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renders absolute power so dangerous, when committed into the hands of men. Their Wills may become the only law; and these Wills are mostly capricious and tyrannical. The perfect character of the Son of God, and the manner in which he used his miraculous powers in the introduction of his kingdom, are the most encouraging assurances, that no danger can be derived to his subjects, by "all power being committed to him, both in heaven and in earth."
II. A grand peculiarity of Christ's kingdom consists in its being of a heavenly and spiritual nature: it is not of this world. It is repeatedly denominated the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, by way of contrast to the kingdoms of the earth. Its laws and maxims came immediately from heaven. Its sovereign is a messenger sent by heaven; and its object is to conduct us to heaven. This kingdom of Christ is of a spiritual nature. He is destined to rule over the minds of men; and all his conquests are to be over the heart of every individual subject," casting down imagination, and every thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." "Though we walk in the flesh," to continue the language of St. Paul," we do not war after the flesh;
for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of the strong holds." In the kingdom of Christ, no other sword is employed but the Sword of the Spirit, which is the WORD of God.
When the terms spiritual and carnal are op- . posed to each other, in the language of scripture, and the works of the flesh are placed in contrast with the works of the spirit, we should recollect that the contrast is not confined to propensities peculiar to the corporeal system, in distinction from what is mental, speaking philosophically. But it represents the contrast between those principles, dispositions, and pursuits, which are predominant in the mind, from the influence of sensible and worldly objects, and those nobler and more interesting objects and pursuits, which, although invisible in their na ture, are infinitely more worthy to engage the choicest powers and faculties of the soul. Under the works of the Flesh are placed, not only adul tery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,drunkenness; but idolatry, incantations, hatred, contentions, intemperate zeal, wrath, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, &c. Whereas, "the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." In a philosophical sense, they may equally
be referred to the state and dispositions of the mind; but the vices enumerated as works of the flesh, respect those sinful propensities, and violent agitations, excited in a wicked and undisciplined mind, by the seductions or irritations of sensible objects. The opposite virtues are the fruits of an infinitely better spirit. They are the result of principle; implanted by the proper exercise of the mental powers; proceed from nobler motives, and are cherished by nobler hopes, than the desire of immediate selfish gratifications.
III. We have had frequent occasion to observe, that in most of the empires in the world, the laws are partial, capricious, and mutable. They are often framed with contracted views, and in order to be rendered beneficial to one class of the community they become oppressive to the others. In all our penal laws, the severity of the punishment greatly exceeds the immorality of the offence; it being the principal attempt to enforce obedience by terror. The code prevalent in the kingdom of righteousness is a moral code. It is perfect in its principles, universally beneficent in its object, permanently obligatory upon all men, in every age, and every clime. Its principles furnish à model for all human governments; and the
nearer they approach to these, the nearer will they approach to the perfection of human happiness. The sanctions of the divine laws are always equitable. The punishment of every misdemeanour arises from the nature of the action, or is proportionate to the degree of its criminality. The offender cannot complain of partiality or injustice, in the sentence of condemnation, for he is always self-condemned.
Nor is the infliction of pains and penalties their distinguishing characteristic, as it is in human laws. Its subjects are animated to duty by the incitements of hope, gratitude, love, and reverence, for the character of their righteous and beneficient sovereign. We have already proved that, in the kingdom of Christ, the sanctions chiefly consist of promises. It incessantly pronounces blessings upon its obedient subjects. That system of terror which was so necessary under the Jewish Dispensation, is no longer the predominant principle. Rewards are amply stated, and incessantly urged, Punishments are seldom denounced, always with reluctance, and in very indefinite language. They are calcu lated to inspire a salutary anxiety and solemn awe. The encouragements to obedience are calculated to call forth the most exalted, and the happiest effusions of the pious mind.
This kingdom of heaven will be fully established at the resurrection of the just. It will be separated from the kingdom of darkness, and then there will be no punishment; for there will be no transgression. It will be a kingdom in which shall dwell perfect righteousness. There will not be a rebellious subject through the realms of bliss. Every subject shall serve with a willing mind, without compulsion or conscription. The future kingdom is a state destined for remunerations alone, for the rewards of conditional and comparative merit; and these will be distributed in their various gradations, without exciting, in a single breast; the tormenting passions of jealousy or envy. These gradations will be so equitably and wisely arranged, as to excite the admiration of all. Those who may be placed in the lowest stations will accept the blessing with humble gratitude, and enjoy pleasure in contemplating the superior rewards conferred upon superior desert.
IV. Earthly sovereigns are extremely prone to forget the object for which they were ap pointed to govern; to be inflated with pride; to ascribe the honours of their station to their own personal worth; to imagine that it is the duty of subjects to administer to their ambition, and to promote their personal gratifica