Imagini ale paginilor

Lev. xi. 24.

CHAP. XVIII. by and out of fire, even divine fire, can that change

be wrought which converts the earthly into the celestial and renders it acceptable to God. Every sacrifice smoking on the altar of burnt offering, and sending up its sweet savour to heaven, prefigured this. The fire on that altar was heaven-sent fire, and with none other might the sacrifice be offered. Consumed by that fire it went up in pillars of smoke, and in an odour of a sweet smell, wellpleasing unto God. Does not all this strikingly pre-intimate that only through death and God-sent fire is the way from death unto life, that only thus can any be brought near and made acceptable unto God? The victim, remember, was not only killed but burnt on the altar, so prefiguring that both death and fire are necessary to constitute an acceptable offering. Even so the Great Victim, whom the legal sacrifices primarily and principally typified,

'tasted death for every man' and was made perfect Heb. vii. 26, 27. through sufferings. “Holy, harmless, undefiled,

separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens,' He indeed needed not atonement or purification. Nevertheless, though He knew not sin,' He was 'made sin for us,' and as the Federal Head of humanity, in whom the whole human race was summed up and included, He died, the Just

“ for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.' Being, however, the Lamb without blemish and without spot, who offered Himself up perfect and sinless to God, no fire of purification was needed to make his sacrifice acceptable to God. Not so with

With us there must be both the death and the fire; not indeed the death of expiation; that has

Heb. ii. 9, 10.


[ocr errors]

2 Cor. 2. 21.

1 Pet. iii 18.

1 Pet. 1, 19.

Heb. ix. 14,


Luke xii. 49.


been given once and for ever, for when the One CHAP. XVIII.

died for all then all died’; but the death unto sin, 2 Cor. v. 14. and the fire to refine, as gold and silver are purged, consuming the dross and so purifying us as that we Mal. üi. 3. may as priests to God offer and be an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing unto Him. As every sacrifice Mark ix. 49. was salted with salt, so must every one be salted with fire, even the fire which our Lord came to cast upon the earth, and which He would that it were kindled; that fire by which we are made partakers of the divine nature, whereof it is the great emblem; that fire of which all present trials, afflictions, and 1 Pet. iv. 12. judgments are at once the earnest and the instrument; that fire with which our God, who, blessed Heb. xii. 29. be his name, is a consuming fire, will purge away the filth of his people and cleanse them, even with 'the spirit of judgment and with the spirit of Isa. ir. 4, 5. burning,' causing them as pillars of smoke, 'per- Cant. iii. 6. fumed with myrrh and frankincense,' to rise up into his presence. This is the baptism of the Holy Matt. ii, 11. Ghost and of fire promised to the Church as the fruit of the great Sacrifice, and in which, when it first came down upon the Church with powers of utterance and working, St. Peter saw the realization Acts ii

. 16-20. of the marvels prophetically associated with the outpouring of the Spirit, ' blood and fire and pillars of smoke.

And what was primarily and partially fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost is yet more signally and largely to be brought to pass in that great day when the Spirit shall be poured out from on high, and when the Lord will come with fire, and by fire and his word will plead with all flesh, and the slain of the

[ocr errors]

, 29.

Isa. lxvi. 15, 16. SO

John v. 29.

[ocr errors]

Mal, iii. 6.

CHAP. XVIII. Lord shall be many.

As with the first-bom, with the later-born; all must undergo the ordeal of death, judgment, and fire, before they can be recovered from their sin and its misery to holiness and life. If only so the elect come forth unto the resurrection of life,' much more must those, who not having been so saved come forth to the resurrection

of judgment,' undergo a death and a fire yet more Rev. Fr. 14, 15. tremendous, even the second death' and 'the lake

of fire.' Seems it a strange thing that the second death' and the lake of fire' should be regarded as means by and out of which the reprobate shall ultimately be recovered from evil ? To me it seems simply in analogy with, and a further development of, that great rectifying process which He who changes not is now employing and will employ for the destruction of sin, the 'making all things new, and the bringing about the restitution of all things.

Ought not,” says Mr. Jukes in the book which I have already quoted, “ the present to teach us something as to God's future ways, for is He not the same yesterday and to-day and forever? We know that in inflicting present death his purpose is through death to destroy him that has the power of death, that is, the devil. How can we conclude from this that in inflicting the second death' the unchanging God will act on a principle entirely different from that which now actuates Him? And why should it be thought a thing incredible that God should raise the dead who for their sin suffer the penalty of the second death? Does this death exceed the

power of Christ to overcome it? Or shall the greater foe


[ocr errors]

Heb. xiii. 8.


1 Cor. xv. 54.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

still triumph, while the less, the first death, is surely CHAP. XVIII. overcome ? Who has taught us thus to limit the Isa. xxv. 8. meaning of the words, ' Death is swallowed


in victory'? Is God's will to save all men limited to i Tim. ii. 4. fourscore years, or changed by that event which we call death, but which we are distinctly told is his appointed means for our deliverance ? All analogy based on God's past ways leads but to one answer. But when in addition to this we have the most distinct promise, that 'as in Adam all die so in 1 Cor. xv. 22, 26. Christ shall all be made alive,' that death shall be 2 Tim. i. 10. destroyed, that there shall be no more curse' but Rev. azii, 3. all things made new, and the restitution of all things'; when we are further told that "Jesus Christ is the same,' that is, a Saviour, 'yesterday, to-day, and for the ages’; the veil must be thick, indeed, upon man's heart, if spite of such statements 'the end of the Lord' is yet hidden from us."

"To me, too, the precepts which God has given are in their way as strong a witness as his direct promises. Hear the law respecting bondsmen, and Deut. xv. 12.-15. strangers, and debtors, and widows and orphans, Deut. sv. 1, 2, 9; and the punishment of the wicked, which may not exceed forty stripes, 'lest if it exceed, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee'; yea, even the law respecting 'asses fallen into a pit’; and hear the prophets exhorting to break every yoke,' to 'let Exod. xxiii. 4, 5. the oppressed go free,' and to undo the heavy Isa. lviii. 6. burdens'; hear the still clearer witness of the gospel, ‘not to let the sun go down upon our wrath, to forgive not until seven times, but until seventy Eph. iv. 26. times seven,' 'not to be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good '; to walk in love as Christ Rom. xii. 21.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Jas. v. 11.

Lev. xix. 33, 34.

xxiv. 17; XV, 2, 3.


Matt. xviii, 22.


Matt. XXV.



CHAP. XVIII. has loved us,' and to be imitators of God as dear Eph, v. 1, 2.

children’; see the judgment of those which neglect the

poor, and the naked, and the hungry, and the stranger, and the prisoner; and then say, Shall God do that which He abhors? Shall he command that bondmen and debtors be freed, and yet Himself keep those who are in worse bondage and under a greater debt in endless imprisonment ? Shall He bid us care for widows and orphans, and Himself forget this widowed nature, which has lost its Head and Lord, and those poor orphan souls which cannot cry, Abba, Father? Shall he limit punishment to forty stripes, lest thy brother seem vile,' and Himself inflict far more upon those who, though fallen, are still his children? Is not Christ the faithful Israelite, who fulfils the law, and shall He break it in any one of these particulars ? Shall He say, 'Forgive till seventy times seven,' and Himself not forgive except in this short life? Shall he command us to overcome evil with good,' and Himself, the Almighty, be overcome of evil ?' Shall He judge those who leave the captives unvisited, and Himself leave captives in a worse prison for ever unvisited ? Does

He not again and again appeal to our own natural Matt, vii. 7--11, feelings of mercy, as witnessing 'how much more'

we may expect a larger mercy from our Father which is in heaven'? If it were otherwise, might not the adversary reproach and say, Thou that teachest and judgest another, teachest Thou not Thyself ? Not thus will God be justified. But,

blessed be his name, He shall in all be justified. Job cxxviii. 22. And when in his day He opens the treasures of the

hail,' and shows what sweet waters He can bring


« ÎnapoiContinuați »