תמונות בעמוד

Spirit of God assist and bless the purpose !) to set before you life and death, a blessing and a curse; to proclaim to you, in the language of the text on the one hand, « The acceptable year of the Lord,” and on the other, “ The day of vengeance of our God."

Let me begin with endeavouring to give a general explanation of the two Periods here stated, and to show their respective Meaning

I. The Acceptable Year of the Lord.

The Prophet, in using this expression, seems evidently to have alluded to that divine institution, which formed so remarkable a feature in the Jewish dispensation, the Year of Jubilee. This institution, which is supposed to have derived its name from some peculiar sound of the trumpet with which it was proclaimed, was appointed to take place in every fiftieth year : and it might be called in a very appropriate sense “ the acceptable year.” For it was a year of general release; a year of general restitution to forfeited privileges and to lost possessions. In this year, not only every Israelite who had been reduced to a state of servitude or bondage, was set free, and restored to his liberty and friends; but every estate also, which from any cause had been alienated, reverted to its original possessor, or to his family. These were the words in which the institution was


appointed, “ Thou shalt cause the Trumpet of the Jubilee to sound, in the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of Atonement, shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.' And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof. It shall be a Jubilee unto you, and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.” * Surely a year thus divinely appointed for such important purposes, and bringing with it such distinguishing privileges, might well be called “ the acceptable year of the Lord :" and with very singular propriety might the Prophet, when speaking of the office of Christ, allude to this institution, as illustrating the blessings of that dispensation, which He, by His preaching, would introduce. In fact, the whole institution of the Jubilee was a typical institution. While it served to distinguish and to benefit the people to whom it was prescribed, it was designed also to exibit to them a lively representation of the spiritual privileges which the Gospel would bring with it. What indeed are those privileges, but a deliverance from bondage, and a restoration to our original inheritance ? What does the

* Lev. xxv. 9, 10,

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Gospel propose, but to redeem us from sin, and to bring us to heaven? The Gospel finds us in a state of spiritual bondage, by nature and by practice sinners, bound over unto judgement, and under the dominion of sin. But it offers to free us from this state.

proclaims liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prisons to them that are bound.” It offers to deliver us from condemnation, from the strength and power of sin, from the tyranny of Satan, from the sting of death, from the prison of the grave, from the pains of hell ! On the other hand, it also opens to us the kingdom of heaven. It proposes to invest us with a new title to this our forfeited inheritance. It promises to put us in possession of it, and perfectly to qualify us for the enjoyment of its pure and spiritual delights. Such are the privileges, such are the blessings, which the Gospel brings with it. And after this statement, there can be no difficulty in showing what is meant by the period mentioned in the text. “ The acceptable year of the Lord,” in the sense in which the Prophet uses the expression, evidently denotes the period of the Gospel-dispensation ; the times, during which the spiritual privileges of the Gospel should be freely offered to all who will accept them. This period Christ proclaimed, when coming into Galilee He

preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and said, - The time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of God is at hand: Repent ye, and believe the Gospel.” This period He proclaimed, when in the synagogue of Nazareth He declared to those who were present, that the passage connected with the text was in that day fulfilled in their ears. This period He proclaimed throughout the whole course of His ministry. This period He commanded His Apostles to proclaim, saying to them, “ Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.' This period He has since continued to proclaim by the publication of His written Word, and by the voice of His faithful Ministers : one part of whose office, like His own, has ever been, and still is, to preach “the acceptable year of the Lord.”

But there is another Period also to be proclaimed.

II. “ The Day of Vengeance of our God.”

We find in the writings of the Prophets, frequent mention made of “a Day of Ven. geance ;” thus in the thirty-fourth chapter of Isaiah, the Prophet, in the midst of the most tremendous description of predicted Judgements, declares, “ for it is the Day of the Lord's Vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.” So again, in the sixty-third chapter, we find the

Lord Himself using this language, “I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the People there was none with Me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury: and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the Day of Vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. In like manner, in the forty-sixth chapter of Jeremiah, we meet with the fol. lowing passage:

• For this is the Day of the Lord God of Hosts, a Day of Vengeance, that He may avenge Him

of his adversaries." And so again in the fifty-first chapter, “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul : be not cut off in her iniquity : for this is the time of the Lord's Vengeance ; He will render unto her a recompense.??

To adduce more passages on this subject would be superfluous. Not only the Prophetical Writings, but the Scriptures throughout confirm the same truth. They all with one voice speak of an appointed Period, by whatever name it may be called, whether as in the text, “ the Day of Vengeance, or as in other places, “the Day of Wrath,” the os

Day of Recompense,” 'the “Day of Indignation,” the “Day of the Lord;" in which the Almighty will arise to Judgement, and will avenge Himself upon His enemies. Such a Period, Christ, accord.

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