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Thirdly, because God would exercise the Faith and other graces of his Spirit in his own Children, that they might believe in and love Jesus Christ for his spiritual Beauty, though {at particular seasons} there appears nothing but spiritual Beauty, and no outward Beauty, as no outward Kingdom doth appear, but he reign as a Spiritual King only. It was a great and a glorious thing, in those three wise men that came to Christ that offered Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh to Christ when he was in a Manger; and so for God’s people now to believe in him, now to love, now to rejoice in him, now to offer all to him; for now his Kingdom is darkened, now he doth appear so despised as he is; for this is a glorious work of Faith, and we should desire much to be found in this way of faith, in looking upon this Spiritual Beauty that is in Christ, and satisfying our souls in that; that so we may not be offended at the darkening of Christ’s Kingdom outwardly in the world; and the less Christ doth appear to reign outwardly in the world, the less glorious his Kingdom doth appear outwardly, the more let us labor to bring our hearts under his spiritual Reign of Grace. The more others say, “we will not have this man reign over us,” the more let our souls subject themselves to him, and say, “Christ is our KING,” and may he reign forever over us; yea, let us labor to sympathize with Jesus Christ in the darkening of his glory and of his Kingdom.

Jesus Christ, though he be the glory of his Father, “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his Person,” yet is he contented to have his glory darkened for a season. Therefore who are we that we must have glory in this world and outward excellencies, when Christ is willing to be without them? Let us be willing to go like the Witnesses, clothed in Sackcloth, till Christ comes to reign. There are white shining garments prepared, but that time is not yet, though it will not be long. The Bridegroom yet seems to be absent, and therefore it is fit for the Spouse to go low and mean in the mourning weeds as a widow; the trimming of the Bride in her outward glory, may come hereafter, when Christ shall come in glory into the World. Lastly, the Kingdom of Christ is darkened for a while outwardly, and therefore it should teach us to bless God so much the more for that opportunity that we have of setting up Christ as King amongst us; for thus far, the Voice is not heard much, that the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth abroad in the world, though lately some noise we have heard; but, blessed be God, in our Congregations amongst us, may we hear the Voice, that the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.

It is through our own wretched wickedness, if his Kingly Power be not fully set up amongst us in all his Ordinances; and that we should have an opportunity to set up his Kingly Power amongst us here, while it is so much opposed, and so little known in the world, it is a great mercy indeed. Therefore let us take heed of abusing that opportunity we have, for darkening the Kingly Power of Christ, which we profess to set up; especially in these {apostate} times, when there comes to be a Voice, though confusedly, from the Multitude, and some kind of Voice of thunder from the great ones. But though it be dark for a while, certainly he shall reign, and the Voice will be glorious and distinctive, saying, “Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

William Kiffin {Glimpse of Zion’s Glory, or the Churches Beauty Specified, 1641}
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