Page images
PDF
EPUB

that the kings of the earth and the rulers would take counsel together. So it proved in the sequel. It was from the higher classes that the anointed' received the most persecution. The wealthy and the powerful have always been the greatest enemies to every plan which embraces the good of the whole. Every reformer must expect their hatred and ill will at the very outset.

But let all that are engaged like the great Saviour 'in going about doing good' take courage, for God will always be on the side of virtue.

VI. APOSTLE.

• Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.'

Heb. iii. 1.

The next term in course, is Apostle, applied only in this passage to the Saviour. The signification is easily apprehended. It appears, however, to mean a leader as well as a follower, as Christ and the twelve both have the same name.*

This term is often given to those who have devoted themselves with great ardor to any particular cause. Dionysius of Corinth is distinguished as the Apostle of France; Xavier, the Apostle of the Indies.

Three considerations present themselves.
I. This Apostle was sent by some being.
II. For some particular object.

III. That sufficient power was given to accomplish the mission.

I. No one will say that Jesus was not sent. Scripture is plain on that point: God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,'+ * * * 'Herein

*' Among the Jews the High priest was considered to be also the Apostle of God; and it is in conformity to this notion that the Apostle speaks. And he exhorts the Hebrews to consider Jesus Christ to be both their High priest and Apostle ; and 10 expect these offices to be henceforth fulfilled by him, and by him alone.' Clarke : Com. on passage.

† John iii. 16,

is love, not that we loved God, but that He first loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our

sins.'*

II. The great controversy now is concerning the object for which this Apostle came into our world. Three opinions prevail : Ist. That he came to save a certain number called the elect. 2d. That he came to make it possible for all to be saved. 3d. That he came to redeem the whole human race from sin and death. The first is from Calvin; the second from Arminius; the third from the Almighty. One is almost given up; the other is popular; the last is gaining ground, and is designed to triumph over them both. A multitude of proofs might here be presented, but one is sufficient: 'We have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.'t

III. Every plan, whether human or divine, requires appropriate means for its accomplishment. Man, in his plans, sometimes has the means, but not the power; sometimes both, but not the wisdom; sometimes all these, but not sufficient time. The history of the splendid projects which the human mind has started and left unfinished, would fill an immense volume. If such a historian or compiler should appear, shall he place on his page the unfinished work of human redemption? Shall he point the world to the corner stone? Shall it be said that He who laid the foundation was not able to finish? It cannot be. All such speculations may rest forever. Hear this great Apostle, just before his ascension to his father and our Father, to his God and our God:' 'All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye there

[blocks in formation]

fore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

3*

VII. AUTHOR AND FINISHER.

• Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith ; who, for

the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.'

Heb. xii. 2.

THESE titles are so intimately connected that we depart from our general course, and present them together.

I. Author: one who creates; produces; invents; generally applied to writers. The word occurs three times in our version; four times in the Greek. Applied once in the negative form to the Supreme Being :-'God is not the author of confusion. To Jesus three times: "author of eternal salvation ;' in the motto; in Peter's sermon, and killed the Prince [marg. author of life.'

The Saviour is the author of life and immortality, i. e. he has brought these to light, as an author brings to view a truth unknown before. Before Jesus came, a future state of blessedness was not known to the world. All was mere conjecture. * Now and then a bright truth flashed on the mind, which seemed to add weight to the hope of another life. Men explored their way as well as they were able by the occasional

The views of the whole ancient world are well expressed in the following sentence, which dropped from Socrates just before his death :-'I am going out of the world, and you are to continue in it, but which of us has the better part is a secret to every one but God.'

« PreviousContinue »