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three passages. “My heart,' saith the Psalmist, is inditing a good matter. I speak of the things which I have made, touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Thou art fairer than the children of
Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, and in thy majesty ride prosperously, because of truth, meekness, and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a righteous sceptre.' For unto us,' saith Isaiah, - a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.' Rejoice greatly,' saith Zechariah, . O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem : Behold thy king cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation.' And I saw heaven opened,' saith John, and behold a white horse, and he that sat upon it was called Faithful and True; and in righteousness doth be judge and make war. For his eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew but he himself, And he was clothed in a vesture dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.' Such, in brief, is the majesty, authority and glory of Zion's King—of Him, who, in the cruel mockery of a triple superscription,' was branded as a fanatical pretender.
The text, thus introduced, will lead me,
I. To inquire, wherein the essential difference consists between the kingdom of Christ and the kingdoms of this world.
II. To touch upon the duties, responsibility, and rewards of his ministers.
I. To inquire, wherein the essential difference consists, between His kingdom and the kingdoms of this world. The distinction set forth in the text, was probably regarded by many, at the time, as an absurd and mystical evasion. His enemies would jeeringly ask, “How canst thou be a king, without a throne, and sceptre, and all other customary ensigns of royalty? And if thy kingdom is not of this world, of what world can it be?
It belongs to us, however, to take the declaration just as our Saviour uttered it: and so much, at least, as this must be meant, that his kingdom differs in some material respects from every earthly monarchy. But then, this one short sentence, My kingdom is not of this world, though extremely .comprehensive and monitory, cannot mean everything, which the enemies of the gospel would be glad to make it mean. It cannot mean, that the kingdom of Christ is to be established in some other world, rather than this--for the Scripture everywhere teaches us, that it is to be set up and flourish here.
The meaning cannot be, that angels rather than men are to be the subjects of His kingdom.; for this, too, would contradict the whole tenor of the Bible. Nar can the meaning bé, that the kingdoni of Christ is so to monopolize all the religion on earth, that civil governments must keep as far away from it as possible, at their peril. The meaning is not, that by calling men into his kingdom, he intended to absolve them from their allegiance to earthly sovereigns, for it is a fundamental law of his government that they'render to Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's,' as well as to God the things which are God's.'
On the other hand, the meaning surely cannot be, that those who become the subjects of His kingdom, thereby forfeit all, or any, of their civil rights; or that, for this cause, they may be laid under any disability whatsoever. With perfect loyalty to the King of kings, they may exercise all the rights of free citizens, and hold any office of trust or profit in the state, or nation, to which they belong. Nor can the meaning be, so entirely to separate religion from politics, that Christian teachers shall never allude in their discourses to the principles of civil government—to the qualifications of rulers, or to the political rights and duties of private citizens. For if · He that ruleth over inen must be just, ruling in the fear of God,' then it cannot be wrong for the sacred functionaries of our holy religion, at suitable times, to remind the public authorities of their bigh accountability. And that the people may be addressed by their religious teachers, as members of the body politic, who can question, after reading the following direction of Paul to Titus ? — Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers; to obey magistrates ; to be ready to every good work.
Most obviously, then, the text was never intended to be put into the hands of infidels and demagogues, as a political talisman, to dissever religion from legislation, to fasten suspicion upon every friend of the Bible and the Sabbath, and to rebuke every whisper of remonstrance, which might have the temerity to enter into the ears of government. It is high-handed sacrilege, thus to tear out our Saviour's defence from the gospel, and attempt to convert it into an engine for the destruction of social order. Multitudes there are, who scarcely ever read it in their lives, but who have heard it 60 often quoted for sinister purposes, that they are ever ready to bring it forward as
the most triumphant refutation of all you can urge, in favor of imbuing the laws of the state with the spirit of Christianity. Nothing is easier, than for those who would weaken the hold of religion upon the public conscience, to say, the kingdom of Christ is not of this world. And if you have the presumption to ask for an explanation, a thousand green-eyed suspicions wake up at once, and assail you from every quarter. You are reproached for not resting satisfied with mere religious toleration, such as apostles and martyrs would have been thankful for, under Nero, and Domitian ; and if you venture to intimate, that the government of a Christian people ought to respect and countenance religious institutions, or at least not to frown upon them, you are most charitably accused of being actuated by ambition and motives of worldly gain, rather than by Christian principle. You are, moreover, reminded, that Cataline and Arnold and Judas were traitors; and the mere fact of your signing the most respectful memorial to Congress, in which the word Religion, or Sabbath occurs, is eagerly seized upon and trumpeted as demonstration, that you are an arch promoter of church and state alliances. Your every step must therefore be watched, as boding some dark conspiracy against civil and religious freedom; and the people are exborted, first froin the Capitol, and then, in silken slander from gilt frames, to be on their guard against the insidious and terrific approaches of ecclesiastical despotisın.
Against all such false and cruel surmises as these, you have a right to enter your solemn protest, and to expostulate with those shallow politicians and still shallower moralists, who seek to effect an entire separation between religion and civil government; and who attempt to justify their policy, by appealing to the authority of Christ.
But although this appeal is not warranted by the text, nor by any thing else which ever fell from the same lips, it is certain that the kingdom of Christ is essentially different in its elementary principles, and in the whole plan of its administration, from all the kingdoms of this world ; and that immense political and moral evils have grown out of unhallowed attempts to unite the heavenly' with the earthly.' It is therefore a legitimate, and a most interesting inquiry, too_Wherein does this radical difference consist ? For we may no more unite what God hath put asunder, than we may sunder what he hath united. The general distinction may be exhibited in a few words, though it would evidently be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to delineate the exact boundaries throughout. The kingdom of Christ is a spiritual kingdom. His regal authority is exercised, not in defining the natural and political rights of men—not in controlling their actions, or prescribing their duties as citizens—not in securing their lives, liberties, and estates from aggression ;—but in subduing their hearts to the obedience of faith, and then reigning forever over their purest and holiest affections. This is the empire of love ; and no one can obey its laws, or have a share in its immunities, but by a voluntary surrender of the heart itself to the Lord. A compulsory. obedience is not only alien from the constitution of Messiah's kingdom,—but it is in the nature of things impossi.ble. To talk of coercing the affections, is a manifest contradiction in ternis.
In the kingdom of Christ, man is regarded chiefly as a subject of God's moral government, and destined to an immortal existence; and in this view, all the momentary relations of time, however important in themselves considered, dwindle to a point or entirely disappear arnid the glories