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Secondly, To show what may reasonably be expected from us in consequence of our using it. Or rather indeed, what is absolutely necessary to prove that we are sincere, when we thus pray " thy kingdom come."

It is scarcely to be supposed, that any whe read their Bibles, can be ignorant of what is here meant by the kingdom of God. This form of speech was very common among the Jews, especially about the time of our Saviour's appearance ; and was used by them, to signify that grand revolution foretold in ancient prophecy which was to be brought about by the Messiah, their longexpected king Thus we find the Pharisees (Luke xvii. 20.) inquiring “ when the kingdom of God should come ;" that is, as the context explains it, when the reign of the Messiah should commence. And John the Baptist proclaimed the approach of this glorious Person in the same style; saying, “ Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matth. iii. 2.) There are several other passages in the New Testament, where the same phrase occurs; from which it doth still more plainly appear, that by the “ kingdom of God” is meant the gospel-dispensation, in which subjects were to be gathered to God by his Son as the reconciling Mediator, and by him formed into a church or spiritual kingdom, against which the gates of hell shall never prevail ; which is to sub

sist on earth, and enlarge itself in spite of all opposition, till at length it shall become perfect in heaven, and triumph in eternal glory.

Now, this kingdom is either External, comprehending all who make an open profession of faith in Christ, and submit to the ordinances which he hath instituted; or Internal, consisting in that dominion which he exercises over the hearts of his subjects, converting them by his grace to the faith and obedience of the gospel, enlightening their minds, renewing their wills, and purifying their affections ; filling them with “ righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost ;" that is, with true Christian virtue, and all the blessed fruits and effects of it. And no doubt the petition respects both these views of the kingdom of God : for though the last, viz. the dominion of grace in the heart, or the dominion of God within us, is beyond comparison the most valuable of the two, and therefore chiefly to be desired by us ; yet, as this kingdom is introduced and established by means of the ordinances which Christ hath appointed, we ought likewise to be much concerned for the preservation and enlargement of the visible church, or that external kingdom within which these ordinances are dispensed, and to pray for the one in order to the other.

So that this petition may be considered as directing us to pray for these following things :

1st, That the gospel may be propagated through

out the world, and all nations brought to the knowledge of the only true God, and of Jesus Christ whom he hath sent.

It appears from the prophetic writings of the Old Testament, that no less than universal dominion was promised to the Lord Redeemer.

Ask of me,” says God, (Psal. ii. 8.), " and I shall give thee the Heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy pussession.” It was foretold. (Psal. lxxii. 8, 11, 17.), “ That his dominion should reach from sea to sea, and from the rivers to the ends of the earth; yea, that all kings should bow down before him, and all nations should serve him ; that men should be blessed in him, and all nations call bim blessed." And that remarkable passage (Dan. vii. 13, 14.), is a clear and express declaration on this head. “ I saw,” says the Prophet, “ in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ana cient of Days, and they brought him near before him; and there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him.” Now, it is evident, that the extent of his kingdom doth not yet equal these magnificent descriptions of it. There are still many dark corners of the earth upon which the Sun of Righteousness hath never arisen ; others, which were once visited with his healing and comforting light, have had their

candlestick long removed; and the Jews, whose return to their own Messiah shall so remarkably enrich the church, and givé such life and beauty to it, that Paul compares it to a “resurrection from the dead,” (Rom. xi. 15.), do still retain their prejudice against him, and obstinately refuse subjection to him.

We ought therefore to pray that the gospel, which hitherto has been confined within very narrow bounds, may gradually spread and extend itself on every side, till at length it obtain possession of the whole earth, and “ all the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God, and of his Christ,” Rev. xi. 15.). But,

2dly, We are more especially to pray for a divine blessing to accompany the means of grace,

That the gospel may come to men, not in word only, but also in power, and prove effectual for turning “ them from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God.” That where Christ doth already reign in his external ordinancés, there he would also erect his throne in the hearts of men, subduing sinners to himself, and training up his saints, by the inflences of his holy Spirit, to a meetness for that undefiled inheritance which he hath purchased for them. And,

3dly, We are likewise authorised by this petition to pray, that whatever stands in opposition to the kingdom of our Redeemer, either with re

spect to the extent or influence of it, may be removed out of the way:

Particularly, that Antichrist, that " man of sin and son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God," (2 Thess. ii. 3, 4.), and hath long been “ drunk with the blood of the saints,” (Rev. xvii. 6.), may be brought to the ground, and never arise any more: that the delusions of the false prophet, and blasphemous impostor Mahomet, which have overspread so great a part of the world, may at length be detected, and his kingdom of darkness and violence plucked up by the roots.

And though it doth not belong to us to choose the time, or means, or manner of doing it, for these must be wholly submitted to Him “who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working;” yet surely it is lawful for us, to desire in general, " that God would arise and scatter all his enemies,” (Psal. Ixviii. 1.): and even to make mention of those enemies in particular whom he hath described in Scripture by such plain and legible characters, that we can be in no danger of mistaking them; and to plead, that what he hath purposed and spoken concerning them may be fulfilled in the most speedy and effectual manner. In a word, whatever is conducive to the present glory of the Redeemer, and the prosperity of his kingdom upon earth, may justly be comprehended in this petition; and it will never cease to be of

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