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forth it was seen, that in Christ Jesus, neither circuncision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision. The national promises remain firm, unbroken, unrecalled, and shall be, to their fullest extent, most gloriously fulfilled to the whole house of Jacob; the land of Canaan, the city of Jerusalem, shall be theirs, in full, exclusive, unalienable possession ; but every spiritual advantage becomes alike the property of the believer, of whatsoever name, or blood, or nation he be. In Christ Jesus, there is neither male nor female: the woman's natural position is still that of subordination : she is commanded to obey, to honour the man, to call him lord, to reverence her husband, and to learn in silence with all subjection ; but in Christ Jesus her privileges are precisely the same as his : equally a child of God, equally an heir of salvation, equal with the man and with the angels too, in the resurrection from the dead. So with Jew and Gentile; the former has a rank, a headship, a precedence, not to be done away with, as regards present things, only held back from him so long as he withholds his fealty from his promised Messiah ; but this is an earthly distinction; and in Christ Jesus, that is, in the full participation of all the blessings promised to believers, as there is neither male nor female, so is there neither Jew nor Gentile. The woman does not, on embracing the Gospel, become a man, nor the Gentile a Jew. Much confusion exists,.perplexing and misleading good people on this point, The Lord's returning mercy to Israel will speedily clear it up: but it is very desirable to see it correctly now...'
Cornelius, in relating to Peter the cause of his sending for him, says, “A man stood before me in bright clothing.” Some supernatural radiancy surrounded the celestial messenger, that even in the light of midday so shone as to make the bold soldier afraid. It is a strange and sad proof of our conscious impurity, that it makes us shrink back from what is glorious and lovely, as though it could have no fellowship with us, but must regard us with displeasure. Such was not man's nature when God originally created him ; such it will not be when, being saved by faith, he has at. tained to the resurrection, and put on the glorified body that claims an equality with the angels in heaven.
The next appearance of one of these ministering spirits is on an occasion of surpassing interest. James, the brother of John, had been slain with the sword, and Herod perceiving it pleased the Jews, then, alas! given over to a reprobate mind, proceeded to take Pe. ter also. The experience which they already had of the Apostle's marvelous escapes from persecuting hands, seems to have rendered them very cautious, for 'no fewer than four quarternions of Roman warriors were considered a sufficient guard for this poor, fetter. ed Galilean fisherman. But all the power of Rome, in that her proudest day, was of no avail against the mighty weapon wielded on the prisoner's behalf; for “prayer was made without ceasing of the Church unto God for him.” " And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains : and the keepers before the door kept the prison.” Acts xii. 5,6. The two soldiers, it would seem, were asleep, as well as their captive; and the fetters that bound him were so secured to them that he could not possibly have moved from his place without rousing them. “And behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison, and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals: and so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel, but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and second wards, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city ; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.” Acts xii. 7-11. The pow. er of the angelic deliverer, in this instance, is very strikingly set forth; and the tangibility of the whole event is directly opposed to a mere vision. The angel smote Peter on the side to rouse him from sleep; and though the unlocking of the fetters from his hands, and of the great gate of the prison, seems to have been an act of God's sovereign will, without any instrumentality, it is impossible to regard the angel, in this case, as a mere seeming, an incorporeal essence, not seen by the bodily, but the mental or spiritual eyes of the Apostle.
Not long after this, vengeance overtook the cruel ty. rant, who had hoped to glut his own and the people's 'thirst for blood by slaying Peter. We read, “ Upon a set day Herod arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. Acts xii. 21–23. Probably the same angel who delivered Peter, might be commissioned to execute this punishment on the persecutor of the Church ; but by whatever hand the judgment came, it was a solemn warning to men; and seeing how the angels rendered praise to the Most High, in the hearing of John, for the appropriateness of his retributive visitation, we may well believe that every spectacle of chastisement inflicted on sinners is a call for renewed thankfulness and praise on the part of the angels who have been kept faithful to their heavenly King, while others fell into guilt and terrible condemnation. "By the Church,” they learn a vast deal that 'redounds to the glory of God, and to their own encouragement in the path of obedience. When Paul, oppressed by the multitude of trials, wrote those words to the arrogant Church of Corinth puffed up with their gifts—“I think that God hath set forth us the Apostles last, as it were appointed to death : for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels,
and to men: we are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised : even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place; and labour, working with our own hands : being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat; we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day," (1 Cor. iv. 9-13,)-when he wrote these words, he described the means by which God was at that time instructing not only the world and the Church, but the angels in heaven. The spectacle of such sufferings, combined with such constancy, patience, zeal, and love, was redounding to the glory of God, who out of the pitiable weakness of frail and fallen humanity, made strong his servants, and provided that his Son who had been “seen of angels,” should be so effectually "preached to the Gentiles,” that he was believed on in the world. His manifold wisdom was made known even to the principalities of heaven, by rendering the most foolish things of earth sufficient to baffle all the cunning, and to tread under foot all the powers of hell. Angelic ministry was indeed sometimes employed, as if to remind the suffering disciples, how much sympathy existed towards them in the unseen world, when often on earth no man stood by them; but in general the Lord wrought towards them and in them of his own sovereign, direct power; while the angelic host looked on and adorned his condescending mercy to the children of the dust.