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Published by glennpease
By Burris A. Jenkins

Text. — And from the days of John the Baptist until now the
kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and men of violence
take it by force. — Matthew 11 :12.
By Burris A. Jenkins

Text. — And from the days of John the Baptist until now the
kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and men of violence
take it by force. — Matthew 11 :12.

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Published by: glennpease on Oct 25, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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VIOLECE TO THE KIGDOM OF GODBy Burris A. JenkinsText. — And from the days of John the Baptist until now thekingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and men of violencetake it by force. — Matthew 11 :12.THOSE words, "king" and "kingdom," have ever beenmagic words among men. From the time when Israelrightly demanded a king and Sanl defended his title with hisblood, from the time when he consulted the witch of Endor inthe night; and from the time when in our own grandfather-land Macbeth sought the three witches and found for himself "double, double, toil and trouble;" from that time to the dayswhen Julius Caesar fell dead at the foot of Pompey's statue;to the days when Eichard Coeur de Lion strove against thatknightly Saracen Sultan Saladin, to the time when the thirdEichard slew the little princes in the tower, and to this presentmoment when kings great and small are striving with eachother for kingdoms big and little, these two words have beenmagic words with which to conjure — words that have stirredmen's souls. And Jesus, designedly I think, selected the wordsto convey the idea of his increasing influence amongst man-kind. "The kingdom of heaven" was not an aimless choiceas a phrase by which to represent his dominion.The cry, ' ' The kingdom of heaven is at hand ! " in the wilder-ness of Jordan was just as startling to the people of Israel asthe cry "The Eevolution is here!" was to Paris in '93. Andthe Hebrews were just as ready to pull up paving stones andbuild barricades and deal death in behalf of their conceptionof the kingdom of God as were the Parisians in behalf of Lib-erty, Fraternity and Equality in the days of the Commune.For Israel stood with eyes to the East, on tiptoe, expectant,waiting for the moment to come when the king should return309
310 THE EW LIVIG PULPITwho should restore to Israel the pristine glory of David and of Solomon; and they were perfectly sure that that day woulddawn, nay, that that day was near at hand, when the voice of John the Baptist was lifted in the wilderness. And I think Jesus uttered that phrase, "From the days of John the Baptistuntil now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and menof violence take it by force ' ' with a deep tone of sadness and of disappointment. He knew perfectly well the conception of thekingdom that had been in Israel's heart. He knew that it wasa purely material conception; that their highest idea was torestore again the toppled and crumbled throne of David andof Solomon. He knew that in that day men were banded to-gether in Galilee, in Judea and even in Samaria, with armsstored and munitions prepared, with standards and slogansselected and captains chosen against that great day when theyshould go forth again to their place in the sun.The disappointment in the Master's heart lay in the fact thateven John's influence, when he came preaching in the wilder-ness of Judea the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins had not been able to give to the people a more spiritualconception of the kingdom of God. ay, further than that,with all his instruction, his own disciples had not yet caught aconception of what he meant by the phrases, "the kingdom of God" and "the kingdom of heaven." As he passed throughSamaria footsore and weary on a certain day and would haveentered into one of the villages of Samaria the grandees of thatpeople met him at the gate and thrust him out, and they said:"This heretic, this renegade Jew, shall not enter here." Thenit was that the Sons of Thunder, James and John, turned tohim and said, "Master, wilt thou that we call down fire fromon high and burn up these people ? ' ' And Jesus said, ' ' Ye knownot what spirit ye are of." ow the days had gone and theweeks and months, and still the inner circle of his twelve hadnot caught his conception, his spiritual vision of the kingdomof God. So it is with infinite pathos that he speaks thesewords, ' ' From the days of John the Baptist, ' ' when the cry of 
"The kingdom of heaven !" was first lifted, to this present hour,BURRIS A. JEKIS 311"the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and men of violencetake it by force.' 'Two thousand years have passed since these words werespoken, and I think they are as true today as they were whenfirst uttered. Two millenniums! And still the kingdom of heaven suffered violence. It has through all the centuries.Read the records of the church councils with their curses andtheir clubs and their knives. Read the records of the inquisi-tions with their gridirons and their torture chambers, unspeak-able in their horrors. Read the records of the religious warsof Charles V and Philip of France, and William of Orangefighting for his liberty to think and believe, of Christian andSaracen bathing in blood the sands of Syria in the name of theHoly Sepulchre. Read the records of modern councils wherechurches have striven for material influence and power, plottedand counterplotted for political position and predominance,tried their best men, ostracized them, bound them hand andfoot, and the statement of the Master applies as well today asit did two thousand years ago. The kingdom of heaven fromthe days of John the Baptist until now suffereth violence andmen of violence take it by force !There are two or three things which may be said concerningviolent conceptions of the kingdom of God — conceptions out of harmony with our Master's high spiritual notion. These con-ceptions are always negative in character; they are alwaysmaterial; they lead inevitably to despair.They are negative — as negative as the spirit of the Samari-tans who said, "Thou shalt not enter here;" as negative asthe spirit of the officers who met the Master on the steps of the temple and thrust him out and said, "By what authoritydoest thou these things?" In the same fashion men are stand-

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