The Lord's Prayer
By Thomas Watson
The Second Petition in the Lord's Prayer
"May Your kingdom come." Matthew 6:10
A soul truly devoted to God, joins heartily in this
petition, "your kingdom come." In these words it is implied that
God is a king, for he who has a kingdom,
can be no less than a king. "God is the King of all the earth." Psalm 47:7.
He is a King upon his throne. "God sits upon the throne of his
holiness." Psalm 47:8. He has a regal title, high and mighty. "Thus
says the high and lofty One." Isaiah 57:15. He has the ensigns of royalty.
He has his sword. "If I whet my glittering sword." Deut 32:41. He has
his scepter. "A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your
kingdom." Heb 1:8. He has his royal crown. "On his head were many
crowns." Rev 19:12. He has his jura regalia, his kingly
prerogatives. He has power to make laws, to seal pardons, which are the
flowers and jewels belonging to his crown. Thus the Lord is King.
Further, he is a great King.
"A great King above all gods." Psalm 95:3. He is great in and of himself;
and not like other kings, who are made great by their subjects. That he is
so great a King appears by the immensity of his being. "Do not I fill heaven
and earth? says the Lord." Jer 23:24. His center is everywhere; he is
nowhere included—yet nowhere excluded. He is so immensely great, that "the
heaven of heavens cannot contain him". 1 Kings 8:27.
His greatness appears by the effects of his power. He
"made heaven and earth," and can unmake it. Psalm 124:8. With a breath he
can crumble us to dust; with a word he can unpin the world, and break the
axle-tree of it in pieces. "He pours contempt upon princes." Job 12:21. "He
shall cut off the spirit of princes." Psalm 76:12. He is Lord paramount, who
does whatever he will. Psalm 115:3. He weighs "the mountains in scales, and
the hills in a balance." Psalm 40:12.
God is a glorious King. "Who is this King of
glory? The Lord Almighty, he is the King of glory." Psalm 24:10. He has
internal glory. "The Lord reigns, he is clothed with majesty." Psalm
93:1. Other kings have royal and sumptuous apparel to make them appear
glorious to beholders—but all their magnificence is borrowed. But God is
clothed with his own majesty; his own glorious essence is instead of royal
robes, and "he has girded himself with strength." Kings have their guard
about them to defend their person, because they are not able to defend
themselves; but God needs no guard or assistance from others. "He has girded
himself with strength." His own power is his lifeguard. "Who in the heaven
can be compared unto the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty can be
likened unto the Lord?" Psalm 89:6. He has a pre-eminence above all other
kings for majesty. "He has on his vesture a name written, Rex Regum,
KING OF KINGS." Rev 19:16. He has the highest throne, the richest crown, the
largest dominions, and the longest possession. "The Lord sits King forever."
Psalm 29:10. Though he has many heirs—yet no successors. He sets up his
throne where no other king does; he rules the will and affections;
his power binds the conscience. Angels serve him, all the kings of
the earth hold their crowns and diadems by immediate tenure from this great
King. "By me kings reign," Proverbs 8:15. To this Lord Jehovah, all kings
must give account; and from his tribunal there is no appeal.
Use 1. For instruction
(1) If God is so great a King, and sits King forever, it
is no disparagement for us to serve him! It is an honor to serve
a king. If the angels fly swiftly upon the King of heaven's message, then
well may we look upon it as a favor to be taken into his royal service. Dan
9:21. Theodosius thought it a greater honor to be God's servant—than to be
an emperor. It is more honor to serve God—than to have kings serve us. Every
subject of this King is crowned with regal honor! He "has made us kings."
Rev 1:6. therefore, as the queen of Sheba, having seen the glory of
Solomon's kingdom, said, "Happy are these your servants who stand
continually before you." 1 Kings 10:8. So happy are those saints who stand
before the King of heaven, and wait on his throne.
(2) If God is such a glorious King, crowned with wisdom,
armed with power, be spangled with riches, it shows us what prudence it is
to have this King to be ours; to say, "My King, and my
God!" Psalm 5:2. It is counted great policy to be on the strongest side.
If we belong to the King of heaven, we are sure to be on the strongest side.
The King of glory can with ease destroy his adversaries; he can pull down
their pride, befoul their policy and restrain their malice. That stone cut
out of the mountain without hands, which smote the image (Dan 2:34), was an
emblem, says Augustine, of Christ's monarchial power, conquering and
triumphing over his enemies. If we are on God's side, we are on the
strongest side; he can with a word destroy his enemies. "Then shall he speak
unto them in his wrath." Psalm 2:5. Nay, with a look he can destroy
them. "Look upon everyone that is proud and bring him low." Job 40:12. It
needs cost God no more to confound those who rise up against him, than a
look, a cast of his eye. "In the morning watch, the Lord looked unto the
army of the Egyptians, through the pillar of fire, and troubled the host of
the Egyptians, and took off their chariot-wheels." Exod 14:24. What wisdom
is it then to have this King to be ours! Then we are on the strongest side.
Use 2. For exhortation
(1) If God is so glorious a King, full of power and
majesty, let us TRUST in him. "Those who know your name will put
their trust in you." Psalm 9:10. Trust him with your soul; you cannot put
this jewel in safer hands. And trust him with church and state affairs; he
is King. "The Lord is a man of war." Exod 15:3. He can bare his holy arm in
the eyes of all the nations. If means fail, he is never at a loss; there are
no impossibilities with him; he can make the dry bones live. Ezek 37:10. As
a King he can command, and as a God he can create salvation.
"I create Jerusalem a rejoicing." Isaiah 65:18. Let us trust all our affairs
with this great King. Either God can remove mountains—or he can
leap over them! Canticles 2:8.
(2) If God is so great a King, let us FEAR him.
"Do you not fear me? says the Lord: will you not tremble at my presence?"
Jer 5:22. We have enough of fear of men. Fear makes danger appear
greater, and sin less; but let us fear the King of kings, who has power to
cast body and soul into hell. Luke 12:5. As one wedge drives out another, so
the fear of God would drive out all base carnal fear. Let us fear that God
whose throne is set above all kings; they may be mighty—but he is
almighty. Kings have no power—but what God has given them; their power
is limited, his is infinite. Let us fear this King, whose eyes are "as a
flame of fire." Rev 1:14. "The mountains quake at him; and the rocks are
thrown down by him." Nahum 1:5, 6. If he stamps with his foot, all the
creatures are presently up in a battalion to fight for him. Oh, tremble and
fear before this God. The fear of God, is the doorkeeper of the soul. It
keeps sin from entering. "How can I do this great wickedness, and sin
against God?" Gen 39:9.
(3) If God is so glorious a King, he has the power of
life and death in his hand. Let all the potentates of the earth
take heed how they employ their power against the King of heaven. They
employ their power against God, who with their scepters beat down his truth,
which is the most orient pearl of his crown; who crush and persecute his
people, who are the apple of his eye (Zech 2:8); who trample upon his laws,
and royal edicts, which he has set forth (Psalm 2:3). What is a king without
his laws? Let all who are invested with worldly power and grandeur, take
heed how they oppose the King of glory. The Lord will be too hard for all
who come against him. "Have you an arm like God?" Job 40:9. Will you measure
arms with the Almighty? Shall a little child fight with an archangel? "Can
your heart endure, or can your hands be strong in the days that I shall deal
with you?" Ezek 22:14. Christ will put all his enemies at last under his
feet. Psalm 110:1. All the multitude of the wicked, who set themselves
against God, shall be but as so many clusters of ripe grapes, to be cast
into the winepress of the wrath of God, to be trodden by him until their
blood comes forth. The King of glory will come off victor at last. Men may
set up their standard—but God always sets up his trophies of victory.
The Lord has a golden scepter, and an iron rod. Psalm
2:9. Those who will not bow to the one, shall be broken by the
(4) Is God so great a king, having all power in heaven
and earth in his hand—let us learn subjection to him. You who
have gone on in sin, and by your impieties hung out a flag of defiance
against the King of heaven, O come in quickly, and make your peace, submit
to God. "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry." Psalm 2:12. Kiss Christ with a
kiss of love, and a kiss of obedience. Obey the King of heaven, when he
speaks to you by his ministers and ambassadors. 2 Cor 5:20. When God bids
you flee from sin, and espouse holiness, obey him: to obey is better than
sacrifice. "To obey God," says Luther, "is better than to work miracles."
Obey God willingly. Isaiah 1:19. That is the best obedience, which is
cheerful, as that is the sweetest honey which drops out of the
comb. Obey God swiftly. "Then lifted I up my eyes, and, behold, two
women, and the wind was in their wings." Zech 5:9. Wings are swift—but wind
in the wings denotes great swiftness; such should our obedience to God be.
Obey the King of glory.
Use 3. For consolation. Here is comfort to
those who are the subjects of the King of heaven. God will put forth all the
royal power for their support and comfort.
(1) The King of heaven will plead their cause. "I will
plead your cause, and take vengeance for you." Jer 51:36.
(2) He will protect his people. He sets an invisible
guard about them. "I will be unto her a wall of fire round about." Zech 2:5.
A wall, that is defensive; a wall of fire, that is offensive.
(3) When it may be for the good of his people, he will
raise up deliverance to them. "The Lord saved them by a great deliverance."
1 Chron 11:14. God reigning as a king, can save any way; even by
contemptible means, as the blowing of the trumpets, and blazing of
lamps. Judges 7:20. He can save by contrary means; as when he made
the sea a wall to Israel, and the waters were a means to keep them from
drowning. The fish's belly was a ship in which Jonah sailed safe to shore.
God will never lack ways of saving his people; rather than fail, their very
enemies shall do his work. 2 Chron 20:23. He sets Ammon and Mount Seir one
against another. As God will deliver his people from temporal danger,
so from spiritual danger, as from sin, and from hell.
"Jesus who delivered us from the wrath to come." 1 Thess 1: l0.
Use 4. For intimidation. If God is king, he
will set his utmost strength against those who are the enemies of his
kingdom. "A fire goes before him, and burns up his enemies round about."
(1) He will set himself against his enemies. He
will set his attributes against them, his power and justice; and "who knows
the power of your anger?" Psalm 90:2.
(2) He will set the creatures against them. "The
stars in their courses fought against Sisera." Judges 5:20. Tertullian
observes, that when the Persian fought against the Christians, a mighty wind
arose, which made the Persian arrows to fly back in their own faces. Every
creature has a quarrel with a sinner; the stone out of the wall, the hail
and the frost. Hab 2:11. "He destroyed their vines with hail, and their
sycomore-trees with frost." Psalm 78:47.
(3) God will set men against themselves. He will
set conscience against them. How terrible is this rod—when turned into a
serpent! Melanchthon calls it a hellish fury! It is called vermis
conscientiae, the worm of conscience. Mark 9:44. What a worm did Spira
feel in his conscience! He was a terror to himself. The worst civil wars are
between a man and his conscience.
(4) God will set the diseases of men's bodies
against them. "The Lord smote Jehoram in his bowels with an incurable
disease." 2 Chron 21:18. God can raise an army against a man out of his own
body; he can set one humor of the body against another; the heat to dry up
the moisture, and the moisture to drown the heat. The Lord needs not go far
for instruments to punish the sinner; he can make the joints of the same
body to smite one against another. Dan 5:6.
(5) God will set men's friends against them. Where
they used to have honey, they shall have nothing but aloes and wormwood.
"When a man's ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace
with him." Proverbs 16:7. When he opposes God, he makes his friends to be
his enemies. The wife of emperor Commodes, gave him poison in perfumed wine.
Sennacherib's two sons were the death of him. 2 Kings 19:37.
(6) God will set Satan against them. "Let Satan
stand at his right hand." Psalm 109:6. What does Satan do, at the sinner's
elbows? He helps him to contrive sin. He tempts him to commit sin. He
terrifies him for sin. He who has Satan standing at his right hand,
is sure to be set at God's left hand. Here is the misery of such as
oppose God's royal scepter, that he will set everything in the world against
them. If there is either justice in heaven or fire in hell—the ungodly
shall not be unpunished!
Use 5. For encouragement. If God is such an
absolute monarch, and crowned with such glory and majesty—let us all engage
in his service, and stand up for his truth and worship. Dare to own God in
the worst time. He is King of kings, and is able to reward all his servants.
We may be losers for him, we shall never be losers by him. We
are ready to say, as Amaziah, "What shall I do for the hundred talents?" 2
Chron 25:9. If I appear for God, I may lose my estate, or my life. I say
with the prophet, God is able to give you much more than this; he can give
you for the present inward peace, and for the future a crown
of glory which fades not away.
What kingdom is meant when Christ says, "Your kingdom
Let us show first what he does NOT mean.
(1) He does not mean a political or earthly
kingdom. The apostles indeed did desire Christ's temporal reign. "Will you
at this time restore the kingdom again to Israel?" Acts 1:6. But Christ said
his kingdom was not of this world. John 18:36. So that, when Christ taught
his disciples to pray, "Your kingdom come," he did not mean it of any
earthly kingdom, that he should reign here in outward pomp and splendor.
(2) It is not meant of God's providential kingdom.
"His kingdom rules over all;" that is, the kingdom of his providence. Psalm
103:19. This kingdom we do not pray for when we say, "Your kingdom come;"
for this kingdom is already come. God NOW exercises the kingdom of his
providence in the world. "He puts down one and sets up another." Psalm 75:7.
Nothing stirs in the world but God has a hand in it; he sets every wheel at
work; he humbles the proud, and raises the poor out of the dust to set them
among princes. 1 Sam 2:8. The kingdom of God's providence rules over all;
kings do nothing but what his providence permits and orders. Acts 4:27, 28.
This kingdom of God's providence we do not pray should come—for it is
What kingdom then is meant when we say, "Your kingdom
come"? Positively a twofold kingdom is meant.
(1) The kingdom of grace, which God exercises in
the consciences of his people. This is God's lesser kingdom. When we pray,
"Your kingdom come," we pray that the kingdom of grace may be set up in our
hearts and increased.
(2) We pray also, that the kingdom of glory may
hasten, and that we may, in God's good time be translated into it. These two
kingdoms of grace and glory, differ not in nature—but in degree only. The
kingdom of grace is nothing but the beginning of the kingdom of
glory. The kingdom of grace is glory in the seed; and the kingdom of
glory is grace in the flower. The kingdom of grace is glory in the daybreak,
and the kingdom of glory is grace in the full meridian. The kingdom of grace
is glory militant, and the kingdom of glory is grace triumphant. There is
such an inseparable connection between these two kingdoms, grace and glory,
that there is no passing into the one but by the other.
At Athens there were two temples, a temple of virtue
and a temple of honor; and there was no going into the temple of
honor—but through the temple of virtue. Just so, the kingdoms of grace and
glory are so closely joined together, that we cannot go into the kingdom of
glory but through the kingdom of grace. Many people aspire after the kingdom
of glory—but never look after grace; but these two, which God has joined
together, may not be put asunder. The kingdom of grace leads to the kingdom
I. The first thing implied in this petition, "Your
kingdom come," is that we are in the kingdom of darkness.
We pray that we may be brought out of the kingdom of darkness. The
state of nature, is a kingdom of darkness, where sin is said to reign.
Romans 6:12. It is called, "the power of darkness." Col 1:13. Man, before
the fall, was illuminated with perfect knowledge—but this light is now
eclipsed, and he is fallen into the kingdom of darkness. "For he has rescued
us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son
he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians
How many ways is a natural man in the kingdom of
(1) He is under the darkness of ignorance. "Having
the understanding darkened." Eph 4:18. Ignorance is a black veil drawn over
the mind. Men by nature may have a deep understanding in the things of the
world—and yet be ignorant of the things of God. Nahash the Ammonite would
make a covenant with Israel to thrust out their right eyes. 1 Sam 11:2.
Since the fall, our left eye remains—a deep insight into worldly matters;
but our right eye is thrust out—we have no saving knowledge of God. Some
things we know by nature—but nothing as we ought to know. 1 Cor 8:2.
Ignorance draws the curtains round about the soul. 1 Cor 2:14.
(2) A natural man is under the darkness of pollution.
Hence sinful actions are called "works of darkness." Romans 13:12. Pride and
lust darken the glory of the soul. A sinner's heart is a dark conclave,
which looks blacker than hell.
(3) A natural man is under the darkness of misery;
he is exposed to divine vengeance; and the sadness of this darkness is, that
men are not sensible of it. They are blind—yet they think they see. The
darkness of Egypt was such thick darkness as "might be felt." Exod 10:21.
Men by nature are in thick darkness. But here is the misery—the darkness
cannot be felt! They will not believe they are in the dark—until they are
Use 1. See what the state of nature is! It is
a "kingdom of darkness," and it is a bewitching darkness. "Men loved
darkness rather than light;" as the Athlantes in Ethiopia curse the sun.
John 3:19. Darkness of sin leads to "chains under darkness." Jude 6. What
comfort can such take in earthly things? The Egyptians might have food,
gold, silver; but they could take but little comfort in them, while they
were in such darkness as might be felt; so the natural man may have riches
and friends to delight in—yet he is in the kingdom of darkness, and how dead
are all these comforts! You who are in the kingdom of darkness—do not know
where you are going. As the ox is driven to the shambles—but knows not where
he is going; so the devil is driving you before him to hell—but you know not
where you are going! Should you die in your natural state, while you are in
the kingdom of darkness, blackness of darkness is reserved for you! "To whom
is reserved the blackness of darkness forever!" Jude 13.
Use 2. Let us pray that God will bring us out of this
kingdom of darkness. God's kingdom of grace cannot come into our
hearts—until we are brought out of the kingdom of darkness. Col 1:13. Why
should not we strive to get out of this kingdom of darkness? Who would
desire to stay in a dark dungeon? O fear the chains of darkness. Jude 6.
These chains are God's power, binding men as in chains under wrath forever.
O pray that God would deliver you out of the kingdom of darkness!
(1) Be sensible of your dark, damned estate—that you have
not one spark of fire to give you light! (2) Go to Christ to enlighten you!
"Christ shall give you light;" he will not only bring your light to you—but
open your eyes to see it. Eph 5:14. That is the first thing implied, "Your
kingdom come;" we pray that we may be brought out of the kingdom of
; that his kingdom may be demolished in the
world. His kingdom stands in opposition to Christ's kingdom; and when we
pray, "Your kingdom come," we pray against Satan's kingdom. He has a
kingdom: "The prince of this world." John 16:11. He got it by conquest: he
conquered mankind in paradise. He has his throne. "You dwell where Satan's
throne is." Rev 2:13. His throne is set up in the hearts of men; he does not
care for their purses—but their hearts. He is served upon the knee. Eph 2:2.
"They worshiped the dragon," that is, the devil. Rev 13:4. Satan's empire is
very large. Most kingdoms in the world pay tribute to him. His kingdom has
two qualifications or characters:  It is regnum nequitiae—a
kingdom of impiety.  It is regnum servitutis—a kingdom of slavery.
II. The second thing implied is "Your kingdom come," is that we pray against
the devil's kingdom
 The kingdom of Satan is a kingdom of IMPIETY.
Nothing but sin goes on in his kingdom. Murder and heresy, lust and
treachery, oppression and division—are the constant trade driven in his
dominions. He is called "the unclean spirit." Luke 11:24. What else is
propagated in his kingdom, but a mystery of iniquity?
 Satan's kingdom is a kingdom of SLAVERY. He
makes all his subjects slaves. The sinner is held captive under the grim
tyranny of the devil! Satan is a usurper and a tyrant; he is a worse tyrant
than any other!
(1) Other tyrants do but rule over the body—but Satan's
kingdom rules over the soul! He rides some men—as we do upon horses.
(2) Other tyrants have some pity on their slaves. Though
they make them work in the galleys—yet they give them food, and let them
have their hours for rest. But Satan is a merciless tyrant, who gives his
slaves poison instead of food, and hurtful lusts to feed on. 1 Tim 6:9. Nor
will he let his slaves have any rest: he wearies them out to do his
drudgery. "They weary themselves to commit iniquity." Jer 9:5.
When the devil had entered into Judas, he sent him to the
high priests, and from thence to the garden, and never let him rest until he
had betrayed Christ and hanged himself. Thus he is the worst of tyrants.
When men have served him to their utmost strength, he welcomes them to hell
with fire and brimstone!
Use. Let us pray that Satan's kingdom, set up
in the world, may be overthrown. It is sad to think that, though the devil's
kingdom be so bad—yet that it should have so many to support it. He has more
to stand up for his kingdom than Christ has for his. What a large harvest of
souls has Satan! and God only a few gleanings. The Pope and the Turk give
the power to Satan. If in God's visible church, the devil has so many loyal
subjects that serve him with their lives and souls, how do his subjects
swarm in places of idolatry and paganism, where there is none to oppose
him—but all vote on the devil's side!
Men are willing slaves to Satan; they will fight
and die for him; therefore he is not only called "the prince of this world,"
but "the god of this world" (John 12:31; 2 Cor 4:4), to show what power he
has over men's souls. O let us pray that God would break the scepter of the
devil's kingdom; that Michael may destroy the dragon; that the hellish
kingdom of the prince of darkness may be beaten down! Satan's kingdom must
be thrown down before Christ's kingdom can flourish in its power and
majesty. "Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil's trap,
having been captured by him to do his will." 2 Timothy 2:26
When we pray, "Your kingdom come," something is
III. We pray that the kingdom of GRACE may be set up in
When we pray, "May Your kingdom come," we pray that the
kingdom of grace may come into our hearts. This is regnum Dei mikron,
God's lesser kingdom. "The kingdom of God is not eating and
drinking—but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans
14:17. "The kingdom of God is within you." Luke 17:21.
Why is grace called a kingdom?
Because, when grace comes, there is a kingly government
set up in the soul. Grace rules the will and affections, and brings the
whole man in subjection to Christ; it kings it in the soul, sways the
scepter, subdues mutinous lusts, and keeps the soul in a spiritual decorum.
Why is there such need to pray that this kingdom of grace
may come into our hearts?
(1) Because, until the kingdom of grace comes, we have no
right to the covenant of grace. The covenant of grace is
sweetened with love, bespangled with promises; it is our Magna Charta, by
virtue of which God passes himself over to us to be our God. Who are
heirs of the covenant of grace? Only such as have the kingdom of grace
in their hearts. "A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put
within you." Ezek 36:26. Here the kingdom of grace is set up in the soul; it
then follows, "I will be your God", 36:28. The covenant of grace is to an
ungracious person—as a sealed fountain; it is kept as a paradise with a
flaming sword, that the sinner may not touch it. Without grace, you have no
more right to it, than a farmer to the city-charter.
(2) Unless the kingdom of grace is set up in our hearts,
our purest offerings are defiled. They may be good as to the
matter—but not as to the manner; they lack that which should
meliorate and sweeten them. Under the law, if a man who was unclean by
touching a dead body, carried a piece of holy flesh in his skirt, the holy
flesh could not cleanse him—but he polluted it. Hag 2:12. Until the kingdom
of grace be in our hearts, ordinances do not purify us—but we pollute them.
Even the prayer of an ungracious person is sin. "The Lord hates the
sacrifice of the wicked" Proverbs 15:8. In what a sad condition is a man
before God's kingdom of grace is set up in his heart! Whether he comes or
comes not to the ordinance, he sins. If he does not come to the ordinance,
he is a despiser of it; if he does come, he is a polluter of it. A sinner's
works are opera mortua, dead works; and those works which are dead,
cannot please God. A dead flower has no sweetness. Heb 11:6.
(3) We had need pray that the kingdom of grace may come,
because until this kingdom come into our hearts, we are loathsome in God's
eyes. "My soul loathed them." Zech 11:8. How great is the
foulness of a corrupt mind! A heart void of grace looks blacker than hell.
Sin transforms man into a devil. "Have I not chosen you twelve—and one of
you is a devil?" John 6:70. Envy is the devil's eye, hypocrisy
is his cloven foot. Thus it is before the kingdom of grace come. So deformed
is a graceless person, that when once he sees his own filth and leprosy, the
first thing he does is to loathe himself. "You shall loathe yourself in your
own sight for all your evils." Ezek 20:43. I have read of a woman who always
used flattering mirrors, and who, by chance, seeing her face in a true
mirror, in insaniam delapsa est, she ran mad. When once God gives those who
now dress themselves by the flattering mirror of presumption, a sight of
their own filthiness, they will abhor themselves. "You shall loathe
yourselves in your own sight for all your evils."
(4) Before the kingdom of grace comes unto us we are
spiritually illegitimate, of the bastard brood of the old serpent.
"You are the children of your father the Devil!" John 8:44. To be
illegitimate is the greatest infamy. "A bastard shall not enter into the
congregation of the Lord even to his tenth generation." Deut 23:2. He was to
be kept out of the holy assemblies of Israel as an infamous creature. A
bastard by law cannot inherit. Before the kingdom of grace comes into the
heart, a person is to God as illegitimate, and so continuing he cannot enter
into the kingdom of heaven.
(5) Before the kingdom of grace be set up in men's
hearts, the kingdom of Satan is set up in them. They are said to
be under "the power of Satan." Acts 26:18. Satan commands the will; though
he cannot force the will, by his subtle temptations he can draw it. He is
said to take men captive "at his will." 2 Tim 2:26. The Greek word signifies
to take them alive as the fowler does the bird in the snare. The sinner's
heart is the devil's mansion-house. "I will return into my house." Matthew
12:44. The sinner's heart is Satan's workshop, where he works. "Satan, the
mighty prince of the power of the air, who now works in the children of
disobedience." Eph 2:2. The members of the body are the tools with which
Satan works. He possesses men. In Christ's time many had their bodies
possessed—but it is far worse to have the souls possessed. One is
possessed with an impure devil, another with a revengeful devil, another
with a covetousness devil, etc. No wonder the ship goes full sail
when the wind blows; no wonder men go full sail in sin when the devil, the
prince of the air, blows them. Thus, until the kingdom of grace comes—men
are under the power of Satan, who, like Draco, writes all his laws in blood.
(6) Until the kingdom of grace comes, a man is exposed to
the wrath of God. "Who knows the power of your anger?" Psalm
90:11. If when but a spark of God's wrath flies into a man's conscience in
this life it is so terrible, what will it be when God stirs up all his
anger? So inconceivably torturing is God's wrath, that the wicked call to
the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from it. Rev 6:16. The
hellish torments are compared to a fiery lake. Rev 20:15. Other fire is but
painted fire—in comparison with this! This lake of fire burns
forever. Mark 9:44. God's breath kindles this fire. Isaiah 30:33. Where
shall we find buckets to quench it? Time will not finish it; tears will not
quench it. To this fiery lake men are doomed, until the kingdom of grace is
set up in them.
(7) Until the kingdom of grace comes, men cannot die with
comfort. He only who takes Christ in the arms of his faith can look death in
the face with joy. It is sad to have the king of terrors in the
body—and not the kingdom of grace in the soul. It is a wonder
every graceless person does not die crazy. What will a grace-despiser
do—when death comes to arrest him? Hell follows death. "Behold, a
pale horse, and his name that sat on him was death, and hell followed with
him." Rev 6:8. Thus you see what need we have to pray that the kingdom of
grace may come. Of him that dies without Christ I may say, "It had been good
for that man if he had not been born." Matthew 26:24. Few believe the
necessity of having the kingdom of grace set up in their hearts, as appears
by this, that they are well content to live without it. Does that man
believe the necessity of pardon, who is content to be without it? Most
people, if they may have trading, and may sit quietly under their vine and
fig-trees, are in their kingdom, though they have not the kingdom of God
within them. If the candle of prosperity shine upon their head, they care
not whether the grace of God shines in their hearts. Do these men believe
the necessity of grace? Were they convinced how needful it is to have the
kingdom of God within them—they would cry out as the jailor, "What must I do
to be saved?" Acts 16:30.
How may we know that the kingdom of grace is set up in
It concerns us to examine this, for our salvation depends
upon it, and we had need be cautious in the search, because there is
something which looks like grace, which is not. "If a man think himself to
be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself." Gal 6:3. Many think
they have the kingdom of grace come into their heart, and it is only a
chimera, a golden dream. "How many with vain hope go down to hell!"
Augustine. Zeuxis painted grapes so lively—that he deceived the living
birds. There are many deceits about grace.
(1) Men think they have the kingdom of grace in their
hearts because they have the means of grace. They live where the
silver trumpet of the gospel sounds, they are lifted up to heaven with
ordinances. "I have a Levite for my priest," surely I shall go to heaven.
Judges 17:13. The Jews cried, "The temple of the Lord, the temple of the
Lord are we." Jer 7:4. We are apt to glory in this, that the oracles of God
are committed to us, that we have the Word and sacrament. Alas! this is a
fallacy; we may have the means of grace, and yet the kingdom of grace may
not be set up in our hearts. We may have the kingdom of God come near us—but
not into us. We may have the sound of the Word in our ears—but not the savor
of it in our hearts. Luke 11:20. Many of the Jews, who had Christ for their
preacher, were not the better for it. Hot clothes will not put warmth into a
dead man. You may have hot clothes, warn and lively preaching, and yet be
spiritually dead. "The children of the kingdom shall be cast out." Matthew
(2) Men think they have the kingdom of grace set up in
their hearts, because they have some common works of the Spirit.
 They may have great enlightening of mind,
profound knowledge, and almost speak like angels dropped from heaven.
But the apostle supposes a case in which, after men have been enlightened,
they may fall away. Heb. 6:4, 5, 6.
But wherein does this illumination come short?
The illumination of hypocrites is not powerful and
effective—it does not leave an impression of holiness behind; it is like
weak physic that will not work. The mind is enlightened—but the heart is not
renewed. A Christian professor who is all head—but no feet, does not
walk in the ways of God.
 Men have had convictions and stirrings of
conscience for sin, they have seen the evil of their ways, and now hope
the kingdom of grace is come; but though convictions are a step towards
grace, they are not grace. Had not Pharaoh and Judas convictions? Exod
What makes convictions prove abortive? Wherein do they
They are not deep enough. A sinner never saw himself lost
without Christ. The seed which lacked depth of earth, withered. Matthew
13:5. These convictions are like blossoms blown off before they come to
maturity. They are also involuntary. The sinner does what he can to stifle
them; he drowns them in wine and mirth; he labors to get rid of them. As the
deer when shot runs and shakes out the arrow, so does he the arrow of
conviction; or as the prisoner files off his fetters, and breaks loose, so
he breaks loose from convictions. His corruptions are stronger than
 Men have had some kind of humiliation, and
have shed tears for their sins, and therefore hope the kingdom of grace is
come into their hearts. But this is no infallible sign of grace. Saul
wept; Ahab humbled himself.
Why is humiliation not a grace? Wherein
does it come short of it?
Tears in the wicked do not spring from love to God—but
are forced by affliction, as water that drops from distillation is
forced by the fire. Gen 4:13. The tears of sinners are forced by God's fiery
judgments. They are deceitful tears. Men weep—yet go on in sin; they do
not drown their sins in their tears.
 Men have begun some reformation, therefore now
they surely think that the kingdom of grace is come! But there may be
deceit in this. A man may leave his oaths and drunkenness, and still be in
love with sin. He may leave his sin—out of fear of hell, or because it
brings shame and poverty—but still his heart goes after it, "They set their
heart on their iniquity" (Hos 4:8); as Lot's wife left Sodom—but still her
heart was in Sodom. Hypocrites are like the snake which casts off her
skin—but keeps her poison. They keep the love of sin, as one who has
long been an unsuccessful suitor to another—yet still he has a hankering
love to her. It may be a partial reformation. He may leave off one sin and
live in another. He may refrain from drunkenness—and live in covetousness.
He may refrain from swearing—and live in the sin of slandering. One devil
may be cast out—and another as bad may come in its place! A man may forsake
gross sins—but have no reluctance against heart sins—such as proud, lustful
thoughts. Though he dams up the stream, he lets the fountain
Oh, therefore, if there is so many deceits, and men may
think the kingdom of heaven is come into their hearts when it is not, how
careful and critical had we need be in our search whether we have it really
in our hearts! If a man is deceived in the title of his land, it is but the
loss of his estate; but if he is deceived about his grace, it is the
loss of his soul!
How may we positively know, that the kingdom of grace is
set up in us?
In general, by having a metamorphosis or change wrought
in the soul, which is called the "new creation." 2 Cor 5:17. The faculties
are not new—but there is a new nature; as the strings of a lute are the
same—but the tune is altered. When the kingdom of grace is set up, there is
light in the mind, order in the affections, pliableness in the
will, tenderness in the conscience. Those who can find no such
change of heart, and are the same as they were--as vain, as earthly, as
unclean as ever--have no sign of God's kingdom of grace in them.
More particularly we may know the kingdom of grace is set
up in our hearts.
(1) By having TRUE DESIRES AFTER GOD, which is
the smoking flax that Christ will not quench. A true desire of grace is
grace: by the beating of this pulse we conclude there is life. "O Lord, let
your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servants who desire to fear your
name." Neh 1:11. But may not a hypocrite have good desires? "Let me die the
death of the righteous." Num 23:10. True desires after God, evidence the
kingdom of God within a man.
How may these true desires be known?
A true desire after God is sincere. We
desire God for himself, for his intrinsic excellencies. The savor of
the ointment of Christ's graces draws the virgins' desires after him.
Canticles 1:3. A true saint desires him not only for what he has—but
for what he is; not only for his rewards—but for his
holiness. No hypocrite can thus desire God; he may desire him for his
jewels—but not for his beauty.
A true desire after God is insatiable. It
cannot be satisfied without God; let the world heap her honors and riches,
they will not satisfy. No flowers or music will content him who is thirsty;
so nothing will quench the soul's thirst—but the blood of Christ! He faints
away, his heart breaks with longing for God. Psalm 84:2; Psalm 119:20.
A true desire after God is active; it
flourishes into endeavor. "With my soul have I desired you in the
night; yes, with my spirit within me will I seek you early." Isaiah 26:9. A
soul that desires aright says, "I must have Christ; I must have grace; I
will have heaven, though I take it by storm." He who desires water will let
down the bucket into the well to draw it up.
A true desire after God is supreme. We
desire Christ, not only more than the world—but more than heaven. "Whom have
I in heaven but you?" Psalm 73:25. Heaven itself would not satisfy—without
Christ. Christ is the diamond in the ring of glory! If God should say to the
soul, I will put you into heaven—but I will hide my face from you, I will
draw a curtain between us, that you shall not behold my glory; the soul
would not be satisfied—but say, as Absalom, "I want to see the king's face!"
2 Samuel 14:32.
A true desire after God is increasing. It
increases as the sun in the horizon. A little of God will not satisfy—but
the pious soul desires still more. A drop of water is not enough for the
thirsty traveler. Though a Christian is thankful for the least degree of
grace—yet he is not satisfied with the greatest; he still thirsts for more
of Christ, and his Spirit. A saint would have more knowledge, more sanctity,
more of Christ's presence. A glimpse of Christ through the lattice of an
ordinance is sweet; but the soul will never stop longing—until it sees him
face to face. It desires to have grace perfected in glory. It
desires to be wholly plunged into the sweetness of God. We would be
swallowed up in God, and be ever bathing ourselves in those perfumed waters
of pleasure which run at his right hand forever. Surely this sincere desire
after God is a blessed sign that the kingdom of grace is come into our
hearts. The beating of this pulse shows life! "Desires for God—are from
God." Augustine. If iron moves upwards contrary to its nature, it is a sign
some loadstone has been there drawing it. Just so, if the soul move towards
God in sincere desires—it is a sign the loadstone of the Spirit has been
(2) We may know the kingdom of grace has come into our
hearts by having the princely grace of FAITH. "Faith is the most
sacred jewel of the human heart." Gemma. Faith cuts us off from the wild
olive tree of nature—and ingrafts us into Christ. Faith is the vital
artery of the soul. "The just shall live by faith." Heb 10:38.
Faith makes a holy adventure on Christ's merits. As a princely grace—it
reigns in the soul, when the kingdom of God is come unto us. The Hebrew
word for faith, signifies to nourish; faith nourishes the soul, and
is the nurse of all the graces. But, who will not say he is a believer?
Simon Magus believed—yet was in the gall of bitterness. Acts 8:13, 23. The
hypocrite can put on faith's mantle, as the devil did Samuel's.
How shall we know therefore that our faith is sound, that
it is the faith of the operation of God, and that the kingdom of God is
True faith is wrought by the ministry of the Word.
"Faith comes by hearing." Romans 10:17. Peter let down the net of his
ministry, and at one draught caught three thousand souls. Let us examine how
our faith was wrought. Did God in the ministry of the Word humble us? Did he
break up the fallow ground of our heart, and then cast in the seed of faith?
A good sign; but, if you know not how you came by your faith, suspect
yourselves; as we suspect men to have stolen goods, when they know not how
they came by them.
True faith is at first small, like a grain of
mustard-seed; it is full of doubts and fears; it is smoking flax: it smokes
with desire—but does not flame with comfort. It is so small that a Christian
can hardly discern whether he has faith or not.
True faith is long in working—it does not come about in a
moment. It costs many searchings of heart, many prayers and tears; there
is a spiritual combat. The soul suffers many sore pangs of
humiliation before the child of faith is born. To those whose
faith is in one leap, who leap out of sin into a confidence that Christ is
theirs, we may say, as Isaac concerning his son's venison, "How is it that
you have found it so quickly?" Gen 27:20. How is it that you came by your
faith so soon? The seed in the parable which sprung up suddenly,
withered. Mark 4:5, 6. [Things which grow too quickly—have a way of suddenly
True faith is joined with sanctity. As a
little musk sweetens, so a little faith purifies. "Holding the mystery of
the faith in a pure conscience." 1 Tim 3:9. Though faith does but touch
Christ, it fetches a healing virtue from him. Justifying faith does that
in a spiritual sense which miraculous faith does—it removes the mountains
of sin, and casts them into the sea of Christ's blood!
True faith will trust God, even in times of trial.
Though a Christian is cut short in provisions — though the fig-tree does
not blossom — yet he will trust in God. Faith fears not famine. God has
given us his promise as his bond. "Truly you shall be fed." Psalm 37:3.
Faith puts this bond in suit, that God will rather work a miracle—than his
promise shall fail. He has cause to suspect his faith, who says, he trusts
God for the greater—but dares not trust him for the less: he trusts God for
salvation—but dares not trust him for daily bread.
True faith is prolific. It brings forth fruit;
it has Rachel's beauty and Leah's fruitfulness. Faith is full of good works.
It believes as if it did not work—and it works as if it did not believe.
Faith is the spouse-like grace which marries Christ—and good works are
the children which it bears. By having such faith we may know the kingdom of
God is within us; that grace is certainly in our hearts.
(3) We may know that the kingdom of grace has come into
our hearts by having the grace of LOVE. Faith and love are the two
hinges, on which all true religion turns. "The upright love you." Canticles
True love to love God is out of choice. It turns
the soul into a seraphim; it makes it burn in a flame of affection; it is
the truest touchstone of sincerity. Love is the queen of the graces; it
commands the whole soul. "Christ's love compels us." 2 Corinthians 5:14. If
our love to God is genuine, we let him have the supremacy of our love; we
set him in the highest place of our soul; we give him the purest of our
love. "I would give you spiced wine to drink, my sweet pomegranate wine."
Canticles 8:2. If the spouse had anything better—a cup more juicy and
spiced—Christ would drink of that. We give the creature the milk of
our love; but God gets the cream!
In short, if we love God aright, we love his laws.
We also love his picture drawn in the saints, by the pencil of the
Holy Spirit. We also love his presence in his ordinances. Sleidan
says, that the Protestants in France had a church which they call paradise;
as if they thought themselves in paradise while they had God's presence in
his sanctuary. The soul that loves God, loves his appearing. 2 Tim
4:8. It will be a glorious appearing to the saints, when their union with
Christ shall be complete; then their joy shall be full. The bride longs for
the marriage day. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come! Even so, come, Lord
Jesus." Rev 22:17, 20. By this sacred love we may know the kingdom of God is
(4) We may know the kingdom of grace is come into our
hearts—if our duties are spiritualized. "You are a holy priesthood
to offer up spiritual sacrifices." 1 Peter 2:5 Spiritualizing duty
consists in three things:
 Fixedness of mind. We spiritualize duty when our
minds are fixed on God. "That you may attend on the Lord without
distraction." 1 Cor 7:35. Though impertinent thoughts sometimes come into
the heart in duty, they are not allowed. Psalm 119:113. They come as
unwelcome guests, which are no sooner spied but they are turned out.
 Fervency of devotion. "Fervent in spirit, serving
the Lord." Romans 12:11. The allusion is to water that seethes and boils
over; so the affections boil over, the eyes melt in tears, and the heart
flows in holy ejaculations. We not only bring our offering to God—but
 Uprightness of aim. A man whose heart is
upright—has three ends in duty:
First, that he may grow more like God. Moses on the mount
had some of God's glory reflected on him: "his face shined."
Secondly, that he may have more communion with God. "Our
fellowship is with the Father." 1 John 1:3.
Thirdly, that he may bring more glory to God. 1 Peter
4:11 "That Christ shall be magnified." Phil 1:20. Sincerity aims at God in
all things. Though we shoot short—yet we take a right aim, which is a sure
evidence of grace. The spirits of wine are best, so is the spiritual part of
duty. A little spiritualness in duty—is better than all the gildings of the
temple, or outward pompous worship which dazzles carnal eyes.
(5) We may know the kingdom of grace has come into us—by
antipathy and opposition against every known SIN. "I hate every
false way." Psalm 119:104. Hatred is against all sin. Hatred is
implacable; anger may be reconciled, hatred cannot. A gracious soul not only
forsakes sin (as a man forsakes his country, never to return to it
more)—but hates sin. As there is an antipathy between the crocodile
and the scorpion, so, if the kingdom of God be within us, we not only hate
sin for hell—but we hate it as hell, as being contrary to
God's holiness and happiness.
(6) We may know the kingdom of grace grace has come into
us--when we have given up ourselves to God by OBEDIENCE. As a
servant gives up himself to his master, as a wife gives up herself to her
husband—so we give up ourselves to God by obedience. This obedience is
free—as that is the sweetest honey which drops from the honeycomb. This
obedience is uniform. We obey God in one thing—as well as another.
"Then shall I not be ashamed;" or, as it is in the Hebrew, I shall not blush
"when I have respect unto all your commandments." Psalm 119:6. As a
compass has one end upon the center and the other goes round the circle; so
a Christian, by faith, stands on God the center, and by obedience goes round
the circle of his commandments.
It is a sign that the kingdom of grace has come into the
heart, when it reigns there by universal obedience. Hypocrites would have
Christ to be their Savior—but they pluck the crown from his head—and will
not have him rule. But he who has the kingdom of God within him, submits
cheerfully to every command of God; he will do what God will have him
do; he will be what God will have him be. He puts a blank paper into
God's hand, and says, "Lord, write what you will, I will obey."
Blessed is he who can find all these things in his soul.
He is "all glorious within." Psalm 45:13. He carries a kingdom about him—and
this kingdom of grace will certainly bring to a kingdom of glory.
I shall now answer some doubts and objections
that a Christian may make against himself
I fear the kingdom of grace is not yet come into my
When a Christian is under temptation, or grace lies
dormant—he is not fit to be his own judge; but must take the witness of
others who have the spirit of discerning. But let us hear a Christian's
objections against himself, why he thinks the kingdom of grace is not yet
come into his heart.
I cannot discern grace.
A child of God may have the kingdom of grace in his
heart, and yet not know it. The cup was in Benjamin's sack, though he did
not know it was there; so you may have faith in your heart, the cup may be
in your sack, though you know it not. Old Jacob wept for his son Joseph,
when Joseph was alive; so you may weep for lack of grace, when grace may be
alive in your heart. The seed may be in the ground, when we do not see it
spring up; so the seed of God may be sown in your heart, though you do not
perceive it springing up. Think not grace is lost—because it is hidden.
"Before the kingdom of grace comes into the heart, there
must be some preparation for it; the fallow ground must be broken up. But I
fear the plough of the law has not gone deep enough. I have not been
humbled enough; therefore I have no grace."
God does not prescribe an exact proportion of sorrow and
humiliation; Scripture mentions the reality of godly sorrow—but not
the extent. Some are more flagitous sinners than others, and must
have a greater degree of humiliation. A knotty piece of timber requires more
wedges to be driven into it. Some stomachs are sicker than others, therefore
need stronger medicine.
But would you know when you have been humbled enough for
sin? When you are willing to let go your sins. The gold has lain long enough
in the furnace—when the dross is purged out; so, when the love of sin is
purged out, a soul is humbled enough for divine acceptance, though not for
divine satisfaction. Now, if you are humbled enough, what needs more? If a
needle will let out the abscess, the lance is not needed. Be
not more cruel to yourself than God would have you.
"If the kingdom of God were within me, it would be a
kingdom of power; it would enable me to serve God with vigor of soul.
But I have a spirit of in infirmity upon me, I am weak and impotent, and
untuned to every holy action."
There is a great difference between the weakness of grace
and the lack of grace. A man may have life, though he is sick
and weak. Weak grace is not to be despised—but nourished. Christ will
not break the bruised reed. Do not argue from the weakness of
grace—to the absence of grace.
(1) Weak grace will give us a title to Christ—as well as
strong grace. A weak hand of faith will receive the rich alms of
(2) Weak faith is capable of growth. The plant springs up
by degrees, first the blade, and then the ear, and then the full corn in the
ear. The faith that is strongest—was once in its infancy. Grace is like the
waters of the sanctuary, which rose higher and higher. Be not discouraged at
your weak faith; though it be but blossoming, it will by degrees come to
(3) The weakest grace shall persevere—as well as the
strongest. A child was as safe in the ark, as Noah. An infant
believer that is but newly laid to the breast of the promise, is as safe in
Christ as the most eminent heroic saint.
"But I fear the kingdom of grace is not yet come, because
I find the kingdom of sin so strong in me. Had I faith, it would purify my
heart; but I find much pride, worldliness, and passion."
The best of saints have remainders of corruption. "They
had their dominion taken away—yet their lives were prolonged for a
season." Dan 7:12. So in the regenerate, though the dominion of sin
is taken away—yet the life of sin is prolonged for a season. What
pride was there in Christ's own disciples, when they strove who should be
greatest! The life of sin will not be quite stopped until death. The Lord is
pleased to let the in-dwelling of sin continue—to humble his people, and
make them prize Christ more. Because you find corruptions stirring, do not
therefore presently unsaint yourselves, and deny the kingdom of grace to be
come into your souls. That you feel sin is an evidence of spiritual life;
that you mourn for it is a fruit of love to God; that you have a combat with
sin, argues antipathy against it. Those sins which you once wore as a crown
on your head, are now as fetters on the leg. Is not all this from the Spirit
of grace in you? Sin is in you, as poison in the body, which you are sick
of, and use all Scripture antidotes to expel. Should we condemn all those
who have indwelling sin, nay, who have had sin sometimes prevailing, we
would blot some of the best saints out of the Bible.
"Where the kingdom of grace comes, it softens the heart;
but I find my heart frozen and congealed into hardness; I can hardly squeeze
out one tear. Do flowers grow on a rock? Can there be any grace in such a
There may be grief—where there are no tears. The best
sorrow, is rational. If in your judgment, you esteem sin to be the
most dreadful evil—you have a disgust against it which is a rational sorrow,
and such as God will accept. A Christian may have some hardness in his
heart, and yet not have a hard heart. A field may have tares in it, and we
call it a field of wheat. Just so, in the best heart there may be a mixture
of hardness—yet because there is some softness and melting, God looks upon
it as a soft heart. Therefore, Christian, dispute not against yourself, if
you can find but this one thing, that the frame and temper of your soul be
holy. Are you still breathing after God, delighting in him? Is the
complexion of your soul heavenly? Can you say, as David, "When I awake, I am
still with you"? Psalm 139:18. As colors laid in oil, or a statue carved in
gold abide—so does a holy person; the soul is still pointing towards God. If
it is thus with you, assure yourself, that the kingdom of grace is come into
the soul. Be not unkind to God, to deny any work of his Spirit, which he has
wrought in you.
Use 1. For
exhortation. Labor to find that this kingdom of grace is set up
in your hearts. While others aspire after earthly kingdoms, labor to have
the kingdom of God within you. Luke 17:21. The kingdom of grace must
come into us before we can go into the kingdom of glory. The motives
to this are:
(1) The kingdom of God within—is our spiritual BEAUTY.
The kingdom of grace adorns a person, and sets him off in the
eyes of God and of angels. It makes the king's daughter all glorious within.
Psalm 45:13. Grace sheds a glory and luster upon the soul. As the diamond to
the ring, so is grace to the soul. A heart beautified with grace has the
King of heaven's picture hung in it!
(2) The kingdom of grace set up in the heart—is our
spiritual DEFENSE. Grace is called "the armor of light." Romans
13:12. It is light for beauty, and armor for defense. He who has the kingdom
of grace within him, is "strengthened with all might according to God's
glorious power." Col 1:11. He has the shield of faith, the helmet of hope,
and the breastplate of righteousness. His armor can never be shot through.
He is fortified against the assaults of temptation, and the terrors of hell.
(3) The kingdom of grace set up in the heart—brings PEACE
with it. "The kingdom of God is righteousness and peace." Romans
14:17. There is a secret peace proceeding from holiness. Peace is the best
blessing of a kingdom. [One peace is better than countless victories.] The
kingdom of grace is a kingdom of peace. Grace is the root—peace is the
flower which grows out of it. It is 'peace in a storm'—such peace that no
worldly affliction can shake. The doors of Solomon's temple were made of
olive tree, carved with open flowers; so in a gracious heart is the olive of
peace, and the open flowers of joy. 1 Kings 6:32.
(4) The kingdom of grace—ENRICHES the soul. A
kingdom has its riches. A believer is said to be rich in faith. James
2:5. How rich is he who has God for his God, who is heir to all the
promises! Heb 6:17. A man may be rich in bills and bonds—but a believer may
say as Peter, "Silver and gold have I none (Acts 3:6); yet I am rich in
bills and bonds, an heir to all God's promises;" and to be heir to the
promises, is better than to be heir to the crown.
(5) When the kingdom of grace comes—it fixes and
ESTABLISHES the heart. "O God, my heart is fixed." Psalm 57:7.
Before the kingdom of grace comes, the heart is very unfixed and unsettled;
like a ship without ballast. But when the kingdom of grace comes, it fixes
the heart on God; and when the heart is fixed, it rests quiet as in its
(6) This kingdom of grace is DISTINGUISHING.
It is a sure pledge of God's love. God may give kingdoms in anger; but
wherever the kingdom of grace is set up, it is in love. He cannot give grace
in anger. The crown always goes with the kingdom; let us
therefore be ambitious of this kingdom of grace.
What must we do to obtain this kingdom?
(1) In general, take pains for it. We cannot
have the world without labor, and do we think to have grace? "If you Seek
her as silver." Proverbs 2:4. A man may as well expect a crop without
sowing, as grace without labor. We must not think to have grace as Israel
had manna; who did not plough nor sow—but it was rained down from heaven
upon them. No, we must operam dare, take pains for grace. Our salvation cost
Christ blood, and will cost us sweat.
(2) Let us go to God to set up this kingdom of grace in
our hearts. He is called the "God of all grace." 1 Peter 5:10.
Say, Lord, I lack this kingdom of grace, I lack a humble, believing heart. O
enrich me with grace; let your kingdom come. Be importunate suitors. As
Achsah said to her father Caleb, "You have given me a south land, give me
also springs of water;" so, Lord, you have given me enough of the world,
here is a south land; but Lord, give me the upper springs of grace; let your
kingdom come. Josh 15:19. What is the venison you have given me, without the
blessing? When we are importunate with God, and will take no denial, he will
set up his kingdom within us.
(3) Keep close to the Word preached. The Word
preached, is virga virtutis, the rod of God's strength; it is the great
engine he uses for setting up the kingdom of grace in the heart. "Faith
comes by hearing." Romans 10:17. Though God could work grace immediately by
his Spirit, or by the ministry of angels from heaven—yet he chooses to work
by the Word preached. This is the usual mean, by which he sets up the
kingdom of grace in the heart; and the reason is, because he has put his
divine sanction upon it; he has appointed it for the means of working grace,
and he will honor his own ordinance. 1 Cor 1:21. What reason could be given
why the waters of Damascus should not have as sovereign virtue to heal
Naaman's leprosy, as the waters of Jordan—but this, that God appointed and
sanctified the waters of Jordan to heal, and not the others? Let us keep the
Word preached, because the power of God goes along with it.
Use 2. For thanksgiving. What will you be
thankful for—if not for a kingdom! Grace is the best blessing—it is the
result and product of God's electing love. In setting up his kingdom of
grace, God has done more for you than if he had made you kings and queens;
for you are born of God, and of the blood-royal of heaven. Oh! admire and
exalt free grace! "Make God's praise glorious." Psalm 66:2. The apostle
seldom mentions the work of grace—but he joins praise. "Giving thanks unto
the Father, who has made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the
saints in light." Col 1:12. If God has crowned you with the kingdom of
grace—you crown him with your praises.
IV. We pray that the kingdom of grace may increase, that
it may come more into us: and this may answer a question.
Why do we pray, "Your kingdom come," when the kingdom of
grace is already come into the soul?
Though the kingdom of grace be already come into us—yet
still we must pray, "Your kingdom come," that grace may be increased,
and that this kingdom may flourish still more in our souls. Until we
come to live among the angels—we shall need to pray this prayer, "Your
kingdom come." "Lord, let your kingdom of grace come in more power into my
soul; let grace be more augmented and increased."
Question: When does the kingdom of grace increase in the
soul? When is it a flourishing kingdom?
1. When a Christian has further degrees of grace—there is
more oil in the lamp—his knowledge is clear, his love is more inflamed.
Grace is capable of degrees, and may rise higher, as the sun in the
horizon. It is not with us as it was with Christ, who received the Spirit
without measure. John 3:34. He could not be more holy than he was; but our
grace is capable of further degrees; we may have more sanctity, we may add
more inches to our spiritual stature.
2. The kingdom of grace increases when a Christian has
got more strength than he had. "He who has clean hands, shall be
stronger and stronger." Job 17:9. "He shall add to his strength." A
Christian has strength to resist temptation, to forgive his enemies,
to suffer affliction. It is not easy to suffer; a man must deny himself,
before he can take up the cross. The way to heaven is like the way which
Jonathan and his armor bearer had in climbing up a steep place. "There was a
sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other." 1 Sam 14:4. It
requires much strength to climb up this rocky way. That grace which will
carry us through prosperity, will not carry us through sufferings.
The ship needs stronger tackling to carry it through a storm, than a calm.
Now, when we are so strong in grace, that we can bear up under affliction
without murmuring or fainting, the kingdom of grace is increased. What
mighty strength of grace had he, who told the emperor Valentinian, "You may
take away my life—but you cannot take away my love to the truth!"
3. The kingdom of grace increases when a Christian has
most conflict with spiritual corruptions; when he not only
abstains from gross evils—but has a combat with inward, hidden, heart
corruptions; such as pride, envy, hypocrisy, vain thoughts, carnal
confidence, which are spiritual wickedness, and both defile and disturb.
"Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit." 2
Cor 7:1. There are two sorts of corruptions, one of the flesh, the
other of the spirit. When we grieve for and combat with spiritual
sin, which is the root of all gross sins, then the kingdom of grace
increases, and spreads its territories in the soul.
4. The kingdom of grace flourishes when a Christian has
learned to live by FAITH. "I live by faith in the Son of God."
Gal 2:20. There is the habit of faith, and the drawing of this habit into
exercise. For a Christian to graft his hope of salvation, only upon the
stock of Christ's righteousness, and make Christ all in justification; to
live on the promises, as a bee on the flower, and suck out the sweetness of
them; to trust in God's heart—where we cannot trace his hand; to
believe his love through a frown; to persuade ourselves, when he has the
face of an enemy, that he has the heart of a Father—when we are arrived at
this, the kingdom of grace is flourishing in our souls.
5. It flourishes when a Christian is full of holy ZEAL.
Numb 25:13. Phinehas was zealous for his God. Zeal is the flame of the
affections, it turns a saint into a seraphim. A zealous Christian is
impatient when God is dishonored. Rev 2:2. He will wrestle with
difficulties, he will swim to Christ through a sea of blood. Acts 21:13.
Zeal loves truth when it is despised and opposed. "They have made void your
law, therefore I love your commandments." Psalm 119:126, 127. Zeal resembles
the Holy Spirit. "There appeared cloven tongues like as of fire, which sat
upon each of them." Acts 2:3. Tongues of fire were an emblem of that fire of
zeal which the Spirit poured on them.
6. The kingdom of grace increases when a Christian is as
diligent in his particular calling, as he is devout in his general calling.
He is the wise Christian, who carries things equally; who so lives by
faith—that he lives in a calling. Therefore it is worthy of notice, that
when the apostle had exhorted the Thessalonians to increase in grace, he
presently adds, "And that you mind your own business, and work with your own
hands." 1 Thess 4:10, 11. It is a sign grace is increasing, when Christians
go cheerfully about their secular calling.
Indeed, to be all the day in the mount with God, and to
have the mind fixed on glory, is more sweet to a man's self, and is a heaven
upon earth; but to be conversant in our callings, is more profitable to
others. Paul says, "To be with Christ is far better: nevertheless to abide
in the flesh is more needful for you." Phil 1:23, 24. So, to converse with
God in prayer and sweet meditation all the week long, is more for the
comfort of a man's own person; but to be sometimes employed in the business
of a calling, is more profitable for the family to which he belongs. It is
not good to be as the lilies, which toil not, neither do they spin. It shows
the increase of grace, when a Christian keeps a due decorum. He joins
piety and industry; when zeal runs forth in piety, and
diligence is put forth in a calling.
7. The kingdom of grace increases when a Christian is
established in the belief and love of the TRUTH. The heart by
nature is as a ship without ballast, which wavers and fluctuates. Beza
writes of one Bolezius, that his religion changed as the moon. Such as are
wandering stars will be falling stars; but when a soul is
built on the rock Christ, and no winds of temptation can blow it away, the
kingdom of grace flourishes. One calls Athanasius, an invincible adamant,
in respect of his stability in the truth. "Rooted and built up in
him." Col 2:7. The rooting of a tree evidences growth.
8. The kingdom of grace increases in a man's own heart
when he labors to be instrumental to set up this kingdom in others.
Though it is the greatest benefit to have grace wrought in
ourselves, it is the greatest honor to be instrumental to work it in
others. "Of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ is formed in
you." Gal 4:19. Such as are masters of a family should endeavor to see the
kingdom of grace set up in their servants; such as are godly parents should
not let God alone by prayer—until they see grace in their children. What a
comfort to be both the natural and spiritual fathers of your children!
Augustine says his mother Monica travailed with greater care and pain for
his new birth, than his natural birth. It shows the increase
of grace when we labor to see the kingdom of grace set up in others. As
water abounds in the river, when it overflows and runs into the meadows, so
grace increases in the soul when it has influence upon others, and we seek
Question: What need is there that the kingdom of grace
should be increased?
God's design in keeping up a standing ministry in the
church is to increase the kingdom of grace in men's hearts. "He gave gifts
unto men;" that is, ministerial gifts. Why so? "For the edifying of the body
of Christ." Eph 4:8, 12. Not only for conversion—but for edification;
therefore the Word preached is compared not only to seed—but to
milk; because God designs our growth in grace.
We need have the kingdom of grace increase, as we have a
great deal of work to do, and a little grace will hardly carry us through. A
Christian's life is laborious: there are many temptations to resist, many
promises to believe, many precepts to obey, so that it will require a great
deal of grace. A Christian must not only pray—but "be zealous, and repent"
(Rev 3:19); not only love—but be sick with love. Canticles 2:5. What need,
therefore, to have the kingdom of grace enlarged in his soul? As his work
increases upon him, so his grace need increase.
If the kingdom of grace does not increase, it will decay.
"You have left your first love." Rev 2:4. Grace, for lack of increasing, is
sometimes like a winter plant, in which all the sap runs to the root, and it
looks as if it were dead. "Strengthen the things which remain, that are
ready to die." Rev 3:2. Though true grace cannot expire, it may
wither; and a withering Christian loses much of his beauty and
fragrance. What great need have we to pray, "Your kingdom come," that this
kingdom of grace may be increased! If grace be not improved, it will soon be
impaired. A Christian, for lack of increasing his grace, loses his strength;
he is like a sick man who cannot either walk or work; his prayers are
sick and weak; he is as if he had no life in him; his faith can
hardly fetch breath, and you can scarcely feel the pulse of his love
To have grace increasing, is suitable to Christianity.
Christians are called trees of righteousness. Isaiah 61:3. The saints are
not only jewels for sparkling luster—but trees for growth.
They are called the lights of the world. Phil 2:15. Light is still
increasing. First there is the daybreak, and so it shines brighter, to the
full meridian. Those who are the lights of the world must increase until
they come to the meridian of glory. Not to grow is suspicious; painted
things do not grow.
As the kingdom of grace increases, so a
Christian's comforts increase. Comfort belongs to the well-being
of a Christian; like sweetfood, it is delicious to the taste. Psalm
94:19. The more grace, the more joy; as the more sap in the
root, the more wine in the grape. Who more increased in grace than David?
And who more in consolation? "You have put gladness in my heart." Psalm 4:7.
Grace turns to joy, as milk to cream.
How may they be comforted who bewail their lack of
growth, and weep that they cannot find the kingdom of grace to increase?
To see and bewail our decay in grace, argues not only the
life of grace—but growth in grace. It is a sign that a man
recovers and gets strength—when he feels his weakness. It is a step forward
in grace to see our imperfections. The more the Spirit shines in the heart,
the more evil he unveils. A Christian thinks it worse with him than it was,
whereas his grace may not grow less—but his light greater.
If a Christian does not increase in one grace, he may in
another; if not in knowledge he may in humility. If a tree does not grow so
much in the branches, it may grow in the root: and to grow downwards in the
root, is good growth.
A Christian may grow less in affection when he grows more
in judgement. As the fingers of a musician, when he is old, are stiff, and
not so nimble at the lute as they were—but he plays with more art and
judgement than before. Just so, a Christian may not have so much
affection in duty as at the first conversion—but he is more solid
in religion, and more settled in his judgement than he was before.
A Christian may think he does not increase in grace
because he does not increase in gifts; whereas there may be a decay of
natural parts, the memory and other faculties, when there is not a decay of
grace. Gifts may be impaired, when grace is improved. Be not
discouraged, it is better to decay in gifts, and be enlarged in
grace, than to be enlarged in gifts, and to decay in grace.
A Christian may increase in grace, and not be sensible of
it. As seed may grow in the earth, when we do not perceive it to spring up,
so grace may grow in time of desertion, and not be perceived.
V. We pray that the kingdom of GLORY may hasten, and that
God would in his due time translate us into it. Under this we
have now to consider—
 What this kingdom of glory is?
 What are the properties of it?
 Wherein it exceeds all other kingdoms?
 When this kingdom comes?
 Wherein appears the certainty of it?
 Why we should pray for its coming?
 What is the kingdom of glory? By this
kingdom of glory is meant, that glorious estate which the saints shall enjoy
when they shall reign with God and angels forever. If a man stands upon the
sea-shore, he cannot see all the dimensions of the sea, its length, breadth,
and depth—yet he may see it is of vast extension, so, though the kingdom of
heaven is of that incomparable excellence, that neither tongue of man or
angels can express—yet we may conceive of it to be an exceeding glorious
thing, such as the eye has not seen.
Concerning the kingdom of heaven I shall show what it
implies, and what it imports.
First, the kingdom of heaven implies a blessed freedom
from all evil.
(1) It implies a freedom from the necessities of nature.
We are in this life subject to many necessities; we need food to nourish us,
clothes to cover us, armor to defend us, sleep to refresh us. But in the
kingdom of heaven there will be no need of these things; and it is better
not to need them than to have them; as it is better not to need crutches
than to have them. What need will there be of food when our bodies
shall be made spiritual? 1 Cor 15:44. Though not spiritual for substance—yet
for qualities. What need will there be of clothing when our bodies
shall be like Christ's glorious body? What need will there be of armor
when there is no enemy? What need will there be of sleep when
there is no night? Rev 22:5. The saints shall be freed, in the heavenly
kingdom, from these necessities of nature to which they are now exposed.
(2) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from the
imperfections of nature. Since the fall, our knowledge has
suffered an eclipse.
Our natural knowledge is imperfect; it is
chequered with ignorance. There are many hard knots in nature which we
cannot easily untie. He who sees clearest, has a mist before his eyes.
Socrates said on his death-bed, that there were many things he had yet to
learn. Our ignorance is more than our knowledge.
Our divine knowledge is imperfect. "We know but in
part," said Paul, though he had many revelations, and was enrapt up in the
third heaven. 1 Cor 13:9. We have but dark conceptions of God. "Can you by
searching find out God?" Job 11:7. Our narrow capacities would no more
contain God, than a little glass cup would hold all the water in the sea. We
cannot unriddle the mystery of the incarnation, the human nature assumed
into the person of the Son of God; the human nature not God—yet united with
God. We see now in a glass darkly; but in the kingdom of heaven the veil
shall be taken off—all imperfection of nature shall be done away. When the
sunlight of glory shall begin to shine in the heavenly horizon, all dark
shadows of ignorance shall fly away, our lamp of knowledge shall burn
brightly, we shall have a full knowledge of God, though we shall not know
(3) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from the
toilsome labors of this life. God enacted a law in paradise, "in
the sweat of your face shall you eat bread." Gen 3:19. There is the labor of
the hand in manufacture, and the labor of the mind in study.
"All things are full of labor" (Eccl 1:8); but in the kingdom of heaven we
shall be freed from our labors.
There needs no labor when a man has got to the haven,
he has no more need of sailing. In heaven there needs no labor, because the
saints shall have the glory which they labored for.
There shall be no labor. "They rest from their labors."
Rev 14:13. As when God had finished the work of creation, he rested from his
labors; so, when his saints have finished the work of sanctification, they
rest from theirs. Where should there be rest—but in the heavenly center? Not
that this sweet rest in the kingdom of heaven excludes all motion, for
spirits cannot be idle; but the glorified saints shall rest from all
wearisome employment. It will be a labor full of ease, a motion full of
delight. The saints in heaven shall love God, and what labor is that? Is it
any labor to love beauty? They shall praise God, and that surely is
delightful. When the bird sings—it is not so much a labor, as a pleasure.
(4) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from
original corruption, which is the root of all actual sin. There
would be no actual sin if there were no original sin; there
would be no water in the stream, if there were none in the
fountain. Original sin is incorporated into our nature; it is as if the
whole mass of blood were corrupted. Thus, to offend the God whom he loves,
makes a Christian weary of his life. What would he give to have his chains
taken off, to be rid of vain thoughts? How did Paul, that bird of paradise,
bemoan himself for his sins! Romans 7:24. We cannot exercise either our
duties or our graces, without sin. The soul that is most refined
and purified by grace, is not without some dregs of corruption; but in the
kingdom of heaven the fountain of original sin shall be quite dried up. What
a blessed time will that be, never to grieve God's Spirit any more! In
heaven are virgin souls; their beauty is not stained with lust. Nothing
enters there, which defiles. Rev 21:27.
(5) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from all
sorrows. "There shall be no more sorrow." Rev 21:4. Our life here
is interwoven with trouble. Psalm 31:10. Either losses grieve, or law- suits
vex, or unkindness breaks the heart. We may as well separate light from the
sun, or weight from lead—as troubles from man's life. "What is long life—but
long torment?" Augustine. But, in the kingdom of heaven, sorrow and sighing
shall fly away. Here the saints sit by the rivers weeping—but one smile from
Christ's face will make them forget all their sufferings. Their water shall
then be turned into wine, their mourning into singing!
(6) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be beyond the reach
of temptation. Satan is not yet fully cast into prison; like a
prisoner under bail, he walks about tempting, and laboring, to draw us into
sin. He is either laying snares, or shooting darts. The devil stands girded
for battle. He laid a train of temptations to blow up the castle of Job's
faith. It is as great a grief to a believer to be followed with temptations
to sin, as for a virgin to have her chastity assaulted. But in the kingdom
of heaven the saints shall be freed from the red dragon, who is cast out of
paradise, and shall be forever locked up in chains! Jude 6.
(7) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from all
vexing cares. The Greek word for care comes from a word which
signifies to cut the heart in pieces. Care tortures the mind, wastes the
spirits, and eats out the comfort of life. Care to prevent future dangers,
and preserve present comforts—is an evil spirit which haunts us. All care is
full of fear, and fear is full of torment. 1 John 4:18. God threatens it as
a judgement. "They shall eat their bread with carefulness." Ezek 12:19.
Every comfort has its care, as every rose has its thorns; but in the kingdom
of heaven we shall shake off the viper of care. What needs a
glorified saint to take any anxious care—who has all things provided to his
hand? There is the tree of life, bearing all sorts of fruit. When the
heart shall be freed from sin—the head shall be freed from care.
(8) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from all
doubts and scruples. In this life, the best saint has his
doubting, as the brightest star has his twinkling. If there were no
doubting—there would be no unbelief. Assurance itself does not exclude all
doubting. "Your loving kindness is before my eyes." Psalm 26:3. At another
time, "Lord, where are your former loving-kindnesses?" Psalm 89:49. A
Christian is like a ship at anchor, which, though safe, may sometimes be
tossed upon the water. Sometimes a Christian questions his interest in
Christ, and his title to the promise. As these doubtings eclipse a
Christian's comfort, so they bear false witness against the Spirit. But,
when the saints shall come into the kingdom of heaven, there shall be no
more doubting; the Christian shall then say, as Peter, "Now I know of a
surety that the Lord has sent his angel and has delivered me." Acts 12:11.
Now I know that I am passed from death to life, and I am got beyond all
rocks! I have passed the gulf, now I am in my Savior's embraces forever!
(9) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from all
society with the wicked. Here we are sometimes forced to be in
their company. "Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the
tents of Kedar." Psalm 120:5. Kedar was Ishmael's son, whose children dwelt
in Arabia; they were a profane, barbarous people. Here the wicked are still
raising persecutions against the godly, and crucifying their ears with their
oaths and curses. Christ's lily is among thorns; but in the
heavenly kingdom there shall be no more any pricking brier. "The Son of Man
will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything
that causes sin and all who do evil." Matthew 13:41. As Moses said, "Stand
still, and see the salvation of the Lord! For the Egyptians whom you have
seen today, you shall never see them again forever!" So will God say, "Stand
still, and see the salvation of God; these your enemies, that vex and molest
you, you shall never see them again forever!" Exod 14:13. At that day, God
will separate the precious from the vile; Christ will thoroughly purge his
threshing floor; he will gather the wheat into the garner; and the wicked,
which are the chaff, shall be blown into hell!
(10) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from all
signs of God's displeasure. Here he may be angry with his people.
Though he has the heart of a father, he may have the look of an enemy; and
this is sad. As when the sun is gone, the dew falls; so when the light of
God's face is gone, tears drop from the saints' eyes. But in the kingdom of
heaven, there shall be no spiritual eclipses, there shall never appear any
tokens of God's displeasure; the saints shall have a constant aspect of love
from him, they shall never complain any more, "My beloved had withdrawn
himself." Canticles 5:6.
(11) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from all
divisions. The saddest thing in the world is to see divisions
among the godly. It is sad that such as have one faith—should not be of one
heart. Ephraim envies Judah, and Judah vexes Ephraim. It is matter of tears,
to see those who are united to Christ, divided one from another. The
soldier's spear pierced Christ's side—but the divisions of saints wound his
heart! But in the kingdom of heaven, there shall be no vilifying one
another, nor censuring. Those who before could hardly pray together, shall
praise God together. There shall not be one jarring string in the saints'
(12) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from
vanity and dissatisfaction. What Job says of wisdom, in chapter
28:14; "The depth says, It is not in me; and the sea says, It is not with
me;" I may say concerning satisfaction; every creature says, "It is not in
me." Take things most pleasing and from which we promise ourselves most
contentment, still, of the spirit and essence of them all—we shall say,
"Behold, all was vanity." Eccl 2:11. God never did, nor ever will—put a
satisfying virtue into any creature. In the sweetest music the world
makes, either some string is lacking, or out of tune. Who would have thought
that Haman, who was so great in the king's favor, that he "set his seat
above all the princes" of the provinces, for lack of the bowing of a knee,
would be dissatisfied? Est 3:1. But in the kingdom of heaven, we shall be
freed from these dissatisfactions. The world is like a landscape painting,
in which you may see gardens with fruit trees, beautifully drawn—but you
cannot enter them; but into the joys of heaven you may enter. "Enter into
the joy of your Lord." The soul shall be satisfied while it bathes in those
rivers of pleasure at God's right hand. "When I awake, I will be fully
satisfied, for I will see you face to face." Psalm 17:15.
(13) In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed from the
torments of hell. "Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to
come." 1 Thess 1:10.
1. Consider the multiplicity of those torments. In
this life, the body is usually exercised but with one pain, the stone or
headache, at one time; but in hell there is a diversity of torments;
there is darkness to affright, fire to burn, a lake of
sulphur to choke, chains to bind, and the worm to gnaw.
2. The torments of hell will seize upon every part of the body and soul. The
eye shall be tortured with the sight of devils, and the tongue
that has sworn so many oaths, shall be tortured. "Send Lazarus, that he may
dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue." Luke 16:24. The
memory will be tormented to remember the mercies that have been abused,
and seasons of grace neglected. The conscience will be tormented with
3. The pains of hell are unmitigated, with no mixture
of mercy. In this life, God in anger remembers mercy. Hab 3:2. But in hell
there is no alleviation or lessening of the pains. As in the sacrifice of
jealousy, God would have no oil or frankincense put into it, so, in hell,
there is no oil of mercy to assuage the sufferings of the damned, no incense
of prayer to appease his wrath. Numb 5:15.
4. In the pains of hell there is no intermission. The
poets feign of Endymion, that he got permission from Jupiter always to
sleep. What would the damned in hell give for one hour's sleep! "The smoke
of their torment rises forever and ever, and they will have no rest day or
night." Rev 14:11. They are perpetually on the rack.
5. There is no expiration in the pains of hell;
they must always lie scorching in flames of wrath.
But in the heavenly kingdom, the elect shall be freed
from all infernal torments. "Jesus delivered us from the wrath to come." A
prison is not made for the king's children. Christ drank that bitter cup of
God's wrath—that the saints might never drink it!