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to his work : “to them, who, by patient conti
nuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and ho
nour, and immortality, eternal life; but to “ them that are contentious, and do not obey the “ truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation " and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon
every soul of man that doeth evil; of the Jew " first, and also of the Gentile.”
And with respect to this sense, we, therefore, here pray, that God would hasten his eternal kingdom;-that, this life of sin and sorrow being ended, we, with all those that are departed out of this life in the true faith and fear of God, may reign for ever in glory.
Having thus explained the various senses, in which the kingdom of God is used in scripture,
Ist, As meaning God's absolute dominion over nature;
2dly, His moral kingdom, in the government of mankind;
3dly, The kingdom of the Messias; as established either in the outward profession of the Gospel, or in the inward purity and obedience of its professors; and,
Lastly, His future kingdom of glory, when death shall be swallowed up in victory, and pain and sorrow shall be no more:
I now come to the consideration of those duties, which are suggested to us from the use of this petition.
And now then, if we are sincere in praying that God's kingdom may come, we should rememberzis
julst, That its is our duty to endeavour to advance-it, by shewing ourselves good subjects, by obeying the laws of our divine Sovereign, and by promoting his honour.- For it is not enough ito wish; we are also to act. We should, therefore, both live in obedience ourselves, and also, in our several stations, instruct the ignorant, reprove the licentious, exhort the careless;- and this more especially among those, who are conimitted to our care by, the providence of God, or over whom our authority or example are likely to have a prevailing influence.
And, indeed, this is not only the best proof we can give of our sincerity in making this petition, ; but is also the most likely. method of bringing it to pass. For, as the holy lives of the first professors of Christianity, contributed above all things to the success of the kingdom of Christ, so there is no cause, which has so much contributed to obstruct it, as the careless and immoral lives of Christians. And so it ever must be: for in vain will the mouth proclaim the purity of the Gospel precepts, if our actions speak the language of Spanish rapine and barbarity, or in the sanguinary tone of Romish vindiction and inquisitorial cruelty.
2dly, If we are sincere, in making this petition, it will become us to shew our sincerity by co-operating with the providence of God and the labours of pious men,' in spreading the kingdom of Christ. There are yet many dark corners. of the world, where the light of the Gospel has never shone. There are many nations, where reason has lost her empire over the passions. And many
there are, even where Christ has been 'preached, in which little is known of real Christianity, through those manifold corruptions and superstitions, which have been blended with it. Here then is a wide field, in which we may act. Here we may truly shew our zeal for the advancement of Christ's kingdom, by joining our prayers and our liberality to the pious endean yours of those, who are now labouring to give
light light to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death.
3dly, Do we pray in earnest, that Christ's kingdom on earth may come, let us remember, that one especial part of it is peace and universal love. Instead, therefore, of dividing the unity of his kingdom by needless contentions, or bitter strife and envying, it will better become us to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of
peace. We are taught here to pray for the kingdom of Christ in general, without any distinction of sect or party: wherever, therefore, his name is sincerely professed, all denominations of Christians have a right to an interest in our prayers; and, though we may lament, that some should cause, what may appear to us, needless divisions, yet we are to treat them with tenderness and charity; hoping, that though they may be, in our opinion, in some things mise taken, yet, that we have all the same common interest and object in view, and wishing, that at the end of our journey, however we may have pursued different roads, or even sometimes have fallen out by the way, we may finally all meet together, in Christ's eternal kingdom of glory;
4thly, Do we pray in earnest, and therefore sincerely believe, that God's kingdom will come; -let this teach us to bear with patience, the cominon evils and misfortunes of the world.
We know, that sorrow is the natural lot and birth-right of man, and, therefore, we can have no claim to be exempted from it, even under the most perfect establishment of human affairs, But we know likewise, that the kingdom of God is not yet come, either in its full purity or extent, and, therefore, we must expect to find the natural sorrows incident to our state, much increased by the frauds and villanies of a corrupt and unregenerate world. From this petition, however, we may learn, both to be prepared for them, and also to be comforted under them. For he, who taught us to pray, that his kingdom may come, plainly, thereby, tells us, that the sinful, turbulent, and selfish passions of men are not yet subdued, and therefore, will continue to produce their natural effects, in disturbing the happiness and order of the world. But then we are hereby also taught to remember, that there will be a future kingdom of glory, in which all our present toils and grievances will be amply compensated, and therefore that we ought to bear them with patience and moderation.