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still. Hence He says to His loved ones, “Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it, for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My Name." And so Paul speaks, “A great door and effectual is opened unto me.''3 And again, even yet more pointedly, “When I came to preach Christ's Gospel, a door was opened unto me of the Lord.” And he entreats the Colossians to pray for himself and his fellow-labourers, “that God would open unto us a door of utterance to speak the mystery of Christ.” The claim of the Pope of Rome, therefore, that he has the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; and that they were committed to him by the Apostle Peter, is a lying assumption, which has no foundation in the Word of God; and only proves him to be a “deceiver and an Antichrist."6
But it should here be noted likewise that Peter, in thus setting forth Christ to Cornelius and his friends, preached the very Gospel that had before been preached unto Abraham ; and appealed to the prophets in attestation of the fact : for it was “to Abraham and his seed" that “the promises were made," "and to thy seed, which is Christ." These Gentiles, therefore, having been thus quickened by the Holy Ghost, and led by Him to believe in Christ, were thereby proved to be the spiritual children of Abraham; and were consequently entitled to all the privileges and blessings of "the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ” to him. 8 Moreover, as such, they were now one in Christ with the believing Israelites : for they were now “grafted in among them, and with them partook of the root and fatness of” their “olive tree:"9 for being no longer "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise;" but “in Christ Jesus" having been “made nigh by the blood of Christ,” they were “ fellow heirs" with believing Israelites, “and of the same body, and partakers of
i Rev. jïi. 7.
2 Rev, ïïi. 8.
31 Cor. xvi. 9.
42 Cor. ii. 12.
His promise in Christ by the Gospel.” And this was the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men,” (as we shall see more clearly perhaps further on,) which was now revealed."1
Hence, when the Jewish branch of the Church of Christ was called out of Israel as a nation, and separated from them as such, they were commanded to be baptized in the name of the Lord. For when the 3,000 on the day of Pentecost “were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, What shall we do? Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
“ Then they that gladly received his word were baptized : and they continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers.” So, on the other hand, when the Gentile Cornelius, and his friends, believed in the Lord, and received the outpouring of His Spirit, “ Peter,” evidently addressing those of the circumcision, who had accompanied him, said, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the Name of the Lord.”3 For as Matthew Pool quaintly observes upon this passage, “He that hath the inheritance may claim the writings, wax, and parchment that belong unto it.”
And it was this baptism in the name of Christ that separated them from their surroundings, and united them together into one body. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus," says the Apostle. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female : for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. As,
| Epb. ij. 12, 13; iii. 4-6.
? Acts ii. 37, 38, 41, 42.
therefore, all the natural children of Abraham had to be circumcised; so all the spiritual children of Abraham had to be baptized.
And nothing could set forth this oneness of believers with Christ more beautifully than believer's baptism—the baptism that Christ Himself had instituted. For he who is thus " baptized into Jesus Christ,” is “ baptized into His death.” He is “buried with Him by baptism into death : that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so he “ also should walk in newness of life”l_which of course no unbeliever could by possibility do. And therefore “the promise" in the Covenant is “of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed," who are interested in it. “So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”3 Baptism, therefore, as a type, is an illustration of a Divine truth, not of course the power that imparts it. It is on God's part a sign to us that He has caused us to go down into death as into deep waters; and that He has also raised us up again out of those waters into new circumstances, where death and judgment have no longer any title against us ;4 and our being thus“ baptized into Christ," i.e., into the belief that Christ Himself underwent the penalty of death, and rose again for us, is the testifying of our assent to, and belief in, this glorious fact; and that we thus give up ourselves to “ walk henceforth with Him“ in newness of life.”
But I must again leave this part of my subject for the present, as I left that of the Jewish branch of the Church, to take them both up afterwards a little farther on: as it will be necessary in the first instance to shew, that this Dispensation was "hidden" in the Old Testament Scriptures, until the coming of Christ; to be then unfolded and “ revealed " in the New-which will be the subject of our
1 Rom. vi. 3, 4. ? Rom. iv. 13-16. 3 Gal. iii. 9. * See Psalms lxix; lxxxviii ; Lam. iii. 54; Psalms cxxiv ; cxxx; and compare Matt. iii. 16; Rom. vi. 3, 5; Col. ii. 12; 1 Peter iii. 20, 21.
two next Chapters : after which I shall have to consider the individuality of God's dealings with saved souls; as well as the believers' calling and blessedness in Christ Jesus. And although this may seem to some to be a somewhat discursive treatment of the subject, yet in the end it will be found to be productive of a much clearer understanding of it in its entirety : for the expositions of the passages I shall have to refer to, will throw much light upon this Dispensation; and the setting forth of the inconceivable privileges, which believers, as a body, have in Christ, will not only tend to show how unutterably the Church itself has failed in its corporate capacity to live up to its "high calling of God in Christ Jesus ;” but, when we come to the time when Christ Himself shall “present” the Church “ to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but” "holy and without blemish ;'l by having thus had the materials placed before us for contrasting the two together, we shall then more clearly see what I have before pointed out with respect to Israel, that in this instance, as well as in the other, there never has been, nor ever could there be by possibility, any failure on God's part, and that there has been nothing else but failure on man's. And if it has been said by God of Israel, “ This people have I formed for Myself; they shall shew forth My praise:" it has likewise been said by Him of the Christian Church, that “ the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ " hath “predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath engraced us in the Beloved.''3
1 Epb. v. 27.
Isa. xliii. 21.
3 Eph. i. 3, 5, 6.
HOW THIS DISPENSATION WAS HIDDEN IN THE OLD
TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES, AND REVEALED IN THE
God's attitude towards the rejectors of His Christ; with the final issue
thereof—an Exposition of Psalm ii.
In the Old Testament Scriptures the two Advents of our blessed Lord are sometimes combined; so that it is not always easy to distinguish between them. There are, however, seven passages of Scripture—the number seven denoting completeness—in which the order of the Advents is very clearly observed ; and there is a break also between the two, more or less distinct, for the purpose of shewing where this Dispensation occurs : the combined description of the Dispensation itself, in these several passages, furnishing us with the most perfect and complete summary of the character of it, that could possibly have been given. This was of course completely “hidden" from the Old Testament saints: but it is now very clearly “revealed” to us.
The first passage I would refer to, is the 2nd Psalm, in the 4th verse of which we have God's attitude towards the rejectors of His Christ in this Dispensation—the whole Psalm, (a short exposition only of which I shall give,) forming a brief epitome of the result of the farther trial of man in this Dispensation; with the final issue of it, in the carrying out of God's purposes, notwithstanding the combined efforts of the devil and all his hosts to prevent it.
In my first volume of “ Outlines," I gave an Exposition of Psalm i.; in which we saw that the blessed man therein