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The Kingdom of Christ.

The Kingdom of Christ.

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Published by glennpease
BY Samuel Porter Williams




John, xviiii 36.

MY Kingdom is not of this world.
BY Samuel Porter Williams




John, xviiii 36.

MY Kingdom is not of this world.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 19, 2013
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THE KIGDOM OF CHRIST. BY Samuel Porter WilliamsJohn, xviiii 36. MY Kingdom is not of this world. BOTH the character and designs of Christ have been mis- represented. His friends have sometimes mistaken, and his enemies perverted them. Weakness on the one hand, and malignity on the other, have combined to render them doubtful, or suspicious. Hence he was compelled to re* prove his own disciples for their rashness and folly, and the chief priests for their malice and falsehood. The nation who appropriated this King — foretold by Daniel, Isaiah, and other Prophets, as breaking in pieces and consuming all other kingdoms — first mistook, and next perverted their language. At the period of his advent in the form of a ser- vant, to set up his kingdom, this nation were in subjection to the Romans — a power of whose yoke they had long been impatient. They eagerly looked therefore, for the literal 33 258 SERMO XVIII. accomplishment of this prediction. They expected that ac- cording to the course of this world, the first essay of their Prince would be the assumption of the government which the Romans had usurped over them, and the demolition, of course, of that empire. They overlooked those descrip- tions of their King which were couched in language corres- ponding with his actual appearance, and kept in their hearts, the more lofty and elevated images of the poetic pencil. They forgot, or disregarded, the story of a King coming
 
meek and lowly ; and boasted in their Messiah, a warrior glorious in his apparel, treading down the Gentile nations in his anger, and trampling on the necks of only ^Aeir oppres- sors. In the fulness of time he came ; but it was not to rescue the nation from their bondage to the Romans ; not to gratify the unbounded ambition of a people who claimed as a rights what was never promised ihem even as an cict of grace. He came — but unattended with the confused noise of the battle of the warrior, and a retinue of the thirty thou- sand chariots of God. He came — but it was to blast their unlicensed hopes, and to shew them a more excellent way. He came — but the peace of kingdoms was uninterrupted, the foundation of thrones unmoved. The discovery of these truths was enough, on the part of the Jews, to excite discon- tent ; while the title o^ king sufficed to kindle, in the minions of Caesar, the fire of jealousy. While from one side, there- fore, was heard the cry of Imposture, from the otlier inces- santly sounded the charge of Treason. Before the tribu- nal either of Caiaphas or Pilate, one and the same charge "Was sufficient to fix upon him the guilt of both these crimes. He assumed the title of King of the Jews. To justify him- self, (for he could not deny) it was necessary to examine no witnesses ; for before one court stood the Prophets and -^Apostles, and before the other, the miracles of Jesus were present. His life was an open epistle, read and known of SERMO XVIII. 2S§ all men. To confound all his enemies, and establish all his claims, it was enough to answer — "My kingdom is not of this world." He answered thus, and was acquitted, even in the judgment of the friend of Caesar. He was indeed a king : but neither did his title, nor the authority which it covered, at al! endiuiger the civil rights of any people, nor interfere with the sovereignty of any other king. The position which forms the whole defence of Jesus Christ before the bar of the Roman Governor, is given us
 
in the text. It is interesting to us^ as it establishes beyond controversy, according to the description of the Prophets, his claim to the character and office of that Messiah, who began to be spoken of at the first as the desire of all nations, and to whom the eyes of the world have been directed, by the messengers of God, in all succeeding ages. It is inter- esting also, as it leads to the developement of the ?^a^wre of that kingdom, in the privileges and blessings of which he who has no share, is lost alike to dignity and happiness, t6 present virtue and to future glory. It shall be, therefore, our first object, to discover the grand peculiarities of the kingdom of Christ j and to exhibit those features of it, which distinguish it from every other king- dom under Heaven. These may be all comprehended, perhaps, in the foundation or origin, the nature, the object, the means by which it is effected, and the duration of this kingdom i. 1. In the first place, the kingdom of Christ is distin- guished from every other in lU foundation. From no other has the prospect of self-aggrandizement been excluded : in most others this has been the bottom corner stone. But the whole basis of this is love. Who goeth a warfare at his own charges ? Who plants a colon}^, for the benefit of pos- terity not his own t Who ever laid the foundation of an empire, rescued from oppression and raised into a national a 26® SERMO XVIII. people without a name, and eyed no other recompense than the glory of doing good — the exalted pleasure of com- municating happiness ? That history of nations which leads us to their origin, records no names, nor acts, nor purposes, which do not shrink from a comparison with his, who, though humbling himself to behold things done in heaven, actually came down upon his footstool to serve mankind — to give the universe an example of true greatness of design

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