Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tkange its subjects, without being dissolved. But we see it is exactly otherways. The seed of Abraham, are the persons exclusively, to whom Christ's public ministry is addressed, to whom he is visibly united* and of whom his kingdom consists, when he finally leaves the world; The subjects of this kingdom arc all, at this time, native Jews;

But there is supposed to be a difficulty in the way of admitting this conclusion, from the manner in which our Savior speaks, frequently, of the kingdom of heaven. He says, Mat. iv.tl7. "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Again x. 7. "And as ye go* preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand." He says, xi. 11. "Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than John the baptist; notwithstanding, he that is least in the kingdom of heaven, is greater than he." This manner of expression is supposed to teach, that the kingdom of the Messiah was not yet set up; but was to be a matter of future establishment. The phrases, kingdom of heaven, and kingdom of God, seem to be used in the Gospel as of equivalent meaning. But this meaning is not uniformly the same. Sometimes, and more generally, the phrase, the kingdom of heaven, intends the state of the Church, in this world, sometimes its state in the next; but always respects, as far as I have observed, the state of the church subsequent to Christ's appearance upon earth, as its visible head. This kingdom is certainly distinguishable from the gospel itself. Because the gospel of the kingdom is frequently mentioned. This phraseology supposes, that the Gospel, and the kingdom, are two things. The Gospel is the intelligence communicated. The intelligence is, that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The original word translated at hand, is jjyy/xe J and signifies local nearness, rather than nearness in regard to time. And it is certain, this kingdom, is often spoken of by our Savior, as already in existence. An example of it we have, Mat xi. 12. "And from the days of John the baptist even until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it byforce." It must have existed, or it could not have beeu a subject of this violence. It must be admitted, that the observation of Christ, in the verse before this, respecting John the baptist, implies, that he (John) was not in the kingdom of heaven. But will any one contend, that he was not in the kingdom of the Messiah? Certainly he was a subject of this kingdom. Promises, predictions, and-facts, as they have been already called' into view, prove, that it had long existed, and that it would not be discontinued. And it is not pretended that there are two kingdoms, over which Christ maintains a mediatorial government. He is head over all things unto the Church. This is his one body, the fullness of him who filleth all in all. The phrase then, kingdom of heaven, must have an appropriate meaning. And it seems to intend, Zion, at a particular period of her existence; in her greater enlargement, spirituality, light, and beauty ; derived from the Redeemer's presence, and instructions, and the more abundant effusions of the Holy Ghost, which were to be given. The day of the Messiah was to be, and in fact was, a luminous day, far beyond any preceding parallel. Motives were multiplied, types were answered, the leading promises of the former dispensation were fulfilled; the Messiah was come; the spirit was richly given, and grace was glorified. So great was this augmentation of glory, to which the Church was raised, as to justify the figurative representation of the prophet, Isaiah, xxx. 26. ". Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven dsys, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and he^eth the stroke of their wound." This was somewhat like the setting up of a new kingdom, yet it was in fact only the increase of one long established.*

• '< John the forerunner of Christ, was the first who administered baptism, under the new dispensation." Baldwin on Baptism, page 193. Perhaps I do not rightly apprehend what Dr. Baldwin means here by new dispensation. At any rate this position implies, that the dispensation was in existence prior to Johu't beginning to baptize.

[graphic]

Again it is objected, that the prophecy of Dainel, , Dan. ii. 44, "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed, &c." imphes-the erection of a kingdom.original, and new; and, as this kingdom is acknowledged to be the kingdom of the Messiah, under the latter dispensation, this kingdom cannot be a continuity of the Israelitish Church. This Dr. Baldwin has advanced as an argument against the sameness of the Jewish and Christian Churches. The whole force of the argument depends upon the words set up. If these terms mean, to found originally, there is some plausibility in the argument. But demonstration lies against this interpretation. The whole current of scripture, and facts, in perpetual succession, forbid it. As making a covenant, in scripture phraseology, according to the concession of Dr. Gill, sometimes means, only the renewing, or farther confirming a covenant already established, why may not setting up a kingdom, mean merely, the exaltation, and greater extension ofa kingdom, already in existence ? On consulting the Seventy, 1 find the original word translated, set up, rendered by them wualviatl; and Poole renders it suscitabit. Chrysostom renders it into the very same word. (Suscitabit Deus celi regnum.) Schrevellius renders uviefl^t, excito; and Williams, in h^s Concordance, by the English verb, to arise. Neither of these renderings suggests the idea of originating a thing as entirely new. The passage, therefore, exhibits no proof against the theory we have established.

But Dr. Balwin imagines that there is proof, that Christ did originate a kingdom, as an entirely new

After noting so far, I am astonished to find at the bottom of the page, that "John was sent to introduce the new dispensation of the Savior." Thus he wai to introduce it, and yet baptized under it. So difficult it is to find when this supposed new kingdom began to be. If the advocates of the opinion that an entirely new" kingdom was now set up by Jesus, in the persons of his first followers, and when they were collected as such, will turn to Luke, xxii. 18, they will find, t think, decisive proof that their opinion is erroneous. "For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God shall come." Thia was at the institution of the supper, on the very night in which Christ was betrayed. Yet he speaks of the kingdom of God as to come, a future event. If this phrase means a new kingdom to be originally erected, why then, the kingdom of the Messiah, had not even now an existence. This constructien s>uit be jiven up. It involves grosi contradictions.

w

thing, from the fact, which I have introduced to prove the contrary; viz. that he gathered disciples, and placed himself at the head of them, in distinction from the body of unbelieving Jews. The question is, What were these disciples anterior to their being thus collected? Did they belong to the heathen world? Were they not all native Jews ? Were they not of the visible people of God, the Israel whom he loved, and redeemed? Is there not demonstration that some of them at least, and much reason to conclude, that nearly all of them, were subjects of real religion? Was not this the case with John and his disciples? Was it not the case with Joseph, and Mary, and Simeon, and Anna, Zacharias, and Elizabeth ? And why should it not be supposed to have been the case with many others ? Some we are told believed in Christ, who did not confess him; i. e. did not publicly follow him. Now to what society did these persons belong? Why the evasion is, that they belonged to the nation of the Jews; a nation, in the civil acceptation of that term. But we have proved that Israel was not a nation, in this sense; that it was a religious society, of which Christ was the immediate head. When he came to his own, he did not come to subjects of a civil government; but to those who stood in visible relation to him by the bonds of the Abrahamic covenant. It is true, as Dr. Baldwin says, that a large proportion of the Jews hated Christ, and rejected him; that he did not consult their pleasure, or act in concert with them. What then? Still they were his own, just as hypocrites in the Church are now. "He came unto his own; and his own received him not.'' They were his subjects; but they proved themselves to be rebellious subjects, just as a multitude of their fathers had been; and were cut off accordingly. If they had not been his, he could not have cut them off. All that the Savior did, therefore, in thus separating the holy from the vile, proves, that a kingdom was not now originally formed. Let my brother, and let the reader remember, that the Messiah was to order, and establish forever, a kingdom, already existing. T© purge, and purify, and exonerate, in this manner, was to order and establish. But to set up an entirely new kingdom, would be quite a different thing. The principle here contended for, as a matter of fact will be much confirmed as we proceed. I will therefore detain the reader no longer in this place.

« AnteriorContinuar »