« ÎnapoiContinuați »
ungodliness from Jacob.” This, however, must not be looked for, until the day of glory, when the deliverer out of Zion shall utterly abolish death, and take away the covering from the grave, as saith the prophet. Isai. xxv. 6, 7, 8." And in “ this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make “unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of “ wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, " of wines on the lees well refined. And he will
destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is
spread over all nations. He will swallow up “ death in victory, and the Lord God will wipe “ away tears from off all faces.”
The subject of this allegory, is the mystery of God, Rom. xi. 25. And it is declared, Rev. x. 7. “ That in the days of the voice of the seventh
angel, when he shall begin to sound the mys
tery of God should be finished.” And as, according to the view we have taken, the church, in these distinct relations, is divided as it were, into two opposite worlds; the angel who made this declaration, is seen standing as it were upon two worlds, with his right foot set upon the sea, the emblem of the gospel constitution; and with his left foot on the earth, the emblem of the legal constitution and subject world. And also, as the church was at first established by the oath of the angel of the Lord, taken by himself, because he could swear by no greater; so here, this declaration concerning its glorious consummation, is made by the oath of the angel, taken “ by him “ that liveth for ever and ever, that the time “should be no longer. But in the days of the “ voice of the seventh angel, when he shall be
gin to sound, the mystery of God should be “ finished.” Agreeably to which, is the passage, 1 Thes. iii. 16, 17. “ For the Lord himself shall “ descend from heaven with a shout, with the « voice of the archangel, and with the trump of “ God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: “ then we which are alive, and remain, shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds, “ to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we “ ever be with the Lord.” And thus will be finished this mysterious archangel exhibition.
How glorious and dreadful will be this scene, now fast approaching ! The curtain, or vail of the temple was an emblem of the created heavens; as also the raised grounds and walls of great stones, were emblems of the earthy elements. This curtain was suspended upon four pillars, the two innermost of which were called the door posts. When our Lord upon the cross, had cried a second time, and so yielded up the ghost, the whole of this work was affected together: the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and as in the vision of Isaiah, the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried ; and, behold, the vail of the temple was rent in train, from the top to the bottom. The voice of the angel from Mount Sinai shook the earth. “ But now he hath promised, saying, yet “ once more I shake not the earth only, but also “ heaven. And this word, yet once more, signifi“eth, the removing of those things that are sha“ken, as of things that are made, that those things “ which cannot be shaken may remain.” Therenting of the vail, opened the way for the King of Glory to enter into his most holy place; and for his people, in the Spirit, to follow him; but when he shall return with all his saints with him, at the sound of the trumpet before him, the heaven shall depart as a scroll when it is rolled together; and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heav, ens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Section I..... The Reason for giving the Law.
HE law was given for the same reasons that a schoolmaster is appointed over children, viz. to instruct and to govern. By the law, a system of precepts was given for the instruction of the people; and a government was instituted for their preservation.
In order to discover the glory of Christ, and the riches of grace in him, it is necessary to see ourselves, the vileness of our own characters, and our guilty and perishing state by nature. But this knowledge is only to be obtained by the law; for by the law is the knowledge of sin. The Jaw was not given for a remedy, nor even for instruction concerning a remedy; but merely to make known the deadly nature of the disease, and to lay open to the bottom the mortal wound. “What things soever the law saith, it saith “ to them who are under the law: that every “ mouth may be stopped, and all the world may “ become guilty, before God.” It is only by the law that sin is brought into action, that its malignant symptomş are produced, and that it
appears what itself is, sin, exceeding sinful ; for without the lar sin is dead...
The law, by laying a restraint upon the corruptions of the human heart, excited them into strong exercise ; as saith the apostle, “Sin tak-“ ing occasion by the commandment, wrought " in me all manner of concupiscence.” This restraint upon the hearts operated only as the ob- structing of a corrupt fountain, which, instead of healing, accumulates its infection ; causes it to rise and gather strength, until the weight of pressure becomes. unrestrainable, and it breaks out with irresistable violence.. Hence, the law entered, and sin abounded. This, however, would not have been the case, had the evil been any other than the depravity of nature; for the means were the most powerful to cultivate and improve every thing that was pure and heavenly; but could not effect a regeneration of nature ;-operating upon a wild vine, they tended only to produce the grapes of Sodom, and the bitter clus . ters of Gomorrah.
So great a deep is the human heart, and such is the deceivableness of sin, that it is not easy to convince men that they are by nature children of wrath;, not only heirs of the wrath of God, but that they have against God wrathfül dispositions... Though men will readily confess that they are sinners; yet they do not admit that they have carnal minds, which are enmity against God; such as are not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be; and they will fondly hope, that by means of light and cultivation, they shall form better resolutions; and be able to acquit them.selves, in some favourable manner, before a good and gracious judge; and nothing but a deep law. work can divest them of this natural delusion. Without the law, sin is dead; the heart rests: smooth and tranquil, like the deep in a calm
but, when the commandment comes with power and authority upon the carnal mind, like the ocean under a tempest, it rises and swells with a mighty reaction, opening its deep caverns of hor: ror, darkness and death. In the view of which amazing opposition, contrasted with the holiness, righteousness and goodness of the law which is thus resisted, all the natural hopes of the creature are at once overthrown. He sees in the real action, he feels in the motions of his own breast, that his repentances, resolutions and reformations, have no more weight against the enmities of the carnal mind, than a mere bubble against the progress of seas that are running mountains high.
Our life, which is hid with Christ in God, is life from the dead. It has been fully shewn, that in order to participate in this life, we must first be slain, our natural life must be given up; and, as it respects the mind, our natural life is that hope which we so fondly entertain from the deeds of the law, or the services of the covenant of works. Hope is the life of the mind. This natural hope is never given up but with the pains of dissolution; and such as are far deeper ihan what exist in the separation of soul and body. The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear? This is the dissolution of the mind; and, in the highest sense, is the giving up of the ghost. But this can take place by no other means than by the law as a ministralion of death; for by no other means are we convinced of sin, as existing in our nature, in the very frame and constitution of our minds, and of the justice of God in our condemnation; and that, upon our natural ground, we are irrecoverably lost. Hence, says the apostle, Rom. vii, “ I was alive without the law once; but, “ when the commandment came, sin revived, and