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itself against the knowledge of God, and brings in to captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
The subjects of this kingdom exercise a temper of selfdenial. Whosoever will come after me, says Christ, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.—This selfdenial principally consists m the denial of ungodliness and worldly lusts. They who are under the dominion of sin, make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof. They contrive the means of gratifying pride, ambition, covetousness, and sensual desires. But when the kingdom of God takes place in them, they no longer live to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. They keep under the body to bring it into subjecá tion. They abstain from the appearance of evil, and especially watch against their own iniquity. They maintain a warfare with themselves, and with the world ; and seek grace that they may cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and may perfect holiness in the fear of God.
The kingdom of God in the soul subdues worldly affections. As it is not of this world, but from heaven, so the subjects of it seek the things which are above, not the things which are on the earth. :
Worldly affections, reigning in the soul, are inconsistent with the religion of Christ. He came to deliver us from this evil world. Faith in him overcomes the world. They who trust in riches cannot enter into his kingdom. He has chosen the poor in this world, rich in faith, to be heirs of the kingdom which he has promised ; and he has des clared, that only to the poor in spirit the blessings of it belong.
The kingdom of God is a kingdom of peace and love. It not orily calls men into a state of peace with God, but requires them to live in peace with one another. Benevolence, condescension, meek.
ness, forbearance, and inoffensiveness, are distin guishing virtues of Christ's disciples. A temper of charity is the grand qualification for a subject of his kingdom. This is the end of the commandment, and the bond of perfectness. For this we are called into his kingdom; and then only we walk worthy of our calling, when we walk in all lowliness, longsuffering, and meekness, forbear one another in love, and keep the unity of the spir. it in the bond of peace. There is nothing more offensive to the Prince of peace, than contentions, animosities, and tumults among his subjects. There is no law of his kingdom more fully express. ed, more frequently repeated, and more solemnly en. forced, than that which requires us to love one another, and to study the things which make for peace. We are commanded to mark and avoid them who cause divisions and offences. Mutual love and condescension, are the marks by which Christ's disciples are to be known among men.
Charity is a humble, modest virtue. It makes no ostentation.
Contentions and disputes are noisy and tumultuous. They make uproar and confusion. But love is still and silent. It does good without sounding a trumpet. While it scatters blessings with one hand, the other scarcely knows what is doing. It prays for, and forgives offenders in secret, and makes no proclamation. It bestows favours on little ones, on persons of obscure condi. tion. Such favours seldom come to publick notice. They fall not under the observation of the world.
4. As the temper of the gospel, so also the optration of the divine spirit, in producing this tem, per, is without observation.
A divine influence is necessary to form the hearts of fallen men to the love of religion. This influ; ence is afforded, wherever the gospel is dispensed. But this is a secret influence: It comes not with observation. It is something, which the human eye cannot see. They who are the subjects of it, cannot directly and immediately distinguish it from the rational operations of their own minds. They know it rather by its holy fruits, than by sense and consciousness. Our Saviour says, It is as the wind; which bloweth where it listeth, and we hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth. This influence, like the gospel itself, is soft, mild, and gentle. It is not a tempest, an earthquake, or fire ; but a small still voice. It is a spirit of power, but yet a spirit of love, and of a sound mind. The fruits of it, like its nature, are kind and benevolent. They are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, meekness, and goodness. The wisdom of the world is attended with strife and confusion : But the wisdom from above, is pure, and peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits.
5. The blessings of God's kingdom are chiefly invisible, and without observation.
The rewards which the gospel promises are not earthly and temporal, but heavenly and spiritual. They are not external power, wealth, and honour ;. but inward peace, hope, and joy here, and everlasting felicity hereafter. In this world, the good Christian is subject to the same outward calamities which attend others. But he has consolations, which spring only from religion, and which a stranger intermeddles not with. He rejoices in the approving testimony of his conscience ; in hope of the glory of God; and in the happy influence of his afflictions, which work patience, give him experience, enliven his love to God, and confirm his heavenly hope. The Apostle says, We are troub. led on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair ; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing : as poor, yet making many rich ; as have ing nothing, yet possessing all things. It is the power of religion in the heart, which enables the Christian, in all his trials, thus to triumph in Christ Jesus.
We see in what respects, the kingdom of God comes without observation. How happy is the state of the sincere Christian ! He has a kingdom within him. He may be poor and despised in this world. He
He may suffer a variety of adversity and distress ; but he is a subject of the King of saints. He receives continual supplies and consolations from heaven. He has peace of mind, and hope toward God. He is an heir of everlasting glory. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The Kingdom of God without Observatian.
LUKE, xvii. 20, 21.
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, When the kingdom
of God should come ; he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation : Neither shall they say, Lo here ; or, lo there ; for behold, the kingdom of God
is within you.
In what respects the kingdom of God, or the gospel dispensation, comes without observation,
we have shewn in a preceding discourse. We will now attend to the reflections and instructions which our subject offers to us.
1. If the kingdom of God is now among us, we are all, without exception, bound to acknowledge it, and submit to it.
As Jesus declared himself to be the Messiah, who, according to the prophecies of scripture, was to come into the world, the Pharisees demanded
of him, when his kingdom was to begin. He an,swered them, that it was begun already. He was
now working miracles to prove his heavenly mis