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And were not these things also mysterious, that the poo idolatrous Gentiles should have such glad tidings proclaimed to them; and that he, who had not saved himself, should be regarded as the Saviour of the whole world?] V. He “ was received up into glory" :
[The return of Jesus to his heavenly mansions is generally thought to be here referred to: but perhaps the reference rather is to the glorious reception which he met with among those who believed on him:a they did not merely assent to the truth of his gospel, but received him into their hearts with most fervent love. “No sooner did they hear of him, than they obeyed him," and accounted his service to be perfect freedom: and so unreserved was their surrender of themselves to him, that they desired "every thought,” as well as every action, “ to be brought into captivity” to his will. In short, they “counted all things but dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord;” nor were their goods, their reputation, their liberty, or their life, of any value, when put in competition with his will, or when an opportunity was offered to sacrifice them to his honour.d
Such was the reception given him wherever his name was preached: multitudes in every place “blessed themselves in him,"e and “rejoiced in him with joy unspeakable.” And what a glorious mystery was this! that they should so highly honour one who had been abhorred by all his own countrymen, and executed as the vilest of malefactors and that they should feel such love to one whom they had never seen, as to renounce for his sake all that their eyes had seen, and all that is held dear among men! This was wonderful indeed: yet wonderful as it is, it is still daily experienced, and daily mani: fested, by all that believe.] We conclude with submitting to your consideration two
important QUESTIONS 1. What reception have you given to this mystery?
[Are the great subjects of Christ's humiliation and glory, disregarded by you as matters of doubtful disputation; or are they entertained with that reverence which is due to such mysterious truths? Alas! notwithstanding they are preached
a It seems that the different members of the text received their accomplishment in successive order of time: and if this be duly considered, the interpretation here given to the last clause will appear the most suitable of any: and it is certain that aveangon év don may very properly be translated he was received gloriously. See in the Greek Acts xx. 13, 14. Phil. iv. 19. with other passages referred to by that most instructive and judicious commentator, Dr. Guyse. b Ps. xviii. 44, c 2 Cor. x. 5.
. Phil. iii. 7,8 e Ps. Ixxij. 17.
fi Pet. 1. 8.
among you, they are far from meeting with that reception they deserve. Beg then that the Holy Spirit would take of the things that are Christ's and shew them unto you." And . endeavour to give the Lord Jesus such a reception now, that you may be welcomed by him in the great day of his appearing.)
2. Are you experiencing the gospel to be indeed a mystery of godliness?
[It is to but little purpose to "call Christ Lord, if we do not the things which he says.” He will save us from our sins,” but never in them. He came to “ redeem us from iniquity, and to purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works." Let us not then attempt to make him “a minister of sin;"i but endeavour to shew the sanctifying, as well as saving, efficacy of his gospel. Let us shew, that while “the grace of God bringeth salvation to us, it teaches us to deny all sin, and to live righteously, soberly, and godly in this present world.”k
& John xvi. 15.
h Tit. ii. 14.
Tit. ii. 11, 12.
CCCXXI. THE UNCONCERN OF MEN AMIDST GOD's
CALLS TO REPENTANCE.
Ísai. xxii. 12–14. In that day did the Lord God of hasts
call to weeping and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth: and behold, joy and gladness, slay, ing oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine. let us eat and drink; for to-morrow we shall die. And is was revealed in mine ears by the Lord of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you, till ye die, saith the Lord God of hosts.
TRUE religion is equally abhorrent from an atheisti. cal contempt of God's providence, and a presumptuous reliance on it. It teaches us neither to trust in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, the temple o the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we;'a nor, on the other hand, to trust in human devices, to the neglect o him, who “worketh all things after the counsel of hi own will.”
It was for the latter of these sins, that the Jews wer reproved in the words before us. The Assyrians hal invaded their country, and were coming against Jeruslem itself; and the Jews, instead of crying to God br help, contented themselves with fortifying their city; ad lived as securely as if no danger were at hand. This greatly incensed God, and caused him to denounce agaiist them his heaviest judgments.
The words before us will lead us to consider 1. The duty to which God calls us
The terms used in the text were intended to expess repentance
[The shaving of the head, and cutting of the beard, and putting on of sackcloth were used among the Jews as inlications of sorrow.b Of themselves indeed, neither those no any other actions, however significant, had any value before God:
a Jer, vii. 4.
midomo para unas
: and drink, for to-worrow we shail cic.” W: mi no information from God respecting the issue it uer
e D . cannot imitate, with respect to them, the impier. it
But in relation to infinitely more important nattery." as much profane scoffing amongst us, as imunrt en:
Let us then, as it becomes us, proceed with
(What should we think of a child or servant that steal
[The word “ surely," is equivalent to an oath:- and is it a light thing which causes Jehovah to swear by his own life and immortal perfections? Is it a small matter that causes o the Lord God of hosts to shut up his tender mercies, and to swear, that the guilt of such or such an action sha!! “ neser be purged away?” Must not that be beyond measure S. sive to him, that can fill his breast with such "fier inc . tion?” The sins that have brought down his chastiseen's, are doubtless great: but an obstinacy under those chastisements which are intended to reform us, is a sure fcich our utter excision.'] What can be more destructive in its consen":07. ep
[The nation cannot be delivered but by means tional repentance: nor can any individual escape thee..
wrath of God, but by means of his own preance. If there be only one impenitent trumpalah whole kingdom,“ God will search him (ut wisi order to “punish him.”- Even in his preseite: