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The Kingdom to Come.

The Kingdom to Come.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY BISHOP SETH WARD, D.D.


"Thy kingdom come." (Matt. vi. 10.)
BY BISHOP SETH WARD, D.D.


"Thy kingdom come." (Matt. vi. 10.)

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 22, 2013
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THE KIGDOM TO COME.BY BISHOP SETH WARD, D.D."Thy kingdom come." (Matt. vi. 10.)THESE words are recognized at once as oneof the petitions in our Lord's Prayer, aprayer that with equal propriety might be calledhumanity's prayer, for by its character and itshistory it is easily preeminent in the liturgy of the world. It expresses sublimest thought insimplest speech. It is sufficiently definite to beapplied to our daily wants and daily experiences,and yet it is sufficiently comprehensive to em-brace the needs of the world. We learned thisprayer at our mothers' knees. I did, and you did.We lisped these petitions in the broken speech of childhood. And yet through more than eighteencenturies of Christian history, in many parts of the world, in all conditions of life, men and womenhave been pouring their aspirations and theirneeds into these words and sending them heaven-ward on wings of faith. Wonderful, wonderfulprayer! And as often as men have asked fordaily bread, as often as they have besought di-(77)yS COQUERIG FORCES.vine forgiveness or importuned heaven for de-liverance from the evils of the earth, they haveprayed, "Thy kingdom come." Many, many timeshave we taken this petition upon our lips. Whatdoes it mean? What have we really been pray-
 
ing for? What did Jesus mean that we shouldpray for when he put this petition on the lipsof his disciples? It is worth while to considerthis.The kingdom of God is one of the great con-ceptions, not to say the greatest conception, of the Christian religion. The Almightiness of Godis one of the fundamental thoughts of revelation.From of old it has been recognized that theheavens and the earth obey his will. Mountainsand seas are in his hands. o star shines in thedistance of space that is beyond the sweep of hispower. Moral beings may transgress his law,sin against God and themselves, but they cannotgo beyond the reach of the Almighty arm. Thiswas the thought of the Psalmist when he said:"Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whithershall I flee from thy presence?" In this sense"the Lord reigns" and has ever reigned. Hiskingdom is bounded only by the limits of theTHE KIGDOM TO COME. 79universe. But very early in Hebrew faith andthought there arose, or was implanted, the ideaof a kingdom of God above the level of mereforce, a kingdom of willing obedience, of loverather than power, and therefore a kingdom of moral characteristics. It is not possible for me tospeak now of the beginnings of this idea, of itsdevelopment, of its transition from secularity tospirituality, and back to secularity again. Thatis too wide a field to enter at this time. Read theseventy-second Psalm and the eleventh, the thir-ty-fifth, and the sixtieth chapters of Isaiah, andyou will find splendid statements of the Hebrewconception of a kingdom that was to come. In
 
order to understand this petition in our Lord'sprayer and many another word that he uttered,we must remember that when Jesus entered uponhis earthly ministry there was in the Jewishmind lively expectancy and a deep desire for thecoming of God's kingdom as they understood it ;not a grossly secular kingdom as we sometimessay, and yet a worldly kingdom — one by whichall Israel's enemies would be overthrown, alltheir wrongs avenged, and all their dreams of earthly glory fully realized.80 COQUERIG FORCES.Our Lord began his ministry with a state-ment that seems simple and commonplace tous, but it was startling and thrilling to the na-tion and the generation to which he spoke. Hedid not come with arguments or explanations,but with a ringing announcement: "The time isfulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand."He called the message that he delivered "TheGood ews of the Kingdom." Through all histeaching that note is heard — in parable and insermon, in the synagogues and by the wayside,speaking to the little group of his disciples oraddressing the great multitudes, the same truthis heard, "the kingdom," "the kingdom," "thekingdom." More than one hundred times is thisexpression found in the first three Gospels. ow,if we carefully examine these messages to getthe exact meaning that belongs to this expression,we are soon convinced that it has a variety of meanings. Sometimes the kingdom is evidentlyindividualistic, a matter of personal faith and per-sonal experience. "The kingdom of God is with-in you." It is a "pearl of great price" or a"treasure hid in a field" which a man can acquire

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