« PreviousContinue »
have no part in this resurrection; with "the rest of the dead" they "live not as yet." The flock, therefore, now separated, is the same as the field, where the wheat and tares grow together until the harvest; the same as the great net, including of all kinds, which the fishers drag on shore, and select the good from the bad.
The parable before us teaches us this, that the separation which will then take place among the professed believers in the Gospel, who are all supposed to have the form of godliness, will coincide with the genuine influence of Christian love; and could you discern God's discrimination of his own, now, amidst his undivided flock, you would see this to be the constant concomitant of the divine choice; his people are "taught of him to love one another." By consequence, this affords the criterion of individual character, as far as characters are evidenced, in the sight of men here upon earth. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another."-" By this we know that we are passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion on him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"
The inference from this, as it concerns all the waiting family of Christ, is evident: it ascertains beyond doubt the eternal rejection of every professed Christian, in whose heart this love is not shed abroad: it ascertains that all who do love are the sheep of Christ," the righteous" or justified," "the elect of God, whom he hath chosen before the foundations of the world were laid"-" chosen in Christ unto salvation:" it ascertains that all who love Christ, and love him when manifested in his people, are heirs of the kingdom, and shall reign with Christ in glory.
Remarks on Matt. xxvi. 29; Luke, xx. 28; Matt. xxvi. 64. In addition to these direct and more copious prophecies respecting the coming of Christ in his kingdom, I cannot but call the reader to remark the language of our blessed Master, when he had instituted his sacramental supper:
Matt. xxvi. 29. "But I say to you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine," Mark, "I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine,"-" until the day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom,"- Mark, "till I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
I conceive Christ, after his resurrection, could not be said to partake with his people in their spiritual enjoyments, which they tasted through the Spirit. therefore, I conclude, must refer to the unknown and altogether new enjoyments of God's good creatures, which glorified spirits will have in the world to come, when they drink of the river of pleasures that is at God's right hand for ever. 1
Of the same kind I consider our Lord's promise to his disciples:
Luke, xxii. 28. "Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations, and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
Earthly things are employed as metaphors and symbols: a king's royal entertainment of his favoured friends,the gift of thrones and sceptres. Heavenly realities are certainly signified, but, at the same time, these realities must, in some sort, correspond to their signs.
I have but one passage more to quote from the evangelists it is the declaration of the blessed Jesus when adjured by the high priest, the true application of which the passages already considered will have afforded.
Matt. xxvi. 64. "Hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."
- Surely a spiritual Israelite would, and will still exclaim, Oh, that thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down, that at thy presence the mountains might melt away, as when the fire is kindled in the wasting stubble ―as the waters which the fire hath made to boil; to make known thy name to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!"
Isaiah, xi. 6, 7, 8, 9, and to lxv. 25, "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb," &c. The oldest tradition of antiquity, there
fore, we may certainly challenge in favour of a style of interpreting Scripture which appears to some
Remarks on some Passages in the First, Second, and Third Chapters of the Acts of the Apostles.
We are told, in the Acts of the Holy Apostles, that our blessed Lord, during the " forty days" between his resurrection and ascension, when he occasionally appeared to his disciples, “spake of the things concerning the kingdom of God." We may, however, fairly conclude, that nothing had transpired in these his last instructions, to alter, in the minds of his followers, those views of the final establishment of the kingdom of Messiah-to reign at Jerusalem and unto the end of the earth-which, with all the Jews, they had received from the perusal of the Old Testament: for "when they were come together," to witness his ascension,—
They asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou, at this time, restore the kingdom unto Israel?"
This question takes for granted that such an event was to happen. They question their divine Master, not as to the fact, but as to the time. His answer, too, admits the justness of their expectations, but checks their inquiries as to the period:
"It is not for you to know the times and seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power."
The appointment of the kingdom to our Lord and Saviour is ever considered as the gift of the Father, to
reward the merits of his only begotten Son, become the Son of Man, and destined to share the glory thus acquired with all his brethren," the children whom God hath given him." He, therefore, represents himself as waiting, at the head of his adopted family, the Father's pleasure concerning the kingdom, while, as their great Mediator, he offers up the prayers of his people for its coming.
It belongs to our subject, also, to notice the declaration of the angels, at the time of the Redeemer's ascension:
"While they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight: and while they looked steadfastly towards heaven, as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, — which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
These celestial visitants evidently speak to the disciples as representatives of the church of God upon earth. They themselves, as individuals in the flesh, would not see him come again on the earth, they would "die, not having received the promise;" but the church is still to keep up the expectation of her Redeemer's coming-of his personal appearance in the clouds of heaven, as the ancient prophets and himself had said.
Compare with this St. Peter's address to the Jews after the day of Pentecost:
"Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come,”