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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody



Luke xvii.21.

The prayer that the kingdom of God might come had long been familiar to the Hebrews. They had been for centuries dreaming of a time when their tyrants should be overcome and their nation delivered and their God rule. But all this desire was for an outward change. Some day the Romans and their tax-gatherers should be expelled from the land and then the kingdom would come. Jesus repeats the same prayer, but with a new significance in the familiar words. He is not thinking of a Hebrew theocracy, or a Roman defeat; he is thinking of a human, universal, spiritual emancipation. There dawns before his inspired imagination the unparalleled conception of a purified and regenerated people. Never did a modern socialist in his dream of a better outward order surpass this vision of Jesus of a coming kingdom of God.


But to Jesus the means to that outward transformation were always personal and individual. The golden age, as Mr. Spencer has said, could not be made out of leaden people. The first condition of the outward kingdom must be the kingdom within. The new order must be the product of the new life. That is the doctrine of the social order in the Lord's Prayer.

We too are looking for outward reform in legislation and economics. It is all a part of the movement to the kingdom of God. Yet any outward transformation which is to last proceeds from regenerated lives. The kingdom of God is within before it is without. Do you want a better world? Well, plan for it, and work for it. But, first of all, enter into the inner chamber of your prayer, and say: |Lord, make me a fit instrument of thy kingdom. Purify my heart, that I may purify thy world. I would live for others' sakes, but first of all that great self-sacrifice must be obeyed: 'For their sakes I sanctify myself, Reign thus in me that I may rationally pray: Thy kingdom come!'|

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