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them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” Among other evidences that the christian dispensation is from heaven, the universality of it is not the least. This act of grace contains no unkind exceptions. There is no prescribed region, or family or individual. The proclamation is, “peace, peace to him that is afar off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord.” This dawning light was now in a progress unto “the perfect day.” Though Christ's personal ministry was, in the first instance, addressed “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” its influence quickly spread far beyond the confines of Judea. “His fame went throughout all Syria;” a woman of Canaan believed on him, and her daughter was healed: the Roman Centurion, who had been made partaker of the same precious faith, in like manner had power with God, and prevailed in behalf of his palsied servant. Some of our Lord’s immediate attendants lived to see “ the kingdom of God come with power.” “The Centurion, and they that were with him watching Jesus” on the cross, “when they saw the earthquake, and those things that were done,” though unaccustomed to fear, “they feared greatly,” and made this open confession, “Truly this was the Son of God.” The miraculous effusion of the Holy Spirit on the apostles, in the gift of tongues on the day of Pentecost, opened a passage in all directions for the speedy diffusion of the truth as it is in Jesus, over all lands. Peter no longer trembles and denies his Master, but stands boldly up to plead his cause, and precious souls by thousands are added unto the Lord. Cured of his Jewish prejudices, by a vision from heaven, he descends to Cesarea, preaches the word of life to the Centurion Cornelius, and “ his kinsmen and near friends.” It is accompanied with power, and “with
the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. That same apostle was spared to eddress epistles “to the strangers scattered throughout Pontius, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bythinia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” Philip, the evangelist, “went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.” That evangelist finds a proselyte in the desert of Gaza, in a person “ of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure.” He, too, gladly receives the word, is baptized, and goes on his way rejoicing, to carry into those dark regions the light of the divine truth, and the Scripture is fulfilled which saith, “Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.” Time would fail in tracing the progress, and marking the success, of him, who is emphatically denominated the apostle of the Gentiles, through the islands of the Mediterranean, over the states of Greece, in Italy, at Rome. John the beloved disciple, had the pleasure of despatching particular letters, dictated by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, to the seven churches of Asia. He was one of those, then, concerning whom Christ said, in the passage already quoted, “verily I say unto you, that there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” His life was prolonged to extreme old age. He saw the kingdom of his divine master established in Europe, in Asia, in Africa. The great western world was still unknown ; but, in the wisdom of God, it too has emerged out of the bosom of the vast ocean, to swell the Redeemer's empire. To embrace the whole globe in its generous design. The period approaches, when “great voices in heaven” shall proclaim, saying; “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of the Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.” “Though Israel,” therefore, “be not gathered,” Messiah “shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord :” for he saith of him; “it is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” And as the ancient dispensation contained many intimations of favour to the Gentile world, so the gospel contains and discloses a dawn of hope to the Jewish nation. “Blindness in part is 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 Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out !” Some interpreters of note have remarked a co-incidence between the duration of the great famine which afflicted Israel, in the days of Elias, and that of our Saviour's ministry from his baptism to his death, namely three years and six months. As during the former period, at the word of the prophet, heaven was shut up, and all elementary influence suspended, to the inexpressible distress of the whole land; so during the latter, through the mediation of a greater than Elias, full communication was opened. In the one we have displayed the severity of the law, in the other the grace of the gospel; in Elias, the minister of wrath and condemnation; In Jesus, the minister of mercy and reconciliation; the one inflicting a temporary curse, the other calling down an everlasting benediction; there the clouds bound up, and the dew restrained ; here a “doctrine dropping as the rain, and speech distilling as the dew ; as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as showers upon the grass.” The prophet represents, in beautiful language, the blessedness of an open communication between earth and heaven: “It shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth ; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” But the contrast is dreadful “She did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal. Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax; and I. will destroy her vines and her fig-trees.” The prayer of faith is the channel of this interesting communication.
It is humiliating to observe, and to reflect on the uniform and unrelenting malignity of the human heart. That greatness, power, wealth should be envied, and the possessor hated and thrust at, is not so much an object of surprise. But that simplicity, innocence, kindness, beneficence should provoke hostility, would exceed be: lief, were not the proofs too numerous and too stubborn to be resisted. We justly detest the wickedness, injustice and ingratitude of the Nazarenes, in attempting to destroy their unassuming, unoffending townsman : but is the angry, the lofty spirit of man now subdued to the obedience and love of Christ? Has not a daring attempt lately been made by a great nation, once denominated christian, to obliterate the name, and overwhelm the cause of Christ? Wherefore change the ancient measurements of time? It was in the hope of swallowing up the distinction of days, and thereby of sinking the observance of the Lord’s day in the mass. With the abolition of the Sabbath the service of the sanctuary is
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swept away; and the spirit of christianity, it was presumed, would not long survive its forms and rites. Are there none among ourselves who express rancorous animosity against the worthy name which they so unworthily bear 2 Is not the Lord's day profaned, and the temple deserted; and, in defiance of the law of the land, to say nothing of the obligations of decency and religion, are not efforts made by persons high in place and station, to discredit and disuse the ordinances of the gospel, and thereby to bring the gospel itself into disrepute? We say, however, concerning such men, in the spirit and words of the wise Gamaliel: “Refrain from these men and let them alone: for if this counsel, or this work, be of men, it will come to naught : but if it be of God, they cannot overthrow it; lest haply they be found even to fight against God.” To this fell spirit in man, what a striking, what an amiable contrast have we in the temper and conduct of our blessed Lord! To withdraw himself from among these ingrates is the only mark of displeasure expressed by him. He desisted from teaching persons who were determined not to learn; “He did not many mighty works there,” because they were liable to misapprehension, to misrepresentation. “He, passing through the midst of them, went his way.” Thus men grieve the Holy Spirit of God, and he departs from them. And thus the apostles of the Lord, Paul and Barnabas, when “the Jews, filled with envy, spake against them, contradicting and blaspheming,” they said ; “It was nemessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” And is it no punishment to be forsaken of a friend; a friend whom we have grieved and offended, who feels himself constrained to retire, but retires silently, slowly, reluctantly 2 Little do men reflect what sorrow, what remorse they are treasuring up to themselves, in slighting, in neglecting a day of mer