« PrécédentContinuer »
united to the body, at the first resurrection, and share in the glorious things that he was to receive as the king of Zion.
The disciples certainly understood these promises as relating to some state of glory in this world, and therefore asked with considerable anxiety, the express question of our Lord, saying, “ tell us when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming ?” which you have been speaking of with so much pleasure, and at which we are to be thug honored and rewarded; and lastly, what shall be the sign of the end of the world,” or of the age or period you refer to, as the last you have mentioned. Our Saviour answers them without a parable, and predicts and forewarns them of the previous signe of the times, and then in plain and positive terms declares, “ that then shall appear the sign of the son of man in heaven, when the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and shall see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” The enquiry of the disciples was, what would be the sunteleia tou aionos, or the consummation of the pe. riod, at the expiration of which, another aionos, or eminent period, was to commence. The fathers often took this for the millenhium-in the Old Testament and the Targum, the reign of the Messiah is termed,
. This should be rendered according to the opinions of St. Jerome-Erasmus Beza and Montanus, either period, or time --the greek word is Aion. Mr Waple says it signifies an age of the world, or some eminent period of it.
the age to come.—The latter part of these questions, is thus paraphrased by Dr. Clarke, “and by what signs shall we know when the consummation of the present state of things in this world shall be ? and when and by what revolutions the kingdom of the Messiah shall be established."
THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.
WE will now examine the conduct of the apostles of the risen Saviour, whom he sent forth (after his resurrection) to teach all nations the princi. ples of his divine doctrines, which they received personally from their Master, under the miraculous influences of the holy spirit, according to his promises wbilst in the world. They regularly continue the sacred and mysterious clue, and curry on the original idea, holding up to their numerous followers, the second coming of their glorious restorer and redeemer, as the great object of their hope and joy.
Berennius, the disciple of the famous Episcopius, says, “ It is not difficult to gain information of what the disciples understood by the coming of Christ, provided we shall have considered the hope entertained by the Jews respecting the Messiah, which was then generally prevalent, namely, that it was incumbent on him to restore upon earth, the fallen kingdom of Israel-to establish the throne of David, so as never again to be shaken-and to bring deliverance to them without exception, from all their enemies. Hence that speech of the disciples travel. ling to Emmaus,“ but we trusted that it had been him, who should have redeemed Israel.” –Wherefore it is true that by the coming of Christ, the apostles understood nothing else, than the glorious kingdom of the Messiah, to be erected upon earth, as others have also remarked before us.
But it is also elsewhere entitled in the scriptures, 6s the kingdom of God," concerning which, all the prophets have predicted, and concerning the estab. lishment of which, his disciples asked their master after he was risen from the dead, whether he would at that time restore again the kingdom to Israel.By the end of the world, (or age) the disciples did not anderstand the dissolution of the heavens and the earth, but the destruction of the monarchies of the world, which had been first exhibited in a dream to Nebuchadnezzar and afterwards to Daniel-For likewise in Isaiah, lxv. 17, and lxvi. 22, God is introduced speaking thus, of the same periods or times, 6 behold I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind."-But the apostles expected this revolution in the monarchies of the world, according to Daniel's prophecy, ii. 7, would happen at the same time with, (or just before) the second coming of the Messiah, upon whose entrance into his kingdom, he would restore the dominion to Israel.
In these acts of the apostles we are told, that at the ascension of our Lord and Saviour, the highly favor. ed witnesses of the astonishing fact, were staring in amazement and wonder after their ascending Lord, " and looking stedfastly towards heaven, when two men (in appearance) stood by them in white apparel, ani said, ye men of Gallilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven-this same Jesus who is taken op from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
The Apostles afterwards frequently exhorted their bearers in such language as this,“ repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, who before was preached unto you; whom the heavens must receive, until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken (or foretold) by the mouths of all his holy prophets since the world be. gan.” And we find St. Stephen, when speaking of the land of Canaan as promised to Abraham, saying, 66 and he gave Abraham none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on; yet he did promise that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when yet he had no child."-Yet in the very next verse he acknowledges that God, at the same time informed Abraham, that his seed should sojourn in a strange land, and that they should bring them into bondage, and intreat them evil four hundred years." —And then he gave them the rite of circumcision, as a seal of this covenant on the part of God, as a confirmation of the solemn promise made to him, and as an encouragement and support to his faith in so distant and future fulfilment. So that Abraham seems to have understood that the fulfilment of the promise was to take place on the resur