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To carry out the image of the text, allow me to say, that there must be a king, and a polity, of the kingdom that is within us; and to these two matters would I now more especially draw your attention. I would not have you lead a lawless life. I would that all who hear me now, and myself too, might be devoted subjects of Jesus Christ.
Who is the lawful sovereign of the human heart ? I say heart, because that is the metropolis of our being. The king there is king everywhere. One would think, that mere instinct, without the aid of reason or conscience, would make answer at once, and say, Maker is our King. God is sovereign Lord.” And, perhaps it doth ; but practically, who is ruler of the heart ? We are God's, by right of creation, this I know; this we all acknowledge ; but are we His in deed ? It is the very climax of rebellion and treachery to shout “ God save the king ;" and at the same time to be in league with a usurper, and upstart ; just as it was the climax of hypocrisy in Judas Iscariot to say, "Hail, Master !” and kiss Him, when he had basely sold Him for thirty pieces of silver. Oh, there is rebellion abroad, and foul treason.
That standard was first unfurled in Eden, in sight of innocence and simplicity, almost under the shade of the Tree of Life. The cause and abettor of rebellion in man was a fallen spirit, who found his way somehow to this strange abode, and sowed discord, and planted hate (to God, to Heaven,) and Sin proclaimed himself a prince, a ruler,
a god! This is true ; this is true. The Devil is prince of this world; god of this world. It was a sad confession to make “ The whole world lieth in wickedness, or the Wicked One.” Do you want tokens of this rebellion ? Look then in on the state of your heart; look back on the character of your past life. Cold even here, in the house of God, or worldly, or formal God your king ? He, the ruler of your heart's affections ? Tell me not that. You have loved yourself more than Him all your life long; you have thought more about time, and sense, than about His honour and glory, all the way up from your birth till now. (Forgive me if I malign you.) Here is rebellion. The strong-hold of their nature is held by the foe, and sinners war against their own souls. I know God is King, but not their king. Mammon. Pride. Folly. Care, Lust. Pleasure, the King in practice, and God the King in theory. Another captivity has fallen upon them, and they fear the Lord, and serve their own gods.
The nature of man is sinful ; very far original righteousness; and, oh! it was at infinite cost; it was with infinite pains, that the Rebellion of sin was met, and subdued. It is with exceeding difficulty that the lawful sway of God is again set up, and acknowledged. To clear a passage to the inner kingdom ; to make a highway for salvation; to bring in everlasting righteousness; to destroy the works of the Devil-cost the Son of God a most marvellous
work; costs the Holy Ghost a most marvellous ministry. To be translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son; to be quickened from the death of sin, to the life of righteousness; in a word, to have the kingdom of God set up within us, is like a new creation ; the making of a new world. Who is the lawful ruler of the human heart ? I repeat the question. Is it not Jesus Christ, who hath purchased it with his blood ? Is He not the King of saints? Doth He not reign in the emancipated kingdom of man's renewed nature, seated on a throne of
Yes! God hath set His king upon the holy hill of Zion. Unto Him every knee must bow. Before Him all must do homage. Amid our thoughts and feelings; our motives and affections ; amid the concourse of spiritual beings that people the Home Kingdom of the Christian’s renewed nature, Jesus Christ, the righteous King, reigns supreme. Oh, may no other than He rule within us. May we delight to touch the golden sceptre of His grace; and worship Him, serve Him, and obey Him as we ought to do.
And this brings us to the Polity of this gracious kingdom. To the laws, and ordinances, and customs that prevail. And what is the first and great commandment, or law, that is enforced ?—“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” And what is the second !--- "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Love is the fulfilling of the Law. St. Paul
tells us, in one short sentence, the “kingdom of God is not meat and drink ;" does not consist in ceremonial observances; “but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” The King doth reign in righteousness within us; justice and judgment are the habitation of His throne. Holiness becometh His house for ever.
True religion; the Christian's character, is holy, just, and good. The blessed Spirit makes us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
Peace too is a mark of the kingdom of God within us. The peace of God, which passeth understanding, keepeth the heart and mind through Jesus Christ. The work of righteousness is peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever. The rebellion of sin is put down ; sin itself held in subjection. Wars, and rumours of wars, that set the heart in an uproar, in times of ignorance and unbelief, are now over, and peace, by the Prince of Peace, proclaimed instead. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 6 Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus.”
Joy too is a mark of the kingdom within us; holy joy ; joy in the Holy Ghost. “We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” By the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Home Kingdom is greatly enriched.-Love. Joy. Peace. Long-suffering. Gentleness. Meekness. Faith. Patience. Temperance, are the products that abound;
and thus, where once was as a wilderness, now is a flourishing state.
In reviewing so strange a matter, we may well exclaim with the Psalmist—" Lord, what is man that Thou hast such respect unto him ? or the son of man that Thou so visitest him ?" To be regarded at all by the Most High is a wonderful privilege, but to be the special subjects of His grace and mercy, His wisdom and power; to have our nature renewed, and a spiritual kingdom set up and established within us, this is passing strange. How does the subject affect you, my brethren ? With what feelings do you entertain these thoughts? Allow me to put a simple question.
Is this kingdom really set up in your heart ? In other and simpler words. Is your Religion genuine and real ? Is your character formed and forming, after the model of Jesus Christ? Other matters are of trifling moment. We are journeying to eternity. We are becoming more and more fixed in habit and character. We are highly favoured. The means of grace abound. The kingdom of Heaven is at hand; if we neglect so great salvation, as the salvation of Jesus Christ, how shall we escape ?
May God of His mercy bless us, and bring us to His glorious kingdom, to praise Him for ever and ever. Amen.