« PrécédentContinuer »
Several years after the gospel had been preached to the Jews, Peter declined visiting the Gentiles, and was afterwards called to an account by the apostles themselves for going to them—
Nor could any thing but repeated miracles in their favour overcome the prejudices which he entertained respecting them—
Not but that the conversion of the Gentiles had been very frequently and plainly foretold
The very passage before us, if there had been no other, was quite sufficient to raise an expectation of that event In the context there is a conversation between Jehovah and his Son
The Messiah announces to the Gentiles his qualifications for the work to which he was called "
But at the same time complains that his labours among the Jews were almost in vain
Nevertheless He declares his unshaken confidence that Jehovah would not leave him without ultimate success d
Jehovah then, in answer to his Son, assures him, that however he may be treated by the Jews, he shall be upheld and accepted in his work
And that his failure among the Jewish nation shall be far overbalanced by his success among the GentilesTo elucidate this prophecy, we shall consider
I. The characters here given to Christ
There can be no doubt but that the words of the text relate to Christ
[They are far too strong to be applied to Isaiah himself Nor could they with propriety be spoken of any but the Messiah
The expressions here used are similar to those which the prophet elsewhere uses in reference to him f
They were evidently alluded to by the patriarch when he took up the infant Jesus in his arms &
And are expressly quoted by St. Paul as having received their accomplishment in Christ]
2 Acts xi. 1, 2. This was six or seven years after Christ's ascension. b Ver. 1-3 Ver. 4. • Ver. 5. f Isai. xlii. 1, 6 and lx. 3. & Luke ii. 30-32. Acts. xiii. 46,47.
To him the characters, there specified, most eminently belong
He is "the Restorer of Israel," having reconciled many myriads" of them to God
He is also the "Light of the Gentiles"
[Another prophet describes him as "the Sun of righte
In the New Testament also he is repeatedly called "the Light of the world "_
Others have enlightened the world by revealing the will of God
But He alone reveals it by his Spirit to the souls of menHe only, who opened Lydia's heart, can have access to ours1He only, who opened the understanding of his disciples, can illumine our benighted minds
And this he does for them that lie in darkness and the shadow of death
While his once favoured people the Jews are blinded, he takes the veil from our hearts, and guides us into all truthThus does he abundantly fulfil to us his gracious promise-] He is moreover "the salvation of men even to the ends of the world"
[Many of the judges and kings of Israel were Saviours in a temporal view
But Jesus imparts to his followers a far more glorious sal
By his own blood he has "obtained an eternal redemption" for them
And by his meritorious obedience he renders them completely righteous—
He is not merely a Saviour to them, but "salvation" itselfAs he procured, so he imparts, maintains, and perfects the salvation of those who trust in him
There are none so remote but he extends to them the benefits of his death
"He came to save the lost," in whatever quarter of the globe they be
For this very end was he sent into the world by his heavenly Father
And, as being expressly appointed to this office, he is called God's salvation-]
In fulfilling these characters, he displays
1 Acts xvi. 14. a John viii, 12,
II. The excellence of the dispensation committed to him
[There was much of the gospel communicated in and with the law
The ceremonial rights were altogether "shadows of the good things" which were afterwards to be more fully revealedThe moral law itself, while it condemned the Jews, was intended to promote their salvation
And many, in different ages, were guided to heaven by the light which was then afforded them
The Mosaic law therefore was a rich blessing to that nationAnd the salvation of a remnant from among them clearly manifested the efficacy of the great sacrifice-]
But the dispensation of the gospel to the whole world is incomparably more glorious
It brings far greater good to men
[We must not disparage the salvation of one single soulMuch less should we undervalue the mercy shewn to so many of the Jews
But still, the Jews were a small body when compared with the Gentile world
And it was but a little remnant, even of them, that obtained mercy
But the publication of the gospel to the Gentiles has been the means of saving unnumbered myriads
There are persons in every quarter of the globe, who experience the efficacy of the Redeemer's blood
Yea, every day and hour are multitudes ascending from the darkest corners of the earth to swell the chorus in heaven
How much more glorious then is the dispensation which diffuses its blessings so extensively, than that which confined them to such a narrow sphere!—
Surely it would have been "a light thing to save the Jews" in comparison of such a multitude
We may well therefore apply to this subject those words of the Apostle-]
It brings also far greater glory to the Saviour himself
[Had none but Jews been saved by him, he might have appeared partial in his regards
Or it might be thought that his sacrifice was but of a limited value
But the extension of mercy to the Gentiles displays "the exceeding riches of his grace"
And shews that his death is a sufficient "propitiation for the sins of the whole world"
2 Cor. iii. 9-11.
How transcendent is the Redeemer's glory in this view!And how glorious will he appear, when all that he has redeemed from every nation of the earth shall unite in ascribing salvation to him!
The saving of a few from one nation only would not have been a suitable recompence for his work
He might well have complained that he had " strength for nought"-
spent his But he will be fully "satisfied with the travail of his soul," because" the birth of his womb will be as the dew of the morning?"-]
We shall conclude with a word or two of ADVICE 1. Welcome the Saviour under the characters which are here given him
[We all need him as the light of our minds, and the Saviour of our souls
Let none then boast of the light of reason, or their own understanding"
66 lean to
Nor let us trust in our own goodness to merit, or strength to work out salvation—
Let us rather look to Jesus for the teaching of his word and Spirit
And unite our acknowledgements with those of the saints of old
Let us rejoice, exceedingly that "help is laid upon One so mighty"
And let us receive him for all the ends for which he is offered to us $
Let none say, I am so far off, I can never hope for salvation by him
His exhortation recorded by the prophet yet sounds in our
Nor shall any be ashamed who put their trust in him—] 2. Do not attempt to separate his characters, but unite them
[In vain shall we hope to be saved by Christ, if he have not enlightened our understandings
Though he gives not to all his people the same degree of knowledge, he invariably instructs them in the most important truths
And if we have no views of the evil of sin, the deceitfulness of the heart, the beauty of holiness, and the suitableness of his salvation, we are still in a lost and perishing conditionThe text itself informs us that Christ becomes our salvation by being our light
P Ps. cx. 3.
Isai. xlv. 24.
Ps. Ixxxix. 19.
On the other hand, let us not rest in a speculative knowledge of these things
We must manifest the practical and sanctifying effects of what we know—
We must be delivered from the love and practice both of open and secret sin—
Without this, the clearest perception of divine truths will be of no avail-
Let us unite in our experience what is thus united in Christ
And seek to grow as well in gracious affections, as in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour"-]
2 Pet. iii. 18.
CLXVII. THE EQUITY OF CHRIST'S GOVERNMENT. 2 Sam. xxiii. 1-4. Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the annointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet Psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God: and he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds: as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.
THESE words are generally understood as descriptive of the duty of civil governors, and of the happiness of any people who live under a government that is thus administered. But they have doubtless a further reference, even to Christ himself, whose character they designate in the most appropriate terms. The very energetic manner in which the prophecy before us is introduced, and the strong profession which the writer makes of his immediate inspiration from God, leave no doubt upon the mind, but that something more must be intended in this passage than a mere direction to earthly magistrates. A very small alteration in the translation will exhibit it in its true light..
The passage might more properly be translated thus: David the son of Jesse saith, and the man, &c. saith, The Spirit of the Lord speaketh by me, and his word is in my tongue; the God of Israel saith, the Rock of Israel speaketh to me, The JUST ONE ruleth over men; he ruleth in the fear of God: as the light of the morning ▲ SUN shall rise, even a morning without clouds, when the tender grass. springeth out of the earth, &c.