Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

fervation. Neither shall they say, Lo here, or Lo there: for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. 'Tis plain that the Kingdom of God in this place cannot fignify, either God's coming to destroy Jerufalem; for the Pharifees expected nothing lefs than that, and had not the leaft apprehenfions of it, and confequently would not enquire after it. Nor can it fignify that Kingdom of Glory, which the Saints fhall inherit hereafter; for our Savior could not fay that that Kingdom was either within, or among, the Pharifees. The Kingdom of God therefore muft fignify, either God's reigning in the hearts of his People, or the time of the Meffiah; thefe being the only remaining interpretations of this phrafe, which can be pretended.

As for its fignifying God's reigning in the hearts of his People, that fenfe is certainly impoffible here; unless the word which our Tranflators have rendred within, ought to be rendred among. For our Savior's words do plainly relate to thofe very Men, whom our Savior then spake to, and he faies the Kingdom of Heaven wass with refpect to them. Now if muft fignify within, then God's Kingdom was within them in particular; and if God's Kingdom be here fuppofed to fignify his ruling in the hearts of Men, then God did rule in the hearts of thofe Men in particular. But will any Man fay this? Does it in the leaft appear, that those who asked our Savior the qucftion, did believe on him? And if they did not, certainly God did not rule in their hearts; because they did not obey him in receiving his Son. Befides, they asked our Savior, when the Kingdom of Heaven fhould come. But did they by the Kingdom of Heaven mean God's rule in the hearts of Men? That Kingdom they thought was already

L 2


[ocr errors]

come, and they believed themselves to be fubjects of it. And our Savior faies, the Kingdom of God was, that is, according to this interpretation, within them. And did not our Savior then fay, that that Kingdom which they enquired of was within them? But they did not enquire of God's ruling in Men's hearts, and therefore that Kingdom which Chrift fpake of, was not God's ruling in Men's hearts.

'Tis true, if the words be rendred among, it feems poffible to be true, that the Kingdom of God, tho' fuppofed to fignify God's ruling in Men's hearts, might in fome fenfe be among the Pharifees. Becaufe 'tis poffible fome of the Pharifees did at that time believe on Chrift. But ftill, fince thofe could not be fuppofed to mean fuch a Kingdom, who asked the queftion; and fince our Savior certainly meant the fame Kingdom in his Anfwer, which they meant in the Queftion; and fince our Savior feems to affert that God's Kingdom was amongst thofe very perfons who asked him the queftion, and who cannot reafonably be fuppofed to have believed in Chrift; therefore the Kingdom feems uncapable of this fenfe in this place.

Wherefore the Kingdom of God muft fignify the time of the Meffiah, or the Gofpel-difpenfation. This interpretation is natural, and the Context requires it. For the appearance of the Meffiah was then Univerfally expected by the Jewish Nation; and therefore the Pharifees asked our bleffed Lord's opinion of it. And he knowing that they expected great Alterations and Changes in the World to usher it in, tells them, that it cometh not with obfervation, that is, with a remarkable pomp, fo that it may be thereby known and diftinguished. Neither fhall they fay, Lo here, or Lo


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

there; that is, Men fhall not fee fuch wonderful
Revolutions, as fhall cause them to speak one to
another after this manner, Lo here, or Lo there,
are Prodigies and ftrange Occurrences, which are
fure tokens of the Meffiah's coming for behold,
the Kingdom of God is within you, or as the Margin
of our Bibles reads it, among you; that is, the
time of the Meffiah is already come, the Gospel-
difpenfation is begun, 'tis preached amongst your
felves by me and my Apoftles; and therefore you
are not to look for another Kingdom of God, or
another Coming of the Meffiah, than that which
you do already fee.

I know our Adverfaries do infift very much up-
on the words, which our Tranflators have ren-
dred within, tho' the Margin reads it, as I do,
among. They fay, that Particle alwaies denotes
fomething internal, whereas that which is among
Men, is not within them, but rather without
them; that it is not in the inward parts of one is,
and the fame Man, but rather between different
perfons, and in no particular one. Now if our
Savior had faid, the Kingdom of God is within.
thee, the Objection had been fomewhat worth:
but fince he speaks in the Plural Number, 'tis of
no force. For , which we render you,
Multitude; and confequently we are not to ima-
gin, that what is here meant by the Kingdom of
God, was within every, or any particular Man;
but that it was in or within the Multitude, the
many perfons, confidered not feparately, but col-
lectively; and that which is thus in or within a
Multitude collectively confidered, is truly and
properly, not within every or any one, but among
them all.

L 3

I fhall

[ocr errors]

I shall illuftrate this Matter by a parallel instance. St. Peter faies to his Countrymen, Te men of Ifrael, hear these words. Jefus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles, and wonders, and figns, which God did by him in the midst of you, &c, Acts 2.22. The Words (par) in the midst of you, do certainly denote fomething as truly internal, as the word (s) within. But will any Man fay, that Chrift did his Miracles, Wonders, and Signs, within every, or any, particular Man? 'Tis certain, they were wrought in the midft, not of every, or any, particular Man, but of the Multitude collectively confidered, that is, among the Jewish Nation. And accordingly, the Kingdom of God was within, or among the Pharifees, that had is, it was appear'd to them. And this expreffion, The Kingdom of God is among you, is exactly anfwerable to thefe, The Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you, Luke 10. 9, 11. and the Kingdom of God is come upon you, Luke 11. 20. that is, the Meffiah has appear'd to you. And all thefe Expreffions are capable of being explained by thofe Menacing words of our Lord, The Kingdom of God fhall be taken from you, and given to a Nation bringing forth the fruits thereof, Matt. 21.43. That is, whereas the Meffiah has appear'd to you, and you have not received him; therefore that invaluable Bleffing fhall be withdrawn from you, you fhall be blinded and hardned, and the Gofpel fall be preached to the Gentile World. So that their ha ving the Kingdom of God among them, nigh them, or upon them, is oppofed to their having it taken from them. And indeed, if we confider the Context, it plainly requires, that should be tranflated among. For the Pharifees asked, when the Kingdom of God frould come; and our Lord an



fwers, it is vos r. So that its being the fame as its being come; that is, come unto them, or actually among them. For the Pharifees, who asked this queftion, were very far from imagining, that the Gofpel-difpenfation should be within them. No, they expected, that the Meffiah should appear, and his Kingdom should be erected, not within particular perfons, but within their Nation, that is, among them.

However, that I may bring this matter to a conclufion, the phrafe is capable but of four Senfes at the most. I have proved that two of them are impoffible; that a third is impoffible alfo, unless the word To be tranflated among, which is the only objection against the fourth and laft. One of the two laft therefore must be chofen, and this difficulty is equal in either of them. I think, I have faid enough to take it away. If our Adverfaries think otherwife; I hope they will do it better. But this is certain, that in what fenfe foever the Kingdom of God be faid to be () within Men, yet the Kingdom of God cannot fignify the pretended Univerfal Light of our Adverfaries. For that interpretation has neither Reason nor Example to favor it.

10. Our Savior faies, I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he fhall live for ever. And the bread that I will give him, is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the World, John 6.51. And again, Except ye eat the flesh of the fon of man, and drink his blond, ye have no life in you, V. 53. Now our Adverfaries fay, that this flesh and bloud of our Savior is the Univerfal Light within. But for what reafon? Do Chrift's flesh and bloud, either in any part of the Scripture, or amongst the Jewish Writers, fignify L 4

a real,

« PreviousContinue »