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which Christ made in person had failed, there was another still to be made for reclaiming the Jewish people, by endowing those their children and brethren, with the same powers, and sending them forth over the cities of Israel. And if we now turn to the commentary of the Apostle in the iid of the Hebrews, we shall find this idea confirmed. Having shewn Christ's superiority in all respects to the angels, he requires of the Hebrews to give more earnest heed to his word than even their fathers had done to the word spoken by angels through the mediation of Moses : “ How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by 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 ?" (Heb. ii. 3, 4). In this passage the use of these miraculous endowments is, as in the prophet, made to be for confirmation of the word which they spake; being God's witness in them, God's manifesting himself to be working in them. Then he connects this with “ the world to come," of which Christ is the ordained Lord (vers. 5--10); whence, in chap. vi. ver. 5, they are called " the powers of the world to conie,” being the same with “ the earnest of the inheritance” of Eph. i. 13, and “ the first-fruits of the Spirit" of Rom. viii. 23. After this, Paul, having shewn the causes of Christ's humiliation, and made the quotation from our prophet, and shewn how Christ works in us what first he completed in himself, he proceeds in the jiid chapter to treat of him as the builder-up of a house unto God;" which house,” saith he,'" are ye, if ye hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope stedfast unto the end."
From the examination of this passage of Isaiah, along with the several comments upon it given by the Holy Ghost in the New Testament, we ascertain two things further with respect to the end of these miraculous endowments. The first, that God would not cast off the Jewish people into their long abasement and misery, until he had given them a ministry confirmed by supernatural witness. To have rejected Messiah was not enough; they must also reject Messiah's children, set up amongst them “ for signs and wonders.”. God must put his difference upon those who give heed to his Son, and those who give heed to others than he; upon the one bestowing his own seal of the Holy Ghost, upon the others bringing confusion and darkness and misery. For it is a thing well recorded, and confessed even by the Heathen themselves, that from thenceforward their oracles became dumb, and their deities or demons impotent. Now if God did thus, by raising up and sending forth a body of witnesses, testify to the Jewish people that Jesus was indeed the Christ, before casting them out; will he not do the same by the Gentiles also, amongst whom he sendeth his witnesses when the Jews rejected them : If
you refuse to hear us, we turn to the Gentiles." God taught Peter both by word and sign, that he was no respecter of persons, “ but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted of him.” God in his dealings with the Jews was not partial, nor more favourable than he is to any other nation. By them he did reveal his tender mercy and long-suffering unto all. If, then, his principle of treating mankind be one and the same, and he did see it good to furnish his witnesses to the Jews with these signs and wonders, he will see it necessary to do the same by his witnesses to other nations : what should introduce a difference? It was not enough for his mercy and goodness, that Christ's disciples should have the law and the testimony; they must also have signs and wonders, with which to make it apparent that Jesus is the Christ: why should it be necessary that to another nation less should be given ? The Prophet Isaiah is shewing what controversy and argument God would maintain with a nation for the testimony of Christ; and he asserts it to be twofold,--the internal testimony of truth and holiness, and the external testimony of signs and wonders. Those who, sending missionaries into foreign lands, will assert less to be necessary now, must find their warrant for it somewhere else than here, where there is a distinct contradiction of it. Not less, but more, seems to be necessary with a Heathen nation: for the Jews had already Moses and the Prophets, and believed them; whereas the Heathen have neither knowledge nor belief of the word of God, but are pre-occupied in general with the false writings of men. The Jew is a parallel case with ours. They had the Scriptures, and believed them; we have the Scriptures, and believe them. But because they had the word, did God say they shall not have the miracle? Quite the contrary: He says, they shall have the miracle also. But ye say, Because we have the word we shall not have the miracle. Where learned you to say so? And, in point of fact, how was it with the Gentiles ? Was not the Corinthian church as full of signs as the church of Jerusalem ?-But we must forbear from teaching, and keep to our work of learning from the oracles of God.
The second end which we here discover for these gifts being in the church, is, that they might serve as God's own witness to the words which the ministers of his Son declare. And this same end doth Peterassign for Christ's own miracles in the tenth chapter of the Acts, ver. 38, already referred to. Christ himself also appeals both to his words and his works, as being spoken and done by the Father dwelling within him. That indwelling of the Father was by the Holy Ghost, who is therefore called the Spirit of the Father; whom also he promised to his disciples, and sent down on the day of Pentecost. Christ in his own person of the Son
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sustaineth the personality of the Son of Man; the person of the Father is in him by the Holy Ghost. So also Christ by regeneration becomes in his own personality the upholder of our persons--we have the Spirit of Christ ;-but it is the Holy Ghost which brings us the Spirit of the Father. The human in the saints is of Christ, the super-human is of the Father ; both inwrought by the Holy Ghost, acting in the former work as the regenerating Spirit of Christ, in the latter as the baptizing Spirit of the Father: and so Christ and the Father have their meeting place in the soul of the saint, in whom the Holy Ghost testifieth both of the Father and the Son. And thus it is that the New Jerusalem, which is the church glorified, hath for its light the concentration of two Lights, the “ Lord God Almighty and the Lamb,” and them also for its temple : they meet and rejoice together in the church. This being understood, we are able to comprehend the nature of the witness which the super-human endowments brought to the word of Christ and his disciples. They were the testimony of God in them, of God in their word, of God in their act: as it is written; “ For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” (Matt. xi. 20). And again : 7- The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.... believe me for the very works' sake. . Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go to the Father.” (John xiv.) And again : “And there are diversities of operations [in-workings, energizings), but it is the same God which worketh all in all” [all the gifts in all the gifted persons] (1 Cor. xii. 6). These passages are the best exposition of that to which our attention is more immediately drawn on this head ; “God also bearing them witness (witnessing with, upon ; that is, upon their word], both with signs and wonders, and divers miracles, and gifts (powers and distributions] of the Holy Ghost” (Heb. ii. 4); which is parallel with that prayer in the Acts, “ Grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word ; by stretching out thine hand to heal, and that mighty signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy Child Jesus.” The testimony of God stood in the powers of the Holy Ghost, which they had ability to exert; and these powers were such as to avouch a present God, an indwelling God. This demonstration stood not in the power alone, but in the goodness and mercy of the works. Power super-human alone doth not avouch God, but merely an agent of some kind stronger than man; which might be, and oft was, Beelzebub and his subject demons. Whose power to do miracles hath been manifested from the time of the Egyptian magicians; and it is prophesied shall be most wonderfully manifested in the time immediately preceding the coming of the Lord : “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matt. xxiv. 24). So also is it written in the Apocalypse (xiii. 13, 14). And our Lord, when charged with doing his works by means of Beelzebub, did answer two ways; neither of which sanction the common notion that Beelzebub could not, that none but God could, perform a miracle: this he never hints at, but takes quite other ground, saying, “A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand," and, “By whom do your children cast them out?” The first of these answers appeals to the moral character of his works, that they were all against Beelzebub, being works of goodness and mercy and redemption from evil; that they were manifestly acts against the kingdom of Satan, and, consequently, for the kingdom of God. Now this answer takes for granted a moral sense in man capable of discerning between good and evil, between a work of God and a work of the devil; to which our Lord appeals the question of his miracles, and not to the degree or amount of power manifested in the work. To the conscience of man, which can discern God's way from the devils's way; not to the sense of man, which cannot measure the amount of power possessed by the evil spirit, doth he make his appeal. The second answer contains an argument to set them free from their malice: If you think thus evil of me, will you think the same evil of your children, who with me are labouring in the same work ; but if to them you attribute no such league with Beelzebub, why then to me?
There can be no doubt, then, from this, that it is a very short and limited, yea, and erroneous, view of the evidence of miracles which is now satisfying the churches; who think that every super-human work is necessarily of God, and doth attest the worker of it to be a man of God, whom we are bound to hear as God himself. If this were true, why is it that, when the churches are so often told to try the spirits, not the working of miracles, but the doctrines taught, are given as the tests? This wide-spread error, I perceive, will be a great means of laying the church open to those great signs and wonders which the false Christs and false prophets, prophesied to appear in the time of the end, shall work. The witness of God, with the word of Christ, standeth in a certain description of miraculous works, and not in miraculous works in general; Gospel works, the counterpart of Gospel words; and therefore proving, that it is one and the same God, who doth the one and speaketh the other. Of what kind these are we learn from the catalogues of them in the New Testament so frequently referred to. These works speak God to be in the person, and in the body of persons, who do them. None but the members of Christ's body can do works of that kind ; none but the redeemed servants of the Redeemer can work these redemption-works; every one of which is the taking off some curse which sin hath imposed, and from which only the Redeemer from sin can deliver. Christ pays the price of the redemption ; God takes off the bonds, and sets the prisoner free. À work which will testify of God, must be of such a kind as acknowledgeth Christ to be the Redeemer from sin, by actually freeing some person from some of the bondages of sin. It was in this way Christ spoke when he healed, saying, “ Thy sins be forgiven thee ;” “Go, and sin no more, lest a worse thing befal thee;" “ Ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond ?” As the Re deemer from all bonds of Satan, and especially from disease and death, is Christ preached by us; as such is he to be manifested by God in the world to come; of which manifestation God gives, in all these signs and wonders and divers powers and distributions of the Holy Ghost, a token and a part; thereby testifying, that Christ is he unto whom he hath given the fulness and completeness of that glorious work. Unless men, therefore, be left so far to themselves as to say, that God hath ceased to testify to the work which Christ performed in the flesh-of casting Satan out; of redeeming all flesh from death, and disease its precursor; of restoring the animal and vegetable world, and all creation, to their original sinlessness, innocency, and subserviency to man. kind ;-unless men be disposed to say, that they know God hath ceased to be at any pains or charges, in giving testimony to this work of his Son, they have no ground for believing that the age of miracles is past: and if they say, they know the
mind of God to have changed in this matter, we ask them for the source of their knowledge; and till they produce this, we must look upon them as unfaithful witnesses of God and of Christ, fraudulent messengers between them and the world. As to the fact which they allege, that there have not of a long time been any such seals; granting their allegation to be a truth, which I do not believe, the answer to it is, that there hath been no testimony to the great work of Christ's redemption such as to be worthy of being so sealed unto. We do not look for these works to be wrought in China, because there is no testimony there to be confirmed by them; nor in the Protestant church, if so be that testimony hath ceased. Now I frankly avow my belief, that there hath been no preaching of the resurrection and redemption of the flesh, and of the world, in the Protestant churches, within my memory; and a very poor testimony of the redemption of the soul from sin-an Arminian, Pelagian, or particular redemption doctrine, and not a Christian one ;-preaching for the honours of a system, of articles, or of confessions, more than for the honour of Christ: certainly no preaching of Christ glorified, possessed of the Seven Spirits of God; of Christ to come and redeem the world from the usurpation of wickedness; of Christ to come and raise all the dead, to glorify his church, and to cast the