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First, What is the import of this petition with reference to the kingdom of glory? It imports,
1. That the kingdom of glory is not come yet, 1 John iii. 2. • It doth not yet appear what we shall be.' The King has not yet erected that kingdom. The King's coronationday for that kingdom, 2 Thess. i. 10. is not yet come. That is a kingdom of perfect light and uninterrupted day. But the King's glory is yet under a vail in this world, through which only some rays are darted forth. It is night still, and till the day break, and the shadows flee away, the King has betaken himself to the mountains of myrrh, and to the hills of frankincense, Cant. vi. 6. And many of the designed subjects are yet lying among the pots, some of them yet in the devil's kingdom, some of them in their pilgrimage, some of them are got home indeed, but only half-home, having their souls in heaven, but their bodies in the grave.
2. That it will come. The King really designs it. From eternity he decreed it, John xvii. 24. Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me : for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.' He is gone to heaven, but he will surely come back again, and he will set up this kingdom, Acts i. 11. There are two things one may say with full assurance about it, though it is not come yet.
(1.) It shall certainly come up. It is impossible it can fail to be erected. The Father's truth, the Son's blood, and the Spirit's seal, are pledges of its erection. The Father has promised it, the Son purchased it, and the Spirit sealed it on the souls of all the saints. The King shall receive that crown, and the subjects theirs too, as low as some of them sit at this day, Matth. xxv. 31. 34.
(2.) It shall never come down, but last for ever. Many, sometimes famous, kingdoms in the world are now no more. The Assyrian, Chaldean, Persian, and Roman monarchies, as they came from below out of the sea, so they are all come to ruin. But this kingdom, as it is from above, so it shall never be destroyed, never swallowed up, nor succeeded by another, Dan. vii. 27. ‘His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.'
3. That it is the duty and disposition of the saints and chil. dren of God, to desire the coming of this kingdom, and that themselves and others may be brought into it, 2 Tim. iv. 8. And this their desire comprehends these four things.
(1.) The King's coming to receive his kingdom at the last day, Rev. xxii. 20. He which testifieth these things, saith, Surely I come quickly.' The Spirit in the hearts of the saints, that cries, Abba, Father, cries also, (as Judg. v. 28.) · Why is his chariot so long in coming ? why tarry the wheels of his chariots ?' They would have swift time that runs like a post, and never halts, to put wings to its feet, to hasten their King's coming.
(2.) The destruction of the last enemy, death, 1 Cor. xv. 26. It is the last that will stand in the way of the erection of this kingdom of glory. But the King's summons, by the sound of the last trumpet, put in the hands of the grim tyrant, will give him the conquering stroke, cause the doors of the grave fly open, and loose his grips for ever of the bodies of his saints. And this they long for, and joy in the faith of it, i Cor. xv. 57.
(3.) The everlasting complete happiness of themselves and others in that kingdom, Psal. xiv. ult. Col. iii. 2, 3, 4. Every thing desires its own perfection, and therefore grace is natively carried out in desire after glory. If it were at the saint's choice, he would not live always, Job vii. 16. and therefore is coming up out of the world in affection or desires, Cant. viii. 5.
Lastly, The coming of the kingdom of grace, in order to all this. Which brings me to the second thing. But before I enter on that, I must answer a
Case. If this be the disposition of the saints, I am none: for Christ's coming is a terror to me, and how can I desire it? Ans. (1.) If this temper of spirit rise in thee from an habitual tastelessness and unsavouriness of holy, spiritual, and heavenly things, and from a reigning relish of the things of this present world, no wonder that Christ's coming be a terror to thee, and thou canst not desire it, more than any thing can desire to be out of its element, as fish to be dragged out of the sea. And while it is so with thee, I can speak no comfort to thee, Phil. iii. 18,--20. “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly; and whose glory
is in their shame, who mind earthly things. For our con, yersation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.'
(2.) But if holy, spiritual, and heavenly things have the predominant relish habitually in thy heart, and that sin and the world's vanities are unsavoury, in comparison of these; then, though it is often a terror to thee when thou think, est on it, yet thou dost really desire it, though not expressly, yet interpretatively, ver. 20. And this I proye upon thee by two arguments.
1. Dost thou not desire to be perfectly freed from, and set beyond the reach of, sin and death! And dost thou not know, that that will never be till that day? Wherefore that desire to be freed from sin and death, has the desire of Christ's coming in the bosom of it, as the desire to have the festered member cut off, for the safety of the life, implies ą desire of the surgeon's coming, who is to perform the ope, ration, though it be a terror to the person,
2. Dost thou not desire communion with God, and full and complete communion with him in his glory, in soul and body? Thou knowest that that cannot be till he come, that all sin and sorrow will not be taken away, and this absolutely perfect happiness obtained till then. Wherefore this desire implies, that
Your terror may arise either from natural causes, or want of evidence of interest in Christ, or both together. Wherefore labour to assure your hearts before him by believing, Isa. xxxy. 4.
Secondly, What is the import of this petition with refer. ence to the kingdom of grace? There is no getting into the kingdom of glory but by coming through that of grace. So that desiring the coming of the former, is desiring the coming of the latter too. It imports,
1. That all men naturally are without this kingdom, under the dominion of Satan, Eph. ii. 2, 3. In time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we had our conversation in times past, in the luşts of the flesh, ful. filling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. These other lords have dominion over them. And as they are pot subjects of, so they have nothing to do with the privileges of the kingdom of grace.
2. That we cannot bring ourselves or others into it, John vi. 44. - No man can come to me, except the Father, which hath sent me draw him. God alone can do it, Col. I, 13. It is he who translates us into the kingdom of his dear Son. One will lie under the iron yoke for any thing he can do, till the power of grace break it. When one is brought into it himself, he cannot bring his nearest relations along with him. He may use the means, exhort, excite, &c. but can do no more,
3. That we cannot, where it is set up, maintain and adyance it, against the enemies of it, 2 Cor, iii. 5. 'We are not sufficient of ourselges to think any thing as of ourselves.' Satan, the world, and corrupt lusts, are the enemies of this kingdom, fighting against it continually, to extinguish it, and do retard its progress, Gal. v, 17. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. And if there be not another power than our own to balance the opposition, it will give way þefore them.
4. Lastly, That it is the dụty and disposition of the children of God to desire, that the Lord himself may bring forward this kingdom, as Paul said to King Agrippa, 'I would to God that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, Acts xxvi. 29. This extends to,
(1.) The destruction of the power of sin and Satan over the hearts and lives of men, Psal. Ixviii. 1. 18. Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men: yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them. Every saint grudges the sway which these enemies bear in the world, and prays it down.
(2.) The conversion of sinners to God, 2 Thess. ii. 1. • Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified,' Converts are the church's children, for which she travails in birth, in her ministers and members, as naturally longing for the conversion of souls, as a travailing woman to see the fruit of her womb,
(3.) The preserving and advancing to perfection the statė of those who are in it already, ourselves or others, i Pet, v. 10. · The God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you. It is the joint desire of all who are brought into this kingdom, to be carried on and through, till they come to the kingdom of glory, both themselves and others.
Lastly, In order thereto, the coming of the kingdom of the gospel. This brings me to the
Third thing, What is the import of this petition with reference to the kingdom of the gospel? It is by the kingdom of the gospel that one is brought into the kingdom of grace. So desiring the coming of the one, we desire also the coming of the other. It imports,
1. That there are many impediments in the way of the propagation and efficacy of the gospel, which we cannot remove. The devil is the main agent against it, i Thess. ii. 18. “Satan hindered us,' says Paul. Under him, the chief agents are the Turk and Antichrist; and every wicked man that has access to put hand to that work, all the world over; corrupt lusts in every man's heart, Luke xix. 14. and even the untenderness and unwatchfulness of good men,
2. That the Lord himself can shovel all the impediments out of the way, and make the gospel triumph over them all, persons or things, sins or troubles, that are laid in the way to hinder it, Isa. lvii. 14. ' Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling-block out of the
my people. 3. That it is the duty and disposition of the children of God to desire the advancement of the kingdom of the gospel. It extends to, (1.) The removal of the impediments out of its way
in the world, 2 Thess. iii. 1. It is the desire of the saints, that Satan's power in the world may be broken. And they should all pray for the downfal of the Turk and Antichrist, for the purging of the church of corruptions, scandals, and divisions, and
whatsoever hinders the progress of the gospel; and that peace and truth may be maintained.
(2.) The propagation of the gospel through the world, that it may be carried through all nations; that the Jews may be brought in, Rom. x. 1. and the fulness of the