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world often sacrifice the lives of their subjects, whilst they keep themselves out of danger, living in the pleasures and luxuries of a court; but Jesus engaged in the conflict with death and hell alone. How worthy, my dear Benjamin, is such a General to be Commander in Chief of the hosts of God, and to lead the armies of heaven and earth!
2. Christ's kingdom was not of this world, as it regards his subjects. They are such as are “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God." John, 1:13. They are such, and such only, as have experienced the inward operations of the Spirit. The seat of this operation is in the faculties of the soul and the understanding, will, and affections, the free and unforced inclination and actings of the mind. These subjects publicly own and acknowledge his authority, make an open profession of faith in him, and submit to his laws and regulations. Hence they are said " to be delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of his dear Son." Col. 1: 13. Hence “ the kingdom of God and his righteousness” are joined together. Matt. 6:33. It is that kingdom of God which consists, “not in word, but in power.” 1 Cor. 4: 20. "Not in meat and drink, but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Rom. 14 : 17. These operations of the Spirit produce real holiness and purity of heart and life, inward peace and serenity of conscience, in a joyful and cheerful discharge of our duty towards God and man. With respect to these subjects, Christ is called the King of saints. Rev. 15: 3. Further, it is not of this world, with respect to
§ 2. The laws by which it is governed.
The laws of human governments are often defective and unrighteous, but the laws of Christ's kingdom are perfectly holy, just, and good. The sanction of human laws, both with respect to their rewards and punishments, can only affect our mortal bodies; but the sanctions of Christ's kingdom are eternal. Everlasting happiness is the reward, and everlasting misery the punishment which Jesus, the immor
tal King, distributes amongst his immortal subjects. Hu. man laws can extend to outward actions only, but the laws of Christ's kingdom search the heart and the principles and actions within. Not a secret thought, not a motion of the soul is exempted from them.
4. The ministers and officers of Christ's kingdom differ from those of the kingdoms of this world. All the angels in heaven are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation." Heb. 1: 14. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, are the ambassadors and ministers of Christ. They are intrusted with the glorious ministry of reconciliation, to beseech
men, in his stead, to be reconciled to God: to preach his word, to administer his ordinances, and to manage
the affairs of his kingdom, is their arduous but noble work. They are not adorned, like the ministers of carthly courts, with trappings of gold and silver, but with the beauties of holiness, the ornament of a meek and a quiet, zealous and faithful spirit, and a life becoming the Gospel of Christ, who was himself poor, humble, meek and lowly.
$ 5. Christ's kingdom was not of this world, as it respects his soldiers.
All of his subjects are soldiers; their life is a constant warfare; they have ever to watch against temptations from without, and insurrections of sin from within ; but they wrestle not with flesh and blood only. They are indeed poor and weak in themselves, yet they overcome through the blood of the Lamb, and he makes them conquerors, yea, more than conquerors. They are most successful when upon their knees. This is their most advantageous posture, which brings down strength from heaven in the hour of difficulty.
As their enemies are spiritual, so are their arms and am. munition. “Our weapons are not carnal," &c. Hence the apostle, like a general at the head of his army, addresses the Ephesian soldiers in the military style, “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and having your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication.” Eph. 6:10-18.
Another regiment of soldiers, which are not of this world, are the angels in heaven. They are volunteers under the Captain of salvation. Hence, said the Savior, “ I could pray to my Father, and he would send me more than twelve legions of angels.” Matt. 26: 53. Permit me, my dear Benjamin, to recommend to you the following all-glorious description of King Messiah and his soldiers. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True; and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written that no man knew but he himself: and he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood : and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron : and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords." Rev. 19:11-16.
$ 6. The kingdom of Christ is not of this world, as it respects the arms and weapons he uses.
He does not employ such artillery as the kings of the earth do, to reduce whole cities to ashes. His exploits are neither the forcing of entrenchments, nor the coloring of rivers with blood, nor the covering of whole countries with carcasses, nor the filling of the world with carnage, and terror, and death; but to disarm divine justice, to dissipate prejudice by demonstration, to calm the troubled conscience, and to conquer death and the
he are his cross, his word, his example, and his Spirit.
By his word and Spirit his subjects become effectually convinced of their sin in rebellion, and reduced to subjec. tion to him. The word is the word of his power, by which he has subdued nati to himself. It was by this word that in the primitive time he overturned the empire of the devil, silenced the heathen oracles, and demolished the pagan idolatrous worship.
7. Christ's kingdom is not of this world, with respect to ensigns and equipage.
King Jesus did not appear in worldly pomp and grandeur, attended with a splendid equipage, surrounded with armed guards, and attended by a brilliant and magnificent court; but he came in spiritual splendor, agreeable to the prediction of Zechariah, “Behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass." Chap, 9:9.
His throne is in heaven, not on earth. Psa. 110: 1. His sceptre is a spiritual one, the word of God which he wields for the good of his people; it is the rod of his strength, which he sends out of Zion, by which he makes his people willing in the day of his power. Psa. 110:3.
& 8. Christ's kingdom is not of this world with respect to his exploits and heroic actions. The founders of earthly kingdoms are famous for having braved the dangers of the seas and land, routed powerful enemies, and subjugated nations to their will. They have shed rivers of blood, laid cities in ruins, and countries in desolation. How different the exploits of Jesus ! How gracious, how beneficient in their kind! His conquests were deliverances, his victories salvation. He subdued in order to set free, and made captives to deliver them from slavery. He conquered the legions of hell, and rescued wretched creatures by his almighty command. He subdued the most inveterate diseases, and restored health and vigor with the word of his mouth. He vanquished stubborn souls with the power of his love, and made them his willing people. He triumphed over death, the king of terrors, by “dying for our offences, and rising again for our justification.” Consider, my dear Benjamin, how glorious the exploits and how amiable the character of our blessed Jesus, King Messiah. How much more lovely the Savior of sinners, the deliverer of souls, than the enslavers and destroyers of mankind! Who has ever performed such truly heroic and brave actions as this Almighty Conqueror ?
§ 9. His kingdom is different from the kingdoms of this world with respect to extent.
All kings and monarchs have certain bounds and limits by which their empire is terminated, but God has set Christ higher than the kings of the earth. He is the true Catholic King; his government is unlimited. * Also I will make him my first-born, higher than the kings of the earth.” Psa. 89 : 27. “All power is given unto me both in heaven and on earth.” Matt. 28: 18. There was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Dan. 7: 14.
The kingdom of grace is boundless: not as to its power over individuals, but as to their place or dwelling on this habitable globe. "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." Psa. 2: 8. "This Gospel shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations.