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Published by glennpease

Behold, the kingdom of God is within you. St Luke xvii. 21.

Behold, the kingdom of God is within you. St Luke xvii. 21.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 11, 2013
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THE KIGDOM OF GOD A KIGDOM OF THE MID. BY ROWLAD WILLIAMS, B.D. Behold, the kingdom of God is within you. St Luke xvii. 21. It ought not to be denied, that if we had lived in the time of our Saviour we should have been slow to receive as King one who professed his kingdom not to be of this world. We should have been very reluctant to admit the proposition, that Jesus was the Christ. Possibly indeed our reluctance might have been greater in proportion as our acquaintance with Scripture, either as scribes (writers of it), or as Pharisees^ (ex- pounders of it), had tended to render us critical. " Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?" was the question actually asked. "VVe also know that the Jews diligently " searched the Scriptures," for our Lord tells them so (in a mood which every candid scholar admits to be indicative), though probably they did it in a spirit different from that of the ingenuous Ber£eans. When, however, the Jews read in the book 1 I here adopt what seems morally the most probable, and ety- mologically an admissible, derivation of Pharisee, from a word meaning to expound. Hence the phrase, " dividing the word of truth." XIV.] The Kingdom of God, &c. 193 of Deuteronomy of a prophet being raised up like unto Moses, they interpreted the passage of that long suc- cession of prophets, Samuel, Elijah, Daniel, who from time to time should arise, reviving in men's hearts the sound of the word of the Lord. When they read in the second Psalm of " God's anointed" being established, they understood it only of a king, reigning (like David
or Solomon) upon the visible rock of Zion. When again in Isaiah they read the text " Israel is my firstborn," they applied all the prophecies respecting the Son and servant of Jehovah, either (as the Jew in Justin Martyr says) to the personified people of Israel ; or (as later Jews say) to the consecrated priesthood, who had charge of the Bible and the temple at Jerusalem. So, once more, in the seventh chapter of Isaiah, by the Virgin who should conceive, they understood some one in the reign of Ahaz; by the child born^ perhaps Maher-shalal- hash-haa:, and by the two kings, Rezin of Syria and Pekin of Samaria. In short, there was a deeply-rooted, and perhaps a very natural, reluctance on part of learned Jews, to conceive of the anointed king and deliverer of Israel as a person suffering and bowed to earth by affliction. " That the Christ must needs suffer," or that the pro- phetic king was to be a king " crowned with thorns,"" is one of the main points which the apostles have great difficulty in reconciling to the apprehensions of their hearers. Possibly, indeed, there may have been a moral inability on the part^ of the Jewish people generally to 1 So R. Lipmann, in his Carmen Memoriale ; R. Isaac; and the author of the izzachon Vetus, published by Wagenseil, in 16S1. W. S. 9 194 The Kingdom of God [serm. conceive the idea of a might, stronger than any might of man, yet destined to prevail only through suffering, or to think a kingdom the " desire of all nations \" which had no kingly attribute, save that it came in the spirit and the power of Him, to whom the angels cry, Holy, Holy, Holy.
It does not however appear that the above inability was connected with any neglect of the sacred volume which Timothy, for example (though a Jew) had known ^ from a child ; nor that it would have been remedied by a more critical knowledge of the Hebrew text. Eather indeed, if any one wishes to speak candidly as regards the Jews, accurately as regards the sacred text, and still faithfully in respect of the religion of Christ, he must allow that two conditions were required in order to enable a Gamaliel or a Hillel to anticipate the inter- pretations of a St Paul or a St John. The first of those two conditions depended upon no less a power than the wonder-Avorking providence of Almighty God ; the second called for no meaner teacher than the manifes- tation of his grace. In the first place, there must have come a change over the history of the world, not necessarily resembling in its outward details the changes anticipated by the prophets, but embodying the same eternal principles which the providence of God had revealed to them, as wrapt up in the working of the events of their own 1 It must be fully admitted that this text of Haggai is only an accommodation to the Messiah. ^ Whether he knew it in pure Hebrew, or in some ancient version, might depend partly on the local language, whether Greek, or Syriac,&c. XIV.] a Kingdom of the Mind. 195 time, and as destined therefore, in virtue of their divine origin, ultimately to j^revail. Perhaps Elijah the pro- phet may not come again; Israel may have no second Exodus through the Red Sea out of Egypt ; the law of

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