« הקודםהמשך »
The Jewish Dispensation perfected by the Gospel.
* xxi 66. Mat. xxi. 33-31. The Husbandmen to whom the vineyard was first let, were the Jews; to whom God first sent his servants, the prophets, ver. 34-36, and at last he sent his Son, whom they slew, ver. 37–39. and then the vineyard was let out to other husbandmen ; which our Saviour clearly explains, Ver. 43, Therefore I say unto you (Jews) the kingdom of God shall be laken from you, and given to a nation (the believing Gentiles,) bringing forth the fruits thereof. Hence it appears, that the very same kingdom of God, which the Jews once possessed, and in which the ancient prophets exercised their ministry, one after another, is now in our possession ; for it was taken from them, and given to us.
67. Rom. xi. 17-24. The church or kingdom of God is compared to an Olive-tree, and the members of it to the branches. And if some of the branches, (the unbelieving Jews,) be broken off, and thou, Gentile Christian, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the Olive-tree; that is, the Jewish church and covenant. Ver. 24, For if thou, Gentile Christian, wert cut out of the Olive-tree, which is wild by nature, and wert grafted, contrary to nature, into the good Olive-tree, &c.
68. 1 Pet. ii. 7, 8, 9, 10, Unto you, Gentiles who believe, he (Christ) is an honour, topen, but unto them which be disobedient, (the unbelieving Jews,) the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and also a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offenee.* They stumble at the word being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed. (They are fallen from their privileges and honour, as God appointed they should, in case of their unbelief.) But ye, (Gentiles are raised into the high degree from which they are fallen, and so) are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of the heathenish darkness into his murvellous light.
69. Thirdly. The Jews vehemently opposed the admission of the uncircumcised Gentiles into the kingdom and covenant of God, at the first preaching of the gospel. But if the Gentiles were not taken into the same church and covenant, in which the Jewish nation had so long gloried, why should they so zealously oppose their being admitted into it? Or why so strenuously insist that they ought to be eircumcised in order to their being admitted ? For what was it to them, if the Gentiles were called, and taken into another kingdom and covenant, distinct, and quite different from that which they would have confined wholly to themselves, or to such only as vere circumcised: it is plain the Gentiles might have been admitted into another kingdom and covenant, without any offence to the Jews, as they would still have been left in the sole possession of their ancient privileges. And the apostles could not have failed of using this as an argument to pacify their incensed brethren, had they so understood it. But seeing they never gave the least intimation of this, it shews they understood the affair as the unbelieving Jews did, namely, that the Gentiles, without being circumcised, were taken into the kingdom of God, in which they and their forefathers had so long stood.
70. Fourthly, It is upon this foundation, namely, that the believing Gentiles are taken into that church and kingdom in which the Jews onee stood, that the Apostles drew parallels, for caution and instruction, between the state of the ancient Jews, and that of the Christians. 1 Cor. x. 1-13, Moreover, brethren, I would not that
ye should be ignorant, how that abł our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and were all baptised into Moses, and did all eat of the same spiritual meat, and did all drink of the same spiritual drink ; but with many of them God was not well pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now those things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. Neither be ye Idolaters, as were some of them ; neither let us provoke Christ, as some of them provoked, &c. Heb. iii. 7, &c. Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith to Day,t when or while you hear his voice, harden not jour hearts
* We render this passage thus, a stone of stumbling and rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient, fc. as if it were one continued sentence. But thus, violence is done to the text, and the Apostle's sense is thrown into obscurity and disorder, which is restored by putting a period after offence, and beginning a new sentence, thus, they stumble at the word, &c. For observe, the Apostle runs a double Antithesis between the unbelieving Jews and believirg Gentiles.
t. Inuspor sey ons pains AUTOV Axeventi. EAN, il, should here have been rendered When; as it is rendered 1 John iii. 2, and it should have been rendered John xii. 32. xiv. 3. xvi. 7. 2 Cor. v. 1. In like manner the particle ON Psal. xcv. 7, (whence the place is quoted,) should have been translated When or While. For it is translated When, 1 Sam. xv. 17. Prov. iii. 24. iv. 12. Job vii. 4. xvii. 16. Psal. I. 18; and might have been so translated in other places.
Of the Honours and Privileges of Christians. as in the day of temptation in the wilderness, when your fathers tempted me, wherefore I was griered with that generation, and sware in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an eril heart of unbelief. Chap. iv. 1, Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. Ver. 2, For unto us hath the Gospel been preached, as well as to them, that is, we have the joyful promise of a happy state, or of entering into rest, as well as the Jews of old. Ver. 11, Let us labour, therefore, to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief
71. Fifthly. Hence also the Scriptures of the Old Testament are represented as being written for our use and instruction, and to explain our dispensation as well as theirs. Mat. v. 17, Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets ; I am not come to destroy but to fulfil. And when our Saviour taught his disciples the things pertaining to his kingdom, he opened to them the Scriptures, which were then no other than the Ou Testament. Luke iv. 17–22. xviii. 31. xxiv. 27, And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself. Ver. 45, Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. Thus the Apostles were instructed in the things pertaining to the Gospel dispensation. And always in their sermons in the Acts, they confirm their doctrine from the scriptures of the Old Testament. And in their Epistles they not only do the same, but also expressly declare, that those scriptures were written as well for the benefit of the Christian as the Jewish church. Rom. xv. 4, After a quotation out of the Old Testament, the Apostle adds, for whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning ; that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. 1 Cor. ix. 9, It is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the o.x that treadeth out the corn. Ver. 10, For our sakes, no doubt, this is written. 1 Cor. x. 11, Now all these things, (namely, the before-mentioned privileges sins and punishments of the ancient Jews,) happened unto them for ensamples ; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the earth are come. 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17, Au Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
72. Sixthly. Agreeably to this notion, that the believing Gentiles are taken into that church or kingdom, out of which the unbelieving Jews are cast, the Christian church considered in a body, is called by the same general names, as the church under the Old Testament. Israel was the general name of the Jewish church, so also of the Christian. Gal. vi. 16, As many as walk according to this rule peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. Rev. vii. 3, 4, Speaking of the Christian church, the angel said, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them that were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty-four thousand, of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Rev. xxi. 10–13, He shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, (the Christian church,) having the glory of God,—and had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, (as comprehending the whole church.) Ver. 14, And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. Jews was another running title of the church in our Saviour's time, and this is also applied to Christians. Rev. ii. 8, 9, And unto the angel of the (Christian) church in Smyrna, write, I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty; and I know the blasphemy of them who say they are Jews, (members of the church of Christ,) and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. And again, chap. iii. 9.
§ VI. The particular honours and privileges of Christians; and the terms signifying these honours explained.
73. Seventhly. In conformity to this sentiment, (namely, that the believing Gentiles are taken into that church, covenant, and kingdom, out of which the unbelieving Jews were cast,) the state, membership, privileges, honours, and relations of professed Christians, particularly of believing Gentiles, are expressed by the
Of the Honours and Privileges of Christians.
same phrases with those of the ancient Jewish church; and therefore, unless we admit a very strange abuse of words, must convey the same general ideas of our present state, membership, privileges, honours and relations to God, as we are professed Christians. For instance,
74. I. As God chose his ancient people the Jews, and they were his chosen and elect, so now the whole body of Christians, Gentiles, as well as Jews, are admitted to the same honour; as they are selected from the rest of the world, and taken into the kingdom of God, for the knowledge, worship, and obedience of God, in hopes of eternal life. Rom. viii. 33, Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? &c. Eph. i. 4, According as he hath chosen us, (Gentiles, chap. ii. 11.) in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love. Col. iii. 12, Put on, therefore, (as the elect of God, holy and beloved,) bowels of mercies, &c. 2 Thes. ii. 13, But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation; through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth. Tit. i. 1, Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness. 2 Tim. ii. 10, Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they, also, may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 1 Pet. i. 1, 2, Peter to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience. ii. 9, Ye (Gentiles) are a chosen generation, &c. v. 13, The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you.
75. II. The first step which the goodness of God took in execution of his purpose of Election, with regard to the Gentile world, was to rescue them from their wretched situation in the sin and idolatry of their heathen state, (by sending his Son Jesus Christ into the world to die for mankind and, thus) to bring them into the light and privileges of the gospel. With regard to which, the language of Scripture is, 1st. that he delivered, 2nd. saved, 3rd. bought or purchased, 4th. redeemed them. i. 4, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, the vices and lusts in which the world is involved. Col. i. 12, 13, Giving thanks to the Father who has delivered us from the power of (heathenish) darkness, (Acts xxvi. 18. 1 Pet. ii. 9. Eph. iv. 18. v. 8.) and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. And thus consequentially, we are delivered from the wrath to come.
1 Thes. i. 10. 76. 1 Cor. i. 18, For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness, but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. vii. 16, What knowest thou, O Wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband ? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife ? that is, convert her to the Christian faith. x. 33, even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Eph. ï. 8, For by grace are you saved through faith. 1 Thes. ii. 16, The Jews forbid us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, 1 Tim. ii. 4, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 2 Tim. i. 9, Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace. In this general sense, saved is in other places applied to both Jews and Gentiles; particularly to the Jews. Rom. ix. 27. x. 1. xi. 26. Hence God is styled our Saviour. Tit. iii. 4, 5, But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us. 1 Tim. i. 1, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour. ii. 3. Tit. i. 3. Rom. xi. 11, Through their (the Jews') fall, salvation is come to the Gentiles. And as this salvation is by Jesus Christ, he also is frequently called our Saviour.
77. Acts xx. 28, Feed the church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood. 1 Cor. vi. 20, And ye are not your own ; for ye are bought with a price. vii. 23, Ye are bought with a price. 2 Pet. ii. 1, False prophets shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them. Rev. v. 9, Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed (bought) us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.
78. Tit. iii. 14, Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity. 1 Pet. i. 18, Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, from your rain (heathenish) conversation, received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ. And at the same time he redeemed or bought
of the Honours and Privileges of Christians.
us from death, or the curse of the law. Gal. iii. 13. And the Jews, in particular, from the law, and the condemnation to which it subjected them. Gal. iv. 5. Hence frequent mention is made of the redemption, which is in Jesus Christ, Rom. iii. 24. 1 Cor. i. 30. Eph. i. 7. Col. i. 14. Heb. ix. 12, 15. Hence also Christ is said to give himself a ransom for us. Matt. xx. 28. Mark x. 45. 1 Tim. ii. 6, Who gave himself a ransom for all.”—That is, that he might redeem them unto God by the sacrificial shedding of his blood.
79. HII. As God sent the Gospel to bring Gentiles, Christians, out of heathenism, and invited and made them welcome to the honours and privileges of his people, he is said to call them, and they are his called. Rom. i: 6 7, Among whom are ye also called of Jesus Christ. To all that are at Rome called saints-viii. 28. 1 Cor. i. 9, God is faithful, by whom ye were called into the followship of his son-viii. 20. Gal. i. 6, I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you—v. 13. Eph. iv. I, I beseech you, that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, iv. 4. 1 Thes. ii. 12, That ye walk worthy of God, who hath called: you unto his kingdom and glory-iv. 7, God hath not called' us unto uncleanness, but' unto holiness. 2 Tim. il 9, Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling";' not according to our works, &c. 1 Pet. ii 15, But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation—ii. 9, Ye (Gentile Christians,) are a chosen generation—to shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous-light:
80. Note—The Jews also were called. Rom. ix. 24, Even us, wliom he has called: not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles. 1 Cor. i. 24. vii. 18, Is any man called being circumcised Heb. ix. 15. But the calling of the Jews must be different from that of the Gentiles. The Gentiles were called into the kingdom of God as strangers and foreigners, who had never been in it before. But the Jews were then subjects of God's kingdom under the old form; and therefore could be called only to submit to it, as it was now modelled under the Messiah. Or they were called to repentance, to the faith, allegiance, and obedience of the Son of God, and to the hope of eternal life through him ; whom rejecting, they were cast out of God's peculiar kingdom.
81. IV. And as we stand in the relation of children to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; lience it is that we are his brethren, and he is considered as the First Born among us. Mat. xxviii. 10. John xx. 17, Jesus saith—Go to my Brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your father, and to my God, and your God. Heb. ii. 11, 17. Rom. viii. 29, That he might be the first-born among many brethren. .
82. V. And the relation of God, as a father, to us Christians, who are his children, will lead our thoughts to a clear idea of our being, as we are called, the house or family of God, or of Christ. 1.Tim. iii. 15, Båt if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God. Heb. iii. 6, But Christ, as a Son over his own liouse; whose house are we, (Christians,) if we hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Heb. x. 21, And having a great high-priest over the house of God, &c. 1 Pet. ix. 17, For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; (that is, when the Christian church shall undergo sharp trials and sufferings ;) and if it first begin at us, (Christians, who are the house or family of God,) what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel ? (that is, of the infidel world, who lie out of the church. See Rom. i. 5. xv. 18. 1 Pet. i. 22.) Eph. ii. 19, We are of the household, (domestics,) of God-iii. 14, 15, I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in Heaven and earth is named, &c.
83. VI. Further; as the land of Canaan was the estate, or inheritance belonging to the Jewish family, or house ; so the heavenly country is given to the Christian house, or family, for their inheritance. Acts xx. 32, And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Col. ii. 24, Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance. Heb. ix. 15, He is the mediator of the New Testament, that they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 1 Pet. i. 4. God has begotten" us again, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for us. Hence we have the title of heirs. Tit. iii. 7, That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Jam. ii. 5, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom; which he has promised to them that love him.. See Rom. viii. 17. 1 Pet. iii. 7.
Of the Honours and Privileges of Christians.
81. And as Cancan was considered as the rest of the Jews, so, in reference to our trials and afflictions in this world, Heaven is considered as the rest of Christians. 2 Thes. i. 7, And to you who are troubled, (he will give) rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Ileaven. Heb. iv. 1, Let us therefore, fear, lest a promise being left us, of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us hath the Gospel been preached, as well as to them ; that is, we have the joyful promise of entering into rest, as well as the Jews of old. Ver. I, There remains, therefore, a rest for the people of God; that is, for Christians now in this world, as well as for the Jews formerly in the Wilderness. Which is the point the Apostle is proving from ver. 3 to 10.
85. VII. Thus Christians, as well as the antient Jews, are the house or family of God: or we may conceive the whole body of Christians formed into a nation, having God at their head; who, on this account, is stiled our God, Governor, Protector, or King; and we his people, subjects, or servants.
86. VIII. And it is in reference to our being a society peculiarly appropriated to God; and under his special protection and government, that we are called the city of God, the Holy city. Heb. xii. 22, Ye are come unto --the city of the living God. Rev. xi. 2, And the holy city shall they treud under foot forty and læo months. This city is described in some future happy state, Rev. 21st and 22nd chapters.
87. llence the whole Christian community or church is denoted by the city Jerusalem, and sometimes by Mount Zion. Gal. iv. 26, But Jerusalem, which is above, is free, which is the Mother of us all-In her reformed, or future hapry state, she is the New Jerusalem. Rev. iii. 12. xxi. 2. Heb. xii. 22, Ye are come unto Mount Zion, &c. Rev. xiv. 1.
88. Hence also we are said to be written, or enrolled in the Book of God, or, which comes to the same thing; of the Lamb, the Son of God. Rev. iii. 5, He that overcometh the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life-xxii. 19, And if any man take away from the words of the Book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, &c. which shews, that the names of such as are in the Book of Life may be blotted out; consequently, that to be enrolled there, is the privilege of all professed Christians.
89. And whereas the believing Gentiles were once strangers, aliens, not a people, enemies; now (Eph. ii. 19.) they are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens, with the saints. 1 Pet. ii. 10, Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God. Now we are at peace with God, Rom. v. 1. Now we are reconciled, and become the servants of God, the subjects of his kingdom, Rom. v. 10. 1 Thes. i. 9. 2 Cor. v. 18, 19.
90. On the other hand; the body of the Jewish nation, (having through unbelief, rejected the Messiah, and the Gospel; and being, therefore, cast out of the city and kingdom of God,) are, in their turn, at present, represented under the name and notion of enemies ; Rom. xi. 28, As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for
91. IX. The kind and particular regards of God to the converted Gentiles, and their relation to Jesus Christ, is also signified by that of a husband and wife : and his taking them into his covenant, is represented by his espousing them. 2 Cor. xi. 2, For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy; for I hare espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
92. Hence the Christian church, or community, is represented as a mother, and particular members as her children. Gal. iv. 26, But Jerusalem, which is abore, is free, which is the Mother of us all. Ver. 27, For it is written, rejoice thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not; for the desolate hath many more children, than she which hath a husband. Ver. 28, Now we, brethren, as Israel was, are the children of promise. Ver. 31, So then, Brethren, we are not children of the bond-woman, but of the free.
93. Hence also, from the notion of the Christian church being the spouse of God in Christ, her corruption and her idolatry come under the name of fornication, and adultery.
G4. X. As God, by Christ, exercises a particular providence over the Christian church, in supplying them with all spiritual blessings, guiding them through all difficulties, and guarding them in all spiritual dangers; He