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upon this engagement and undertaking of his Son, promised that he should“ prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand.” So that the counsel of peace between the Father and Son must come to naught, before this kingdom of God can be destroyed.
4. The blood and righteousness of Christ secure this kingdom. Christ has purchased a church for himself. Before he could, by his word and Spirit, take possession of one soul in all Adam's farnily, he behooved, as their Surety, to fulfil the precept, and to undergo the penalty of the law, and to pour out his soul unto death. He comes to the kingdom and government at the expense of his, royal blood, and is it to be supposed, that his kingdom, which he has bought with the blood of his heart, shall be ruined by sin, Satan, or the world, if he have an arm to defend it? No, no, I will give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any be able to pluck them out of my hand.” And this he speaks of his sheep, for whom he laid down his life; John X. 15, and 28, compared.
5. The covenant of grace and promise secures this kingdom of God within you. This covenant is well ordered in all things, and sure, and contains all the salvation of his people: “The covenant of my peace shall never be removed.
My covenant I will not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” See how the work of grace is secured by this covenant, Jer. xxxii. 39: “ And I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for ever.” Ver. 40: “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me."
6. The effectual call that the Lord gave thee when he called thee “unto his kingdom and glory." He called thee from the power of darkness, and translated thee into the king. dom of his dear Son; and this call secures the
possession of this kingdom of God within thee, for his “gifts and callings are without repentance;" and how can it be otherwise, seeing he calls them according to his purpose ?
7. Thy union with Christ, believer, secures the preservation and the perfecting of this kingdom. The whole mystical body of Christ, and every particular member of it shall be perfected; "neither death, nor life, nor things present, nor things to come, shall separate” between you and him; not one stone shall be turned off the foundation God hath laid in Zion;" the mortar by which the stones of the building are knit to the foundation, is so well tempered; he and they are so cemented together, that hell shall never prevail to loose
any one of them; no, God's building shall never be demolished.
8. The new name that God has given thee secures the kingdom of God, the work of grace in the soul. He has given to you who have received him the right, power or privilege, of being called the sons of God, and this is a perpetual name that shall never be erased. Is. lvi. 5, 6: " To them that take hold of his covenant he gives a name, and a place within his walls, even an everlasting name, that shall never be cut off." "The son abideth in the house for ever;" although the servant may be turned out at term-day, yet so shall not the son, who is an heir..
9. The seal of the Spirit secures the kingdom of God within you, Eph. iv. 30. Believers are said to be "sealed unto the day of redemption." A seal is either, (1) For secrecy; what men would have kept secret they set their seal upon it; and therefore it is a violation of the laws of society, for any man to break up a sealed letter, but he to whom it is directed. (2.) A seal is used for distinction; merchants seal their goods that they may be known to be their own. (3.) A seal is used for security; charters have the king's seal for farther security; and in this respect believers "are sealed unto the day of redemption," he hath sealed us, and given us the earnest of his Spirit." So Eph. i. 13, 14: "After that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance." Now, this security of the seal of the Spirit is inviolable; for "the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his."
10. The life of Christ secures this kingdom of God within you; "Because I live, ye shall live also." It is not so much the believer that lives, as Christ that lives in him. The life of Christ in heaven is employed for the security of the work of grace in thy soul. Believer, he lives in heaven as thy Head, thy Husband, thy Redeemer, thy Advocate with the Father, and he has "all power in heaven and in earth" for this end, that he might be in a capacity to preserve his kingdom of grace: therefore, says the apostle, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory," ol. iii. 4.
11. The power of God secures this kingdom of God within you; John x. 29: "My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." Rom. xiv. 24. He (namely, the believer, that has the kingdom of God within him) shall be holden up, for God is able to make him stand. As if he had said, 'The power of God is so much engaged for the preservation of the
work of grace, that it shall never .perish, if God's arms be able to maintain it. 2 Tim. i. 12: “ I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” . 1 Pet. i. 5: “We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” And therefore, believer, thou mayest sing and say, as Jude 24, “ Now, unto him who is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."
But I need not insist on particulars here; all the attributes of God, and the glory of each of them, is concerned in perfecting and preserving this spiritual kingdom. The mercy of God that gave birth to it; the wisdom of God that contrived it; the faithfulness of God, yea, his holiness is pledged for the preservation of it; yea, the very justice of God is concerned in the preservation of this kingdom; for justice having received complete satisfaction from the Surety, much obligesto take care for the preservation of this kingdom, for which the ransom of blood was paid. So that you see how well this spiritual kingdom is secured against all attempts made for its ruin; and is not this unspeakable ground of consolation to you, who have the foundation of it laid in your souls by the Spirit of the Lord? The apostle speaks of it as a glorious ground of consolation to the Philippians, chap. i. 6 : “ Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
2dly, X word of exhortation or counsel to you who have the kingdom of God within you.
1. See that you answer the motto of the kingdom, HoliNESS UNTO The Lokd. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Beware of giving the enemy occasion to blaspheme God, and the work of grace by your untenderness.
2. See that upon every occasion, and in all societies, ye be loyal to your King, wherever you see his laws violated, his name profaned, bis authority invaded, or his cause trampled on. Strike in for the honour of your King;" be not partakers with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Come up to “ the help of the Lord against the mighty.”
3. Wage war with all the enemies of the King, either within you or without you. Say not “a confederacy with sin or with sinners; “ for we wrestle not against flesh or blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers
of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Do not fear your enemies, for they will fly, and your King will bear the charges of the war.
4. Keep and guard all the avenues of the kingdom of God within
“ Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation." Watch the eyes: “I made a covenant with mine eyes.” “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity.” Watch the ears, watch the tongue, and “ keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” "Be sober, be vigilant; for your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about, seeking whom he may devour.”
5. Observe the laws of the kingdom as your rule: “ As many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God," Gal. vi. 16.
6. Contend for the liberties of the kingdom, even of the visible kingdom of Christ without you, for the loss of this will do great hurt to the kingdom of God within you.
Gal. 1: “ Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you · free;" freedom from sin, freedom from the law as a covenant, freedom from the world and yoke of bondage, inconsistent with Christian liberty, is the purchase of blood.
7. Keep a correspondence with all that are loyal to our King, and have his kingdom within them, especially in a day of defection and backsliding. Mal. iii. 16: · Then they that
“ feared the Lord, spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him, for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name."
GOSPEL-TREASURE IN EARTHEN VESSELS.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the
power may be of God, and not of us.--2 Cor. iv. ñ.
Togain time, I shall not insist upon the preceding context, however material, but come directly to the words themselves, where we may notice the following particulars :
1. The connexion of the words with what went before, in
the disjunctive particle but ; But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, &c. The apostle had been speaking great and honourable things of the gospel, which he and the rest of the apostles preached, calling it " the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of the invisible God,” ver. 4, 6. He had shown that there was the same almighty power exerted in and by the gospel in their own and others' conversion, as was put forth in the old creation, when God commanded light to shine out of darkness. Now, that none might attribute this efficacy of the gospel to the apostles, or other instruments who preached it, he immediately adds, But we have this treasure in earthen vessels
, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. As if he said, The very reverse of this imagi
. nation is God's design in intrusting us with the dispensation of the gospel, even that his own power might be the more illustriously manifested.
2. We have the designation given to the gospel of the grace of God; a treasure. There are two sorts of treasures we read of in scripture, and the whole world is taken up either with the one or the other, namely, an earthly or a heavenly treasure; "the men of the world, whose portion is in this life," are taken up about the first; but real converts, or true believers, are taken up with the last, according to that word of Christ, Matth. vi
. 19, 20: “ Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust do corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” It is the last, namely, the heavenly treasure, of which the apostle here speaks. Why the gospel of God's grace is expressed under the notion of a treasure, you may hear afterwards.
3. We have the vehicle of this treasure, or the weak means or instruments by which this treasure is conveyed to God's visible family; it is in earthen vessels. Ministers of the gospel are so called, that none may think of them above what is meet; we who are earthen vessels, cry to men of the same mould with us, as Jer. xxii. 29: “ earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord." You and we are earth in our original, earth in our daily support, and earth in our end, for dust shall return to the dust. God sees it fit that men that are sprung of earth should be served in earthen vessels.
4. We have the reason why God will have the treasure of the gospel conveyed in such earthen vessels, namely, “That the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us;" that is, in a word, that the whole glory of the conversion of sinners, and edification of saints to eternal life, might be as