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of that mighty gospel of Christ, which “Brings out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house" (Isaiah xlii). In chap. xxvi., how vividly and blessedly Paul shews out what was in his heart and soul: he stands in chains, a prisoner before the mightiest monarch of the world, and all the state surrounding him. Yet Paul evidently is the one possessed of conscious dignity and ease and happiness. He can afford to wish that all that heard him were almost and altogether such as he was, except these bonds." What joy in God, what blessedness Paul stood in, as having simple faith in that of which Festus spoke, “Of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive" (xxv. 19). In chap. x. Peter also sees “ Heaven opened.” God works a miracle to meet the prejudice of his narrow heart! The 66
great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth,” in a lively manner represents the heavenly calling of the Church, — its heavenly origin (though filled with unclean creatures in themselves) —its having no resting-place on earth—but moved about, waved, as a bough of a tree, as it were, is received up again into heaven. Another has suggested whether the expression, “Knit at the four corners,” may not be delicately significant of the heavenly calling of the saints, inasmuch as those inside the sheet, whose corners were thus knit, could not possibly look down on the ground. They must look up, and that of necessity. Such is the Church's standing and portion. How soon “we which are alive!” (1 Thess. iv. 15) may be caught up, solemn yet joyful thought—“to be for ever with the Lord!" Observe in this and the preceding chapter of Acts, man's narrowness, God's largeness. Ananias (ix. 13) pleads with God against the reception of so bad a man as Saul of Tarsus—"But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto me.” In this chapter Peter evidently does not like that the unclean Gentiles should enter the kingdom (compare ver. 14, and 28). The Divine answer is,-0 what
souls ! “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common."
There is nothing new in these thoughts beloved reader, but there is old truth, which we cannot meditate on too
much (read 2 Pet. i. 12), and never more than in such a day as this is. As the Lord spoke to Jeremiah (vi. 16), “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein; and ye shall find rest for your souls.” “Surely I am coming quickly, Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all." Amen.
THE BLESSINGS OF THE TWELVE TRIBES.
Genesis xlix. The following outline of Genesis xlix, is given in order to show that this chapter traces in type, as we believe, the history of the Jewish nation from beginning to end, from their redemption out of Egypt to the establishment of Messiah's kingdom.
Observe, as to its order, that six out of these tribes, get the blessing; the remaining six get none. Of the former, three express Christ, and three the faithful remnant. In order to mark this distinction, the letter B here indicates blessing; BB double blessing, in connexion with CHRIST; the cypher O no blessing; 00 the same thing in connexion with Dan, the type of ANTICHRIST. Apostate
thy. salvation, O
CHRIST at His first
Son of Rachel's
Sons of Leah's
The Faithful Remnant
Son of Rachel's
CHRIST, just before,
and at His second ming.
* Why this utterance of the Spirit in connexion with Dan? The answer appears to be this.—Dan is here seen as the type of that false one whose kingdom will precede the kingdom of Christ; and hence, at the mention of his name, the hopes of the Patriarch, in reference to the deliverance of Israel, are awakened. Thus, though encompassed with trouble, the remnant hereafter will lift up their heads, because their redemption draweth nigh.
THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE FULNESS OF
Ephesians, i. 10. CHRIST is the true and only centre of the purposes of God, as it is only by Him the Holy Ghost reveals them. Hence it is, and must be in the proportion of our Spirittaught acquaintance with Christ, that the divine plans are understood and appreciated. When He is not steadily kept before the soul, what becomes of the study of scripture itself? It is no longer truth which sanctifies, but a barren theology which puffs up. And why has prophecy been perverted to unfruitful and injurious speculation? Because God's grand object has been lost sight of (" that in all things he might have the preeminence;" one might perhaps apply here); and thereby the Spirit has been grieved, and has blown upon the busy exercises of man's mind. “He shall glorify me," said the Lord, “ for He shall take of MINE and shew it unto you (John xvi. 14). The moment the view of the glory of Christ is supplanted by researches into providence, for instance, important as that may be in its place, the temple of prophecy degenerates into a counting-house of human intellect; and the tables of those who traffic in mere erudition crowd its courts, until, by the just judgment of God, it is left desolate. But by His grace a better sanctuary is opened for those who have ears to hear and eyes to see Jesus crowned with glory and honour in the heavens. May we have grace to draw near through the rent veil, and there by our Master's side, with unshod feet and worshipping hearts, follow His eye and finger as they rest upon the spheres of His varied but harmonious glory!
“ Since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him." There the Jewish prophet necessarily stopped. “ But," says the Apostle (1 Cor. ü.), taking up the words, “God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit.”. “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world (or the ages] unto our glory.” How often we hear a member of the body of Christ quoting the words, “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard it,” to justify an ignorance which the Spirit of God takes pains to shew us is no longer excusable. The things which God hath prepared for them that love Him are now disclosed. Our position is the contrast of that of the Jews'. God hath revealed them UNTO us by His Spirit: for His Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. True, these things are not the things of man,
and are therefore undiscoverable by human ken. But a Christian is called no longer to walk nor to think κατά άνθρωπον: if he seem to be wise in this world, let him become a fool that he
be wise. “The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” And what is that to the Christian? Everything. "For we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. We have the mind (voûv) of Christ.
So in Ephesians, God “hạth abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence: having made known unto us the
mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He had purposed in Himself for the administration of the fulness of times, to gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in the heaven, and which are on the earth, even in Him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose," etc. The great and precious revelations of the Old Testament, as Moses told the Jews (Deut. xxx. 29.) belong, in an emphatic sense, unto them and their children. Jehovah their God had reserved the secret things unto Himself. Hence the force and importance of the verses just cited from this epistle. His grace has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence. He has made known unto us the secret of His will, according to the good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself for the administration of the accomplishment of the set times. And what is this purpose of God? It is to gather in one Head, in Christ, all things which are in heaven, and which are on earth; in Him in whom also we have obtained an inheritance. That is, the mystery of God's will consists of two great parts: first, Christ is to be the Head of all things heavenly and earthly; and secondly, the Church is to be associated with Him in that inheritance. And so the apostle, having treated of the design of God to re-head all things in Christ, turns also at once to the collateral purpose of joining the Church as heir with Him, first alluding to the Jewish saints brought into this relationship and then to the Ephesians themselves, the Gentile saints whom he was actually addressing:- “that we [i. e. the Jews now believing] should be to the praise of His glory who are pre-trusters in Christ; in whom ye also ” [i. e. Gentile believers), etc
In the closing verses of this chapter, we have the same two-fold truth, with this difference, that it is not in connexion with God's future purpose respecting the heading up of all things in Christ, when the appointed times are completed, but with Christ's present exaltation at the right hand of God. Nevertheless, here as before, is seen the double glory of Christ. God hath given Him as bead over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all; and thereupon chapter ii. enters into the manner of God's display of His grace in His kindness towards Jew and Gentile through Christ Jesus.
If we turn to Acts iïi., it is clear, that the times of refreshing and the restoring of all things were no secret of God's will. Peter speaks of this restitution of all things as the familiar hope of the Jewish nation. God had spoken of them by the mouth of His holy prophets since the world began. This therefore must be a distinct thing, however closely connected with the mystery of Ephes. i. 9—11. Let us take one of these prophetic testimonies, and the difference will be plain.
“ Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was