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that death is swallowed up in victory; in a victory obtained by Christ over that and every other enemy.
iv. The properties of Christ's kingdom and government; shewing the nature and excellency of it.
1. It is a spiritual; not carnal, carthly, and worldly: My kingdom, says Christ, is not of this world, John xvii. 36. Though it is in the world, it is not of it; its original is not from it; it is not founded on maxims of worldly policy; it is not established by worldly power, nor promoted and increased by worldly means, nor attended with wordly pomp and grandeur; The kingdom of God, that is, of Christ, cometh not with observation, with outward glory and splendour, Luke xvij. 20. The Jews, at the coming, having lost the notion of the spirituality of his kingdom, thought of nothing but an earthly and worldly ore, and expected the Messiah as a temporal king, who would deliver them from the Roman yoke; and make them a free and flourishing people, as in the days of David and Solomon: and this was the general and national belief; the disciples and followers of Christ were possessed of it; as appears from the request of the mother of Zebedee's children, Matt. xx. 20, 21. and from the question of the apostles to Christ, even after his resurrection, Acts i. 6. But this notion was contrary to the prophecies of the Messiah; which represent him as poor, mean, and abject; a man of sorrows and griefs, despised of men ; and should be treated ill, and be put to death, Isai. liii. 2~
-12. and not being able to reconcile these prophecies, with those which speak of him as exalted and glorious, they have feigned and expect two Messiahs; the one they call the son of Ephraim, who shall make a poor figure, be unsuccessful, and shall be slain in the wal of Gog and Magog: the other they call the son of David, who shall be prosper. ous, gain many victories, and shall live long; restore the Jews to their own Jand, and make them an happy people. But the true Messiah was neither to destroy his enemies with carnal weapons ; but smite them with the rod of his mouth, and consume them with the breath of his lips, his gospel; nor to save his people by bow, by sword, by horses and horsemen; but by himself, his righteousness and sacrifice. His kingdom was not to be, and has not been, set up and spread by the sword, by dint of arms; as the kingdom of Mahomet has been; but by his Spirit and grace attending the ministration of his gospel. Christ never had, nor never will have, an earthly, worldly kingdom; such will not be his personal reign on earth a thousand years, as some have fancied, imagining it will be a state of worldly grandeur, riches, and civil power; which has brought the doctrine of the millennium into disgrace and contempt; whereas they that are worthy to obtain that world and kingdom, which will take place at the first resurrection, will neither eat nor drink, nor marry, nor be given in marriage; but will be like the angels of God: there will be nothing carnal nor worldly in it; it will be a spiritual state, suited to bodies raised spiritual; and to the spirits of just men made perfect: what will have the greatest appearance ot a wordly kingdom, will be in what we call the spiritual reign of Christ, when
multitudes of all ranks and degrees, shall be converte:l; and great personages, as kings and queens, shall be nursing fathers and nursing mothers to the churches; shall join them, and subinit to the ordinances in them; and when they shall bring their riches and wealth into them; and all civil power and authority shall be in the bands of true christians; and the kingiiom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the saints of the most high; but then there will be such a pouring down of the Spirit, which will be an over-balance to this worldly grandeur, and shall check it, that it shall not hurt, or do prejudice to the spirituality of God's people. But of this, more hereafter, in its proper place. The kingdom of Christ is spiritual; he is a spiritual King, the Lord from heaven, the second Adam, that is spiritual, the Lord and Head of his church; his throne is spiritual, he reigns in the hearts of his people by faith ; his sceptre is a spiritual sceptre, a sceptie of righteousness; his subjects are spiritual men, born of the Spliit, and sayour the things of the Spirit of God; they are subdued, and brought to submit to Christ by spiritual incans; not by carnal weapons of warfare, but by the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; the kingdom of God is within them, set up in their hearts, where grace reigns; and it lies not in outward things; it is not meat and drink, and such like carnal things; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; they are spiritual promises Christ makes to them, 10 encourage them in their obedience to him; and spiritual blessings and favours are bestowed upon them by him; and even their enemies, with whom their conflict is, are spiritual wickednesses in high-places; and are not to be fought with carnal weapons; nor to be subdued and conquered by imeans of them; but by the shield of faith and sword of the Spirit; even by the rod of Christ's mouth, and the breath of his lips.
2. Christ's kingdom is a righteous one; this has been suggested already; t'ie whole administration of it is rightcous; he is a King that reigns in righteousness, his throne is established by ir; his sceptre is a right sceptre; justice and judgment are executed in his kingdom, and nothing else, by Christ the King : no injustice, violence, or oppression; just and true are his ways, who is King of saints, 3. Christ's kingdoin is a peaceable kingdom: he is the Prince of pcacc;
his gospel, which is his sceptre, is the gospel of peace; his subjects are sons of peace; the kingdom of grace in them, lies in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost; and in the latter day, there will be abundance of peace in Christ's kingdom, the church; and of it, and its increase, there will be no end.
4. Christ's kingdom is gradually carried on; so it has been from the first; it arose from a small beginning, in the external administration of it; it was like a little stone cut out of the mountain, without hands, which will, in due time, fill the face of the whole earth; it was like a grain of mustard-seed, the least of all seeds, in the times of Christ, which grows up to a large tree; as Christ's kingdom afterwards greatly increased, first in Judea, and then in the Gentile world; notwithstanding all the opposition made onto it; until the whole Roman empire became christian, and paganism abolished in it; and though it has met with some stops, in some periods, yet it has revived again; as at the reformation; and will hereafter be extended from sea to sea; and from the river to the ends of the carth: and the internal kingdom of Christ in the hearts of his people is gradually carried on: it is like seed sown in the earth, which springs up, and whose appearance is but small, and ly degrees grows up to maturity; as grace in the heart docs; until it arrives to the fulness of the stature of Christ.
5. Christ's kingdom is durable; of his government there will be no end; his throne is for ever and ever; he will reign over the house of Jacob evermore ; his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Christ will never have any successor in his kingdom; for he lives for evermore, and has the keys of hell and death in his hands: as his Priesthood is an unchangeable priesthood, which passes not froin one to another, as the Aaronical priesthood did, by reason of the death of priests ; so his kingdom is an unchangeable kingdom, which passes not from one to another; he being an everliving and evcı lasting King; his kingdom will never give way to another; nor be subverted by another; as earthly kingdums, are, and the greatest monarchies have been: the Babylonian monarchy gavę way to the Persian and Medjan, and was succeeded by that; the Persian to the Grecian; and the Grecian to the Roinan : but Christ's kingdom will stand for ever; his church, which is his kingdom, is built on a rock; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The word and ordinances of the gospel, by which the government of Chsist is externally administered, will always continuc: the gospel is an everlasting gospel, the word of God, which abides for ever: and the ordinances of baptisin, and the Lord's supper, are to be administered until the second coming of Christ: and the internal kingdom of grace, set up in the hearts of Christ's subjects, is a kingdom that cannot be moved; grace can never be lost; it is a governing principle, and reigns unto eternal life by Christ: and even when Christ shall have finished his mediatorial kingdom, and delivered it up to his father, complete and perfect; all the elect of God being gathered in; he will not cease to reign, though in another and different manner: he will reign after the spiritual kingdom is ended a thousand years with his saints, in a glorious manner on earth; and when that is ended, he will reign with them, and they with him, in heaven, for ever and ever,
OF THE SPIRITUAL REIGN OF CHRIST. It has been observed in the preceding chapter, that Christ has been exercising his kingly office in all ages of time, both before and since his incarnation : and there are two remarkable periods of time yet to come; in which Christ will exercise his kingly office in a more visible and glorious manner; the one may be called, the spiritual reign and the other his personal reign ; it is the former
of these that will now be attended to; and which is no other than the present reign continued; and which will be administered in the same manner: but,
I. With greater purity, and to a greater degree of perfection; both as to doctrine and practice.
1. The kingdom of Christ will be carried on by the ministry of the word, as now; the gospel will then be preached; and in this the spiritual reign will differ from the personal one, in which there will be no ministry of the word, all God's elect being gathered in, and the saints in a perfect state; but in this there will be multitudes to be converted, and will be converted by the word, and saints be in an impefect state, and to be cdified and comforted. The gospel is to be preached unto the end of the world, and Christ has promised his presence with his ministers so long; and herice the gospel is called the everlasting gospel, Rev. xiv. 6. but in the spiritual reign it will be preached, - 1. With more light and clearness than now. The light of the present time is fitly described as being neither clear nor dark; not so clear as in the first tines of the gospel, Dor so dark as in the darkest times of Popery, or as it may be before a brighter day appears. It is one day, a remarkable uncommon day; known to the Lord, how long it will last, and to him only; not day nor night, not clear day nor dark night, but a sort of an evening twilight; and at evening time, when a greater darkness may be expected to be coming on, it shall be light, Zech. xiv. 6, 7. a blaze of light shall break out, and that to such a degree, that the light of the moon, which at most is the light we now have, shall be as the light of the sun in its meridian splendour; and the light of the sun shall be seven-fold, as the light of seven days; as great as the light of seven days could it be collected together; so great will be the difference between the gospel-light as now, and as it will be then, Isai. xxx. 26. The angel having the everlasting gospel to preach ; by whom is meant a set of gospel-ininisters in the spiritual reign; is said to fly in the midst of heaven with it, which not only denote the public but tre clear ministration of it, Rev. xiv. 9. — 2. The gospel will be preached with greater consistence; a principal fault in the present ministry of the word is inconsistence; not only in different ministers, but in the saine minister at different times, and even in the saine discourse; the trumpet gives an uncertain sound; but in that day, in the spiritual reign, the great trumpet of the gospel will be blown with great strength and fervour, and with a more even and unwavering note, and so be understood by saints and sinners, and be a better direction to them; there will not be that yea and nay as now, but the ministry of the word will be uniform and all of a piece. — 3. There will be an agreement in the ministers of it; now they clash with one another, scarce two persons think and speak the same thing; and some so widely different, that it seems to be another gospel preached by some than what is by others; though indeed there is not another gospel; but in the spiritual reign the watchmen, Christ's ininisters, who watch for the good of the souls of men, shall see eye to cyc, when the Lord shall bring vrain Zion, or restore his church to its furier state and glory,
Isai. ii. 8. their light will be the same, their ministry will be alike, they will see things in the same light, and speak the saine things, and in the same manner. 4. There will be one faith, one doctrine of faith of system of truth, which will be preached and professed by all; there will be but one Lord, his name will be one, one religion professed by all that name the name of Christ : they will be all of one accon, of one mind, Zech. xiv. 9. - 5. The gospel will have a greater spread than now; at present it lies in a nariow compass, chiefly in the isles, very little on the continent; and in the countries where it is, it is but in few places there ; but hereafter many will run to and fro, and knowledge, evangelical knowledge, will be encreased; the earth shall be full of it, as the waters cover the sea; the angel, or a set of gospel-ministers, shall have it to preach to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Those living waters, the doctrines of grace, , which are the means of quickening sinners and enlivening saints, shall go out from Jerusalem, the church of God; half of them towards the former, or eastern sea, and half of them towards the hinder, or westein sea ; that is, they shall go east and west, even into all parts; in summer and in winter shall it be; these waters shall be always flowing, or these docti ines constantly and continually preached, Isai. ix. 9. Zech. xiv. 8.-6. The gospel will be preached with greater success; there will be no more such complaints, as who hath believed our report? the report of the gospel will be generally believed; and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed the power of God will go along with the word, to the conversion of multitudes; who, to the great surprize of the church, will fly as a cloud for number; so that there shail scarce be room enough in the church for them; and it will be said, the place is too strait for me, give place to me that I may dwell; the place of her tent must be enlarged, the curtains of her habitations stretched forth, and her cords lengthened, since she shall break forth on the right hand and on the left, and her seed shall inherit the Gentiles, Isai xlix. 18-20.
II. The same ordinances will be administered in the spiritual reign as now; in this it will differ also from the spirituát reign; for then the city, the churchs will have no need of the sun nor moon of gospel-ordinances, the Lord himself personally will be the light of his people; but in this state the ordinances of baptisin and the Lord's supper will be celebrated; for they are to continue till Christ's second coming and personal appearance, Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. 1 Cor. xi. 26. but not as they are commonly administered now, but as they were first delivered; through a course of time and prevailing corruption, men have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, &c. so that were the apostles to rise from the dead, they would not know the the ordinances as in general use, to he the same that were given 10 them; but in the spiritual reign of Christ they will be restored to their priinitive purity, and be observed clear of all innovation and corruption; we shall no more hear of that absurd notion of transubstantiation, or of the bread and wine in the ordinance of the supper being transubstantiated into the very body and blood of Christ; nor of withholding the cup from the