Page images

mon appellation of disciples, as far as I can remember.

From the time that the apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had donem, we do not read of their doing any thing but accompanying, or continuing, with Jesus, and then being scattered on his being apprehended"; till they being again afsembled on the first day of the week after his crucifixion, the very day that Jesus rose from the dead, Jesus at evening standing in the midst of them, says to them, “ as my Father “ sent me, even so send I you;" and when he had said this, “ he breathed on them, and " said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose “ foever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto “ them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they " are retained •;" Christ had indeed foretold them, that they should have such powers, a little before his death P; but he does but; as appears from its being said to them in the future tense, Verily, I say unto you, “ whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be 6 bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall “ loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven." And though when he now appears to the apostles on the day of his resurrection, and breathes on them, and says, in the present tense, « Receive

ye the Holy Ghoft;" yet he m Luke ix. 10.

* Matt. xxvi. 31. Mark xiv. 27. John John XX. 19. 21–24.

P Matt. xviii. 18.



xvi. 32.

[ocr errors]


does not then actually communicate it, but only assures them, by this visible sign, that he will do it, and do it foon; and prefigures the manner how he will do it, namely, by the sound, as it were, of a mighty rushing wind 9. That expressions used by our Saviour, in the present tense, sometimes signify a future time only, though but at a small difa tance, may be seen John xiii. 31, 32. He gives them the like commission Matt. xxviii. 19. “Go ye therefore and teach all nations,

baptizing them in the name of the Father, « and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” And Mark xvi. 15. 6 And he said unto them, “ Go ye into all the world, and preach the

gospel unto every creature.”

And as the former commission was but a temporary one, and of short continuance; fo this was never to cease, but with their lives; as we shall see more fully hereafter.

But though Jesus gave them their commiffion for life, in these different ways and terms of expression, yet he saw fit to respite the execution of it, till the descent of the Holy Ghost; for so St, Luke expressly tells us in his gospel, that when Jesus had told the apostles, that “ repentance and remission “ of sins should be preached in his name

among all nations, beginning at Jerusa“ lem;" he added, “ And behold 1 send Acts i, I. 7

66 the 8 Asts i, 12, 13. ii. I. Ibid. ii. 23. * Matt, xxviii. 10,


- the promise of my Father upon you; but “ tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye 66 be endued with power from on high":" and so Acts i. 4, 5. Jesus being assembled with the apostles, “ commanded them that they 4 should not depart from Jerusalem, but «c wait for the promise of the Father, which, “ faith he, ye have heard of me; for John

truly baptized with water, but ye shall be “ baptized with the Holy Ghost not many 66 days hence.” And ver. 8. “ And


Thall “ receive power, after that the Holy Ghost “ is come upon you; and (then) ye shall 6 be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, “ and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto “ the uttermost parts of the earth.”

After this we find they returned unto Jerufalemn, but continued in their upper room till the Holy Ghost came upon them, and then first began to execute the new commiffion, which they had received from Christ after his resurrection. Jesus was “ declared 6 to be the Son of God," the Lord and Heir of all things, when he was raised from the dead • But he was not actually invested with this supreme power till his ascension : fuitably hereunto Jesus before his ascension deelares w, that the twelve should be his apostles, I Luke xxiv. 50.


* Rom. i. 4.

should go and teach all nations, baptizing " them, &c.” bụt they were not actually to do it till the pouring out of the Holy Ghoft. The Father had indeed appointed Jesus a kingdom long before Jesus had appointed them that kingdom, a little before his sufferings *; but he could not invest them with the power that was necessary for their administering it, till he himself was invested with all power; nor could he fend forth his ministers and ambassadors till he was exalted to be both Lord and Christ;, nor endue them with the promise of the Father till he had first received it: but as soon as he was feated on David's throne, and had received the promise of the Father, and had shed down that on his apostles which the multitude saw and heard on the day of Pentecost y, they immes diately began to execute the commission for life which they had received. And thus it was after Christ's ascending up on high, that " he gave gifts unto men: and that he gave

fome apostles as well as some prophets, “ fome evangelists, and some pastors and 66 teachers to the church ?. And as they now first began to execute the commission for life, which they had received ; so they never ceafed executing it as long as they lived. And from this time forth they are constantly diss

. 2 Eph, iv, 8; 11, 6


x Luke xxii. 29.

y Acts ii. 33

[ocr errors]


tinguished, by the name of apostles, from the other disciples of Christ; from elders and brethren; as well as from prophets, evangelists, teachers, and other ministers of the church.

And now they come to be apostles, in the most proper and distinguishing sense of the word: being sent, not only to the Jews as they were before ; hut “ to all nations, and * to every creature b; or, as our Saviour says Acts i. 8. “ to be witnesses to him in Jerusa“ lem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, 6 and to the uttermost parts of the earth.” Whereas the seventy had been sent before, with as full a commiflion to all intents and purposes, as their first commission was; which, though temporary, as the first commission of the apostles also was, yet seems to have been of about as long a continuance as the other.

I shall therefore only consider apostles as acting under this commission. And the rather, because Matthias, one of the twelve apostles of the Jews, and Paul and Barnabas, the only apostles of the Gentiles, never had the former commission; and yet were apostles as well as the eleven who had had it.

The more general notion of an apostle in this view, is, that he is “ a fervant or minif“ ter of God, in the kingdom which he has * Matt. xxviii, 19.

b Mark xvi. 15

16 set

« EelmineJätka »