Great Texts of the Bible
The Kingdom of our Lord
The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ: and he shall reign for ever and ever.—Revelation 11:15.
The vision of the author of the Book of Revelation presents a sublime drama of the unfolding of the Divine idea in the world and its conflict with the secular spirit. It sets forth the play of spiritual forces and their victorious issue. What the Seer beheld was Christ triumphant in the whole sphere of human thought and feeling. By “the kingdom of the world” he did not mean merely the realms over which kings reigned. He meant the ruling ideas of the world—its dominant forces, social, intellectual, political. All these were, and are to be, brought under the dominion of Christian principles. All departments of life are to be consecrated and sanctified by the spirit of Jesus. The text suggests the vision of a world-empire, once dominated by an usurping power, which has now at length passed into the hands of its true Owner and Imperator.
It is “the kingdom”—not, as in the Authorized Version, “the kingdoms”—“of the world,” which has become Christ’s possession. The contest is not for the kingdoms, the separate nationalities; the varying political systems might exist, as far as mere organization is concerned, under the rule of Christ; the contest is for the kingdom of the world. Satan was willing to surrender the kingdoms of the world to our Lord on condition of a homage which would have left him still in possession of the kingdom of the world. But now the close of the contest is the overthrow of the kingdom of evil, the establishment of the kingdom of good; that is, of God.1 [Note: W. B. Carpenter, The Revelation, 151.]
This is the future triumph-song of the Christian Church. We cannot rightly sing it yet; we can only join in its prelude. As sung by the inhabitants of heaven it is the fulfilment of a wondrous and long-continued prophecy; as heard by us it is the inspiration of all true Christian service. It is, even now, by anticipation, the song of the blessed over the earth, as it will be hereafter, by the complete realization, the song of the earth over itself. No false note quavers through its music. To the redeemed in glory it is the completion of a great joy; to the redeemed in heaven it is the embodiment of a living hope.1 [Note: W. Watson.]
1. The text is the announcement of the time of the arrival of the restored Kingdom to which men had looked forward since the loss of Eden. Its burden is this: God’s purposes have now become finished. The work of the Redeemer has been successful. This world, devil-conquered, has now become Christ-restored. The sceptre has been wrested from the hands of that spiritual tyrant who has cursed it with so much sin and misery. And now “the kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ”; henceforth a reverse history of it is to begin—holiness instead of sin, happiness instead of misery, life instead of death; and no further reversion is to be feared, for “He shall reign for ever and ever.”
The text is a vision, but it is not visionary. It is a vision only in the sense that it unfolds to us things yet future. The Christian prophet here dips into the future farther than human eye can see, and sees the vision of the world, and all the wonder that shall be. And it is the certainty of that “shall be” that redeems it from unreality. It is a vision of the world—of this world; and it is a vision of something that will certainly be seen in it. God’s truth is pledged to this; and it is as certain as anything that has been in the history of the past. Hence the historic form of the language—“the kingdom of this world”—not merely shall be, but is—“is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ.” It is so put because there can be no contingency, no doubtfulness about it. It has been God’s plan to bring about this issue from the beginning—from the first inception of His purposes of grace respecting the redemption of this world. And, as time has rolled on, all has been slowly tending to its final accomplishment. All prophecy has sung of it; and it is only part of a series that has ever been fulfilling.
The conception of the Kingdom of God on which Jesus based His gospel was determined for Him by contemporary Judaism; but in its essence it is fundamental to all religion. Amidst the imperfections of the present, men have ever looked forward to some glorious consummation, and have lived and worked in the faith of it. To the prophets of Israel it was the new age of righteousness—to the Greek thinkers, the world of pure intelligible forms—to Augustine and Dante, the holy theocratic state—to the practical thought of our own time, the renovated social order. Each successive age will frame to itself its own vision of the great fulfilment; but all the different ideals can find their place in that message of the Kingdom which was proclaimed by Jesus. He expressed it, for He could not do otherwise, in the language of His own time; but the aspiration which He cherished will ever find its response in the hearts of men. “Thy Kingdom come—thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
Jesus foretold the coming of that Kingdom, and transformed the dream of it into a living hope. In His own Person He was the Messiah of the Kingdom. The title to which He laid claim was inherited by Him from a bygone world of Jewish thought; but He filled it with a new and lasting significance by identifying it with Himself. He has taught us to see in Him the Anointed One—the chosen Leader of mankind, by whom God will bring in His Kingdom.1 [Note: E. F. Scott, The Kingdom and the Messiah, 256.]
2. The event concerning which the seventh angel of the Apocalypse “sounded,” and which occasioned great voices of jubilation in heaven, is not an event which is happening in the region of heaven; it is an event which is to happen on this earth. This wonderful transference is to take place in this very world in which we are now living. Nor is the word “world” in either reading that word which, in the original, is sometimes confined to the Roman Empire, or to the habitable world; it is that world which embraces the whole of this earth, or the whole of the visible cosmos. It is this that is said to pass at this time into a great Theocracy, or, more definitely still, into a Christocracy. That rule under which the world has heretofore been is to pass away and it is to become, what it was not before, the Kingdom of the Christ of God.
This earth, which was the scene of the usurper’s conquest, the scene of the Redeemer’s conflict with him, the scene of the Redeemer’s travail, toil, agony, shame, and death, the scene of all His Church’s conflicts and sufferings, is yet to be the theatre of His triumphs. He is not to win in some ghostly region far away, and leave this world to the devil or to ashes. But here, in this tangible world, is He yet to triumph, and over the field of His sufferings is He yet to wield His sceptre. The prayer that has been going up from the Church for two millenniums shall yet receive its glorious answer: “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Christianity shall not, cannot, be worsted. “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God shall help her, and that right early.”
We pray day by day, “Thy kingdom come.” Have we ever stayed to think what will be when God at last grants that prayer? We often speak of the ways in which we may promote God’s Kingdom: by seeking His glory and obeying His will in our daily lives, or by aiding those machineries which are at work in the world for its improvement or evangelization. Have we ever thought what it will be when God’s Kingdom is come? What will be left then of this life, of this world, which is now so much to all of us, which is now all in all to many? In other words, How much of our present lives is entirely holy and heavenly? how much can survive the wreck of earth, and be transferred into a world in which God is all?… At present we are familiarized by long use with many things which are not according to God’s will; and few men live out their “threescore years and ten” without finding their sensibilities somewhat blunted, and their estimate of the sinfulness of sin robbed of something of its severity. How shall we ever learn to echo that doxology of the elders, “We thank thee, O Lord God Almighty, because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and because thy kingdom is come”? What a change, what a wonderful change, is implied in the announcement, “Thy kingdom is come”! If we are ever to learn that song, “what manner of persons ought we to be now in all holy conversation and godliness!” Yes, that is the lesson for us. Let God’s Kingdom come to us, to us personally; let it come now, that kingdom which is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost”; that “kingdom of God” which is “within”; in the secret heart that loves God, in the devoted life which does God service!1 [Note: C. J. Vaughan, Lectures on the Revelation of St. John, 280.]
3. No doubt the battle is not yet over. And we are sometimes afraid of the issue. The reason is that our view of the battlefield is too narrow. Even in modern warfare the commanding brain sits far away from the conflict, surrounded with maps and messengers, to direct and order the shifting changes of conflict, where general victory is consistent with defeat in detail, and the general advance with a partial retirement. The seat of God’s government is in heaven. He has no vicar upon earth who can act as a substitute. His reign over all is consistent with partial defeats and partial retirements; a victory is won here, an apparent defeat is suffered there.
The progress of improvement, intellectual and moral, individual and national, is like the flowing tide. A wave advances beyond the rest, and it falls back again: you would suppose that the sea was retreating; but the next wave pushes farther still, and still the succeeding one goes beyond that; so that by a gradual, and for some time imperceptible, but sure and irresistible progress, the mighty element bears down every obstruction, and, in due time, occupies its destined station. Even before the inadvertent spectator is aware, the soil and slime, and all unsightly and rugged objects, disappear, and the whole space is occupied by the beautiful and majestic main. Such, no doubt, will be the uncontrollable progress of amelioration, under the Divine government, till that auspicious era shall arrive which is marked in resplendent characters in the decrees of heaven, and to which the golden index of prophecy continually points, when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea,” and the reign of truth, freedom, virtue, and happiness shall be universal and everlasting
Say not, the struggle nought availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.
And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look, the land is bright.1 [Note: A. H. Clough.]
1. The true Theocracy is reached when the kingdom of the world becomes the Kingdom of the Lord. The advance of that Kingdom of God is by the increasing recognition of the truth, the truth of God and the truth of humanity as in Christ, sin and evil passing away as the mind of Christ possesses the spirit of man.
We identify Christ with the Church. But the “Kingdom” and the “Church” are not opposing, but complementary, terms in their New Testament meaning. We have to restore to the Church the empire assigned to it by Christ, the empire that knows no frontier. The Church must not be simply an agency of the Kingdom, but must be completely identified with it. And let the Church stand for the Kingdom, let the Church stand for what Christ stands for, let the Church be identified with Christ’s purpose and passion, want what He wants, yearn for what He yearns, the conquest of the world, of all the kingdoms of the world, let the Church consume with this passion, let the supremacies be supreme, and there will be an end of sectarian strife, denominational rivalries, and ecclesiastical competition, and the one Holy Catholic Church will stand for the complete realization of the Kingdom of God upon earth.
A good many are asking such revolutionary questions even now [Is the Church of any use; were it not well that it perished that Christianity might the better thrive?], and it is foolish for Churchmen simply to be shocked and to characterize them as profane. The Church is only a means to an end; it is good only so far as it is Christian. There is no merit or profit in mere ecclesiasticism. Whatever reveals the true Christ is of value and will live. Whatever hides Christ, be it pope, priest or presbyter, sacraments or ecclesiastical misrule, is pernicious, and must pass away; but we may hope that there will always be enough of Christ’s spirit in the society which bears His name to keep it from becoming utterly savourless and to bring about such reforms as may be necessary to make it serve the end for which it was instituted. Should this hope be disappointed, then the visible Church, as we know it, must and will pass away, leaving the spirit of Christ free room to make a new experiment, under happier auspices, at self-realization. To be enthusiastic about the Church in its present condition is impossible; to hope for its future is not impossible, but if it were, there is no cause for despair. Christ will ever remain the same yesterday, to-day and for ever, and the kingdom of God will remain a kingdom that cannot be moved.1 [Note: A. B. Bruce, The Kingdom of God.]
2. We profess to believe, as Christians, in the reality of the Divine Kingdom. Faith makes us members of it, and brings us into it. We share in its strength and freedom because we own Christ as Lord and Saviour. Our place is therefore the index to our duty. We cannot be subjects of so vast a realm without at the same time retaining the consciousness of our responsibility to Him who has placed us where we are, and to those who are not where we are. This world of sin can never be changed into a world of holiness except through the changed histories of those who call themselves by Christ’s name. The only limit, therefore, we can place on the range of the gospel of Christ is that which is offered by the final satisfaction of the human race. Christ declared Himself not the Saviour of a people or the Deliverer of any particular land, but the Son of Man, born for humanity, living and dying for them.
Christ as King must oust every usurper. The gospel comes into collision—it puts itself purposely in collision—with all opposing forces, lays down the most stringent regulations for human life and human peace. It lays down the most inspiring hopes for the human heart, and its very incredibilities are the things that are winning the credence of human minds everywhere. It is the standing miracle of history, and there is nothing that more conclusively proves its Divineness than what we call its success, although the word success is not a word to be used in this connexion. No, we have not to think of success. Christ did not send forth successful men; He only sent forth witnesses. We have nothing whatever to do with the success of the gospel of Jesus Christ; we are merely to proclaim; we have merely to witness to the truth as it is in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have nothing to do with the establishment of the sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ; all we have to do with is the proclamation of it.
Max Müller, speaking as a scientific student of the world’s religions, said in 1876, in Westminster Abbey: “Every Christian is, or ought to be, a missionary.” Do we realize this? Do we believe it? Or is it not so, that we look upon the making Christ and His gospel known to all nations as something quite “outside the ordinary course of the service of God—a thing that some men may take up because they are interested in it,” but which is by no means obligatory upon all Christians just because they are Christians?1 [Note: R. H. M‘Kim, The Gospel in the Christian Year, 327.]
We have so far only been playing at the work of winning the world for Christ. We have relied on a campaign of flying columns for the conquest of the world. The call which now rings in the ears of the Churches is a call summoning to a concerted world-wide campaign. The day of playing at this work is past. The day of self-sacrifice is come. What Christianity is summoned to prove is this: to establish its claim to wield the destinies of the world. Is it a living and a conquering energy—or a decadent and a spent force? In Abyssinia a degenerate Christian Church is yielding day by day converts to Islam. Is that to be the fate of Christianity as a whole? As one surveys the ancient races entrenched in their hoary faiths, and the vast territories still unoccupied and untouched by Christianity; as one sees the forces of ignorance and superstition and lust massed, presenting a solid front against the progress of the gospel; and as one looks at the Christian Churches and sees how few they are who feel the call to go forth and conquer the world, and how few are willing to make any sacrifice for the glory of their Lord—then there comes the hesitating doubt: can this task ever be accomplished? And the question rings in the ear, uncertain of its answer, “Can the world be won for Christ?” But the question throws us back on God. With Him the answer lies. Can the Church find now, as the Church ever found of old in the day of trial, such new treasures of power and energy, and vitalizing force, such new revelations of the riches and the glory of God, that it will arise and go forth and conquer, not in its own strength, but in the irresistible might of God? Therein lies the hope of conquering the world for Jesus Christ. The summons that rings through Christendom is a summons calling the Christian host, if it would conquer, to fall back on God. To the world the task may seem impossible, and its performance a vain dream, but what are Christians in the world for but to achieve the impossible by the help of God!1 [Note: Norman Maclean, Can the World be Won for Christ? 16.]
3. No language can go beyond the terms in which the Lord sets forth His absolute power. “All authority,” He says, “is given unto me in heaven and on earth.” To feel the force of such a sentence, we must remember that He who spoke had been crucified not many days before amidst the mockery of His enemies and the despair of His followers. But now He lays open the eternal issues of that death. Not earth only but heaven is subject to His dominion. All created being has been brought under His sway—angels, and men, and nature. In Him whatever before was most widely separated has found a final unity. The power is given Him. It represents the love of the Father no less than the victory of the Son. It is the pledge of the triumph of the Father’s will; and His will is the salvation of men.
If Christians only knew the meaning of the words: “He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing,” then there would be in the Church a mighty, irresistible power which would sweep over every frontier, and possess every land in the name of Jesus Christ. They would realize that all the power of God was working through them, that all the forces of the universe were working for them, that the stars in their courses were fighting on their side, and that against the Church of God, glowing with His omnipotent Spirit, nothing could stand. It was in the power of the ever-present Lord, in the might of the Holy Spirit, that in the early days Christianity won its triumphs. There is no other way, and no other power, through which Christianity will win triumphs to-day. The conquering power will manifest itself when Christians again realize their personal obligation to Jesus Christ. A Christendom in which the followers of Christ are dead to the stirring of personal obligation, in which the mass of Christians view with indifferent eyes the enterprise of missions, in which only a small fraction of the Christian host take any thought of what the glory of Christ demands—such a Christendom will never win the world for Christ.… The work to which the Church is urgently called is to make the faith of Christ again live in the hearts and souls of men. Then will the power come which will win the world for Jesus Christ. Then will that spiritual power which once swept Westward, anon sweep Eastward, until every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.1 [Note: Norman Maclean, Can the World be Won for Christ? 144.]
The King’s Reign
1. It is well that the Church should realize, in a way she is far from doing now, that the ascended Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords; that He has established His Kingdom on the earth; that He claims dominion over the whole human race, which He has redeemed by His blood; that the increasing purpose which through the ages runs, the one far-off divine event towards which all things are moving, and to which the complicated influences of historical development are slowly leading the human race, is the establishment of the Kingdom of the King of Love and Truth in the hearts of men all over the world. Many a time Christianity has been tempted, and has yielded to the temptation, to lean on an arm of flesh, to grasp carnal weapons, instead of relying on spiritual weapons alone. The result has always been disastrous. Every such weapon has been found a boomerang. It is only by tenderness and love, by meekness and patience and sacrifice and martyrdom that its victories have been won, and these are its guarantee of the future. It is an inexhaustible source from which to obtain supplies. The indwelling spirit of its Master is the constant generative force to reproduce the conquering power; and it is bound to survive and triumph through its inherent power of an endless, an indissoluble, life.
If striving with all your might to mend what is evil, near you and around, you would fain look for a day when some Judge of all the Earth shall wholly do right, and the little hills rejoice on every side; if, parting with the companions that have given you all the best joy you had on Earth, you desire ever to meet their eyes again and clasp their hands,—where eyes shall no more be dim, nor hands fail;—if, preparing yourselves to lie down beneath the grass in silence and loneliness, seeing no more beauty, and feeling no more gladness—you would care for the promise to you of a time when you should see God’s light again, and know the things you have longed to know, and walk in the peace of everlasting Love—then, the Hope of these things to you is religion, the Substance of them in your life is Faith. And in the power of them, it is promised to us, that the kingdom of this world shall yet become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.1 [Note: Ruskin, The Bible of Amiens, § 60 (Works, xxxiii. 174).]
2. In Tennyson’s pathetic poem, In the Children’s Hospital, a sceptic murmurs: “The good Lord Jesus has had His day,” and the believing nurse makes the comment: “Had? has it come? It has only dawn’d. It will come by and by.” “Only dawn’d?” Why is Christianity, after all these centuries, only beginning to be manifested? It is at least partly because of the apathy, the divisions, the evil lives of us who profess and call ourselves Christians; because we have wrangled about the secondary and the comparatively unimportant and have neglected the weightier matters of the law; because we have so left to those beyond the Church the duty of proclaiming and enforcing principles which our Lord and His Apostles put in the forefront of their teaching. We have narrowed the Kingdom of Christ, we have claimed too little for Him, we have forgotten that He has to do with the secular as well as with the spiritual, that He must be King of the nation as well as Head of the Church. But now, in the growing prominence of social questions, which so many fear as an evidence of the waning of religion, have we not an incentive to show that the social must be pervaded by the religious, that our duties to one another are no small part of the Kingdom of Christ? For all sorts and conditions of men, for masters and servants, for rulers and ruled, for employers and employed, is there not ever accumulating proof that only as they bear themselves towards each other in the spirit of the New Testament can there be true harmony and mutual respect; that only, in short, as the kingdom of this world becomes the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, will men in reality bear one another’s burdens; that only as the Everlasting Gospel of the Everlasting Love prevails will all strife and contention, whether personal or political or ecclesiastical or national, come to an end; that only as men enter into the fellowship of that Son of Man who came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many, will the glorious vision of old be fulfilled: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
A few months ago the country was held in the icy grip of winter. The reign of frost was supreme; vegetation, river, lake, and even parts of the sea were slaves of this tyrant. The sun’s rays seemed as helpless as a child’s breath to soften the tyrant’s heart or loosen his hand. A child, had he heard some prophet speak of the summer, the glory of whose reign is just commencing, might have doubted, so strong was the cold and so completely conquered was nature, that the prophet’s vision would ever be realized. Leave out experience, and none would have believed. When this text was written, so impossible did the prediction seem, it appeared absurd. The reign of the kingdom of darkness seemed complete. The world was one great catacomb where religion, morality, education, liberty and love lay buried. To say that the kingdoms of evil would change and become the kingdom of Christ was to talk of the impossible. To all human calculation, as well might some dreamy Esquimau prophesy that the helpless sun’s rays will at last change the Arctic regions to the warmth and luxury of the Tropics. It was the helpless kingdom of the dying Christ and Paul pitted against earthly kingdoms, whose power and permanence were typified by the “eternal” Roman Empire. But the icy heart of winter has softened, and its hand has loosened, and summer has come with its faithful retinue of warm sun and showers, of bud and blossom and of leaf and bird—a time of life and beauty and song. So has a change come to the world of man. Through all the centuries, Christ has been coming with His retinue of high thoughts, of true emotions, of pure purposes and unselfish deeds, of great trust and imperishable hope, and has laid the foundations of His kingdom of love and righteousness and liberty. The kingdom of this world is becoming the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ.1 [Note: C. A. Vincent.]
Every one is familiar with the custom which prevails of the whole audience rising and standing when the Hallelujah Chorus of Handel’s “Messiah” is sung. It originated in the spontaneous act of King George II. under the spell of the music when first he heard it. The king’s tribute was no mere compliment to the composer; it was a solemn acknowledgment of Him of whom it sang. It was the reproduction in another way of what Handel himself felt when he composed its strains. How did he explain the writing of his masterpiece? “I did think I did see all heaven before me and the great God Himself.” That is his own account of it. It was an inspiration. It was the majesty of the theme that evoked the music. It voices the climax of heavenly song, in the Book of the Revelation, the victory of the Lamb over the last great effort of His foes. When it broke on John’s ear, he heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings saying, “Hallelujah! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.” What has called out this shout of triumph? The powers of evil had joined issue with the forces of God, and Babylon is fallen, and “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.” That was John’s vision of what was coming. That was what made heaven ring with Hallelujahs. That is the Christian conviction; that is Faith’s Certainty, the Christian’s assured hope as to the Future.2 [Note: R. J. Drummond, Faith’s Certainties, 401.]
3. Christ is still among us, speaking to those who listen through the manifold discoveries of the age, guiding even our fierce and selfish conflicts so as to minister to His purpose. And we ourselves consciously or unconsciously are serving Him. He uses us if we do not bring ourselves to Him a willing sacrifice. We cannot doubt this; and we cannot fail to see what a different world it would be, if, still remaining faithful to our personal convictions, abandoning nothing of the truth which has been made known to us, yielding no fragment of the position which has been committed to our keeping, we could all agree in holding as a living fact the reality of Christ’s universal Presence; in looking to Him in the execution of our designs, as using them for some larger end; in making Him the witness of our actions, as tributary to a counsel beyond our thoughts. Nothing less than this is the scope of His words: “I am with you all the days, unto the end of the world.” I—perfect God and perfect Man, able to help and to sympathize to the uttermost—I am with you. The promise has never been revoked. It has been forgotten; it has been practically denied; but it stands written still to reveal the heaven which lies about us, the powers which are ready for our hands.
We let living facts stiffen into doctrinal abstractions, until Truth itself begins to wear a cold and fictitious aspect; it is not in fact true for us until we have made it our own through needing it, and loving it. It is not through a merely intellectual recognition that the human spirit can give its Amen to the Yea of God. We see how firm a hold the Church of the Early and Middle Ages kept upon this great truth, the actual presence of Christ with His people; how this belief revealed and as it were transfigured itself in legends which superstition itself cannot rob of their undying significance. When St. Francis stoops down to kiss the leper’s wound, and sees that his place has been taken by the Saviour; when St. Martin hears these words in his vision, “Behold, Martin, who hath clothed me with his cloak,” we see that the Church to these men is not the mere tomb of Christ, but His warm and living body sending a pulsation through every member.1 [Note: Dora Greenwell, The Patience of Hope (ed. 1894), 66.]
The religious temper of his mind shows itself in the meditations he recorded from time to time while at Tübingen, which abound in expressions of longing for closer communion with Christ. On the last evening of the year 1838 he thus unbosomed himself:—
“I am quite full of the blessed nearness of the Saviour which I have felt in these last days of Christmas week, and especially as I have listened to preaching. I have learned again that the most precious of all experiences is the experience of His presence. There are happy hours spent in the friendships of the world where we say one to the other “I am thine, thou art mine.” But those who feel the secret presence of Christ know that these pass into the shadow before the experiences we have in His communion, when we rise, as on the wings of eagles, through prayer and faith to Him the highest of all beings, the beginning and the end and the moving centre of all things. Here, one has answer to his questionings; here, peace which passeth knowledge. Our faith and hope, how can they fail to be sources of blessing, since they look towards Christ, who is not a hard master, but the Redeemer, the Wonderful, the Prince of Peace!”2 [Note: D. S. Schaff, The Life of Philip Schaff, 24.]
Jesus, Fountain of my days,
Well-spring of my heart’s delight,
Brightness of my morning rays,
Solace of my hours of night!
When I see Thee, I arise
To the hope of cloudless skies.
Oh, how weary were the years
Ere Thy form to me was known!
Oh, how gloomy were the fears
When I seemed to be alone!
I despaired the storm to brave
Till Thy footprints touched the wave.
But Thy presence on the deep
Calmed the pulses of the sea,
And the waters sank to sleep
In the rest of seeing Thee,
And my once rebellious will
Heard the mandate, “Peace, be still!”
Now Thy will and mine are one,
Heart in heart, and hand in hand;
All the clouds have touched the sun,
All the ships have reached the land;
For Thy love has said to me,
“No more night!” and “no more sea!”1 [Note: G. Matheson, Sacred Songs, 115.]
The Kingdom of our Lord
Arnold (T.), Sermons, iv. 310.
Davies (J. Ll.), Social Questions, 147.
Drummond (R. J.), Faith’s Certainties, 381.
Fox (W. J.), Collected Works, i. 290.
Halsey (J.), The Spirit of Truth, 20.
M‘Kim (R. H.), The Gospel in the Christian Year, 320.
Macleod (D.), Christ and Society, 107.
Marjoribanks (T.), The Fulness of the Godhead, 84.
Ridgeway (C. J.), The King and His Kingdom, 29.
Westcott (B. F.), The Revelation of the Risen Lord, 154.
Christian World Pulpit, xxviii. 371 (R. Glover); xxxiii. 264 (J. Halsey); lvi. 389 (W. Watson); lxx. 56 (P. M‘Adam Muir); lxxvi. 182 (T. E. Ruth).
Church Times, Dec. 13, 1912 (W. C. E. Newbolt).
Commonwealth, xix. (1914) 62 (N. E. E. Swann).
Treasury (New York), xviii. 502 (C. A. Vincent).