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103

No. V.

ROMANS XVI. 25, 26; EPHESIANS I. 1-10;

COLOSSIANS III. 24-27.

Now to Him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the Prophets, according to the command. ment of the everlasting God, for the obedience of faith. To God only wise be glory, through Christ Jesus for ever. Amen.

There should a little criticism enter here; the words translated "writings of the Prophets,” is in the original ypapôv Tipoonti@v, i.e. prophetic writings. The Hebrew idiom is to put the genitive of a substantive for the adjective, it often translated adjectively in the common translation does not apply here; the case is reversed, and three is no warrant for the word “Prophets," nor would it be true, because the Prophets of the Old Testament did not give a hint of the mystery here spoken of.* The earth is the object of their prophecy. Judah, Israel, the nations, judgments, blessings, the glory of the Son of Man. There has also arisen an interesting question as to the admission of the word "and” (Te), which, I believe is justly retained, and makes, therefore, the prophetic writings more as but one of the methods in the Divine counsels; and the revelation of which, by which means, was according to the commandment of the everlasting God. The word "Prophets,” therefore, being inapplicable, where shall we look for the prophetical writings which relate to the mystery. The ancient Scriptures were written for our instruction, and there are many prophecies not exactly contained in the body called the Prophets. Moses was a prophet, David

• The church, the body of Christ, was not anticipated, yet the call of the Gentiles on Israel's rejection of the Messiah is. Deut. xxxii.; Isaiah lxv. 1, xlix.

was a prophet, but not in the sense of the prophets of the Old Testament. Moses, and the Psalms, and the Prophets are distinguished by the Lord; and we shall find the mystery hid in the writings of Moses and other books, and which became known by the reflection of the Holy Ghost, upon them, but which had remained till such was cast on them. To no Jew was it granted to read in Adam and Eve the type of the mystery revealed to l'aul, and such can be traced in writings thereby, even prophetical at the time appointed of God. “This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and His church.” There are other types* of the same, but it is enough to show that from the first God was pointing out a counsel in His mind before all ages. Thus darkly intimated, and known only when the reflection of the Spirit at the time of the revelation of it was to make it manifest, the glory of the church (the ministration of the Spirit) was told of in the New Testament. It was no prophecy of the mystery which it revealed but of the glory of the church. There are many treatises happily, I believe, familiar to many on the truth of the church, but it is the exegesis of the places separately that have engaged the attention of the writer.

The second place is as follows: "If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward, how, that by revelation, He made known to me the mystery (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when yo read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which, in other ages, was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs and of the same body, and partakers of His promise by the Gospel, whereof I am made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God, given unto me by the effectual working of His power-unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see (pwtical navras) what is the fellowship (OLKOvoula) of the mystery, which, from the beginning of the

An assembling of the types on this point would be most profitable.

Rom. xvi. 25, 26. Ephes. i. 1-10. Col. iii. 24–27. 105 world, hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ, to the intent that now unto principalities and powers, in heavenly places, might be known by the Church the manifold (TOÀUTTOLKiNos) wisdom of God.” There appear three

parts to this: that which was not in other

ages

revealed unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles, etc. Here then, first, we have that which was not revealed in particular to Paul, but to the apostles and prophets, and to him, as one of them, it was nct revealed as it is now revealed. There was more revealed in the Old Testament, than that the Gentiles should be called in in the day of Christ (see preceding note], but whatever was given came first to the Jew, even to the highest; and the Gentiles, when they trusted in Christ, came in on a perfect level with them in the one new manfellow-heirs, of the same body, and partakers of promise. This is very general, and does not amount to all given to Paul

. Secondly,—It was union with Christ and the unsearchable riches to the soul of His indwelling (in Coloss. Christ in you) that he was given to preach (and the first is only said to be revealed.) To himself, the least of all saints, is this grace given. Thirdly,-- That which was yet more special, it was to enlighten all men-apostles and prophets on the order of the rule and feeding of the house, its manner of holding together, its joints and bands, its gifts, and their service. We find TIPOEotatas, &c. &c., to the assembly and eldership in other places, but not these as in the Church, being the routrolKidos, wisdom of God; intimating variety in the wisdom of God in the frame of the mystery, a wonder of beauty and symmetry and variety, working and fulfilling unity (how different from uniformity the forced work of the enemy in denial of the Church and the Spirit), and the object of the wonder of the principalities and powers in heaven.

Oh! how the heart sighs amidst this desolation! But still is the grace given" that Christ should dwell (kata, deeply) in the heart by faith, that the saints being rooted and grounded in love, they should know the love of Christ, and be filled with all the fulness of God. The Church, and the blessing above, essentially remain and

never cease.

of

ز

The next place is Col. i. 24. .... The church, whereof I am made minister, according to the dispensation of God, which is given to me for you, to fulfil (tanpwoai) the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to (ev) His saints; to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory whom we preach, warning every man, &c. This is more confined to a special object, the mystery, generally, being mentioned to introduce it. Great, beyond all thought, is the nature of the glory that the saints reap by Christ; but the riches of it, is Christ Himself in them— The unsearchable riches of Christ." How we may bless God that FAITH is the

way

possession; the object effecting, to faith, all that it is in such kind to receive.

This is the second point; that is, the purpose of the Spirit in the Epistle to the Colossians, which Epistle is an introduction of the Church to Christ, as Lord, to Christ the head of the Church (and is a sequel to the Epistle to the Ephesians), as Lord over all

, and over the Church, as here in the kingdom; and as the relationship was in the Ephesians of the saints in Christ: here it is Christ in them; and we have, it strikes me, the obedience in the different relationships to Christ, as Lord, and Christ as indwelling; so wondrous are the depths still

open to our study and use : and we have to bless the grace that keeps them so; and how confident we ought to be in the Lord, being still with His people, that nothing shall be wanting, even in an evil day, to perfect them in the stature of Christ. How it ought to rejoice, while it humbles the heart, to find God so busy about our salvation, as to reveal, in His “wisdom and prudence," all that may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

107

No. VI.

COLOSSIANS II, 15.

"He was crucified in weakness, but He arose by the power of God.” There never was such an exhibition of weakness as the cross. All was set against the Lord. God was withdrawn; man had proved his full enmity; disciples were faithless; and hell had its hour of power. But it was succeeded by a time of the most glorious, magnificent strength that was ever displayed. As soon as the life was surrendered, heaven, earth, and hell, God even, and Satan, all bore their several witness that the strength of that moment was felt and understood by them. The veil of the temple was rent, the rocks of the earth were split asunder, and the graves were burst wide open. Glorious, victorious strength thus touched the most entire, and absolute, and unrelieved weakness, joining together, I may say, the point on which the divine and counselled history of eternity was to turn.

The death was the victory of the living Son of God; resurrection and ascension were His triumph, or the public celebration of the victory. But the victory could not altogether wait for the third day-it must publish itself

And so it did, as we see, by the rending of the vail, the rocks, and the graves; and whether it were by those earlier results of the victorious death, or by the more orderly and material fruit of that victory, in the resurrection and ascension, still, in each way, “a show” has been made of all the powers of darkness, and that "openly,” or in the way of “triumph.” The Church takes companionship with the Lord in His rejection, in the eye of the world; but finds companionship with Him in His victorious death and triumphant resurrection, as far as conscience and personal, hidden peace with God goes -a calling of wondrous moral beauty!

at once.

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