« PreviousContinue »
3. That it is the duty and difpofition of the faints and children of God, to defire the coming of this kingdom, and that themfelves and others may be brought into it, 2 Tim. iv. 8. And this their defire comprehends these four things..
(1.) The King's coming to receive his kingdom at the laft day, Rev. xxii. 20. He which teftifieth thefe things, faith, Surely I come quickly. The Spirit in the hearts of the faints, that cries Abba, Father, cries año, (as Judg. v. 28.), Why is his chariot fo long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots? They would have fwift time that runs like a poft, and never halts, to put wings to its feet, to haften their King's coming.
(2.) The deftruction of the laft enemy, death, 1 Cor. xv. 26. It is the laft that will ftand in the way of the erection of this kingdom of glory. But the King's fummons by the found of the laft trumpet, put in the hands of the grim tyrant, will give him the conquering ftroke, caufe the doors of the grave fly open, and loose his gripes for ever of the bodies of his faints. And this they long for, and joy in the faith of it, 1 Cor. xv. 57.
(3) The everlafting complete happinefs of themfelves and others in that kingdom, Pfal. xiv. ult. Col. i. 2. 3. 4. Every thing defires its own perfection, and therefore grace is natively carried out in defire after glory. If it were at the faint's choice, he would not live always, Job vii. 16. and therefore is coming up out of the world in affection or defires, Cant. viii. 5.
Laftly, The coming of the kingdom of grace, in order to all this. Which brings me to the fecond thing. But before I enter on that, I must answer a
Cafe. If this be the difpofition of the faints, I am none: for Chrift's coming is a terror to me, and how can I defire it? Anf. (1.) If this temper of spirit rife in thee from an habitual tafteleffnefs and unfa vourinefs of holy, fpiritual, and heavenly things; and from a reigning relifh of the things of this prefent world; no wonder that Chrift's coming be a terror to thee, and thou canst not defire it, more than any VOL. III. 3 S
thing can defire to be out of its element, as fifh to be dragged out of the fea. And while it is fo with thee, I can fpeak no comfort to thee, Phil. iii. 18. 19. 20. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Chrift: whofe end is deftruction, whofe god is their belly and whofe glory is in their fhame, who mind earthly things. For our converfation is in heaven, from whence alfa we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jefus Christ.
(2.) But if holy, fpiritual, and heavenly things have the predominant relifh habitually in thy heart, and that fin and the world's vanities are unfavoury, in comparison of thefe; then, though it is often a terror to thee when thou thinkeft on it, yet thou doft really defire it, though not exprefsly, yet interpretatively, ver. 20. And this I prove upon thee by two arguments.
1. Doft thou not defire to be perfectly freed from, and fet beyond the reach of fin and death? And doft thou not know, that that will never be till that day? Wherefore that defire to be freed from fin and death, has the defire of Chrift's coming in the bofom of it, as the defire to have the festered member cut off, for the fafety of the life, implies a defire of the furgeon's coming, who is to perform the operation, though it be a terror to the perfon.
2. Doft thou not defire communion with God, and full and complete communion with him in his glory, in foul and body? Thou knowest that that cannot be till he come, that all fin and forrow will not be taken away, and this abfolutely perfect happiness obtained till then. Wherefore this defire implies that.
Your terror may arife either from natural caufes, or want of evidence of intereft in Chrift, or both together. Wherefore labour to affure your hearts before him by believing, If. xxxv. 4.
Secondly, What is the import of this petition with reference to the kingdom of grace? There is no getting into the kindom of glory but coming through that of grace. So that deliring the coming of the former
is defiring the coming of the latter too.
1. That all men naturally are without this kingdon, under the dominion of Satan, Eph. ii. 2. 3. In time paft ye walked according to the courfe of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the fpirit that worketh in the children of difobedience. Among whom alfo we had our converfation in times, paft, in the "lufts of the flesh, fulfilling the defires of the flesh, and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. Thefe other lords have dominion over them. And as they are not fubjects of, fo they have nothing to do with the privileges of the kingdom of grace.
2. That we cannot bring ourfelves or others into it, John vi. 44. No man can come to me, except the Father, which hath fent me, draw him. God alone can do it, Col. i. 13. It is he who tranflates us into the kingdom of his dear Son. One will lie under the iron yoke, for any thing he can do, till the power of grace break it. When one is brought into it himself, he cannot bring along his nearest relations with him. He may ufe the means, exhort, excite, &c. but can do no more,
3 3. That we cannot, where it is fet up, maintain and advance it, againft the enemies of it, 2 Cor. iii. 5. We are not fufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourfelves. Satan, the world, and corrupt lufts are the encies of this kingdom, fighting againft it continually to extinguifh it, and do retard its progrefs, Gal. V. 17. For the flesh lufteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh and these are contrary the one to the other; fo that ye cannot do the things that ye would. And if there be not another power than our own to balance the oppofition, it will give way before them.
4. Lastly, That it is the duty and difpofition of the children of God to defire, that the Lord himself may bring forward this kingdom, as Paul faid to King Agrippa, I would to God that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether fch as I am, Acts xxvi. 29. This extends to, (1.) The deftruction of the power of fin and Satan
over the hearts and lives of men, Pfal. lxviii. 1. 18. Let God arife, let his enemies be fcattered: let them alfo that hate him, flee before him. Thou haft afcended on high, thou haft led captivity captive: thou haft received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious alfo, that the Lord God might dwell among them. Every faint grudges the fway which thefe enemies bear in the world, and prays it down.
2. The conversion of finners to God, 2 Theff. iii 1. Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free courfe, and be glorified. Converts are the church's children, for which the travails in birth, in her minifters and members, as naturally longing for the converfion of fouls, as a travailing woman to fee the fruit of her womb.
(3) The preferving and advancing to perfection the ftate of those who are in it already, ourselves or othes, 1 Pet. v. 10. The God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Chrift Jefus, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, fettle you. It is the joint defire of all who are brought into this kingdom, to be carried on and through, till they come to the kingdom of glory, both themselves and others.
Laftly, In order thereto, the coming of the kingdom of the gofpel. This brings me to the
Third thing, What is the import of this petition with reference to the kingdom of the gospel? It is by the kingdom of the gofpel that one is brought into the kingdom of grace. So defiring the coming of the one, we defire alto the coming of the other. It imports,
1. That there are many impediments in the way of the propagation and efficacy of the gofpel, which we cannot remove. The devil is the main agent against it, 1 Theff. ii. 18, Satan hindered us, fays Paul. Under him, the chief agents are the Turk and Antichrift; and every wicked man that has access to put hand to that work all the world over; corrupt lufts in every man's heart, Luke xix. 14; and even the untenderness and unwatchfulnefs of good men.
2. That the Lord himself can fhovel all the impediments out of the way, and make the gofpel triumph over them all, perfons or things, fins or troubles, that are laid in the way to hinder it, If. lvii. 14. Caft ye up, caft ye up, prepare the way, take "p the ftumbling-block out of the way of my people.
3. That it is the duty and difpofition of the children of God to defire the advancement of the kingdom of the gofpel. It extends to,
(1.) The removal of the impediments out of its way in the world, 2 Theff. iii. 1. It is the defire of the faints, that Satan's power in the world may be broken. And they should all pray for the downfall of the Turk and Antichrift, for the purging of the church of corruptions, fcandals, and divifions, and whatfoever hinders the progrefs of the gofpel; and that peace and truth may be maintained.
(2.) The propagation of the gofpel through the world, that it may be carried through all nations; that the Jews may be brought in, Rom. x. 1. and the fulness of the Gentiles, Pfal. lxvii. and that Chrift may be King in all the earth.
(3.) The efficacy of it, to fet up the kingdom of grace in mens hearts, 2 Theff. iii. 1. and that all things may be ordered to the advantage of it; the Spirit poured out from on high, the church furnished with all gofpel officers and ordinances, countenanced and protected by the magiftrate, minifters made powerful and lively in their work, and the people tender and orderly in their walk, &c.; all thefe things contributing to the fuccefs of the gospel.
Laftly, That God would exert his power for all this; which brings me to the
Fourth thing, What is the import of this petition with reference to the coming of God's kingdom of power? It is by the power of God that all these great things must be brought about. So the defiring of the coming of the gofpel, is the defiring of the coming of this kingdom too. It imports,