of the laws of the kingdom, which great and small within the kingdom are equally bound to walk by, Isa. viii, 20. To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.' These laws are attended with the most weighty sanction; and as they have the promise of eternal life of free grace to those who obey him, so they have the threatening of eternal wrath to the disobedient, suitable to the majesty of the King, Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned,'
(4.) The ordinances of it are gospel-ordinances, instituted by the King himself, bearing his own signature, Matth. xxviii. 20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.' And for men to pretend to add or alter, as if they were not bound up to the divine institution, is the product of their own blindness, and enmity against Zion's King, a saying in effect, We will not have this man to reign over us,' Luke xix. 27. For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King,' Isa. xxxiii. 22.
Lastly, The officers of it (ordinary) are, pastors and teachers, for the work of the ministry, Eph. iv. 11, 12; ruling elders for government, 1 Tim. v. 17; and deacons for the care of the poor, Acts vi. As for prelates or bishops, archbishops, metropolitans, &c. whatever is to be said of their persons, their offices belong not to the kingdom of Christ, but of Antichrist, as well as priests, cardinals, and popes, there being no institution of them in the book of the manner of Christ's kingdom.
3. The kingdom of his grace, Matth. vi. 33. Seek ye first the kingdom of God,' &c. This is yet narrower than any of the former, and comprehends only the invisible church; for it is not an external, but an internal kingdom, in which grace, saving grace, reigns in the hearts of those who belong to it; for, says Christ to his disciples, behold the kingdom of God is within you,' Luke xvii. 21,
(1.) The subjects of it are believers, true saints, and they only; and they commence subjects of this kingdom in the day of Christ's power on their hearts, their new birth-day, Psal, cx. 3. Well may it be called a kingdom, for it is a kingdom of Kings, Rev. i. 6. as all the subjects of it are
made kings unto God.' Out of prison (their natural state) they come to reign over their spiritual enemies.
(2.) The King of it is Christ, dwelling in their hearts, Eph. iii. 17; sitting in their hearts as on his throne, and all things else made his footstool, Luke xiv. 26. The gospel comes with power to the elect souls, Psal. xxiv. 8. The everlast ing doors are lifted up, and the King makes his triumphant entry, and receives the crown at his entrance, Cant. iii. ult.
(3.) The laws of it are the laws of the Bible, but written over in their hearts, Heb. viii. 10. What others have in their book only, they have in their book and heart too; that is, inclinations of soul suited to the word are framed in them, which is a new nature, naturally disposing them to obedience without force. This is the law of their mind, Rom. vii. 23.
(4.) The ordinances of it are the same gospel ordinances, but observed in a spiritual manner, in spirit and in truth, John iv. 24. Phil. iii. 3. For this kingdom consists not in outward observances, but inward graces, Rom. xiv. 17. whereby the soul is conformed to the image of Christ, and the inner man serves the Lord Christ, as well as the outward man: for it is not in word, but in power.'
Lastly, The Administrator of it is the Holy Spirit of Christ, John xiv. 16, 17. He teaches the subjects the laws of the kingdom. So they are taught of God. He enlivens, excites, and strengthens them to obedience. He leads them out to the war against their spiritual enemies, inspires them with courage and resolution in the conflict, and crowns them with victory. He makes use of the word for all this, and brings every thought into obedience, 2 Cor. x. 5,
4. The kingdom of his glory, 1 Cor. xv. 50. This is the blessed state of eternal happiness in the other world. This kingdom is now a-gathering, but shall fully come at the second coming of Christ.
(1.) The subjects of it shall be all the elect, being prepared for it by conversion, regeneration, justification, sanctification, and perseverance. This is the end of the golden chain, Rom. viii. 29, 30. (And the elect angels make up a part of this kingdom too). However long any of them lie among the pots, there shall none of them be left there, nor missing in that kingdom. There they shall be in body and soul too. For Christ will summon death to deliver him his
own, and then he will deliver up the kingdom to the Father, and present them spotless.
(2.) The King of it is God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, reigning most gloriously over all the kingdom, with out the least degree of rebellion or uneasiness under the government among all the subjects, and without any mix. ture of enemies or malcontents among them, Luke xx. 36. This, then, is the kingdom by way of eminency, where the Lord reigns for ever and ever. The kingdom of his power has many malcontents in it, ready to quarrel with their Maker and his administration. The kingdom of the gospel has many adversaries, without and within men, and is held out of many nations. The kingdom of grace has no access to the hearts of many who hear the gospel; and where it is set up, ill neighbours, corrupt lusts, mar the progress. in the kingdom of glory there are no such things.
(3.) The laws of it are the eternal law of righteousness, indelibly engraven on their hearts, without the least blot. There is no Bible needed there; for the rule of conduct is written on the mind, and the writing neither waxes old, nor can be erazed.
(4.) The ordinances of it are perpetual praises and halle. lujahs, never-ceasing songs to God and the Lamb. There is no temple there, for God and the Lamb are the temple thereof. There is no need of preaching or prayer; for perfect knowledge takes place, and every saint is made perfect and full, so as to seek no more. What is a stranger there; faith is swallowed up in vision, and hope in fruition. Lastly, The Administrator of this heavenly kingdom is the Holy Spirit, but without any external means. He trained up the saints while in the world for this royal state, and at once, by his internal agency and invisible operations, dispos ed, fitted them for, and ever presides over them, in the delightful employments of the kingdom of glory, John xiv. 16. From what has been said,
USE. 1. Submit yourselves contentedly to the disposals of Providence. If God be King over all, is there any fault in the administration; nay, is not all well done, yea, best done? Let his sovereignty silence us; should it be according to thy mind? His infinite wisdom should satisfy us, who knows better than we do what is best for us, and can over-rule all things for his glory and our good.