The government of Jesus Christ is hated and opposed here. This fact, alas! in human history, cannot be denied. We do not speak of Satan and his angels, who war against the Lord, nor even of His unconscious foes among the heathen; but only of those men who possess the Bible, and all the means of knowing the will of their Divine King. Yet how many among them are His open and avowed enemies. There is not one feature of His character which men do not blaspheme,—not one act of His government at which they do not cavil. He is alleged to be unrighteous in His commands; unfair in His treatment of mankind; unwise in His arrangements; unfaithful in His words; and even vindictive, unmerciful, implacable in His judgments, and in no respect worthy of man’s love and obedience. Jesus of Nazareth—believed in by the Church, known and loved by all its living members—is still “despised and rejected of men.” Nor are His enemies ashamed to speak out their thoughts, and openly to scorn and ridicule Him; asserting that He has no right to govern them or the world,—and thus “denying the Lord that bought them.” Now, as on the day of His crucifixion, a rabble of all ranks, talents, and professions, cry, “Away with this fellow;” while they demand in His stead some Barabbas “hero” of their own to worship. There is often manifested an opposition to Christianity which assumes the aspect of personal hatred. We do not at all allude in these pages to the sincere, reverential man, who doubts, questions, argues, opposes, sifts, denies, rejects, while endeavouring, with an honest mind, to discover and believe the truth, whatever that may be; nor to the sadness of spirit of one who wishes “the glad tidings” to be true, but cannot arrive at a conclusion so desirable for his own good and peace, as well as for that of society; nor to the effects of a peculiar constitutional temperament which has a tendency first to doubt and invest everything with darkness, and then endeavours in vain to dispel what itself creates. But when we speak of infidels and unbelievers, we speak of ungodly men who dislike the truth of God, and who manifest this dislike in their triumph when any supposed error in the life or the doctrines of Jesus Christ is detected, or any evil (for which He is held responsible) is exposed in His followers, and who keep an ample mantle of charity for those who disbelieve, but none for those who believe in Jesus Christ as their only Saviour.
This opposition to the government of God through Jesus Christ has not been a temporary outburst by a few only. The kingdom of Satan has existed here since the fall of man, side by side with Christ’s kingdom, and opposed it in every age and clime. The kingdom of holiness and peace has never entered the soul of any living man, without first meeting, and then overcoming, enmity and ill-will by the power of truth and love. It has never entered a single country on the surface of the globe without terrible