Imatges de pàgina
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testimony. Therefore," he saith unto them, depart from me all ye workers of iniquity, I know you not.”

Ninthly, What are we to understand by the weeping, and gnashing of teeth?

Weeping, and gnashing of teeth, seem strikingly descriptive of the sufferings those endure, who having forfeited a blessing are shut up in darậness, which may be felt. The Psalmist couples mocking and gnashing of teeth together, and that the Jews hold the Christians in derision unto this day, is a well known fact. And listening to the martyr Stephen, Acts vii. 54, who preached unto them Jesus, “ They were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth."

Tenthly, What by the east, and by the west, by the many coming from thence and uniting with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets of the kingdom of God? No doubt the bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles. Isaiah pronounces positively, chapter lx. verse 3, and onwards,

“ That the Gentiles shall come to his light, and kings to the brightness of his rising.

“ Lift up thine eyes round about, and see : all they shall gather themselves together, they come to thee : thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.

“ The abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee, and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord.

“ Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?

“Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish."

Thus do the Gentile world enter with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob into the kingdom of God; they investigate the Mosaic dispensation, they listen to the predictions of the prophets, they hail their fulfilment, and they bow before the Redeemer of men as the Alpha and Omega.

But eleventhly, What is the kingdom of God? Paul tells us, in the 14th chapter and 17th verse of his Epistle to the Romans,

That the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Indeed it is; there is a rest which remaineth for the people of God; into this rest every true believer enters. He putteth on the Lord Jesus, who is made unto him righteousness; and his peace is abundant, it floweth as a

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river, it passeth understanding; the world can neither give it nor take it away, nor can a stranger intermeddle with his joy.

Twelfthly, and lastly, What are we to understand by the first being last, and the last first? This declaration is introduced with a note of admiration, “ Behold! there are first which shall be last, and last which shall be first." We have said that first and last are relative terms. The Jews were undeniably the children of the covenant; they were the first, but now they are shut out; these first are shut out; until how long ? let us again inquire of the apostle Paul, Romans xi.

“ I say then have they (the Jews) stumbled that they should fall ? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles.

« Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fulness?

“ For if the casting away of them be the reconciling the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

“ For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. ; « And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written there shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob :

“ For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

“As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election they are beloved for the Father's sake.

« For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

“ For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet now have obtained mercy through their unbelief;

“ Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

“ For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all."

Thus the last again becomes the first ; th the end meets the beginning. If both are not brought in, first and last have no signi. fication here. The same idea is expressed, i Corinthians xii. 13. " For by one spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we

be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free ; and have been all made to drink into one spirit.” But a cloud of witnesses present to prove, that not one of the human family was left out, in that grand council which was held, and by which we were chosen before the foundation of the world. Indeed how could it have been otherwise, since Jesus Christ gave himself a ransom for all; since “the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion, with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads : since they shall obtain joy, and gladness; and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."

I am sensible, that this hasty manner of passing over the verses I have transcribed for you, hardly merits to be styled even a sketch ; but these general observations are, perhaps, considering to whom I am writing, more than sufficient.

I have called on my friend C- He was, you know, warm in my interest, when he considered me a partialist. The dialogue which passed between us is fresh in my memory; I proceed to transcribe it while it is yet recent, that you may have it verbatim.

C. Have you preached since you came to town, Sir?
M. Yes, Sir.
C. Had you any one to hear you ?
M. Yes, Sir, a great many.
C. Strange! did you stop at N ?
M. Only one night.
C. What, did not you stop at Mr. P.'s, nor preach there?
M. I did not.

C. Why, that seems strange : How comes that about? You are out of credit there.

M. Yes, Sir.

C. But that is a bad sign, Sir; good men could not sink in their credit.

M. I read of a man, Sir, who never had his equal for goodness, and his credit was so low, that a whole country agreed to drive him from their coasts

C. Who was that, Sir?
M. He who was despised of men.

C. Pshaw, I hope you do not draw a parallel between Christ and yourself?

M. You see, Sir, I do not : I said he never had his equal. But he left it as an established truth, that every one of his household should receive similar treatment, and that they should be despised

in exact proportion as they faithfully performed the part of his disciples. “If,” says he, “they have called the master or the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

C. But had you preached the same doctrine that Jesus Christ preached, you never would have lost your credit.

M. The question recurs, How then did our blessed Saviour himself receive such severe treatment? Was he not rejected of men, and all his life a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief?

C. But you would not have been rejected, nor despised, had you preached his doctrine.

M. How then, I again ask, would the words of our Saviour have been fulfilled ; if they do these things in the green tree, what will they do in the dry ? But, Sir, 1 bear none other testimony than what our Saviour bore ; and hence proceeds the torrent of abuse which follows me; hence I am alike the detestation of Scribes and Pharisees. Had I assayed to make the Redeemer of the world a liar, I am well persuaded no synagogue would have been shut against

me.

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C. O! no, you do not preach the doctrine of Christ Jesus; you preach that all will be saved.

M. Sir, my testimony is precisely the testimony which I have received from Christ Jesus. Do but attend. When the disciples would have destroyed those who refused him admittance into their city, what was then the doctrine which he taught? Ye know not what spirit ye are of; the Son of man came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And again, if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. Did I ever preach other doctrine than this? I might add from the prophets and apostles, many corroborating testimonies : and I might say with the apostle Peter, that the doctrine which testifies of th restitution of all things, which I am calumniated for maintaining, is the doctrine which God hath proclaimed by the mouth of all his holy prophets ever since the world began.

C. You select only a part of the scripture, such as suits your purpose.

M. Indeed I know no part of the scripture which I reject; they all suit my purpose.

C. You do not attend to hard texts; such as, “ these shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels."

M. Prepared for the Devil and his angels, say you. Then it was not prepared for Adam nor any of his posterity.

C. Aye, but although it was not prepared for them at the first, they may have it afterward. I may build an house for myself, and afterward I may put a tenant into my house, who may abide in it ever after.

M. Then, Sir, you would have changed your mind, and altered your original purpose; and this would prove you a fluctuating imperfect being I dare not form such conceptions of the object of my adoration.

C. Do not the scriptures say, all liars, all swearers, murderers, and fornicators, shall have their portion in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, forever, and ever?

M. The scriptures say, these characters shall have their portion in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone; it is not added for ever and ever. But do you bring this denunciation to prove that Jesus Christ is a false witness?

C. I bring it because it is the word of God.

M. If taken in your sense it will prove more than you wish ; it will prove your own eternal damnation, and the eternal damnation of all mankind. For, suffer me to say, that all men are liars, thieves, murderers, fornicators, &c. &c. For thus runs the divine testimony: “ Know ye not brethren that whoso keepeth the whole law, and offendeth in one point, is guilty of all ?

C. But Christ Jesus suffered death for some.

M. That is not the doctrine of the Redeemer; Jesus declares he gave himself for the life of the world.

C. No, no; no such thing. He says, I die not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world.

M. I beg your pardon, Sir, our Saviour never uttered such a

they cannot be saved.

M. Why, Sir, would not, or could not his sufferings and death, save them ?

C. No, no, no; I say none can be saved, but those for whom he prayed.

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