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daily such as should be saved. Soon after, the number of them was about five thousand. Thus were not only a multitude converted, but the church was then eminentin piety, as appears by Acts, 2:46, 47; 4:32.
Thus the christian church was first formed from the nation of Israel, and when the Gentiles were called they were added to the christian church of Israel, as the proselytes of old were to the Mosaic church of Israel. They were grafted on the stock of Abraham, and were not a distinct tree: they were all still the seed of Abraham and Israel; as Ruth the Moabitess, and Uriah the Hittite, and other proselytes of old, were the same people, and ranked as the seed of Israel.
The christian church began at Jerusalem, and from thence was propagated to all nations; so that this church of Jerusalem was the mother of all other churches in the world; agreeable to the prophecy, Isa. 2:3, 4, “Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem : and he shall judge among the nations, and rebuke many people.” So that the whole church of God is still his spiritual Jerusalem.
After this 'we read of many thousands of Jews that believed in Jerusalem, (Acts, 21:20,) in other cities of Judea, and in other parts of the world. For it was the manner of the apostles to go first into the synagogues of the Jews and preach the Gospel to them; and many in one place and another believed, as in Damascus, Antioch, and many other places.
In this outpouring of the Spirit at the Pentecost, began that first great dispensation which is called Christ's coming in his kingdom. Christ's coming thus in a spiritual manner for the glorious erection
of his kingdom in the world, is represented as his coming down from heaven, whither he had ascended. John, 14:18. “ I will not leave you comfortless; I will coine to you.” And verse 28. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you." And thus the apostles began to see the kingdom of heaven come with power, as he promised them. Mark, 9: 1.
2. After the success of the Gospel had been so gloriously begun among the Jews, the Spirit of God was next wonderfully poured out on the Samaritans, who were the posterity of those whom the king of Assyria removed from different parts of his dominions, and settled in the land which had been inhabited by the ten tribes, whom he carried captive. These had received the five books of Moses, and practiced most of the Mosaic rites, and so were a sort of mongrel Jews. We do not find them reckoned as Gentiles in the New Testament: for the calling of the Gentiles is spoken of as a new thing after this, beginning with the conversion of Corne irus. But yet it was an instance of making those a people who were no people; for they had corrupted The religion of Moses, and did not go up to Jerusalem to worship. They had another temple of their own in Mount Gerizim; which is the mountain of which the woman of Samaria speaks, when she says,
Our fathers worshiped in this mountain." Christ there does not approve of their separation from the Jews; but says that they worshiped they knew not what, and that salvation is of the Jews. But now salvation is brought from the Jews to them by the preaching of Philip, (excepting that before Christ had some success among them,) with whose preaching there was a glorious effusion of the Spirit of God in the city of Samaria; where we are told that "the people believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of Christ, and were baptized, both men and women; and that there was great joy in that city.” Acts, 8: 8–12.
Thus Christ had a glorious harvest in Samaria; according to what he said to his disciples at Jacob's well, three or four years before, on occasion of the people of Samaria appearing at a distance in the fields coming to the place where he was. John, 4 : 35, 36. The disposition which the people of Samaria manifested towards Christ and his Gospel showed that they were ripe for the harvest; and now the harvest is come by Philip's preaching. There used to be a most bitter enmity between the Jews and Samaritans; but now, by their conversion, the Christian Jews and Samaritans are happily united; for in Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Samaritan, but Christ is all in all. This was a glorious instance of the wolf dwelling with the lamb, and the leopard lying down with the kid.
3. The next thing to be observed is the calling the Gentiles. This was a great and glorious dispensation, much spoken of in the Old Testament, and by the apostles. It was begun in the conversion of Cornelius and his family, greatly to the admiration of Peter, who was used as the instrument of it, and of those who were with him. Acts, 10 and 11. The next instance was the conversion of great numbers of Gentiles in Cyprus, Cyrene, and Antioch, by the disciples who were scattered abroad by the persecution which arose about Stephen, Acts, 11 : 19, 20, 21. And presently,
upon this, the disciples began to be called Christians first at Antioch.
After this vast multitudes of Gentiles were converted in different parts of the world, chiefly by the ministry of the apostle Paul, which was accompa. nied by a glorious outpouring of the Spirit. Multitudes flocked into the church of Christ in a great number of cities where the apostle came. So the number of Gentile members of the Christian church suon far exceeded that of its Jewish members; yea, in less than ten years after Paul was sent forth from Antioch to preach to the Gentiles, it was said of him and his companions, that they had turned the world upside down. Acts, 17:6. • These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” But the most remarkable instance seems to be that in Ephesus, which was a very great city. Acts, 19. There was also a very extraordinary ingathering of souls at Corinth, one of the greatest cities of Greece. And after this many were converted in Rome, then the chief city of the known world; and the Gospel was propagated into all parts of the Roman empire. Thus the gospel-sun which had lately risen on the Jews, now rose upon and began to enlighten the Heathen world, after they had continued in gross heathenish darkness for so many ages.
This was a great thing, such as never had been before. All nations but the Jews, and a few who had occasionally joined them, had been rejected from about the time of Moses. The Gentile world had been covered with the thick darkness of idolatry; but now, at the joyful sound of the Gospel, they began in all parts to forsake their idols, and to cast them to the moles and to the bats. They now learn
ed to worship the true God, and to trust in his Son Jesus Christ. God owned them for his people; and those who had so long been afar off
, were made nigh by the blood of Christ
. Men, from being heathenish and brutish, became the children of God; were called out of Satan's kingdom of darkness, and brought into God's marvelous light. In almost all countries throughout the known world there were Christian assemblies, and joyful praises were sung to the true God, and Jesus Christ the glorious Redeemer. Now that great building which God began soon after the fall of man, rises gloriously, in a new manner; now Daniel's prophecies concern. ing the last kingdom, which should succeed the four heathenish monarchies, begin to be fulfilled; now the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, begins to smite the image on its feet, to break it in pieces, and to make great advances towards filling the earth; and now God gathers together his elect from the four winds of heaven, by the preaching of the apostles and other ministers, (the angels of the christian church sent forth with the great sound of the gospel-trumpet,) before the destruction of Jerusalem, agreeably to what Christ had foretold. Matt. 24: 31.
II. I would now notice the opposition made to this success of Christ's purchase by its enemies. Satan, who lately was so ready to triumph and exult, as though he had gained the victory in putting Christ to death, now finding himself fallen into the pit which he had digged, and his kingdom falling so fast, and seeing Christ's kingdom make such amazing progress, was filled with the greatest confusion and astonishinent; and hell seemed to be