Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

have the testimony of Jesus. So service, and as representing his ethe martyrs or witnesses of Jesus, lect church on earth, all the first when caught up to heaven to join born amongst the children of Israel, this triumphant body, are repre- accepting only of the tribe of Levi sented as having overcome on earth in their room, and as a substitute by “the word of their testimony ;for them. Here we observe the and lastly we read of St. John him. elect church on earth, the church in self that he bare record of the word heaven, and Christ their head, all of God and of the testimony of designated verbally, or symbolically, Jesus.k Hence it appears that the by the same name, viz. that of the character of a witness to truth is first born, the beginning or head of an essential one, not only of Christ the creation of God. but of the church in heaven and of Verses 15, 16. In proceeding to the church on earth ; and it may consider the address of Christ to the become an object of interesting Laodicean Church, we find that he enquiry, and of self examination to who came to reconcile heaven and many, how far, if nut required in earth, and unite all things in one this christian country to bear wit- to himself, reproves them for being ness to his name generally, they yet lukewarm in his cause, neither hot do so with respect to those truths nor cold, neither for him nor against to which he himself specially testi- him; which state of indifferency he fied, and in which they are themselves declares to be more odious and afpersuaded that the vitality of Chris. fronting to himself than even a detianity consists.

cided opposition; and that such chaChrist here farther reveals himself racters he will reject with loathing. as the beginning or head of the crea- A church after having long professed tion of God; for he was the first in the faith is peculiarly liable to fall the purpose

of God, though not in into this state, but none can be manifestation. Adam and all who more dangerous. We still retain, went before were but types and fore- at all events in our formularies, the shewings of him that was to come, doctrines of free grace, and of the who is declared to be head over all fulness to be found in Christ for the things to his church, “the first born supply of all our wants ; but the of every creature.”

The spirits of doctrine does not perhaps recomthe just in heaven are likewise de- mend itself as suited to our case, or nominated "the church of the first it has not been brought out promiborn”m or the head and beginning nently to our view in the preached of all creation ; and are represented word; and that spiritual instinct has consistently with this idea in Rev. not been conferred upon us which IV, where they are seen as surround. causes us to feel our necessities, and ing the mediatorial throne, under to find no rest till we meet with the symbols of a man, the only that provision in the unadulterated rational creature,-a Lion, the chief doctrine of the word of God, which of wild beasts,

-a Bull, the chief he who gave the appetite will in his of tame cattle,-and an Eagle, the providence supply,-like children chief of birds. Our Lord also, in first desiring the sincere milk of the reference to his character as “ the word. Or perhaps Christ has been first born, the beginning of the fully offered to us, but when we see creation of God," claimed for his bim there is in our apprehensions i Rev. XIX. 10,

k Rev. 1. 2.

1 Col. 1. 15. m Heb. XII. 23. n Exod. XXII. 19; Num. Ill. 12.

[ocr errors]

also no beauty in him that we should satisfied with their condition by nadesire him : he stands at the door ture, moves our Lord in compassion and knocks, yet is despised and re- to them to exhort them to anoint jected of men. But alas ! how aw- their eyes with eye salve that they ful will be the contrast, when those might see and realize, in order that who have so despised and rejected they might provide against this their him, shall be themselves rejected, spiritual destitution. not in time, but for eternity.

Verse 19. Christ declares, that Verse 17. The cause of this in- when those whom he loves have difference Christ proclaims to be, fallen into this cold and indifferent that they knew not their entire de- state of mind towards himself, he pendance upon him for every thing rebukes and chastens them by afflicthat could give them acceptance tions to awaken them again to a with God; but fancied that they sense of what they owe to him. So were rich and increased with goods when he promised that his people and had need of nothing, at the same should receive, as tokens of his love, time that they were in truth wretch- all the blessings of this life, he added ed, and miserable, and poor, and the qualification necessary for them blind, and naked," and wanting every in these words,- -“ with afflictions." thing. In consequence of this na- He exhorts his church to improve tural blindness it was, that he de- these for the purpose intended, to clared, that the first work of the repent of their declensions, and to Holy Spirit, whom he would send be again zealous in his cause. Happy down from heaven, would be to con- is the church that, so chastised in vince the hearts of men of sin, or of love, takes the warning, repents, their own sinfulness.

and does her first works. Verse 18. He counsels them, yield- Verse 20. Christ then declares, ing to such convictions, to come to that as he voluntarily came down him for a supply of all their spiritual from heaven to give himself for necessities, nor longer to confide in the life of the world, so he continues in what was externally commenda- to offer himself to his people; that ble, that was derived from mere na- he stands and knocks at the door of ture’s stores ; but to buy of him, their hearts by various means, by without money and without price, blessings conferred, by chastise(for none have they to offer) "gold ments inflicted, or by his preached tried in the fire,” a righteousness gospel; and that if any yield to without any particle of dross, which these, hear his voice, and receive had stood the test of the searching him into their hearts, he establishes power of the divine law, and having the most intimate communion and been found fully satisfactory and fellowship with them, implied in the adequate to all its acquirements, promise " I will come into him, and constitutes the wealth of his body will sup with him, and he with me,” the church, and enriches every mem- corresponding closely with his graber of it; while as our clothing it cious declaration, that those who forms a vesture of spotless purity, thus receive him, he calls not serrobed in which alone we can gain vants, but friends. admittance into the heavenly courts, Verse 21. St. Paul says to such or to the marriage supper of the as these, who thus receive Christ Lamb. The fatal character of their in all his offices, “ All things are blindness, which led them to be yours.” Christ will not withhold

o John xvi. 8.

[ocr errors]

from them any thing that is his. alteration in the familiarity and enIt was in the exercise of unknown dearment of his language towards love, and that he might share with them ; it was still the same-" Go them the great recompence of re- tell my brethren”-“ Simon son ward, that he undertook the mighty of Jonas lovest thou me"-" Saul, work of their redemption; and when Saul, why persecutest thou me. raised to the mediatorial throne, Fear not I am he that liveth and and having all power given unto was dead.” The last promise made him in heaven and in earth, he thus to the Church in Laodicea is then promises that he will share with

the same as the first, symbolically them this also, To him that over- declared in Paradise. But O, how cometh will I grant to sit with me in great the promise, how unspeakable my throne, even as I also overcame the glory of those, who, in reference and am set down with my Father in to his human nature, shall even in his throne.Accordingly we find, an eternal world be one with Christ, in a subsequent chapter, where the shall sit with him on his throne opening of this book of prophecy to and share his glories !—what senthe Church on earth is exhibited, timents of humiliation, of love and that the Church of the first-born in of gratitude, ought not such revelaheaven are represented as being in tions to excite! The Church in hea. the midst of that throne, and round ven give glory and honour and about that throne, which is incircled thanks to him that sitteth on the by the rainbow of the covenant.P In throne ; the Elders cast down their this great and concluding promise crowns before him : may we, thus every other is, as it were, compre- taught by the revelations they comhended and summed up. If Christ's municated, learn (if we have not yet sitting with his Father on his throne done so ; and if we have learnt, implies an equality with the Father however imperfectly, strive more in his divine nature, his admitting his and more to enter into its meaning) Church to sit with him on his me- the words of their song,

Thou art diatorial throne implies a like equals worthy O Lord to receive glory and ity or oneness of himself with them

honour and power,

c" thou art in reference to his human nature. worthy”—for thou wast slain and This was the great mystery opened hast " redeemed us to God by thy in Paradise, when the woman, the blood out of every kindred and bride, the Lamb's wife, was taken tongue, and people and nation.”. out of the side of the first Adam ; Blessing, and honour, and glory, and then, when having humbled ' and power, be unto him that sitteth himself, and taken upon himself the ' upon the throne, and unto the form of a servant, he had, as the • Lamb for ever and ever.” condition of the service wherewith He that hath an ear, let him he had served, resumed his former hear what the Spirit saith unto power and glory that he might share the churches. VERSE 22. it with his Church, there was no

[ocr errors]

Jas. H. FRERE,

p Rev. iv, 6.

145

Correspondence.

ON 2 THESSALONIANS II. 2.

To the Editor of the Investigator. being led away by these seducers, Sir,

and to exhort them still to persevere The common account of the ob- in looking and waiting for their Lord ject of the 2nd epistle to the Thes- from heaven. salonians is, that the believers at that Further, the expression " shaken place, in consequence of the lan- in mind or troubled," as it stands guage used by St. Paul in his first in our version, is adapted to convey epistle to them, had been led to re- the idea that the anticipation of the gard the time of the Lord's second Lord's advent created feelings of Advent as close at hand, and that alarm in the minds of the Thessalothe apostle wrote the 2nd epistle to nian Christians; whereas we know caution them against such a belief that the spirit with which the early as erroneous and dangerous. Such church contemplated that event was a supposition is exceedingly strange; one of eager and joyful expectation. since it would cast upon an inspired -See 1 Cor. 1. 7; Phil. 111. 20; apostle the charge of writing un- 2 Tim. iv. 8; 2 Pet. III. 12. guardedly : for an attentive and de- It is the wrong translation of this vout reader of the first epistle could 2nd verse which has given rise to certainly draw no other conclusion the erroneous opinion respecting the from it, than that which the disci. object of the epistle itself. Ought ples at Thessalonica evidently did; not εις το μη ταχεως σαλευθηναι Viz. that they were to live in the υμας απο του νοος-ως ότι ενεστηκεν expectation that the Lord's second Ý quepa tou kupov,—evidently to Advent would take place suddenly have been rendered “ that ye be not and might take place at any time : soon shaken from the opinionthat a belief which not only the apostles the day of the Lord is near at hand ?" but our Lord himself constantly en- On referring to Schleusner (voc joined on the Church, as being the võvs) I find he renders the passage, state of mind which she ever ought in conformity with the translation to have maintained towards her ab. above given, ne vos celeriter cogsent Bridegroom.

nitione vestra deturbari patiamini.' An examination of the epistle in Thus the whole is rendered harthe Greek has convinced me that monious and consistent. St. Paul the object of it was directly the had sought to console them in his contrary to the one commonly sup- 1st epistle, under the bereavements posed.--Heretics of a similar class they had experienced, by the prowith Hymeneus and Philetus had by spect of the Saviour's speedy return various means (chap. 11. 2) sought and the saints' resurrection at that to lead the disciples away from the time; a topic which he dwells on speedy expectation of the Lord's with a remarkable frequency in that coming to which the apostle exhort. epistle, there not being a single ed them ; endeavouring to make chapter of it in which the Saviour's them think that he had deceived second advent is not at least once them, because the Lord did not re- mentioned. Suppose that in the turn instantly. The apostle accord- interval which had elapsed before ingly writes to guard them against the 2nd epistle was written, some

U

false teachers had sought to unsettle thoughts of his return (as the comtheir faith in this important truth mon translation of chap. 11. 2 seems by telling them, either that they had to indicate) they were rather unmisunderstood the apostle's words, duly anxious for the instant approach or that he had misled them, since of that day; and the apostle accord. notwithstanding his telling them to ingly prays, that they may have live in the constant and speedy ex- grace to wait for it and endure their pectation of the Lord's appearing, trials with patience in the mean the event had not yet taken place. while. We find a similar exhortaSt. Paul, hearing of this, writes his tion in James v. 7, 8. 2nd epistle to strengthen and con- I am your brother and companion firm their faith on this point; and in the kingdom and patience of accordingly, the advent of Christ is Jesus Christ, brought forward again at the very

CLERICUS, M. N. D. commencement of this epistle, as a P. S. Believing as I do from the subject of hope and consolation to plain evidence of Scripture, that this God's persecuted saints. (See chap. earth, redeemed from the curse, is 1. vv. 7, 10.) He proceeds : “Now to be the future residence of the concerning (utep) the coming of our Lord and his ransomed church, I Lord Jesus Christ and our gather should be glad to hear what explaing together unto him, we beseech nation you or any of your corresponyou, brethren, that ye be not soon dents give to the following texts : shaken from the opinion &c. that 2 Cor. v. 1; Hebrews x. 34 and the day of Christ is at hand.”—Let i Peter 1. 4; also John xiv. 2, 3. not the delay that occurs seem great, Have they a reference to the city or cause you to waver or grow cold in which God has prepared for his your expectation of the great event. saints, (Heb. xi. 16,) the new JeruHe then reveals to them further, that salem which is to come down from there was an event to take place God out of heaven ? Rev. xxi. 2, 10. previous to and on the eve of the [The subject which our respected Lord's appearing, viz. the revelation Correspondent notices is one of conof the man of sin ; but what was to siderable interest, and persuaded we be the duration of the event pre- are, from the whole tenour of the dicted is not there stated, and there- two Epistles to the Thessalonians, fore they could not tell whether it that the apostle no where intends might not be something which would to divert them from looking out for be transacted in their own days. The the second advent of Jesus, seeing reason of the mention of this cir. that he directs their attention to it cumstance in this place appears to again most decidedly in this second be, to warn the church of the fearful epistle. We doubt however the sotrial which awaited it, and to guard lution of the difficulty given by them against becoming negligent or CLERICUS M. N. D. Not that the doubtful in their expectation of the Greek of verse 2 will not bear the Lord's return, on account of the interpretation he puts upon it; (for apparent delay of it.

it is the translation of the Vulgate ;) With this view the prayer of the but because it does appear to us not apostle in chap. 111. 5, precisely har- so well to agree with the context as monizes :—"The Lord direct your if the emphasis were laid on the hearts into the love of God, and word εVEOTNKEV, which rather affords into the patient waiting for Christ.” the solution to it. For does not the Instead of being alarmed at the error of the Thessalonians seem to

« ForrigeFortsæt »