« PreviousContinue »
Thy Kingdom come. The great and material advantages of being under the immediate inspection and government of an all-wise, powerful, just and gracious King, are so evident, that nothing but a degenerate and corrupted nature, nothing but a partial understanding blindly submitting to the irregular dictates of a perverse will could prevent our seeing, acknowledging, pursuing, and praying for them. Most men, however, thus biafled from their natural rectitude, fet up the throne of extravagant pasions in their hearts, instead of chearfully and joyfully submitting to the scepter of God; like the rebellious Jews, crying out for a King, when indeed the Lord their God was their King.
As this arises in a great measure from a total ignorance of the nature of the Kingdom here prayed for, I shall few what
we are to understand here by the Kingdom of God, and what we mean by the coming of that Kingdom; concluding with mentioning those affections with which this petition ought always to be attended.
The Kingdom of God in Scripture is taken in several senses. Sometimes it means his natural or providential Kingdom, or that universal dominion which he exercises over all things, and which is the necessary result of his all-perfect nature.
In this sense holy David declares, thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the Heaven, and in the Earth, is thine; thine is the Kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.
Sometimes it means the Kingdom of grace, or the dispensation of the Messiah.
This is called the Kingdom of God, because though he doth not set up an outward and visible government, as in the Mofaick dispensation, yet he rules inwardly in the hearts and minds of those who are entered into the Gospel Covenant. This is the most common acceptation of the phrase in the New Testament. But it sometimes signifies also the Kingdom of God's Glory, or that happy state into which at the day of Judgment, he shall receive, and in which he shall govern his faints for ever.
Of this Kingdom our Saviour speaks, saying, then shall the King say unto thein on his right hand, Come ye
blefied of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.
Having thus seen in what general acceptations the Kingdom of God is taken in Scripture, let us next consider in which of these it is to be understood in this petition.
As to the providential Kingdom of God, it is founded upon the perfection of his nature; and as that perfection is unalterably the same, so must the dominion resulting from it be unalterable likewise, capable neither of addition or diminution; and therefore we cannot here have any respect to that kingdom.
The kingdom of Grace is capable of increase, both by the coming in of those who do not now believe, and by such a bleffed alteration in those who do, that they may walk according to their profeffion.
The kingdom of Glory is capable of increase; both by receiving those who do now, and shall hereafter lead a godly life in the state of grace, and by admitting those who are already departed out of this life in the fear of God, to a greater share of Glory, than they at present enjoy. In this petition therefore we have regard to these two kingdoms of grace and glory.
Though the kingdom of Grace is in fact but an introduction to that of Glory, and the kingdom of Glory the highest dispensation of God's grace, yet are they in some things different both as to the manner of the administration, and the condition of the subjects.
In the kingdom of Grace we are in a state of tryal, liable to be drawn away by the deceit of the world, the flesh, and the