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every believer might in the end be prepared for, and attain to, the inheritance.
Closely examined, then, the several petitions of this prayer breathe only one desire, and are summed up in one fulfilment. All begin from a view of God as a Father in heaven, whilst all terminate in the wish that he would, in like manner, become a Father to earth. And in the words which conclude the prayer, arguments are added in support of the petitions which had been urged. Sometimes, indeed, we hear this clause styled a Doxology; and, no doubt, it contains an ascription of praise. But the particle, “ for," by which it is introduced, indicates that it is a statement of reasons, alleged by faith for God doing what had been previously asked.
First of all, the believer reasons with God for what was urged, by the argument, "For thine is the kingdom-for ever. Amen." —And this is as much as saying that the whole plan is his. It is admitted in the foregoing petitions, that God has
a kingdom in heaven," and that, too, a kingdom worthy of Him who bears the sceptre. But we have likewise assumed that our God means to assimilate this province of earth to his kingdom in heaven-nay, to consolidate them into one loyal and stable empire. And such being the consummation we desire, our argument is, “ For the kingdom is Thine !”_With Thee, the whole idea originated—in Thy love fulfil it !—By Thee the plan was sketched-carry it on in Thy wisdom and faithfulness !
It does not seem as if God had laid down any plan regarding our world : but every nation, and each man, follows their own counsel, and walks along their own course! At this moment, what do we witness but peril abroad and confusion at home? The foundations shake, and the firmament is lurid. The waves of the sea roar, and the winds of heaven seem ready to burst the chain that holds them. All is perplexity, and none can help another. Yet it is not come to the worst; for evil days will be still more evil, and the times more perilous, ere the end draws on. Men cry, “Peace, peace;' the wicked set no measure to their excess-nation will rise against nation, and the heart of brave men will faint-and nothing will be too strong not to be cast down—nothing too holy not to be profaned !
Instead of a plan, then,—a divine and eternal plan,-being discernible amid such calamity and revolution, such atheism and crime, as must distinguish the last days, men may even be tempted to doubt whether there be any God at all.
Over all this tumult and distraction, however, God presides ; and by the very passions of men is he working out his own
design. He sees the end from the beginning, and his counsel nothing can thwart; his plan nothing can mar; his wisdom nothing can overreach ; his faithfulness nothing can shake ; his love nothing can cool. “ Thine is the kingdom.”
At times, it would almost appear as if God were compelled to adapt himself to circumstances, and to shift his plans as the events of the world emerged. But no—“Thine is the kingdom for ever,” Jesus tells us ; and as from eternity God's design for earth has been laid down, to eternity it shall abide. It may seem to be retarded now, and now reversed. But it cannot be changed: it is irrevocable in its outline, and fixed to the minutest iota of its details. There are kingdoms of iron and brass, and silver and gold, spoken of in Daniel ; but these melt away in the heat of divine wrath, and their ashes are scattered abroad. In their room, however, another kingdom is set up, -even the kingdom of which the Son of God is king,--his saints its subjects; and it lasts “ for ever."
They who enter into the mind of God, then, should often spread out his Plan for our world before him, and with reverent, yet cordial emphasis, sum up their desires with this argument, “ For thine is the kingdom, for ever.” The world has a plan of its own, for its own history; and much does it prefer that plan to God's. Our poets have their idea as to what the earth should be, and our philanthropists have their scheme, and our men of science have their calculations, and our politicians have their theory, and we all have our own hopes, and surmises, and wishes ; so that, if every tongue were to utter the desire of the heart, the cry from all the earth would be, “ Ours is the kingdom !”
But believers must drink into the spirit of Jesus, and, looking up to God, say, with a most devout and hearty “ Amen," “The kingdom is thine ! ” Not more does " Amen” apply to the other sentences which it closes than to this; and in so using it, we declare that we renounce our own mind, as to what should be done with earth, and fully enter into God's. “The earth is thy kingdom, O God! Amen. Amen." knowledge it-we rejoice in it-we build all our hope upon it! O God ! grasp the sceptre firmly, and let not man nor devil traverse thy eternal plan! This is “ Amen" in its true meaning, and in the depth of its emphasis.
But we are taught, moreover, to reason with God for what we ask, by this other argument—"For thine is the power, for ever. Amen.” And this is as much as saying that all Means belong to God.
We acthis cry
side of us, there are those who are as sanguine in regard to the means they possess for regenerating the world, as they were forward with their plan; and who will not doubt but that by education, or societies, or government, or science, all that is requisite may be effected.
But we know what man is able to do from what man has already done ; and being persuaded that there exists no agency which, by any amount of exertion and perseverance could realise our hope, we cry to God to do it—" for thine is the power."
Our knowledge, too, of God's resources, as well as our experience of man's inadequacy, prompts us to lift up
We cannot forget how it was He who subdued our own hearts, so rebellious,
so dark, so sinful, and we are sure that his "power" is irresistible. We think of the overthrow of Satan and his hosts, though fierce and innumerable and strong, and we feel that his "power" is irresistible. We call to mind his government of this world in time past,—so wise, and righteous, and uniform, in spite of evil men and evil spirits, and we know that his "power" is irresistible. We remember, too, how he reigns alike over matter and mind,-subordinating every thought, and event, and action to himself, and we are satisfied that his power is irresistible. Recognising, however, “all power” in God, and assured that all resources lie in his hand, we cry, Fulfil thy plan, " for the power is thine ! !”
Nay, we add—“ The power is thine, for ever;" and this signifies that when he begins to work, not only does God work with “a power” which cannot be resisted, but which never is suspended. It is incessant—uniform-untiring—inexhaustible
power," —" the power of God!” It is “ power for ever! And alive to this—alive to the greatness of the result to be achieved—and alive, at the same time, to the strength of Jehovah's arm, we cry, Do what thy kingdom requires, "for the power is thine! "
Such as we have now hinted is the meaning of "power" in this context; and every believer is expected to seal it with his hearty “ Amen.” No more are we to imagine that it lies with us to cure our own evils, or, with man, to renovate the earth. But let us feel that God alone can bring us into his kingdom, and that God alone can keep us there, and that God alone can extend its limits to the ends of the world ; and let our cry ascend to God for all things, “Because thine is the power !” We are to do good to all, and gather in souls, and rebuke iniquity. We are to labour for the world, and pray for men, and abound in every form of service. Yet, having done whatsoever our hand is competent to achieve, we must admit that the regeneration of earth can only be effected by God himself, and look to him for “the power” which will make all things new. If we listen to men around us, we hear them boastfully saying, “ The power is ours ;” and by their sanitary regulations, or their political reforms, or the diffusion of knowledge, they are sure to turn the wilderness into a blooming paradise. But God's plan can be realised only by God's means; and with joy the faithful will say “Amen!”
The opposition to be encountered is great — apathy, and unbelief, and selfishness, on the part of the righteous ; whilst the world and hell unite their utmost effort to defeat the purposes of love. But to God "power" belongeth, and his power is "for ever." It is universal, and nothing can evade it; it is uninterrupted, and works as well to-morrow as to-day; and it is everlasting, and reaches through all ages.
Nothing, then, can resist it! It touches the heart, and the stone becomes flesh. It smites the rock, and water streams forth. It appeals to the clouds, and they furnish quails. It drops manna from the wings of the morning. And at its shadow devils are put to flight. This is the power of God; and the children of God will not be wise if they yoke it not to the accomplishment of their righteous desires for man, and earth. Most willing is God that we should. Freely does he offer us all its unbounded resources. He will even be offended if we claim it not as ours. And to have it, and use it, and enjoy it, what more is needed-than one strong, cordial, unani
Amen?" “ Amen” is easily spoken; but, when breathed in faith, nothing can withstand it. And to every promise of the word every attribute of God, we must annex it, saying, “In all things the power is thine, for ever. Amen." Let us look within, and feeling what we need every moment for holiness, and for pardon, let us cry, O God, hold me up! " for the power is thine.” Let us look around ; and when surveying the wickedness of the wicked until our eyes are ready to fail, let us cry, Awake, O God! “for the power is thine." Let us look down ; and when the hosts of darkness seem to be more than a match for the Church in the wilderness, let us cry, Draw out the sword, O God ! " for the power is thine." Let us look onward; and cry, O God, make haste to restore this wounded, weary, woe-beaten earth, as on the day when it first lay beneath the sun, "for the power is thine, for ever. Amen.”
There is, however, a final reason which the believer pleads with God for the accomplishment of what he desires, even,
“ For thine is the glory for ever. Amen ;” and this is as much as saying that the Issue will either extend or obscure the praise of God.
To some extent, God's means have already been brought to bear upon the development of his plan, and even now has he been glorified by the issue. Sin has been limited, and not suffered to drown the earth in a universal flood—and this is “glory.” The devil has been curbed, and humbled, and fear has smitten all his hosts—and this is “ glory." Truth has been sent to earth, and the light has shone from the east even to the west—and this is glory.” A Church has been redeemed from among men, and every age and nation has swelled the number of the saved—and this is “ glory.” Nay, as in every sinner, who is washed in his blood, Jesus sees the travail of his soul, so from every sinner, forgiven, renewed, and sanctified, “ glory” redounds to God.
Earth, then, even earth as it is, reflects some beams to increase the manifested splendour of Jehovah. Yet, after all, most partial and obscure is “the glory” of our God at its brightest, meanwhile. If sin be checked, still sin abounds ; if Šatan be restrained, still he walketh abroad ; if truth has free course, error is ever mingling the polluted with the pure; if the Church is passing on to its inheritance, it is attired in sackcloth; if sinners are sometimes saved, sinners too are lost : And thus, if there be “glory" to God from our earth even already, there is dishonour too.
But let the entire plan of God be completed, and what “glory" then will shine from every province of our redeemed world! Satan is bound and cast into the bottomless pit—and this is “glory.” Wickedness is now hidden and unknown, and the redeemed are without spot or blemishand this is “glory.” The curse no more weighs down the earth, but it blossoms as the rose--and this is “glory." The bride and the bridegroom have sat down at the marriage supper, and the redeemed follow the Lamb wherever he goes and this is “glory.”
Bright indeed, then, will be "the glory" of God's plan when finished—and it is " for ever !” It is no sudden meteor -no evanescent brightness. But it shall continue in the meridian of its splendour when sun and stars have shed their last beam, and no limit will it know but the limit of the eternal ages.
But if the ISSUE of all God's PLANS is God's GLORY, let each of us say
“ Amen!” To the men of this life, it matters not that God is honoured and exalted, for it is rather their own