Page images
PDF
EPUB

Serm. down, and the Kingdoms of the World became
VI. the Kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ (b),

according to the Prophecies concerning the
Reign of the Messiah, that there should come
forth a Rod out of the Stem of Jese, which
should stand for an Ensign of the People ;
to it hould the Gentiles seek, and his Rest
should be glorious (c), and the Completion
of them began then to take Place, when
our Saviour said, The Law and tbe Prophets
were until John, but since that Time the
Kingdom of God is preached, and every Man
presseth into it (d); the legal Dispensation is
now drawing to an End, the Gospel is pro-
mulgated, and free to be embraced by all
Men ; those, who were afar off, are brought
nigh, and made the People of God, though
before the Subjects of the Prince of Dark-
ness ----and when he attested to the Jews,
Behold the Kingdom of God is within, or.
among you (e) and threatened them for their
Contempt of him and his Gospel, that the
Kingdom shall be taken from you, and given
to a Nation bringing forth the Fruits there-
of (f).

IT

16) Rev. xi. 15.
(d) St. Luke xvi. 16.
(f) St. Matth. xxi. 43.

(6) Ifai. xi. 1, 10.

(e) St. Luke xvii. 21.

Serm, It is this Kingdom, which St. Paul tells VI. the Romans (8), is not Meat and Drink, but Righteousness, and Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost ---it is neither God's natural, nor his moral, nor his political, but his spiritual Kingdom, where he reigns in the Hearts of the Faithful by his Word and Spirit, and conducts them by the Means of his Grace to the Hopes and Fruition of Glory ;---this is also frequently called in holy Scripture, the Kingdom of Heaven, as well because the divine Founder of it came down from Heaven, as because it leads all his true Members to Heaven, emphatically called the Kingdom of Glory, though in rcality the Kingdoms of Grace and Glory are one and the same Constitutions, only composed of different Parts, having Grace for its Way, and Glory for its End.

[ocr errors]

But if we consider them more distinctly, we shall find the former to consist of Duty and Labour, the latter of Honour and Reward ; the former may be accounted God's Kingdom in its Minority, growing towards Perfection, and the latter by the Wisdom of Counsel and Action arriv'd at its Meri

dian

(8) Rom. xiv. 17.

SERM. dian of Brightness; the former is like a VI. Nation labouring and struggling with the

Miseries and Defolations of War, harrassed at home with Insurrections, threatened from abroad with Invasions, where without are Frightnings, within are Fears: But when these Contests and Convulsions are over, and all Enemies, both foreign and domestick are subdued, then appears the latter in all its Glory ; Peace and Society fucceed, Crowns of Victory are worn, and eternal Triumphs are celebrated in the Regions of Bliss. Then shall God's glorious Kingdom be display'd in its utmost Lustre, into which all good Men, all, who are cloathed with the Righteousness of the Saints (b), shall gain Admittance, shall enjoy perpetual Reft and Felicity, and reign with God their Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier, for ever and ever. .

[ocr errors]

IC

Thus says the Almighty Conqueror, who has the Keys of Hell and of Death, To him that overcometh will I grant to fit with me in my Throne, even as I also overcame and am sct down with my Father in the Throne (i), but to all the Workers of Iniquity, he says, There Mall be Weeping and gnashing of Teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the

Prophets 16) Rev. xix, 8, (i) Rev. iii. 21.

Propbets in the Kingdom of God, and your felves Serm. thruft out (k).

VI. And here we have a View of that Kingdom of God, which is principally intended in the Text, and is the State of Happiness inconceivable and everlasting reserved for the Righteous in Heaven, the Seat of God's infinite Majesty and Glory, where such, as shall be found worthy of it, shall partake of the utmost Degrees of Blessedness, as immense and inexhaustable, as the Fountain they flow from, even the Divine Power and Goodness.

Now the certain Road to this Kingdom of Glory lies through this Righteousness, and none but the Righteous shall enter into it: Hence arises the Usefulneis of an Enquiry into the Meaning of his Righteousness, least by mistaking our Way, we never finish our Journey beneficially, nor arrive at the blissful Regions of Eternity.

It is observable, that what we are called upon to seek in this Respect, is not our own Righteousness, bụt God's; that Righteousness, which he has demanded by Precept, and enforced by Example; and hereby we are to understand, not a moral, nor a legal, but an Evangelical Righteousness, a

zealous (k) St. Luke xiii, 28.

[ocr errors]

SERM. zealous and hearty Attachment to the Doctrines VI. and Duties of the Gospel in their genuine

Sense and utmost Extent. The Laws of 'God's Kingdom, under which we live, are the Laws of Christ, and not those of Mofes, or of Nature; and the Conduct of its Subjects must be regulated by the Christian Religi in, as it stands distinguished from the I've come und nd the Jewish.

The latter, indeed, however eagerly contended for through the strong Prejudices of Education in the Infancy of Christianity, has been entirely given up for many Ages by all, except a small Remnant of the antient Jews, who remain as a standing Evidence of the Truth of the Gospel.

But the former, that is Natural Religion, finds many Advocates, and under that Cloak do Infidels generally shelter themselves : All the Righteousness they seek, is only the Righteousness of Heathens, and they prefer the Dawn of Reason, before the Sunshine of Revelation. They boldly claim it as the original Privilege of their Being, to chuse their own Method of Salvation --presume to dictate to their Maker, and expect to be admitted to Mercy on such Terms, as they think fit to mark out to themselves.

THƯs

« EelmineJätka »