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of eternity. Could we find a great community, spread over a whole continent, or over a world, rejoicing in the dominion of Christ; walking in the light of his holy example; guided and sanctified by his spirit; washed in the fountain which he hath set open ; and actuated by that divine law of love, of which he hath given us so admirable an epitome in the gospel, we should then see how striking, in every essential feature, is the contrast between such a holy and spiritual kingdom, and the kingdoms of this world. But the importance of the subject requires that we should trace this.contrast in a few particulars. And,
1. The kingdom of Christ is of no earthly origin. It did not like other governments grow out of the natural relations and exigencies of mankind. It is not the result of human wisdom and experience. Its constitution is not after any pre-existent model. To none of the renowned legislators and sages of antiquity, belongs the honor of sketching the inimitable outline. Mạn, even in his happiest efforts, leaves marks of imperfection upon everything that he touches. He could not have devised such a plan as is exhibited in the spiritual kingdom of the Redeemer, nor any thing like it. It is as much above him, 'as the heavens are higher than the earth." It surpasses the utmost limits of human contrivance, as much as the works of God, around us and above us, transcend in glory and beauty the ordinary productions of art. It is that holy city, the new Jerusalem,' which John saw s coming down from God, out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, when he heard a great voice saying, “The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.'
2. The kingdom of Christ rests on no earthly foundation. Heavenly in its origin, it must needs have a divine and spiritual basis.
Most of the governments which have existed in this world, have been founded upon usurpation, and cemented in blood; and the very best of them have been exceedingly marred by human wickedness and depravity. But Messiah's throne rests on the immutable basis of infinite wisdom and benevolence. There is no selfish short-sighted policy here. The sceptre of his kingdom is a right sceptre.' "The holy Jerusalem hath twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.'
3. The kingdom of Christ was not like other governments, established by human policy or power. He flattered no man, however exalted or influential. He offered no bribes, and held out no promises of temporal rewards to the most devoted of his followers. He never appealed to those master passions of the soul, the love of distinction, the love of power, and the love of money, which have been wielded with such tremendous effect in all
ages of the world. When occasion called for rebukes and woes, they fell from his lips indiscriminately, upon the mitre and the mace, upon the self-righteousness of the Pharisee, and the skepticism of the Sadducee. But he employed no political agents, organized no secret committees, levied no troops, collected no armies, and adopted no precautions against the deadly machinations of his enemies. When they came to arrest him, he would not permit his disciples to fight for him ; but, on the contrary, miraculously healed the only wound which was rashly inflicted in his defence. And, strange to tell, he died that he might reign at last, over ' a great multitude which no man can number.' Having triumphed over death and
the grave, instead of personally leading his followers on to victory and glory, he soon left them, weak and friendless as they were, to undertake the conquest of the greatest empire that the world had ever seen. They rose up and commenced operations, under contempt and hate and persecution, which would have overwhelmed any other faith, but that which endures as seeing him who is invisible.' Without striking a blow, they marched forward from victory to victory. A thousand impregnable fortresses of Jewish infidelity surrendered at discretion. The beathen oracles were panic-struck at their approach, Every pagan shrine tottered, and many fell. Their panoply was of no earthly temper. Their only weapon was the sword of the Spirit. They conquered by arguinent, -by the irrepressible outpourings of divine charity-by taking joyfully the spoiling of their goods—by blessing those that cursed them--by patient endurance of scorn and stoning and faggots and crucifixion.
During this great contest with principalities and powers, which resulted in their signal overthrow throughout the the Roman empire, the soldiers of the cross spilt no blood but their own-caused no mourning but among their friends -sacked no towns-ravaged no provinces—trampled down no industrious man's hopes—took away no widow's or orphan's bread.
O it was a glorious conquest ; achieved “not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord !' It was marvellous to see a new kingdom,' totally unlike every , other, rising and shining like the sun after a long and dark night. It was an example of the moral sublime, which stands without a parallel, to behold the mighty powers of darkness Aeeing before a few poor fishermen and tentmakers--to see their strong holds one after another pul
led down without hands; and, in one word, to witness the greatest moral revolution that ever took place on earth, brought about by means and instruments so utterly inadequate to the glorious achievment.
O how different was this, from the steps by which Egypt, Rome, or Macedon rose to empire! How different from the march of ambition, or even of patriotism itself, when fighting for the dearest civil rights of man !
4. The kingdom of Christ is so far from being sustained and strengthened by the secular arm, that hitherto it has invariably languished when constrained to lean upon the civil power. Prehaps it never received a more terrible shock, than it did on that day, when its holy simplicity was eclipsed by the purple of Constantine. At Rome, where pure and undefiled religion once shed abroad its holy light, what is there now but the mere mockery of a name-the blasphemies and mummeries of the man of sin ? And in all the states of Europe, where the secular and ecclesiastical powers are united, true religion, if not absolutely extinct, is paralyzed and almost stifled by an alliance which she abhors.
The kingdom of Christ is his church, which he hath purchased with his own blood,' and which in its holiest aspirations asks for none but spiritual munitions for its defence. It wants no Jeffries, nor Star Chamber, to enforce its discipline-no compulsory tythes to support its teachers--no military to extend its conquests or guard its sacred towers.' Its preservation and increase do not depend upon bulwarks of stone and mortar, nor upon long training in the use of steel and gunpowder. The loyal subjects of Christ's kingdom shrink instinctively from blood, except when the rage of persecution draws it from
their own veins, and then no hero ever watched the crimson ebb with greater composure. Indeed, a very slight acquaintance with the history of Christ's kingdom, from the apostolic age down to the present time, must be sufficient to convince every one, that the very means by which the kingdoms of this world are upheld and wax strong, are most hostile to the growth and spread of true religion. The church has always flourished most, when it has been let alone. And even a dark and frowning sky has been safer for it, than the brightest radiance of any political firmament. How wonderfully has it been purified and enlarged by the fires of persecution ! How often have the faithful come up invigorated out of great tribulation), while, on the other hand, they have been all but destroyed by the caresses of kings and parliaments. Thus a bright summer, however delightful to sense, may wither the shrub which had survived the fiercest blasts of winter.
5. The kingdom of Christ is not, like other kingdoms, liable to be subverted by political revolutions. It may feel the shock, and often does, when human governments are overthrown. But it has already survived hundreds of such convulsions, and will survive them all. That some forms of civil polity are more friendly to religion than others, cannot be questioned ; but it has flourished under almost every form. And if the church has sometimes been weakened and depressed, by the springing up of a new power, hostile to her very existence, she has perhaps, quite as often been a gainer, by the destruction of her enemies and the elevation of her friends.. Nor has it seldom happened, when she was giving vent to her darkest forebodings, in the language of Jacob, All these things are against me,' that those very things were all working together for her immediate benefit.