« PreviousContinue »
Expoban Presh, Assoc.
CONTENTS OF VOL. III.
Criteria for determining in which Version of the Holy Scriptures the original
Hebrew Computation of Time is contained: by J. Cullimore, Esq. 161, 503
PROPHETIC ASPECT OF THE CHURCH; ITS PRIVILEGES
AND POWERS. OH that we had the voice of a trumpet, and could utter it to the
ends of the earth; that every Jew and Gentile might hear, and start from their drowsy slumber at the cry, "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem....shake thyself from the dust: arise and sit down, o Jerusalem : loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion!" For now assuredly is the time arrived when the Lord invokes us, by every precursor of his coming, by every sign predicted as the immediate harbinger of his appearing, to prepare for his approach ; when, not in an advent of humiliation to suffer and die for sinners, but in an advent of the glory of his Majesty," he ariseth to shake terribly the earth ;” and when it may with still greater emphasis be proclaimed before him, for the comfort and assurance of his people, “ How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation ; that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth !....O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength ; lift it up, be not afraid : say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!”
And now, while it is called TO-DAY; while this accepted time, this day of salvation, lasteth ; before the night cometh, in which no man can work ; in the end, far more emphatically than in the beginning, should the ministers of Christ respond to the command, "Go ye into all the world, preach the Gospel to every creature :” « Fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ :” “ Fully preach the word of God ; even the mystery, which hath been hid from ages and from generations but now is made manifest to his saints....the riches of the glory of this mystery....which is, Christ in you the hope of glory.”
VOL. II.-NO, I.
For these ends are the Jews preserved a people, for this purpose was the church appointed : not for their own sakes were the one or the other chosen and preserved, but to be true witnesses for the truth of God; and in proportion as they fulfil this their appointment shall they be favoured and blessed by Him. For thirty centuries have the Jews, separated from all the nations of the earth, witnessed to the true God, and to the veracity of his promises and his threatenings; for eighteen centuries has the Christian church witnessed to the love of God, its infinitude, its freeness, its unchangeableness. But should the Jewish people seek to amalgamate with the nations, or should the Christian church falsify its witness, God will vindicate his own truth: he will
carry back to the land of promise such Jews as cleave to him, and destroy the sinners who forsake him; and he will gather his own people out of Babylon and every false church, and cast the apostates into the lake of fire.
These things would be assented to, in such general terms as the above, by almost all Christians; but very few have followed out the investigation into particulars, although it is these alone that give value to the general doctrine, although our life is wholly
of particulars, and nothing else can render any doctrine instructive, influential, or practical. Having therefore cleared our way, by the discussion of many preliminary questions on former occasions; and having treated on the Perils of the Church and the Judgment of the nations in our last ; we would now turn to the church itself; endeavour to ascertain from the word of God what are her bulwarks and defences, what cheering hopes and prospects are set before her in the many perils which environ her; that she may betake her to the stronghold, and be clothed with her beautiful garments; that her sons may put on the whole armour of God, and her daughters be adorned as a bride for her husband, full of power and of grace from the Spirit of our God.
We discuss not at present the several questions concerning the church, as one, apostolic, holy, catholic, infallible, &c.; each of which heads would occupy more space than we can now afford; but we take the word Church in its popular and familiar sense of the whole body of professing Christians; desiring, on the one hand, to avoid the presumption of placing ourselves in God's judgment-seat, and pronouncing who are, who are not his people ; and, on the other hand, not to confound all distinction, by allowing those persons to be the "called of God” who are continually dishonouring Him, and causing his name to be blasphemed among men. This familiar sense of the word is also its original sense in Scripture, for it properly denotes nothing more than an assembly called out from the rest of mankind for a religious purpose. A church did not at first necessarily and invariably mean an orderly.or lawful assembly; for the word is used Acts xix. 32