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lowers; for, in imitation of his Father's example, he preferred natural means to the extent of their efficacy. He doubtless knew, that if he had prematurely revealed to them the whole counsel of God, they also would have been offended, and have forsaken him. This position becomes probable from the surprise and alarm they expressed, when he found it necessary to inform them of his approaching death. He cautiously prepared the way for the introduction of his kingdom, by evincing, from the purity of his morals, the wisdom, equity, and benignity of his conduct, that he was qualified to reign. He had gained such an ascendancy over their understandings and affections, that the temporary disappointment of his disciples did not induce them, for a moment, to exclaim against him as an Impostor. They were stupified with astonishment, that such a character should suffer with malefactors; and that all the promising expectations, raised by so wise and good a Being, should be frustrated; but their complaints were merely expressive of the greatness of their disappointment. "We trusted that this was he who should redeem Israel," is the only expression upon record, that escaped from their lips. Their admiration of his character, previous to his
death, their deep sorrow at that mournful event, succeeded by the joy at a triumphant and miraculous resurrection, subsequently placed their faith in the divine mission of their Lord and Master, upon a basis that could not be shaken by all the shocks of persecution. In consequence of this process, their minds were fully prepared to receive information and instructions relative to that kingdom, which they were the constituted instruments of establishing in the world.
Thus did he gradually instruct his immediate followers, and the most unprejudiced among the Jews, to expect some extraordinary event. By declaring that he came to establish a kingdom, he encouraged the hopes of his adherents; by declaring that his kingdom was not of this world, he quieted the alarms of his enemies. Such declarations, in connection with the hints occasionally given, concerning his ignominious death and triumphant resurrection, furnished evidences, after he had triumphed over the grave, sufficient to convince every serious reflecting mind, that he was of a truth the Messiah, ordained not only to redeem Israel, but the whole world, from a more fatal and ignominious bondage than that of the Roman yoke.
The description given of Christ's kingdom in the Gospel, respects its introduction into the world, and its complete establishment in a future state.
Before our Saviour had entered upon his public ministry, the prophet John was appointed to prepare the way of the Lord, by preaching repentance, and proclaiming that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. His own ministry was an introduction of this new kingdom, by promulgating an accurate code of moral laws, which he exemplified by the excellency of his own practice. This kingdom of God, and of his Christ, was not introduced by the splendour of conquest, or the acclamations of the multitude. It came not with observation; but it gradually and imperceptibly made its way into the hearts of the well disposed. Although its object was so different from the wishes, and its principles so repugnant to the maxims of the world in general; although he foreknew that it would be strenuously opposed by the Proud, and the Depraved, yet he foreknew, also, that it would surmount every difficulty. When he compared the kingdom of heaven to a grain of mustard-seed that was
sown, and to the leaven which was put into meal, he beautifully illustrated, and predicted, the certainty of its spreading, notwithstanding the smallness of its origin. Its primary object was to oppose, and finally to overthrow, all the powers of darkness, by illuminating the minds, and improving the hearts of men, in a manner consistent with the freedom of their own choice; for they were to be a willing people in the day of his power; and every evidence of its being cordially received was a presage of future success. After the seventy disciples had been sent into the cities and places, where he proposed first to plant the standard of his Gospel," by working miracles, and proclaiming that the kingdom of heaven is nigh," they returned with transport, saying, "Lord, even devils are subject to us through thy name." He also expressed his joy at their success, as it was a commencement of the conquest that was to be obtained over the powers of darkness; and an anticipation of future victories, over that spirit which still worketh in the children of disobedience. "He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven."
Having thus introduced a kingdom which is not of this world, he retired to complete its establishment; and by his triumphant resurrec
tion and ascension, he has established this kingdom for ever. Hence it is, that the future state is so frequently represented as a Kingdom; and its blessed inhabitants are deemed Heirs of the Kingdom; and it is enjoined upon them to walk worthy of God, who hath called them into his Kingdom and glory. Such passages evidently relate to the future world over which he is to preside.
When our Saviour says, "My kingdom is not of this world," he expressly intimates that there is a resemblance between his kingdom and those which are established among mankind, but that it possesses a difference which constitutes a characteristic superiority. Of these resemblances and differences, we shall endeavour to take a transient view.
I. The term Kingdom immediately suggests the idea of a monarchical government. This form is superior to every other, for the prompt issuing of mandates, and the prompt execution of every purpose; and the Sovereign enjoys, without competitor, all the honours of majesty. When uncontrouled power is possessed by an Individual, he is able to do the most extensive good, and the most extensive mischief. This