But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come on you.
Lasting power shows solid worth. The corrupt empire falls; the false system is exploded; the demoralizing custom is discarded. That which, under all changes, shows itself strong and enduring, is proved to be sound and good. But add the element of benignity. Jesus Christ adduces his beneficent power in the expulsion of evil spirits from the bodies of men as a convincing evidence of the Divine presence; that being done, "no doubt the kingdom of God is come." Power for good, for healing, for restoring, for transforming, such power continuing for many generations and acting under all skies, - "no doubt" that is from above; it is of God. If we find that Christianity has proved itself to be the one great benignant power in the world, exerting a gracious, redeeming, elevating influence on humanity, then "no doubt the kingdom of God is come" upon us. We shall see that this is so if we consider -
I. THE STATE OF SOCIETY WHEN JESUS CAME. And we have to take into our account the parental tyranny; the position of woman in her state of inferiority and even degradation; the universal sentiment toward the stranger or the foreigner, spoken of and treated as a "barbarian" and an enemy; the prevalence of war, and its conduct with every imaginable cruelty and the most shocking recklessness of life; the prevalence of slavery under a system in which the slaves were regarded and treated as absolutely without any rights or claims whatsoever; the existence of gladiatorial shows, in which the lives of hundreds of strong men in the midst of life were sacrificed for sport to men and even to women; the common usage of infanticide; the abundance of pauperism, existing to such an extent that in the time of Caesar "nearly three-fourths of the whole population of the city of Rome were on the roll of public succor;" the institution of torture; the practice of licentious shows, and of unnatural and unnameable vices. We have here no more than a bare outline of the evils which existed in the world when "Jesus was born at Bethlehem."
II. WHAT AMELIORATION CHRISTIANITY HAS WROUGHT AND IS WORKING. Three things have to be mentioned - one to be admitted, and the other two to be maintained.
1. That there have been one or two auxiliary forces in the field, which have contributed towards the elevation of mankind; but theirs has been very much indeed the smaller share.
2. That Christianity was prevented from doing all it would have done by being bitterly opposed.
3. That its action has been most pitifully weakened by its truth having been so greatly corrupted. But what, notwithstanding, has it accomplished .9
(1) It has cast out the demon of parental tyranny, and made the child to be the object of respect and kindness.
(2) It has raised woman, and made her the helpmeet, in every way, of her husband, causing her to be treated with deference and consideration.
(3) It has mitigated the terrible severities of war, carrying its red cross of succor into the very midst of the battle-field, and, to a large extent, removing its hideous savagery.
(4) It has gone far towards exorcising the demon of slavery.
(5) It has abolished the shameful scenes of the old Roman arena.
(6) It has extinguished infanticide and torture wherever it has authority to legislate.
(7) It is carrying on a stern and victorious campaign against impurity and intemperance.
(8) It has built hospitals, lunatic asylums, reformatories, orphanages, almshouses, by the hundred, by the thousand.
(9) It has opened the school-door in which youth everywhere is prepared for the duties, the joys, and the conflicts of life.
(10) It has sent forth its many hundreds of heralds to carry light, peace, love, purity, wisdom, into the haunts of superstition, violence, and vice.
(11) It is penetrating the worst slums of our great cities, seeking out the prod, me, the abandoned, the criminal; and with its touch of holy pity, which surely proceeds from "the finger of God," it is casting out the demons of sin and shame. At the present rate of progress, another half-century will see a most wonderful and glorious change in the aspect of the human world.
III. THE CONCLUSION THAT WE DRAW. If Christianity has done, is doing, will do, all this, then "no doubt "in its advent we have the coming of the "kingdom of God." No doubt Christ has that to say to us which it is infinitely worth our while to know; that to do for us it is our highest privilege to have done on our behalf; that to be to us which it is immeasurably desirable he should be. Let us learn of him; be led by him into paths of sacred service; and invite him to become our personal Lord and Savior. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.