And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done…
In this petition we have three words, and all very observable.
I. A noun — "Kingdom";
II. A pronoun — "Thy"; and —
III. A verb — "Come."
I. The kingdom which here we are commanded to pray for is not that which the Chiliasts or Millenaries fondly dream of, the enjoyment of pomp and pleasure and all temporal happiness upon earth for a thousand years together after the resurrection. This fancy they fetch from Revelation 20. and other places.
II. I now proceed further, to unfold the nature of the kingdom of God. It is Regnum Tuum, "Thy kingdom." Which puts a difference betwixt this and other kingdoms. To speak something of these in their order.
1. First. In the kingdom of Christ and His laws neither people, nor senate, nor wise men, nor judges had any hand. The laws of Christ are unchangeable and eternal, but all human constitutions are temporary and mutable.
2. The second head wherein the difference of this kingdom from others is seen, is the power of it, which is extended not to the body alone, but to the soul also. Magistrates promulge laws, threaten, bind the tongue and hand; but have no influence nor operation on the hearts and wills of men. But in this our spiritual kingdom the King doth not only command, but gives us His helping hand that we may perform His command. But we must remember it is a kingdom we speak of; and Christ is a King, not a tyrant.
3. We pass now to the third head of difference, which consists in the compass and circuit of this kingdom, which is as large as all the world. In this respect all kingdoms come short of it, every one having its bounds which it cannot pass without violence. A foolish title it is which some give the Emperor of Rome, as if he had power over the most remote and unknown people of the world. Bartolus counts him no less than a heretic who denies it. But his arguments are no better than the emperor's title, which is but nominal. "The gospel must be preached to all nations," saith our Saviour (Mark 16:15). But as the sun hath its race through all the world, but yet doth not shine in every part at once, but beginneth in the east, and passeth to the south, and so to the west; and, as it passeth forward, it bringeth light to one place, and withdraweth it from another: so is it with the Sun of Righteousness; He spreads His beams on those who were in darkness and the shadow of death, and makes it night to them who had the clearest noon. Not that His race is confined, as is the sun's, but because of the interposition of men's sins, who exclude them. selves from His beams.
4. And now to proceed to our fourth head of difference: As this is the largest of all kingdoms, so it is the most lasting.
5. We will conclude with the riches of this kingdom. If money were virtue, and earthly honour salvation; if the jasper were holiness, and the sapphire obedience; if those pearls in the Revelation were virtues; then that of our Saviour would be true in this sense also, "The kingdom of heaven would be taken by violence" (Matthew 11:12). The covetous, the ambitious, the publicans and sinners, would all be candidati angelorum, "joint-suitors and competitors for an angel's place." Behold, then, in this kingdom are riches which never fail; not money, but virtue; not honour, but salvation; not the jasper and the sapphire, but that pearl which is better than all our estate. Having now made the comparison, the choice is easy. And a great folly it were to prefer the world to the Church. In the world the laws are mutable, here everlasting. In the world they have tongues many times to speak, but not hands to strike; here they both thunder and lighten. There power beats the ear, here it pierceth the very heart. The kingdoms of the world are bounded by place and time; this is unconfinable: more scope in the Church than in the world. The riches of the one are fading and transitory, of the other everlasting. And of this just and mighty and large and rich and everlasting kingdom we cannot but say, Adveniat, "Let it come."
III. We pass now to the petition itself, to the verb Adveniat, "Let it come." Which breathes itself forth in an earnest desire to draw this kingdom nearer. Whether you take it for the gospel, which is the manifestation of God's will; or for the receiving of the gospel, which is the performing of His will; whether you take it for the kingdom of grace here, or for the kingdom of glory hereafter; A dveniat, "Let it come!" That is the language of every true Christian. "Where it is not yet come, 'let it come'; it cannot come soon enough. And when it is come, let it come nearer. When it is within us, let it be established there; and when it is established, let it be eternized there. Remove all obstacles, supply all helps, ut adveniat, 'that it may come'; that Thy kingdom of grace may entitle us to Thy kingdom of glory." I might name here many hindrances of the growth of the gospel; as heresy, which is a most poisonous viper biting not the heel but the very heart of it; infidelity, which robs Christ of His subjects, contracts His kingdom into a narrow room and into a small number; disorder, which rends it, which works confusion there.
1. Further: this Adveniat reacheth to the second advent of Christ, even to the end of all things. For of His kingdom of glory we say, "Let it come." And it is a word of desire, not of impatience. For though we cry out, "How long, Lord? how long?" (Revelation 6:10) yet we are willing to stay His leisure. For it is also a word expressing our hope. And hope as it doth stir and quicken our desire, so doth it also temper it, that it be not irregular.
2. Secondly. Adveniat is a word expressing our faith. Though hope takes a long day, yet faith lays hold on the promises as if they were present, being "the substance, the evidence," the presence, "of things to come" (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is the life of hope, without which it cannot have existence. Hope doth suppose faith; but faith may be where there is no hope at all.
3. Lastly. This Adveniat, as it is the language of our hope and faith, so is it the dialect also of our charity and love both to God and our brethren.
(A. Farindon, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.