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Change even our night to day, or send stars to minister therein. We pray that thy blessing may fill us all with a sense of our own blessings, and with a sense of that better life and that better land which lie just beyond this world.
We pray, O God, that thou wilt grant thy blessing to-day upon all that gather together in the great congregations of these contiguous cities. May all who preach be able to do it with simplicity, with an inward understanding of thy truth, out of hearts that have been melted by that truth, and with power sent down by the Holy Ghost from on high. And we pray that thou wilt grant more and more that the truth may be efficacious in turning men from darkness to light, and from sin to holiness.
We pray that thy blessing may rest upon all those who devise morality; upon all those who work for the purification of morals; upon all those who seek to build up our times in justice, and temperance, and fidelity, and honesty.
Wilt thou bless this whole land? Remember the President of these United States, and all those who are joined with him in authority; and grant that thy blessing evermore may guide them into the things which shall be for the stability of our times, and for the welfare of this great people. Bless the Congress assembled, and all the legislatures of our several States, and the courts, and their officers, and all the citizens of this great land. May the poor and the needy be ministered unto. May the ignorant have light and knowledge brought unto them. May those who are drawn away from thee by prosperity be brought again to their Lord and their God. Spare this great people. Save them from judgments vindicating thy justice. Grant that they may walk in the ways of truth and righteousness into fidelity, and that they may become a people raised up of God to rain the light of liberty and true piety on all the nations of the earth. Make haste to fulfill thy promises, to bring in Jew and Gentile as one family, without divisions, without hatreds, without bickerings and contentions. May the whole earth at last rest in peace, in the salvation of its God.
And to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit shall be praises everlasting. Amen.
PRAYER AFTER THE SERMON.
OUR Father, we beseech of thee that thou wilt bless the word spoken, that it may be a word of instruction, of incitement, and of comfort. Be with those who need thee most; those who are under temptation; those who are grievously burdened; those who are discouraged by the greatness of the way. Be as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land to those who are faint in the wilderness of their life. O Lord, we pray that thou wilt be bread to those who are starving, whether of heart hunger or hunger of body. Draw near to those who are blind so that they cannot see the way, and be eyes to them.
Be near to those who are sitting desolate as captives in a prison. Grant that they may have deliverance in thee. Be with all thy servants of every name. More and more fill them with thy spirit. Take away their sins and their temptations, and exalt them into the beauty of holiness.
Lead thy flock like a shepherd through the wilderness; and bring it at last, with exceeding joy and glory, into thine own presence in the world to come. And to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit shall be the praise evermore. Amen.
SUMMER IN THE SOUL.
"Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.”—LUKE xvii., 21.
This same declaration runs through the New Testament. Under different forms, the truth was known in the Old Testament that the power of life lay, not in external things, but in the internal nature and dispositions of men; yet there was great emphasis put upon it by the Saviour and his apostles: You will find, for instance, Paul, in the 14th of Romans, saying, "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink." Now meat and drink" refers unquestionably to the sacrificial elements, or to the most solemn and significant part of the symbolic worship of the Temple-that, therefore, to which the Jews attached a very precious significance. The apostle says, "The kingdom of God is not these instruments of worship, these symbols of truth: it is righteousness, right-living -that is, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." And then, as if he had an eye to the thousand and one sects which prevail, each one claiming everybody, and each one, with more or less uncharitableness, holding it to be very uncertain whether any would be saved that did not belong to their church, he adds, "He that in these things [that is, in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost] serveth Christ, is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
He that has these right inward dispositions, then, is orthodox, put him in any sect you please. You may set a diamond in pewter, or in lead, or in copper or brass, or in silver or gold, and it is a diamond still. It is a diamond in all settings. So you may put a man who
SUNDAY MORNING, April 12, 1874. Collection) Nos. 255. 604. 1262
LESSON: Rom. xiii. HYMNS (Plymouth
pre-eminently has the spirit of Christ in him into any sect (I do not care which one you call the lead, or the pewter, or the copper, or the brass, or the silver, or the gold), it is the Christ-disposition that makes him approved of men and accepted of God. It is not his orderliness, it is not his lineage, it is not his social connections, it is not his various obediences, it is not his worship or service, but all that lies back of these, and which these were designed to feed and to educate, that determines his manhood. It is not in points of belief, it is not in organized philosophical doctrines, that the kingdom of God consists. The kingdom of God may be ministered to by these things, but the kingdom of God itself is soul-power. It is the living force of a living man. And when that living force of a living man is inspired of God, when it moves according to the divine disposition, then it is the kingdom of God.
There is something in this declaration—namely, the localization of the root of God's kingdom in the individual. We are accustomed to hear it said that the kingdom of God is in the church. I hope it is. It would be hard for any church that had not in it one man who had the kingdom of God in him; and when the church has such a man in it, it has in it the kingdom of God; but the church is not that kingdom. No association of good men distinctively and primarily is the kingdom of God. God's kingdom establishes itself in the individual; and wherever there is a single person who has in him righteousness, joy, love and peace, these distinctively Christian traits ruling in him, there is the kingdom of God, and, so far as the individual is concerned, the disposition of God, the whole of it, or the elements out of which its wholeness is yet to be completed. It is a perfect thing in an individual. Now, you may multiply individuals, and thus augment their power by association; but the Kingdom of God resides in each person,-or nowhere.
You will take notice how, in the New Testament, without ostentation, without the blowing of any trumpet, without the making of any declaration, the unit is shifted. In the Hebrew economy, the father was the federal head of the family. The whole family stood in him. Still more was this
so in the Roman administration and commonwealth. child was in the father, and the father owned the wife and the servant. Therefore, in the more barbarous periods of the early ages, when the father had committed a sin, the whole family was punished; because the family was he, and he was it. The household was a unit. But, without saying anything on the subject, the New Testament quietly assumes that the individual is the unit in society, and that the child is not held responsible for the parent, nor the parent for the child when he is grown, but each one for himself. It is thus declared in the language of the apostle :
"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." Now, if you put the emphasis wrong, you stumble on that passage. Many men read it, "So then every one of us shall give account of himself "; they think it is a solemn declaration of accountability. But the emphasis should not be put on the word account; particular reference is made to every separate individual person, and the passage should be read, "Every one shall give account of himself to God." It stands in the argument, saying that a man must be let alone; that is, that he is free; and that because he is free, you have no right to domineer over him by your authority, nor to make your conscience the pattern of his thought-that he is responsible to God. To his own master he stands or falls. “Every one shall give account of himself to God." Therefore stand out of his way, and do not oppress him, nor hinder him, nor shackle him. It is an argument of individual liberty.
This is the great truth of the New Testament-namely, that in the spiritual realm each one stands for a whole. We are not regarded by the Lord primarily as composite elements of the church nor as members of a family or of a nationthough we hold all these subsidiary and subordinate relationships. Each individual of us is looked upon as an empire, as a kingdom; and when rightly builded and related, it is the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven.
Now, this kingdom does not exist in men by nature. It comes not with observation. It is not a physical kingdom; it is not a fleshly kingdom: it is a kingdom that is set up in