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VIII. been rescued, and fell into all the gross corruptions of idolatrous worship and immoral practice; so that, though the moral kingdom of God was still visible, it was visible only in its ruins; it exhibited to the view nothing but some disa jointed and shattered remains of that beautiful structure, which he originally founded.
Thirdly, To recall men, therefore, to their obedience, and to restore the moral government of the world, a new kingdom was established, under the Messias, founded on clearer informa tion than that of reason, and strengthened by the additional sanction of a full discovery of a future state of rewards and punishments; and which, in due time, should bring all men to an acknowledgment of the truth, and to a state of perfect allegiance to the one true God.
This kingdom was but as yet in its infancy, when our blessed Saviour instructed his disciples in this divine formulary, and therefore he had just reason to teach them to pray, that the kingdom of God and his Son (which is here comprehended in one expression) might come, and that all nations might acknowledge' his divine mission, and be converted to the purity of the Christian faith. It was, therefore, clearly, the primary intention of this petition to request, that
the boundaries of God's kingdom might be enlarged every where, by an outward profession of the Christian religion, and by an inward conformity to its holy precepts.
And much cause have we still to continue the use of this petition, if we consider, how imperfectly the glorious things, which are spoken of this kingdom, are yet fulfilled in the world.
It was expressly predicted, that the Gospel of Christ should be preached to all the world that all kings shall fall down before him, and all nations do him service;---that his name shall be great, from the rising up of the sun tp the going down of the same;-that the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea ;--and, above all, that the whole nation of the Jews shall be converted to Christianity, and become one fold under one shepherd, Jesus Christ.
Yet look into the world, and see how little all this is fulfilled-Cast your eyes over the wideextended empires of Asia, or through the uncivilized tribes of African, or American, or insular savages:-how many millions yet sit in darkness and the shadow of death, and have never so much as heard of the name of Jesus, but are still
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falling down before stocks and stones, the work of mens' hands? How many, again, have so blended the purity of the Christian faith with the base alloy of Mahometan imposture, as to have lost the naine of Christians ? How
in this age of growing licentiousness, have cast off their former faith, and become worse than infidels? And, what is more deserving of consideration than all the rest, how signally does the whole body of the Jews still remain out of the pale of the Christian church?—though, amidst all the revolutions of empires, and changes of nations; though scattered, as they are, into all lands; they still continue a separate and unmixed people, retain their original faith, name, and language; as if they were incapable of that civil amalgamation, by which we daily see men of all nations, by frequent intercourse, reduced, as it were, into one homogeneous mass; and this, clearly, for some remarkable designation and purpose of providence, to be fulfilled in its due time.
We cannot but see then, that Christ's kingdom is not yet fully come, nor the glorious things, which were predicted of its extent and universality, yet accomplished : yet let us not despair of the accomplishment'of them. Man is a creature of a day, but God is the rock of ages: he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; his promises, therefore, cannot fail.
, The prophetic kingdom of the Messias, we own, is not yet established, yet this wished-for time of universal peace and good-will, will one day come: it is in the hands of an unerring providence, which will bring it to pass in due season. And, in the mean time, it is our duty to cooperate with God's gracious design; to pray earnestly, that his kingdom may come in its full extent, and that all nations may acknowledge the kingdom of God and his Son, to whom he hath not yet been spoken.
If, again, we consider this kingdom of God, as intended to bring men into the obedience of faith, and to produce in them the fruits of righteousness, how much cause have we still to pray earnestly, that the kingdom of God may come: for, even among those, upon whom his name is called, how few acknowledge sincerely the dominion of Christ? Among his subjects, how few obey his laws i Look into the Christian world, and where is that purity which Christ taught? Where is that justice which he commanded? Where is that universal love which he recommended? If we meet with some few instances of this obedience,--and few, indeed, I fear, they are,—their blessed effects will dispose
us to wish, that this obedience were universal, and that all would own the kingdoin of their Lord by á conformity to his commands.
The prophets again, call this kingdom of the Messias, a kingdom of peace. But where, alas! shall we find this prophecy accomplished? Have nations yet beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks? Where is that happy region to be found, so invitingly described by the prophet Isaiah, where the wolf dwelleth with the lamb, and the leopard lieth down with the kid? Where, rather, is not man a foe to man, and the image of God stained with cruelty and blood-shed? Surely, therefore, every friend to mankind must devoutly wish; that this blessed state of peace may begin, and this kingdom of God come.
Fourthly, There is also a kingdom of God, which is a kingdom of glory.
And this is, in the most perfect and exalted sense, his kingdom: it is that kingdom which shall have no end :-it is that kingdom, which shall commence at that awful period, when, death and sin being vanquished, Christ shall come in his glory, to put an end to the generations of men, and to give to eyery man according