28 April 2023

Bishop Challoner's Meditations - Friday After the Second Sunday


Consider first, that in this second petition we pray for the kingdom of God. Now, we find in holy writ that the kingdom of God is understood in three different ways. First, of the eternal kingdom of God in heaven. 2ndly, of the spiritual kingdom of Christ in his church upon earth. 3rdly, of the mystical kingdom of God in our souls, according to that of our Saviour, (Luke xvii. 21,) ‘The kingdom of God is within you.’ And in this petition, ‘Thy kingdom come,’ we pray for the kingdom of God, according to all these three acceptations of his kingdom. See, my soul, how ample and extensive this petition is, and how noble and sublime those things are which thou art here taught to petition for. Stand astonished that a poor worm of the earth, extracted from nothing, and which is infinitely more humbling, taken up from the dunghill of sin and corruption, should be authorised to aspire after a kingdom, even an eternal kingdom, to live and reign for endless ages, with the living God. Yet this we are here taught to pray for, with an assurance of being heard, if we pray as we ought, by him who has the disposing of this kingdom. And this is one part of the import of this petition, and contains an act of divine hope.

Consider 2ndly, that as the kingdom of God is often taken in the Scriptures to signify that spiritual kingdom which Christ came to establish upon earth, and his reign in his church, in which he is both King and Priest for ever; so, in this petition, we are also to have an eye upon the propagation and exaltation of this kingdom of Christ; by earnestly begging that the reign of Satan and of sin may have an end; that all infidels may be enlightened by the light of the gospel; that all heresies, schisms, and errors may be rooted out; that all vices and scandals may be abolished among Christians, and that divine faith, hope, and charity, with all other virtues, may reign both in all the pastors of God’s church, and in all the people of God. So that here is also exercised an act of perfect love, both with relation to God, by desiring that his kingdom, his grace, and his truth, may be victorious over all the world; and with relation to all mankind, by praying that all men may be subdued to that happy kingdom, and may be true and faithful subjects to this great King.

Consider 3rdly, that, as true charity should begin at home, we are particularly to have in view in this petition the establishment of the kingdom of God in our own souls, by heartily desiring, and earnestly praying that God may come to us, and take full possession of our souls by his grace; that he may set up his throne within us, and reign without control and without rival in our hearts; that he may suppress all rebellions there, subdue all our passions, and make our whole interior his own, by giving us a strong and perfect love for him. O blessed kingdom of divine love! When wilt thou come to me? When wilt thou be established in my soul? When will thy sacred flames consume in me all that is in any ways displeasing to my God, or that dares to rebel against him?

Conclude to make it thy business to seek, in the first place, this kingdom of God, by procuring his justice in thy soul; and, as he has promised, nothing else shall be wanting to thee. God must first be King in thy soul here, if thou ever hope to arrive at his eternal kingdom hereafter.

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