« ZurückWeiter »
bible will continue to lie, as perhaps it has done for many years, dusty and mouldering on your shelf, while the precious treasure it contains is still locked up from your view ; and God Almighty grant, that it may not be hid from your eyes for ever!
You may rest assured, that there is no such character, as a christian, who does not love and read his bible ; and therefore you should not be satisfied till this “Gospel comes unto you, not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance ;” that you may become followers of the Lord, and ensamples to those around you ; giving evidence, that you are “ not of those who draw back unto perdition, but such as believe, to the saving of In fine, it becomes all who make any profession of religion at this day, to look up continually with prayer to him who has caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, to grant them grace, so “ to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them; that by patience and comfort of his holy word, they may embrace and ever hold fast that blessed hope of everlasting life, which he has given us in his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." Amen.
ACTS i. 6, 7.
“ When therefore they were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said, it is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own
THERE is in the mind of man a natural desire and a strong propensity, to look into futurity, and to gain information respecting things to come, while he is too apt to disregard the circumstances of the present times, and the duties necessarily connected with them. Our blessed Lord, more than once, checked this curiosity in his disciples, while he endeavoured to direct their minds to subjects of more profitable enquiry. Thus when Peter questioned him respecting his brother Apostle John, saying, “ Lord what shall this man do ?” Jesus replied, “if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me." So in the passage before us, he distinctly tells them, “ that it is not for them to know the times or seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.”
In their speculations it appears that they had entirely mistaken the nature of that kingdom for which they looked; imagining that Christ was about to deliver them from the Roman yoke, and to set up a temporal dominion, establishing his throne at Jerusalem ; but the very contrary was to take place; in a few years they were to be no more reckoned among the nations; the Romans were about to come, “ and take away their place and nation;" “ their enemies were to compass them about, and close them in on every side ;" their temple, in which they boasted, was to be destroyed, and Jerusalem to be overthrown and trodden down of the Gentiles Christ's kingdom was not, is not, of this world: it is a spiritual kingdom, taken out of the world, composed of those who are redeemed from the ruins of the fall. Our Lord taught his disciples, that the kingdom of heaven was to be small in its beginning : that it was to come without observation; and therefore he compared it to “ a
a grain of mustard seed;" to “ leaven hid in three measures of meal ;” and to " a stone cut out without hands;" but though its beginning was small, and its growth gradual, yet it was to become “a great tree,” and the stone cut out without hands, was to become “ a mountain, that should fill the earth.” For this the church of God has been preparing from the beginning, and we may trace its progress, though through much opposition, from the period of the promise, that “the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head,” through every succeeding age, to the present hour.
In all ages of the world, and in the worst of times, God reserved to himself a people, who did not give way to the general apostacy, and who might be traced through the wilderness of the world, by their godly walk and conversation; exactly as an inconsiderable rivulet may be traced through the barren desert by the rich verdure which adorns its banks on either side.
The increase of Christ's kingdom is set forth in the holy Scriptures by a variety of similitudes, but in none more beautifully than in the increase of the waters of the Sanctuary : the Prophet relates, that when he was first made to pass through the waters, they were only “ to the ancles ;” when he passed through the second time, “ the waters were to the knees ;” at the third time," the waters were to the loins ;" and lastly, “ they were a river that he could not pass over, for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed.” What a
beautiful emblem do these waters afford of the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit accompanying the preaching of the Gospel, and giving efficacy to the word; and we are taught to expect an increase of this influence in the latter ages of the church, so that “the solitary places where the Gospel had not come, shall be glad thereof, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.” For God will yet "pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground; he will pour his Spirit upon their seed, and his blessing upon their offspring, so that they shall spring up as among grass, as willows by the water courses.
This seems to predict the success of the Gospel, when multitudes of believers should spring up in various quarters of the world; as also the great accession which must be brought to the Church of Christ, at the restoration of the Jews, and the bringing in of the Gentiles; when the predicted time arrives, in which “ there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” This is the great and glorious consummation which is to be expected, and for which the Church and people of God now wait. And though we cannot tell the time or season when this great work shall be accomplished, yet we may gather from the signs of the times, what probable progress is made towards the accomplishment; and we may see in the various dis