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houses of Israel ; for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem : and many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken” (vers. 14, 15). Now, it is remarkable, that in the passage of Peter's First Epistle to which we have already had occasion to refer, this very, prophecy is quoted (ii. 8) in a context which treats of Christ and his church as the spiritual house, and the holy priesthood of the house : which coincides so exactly with the context in Isaiah, where he is presented as a “sanctuary,” that I have no doubt the one suggested the other; or rather, to speak more faithfully, that the Holy Ghost in the Apostle explained more fully what he had spoken in the Prophet." Take now this, also, in connection with the lxviiith Psalm and its commentary, as explained above, and a new strength will be given to the declaration of that Psalm, that when Christ had ascended up on high, and led captivity captive, the office to which the Father promoted him, and for which he furnished him with the Seven Spirits of God, and which he is now fulfilling by the distribution of the same, is the office of building for God a house of habitation, a tabernacle wherein he may abide for ever, even the new Jerusalem, the city of God, which hath the glory of God, and is God's tabernacle, being also the bride of the Lamb, the completeness of the elect, or church of the living God. When the prophet hath thus proposed Christ as a sanctuary, and declared that he would prove to both the houses of Israel a stone of stumbling, he proceedeth to explain what should be the privileges and prerogatives of those who should receive Immanuel as their teacher, and, being washed and quickened by his word, built up as lively stones into that sanctuary of God. The first of these is, to possess the testimony, or oracle of truth, and the law of holiness, and love among themselves; which is thus beautifully and forcibly expressed : “ Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples." Seeing the houses of

” Israel will no longer keep the oracles of God and the law of holiness, let the sacred trust pass over from them to my disciples. This, accordingly, did take effect from the time of our Lord's resurrection, and hath continued until now. Japheth is dwelling in the tents of Shem. The glorious advantages of "the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises, and the keeping of the oracles of God,” have passed over from the nation of the seed of Abraham and the flesh of Christ, unto the children of Abraham's faith and the disciples of the Spirit of Christ. The testimony is bound up and limited unto; the law is made honourable, and practised only among the disciples of the Lord upon this earth.' But it is immediately added, that only for a time, and not for aye, shall the children of Israel as a nation be so rejected and broken: ver. 17, “And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.” Immanuel, though sore disappointed, as we learn by the xlix th chapter of Isaiah, that the house of Israel should not then have been gathered, is however contented with his Father's disposal, sits down at his right band, and waits until he shall lift up again the light of his countenance upon the house of Jacob : for which happy day he looketh earnestly forward, when he shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob, and all Israel shall be saved."

These things, however, are but preliminary to the matter properly in hand, yet absolutely necessary to the understanding of the dignity and the tenor of the prophetic strain ; which, having thus given the great end of Christ as a sanctuary, and the great reward of his disciples, as the prietshood in that sanctuary,--having the oracle (that is, speaking forth the very word of God, which formerly issued from between the cherubim), and having the law (that is, the very mind of God) in their inward parts,--doth proceed to set forth another aspect of the office which Christ and his disciples were designed of God to fulfil : “Behold, I, and the children whom the Lord hath given me, are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.” Formerly the figure was, Christ the temple, and his disciples having the oracle and law of the temple (uttering the word and accomplishing the service of God); which answers well to the Apostolic doctrine that Christ is both foundation and head of the corner; and likewise to the Apocalyptic vision of the ņew Jerusalem, the glorified church, which had no temple, for the Lamb is the temple thereof. Now the figure is of Christ and his children, the children whom the Father hath given him ; according to another prophecy, “ When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin he shall see his seed ;” and according to the declaration of the Evangelist, “ To them that believed gave he power to become the sons of God;" according, also, to the name which he receives in this same strain of prophecy, “ Everlasting Father,” or “ Father of the age to come.”

The Apostle Paul saw such a preciousness in this relation between Christ and his people, that he seizeth it at once, in the iid chapter of his Epistle to the Hebrews, as a strong-hold of the truth of Christ's unity with us in flesh, and in mortal flesh, saying, “Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of Aesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage” (Heb. ii. 13 - 15). A relationship of such strength and endearment will not be mentioned in our prophet for mere accidental or casual purposes, but for some high and solemn end : and what is this?



It is expressed in these words, "are for signs and wonders ;" which expression, as we have shewn above, in all cases signifies supernatural acts and appearances. As his children therefore, we with him are called to be for signs and wonders—that is, to minister the supernatural manifestation of the power of God; to be the hand of God for action, as we are his house for habitation; to be the body in which dwelleth the Spirit of God in all goodness and righteousness and truth; in which, also, and in all the members of which, God himself worketh all signs and wonders and mighty acts in the sight of men. I say, as an interpreter of God's holy word, that whosoever will limit the office of being for signs and wonders, as if it were not the calling of all the children, doth bereave the holy text of its substance, and might as well maintain that his disciples are, not all, but only some of them, for the maintaining of the testimony and the practising of the law. Not with less, but rather with more observation and circumstance, is our privilege to be for signs and wonders introduced, than our privilege to be for a law and testimony.

This being allowed, two questions arise thereon: the first, What connection hath this office or function of the supernatural agent with the relation of our being children unto Christ ? The answer is, That the children ever exhibit the powers and faculties of the father. Now, Christ is our Father, not as the mortal man, but as the risen man; not as flesh and blood, for we are not born again of flesh and blood, but as the quickening Spirit who begetteth us for God. Our new life holdeth of his risen glory. It is a life, indeed, lived on the earth in flesh and blood—and therefore regeneration is reckoned by our Lord amongst the earthly things--but the sustaining principle and the fatherhood of it is from heaven. That Word which quickeneth is not from earth, but from heaven : as it is written, For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven” (Heb. xii. 25). We are wedded to the risen body of Christ: we are risen with him from the dead, and should seek the things that are above, where our life is hid with Christ in God. Forasmuch, then, as we are the children of the heavenly man, we should exhibit the form and feature and power and acts of the heavenly man, of the Son of God, of him in whom dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Now his actings as the risen man are entirely and altogether supernatural, whether you look at them in the inward man of the heart renewed by his power; or in the outward demonstration which he is to make when he shall come again to destroy the course of this present evil world, to raise the dead, to cleanse away sin, and other mighty acts to do, which are not within the laws of nature, but above them all. We, then, as his children, begotten from above into his heavenly image, ought to

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put forth, in order to prove our sonship, some features of the supernatural, not only in the way of a holy will triumphant over the law of sin, and a word triumphant over the law of falsehood, but of a mighty power triumphing over the law of sickness, infirmity, and death : in one word, we should put forth a first-fruits of that power which he himself will put forth in the day of his appearing. Therefore it is that in our baptism we have promised to us, not only the cleansing away of sin,-the remission, the dismissal, or divorcement, of it, which being put away, what is there left but holiness ?- but we have also the promise of the Holy Ghost, as given by the Prophet Joel, for the purpose of demonstrating that we are children of the risen Christ, members of the glorified and omnipotent Head. Therefore also the apostles and disciples were not permitted to go and preach until they had received that heavenly baptism.

. Their word must first be instinct with heavenly power, before it can convert men unto God. So also it was with Christ himself: he undertook not his public ministry till he had received the baptism of the Holy Ghost; and to that baptism Peter expressly referreth his miraculous power and doings : “ That word (I say) ye know, which was published throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached : how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Acts x. 37, 38). Then, also, he began to make disciples: then his word began to be spirit and life. Till that time he was merely the holy man under the law; the type and father, I take it, of what the Jews shall be when he is revealed as their King, and they as bis willing people: from that time forth he became the holy man baptized with the Holy Ghost, putting forth the first-fruits of his celestial glory. And we, being baptized with the same Holy Ghost, are required in this life to put forth the same first-fruits of our celestial glory; and our words, like his words-being in truth his in us-should be spirit and life. This, now, is the answer to the question, How are these signs and wonders connected with the relationship of children? The answer is, Because the child is like his Father, and puts forth a first-fruits of his Father's power.

The second question arising out of this passage is, For what use were he and his children to be gifted with these supernatural powers? This is the chief question which we have taken upon us to examine; and I think we have full satisfaction upon it in the passage and its commentary. It is said, that they were to be " for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion;" and it is immediately added, “ And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and that mutter;

should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead ?” (Isai. viii. 19.) In these words are contained another use of signs and wonders, to be for the distinguishing of the servants of God from the servants of the evil one. There were some who would have sent the people to those who have familiar spirits, and unto wizards who peep and mutter: God, to deliver the people out of the hands of such necromancy and devil-worship, doth send forth his witnesses, endowed with his own gifts of supernatural power, that the people might seek unto them, and receive the law and the testimony from their mouth. Isaiah's prophecy had in view not only the distant event of Immanuel's coming, but also the near event of Israel's rejection from her inheritance; and therefore he nameth the forms of idolatry which prevailed in those times, of which the particulars are given in 2 Kings xviii. 16, 17. The form, indeed, was changed in our Lord's time; but it was not the less opposed to the truth, standing in traditions, severities, and observances, which "made void the law and testimony of God.” From these opposers of the truth to distinguish Christ and his disciples, they were endowed with the gift of tongues, to discourse openly with all, and so put to shame the peepings and mutterings of the wizzards; with prophesyings, to bring to naught the divinations of the enchanters; and with discernment of spirits, to cast the demons out by means of which the people were deceived ; with healing of diseases, to make void the pretensions of their fabulous shrines. Now it is manifest from the text, that these holy witnesses of the law and the testimony of God were thus miraculously gifted and sent forth, as another resource of mercy for preserving the poor, blinded, and deceived people from their own destruction, and delivering them out of the hands of their blind guides. In like contrast with the scribes and Pharisees and doctors of the law, doth Christ set the prophets and apostles whom he was about to endow from on high; and for the same end, of endeavouring to reclaim the wicked people. After having pronounced manifold woes upon the false teachers and perverters of the people, he thus expresseth the same thing with our prophet: “ Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city” (Matt. xxiii. 34). In the Gospel by Luke, apostles also are mentioned ; and it is introduced by these words,“ Wherefore also said the

" Wisdom of God.” I know not whether this be a name of Christ, or intended as a loose reference to some of the prophets : if the latter, I should think it is to this very passage of Isaiah the reference is made, “ signs and wonders” being the endowments of those who filled the prophetical and apostolical offices. Be this as it may, the passage shews, that, though the effort

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