Page images
PDF
EPUB

TITUS.

THE same apostle asserts, in this epistle to Titus, "that the grace of God has appeared unto all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God even our Saviour Jesus Christ."

HEBREWS.

IN the epistle to the Hebrews, the apostle takes up the principle at large, and connecting the Old and New Testament together, shows it to be the life and spirit of both dispensations, or rather that they were but one dispensation under different modifications, to suit the different advancements and progress of the main object.

He encourages the suffering disciples among the Hebrews, by shewing in a convincing manner the inefficiency and weakness of the law, sacrifices, and he-all sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ himself to

take away sin and perfect them in holiness.-He beseeches them not to suffer their affictions so to work, as to lead them to cast away their confidence and hope, "for they had need of patience," which was to be supported and kept up by the assurance, that after having by their sufferings and patience done the will of God," they should inherit the promises"-and he exhorts to great additional comfort arising from the certainty of these promises, "for yet a little while, and he that is certainly to come (to your relief and everlasting joy) will come, and will not tarry." -And he concludes by assuring them that it is by this faith and hope of his speedily coming, that they were to live from day to day-he then assures them that this faith will be to them the very substance of the things they hoped for, and the evidence of the things they could not at present see-he then proves it by the example of all the old patriarchs.

[ocr errors]

But the apostle well knew that he was writing to those who had been already instructed in, and were practising on this general doctrine. That they would fully understand him, although he did not enter into the minutia of the circumstances attending the important facts he was writing on; which might have given great and unnecessary umbrage to the Roman government, especially if it had been convinced that the christians had expected to possess a kingdom of righteousness under Jesus Christ in the land of Jadea, to the exclusion of every other power and kingdom of the world.

He therefore contents himself with tracing the effects of the faith in this promise of the Messiah (under whom at his second coming, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob should inherit the glorious land) as it particularly shone forth in the conduct of those ancient heroes of the old testament, to whom he specially refers.-These had the glimmering light of the great and mysterious truth revealed to them in different ways, but which, however obscure, were sufficient to exercise and prove their victorious faith in that God who had promised and could not deceive.

He mentions Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and others; and then shows what God had specially promised to Israel, and the happy consequences that would ensue therefrom: "for this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days saith the Lord: I will put my laws into their mind and write them in their hearts, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: for these (Abel, Enoch, &c.) all died in the faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them and embraced them. By faith Abraham offered up Isaac; accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from whence he received him in a figure.:" that is, by binding Isaac and laying him on the altar, and being prevented from killing him, when he was delivered by the angel and restored to the embraces of a fond father, he was taught the resurrection from the dead to inherit the promises-" and these also,

S

"

having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promises," and the reason is plainly given, that "God having foreseen some better thing for us that they without us should not be made perfect:" that is, God in his infinite wisdom has so ordered the progressive nature of the redemption of man, and the perfection of the glory of the redeemer's kingdom, as to draw the fulfillment of his gracious promises to his people, in their full extent, to a centre. That this should take place at the second coming of the Lord Jesus in glory, when all his people together ancient and modern, Jew and Gentile, bond and free, should be perfected together as one body, and enjoy the full fruition of their faith and hope, both temporally and spiritually, under the now glorified first fruits of the resurrection, even Christ their head, that where he is, they also may literally be. Therefore it is, that the apostle proceeds, in the joy of the blessed prospect, "but ye are come to mount Zion and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and church of the first born, who are written (or enrolled) in heaven; and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant-whose voice then (at the giving of the law) shook the earth; but now he hath promised saying, yet once more, I shake not the earth only, but also the heavens.-Wherefore we receiving a kingdom that cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.-For here we have no continuing

city, but we seek one to come."-As much as if he had said, these ancient witnesses for God, whose faith thus enabled them to rejoice and overcome, though at such a distance from the fulfilment of their hope, all died merely enjoying the truth of God's promises in expectation. They saw them but afar off, and knowing they were to wait for the actual possession, till in the revolution of time, it should please God to bring us forward to join the happy throng, and be perfected all together; for without us the church of God could not be complete, being an universal church consisting of both Jew and Gentile. -But you beloved in the Lord, have been highly favored in not having these difficulties to trouble you; as you enjoy a greater degree of knowledge, and see more of the goodness of God towards his fallen creatures, for ye will not be so long delayed, being already blessed by the first coming of our Lord and Saviour, and his divine teachings and example, with the gift of the holy spirit sent down into your hearts. Through him, the nature and effect of these promises of God, so inexplicable to the fathers, have been thus clearly revealed, attended with such full and certain evidence of the power and grace of the Redeemer. In this way you may be said already to have "come to mount Zion" which is to be the seat of our great Immanuel, in the city of the living God, Jerusalem, which he chose of old as his inheritance, or Salem now the city of righteousness and peace, "a heavenly city," where among other peculiar blessings, we shall

« EelmineJätka »