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years are as one day, has seen fit by of the Spirit and the full exhibition these declarations to awaken men
of the riches of Gospel grace. through every age to watchfulness Now (1) this is a great induceand waiting for these awful events, ' ment to us to repent. There is nothe day and hour of which no man thing like the consideration of Diknoweth.
'vine grace, to break the heart both And how much more force does * for sin and from sin. That is evanthis sense give to the passages in gelical repentance, which flows which such expressions occur. The from a sight of Christ, kom a subject of Christ's preaching, the sense of his love, and the hopes of sum of what the Son of God had to pardon and forgiveness through deliver to man was, Repent, for the
Kindness in conquering, kingdom of heaven is at hand : f abused kindness, humbling and Repent; for that glorious state of 'melting. What a wretch was I things in which God alone shall be 'to sin against such grace, against King, is now approaching : “the * the law and love of such a kingtime is fulfilled” g—the last dispen- · dom. (2) It is a great encouragesation is begun, and you know not * ment to us to repent; 'Repent, how soon that glorious state may for your sins shall be pardoned burst upon you, in which nothing
upon your repentance.
Return that defileth, not a soul that doeth “ to God in a way of duty, and he iniquity and hath not repented of his will, through Christ, return to evil deeds, shall be able to stand for you in a way of mercy.' The a moment, but shall be punished with proclamation of pardon discovers everlasting destruction from before and fetches in the malefactor who the presence of God. How sublime " before fled and absconded. Thus and awful this message-how worthy are we drawn to it with the cords of Him who delivered it-worthy • of a man and the bands of love." indeed of all men to be received! Matthew Henry on Matt. iii, 2.
But let us see the interpretation Now this may be all most true commonly put upon such passages. and most important: but how is it I will quote Matthew Henry'sexposi- to be got from the text? It is as tion of the same message, as deliver though a man should say within ed by John the Baptist. Repent, himself, John, and our Saviour “ for the kingdom of heaven is at after him, preached the same Gospel “ hand:' the Gospel dispensation of as the Apostles that followed them ; the covenant of grace, the opening so I must make this sentence of of the kingdom of heaven to all theirs, · Repent, for the kingdom of • believers by the death and resur- heaven is at hand,' to include the rection of Jesus Christ. It is a doctrines and motives set forth in kingdom of which Christ is the the New Testament generally." Sovereign and we must be the But where is the force and meaning willing, loyal subjects of it. It is of the very words which we are told a kingdom of heaven, not of this they used? Merged and lost in world; a spiritual kingdom—its generalities and far fetched inferoriginal from heaven, its tendency ences. Would any man upon earth, ' to heaven. John preached this as reading the mere words of the text, at hand : then it was at the door ; ever have the inducements and arguto us it is come, by the pouring out ments of Matthew Henry conveyed
f Matt. iv. 17. 8 Mark i, 15.
by it to his mind, unless he had first meat and drink, but righteousness learnt the commentary by heart ? and peace and joy in the Holy Not to mention, that all this ren- Ghost.” Doubtless these fruits ders the text quite inapplicable to are produced in a measure under ourselves, and to all who have lived the preaching of the Gospel now; since the days when Christ was upon but in the kingdom of God they earth. For to us the kingdom of will be perfected. The kingdom of heaven is not at hand, but is come ; God is the end and perfection of the as Henry himself expressly says. Gospel dispensation : so that it is So that, on his own shewing, he not to be wondered at, that in many must have confounded and explained passages where it is mentioned it away the text:
for he makes it may admit the sense of the Gospel contain arguments and inducements or Gospel dispensation; as in some applicable to ourselves ; whereas St. of our Lord's parables, and in 1 Cor. John's argument, the kingdom of iv, 20, &c. But let us never lose heaven is at hand,” no longer applies sight of the plain literal meaning of to us; as Henry himself tells us. the words of Scripture. I mean not
But we proceed to some other to say, that this expression is never passages which may seem to present used metaphorically, or in a lower difficulties
sense; but let its true and full Matt. xxi, 43. Therefore say meaning be ever borne in mind. I unto you, the kingdom of God In Mark x, 15, (and the parallel shall be taken from you, and given passage Luke xviii, 17,) mention is * to a nation bringing forth the fruits made of “receiving the kingdom of • thereof." I do not
God as a little child," where we difficulty here in adopting the literal might surely suppose that“receiving sense of “ the kingdom of God,” the Gospel was intended : yet it than in taking it to mean the Gospel follows immediately, that whoso or Gospel dispensation. The Gos- does not so receive it shall not pel has not been taken from the enter therein ; clearly showing that a Jews; they have lived in the midst place or state is meant. of Gospel light: but their eyes have One other passage only I shall been blinded, that they could not notice, which your Correspondent discern it; so that the knowledge of has already made some observations its privileges and a participation in upon : it is Luke, xvii, 20, 21. And its blessings is what they have been 5 when He was demanded of the Phadeprived of, while these things have risees, When the kingdom of God been granted to others. In like should come, he answered them and
would interpret the ' said : The kingdom of God cometh text;--that all participation in the * not with observation; (marg : with blessedness of the kingdom of God, "outward shew ;) neither shall they the reign of the Messiah, shall be say, Lo here, or Lo there! for betaken from them and given to others, hold, the kingdom of God is within who shall bring forth the fruits 'you.” Now we are not to interpret thereof. What these fruits are, the one text so that it be repugnant to Apostle tells us in Rom. xiv, 17– another : and since there are several “For the kingdom of God is not texts, which speak of “seeing"
* On Matt. iv, 17, where Christ himself preaches the same thing, he says, that “the kingdom of heaven was not reckoned to be fully come, till the pouring out of the Spirit. after Christ's ascension,"
the kingdom of God, "entering to them, See here, or see there ; for
Let us see then, whether that moment be found. i
observation ; yet the parable about Our Saviour is addressing Phari- its not
immediately, sees, covetous and ambitious men, on which we have made some relooking to the kingdom of God as a marks above, comes very soon after state of temporal and earthly gran- this conversation, in the 19th deur, in which they, as the children chapter of the same Gospel. of Abraham, should occupy the highest and foremost places. He
TRINITARIUS. tells them therefore, that they were altogether mistaken in their expecta- Since writing the above, I have tions; that the kingdom of God noticed another passage which may would not possess this vain earthly seem to present difficulty, Matt. pomp; (it will possess glory indeed,h xii, 28; « But if I cast out devils but not of the kind which they by the Spirit of God, then the imagined ;) that in their present kingdom of God is come unto you." state it was for them to look Yet this was spoken in the very same within, to see that the kingdom of year in which the kingdom of God God was established there ; for was declared by our Saviour to be at that without its fruits there (right hand, and the disciples were taught eousness, peace, love and childlike
to pray, thy kingdom come : and humility) they could never hope nothing surely had occurred in the to enter into the future glorious interval from which it could be unkingdom of Christ and of God. derstood, that the kingdom, in that And with this interpretation the rest of the chapter perfectly agrees. ken also a year or two before the Christ immediately turns to his dis- other instances already quoted, in ciples and, with this conversation which a parable was spoken to some fresh before them, begins to speak who thought that the kingdom should of that his appearing, which was to immediately appear. The expression usher in the kingdom of which the must therefore be here used, not in Pharisees had such mistaken ideas, its original and full sense; but, as in and for which they were so little some cases already referred to, for prepared. He tells them not to go that dispensation which should issue after or follow those who should say in the kingdom of God.
sense, was now come.
It was spo
li 1 Thess. ii, 12.
i Luke xvii, 20-30.
ON THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.
The claim recently made by restoration
restoration and the blessedness certain individuals in Scotland and foretold in the preceeding verses, London to a supernatural Gift of then it must yet be a future thing; Tongues, is a subject well worthy for the restoration and the blessedthe attentive consideration of the ness are still future. But we are christian community. The subject told by Peter, that the descent of the naturally divides itself into two ob- Spirit occurred in his day: we are jects for investigation : the first is, therefore compelled to seek for anowhether the gift of tongues, as ori- ther explanation of the passage ; and ginally conferred at the day of Pen- I think Peter himself furnishes us tecost, was a gift to the church in with it: for in quoting the words of perpetuity; and if so, secondly, Joel he gives us the interpretation of whether the claims of these persons, the word "
afterward” by substitutare really manifestations of its re- ing in its place “ in the last days. vival. To the first of these only I It would therefore appearto intimate, shall now direct my attention. that it was to be at a future time,
In the 2d chap. of Joel we find a during another dispensation, after prophecy, which foretels the destruc- the then dispensation had run its tion of the Jews for their sins, and course ;—then “ will I pour out my their subsequent restoration and Spirit upon all flesh, &c.” It was blessedness; after which they are called “ the last days” in contradisno more to be made a reproach among tinction to the former days; the the heathen,” and are never more spiritual dispensation, as opposed to to be ashamed :” a this must unques- the paradisaical, the antediluvian, tionably be still a future event, as the patriarchal and the Mosaical disthey are up to the present time, both pensations. This view, if correct,
ashamed” and a reproach.” It will throw light upon the whole prois then said, " and it shall come to phecy and its alleged accomplishpass afterward that I will pour out ment in the Apostle's days; for my Spirit upon all filesh, and your if so, “ the last days” comprehend sons and your daughters shall pro- the whole spiritual or christian disphesy, your old men shall dream pensation; and the events foretold dreams, your young men shall see by Joel will be expected to charactervisions, and also upon the servants ize that whole period. We have its ' and upon the handmaidens in those commencement marked by the dedays will I pour out my Spirit, and scent of the Holy Ghost with power; I will shew wonders in the heavens and its termination, by and in the earth, blood and fire and and terrible day of the Lord,” which pillars of smoke—the sun shall be unquestionably means the day of turned into darkness and the moon Christ's second coming. We are • into blood, before the great and therefore still within the period • the terrible day of the Lord come.” termed
“ the last days,” and may Now if this descent of the Holy properly expect the foretold characSpirit be taken as occurring in teristics of that period. the order of events after the Now let us see what these features
«« the great
al vv. 19, & 26, 27.
b v. 28. c Acts ii.
are, which shall distinguish this dis- ceased to be exhibited in the Church, pensation from the preceding ones. it has been customary to consider If we read the first four verses of them, as only intended for the first Acts ii, we find the miraculous establishment of Christianity; and to descent of the Holy Spirit endowing interpret this promise of the Holy the disciples with the gift of tongues. Ghost as simply referring to its sancWhen this was noised abroad, it tifying influences upon men's minds : attracted multitudes to witness the but this, I would submit, is rather marvellous occurrence; which appear- begging the question, and assuming ed to them so utterly unaccountable, that which it would be difficult to --so contrary to their preconceived prove. The multitude were not notions,--that they declared the drawn together to witness the sancmen were drunk, being “ filled with tifying influences of the Spirit, but new wine.” But what says St. Peter? his miraculous manifestations; and I
These are not drunken as ye sup- can see no reason whatever for conpose, seeing it is but the third hour cluding, that “ the Holy Ghost” in of the day ; but this is that which
4 is a different thing from was spoken by the prophet Joel, the Holy Ghost” in verse 38: I
&c.” Here he quotes the prophecy, regard them as one and the same. substituting “the last days " for Now let us see to whom this pro
afterward.” He then makes a so- mise is made. It is not simply to lemn appeal to them; reproaching the apostles and disciples, as the them for their rejection of Christ introducers of a new dispensation to and their continued hardness of heart; testify their divine mission ; but to and concludes his address by urging the multitude who had collected tothem, “Repent and be baptized every gether to witness these extraordinaone of you in the name of Jesus ry occurrences : " the promise is to Christ for the remission of sins, and you,” says Peter ;-and not only to ye shall receive the Holy Ghost ; for them as the primitive church, but to the promise is unto you and to your their “ children;"_and not only to children and to all that are afar of, their children, as the next generaeven as many as the Lord our God tion, but“to them thatare afaroff;" shall call." d
see the and not only to these as distant Holy Ghost promised to the multi- witnesses of the truth, but even to tude who were addressed, if they as many as the Lord our God shall would repent and be baptized; and I call ;" which calling of God, conthink it is clear, that this could not tinuing to the end of the christian mean, simply the influences of the dispensation, carries this promise Spirit, (which is frequently contended along with it till its termination at for,) since these were not at the time the day of Christ's appearing. the subject of discussion, or observa- This view of the subject is further tion ; but the Holy Ghost with power, confirmed, if we observe that which as a miraculous gift; which in fact is recorded in the 10th chapter of thcy then saw before them, enabling Acts; where the Holy Ghost fell on the disciples to speak with new the assembly collected together in the tongues, and the news of which had house of Cornelius, and they spake drawn all these people together. with new tongues. Had this gift
Because the miraculous gifts of been intended as a seal or testimony, the Spirit have for many centuries in order to convince others of their
d 08. 38, 39.