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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. 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.
himself out of mankind; not with respect to the whole race of Adam, which he will either visit with vengeance or restore. But “ the church of the first-born that are written in heaven,” being now " made one" with God in Christ, * with respect to them the mediatorial charge and dominion ceases ;
a mediator is not of one.” This mediatorial kingdom the Redeemer now possesses, seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Virtually, we doubt not, before all time began, he stood before God in the character of Mediator of his people: but we are referred, by the language of Scripture, to a period after his actual assumption of humanity, after his resurrection and ascension, when he is solemnly manifested in this high character, and “ all power in heaven and earth is given into his hand," that he may save to the utmost them that come to God by him, being invited by God “ to sit at his right hand till he should make his enemies his footstool.” And to this agree the words of the twentyfifth verse in the passage before us : for he must reign till he, God, hath put all things under his feet: both passages referring to the one hundred and tenth Psalm :
Thus spake Jehovah to my Lord,
Compare also the second Psalm and the parallel passages.
The "putting down of all rule, and all authority, and power," I refer, accordingly, to the destruction of all the tyrants and oppressors of the church, and of all the
* John, xvii.
power of the prince of darkness : according to the usual tenor of prophecy—“the visiting of the host of high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth on the earth;” or in the language of the Psalm just quoted:
After the order of Melchizedec
In short, it is still the destruction of Antichrist, that emphatical enemy, whom we have seen all along to be the object of the great Redeemer's vengeance when he shall appear. At that time, too, as we have ever been told, “ the last enemy, death, is to be destroyed,” down,” as the same word is rendered above, or more strictly, be so debilitated or restrained in its powers, that it can no longer injure as an enemy.
Observe, it is not the subduing of death, as holding the wicked in subjection, which is here contemplated; but the victory over death, as having power to seize and to hold in subjection the people of God; that is to say, their bodies. In this sense, death is their last enemy, the last enemy that could ever touch them in the least degree; and in this sense death is destroyed, when, at Christ's second coming, the dead rise in their glorified bodies, or when the living saints experience such a change that death hath no more dominion over their animal frame.
The “ kingdom," therefore, in this passage, I understand, not of the personal reign of Christ upon earth, commencing from his second advent, but of his reign now, as seated at the right hand of power,- as seated,
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
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," —