« PreviousContinue »
OVERSEER OF THE APOSTOLIC HEBREW CHURCH,
This Work on Scriptural Education and Testimony is dedicated-in honour of his holy calling as a Teacher of Righteousness—in acknowledgment that his ministry is accordant with that of Christ and his apostles--and in sympathy with that thanksgiving which the “ mothers in Israel” were wont to express, when those whom they brought up for the LORD walked worthy of their high vocation.
With more than the solicitude which hails the dawn and progress of the human faculties in a first-born, have we marked the transforming power of the Spirit on your understanding and affections, from the babe growing of the Word,” to the stature of a strong man, in whom “ the Word abideth as a living principle of action--and on whom, as a complete panoply, its power to defend and conquer becomes manifest.
If the joy of Hannah could admit of augmentation, surely it was when“ Speak, LORD, for thy servant heareth,” gave her assurance that her dedicated one was faithful,” as well as “ called and chosen." Your ordination, like that of your
illustrious kinsmen of old, was neither by the will of man, nor through any order of men, as a medium. It was a direct appeal to the Faithfulness and Truth of Israel's unslumbering Protector. It was a calling upon Him to begin to do that good thing “ which He hath promised to Israel, and for which He will be inquired of to do it for them.” It was a public and solemn abjuration of the unbelief and transgression which have thus long separated between you and your God,-reducing you to the condition of expatriated rebels and homeless prodigals, powerless and prostrate. It was an awakening to your privileges as sons and subjects, a renewed recognition of your Theocratic government-a calling upon your rightful Lawgiver and King to redeem His pledged word of promise in behalf of His repentant subjects, by setting His approving seal on this renewed act of their sonship and allegiance.
When (after a solemn invocation of the Holy One of Israel in the all-prevailing Name of the appointed Mediator), your father in Christ said in the words of an apostle : “ Thou, LORD, who knowest the hearts of all, show which of these
five thou hast chosen to be thy ministering ser
. And when the lot, the disposal of which is of the Lord, declared you (an acknowledged Levite) chosen as a witness to the Truth as it is in Jesus—I need not remind you how our hearts glowed within us at this glorification of His promise, that as day succeeds to night, even so “ the Levites, His ministers,” shall shine in the renewed light of faith and obedience, after the long and dark season which has intervened shall have ceased with the unbelief which opened it.
The excision of some of the natural branches opened a lease of privilege, a term of probation to the nations of Christendom, in like manner the reingrafting of some of the natural branches again becomes the means of closing that lease and term. Our LORD, as a prophet, gave the convulsions of the nations as a sign of the redemption of His captive and exiled people : “ When ye see these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.”
It is unnecessary to refer to the explicit testimony of the prophets and apostles; for these can be denied or evaded, or wrested, or transferred as the licentious imagination may devise—the appeal is now no longer to faith, but to the outward senses the demonstration is seen and felt, on all sides, and in every variety of shakings. Its comment is equally self-evident in the prevailing
suspense, perplexity, confusion, and misgiving of men's hearts, in looking upon the dark and heavy clouds of retributive storm which are mustering from the four winds of heaven.
No putting forth of arbitrary power shall be exercised in “pulling down,” or in “ building up,”-in breaking into pieces the kingdoms of this world, or in the establishment of the Messiah's Kingdom, where the will of God shall be done by men on earth, as it is by the angels in Heaven, who “excel in strength hearkening to the voice of His Word.'
“ The children of this world,” and “the children of the Kingdom to come,” shall be found with all the activity and energy of free-will agents serving and maintaining their respective interests; the one order shall be found in the act of “contending earnestly" for those things which are supreme in their practical regard-here the curtain shall drop and the scene close, for it is their actions that shall be brought to accuse and condemn them. On the other side, you must be found “ contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints," letting your light so shine (in word and in deed) that the sceptical, who have seen nothing of the power and life of true faith, may be brought to glorify God in beholding your “ good works"—for not alone are you to keep yourself unspotted from the contagion of these times of expediency and
self-seeking, but in a positive sense you are to stem the flood of iniquity which will-worship has swelled, by the lifting up of God's own Standard against it.
The lifting up of Israel's head is not a desire to assume the highest titles and seats as gods—they are sons, and as such, their highest honour is associated with the lowest place, that of ministering servants to their Master's benighted Household. They are as an evidence that they are loosed from the yoke which bound them to self and the world, to “ give freely what they have freely received,” and to labour with their own hands to supply not only their own, but the wants of others.
As one ordained by the Highest Authority, a corresponding degree of unction in the love and defence of God's Truth in these days of delusion and blasphemy, were ardently desired and gladly hailed—nor has our expectation been disappointed.
Little more than a year old in the new life of faith and obedience, we have marked the vigorous germ of “the spirit of wisdom, and understanding, and power,
and of the fear of the LORD.” We have with joy seen you maintain toward Jew and Gentile that uncompromising integrity which shuns not to “ declare the whole counsel of God,” however unpalatable this or that portion may be to the prejudices of one and the other—and herein we perceive a spark of that zeal which so glowed for the glory of Jehovah as to make the Levites of old