« הקודםהמשך »
stations. Paul had his faithful friends among the laity, Priscilla, and Aquila, and others : so had Athanasius, as is evident from the attachment to him of the people in Alexandria, though the names of his friends are not recorded ; and so had Luther. In each case, as it was with the pastor so it was also with the faithful of his flock : they were set in life, as he was set in both life and doctrine, for the defence of the persecuted truth. Lord, what wilt thou have us to do? Observe, the inquiry is concerning doing, not preaching. When a minister puts the inquiry, he must read the answer to it as including preaching, which is a part of his duty: when laymen put it, the answer does not include preaching, but it includes manner of life, conversation, correspondence, attachment to a party, and various particulars, the doing of which constitutes their duty.
What then is the answer ? We thus read the will of God concerning ourselves in this matter :- In the history of the church, we observe that the portion of truth which God caused to be made prominent in each age had a peculiar appropriateness to check the leading error of the church's enemies at the time. In the infancy of the church, after her first struggle against Judaism, her chief and powerful and persecuting enemies were Pagans, whose leading error was idolatry of stocks and stones, the work of men's hands. Against this, God caused the risen Saviour to be proclaimed, the one only medium of the true worship of the one only living and true God. In the days of Athanasius, when Arianism gained the ascendant for a season, the leading error was an attachment to the philosophy, falsely so called, of the ancient Gnostics, refined, and made more deceitful, by Origen and his disciples. Against this, God caused the Trinity to be proclaimed on the sole authority of a revealing God, and above reason, above philosophy. In the days of Luther, the practical mischief by which the church was beset lay in the absolutions, commutations, purgatorian inventions, and all the kindred apparatus by which the bishop of Rome was beguiling men to carry on a sort of bargain with God for salvation. Against this, God caused free justification to be proclaimed by the meritorious obedience of another, imputed by grace from God, and received by faith in man, which faith is the gift of God;-a doctrine which tears the frame-work of Popery to atoms.
If, therefore, we would discover what portion of truth the Lord would have us to make prominent now, we must examine the aspect which the enemy has put on. What is it? It is the licentious abuse of private judgment and personal liberty. It is the utter contempt of all subordination in the institutions of society, public and private. It is the making light of both kings and priests; a sort of legalized rebellion against any thing
like sovereign authority, and an absolutely infidel indifference towards the ordinances of the church. It is an Antichristian denial of Christ, as universal King, exercising his authority in temporal matters through kings, and the delegates of kingly authority, in the state ; and, as universal, infallible Bishop, exercising his authority in ecclesiastical matters through the ministers, elders, and deacons of the church. Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Is there a portion of thy truth specially calculated to stem this torrent; a portion against which these levellers will point their decided hostility; a portion which, if made prominent, will prove a watchword for scorn and contempt and ridicule, and all the persecution they can use; and therein become also a test of true discipleship? Yes, Lord, we believe there is and that that portion is thy return to this earth as King of kings and Lord of lords ; as Priest also, the Head of the worshippers a Priest for ever, after the order of the King of Righteousness! Thy coming to hurl the blasphemers from their throne, who say they rule by the grace of the people, and not by Thy grace; and to turn all the nations into hell which forget God, and which overturn the foundations of the earth, by making the governed the source of the power of the governors. The return of Jesus of Nazareth to this earth is the only occurrence revealed in Scripture which can meet the infidelity of the religious and political world. Come, then, Lord Jesus! Thy faithful followers can do nothing but testify that Thou art coming : this, by Thy grace enabling them, they will continue to testify; but it is 'Thy appearance alone which can convince men of their madness, and which can save Thy people.
ON THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY GHOST COMMONLY CALLED
Those gists of the Holy Ghost which we formerly treated of under the head of the Endowment of the Church*, are by some thought to have been given only for a season, while Christianity was making way in the world : by others they are believed to have been given, like the other gists and callings of God, without repentance and revocation; and that the church hath them now in as full right as ever, and ought to be exercising them with as great diligence, and for the very same ends, as did the Apostles and primitive Christians. The only way of determining every question of Divine truth is by an appeal to the word of God; and most especially when, like this, it is a question concerning the will and mind of God itself, and his end in the
* See Morning Watch, the present vol. p. 630.
giving of these gifts. No one knoweth the mind of God, but the Spirit of God; and that Spirit testifieth to the things which are written in his word. God alone is competent to explain his own intentions: no man, nor council of men, can help us here. And as this is purely a question, as to God's intention in respect to these miraculous gifts, it can in no other way be settled than by an appeal to his own declaration thereof. Not to contradict any man's opinion therefore, but to discover God's own mind, and give to all men the true grounds for forming an opinion and a belief, is our object in the following inquiry:
I. The first time that these gifts of the Holy Ghost are referred to in the Holy Scriptures, is in the lxviiith Psalm, where it is thus written concerning them : “ Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwellamong them.” That this passage refers to the ascension of our blessed Lord, and to the promise of the Holy Ghost,” which he then received from the Father, and shed down on the day of Pentecost, is expressly declared by the Apostle Paul, in the iv th chapter of his Epistle to the Ephesians, which contains likewise a full commentary upon it. Having, then, the Holy Ghost both for our authorand our commentator, let us endeavour to find out the mind of God. It is the end and purpose of God in the giving of these gifts to Christ, and Christ's end in giving them to us, that we are in quest of: which in the Psalm is given with great distinctness in these words,—“Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.” These words are so important, as containing the bare and naked end of God, that it is of the utmost importance to have them literally translated. Taking the marginal reading of our English Bibles, and dropping the words in Italics which are supplied by the translators, it standeth thus, word for word after the original : “ Thou hast received gifts in man; yea, the rebellious even, for an habitation (shechinah) of Jah-Elohim.” The latter part of this sentence, which contains the end of these received gifts, is very plain, “ For a habitation of the Lord God;" asserting that Christ had received these gifts, in order with them to make a habitation for JehovahGod. In some way or other, therefore, this is the great end for which thegifts of the Holy Ghost, received by Christ upon his ascension, were given,—to construct for God a place to dwell in. What is the meaning of Christ's obtaining for God, a place to dwell in, is another inquiry, which we shall come to in due time; but that this is the very epd and purpose of the gifts, is declared as distinctly as words can express it. If I were to say to my son, Take these, and make for me a dwelling-place; no one would have a doubt what I intended my gift to be applied to: but if we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; and
this witness is, that when Christ ascended up on high, victorious over death and him who had the power of death, leading captivity captive, crowned with the spoils of the grave; in this his resurrection state the Father gave bim certain gifts, for the purpose of constructing a habitation for him. The end of the gifts is what we are searching after. Let it be understood that we have found it from God's own word : it is, to prepare God a tabernacle, or house, or habitation.
The former part of the sentence—“ Thou hast received gifts in man; yea, the rebellious even”-is not so easy of interpretation. But, fortunately, it concerneth not our inquiry so nearly; which is, not as to the fact of his having received the gifts, but as to the end for which he received them. Yet, though harder to be understood, it is with the Apostle's commentary made comparatively plain, and, being interpreted, helps mainly to the resolution of the question which ariseth out of the former conclusion, And how with these gifts is Christ to build for Jehovah a habitation? The Apostle's commentary, taking the whole of it—that is, the first sixteen verses of the fourth chapter, is to the effect, That the church is one thing, whether viewed as a structure building up, or as a body in a state of growth, in which, and through which, and of which, God the Father is the all in all. In the conclusion of the second chapter, which is the immediate context (for the third chapter is properly marked off in our English Bible as a parenthesis), he had adopted the former figure of a habitation, suggested, I have no doubt, by the passage of the Psalm before us which it was in his mind to quote. And he expresseth himself thus: “ Fellow-citizens of the saints, and inmates of God's house......builded, as a house, upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head of the corner; on whom the whole house-structure, fitly framed together, increaseth into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom even you are built into the house, for a habitation of God in the Spirit.” These words are a perfect commentary upon that part of the prophetic oracle before us, which is concerned about the habitation of God, to be constructed by Christ with the gifts of the Holy Ghost which he received from the Father. That habitation is the church beyond all question. And it explains, moreover, what is the meaning of these words, "yea, the rebellious also.” The sole object of the Apostle in that second chapter, is to explain how the Gentiles should come to be builded into that house along with the Jews. He calls them “ children of wrath,” “ aliens from the commonwealth of Israel," “ without God in the world,” and many other names, significant all of enmity towards God, rebellion against his law, and obedience to the prince of this world. He then explains how this thraldom and alienation and enmity were done away in the Cross of
Christ, when he reconciled both Jew and Gentile unto God in one body. This is the “ leading captivity captive” of the Psalm, and the breaking of that spell of Satan which leagued men against their Maker. And then he shews that they, they,” “ even the rebellious," constituted a part of this house, or habitation, which he is constructing for God with those gifts which he received when he ascended up on high. The discourse in the second chapter explains likewise that other word of the prophetic oracle, " in the man;" which is, I think, parallel with the word “ in his flesh” (ver. 15); wherein he is declared to have abolished the enmity, and to have reconciled these enemies, or rebellious persons, and prepared them for being builded into God's habitation: it is also parallel with the word in one body," by offering which upon the cross he put away the enmity which prevented men from dwelling with God and God from dwelling in men, and so prepared the way for constructing the “ habitation of God by the Spirit.”
Apply now these lights to the elucidation of the enigmatical verse of the Psalm, and it clears itself
thus. « Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast captured the captivity, thou hast received gifts, in man:" all these things as a man, or in manhood, or by becoming man, thou hast done in thy body, in thy flesh. If any one think that this is too distinct a notice of the incarnation for so early a prophet, let him correct his judgment by the xlth Psalm ; and remember that the Jews had a light upon the subject of the incarnation, derived from their Prophets, which might put us Christians to shame. Then it is added, even rebels.” That is," he bath received gifts, and even rebels :” not only the stipulated reward, of God's own people, but even the rebellious Gentiles hath he received as his gift in manhood; as it is written, “I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance.” And the Apostle Paul accordingly labours to shew how into that inheritance, “ the riches of the glory of his inhe
“ ritance in the saints” (Ephes. i. 18), “ the rebels” even, the Gentiles also, were introduced, and all builded up together into one house for the inhabitation of God. And having done this in the second chapter, he is so enwrapped in the glorious mystery, and so enraptured with the honour bestowed on him of being its unfolder, that he occupies the whole of the third chapter with a digression, to disburden his heart of its thanksgivings for the same. Then, returning to his task again, he begins the fourth chapter by reminding them of this their high calling, to be God's temple and habitation ; and, the more to prevent all schism, as well between Jew and Gentile as between one another, he enumerates their sevenfold unity,—" one body, one spirit, one hope of their calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all; He who is upon all, and through all, and in all of you.” Therefore, taking up the figure of the body, which is better fitted than that of the