« 上一頁繼續 »
heaven; Jolin bore the title of Baptist, the appellation of a servant, and no act of homage was paid to him; Elijah bore the title of my Lord, the appellation of a prince, and as such he was worshipped; John sowed and others reaped, he laboured and others entered into his labour, he fought, and fell in the battle; Elijah reaped the fruit of his own labours, he fought and conquered, and triumphed on the field; Elijah divided the waters of Jordan, and he went over on dry ground, but the feet of John sank deep into them; John expired at the block, Elijah left the world in the empyrial chariot. John, however, was in every respect, the expressive messenger of Christ in his first appearing. Our Lord came into the world by a natural birth, John was born of a woman; Jesus was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief, John lived a sufferer; Jesus went out of the world by the death of the cross, John died a martyr, The Messenger of the Covenant who will
precede the second coming of Christ, may be expected to appear also in a form answerable to that event. He may be looked for to come into the world in a supernatural way; he may be Elijah in person; he will be attended by Michael and his angelic armies. Though, for a while, as did the angels that went to Sodom, he may conceal the glory of his person, and the nature of his business; and also his attendants, as were the horses and chariots of fire that surrounded Elisha, may be concealed; for a time, his preparations and supernatural forces may be invisible: “ The kingdom of God cometh not with obser“ vation: but wheresoever the body is, thither “ will the eagles be gathered together.
When the many scriptures which relate to this subject are carefully examined, and compared with all the past events of providence, no doubt will seem to exist, that a most illustrious part of the Elijah scene remains still to be acted. This is the thing signified by the midnight cry, and the sounding of the seventh angel. To be prepared for which closing and most interesting event, “Let brotherly love continue. Be not forget“ful to entertain strangers: for thereby some " have entertained Angels unawares.".
PART III...... THE SON.
OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN TRIBULATION AND
SECTION I..... The Word of the Kingdom.
HOUGH the kingdom of God be already come, and by the preaching of the gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, it be now truly operating in the world; yet there is a great difference between its present state, and that in which it will appear in a future day. This distinction was marked by Daniel in his representation of the kingdom, first, as a stone cut out the mountains without hands: secondly, as a great mountain that filled the whole earth. The same distinction was often represented by our Lord, as in the parable of the seed, which being sown in the earth, it sprang up and appeared, first, with a blade and tender ear; but finally, it ripens. into a harvest, and is gathered into the garner.
The word of the kingdom, in which state it now exists among men on earth, is the truth concerning Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, or that he is the Lord, the King of Israel. This truth imports, that he is risen from the dead, and that he lives exalted at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens; and that when the times of the Gentiles and the words of God concerning their kingdoms are fulfilled, he will appear in the clouds of heaven; and, according to the promises made to the Fathers, at the head of his church and covenant people, he will then reign on the earth, with the nations bowing before him, and all his enemies put under his feet. With this reign of Christ and his saints, will commence the world to come; the new heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.
This doctrine is called the kingdom of God. When our Lord sent forth his disciples to publish this truth, he said, Go ye and preach the kingdom of God. And when a city should refuse to receive them, they were directed to shake off the dust of their feet for a testimony against them, and to say unto them, Be ye-sure of this, , that the kingdom of God is come nigh. unto you.
The gospel-word is thus, in a strict sense, styled the Kingdom of God; for it does not merely set forth Christ and his right to reign over all flesh, but the power of the King of Heaven is engaged to attend it every where, even to the end of the world; as saith the apostle,. 1 Thess. 1..5.. “ For
our gospel came not to you in word only, but “ also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in “ much assurance.” And 1 Corinth. i. 18. “ It “ is the power of God.” And again, 2 Cor. x. 4. “ For the weapons of our warfare are not car“ nal, but mighty through God, to the pulling “ down of strong holds." In the gospel, there is truly a ministration of the spirit, an agency
of the authority of the Kingdom of God, and an exercise of the power of the world to come..
As the word concerning Christ is the incorruptable seed of God, they who receive it in true hearts and keep it, go under the same denomination, and are called Jezreel, the seed of God. Hos. ü. 22. True believers bear all the names and characters of the word itself. Is the word light? they who receive it and become assimilated to it, are “light in the Lord.” Is the word truth? its confessors are “ the pillar and ground “ of truth.” 1 Tim. iii. 15. “The truth itself." 3d John 12. Is the word called salt? Col. iv. 6. “ Ye are the salt of the earth.” Matt. v. 13. Is the word bread? The living remnant of Israel " shall return, and shall be eaten.” Isai. vi. 13. Thus, in the interpretation of the parables of the seed, in one place, “ The seed is the word of
God;" but in another, “ The good seed are “ the children of the kingdom.”
This doctrine is life; it is called this LIFE. Acts v. 20. Our Lord said “ THE WORDS that I “ speak unto you THEY ARE LIFE.' By the gospel truth, men are quickened; they that hear, live, become lively stones, &c. In a true reception of the doctrine concerning Christ, men are regenerated,born again, and made new creatures. “Who“ soever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born “ of God.” 1 John v. 1. “Being born again, not “ of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by “ the word of God, which liveth and abideth for “ ever.” i Peter i. 23. And Paul also says, 1 Cor. iv. 15,“ In Christ Jesus I have begotten you “ through the gospel.”
When we speak of a true reception of the word concerning Christ, we mean nothing more than what is necessary for its being surely retained; but it is apparent, that it can be vigorously held only by self-denial; or as it is esteemed above every interest of this world. And such is the nature, the magnitude, and durability of the