Изображения страниц

Our Lord, by speaking to the Apostles of sending another Paracletus, appears to have intimated that he himself had been previously considered by them in that light—and by {peaking of sending that other to the Apostles in particular, we fern to have reason to think that he had been particularly a Paracletus to them. But, in what fense? Or rather, in what sense principally? Mr. Ludlam says "Whatever were the advani ages which the Apostles enjoyed, inconsequence of our Lord's presence, and on which they set so high a va. lue, as, it appears from their extreme grief under the apprehension of losing them, they did, they could not be oiajpiritual nature." But, is not this rather a bold negation? Isaiah hwb these remarkable words recorded in his prophecy. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor: he hath sent me to heat the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised—to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." Now where shall we find any words more spiritual or more comfortable than these? These our Lord read in the Synagogue of Capernaum, and immediately added " This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."—In the fame Synagogue he afterwards discoursed of "eating his flesh and drinking his blood" and added—" Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life: and I will raise him up at the last day." Was this too, certainly not of a spiritual nature? When he assured Martha that her brother should rise again, he added " I am the resurrection and the .life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." And to convince her that he really wai so, he railed Lazarus from the grave, and thereby gave a third proof of his having a dominion over death. Ought we now to take it tor granted, that all this was certainly not of a spiritual nature? His two discourses at Capernaum had, we find, such an effect on the twelve, that they said :" To whom should we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life" Of course, they must have thought that his discourses were of a spiritual nature, and such as they could not expect from any other Teacher. The benefits then which the Jews received from our Lord, appear to have been of a spiritual nature, and no less consolatory than spiritual. Should your correspondent be inclined to doubt the latter point as having a tendency to shew the fallacy of his conclusion, he


might be referred to that remarkable address of our Lord to the Jews, which is recorded by St. Matthew,—" Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye {hall find rest unto your fouls," and reminded that he forgave sins.—Now as the Apostles certainly appear to have received information of a spiritual kind and highly consolatory—and—as "Jesus certainly meant that the other Paracletus should convey to them benefits similar to those, which they received from him," •' they would therefore, of course, think that this other Paracletus, whom God would fend to supply the loss they should sustain by their Lord's departure, would make good to them the benefits, which they expected, (or rather had experienced) from his presence," viz. by becoming a comforter as well as an instructor.

vAfter having made this very bold negation, your correspdndent would have it believed that the advantages, at the thoughts of losing which, the Apostles grieved extremely, ■were no other than those " which were to be derived from that information, relating to his person and offices, which he was desirous of enabling them to attend to and collect"—that is —it should seem by what immediately follows, the advantages of understanding better the ancient prophecies. But did our Lord in those places alluded to, viz. John v. 39. 46. and Luke xxiv. 27. refer the Apojlles to the scriptures? In the verses alluded to in St John, our Lord referred the unbelieving Jews to the scriptures, and to those scriptures only which had at that time been fulfilled. The Apostles surely, who had followed him as the Messiah from the beginning, who would not desert him when almost all the other disciples did, who had followed him from Galilee to Judea at the hazard of their lives, and, who had unanimously declared that they would sooner die with him than deny him, cannot be supposed to have stood in much need of this advice at the last passover—and especially those three pillars who were with him in the holy mount; who, it seems (however sure the word of prophecy may have been according to Mr. L's. suggestion) had, in the opinion of some, at that time one most remarkable prophecy made pretty much more sure "when there came to the Lord Jesus Christ from the excellent glory such a voice " This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." The other words alluded to, viz. those Luke xxiv. 27. were used aster the resurrection, and relate chiefly to

that that event, of which the Apostles were fully convinced before the Paracletus was sent, and were not spoken to the Apostles, if to any one Apostle, and consequently, if these may be pressed into the service, why should not those other words in the fame chap. v. 45, 46. be adduced as a counterpoise. "Then opened he their understandings that they might understand the scriptures. And said unto them—Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."—Or those of St. Matthew—" Go ye therefore and teach all the nations, baptizing them, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." After the Apostles had had their understandings opened to apprehend the true application of the prophecies, and the will of God concerning Gentiles, why should we be expected to believe that the Holy Ghost was promised to be sent only to convince them of these matters? He, no doubt, could, and he, no doubt, did, bring all things to their remembrance, and guide them into all truth, but whether he performed the same Office exa&ly in the same Way, may be rather a question with some. However necessary it may have been that he should be sent in order to produce that sort of conviction, he does not seem to have been sent for that purpose only, even by the testimony of our Lord—who not only said to the Apostles, at the fame time, that he was to convince the world (but not the Apostles) of fin, because they believed not in him—but also of a righteousness and judgment—Nor for that purpose above any other.

Having now discovered something like a reason-for withholding our assent to Mr. Ludlam's decision on this point, —Let us fee if the assistance of the Holy Spirit was not rather more necessary for other purposes—rand for the purpose of comforting the Apostles than that assigned.

Previously to the time when the other Paracletus was promised, our Lord had been constantly employed in doing acts of the most beneficent nature, to all those who desired to be benefitted by him,«both of his own country and parts circumjacent—To have had the honor of being the intimate com-, panions of a person so eminently useful to*their whole race, must have been no little comfort to the twelve amidst all the evils of life. To this honor they had been admitted above all the rest of their countrymen, and under a conviction too

that that he was the King of Israel and the Son os God. They had been confirmed in this persuasion by a voice from Heaven.—They had also been convinced thai he, and he only, had the words of eternal life.—They had not only been convinced of this, they had also been eye witnesses, several times, of his possessing the power of conferring it, by raising the dead, and above all, his and their friend Lazarus. These considerations, it seems, and such considerations as these, had so powerfully wrought on their minds, as to make them resolve while in Galilee, on accompanying him into Judæa, even at the hazard of their lives, and to declare to him whil« in Judea their readiness to die rather than to deny him. Can it then be supposed that they were not under some pretty considerable degree of consternation when he so unexpectedly apprised them that they were very shortly to be deprived of his company, and by the treachery too of one of their own fraternity, and that he was about to go they knew not whither, and appeared to be " troubled in spirit" at the thought of what was about to happen? And can it be supposed that they were so much less disturbed in mind at the thoughts of losing the company of a person so full of majesty, of beneficence and power, than they were of losing his injirutlions concerning former prophecies relating to bis title, or on the conversion of the Gentiles ?—or rather—can it be supposed that all. their consternation arose principally and almost entirely from the latter motive? especially when it is considered that the recalling of Lazarus from the grave had happened but a few days before, and that no mention of nor allusion to former prophecies, or to the conversion ot the Gentiles, was made by either party during all the last conversation—that the subject of conversation at that time was the unexpected departure of their Lord, who himself appeared troubled at it, who began the conversation with recommending it to his friends not to be troubled, why, in the course of it, repeatedly spoke of the cause of their present sorrow, and apprised them of future sufferings of the most alarming forts, and concluded it with a repetition of his declaration that they would have to undergo great tribulation? Their grief surely appears to have arisen from an apprehension of •losing benefits of a most unusual sort which they had been experiencing a long while—and from an expectation of having to undergo various sufferings. Notwithstanding all the wonderful works which their Lord had performed, they perceived that bit life was still fought after by their rulers—and they

had had just learned from him that he was about to leave them— why then should we suffer ourselves to be persuaded that the cause of their grief was more likely to be an apprehension of losing his instructions than his company—and why should we suffer ourselves to be persuaded that the object of their future sad expectations was more likely to be a concern about Gentiles than their own personal sufferings?

The promised Paraclete then, we find by this, was not only to guide the Apostles into all truth—to teach them all things—and bring all things to their remembrance.—He was, ■hove all things, to comfort them, and to comfort them under some very great sufferings, and to abide with Christians for ever, for what purpose, we learn from St. Paul, viz. to enable them to bring forth a great variety of spiritual fruit, though according to Mr. L's. account, "the advantages, which the Apostles, grieved extremely at the thoughts of losing, could not be of a spiritual nature."

As our Lord had apprised his followers that they were to expect every fort of ill treatment whatever on his account, not excepting even death—of course, it was necessary that he should also fortify their minds with the expectation of a spiritual Comforter, who should administer consolation to them,not only under those " lesser evils known by the name of inconveniences" but under evils of the most dreadful fort. The necessity of such a Comforter appears from what Paul said to the Corinthians, and it also appears from the fame passage that God himself actually administered such consolation by some means or other. 2 Cor. i. c. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Blessed be the God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father Tv» O/xt<^«», and God tB*<ni{ i3a.(*x.\wtv(; who comforteth us inj all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christy—that is, probably, foretold by Christ, abound m us, so our consolation also, aboundeth by Christ— that is, probably, by his having procured the other Paraclete to be sent. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of thesamesuferixgs which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfaft, knowing that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so fliall ye be also of the consolation."

A word or two now of nae* and irafaxAijrw.

What v>»(» means in the words paraphrase, parable, paral

Vol XIII. Churchm. Mag.for Detmbtr 1807.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »