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ON THE FUTURE PURPOSE OF GOD TOWARD THE GENTILES
OF THE PRESENT DISPENSATION.
Every word of God, conceived before the world began in his own incomprehensible, eternal, and unchangeable being, from the time of its first utterance in the presence of his intelligent creatures, continually endeavours to assume the form of fact : for any one of the purposes of God once expressed, is itself a creature, a real existence, a powerful energy in the midst of the universe; and although it should become, by reason of our imperfection or unbelief, altogether unknown and undiscernible, it would nevertheless continue as influential and important in the sphere of existences, as the sun or the moon, the laws of gravity, or the constitution of man's mind, or any other enactment produced of it.
There are two kinds of fact in which the declarations of God labour to be realized, the more effectually to present themselves before the mind and apprehension of his children: the first is Type; the other, Fulfilment.
For example, the eternal decree promulgated in the day of man's fall, • That the woman's Seed should bruise the serpent's head, presently re-appears before us in the form of fact, as related by our common mother Eve (Gen. iv. 1): “ I have gotten the man from the Lord.” And although Cain (or possession) required to be distinguished from the Promise, and presently was so by the birth of his brother Abel (a breath), whom he murdered, the purpose of God, still in being and in energy, produced a Seth (the appointed), and from him an Enos (the infirm), and from him a Canaan (the purchaser), and from him Mahalaleel (the praiser of God), and from him Jared (the ruler), and from him Enoch (the dedicated), and from him Methusaleh (the herald of death), and from him Lamech (the humiliated), and out of humiliation Noah (i. e. rest), and from Noah, Shem, which is renown!*
And thus in all history the purpose of God, once enunciated, proceeds to develop and enforce itself in actual events, more and more calculated to impress and to satisfy the holy curiosity of the believer; who desires to know the will of God, that he may the more acceptably perform it; and to foresee his decrees, that he may anticipate their praise, and prevent the dawn of his majesty and glory with ascriptions of homage and gratitude and love, too large for eternity to express as they ought to be expressed.
The future purposes of God toward the Gentiles, signifies nothing less than his purpose toward mankind at large ; for
* For ample demonstration of the above principle, of the gradual growth of prophecy into fact, see Bishop Horsley's Three Sermons on 2 Pet. i. 20.
the term Gentiles includes all nations of men, except the Jewish: and the purpose of God toward the human race is expressed as follows in the creative fiat which brought it into being in the persons
of Adam and Eve : (Gen. i. 26) “ Let us make man in our image, after our likeness : and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
It is needless to remark, that this purpose, investing mankind with dominion over the whole earth and all that it contains, has never yet been enacted in its fulfilment. In the form of type, it has indeed been more and more completely developed as the dispensations of the antediluvian and of the present worlds have rolled on toward their end; but at no period of time since that which we call the Beginning and which is the beginning of the creation of God, for He has called it so as well as we-I say, at no period of time past hath man possessed the sovereignty of all the earth, of the fishes, the birds, mammalia, and reptiles.
Adam gave names to most of these; and, as lord of Eden, he possessed indeed the prerogative, or potential seignory, of all the globe ; but, so far from fulfilling the fiat, or exercising that prerogative, he never appears to have quitted his own native spot until after he became the victim of one of those reptiles, over whom he was ordained to bear rule.
The Jewish people never yet fulfilled, nor does it appear from the Scriptures that they ever shall fulfil, this royal purpose, which I have quoted as the end of inan's creation in the image of God. The Jews are a peculiar people; chosen, for the sake of their fathers, to inherit a certain portion of the earth onlynamely, the land extending from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates ;--and this small portion of the earth, although they never yet possessed the half of it, on the truth of God's promise they certainly shall possess ; and therein they shall exercise all offices appertaining to the one only temple of the living God, or becoming its holy neighbourhood as the metropolitan cathedral of the globe : for so it is written in the most eralted promise of all those that respect the Jews, as distinguished from the spiritual children of Abraham. “Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all peoples; for all the earth is mine : and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” (Exod. xix. 3—6.)
To be “a peculiar treasure unto the Lord above all peoples," is a high prerogative; to be “a kingdom of priests
unto God,” is a high prerogative; and to be “ an holy nation," is a higher than either; but all these magnificent titles put together fall far short of the investiture of man in the authority for which he was formed : for “ God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them; and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth ” (Gen. i. 27, 28). And indeed, so far from the Jews having been promised the dominion over the whole earth and every living thing upon it, the same is expressly withheld from them in the very passage—(the highest promise that can be found in their favour)-in the very passage, I say, which we quoted but now. not said, “ a peculiar treasure to me above all peoples, for all the earth shall be thine ;” but it is said, “ Ye shall be a peculiar treasure, for all the earth is MINE!”
Still less will the remnant of the peoples that shall be spared after the coming of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God, be entitled to fulfil the stupendous reality of God's purpose in the creation of mankind : for how then should Israel be called “ a treasure above all peoples ?" or how, indeed, could this ennobling of a part only fulfil the absolute declaration of God's intention concerning man as a whole? “ In that day there shall be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria; and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria; and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel shall be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.” (Isa. xix. 23–25.) “ Princes shall come out of Egypt: Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.” (Ps. lxviii. 31.) “ And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall entreat thy favour.” (Ps. xlv. 12.) " And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left, of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” (Zech. xiv. 16; Is. ii. 2, 3; &c.) But, for all this, the divine seignory which Adam lost still remains unoccupied ; the purpose of the creation of our kind continues unfulfilled.
Adam, the plural Adam-(as it is written, “Let us make man, and let them have dominion :” “male and female created he them")—the plural Adam, I say, is simply the first effort of God's fiat, developing itself, as was observed, by gradual increase into the form of typical fact. Adam was “ the type of
Him that is to come” (Tv peklovros, Rom. v. 14); and in the PLURAL OR MYSTICAL ANTITYPE of Adam shall that fiat be first fulfilled. This is the future purpose of God toward his Elect One, the Man that is his fellow; this the future purpose of God towards his Son's “co-heirs ;" this the purpose of God towards us, If we endure to the end !
But the grandeur of the subject has made me forget myself; and I am forestalling the truth which I ought to demonstrate. To proceed more methodically.
The blessing of God upon his creature man we found to be this :
1. “ Be fruitful and multiply.”—Now Adam in the garden of Eden fulfilled not this blessing; but Adam's Lord fulfils it. For although it is said, in one place, “ He was taken away by distress and judgment, and who shall declare his generation ? for he was cut off out of the land of the living ;” in the next verse but one of the very same prophecy (Isai. liii.) it is added, "When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin he shall see His seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” And in Heb. ii. 13, with Isai. :viii. 18, “ Behold, I and the children whom Jehovah hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from Jehovah-Sabaoth, who dwelleth in mount Zion.” And again, in Gen. xv.5, “Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them. And God said unto Abraham, So shall thy seed be.” “ He saith not seeds, as of many; but as of one, thy SeeD, which is Christ.” (Gal. iii. 16.)
2. “Replenish the earth, and subdue it.”—This Adam never did ; nor shall his children according to the flesh ever do it, for it is tantamount to an abrogation of the curse on our common father : see Gen. iii. 17–19. But the Antitype of the plural Adam, THE MYSTICAL Christ, he is to do it for them: as it is written, in Rev. ii. 26, 27, that we are the joint-executors of Christ's
vengeance; in Rev. iii. 22, that we sit with him on his throne, even as he overcame and is set down with his Father in his throne ; in Rom. viii. 17, that we are joint-heirs with him (“ if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together,"); and in Dan. vii. 26, “That the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to THE PEOPLE OF THE HIGHEST HOLY
” -(Taisy uitg2 dy}, "populo sanctorum altissimorum,” Montanus)_" whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him;" or, lastly, as in Heb. ii. (where also we are denominated “his children,” “ sons, “ brethren,” &c.), “ In that he hath put all things under him he left nothing that is not put under him."
The time would fail me to quote a fair example only of the abundant demonstration which the Scriptures afford in confirmation and in reiteration of this part of my argument. For in all the Old Testament there is not, on the one hand, a single promise of the dignity for which I have shewn that man was created (namely, the proper rank of a Melchisedec,-a king, and a priest of the Most High God), of which the children of God in Christ, the baptized *, the regenerate sons, the mystical Adam, the Seed of David, and his Seed's seed, are not exclusively the heirs and proprietors; as it is most clearly expressed in Zech. xii. 8: “He that is feeble among THEM (the Jews) at that day shall be as David; while the house of David”-(which house we are, if our generation from above, that is, from David's Root and Offspring and Heir, be any thing more than a figure of speech: compare Gal. iii. 29; Ps. Ixxxix. 26–29; as respecting “David's horn,” in verse 24; 2 Sam. vii. 12-14; Rev. iii. 21; and anterior to those, Gen. ix. 27, with Gal. iii. 15)—“while the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.” And on the other hand, in all the New Testament, which is addressed neither to the Jew nor to the Greek, but tó such as are of one family, one man in Christ Jesus (1 Cor. xii. 12—27), there is not a single final promise introduced that is not of royal and celestial dignity; nay, even of the proper Melchisedec rank: e.g. John i. 12; 1 Pet. ii
. 9; Rom. viii
. 17; Rev. v. 10, &c. And nothing less than this is the “ one hope" of Eph. iv. 4. So that to clip it is palpable heresy; and to part with it, is the very crime for which Esau sought repentance in vain. Compare Gen. xxv. 32, and Heb. xii. 17, with the language of many of our acquaintance in this present day.
I know that David the son of Jesse shall reign over the house of Jacob, and offer sacrifices, “and a sin-offering for himself, and all the people of the land ” (Ez. xlv. 22), but in a far lower sphere than the mystical Christ, his Son, and at the same time his liege Lord; as it is written in the lxxiid Psalm, “Give the king thy judgments, O God, and unto the king's Son Thy RIGHTEOUSNESS!” “ He (the king's Son) shall judge thy people with righteousness,” &c. And I know that it is promised in Psalm xlv. 16 it may be to Christ; or it may be to the millennial children of Jerusalem rebuilt ; or it may be to the
By this word,“ the baptized,” as employed in relation to God's future purpose, I mean to include all those to whose spiritual apprehension, through the gift of faith wrought in them by the Holy Ghost, the Father hath been pleased to apply the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, as evidenced and set forth in the outward ordinance, for the personal belief, acceptance, and acknowledgment of all who receive it, whether they be Jews or Gentiles in respect to their carnal descent. See Col. ii. 6—13, and the Baptismal Service of our Established Church.