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…
A soul truly devoted to God joins heartily in this petition, "Thy kingdom come!"
1. In these words this great truth is implied — that God is a King. He who hath a kingdom can be no less than a king — "God is the King of all the earth." And He is a King upon His throne — "God sitteth upon the throne of holiness." He hath His kingly prerogatives; He hath power to make laws, to seal pardons, which are the flowers and jewels belonging to His crown. Thus the Lord is King.
2. He is a great King, "a King above all gods." He is great in and of Himself; and not like other kings, who are made great by their subjects.
3. God is a glorious King — "Who is this King of glory? He hath internal glory — The Lord reigneth, He is clothed with majesty." Other kings have royal and sumptuous apparel to make them appear glorious to the beholders, but all their magnificence is borrowed; but God is clothed with majesty, His own glorious essence is instead of royal robes, and "He hath girded Himself with strength."He sets up His throne where no other king doth; He rules the will and affections; His power binds the conscience.
1. (1) If God be so great a King, and sits King for ever, then it is no disparagement for us to serve Him. "To be a servant of God is to reign as a prince"; it is an honour to serve a king. If the angels fly swiftly upon the King of heaven's message, then well we may look upon it as a favour to be taken into His royal service. Theodosius thought it a greater honour to be God's servant than to be an emperor. Therefore as the queen of Sheba, baying seen the glory of Solomon's kingdom, said, "Happy are these thy servants which stand continually before thee," so, happy are those saints who stand before the King of heaven, and wait on His throne.
(2) If God be such a glorious King, crowned with wisdom, armed with power, bespangled with riches, then it shows us what prudence it is to have this King to be ours; to say, "My King and my God!"It is counted great policy to be on the strongest side.
(1) If God be so glorious a King, full of power and majesty, let us trust in Him.
(2) If God be so great a King, let us fear Hiram "Fear ye not Me? saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at My presence?"(3) If God be so glorious a King, He hath the power of life and death in His hand.
(4) Is God so great a King, having all power in heaven and earth in His hand? Let us learn subjection to Him. Obey the King of glory.
3. Comfort to those who are the subjects of the King of heaven; God will put forth all the royal power for their succour and comfort.
(1) The King of heaven will plead their cause.
(2) He will protect His people; He sets an invisible guard about them.
(3) When it may be for the good of His people, He will raise up deliverance to them.
4. Terror to the enemies of the Church. What kingdom doth Christ mean here?Neg. 1. He doth not mean a political or earthly kingdom.
2. It is not meant of God's providential kingdom; "His kingdom ruleth over all"; that is, the kingdom of His providence. This kingdom of God's providence we do not pray should come, for it is already come. What kingdom then is meant here when we say, "Thy kingdom come"?Positively. 1. The kingdom of grace, which kingdom God exercises in the consciences of His people — this is God's lesser kingdom. When we pray, "Thy kingdom come" —
(1) Here is something tacitly implied, that we are in the kingdom of darkness.
(a) We pray that we may be brought out of the kingdom of darkness.
(b) That the devil's kingdom in the world may be demolished.
(2) Something positively intended.
(a) We pray that the kingdom of grace may be set up in our hearts and increased.
(b) We pray 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 specifically, but gradually; they differ not in nature, but only in degree. The kingdom of grace is nothing but the inchoation or 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 insepatable connection between these two kingdoms, grace and glory, that there is passing into the one kingdom but by the other. At Athens there were two temples, a temple of virtue and a temple of honour, and there was no going into the temple of honour but through the temple of virtue; so the kingdoms of grace and glory are so close 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 hath joined together, may not be put asunder; the kingdom of grace leads to the kingdom of glory. How many ways is a natural man in the kingdom of darkness?
1. He is under the darkness of ignorance — "having the understanding darkened."
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 till first we are brought out of the kingdom of darkness. Why should not we strive to get out of this kingdom of darkness? Who would desire to stay in a dark dungeon? Go to Christ to enlighten thee — "Christ shall give thee light"; He will not only bring thy light to thee, but open thine eyes to see it. That is the first thing implied in "Thy kingdom come"; we pray that we may be brought out of the kingdom of darkness.
II. The second thing implied in "Thy kingdom come," we do implicitly pray against the devil's kingdom, we pray that Satan's kingdom may be demolished in the world. Satan hath a kingdom; he got his kingdom by conquest; he conquered mankind in paradise. Satan's kingdom hath two qualifications or characters.
1. It is a kingdom of impiety.
2. It is a kingdom of slavery. Let us pray that Satan's kingdom, set up in the world, may be thrown down.When we pray, "Thy kingdom come," here is something positively intended.
1. We pray that the kingdom of grace may be set up in our hearts and increased.
2. That the kingdom of glory may hasten, and that we may, in God's due time, be translated into it. I begin with the first, the kingdom of grace.When we pray, "Thy kingdom come," we pray that the kingdom of grace may come into our hearts.
1. 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; grace doth king it in the soul; it sways the sceptre, it subdues mutinous lusts.
2. Why is there such need that we should pray that this kingdom of grace may come into our hearts?
(1) Because, till the kingdom of grace come, we have no right to the covenant of grace. The covenant of grace is to an ungracious person 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 be 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 want that which should meliorate and sweeten them.
(3) We had need pray that the kingdom of grace may come, because till this kingdom come into our hearts we are loathsome in God's eyes — "My soul loathed them." I have read of a woman who always used flattering glasses; by chance seeing her face in a true glass, she ran mad. Such as now dress themselves by the flattering glass of presumption, when once God gives them a sight of their filthiness they will abhor themselves — "Ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils."(4) Till the kingdom of grace comes, a man lies exposed to the wrath of God — "and who knoweth the power of His anger?"(5) Till the kingdom of grace come man cannot die with comfort; only he who takes Christ in the arms of his faith can look death in the face with joy. But it is sad to have the king of terrors in the body, and not the kingdom of grace in the soul.
3. How may we know that the kingdom of grace is set up in our hearts?
(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 lift up to heaven with ordinances — "I have a Levite to my priest," sure I shall go to heaven.
(2) Men think they have the kingdom of grace set up in their hearts. because they have some common works of the Spirit. How may we know the kingdom of grace is set up in us? In general, by having a metamorphosis or change wrought in the soul; this is called "the new creature." When the kingdom of grace is set up, there is light in the mind, order in the affections, pliableness of the will, teaderness in the conscience; such as can find no change of heart, they are the same as they were, as vain, as earthly, as unclean as ever; there is no sign of God's kingdom of grace in them. We may know the kingdom of grace is come into our hearts by having the princely grace of faith. We may know the kingdom of grace is come into our hearts by having the noble grace of love; faith and love are the two poles on which all religion turns — "The upright love thee." We may know the kingdom of grace is come into our hearts by spiritualizing the duties of religion — "Ye are an holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices." We may know the kingdom of grace is come into us by antipathy and opposition against every known sin — "I hate every false way." We may know the kingdom of grace is 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. I fear the kingdom of grace is not yet come into my heart.
1. I cannot discern grace. A child of God may have the kingdom of grace in his heart, yet not know it. The cup was in Benjamin's sack, though he did not know it was there; thou mayest have faith in thy heart, the cup may be in thy sack, though thou knowest it not. The seed may be in the ground, when we do not see it spring up.
2. Before the kingdom of grace come into the heart there must be some preparation for it; the fallow ground of the heart must be broken up; I fear the plough of the law hath not gone deep enough; I have not been humbled enough, therefore I have no grace. God doth not prescribe a just proportion of sorrow and humiliation; the Scripture mentions the truth of sorrow, but not the measure.
3. If the kingdom of God were within me it would he a kingdom of power; it would enable me to serve God with vigour of soul; but I have a spirit of 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 want of grace: a man may have life, though he be sick and weak.
4. 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, passion. Those sins which you did once wear 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.
5. Where the kingdom of grace comes it softens the hears; 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 rocky heart? There maybe grief where there are no tears, the best sorrow is rational. Labour to find that this kingdom of grace is set up in your hearts; while others aspire after earthly kingdoms, labour to have the kingdom of God within you.The kingdom of grace must come into us before we can go into the kingdom of glory.
1. This kingdom of God within us is our spiritual beauty; the kingdom of grace adorns a person, and sets him off in the eyes of God and angels.
2. The kingdom of grace set up in the heart is our spiritual defence.
3. The kingdom of grace set up in the heart brings peace with it — "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace." There is a secret peace breeds out of holiness.
4. The kingdom of grace enriches the soul; a kingdom hath its riches.
5. When the kingdom of grace comes, it doth fix and establish the heart — "O God, my heart is fixed!" Before the kingdom of grace comes the heart is very unfixed and unsettled, like a ship without ballast.
6. This kingdom of grace is distinguishing; it is a sure pledge of God's love.How should we do to obtain this kingdom?
1. In general, take pains for it; we cannot have the world without labour, and do we think we can have grace? "If thou seekest her as silver."
2. Such as have this kingdom of God set up in them, it calls for gratulation and thanksgiving. What will you be thankful for, if not for a kingdom? If God hath crowned you with the kingdom of grace, do you crown Him with your praises. The second thing intended by our Saviour in this petition is, that the kingdom of grace may increase, that it may come more into us. And this may answer a question. Why do we pray, "Thy kingdom come," when the kingdom of grace is already come into the soul? Till we come to live among the angels we shall need to pray this prayer, "Thy kingdom come." Lord, let Thy kingdom of grace come in more power into my soul; let grace be more augmented and increased. When doth the kingdom of grace increase in the soul?When is it a flourishing kingdom?
1. When a Christian hath further degrees added to his graces; there is more oil in the lamp, his knowledge is clearer, his love is more inflamed; grace is capable of degrees, and may rise higher as the sun in the horizon.
2. Then the kingdom of grace increaseth when a Christian hath gotten more strength than he had. 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.
3. Then the kingdom of grace increaseth when a Christian hath most conflict with spiritual corruptions.
4. Then the kingdom of grace flourisheth when a Christian bath learned to live by faith — "I live by the faith of the Son of God."
5. When s Christian is arrived at holy zeal
6. Then the kingdom of grace increaseth when a Christian is as well diligent in his particular calling as devout in his general.
7. Then the kingdom of grace increaseth when a Christian is established in the belief and love of the truth.
8. Then the kingdom of grace increaseth in a man's own heart when he labours to be instrumental to set up this kingdom in others.Wherein appears the needfulness of this, that the kingdom of grace should be increased.
1. This is God's design in keeping up a standing ministry in the Church, to increase the kingdom of grace in men's hearts.
2. We had need have the kingdom of grace increase, in respect we have a great deal of work to do, and a little grace will hardly carry us through.
3. If the kingdom of grace cloth not increase, it will decay — "Thou hast left thy first love." If grace be not improved, it will soon be impaired.
4. To have grace increasing is suitable to Christianity. The saints are not only jewels for sparkling lustre, but trees for growth. They are called the lights of the world. Light is still increasing: first there is the daybreak, and so it shines brighter to the meridian.
5. As the kingdom of grace increaseth, so a Christian's comforts increase.How may they be comforted, who bewail their want of growth, and weep that they cannot find the kingdom of grace increase?
1. To see and bewail our decay in grace argues not only the life of grace, but growth.
2. If a Christian doth not increase in one grace, he may in another; if not in knowledge, he may in humility. If a tree cloth not grow so much in the branches, it may in the root; to grow downwards in the root is a good growth.
3. A Christian may grow less in affection when he grows more in judgment. As a musician when he is old, his fingers are stiff and not so nimble at the lute as they were, but he plays with more art and judgment than before; 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 judgment than he was before.
4. A Christian may think he doth not increase in grace because he doth 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. Parts may be impaired, when grace is improved.
5. A Christian may increase in grace, yet not be sensible of it. I come to the second thing intended in this petition, "That the kingdom of glory may hasten, and that we may in due time be translated into it." When we pray, "Thy kingdom come," here is something positively intended. We pray, 1st, that the kingdom of grace may be set in our hearts; 2nd, that it may increase and flourish; 3rd, that the kingdom of glory may hasten, and that God would in His due time translate us into it.
1. What this kingdom of glory is.
2. What are the properties of it.
3. Wherein it exceeds all other kingdoms.
4. When this kingdom comes.
5. Wherein appears the certainty of it.
6. Why we should pray for its coming.First. What this kingdom of glory is. By this kingdom is meant that glorious estate which the saints shall enjoy when they shall reign with God and angels for ever. If a man stand upon the seashore he cannot see all the dimensions of the sea, the length, breadth, and depth of it, yet he may see it is of a vast extension; so, though the kingdom of heaven be of that incomparable excellency 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 hath not seen. 1st. What the kingdom of heaven implies.
I. It implies a freedom from all evil.
1. A freedom from the necessities of nature. What need will there be of food when our bodies shall be made spiritual? 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 armour when there is no enemy? What need will there be of sleep when there is no night?
2. In the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from the imperfections of nature. Since the fall our knowledge hath suffered an eclipse.
(1) Our natural knowledge is ira-per feet, it is chequered with ignorance. Our ignorance is more than our knowledge.
(2) Our Divine knowledge is imperfect — "We know but in part," saith Paul.
3. In the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from the toilsome labours of this life. God enacted a law in paradise, "in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." Where should there be rest but in the heavenly centre? Not that this sweet rest in the kingdom of heaven excludes all motion, for spirits cannot be idle; but the saints glorified shall rest from all wearisome employment; it shall be a labour full of ease, a motion full of delight; the saints in heaven shall love God, and what labour is that? Is it any labour to love beauty? They shall praise God, and that sure is delightful; when the bird sings, it is not so much a labour as a pleasure.
4. In the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from original corruption: this is the root of all actual sin. There would be no actual sin if there were no original; there would be no water in the stream if there were none in the fountain. What a blessed time will that be, never to grieve God's Spirit more!
5. In the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from all sorrows — "There shall be no more sorrow." Our life here is interlarded with trouble. Either losses grieve, or lawsuits vex, or unkindness breaks the heart. We may as well separate moisture. from air, or weight from lead, as troubles from man's life.
6. We shall, in the kingdom of heaven, be freed from the immodesty of temptation.
7. In the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from all vexing cares.
8. We shall, in the kingdom of heaven, be freed from all doubts and scruples. In this life the best saint hath his doubtings, as the brightest star hath his twinkling.
9. We shall, in the kingdom of heaven, be freed from all society with the wicked.
10. We shall, in the kingdom of heaven, be freed from all signs of God's displeasure.
11. We shall, in the kingdom of heaven, be freed from all divisions.
12. We shall, in the kingdom of heaven, be freed from vanity and dissatisfaction.
II. In the kingdom of heaven there is a glorious fruition of all good. Concerning the fruitions and privileges of this heavenly kingdom —
1. We shall have an immediate communion with God Himself, who is the inexhausted sea of all happiness; this divines call "the beatific vision." God hath all excellencies concentred in Him. If one flower should have the sweetness of all flowers, how sweet would that flower be! All the beauty and sweetness which lie scattered in the creature are infinitely to be found in God; therefore to see and enjoy Him will ravish the soul with delight. We shall so see God as to love Him, and be made sensible of His love.
2. We shall, in the kingdom of heaven, with these eyes see the glorified body of Jesus Christ. If the glory of His transfiguration was so great, what will the glory of His exaltation be?
3. We shall, in the kingdom of heaven, enjoy the society of "an innumerable company of angels."
4. We shall, in the kingdom of heaven, have sweet society with glorified saints; then the communion of saints will be illustrious.
5. In the kingdom of heaven there shall be incomprehensible joy.
6. In heaven there is honour and dignity put upon the saints. A kingdom imports honour. When all the titles and ensigns of worldly honour shall lie in the dust — the mace, the silver star, the garter — then shall the saints' honour remain.
7. We shall, in the kingdom of heaven, have a blessed rest. This rest is when the saints shall lie on Christ's bosom, that hive of sweetness, that bed of perfume.
8. The saints shall, in the kingdom of heaven, have their bodies richly bespangled with glory; they shall be full of clarity and brightness, as Moses' face shined that Israel were not able to behold the glory. The bodies of saints glorified shall need no jewels when they shall shine like Christ's body.
9. In the heavenly kingdom is eternity; it is an eternal fruition; they shall never be put out of the throne, "they shall reign for ever and ever." It is called "the everlasting kingdom," and "an eternal weight of glory." The flowers of paradise, of which the saints' garland is made, never wither. Well may we pray, "Thy kingdom come."What are the properties or qualifications of the kingdom of heaven?
1. The glory of this kingdom is solid and substantial; the Hebrew word for glory signifies a weight, to show how solid and weighty the glory of the celestial kingdom is. The glory of the worldly kingdom is airy and imaginary, like a blazing comet, or fancy.
2. The glory of this kingdom is satisfying — "With Thee is the fountain of life." How can they choose but be full who are at the fountain-head? "When I awake, I shall be satisfied with Thy likeness." The soul is never satisfied till it hath God for its portion and heaven for its haven.
3. The glory of heaven's kingdom is pure and unmixed; the streams of paradise are not muddied. There is ease without pain, honour without disgrace, life without death.
4. The glory of this kingdom is constantly exhilarating and refreshing; there is fulness, but no surfeit. Worldly comforts, though sweet, yet in time grow stale; a down-bed pleaseth a while, but within a while we are weary, and would rise.
5. The glory of this kingdom is distributed to every individual saint. In an earthly kingdom the crown goes but to one, a crown will fit but one head; but in the kingdom above the crown goes to all, all the elect are kings. God hath land enough to give to all His heirs.
6. Lucid and transparent. This kingdom of heaven is adorned and bespangled with light.
7. The glory of this kingdom is adequate and proportionable to the desire of the soul. The excellency of a feast is when the meat is suited to the palate; this is one ingredient in the glory of heaven — it exactly suits the desires of the glorified saints.
8. The glory of this kingdom will be seasonable. The seasonableness of a mercy adds to its beauty and sweetness; it is like apples of gold to pictures of silver. After a hard winter in this cold climate will it not be seasonable to have the spring-flowers of glory appear, and the singing of the birds of paradise come?Wherein the kingdom of heaven infinitely excels all the kingdoms of the earth.
1. It excels in the architect; other kingdoms have men to raise their structures, but God Himself laid the first stone in this kingdom. This kingdom is of the greatest antiquity; God was the first King and Founder of it; no angel was worthy to lay a stone in this building.
2. This heavenly kingdom excels in altitude; it is higher situated than any kingdom, the higher anything is the more excellent; the fire being the most sublime element is most noble. The kingdom of heaven is seated above all the visible orbs. If wicked men could build their nests among the stars, yet the least believer would shortly be above them.
3. The kingdom of heaven excels all others in splendour and riches; it is described by precious stones. Those who are poor in the w
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.