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ON THE SWORD

THE FIRST PASSAGE

Christ says to Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world; if it were of this world my servants would doubtless fight for me, that I should not be delivered to the Jews."—John xviii., 36.

From this Scripture many brothers say, "A Christian may not bear the sword, since the kingdom of Christ is not of this world." Answer: If these people would use their eyes aright, they would say a very different thing, namely, that our kingdom should not be of this world. But with sorrow we lament before God that it is of this world, as we testify when we offer the Lord's Prayer, "Father, thy kingdom come." For we are in the kingdom of the world, which is a kingdom of sin, death and hell. But Father, help thou us out of this kingdom; we stick in it clear over ears, and shall not be freed from it till the end; it clings to us even in death. Lord, forgive us this evil, and help us home into thy kingdom! Yet such brothers must see and confess the truth, that our kingdom is of this world, which should cause us heartfelt sorrow. But Christ alone could say with truth, "My kingdom is not of this world," since he was conceived and born without sin, a lamb without blemish, in whom is no deceit, but without sin and any spot. He alone with truth might also say, "The prince of this

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