Page images
[ocr errors]

fervation. Neither pall they say, Lo here, or Le ihere: for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. 'Tis plain that the Kingdom of God in this place cannot signify, either God's coming to destroy Jerufalem; for the Pharisees expected nothing less than that, and had not the least apprehensions of it, and consequently would not enquire after it. Nor can it signify that Kingdom of Glory, which the Saints shall inherit hereafter; for our Savior could not say that that Kingdom was either within, or among, the Pharisees. The Kingdom of God therefore must signify, either God's reigning in the hearts of his people, or the time of the Mef: fiah ; these being the only remaining interpretations of this phrase, which can be pretended.

As for its signifying God's reigning in the hearts of his People, that sense is certainly impossible here ; unless the word which our Translators have rendred within, ought to be rendred among. For our Savior's words do plainly relate to those very Men, whom our Savior then spake to, and he faies the Kingdom of Heaven was évtos with respect to them. Now if fytos must signify within, then God's Kingdom was within them in particular; and if God's Kingdom be here supposed to signify his ruling in the hearts of Men, then God did rule in the hearts of those Men in particular. But will any Man say this? Does it in the least appear, that those who asked our Savior the qucftion, did believe on him? And if they did not, certainly God did not rule in their hearts; because they did not obey him in receiving his Son. Besides, they asked our Savior, when the Kingdom of Heaven should come. But did they by the Kingdom of Heaven mean God's rule in the hearts of Men? That Kingdom they thought was already

[ocr errors]

L 2



come, and they believed themselves to be subjects of it. And our Savior faies, the Kingdom of God was futes, that is, according to this interpretation, within them. And did not our Savior then say, that that Kingdom which they enquired of was within them? But they did not enquire of God's ruling in Men's hearts, and therefore that Kingdom which Christ spake of, was not God's ruling in Men's hearts.

'Tis true, if the word intos be rendred among, it seems pollible to be true, that the Kingdom of God, tho' suppofed to signify God's ruling in Men's hearts, might in some fenfe be among the Pharisees. Because 'cis possible some of the Pharisees did at that time believe on Christ. But still, since thofe could not be supposed to mean such a Kingdom, who asked the question ; and since our Savior certainly meant the same Kingdom in his Answer, which they meant in the Question; and since our Savior seems to assert that God's Kingdom was amongst those very persons who asked bim the question, and who cannot reafonably be supposed to have believed in Christ ; therefore the Kingdom feems uncapable of this fense in this place.

Wherefore the Kingdom of God must signify the time of the Messiah, or the Gospel-dispensation. This interpretation is natural, and the Context requires it. For the appearance of the Messiah was then Universally expected by the Jewish Nation ; and therefore the Pharisees asked our blesfed Lord's opinion of it. And he knowing that they expected great Alterations and Changes in the World to usher it in, tells them, that it cometh not with observation, that is, with a remarkable pomp, so that it may be thereby known and diitinguished. Neither shall they say, Lo here, or Lo


there; that is, Men shall not see such wonderful Revolutions, as Mall cause them to speak one to another after this manner, Lo here, or Lo there, are Prodigies and strange Occurrences, which are sure tokens of the Meiliah's coming: for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you, or as the Margin of our Bibles reads it, among you; that is, the time of the Messiah is already come, the Gospel. dispensation is begun, 'tis preached amongst your selves by me and my Apostles; and therefore you are not to look for another Kingdom of God, or another Coming of the Messiah, than that which you do already see.

I know our Adversaries do insist very much upon the word 'vros, which our Translators have rendred within, tho' the Margin reads it, as I do, among. They say, that Particle alwaies denotes something internal, whereas that which is among Men, is not within them, but rather without them; that, it is not in the inward parts of one is, and the fame Man, but rather between different persons, and in no particular one. Now if our Savior had said, the Kingdom of God is within thee, the Objection had been somewhat worth: but since he speaks in the Plural Number, 'tis of no force. For ipã, which we render you, denotes Multitude; and consequently we are not to imagin, that what is here meant by the Kingdom of God, was within every, or any particular Man; but that it was in or within the Multitude, the many persons, considered not separately, but cole lectively; and that which is thus in or within a Multitude collectively considered, is truly and properly, not within every or any one, but among them all.

[ocr errors][merged small]

I shall illustrate this Matter by a parallel instance. St. Peter saies to his Countrymen, Ye men of Israel, hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, &c, Acts 2.22. The Words (cs péo w ipão) in the midst of you, do certainly denote something as truly internal, as the word (vtos) within. But will any Man fay, that Christ did his Miracles, Wonders, and Signs, within every, or any, particular. Man? 'Tis certain, they were wrought in the midst, not of

every, or any, particular Man, but of the Multitude colle&tively considered, that is, among the Jewish Nation. And accordingly, the Kingdom

of God was within, or among the Pharisees, that had is, it was appear’d to them. And this expression,

The Kingdom of God is among you, is exactly anfwerable to these, The Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you, Luke 10., 11. and the Kingdom of God is come upon you, Luke 1l. 20. that is, the Mesfiah has appear'd to you. And all these Expressi. ons are capable of being explained by those Menacing words of our Lord, The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a Nation bringing forth the fruits thereof, Matt. 21.43. That is, whereas the Melliah has appear’d to you, and you have not received him; therefore that invaluable Blessing thall be withdrawn from you, you fhall be blinded and hardned, and the Gospel all be preached to the Gentile World. So that their ha. ving the Kingdom of God among them, nigh them, or upon them, is opposed to their having it taken from them. And indeed, if we consider the Context; it plainly requires, that tyros should be translated among. For the Pharisees asked, 22' hen the Kingdom of God fisould come; and our Lord an


swers, it is jutos épão. So that its being putos was the same as its being come; that is, come unto them, or actually among them. For the Pharisees, who asked this question, were very far from imagining, that the Gospel-dispensation should be with in them. No, they expected, that the Messiah should appear, and his Kingdom should be ere&ted, not within particular persons, but within their Nation, that is, among them.

However, that I may bring this matter to a conciusion, the phrase is capable but of four Senses at the moft. I have proved that two of them are impossible; that a third is impossible allo, unless the word tvog be translated among, which is the only objection against the fourth and last. One of the two last therefore must be chosen, and this difficulty is equal in either of them. I think, I have said enough to take it away. If our Adverfaries think otherwise; I hope they will do it better. But this is certain, that in what sense foever the Kingdom of God be said to be (irrog) within Men, yet the Kingdom of God cannot lig. nify the pretended Universal Light of our Adver. faries. For that interpretation has neither Reason nor Example to favor it.

10. Our Savior faies, I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he fball live for ever. And the bread that I will give him, is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the World, John 6.51. And again, Except ye eat the flesh of ihe son of man, and drink bis blond, ye have no life in you, v. 53. Now our Adversarios fay, that this flesh and bloud of our Savior is the Universal Light within. But for what reason? Da Christ's fleth and bloud, either in any part of the Scripture, or amongst the Jewish Writers, signify

a real,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »