Page images
PDF
EPUB

and give alms, provide bags that wax not old, a treafure in heaven that faileth not. -Go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treafure in heaven; and come follow me.!'. They go away joyful, doing as he bid them, knowing that they had in heaven a better and enduring substance, being begotten again to a lively hope of an inheritance incora ruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in the heavens. Such a sort of a change was made by the gospel on the first disciples. They forfuok all and followed him, whether they were fishera men, or publicans, or the three thousand, or Paul, or the strangers scattered abroad to whom Peter writes. The world was at odds with them; looked upon them as dead to the world; and they at as much odds with the world, being crucified, dead, and buried to it, and risen to a better hope by the resurection of Christ.

Now as baptism was what the believers were called to as evidential of all this; for so soon as the three thonfand believed Peter's preaching, they enquire, " what they shall do ?” His answer is, “ repent, and be baptised;" as if he should say, " repent

of opposition to a crucified Christ, come over on his fide, be baptised in his name, taking your lot with him”; say, as baptism was what they were first called to as evidential of this, they might be said to be buried withi him in baptism: For however in danger any might seem to be of being taken in with that sect which was every where spoken against ; yet while they were anbaptised, undetermined, their earthly friends conceived some hopes of prevailing on them to fhun that fect, and have nothing to do with them. But being gone over On the Lord's side, baptised in his name, appearing quite determined to take their lot with him through poverty, reproach, or what ever he was pleased to call them to, they are looked upon as dead and buried; as who should say that day, “ My

" My -- was baptifed. My " hopes in him were then buried, I used all means

66 be

your formet

I

16 him.

before, and conceived some hopes of preventing

But now they seem to be as much over, as if he was dead, and buried.And thefe expressions of being crucified, dead, and buried, and risen with Christ, are what often occur in the writings of the apostles, who knew if the knowledge of the gospel had not fonie such effects as were signified by these expressions, it would be of no avail. And thus they agree with Jefus Christ, who fays, “ whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."

disciple.” This was the case in the time of the first disciples. And though now the established form of Christianity in any place may be decently put on, and worn without all this; yet if

any even in our

ic contend for their faith and order, turning their back on every thing in religion that has not the authority of Christ and his apostles, and follow him wherever his word leads them; let them judge, if they find not fomething similar to what has been above described, in breaking from their old connexions ? Or let such fay, who have lost their relations in this

way,

whether something similar was not their language that day their relative or friend professed faith in and subjection to Jesus Chrift!

But to return from what appeared at firit view a digression, to the confideration of the glory of Christ, as the God that forgiveth iniquities, that healeth difeases, that is the object of the worship of angels, and of his church--that receives divine honours from the Father, whofe will it is, that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father. The digression which has been made, illustrates this subject, as it shews hin setting up his heavenly kingdoni as the antitype of Israel after the flesh, imputing righteousness without works, and fo conftituting members of his kingdom by his own righteousness, according to his fovereign pleasure ; which appears in that his mercy

D

is

is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto childrens children, to such as keep his covenant, and remember his commandments to do them-and in the promise being to believers and their children. The ist and ad verses of the xxxii. Pfalm, compared with Romans iv. 6. 7. shews 'tis the prerogative of the Lord God alone thus to impute righteousness without works : Which is undeniably evident in the case of infants, who have none. And that this is the case with every subject of his kingdom, HE has determined, whose prerogative it is to open, and none can shut, and shut, and none can open. Mark x. 14

Verily I say unto you, whosoever shatl not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein."

To proceed, What follows in the 19th verse of the ciii. Pfalm, confirms me in the apprehension, that it is agreeable to illustrate the 17th and 18th verfes by coniparing them (as I have done) with Acts ii. 39. For it is faid verse 19. “ the Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom ruleth over all, which may be illustrated by a comparison with Ads ii. 23. and verse 31. " therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the gift of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear.” This exaltation of Jesus Christ to his throne in the heavens, was manifest when he received of the Father the gift of the Holy Ghost, and shed it forth on his disciples, by ferting up his kingdom that shall rule over all. In view of this, the angels are called upon “ to bless the Lord (verse 20) that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word.Thefe are said to be “ ministering fpirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation." Hebrews i. 14. they being ministers in his kingdom, round the throne and the elders, and the living creatures, (Rev. vii. 11.) ready to do his commandments, hearkening to the voice

of

of his word. They excel in strength. (Hebrew mighty in strength, according to the bible margin.) Their agility and might are employed for the promotion of his cause and kingdom in the protection of his people, and destruction of their enemies. Psalm xxxiv. 7 " The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them." An instance of this we have in Elisha, 2d of Kings' vi. 17. " And he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." What these chariots were we may see by comparing Psalm lxviii. 17.

16 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels.” With respect to their enemies, 'tis faid, psalm xxxv. 5. " Let them be as chaff before the wind, and let the angel of the Lord chase them." verse 6. " Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the Lord persecute them." An instance we have of this in 2d of Kings xix. 35. and ad of Chronicles xxxii. 21.

6 And the Lord sent an angel-and the angel of the Lord went

that night-and destroyed in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand.” These angels are not only hearkening to the voice of his word, ready to do his commandments ; but ac-, cording to the direction in the text, “ bless the Lord, ye his angels,” they are round the throne, and round the redeemed church, ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of them, saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to re

and riches, and wisdom, and firength, and honour, and glory, and blessing, Rev. v. 11, 12,

There may be also respect had to the ministering servants of this kingdom here on earth, which he gave as gifts to men at his ascension on high, namely, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, Are they not called the angels of the churches ? Rev, i. 20. while the others are round the throne, and the D 2

redeemed

out

ceive power,

redeemed church in Heaven. These are for the perm fecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ here upon earth. These may be said to be mighty in strength; as the apostle says, so the weapons of our warfare 'are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong holds ; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2d of Corin. X. 4, 5.

These were those that did his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word, “ We ought (say they) to obey God rather than man.'' These are among his hosts, the ministers of his that do his pleasure—and are called upon in view of what is celebrated in the foregoing Psalm, “ to bless the Lord, with all his works, in all places of his dominion." And who that is led from a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, as the just desert of his transgressions, to know the much forgiveness, loving kindness, and tender mercies, celebrated in the foregoing part of this Pfalm, but will say, 6 bless the Lord, O my soul ?? And who upon seeing that the righteousness which procures forgiveness is to chịldrens children of them that fear him, but will again say, when he looks on his children in hope of their sharingin that mercy, “ bless the Lord, O my foul?” especially when any of their infant 'offspring are taken away by death, as the fruit of the divine displeasure for the disobedience of the one man with whom they were connected. The hope of righteousness without works reckoned unto thein, will excite bim to say, $ bless the Lord, O my soul, -especially considering that the worker of this righteousness is not only raised from the dead in proof of its being finished; but is exalted at the Father's right hand, head of all principalities and

powers,

and

every name that is named, head of his body the church, and head over all things

to

« PreviousContinue »