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484 He bids them tarry at Jerusalem till they receive the Spirit. SECT. and who are therefore to look upon it as the

great business of your lives to spread the noti... Inke ces and evidences of these facts. And, that you 49 And behold, I XXIV. may be fully qualified for so high an office, sen

for so high an office send the promise of my

Father upon you: but 49 behold, I am shortly to send upon you the great tarry ye in the city of

promise of my Father, relating to the miraculous Jerusalem, until yebe
effusion of the Holy Spirit upon you. (Com- en

from on high.
pare Joel ii. 28. and Acts ii. 16, 17.) And as
the Divine Wisdom sees fit to honour this
place, sinful as it is, with the first view of this
surprising appearance, I charge you not to go
from hence before you have received those gifts
and graces you shall be furnished with for the
discharge of your ministry ; but do you con-
tinue here in the city of Jerusalem till you are
indested with this power from on high h; where-
by you will be enabled to bear your testimony
in so advantageous and convincing a manner,
that no falsehood or sophistry will be able

finally to stand before you. Mark And further he said to them, When you shall , XV1.15. thus be furnished with the extraordinary gifts of Go ve into all the

And he said unto them, the Spirit, go forth into all parts of the world, world, and preach the and preach the gospel to every human creature gospel to every crea

under heaven to whom Providence may lead 16 you, whether Jew or Gentile : And take care 16 He that belier.

that you deliver it with becoming seriousness ; eth, and is baptized, and let them see to it that they receive it with shall be saved: but

he that believeth not, proportionable regard ; for it is a matter of infi- shall be damned. nite importance. And accordingly I now solemnly declare, That he who sincerely believes your testimony, and, in token of that cordial faith, is baptized in my name, and continues to maintain a temper and conduct suitable to that engagement, shall certainly be saved with a complete and everlasting salvation ; but he who believeth not this my gospel, when opened with

ture.

such

others, who were not apostles, were able that all this discourse was delivered on the to testify the game; and it was their duty, night Christ rose from the dead; and that and no doubt their care to do it, as Pro- the ascension related by Luke in the convidence gave them an opportunity; and clusion of this chapter, is not that at the the apostles had many other duties incum- end of forty days, when he quitted this bent upon them for the edification of the earth, to return to it no more, but a prechurch, and in order to the performance of vious ascension which was made on the re. them were furnished with ertraordinary surrection-day. For nothing can be more gifts and powers, sor which they would certain, than that the apostles did quit je. have had little occasion had it been their rusalem between Christ's resurrection and only business to testify these facts.

the descent of the Spirit, and went into Gab. 5 Continue in the city of Jerusalem till lee by Christ's appointment, which was you are invested, &c.) This passage ut- signified to them by the angel and by kine verly overthrows Mr. Whiston's assertion, self too.

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He gives them a commission to preach and baptize. 485

such convincing evidence', and finally persits secs.
in wilful impenitence and unbelief, as he rejects"
the most gracious counsel of God for his reco- Mark
very, shall be condemned, by his righteous XVI 16.
judgment, to future and everlasting punish-
mentk, and shall to his dreadful experience find
that gospel which he bas despised to be a savour

of death to him. MAT. XXVIII. 19.

Observe then the extent of your commission; Mat. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, bap- and go forth therefore, not only into Judea, but SV tizing them in the into all the rest of the world, and proselyte all" name of the Father, the natione of the earth and of the Son, and of

Et; the nations of the earth to the faith and obethe Holy Ghost.

dience of my gospel, baptizing them in the
awful and venerable name of the Father, and of
the Son and of the Iloly Spirit"; that by this

solemn

i When opened with such convincing referred only to their going to preach the evidence.] This is by no means a proper gospel to the Jews among all nations, or to place to inquire into the proportion between those who should be willing to become the evidence which was peculiar to the days Jews.-I render the word pcdntEvgala, of the apostles, and that which is common proselyte, that it may be duly distinguished to our own. But I hope it will be con- from didacmovies, teaching in the next verse, sidered, on the one hand, how improbable with which our version coniounds it. The it is, that a Divine revelation, introduced former seems to import instruction in the as the gospel was, should ever be icft so essentials of religion, which it was necesdesutute of proofs in after-ages, that an sary adult persons should know and submit honest man, aster impartial consideration, to, before they could regularly be admitmight reject it; and on the other, how ted to baptism ; the latter may relate to fit it was, that the danger of neglecting it those more particular admonitions in re- should be strongly declared, lest it should gard to Christian faith and practice, which seem itself to have left men at liberty to were to be built upon that foundation. It is trifle with it.

certain, that no argument can be drawn k Shall be condemned, &c.] As for the from hence to the prejudice of infantobjcction which has been urged against the baptism ; for had Christ sent out these truth of Christianity, from the damnatory missionaries to propagate Judaism in the sentence which it here and elsewhere pro. world, he might have used the same lannounces on those that reject it, I have guagc; “Go, and proselyte all nations, considered it at large, since the former circumcising them in the name of the God publication of this volume, and attempted to of Israel, and teaching them to observe all shew that it is so far from being conclusive, that Moses commanded." that it would rather have been a greater m Baptizing them in the name of the Fadifficulty in the scheme of Chiistianity if it ther, &c.] Though I dare not assert had contained no such sentence. See my that the use of these cery words is essential second letter to the Author of Christia- to Christian baptism, yet surely the expresnity not founded on Argument. And I siop must intimate the necessity of scme must earnestly entreat any reader, who distinct regard to each of the sacred three, fancies there is any force in what the deists which is always to be maintained in the urge on this head, attentively to consider administration of this ordinance; and conwhat is there offered, before he presume on sequently it must imply, that more was the contrary sentiment, which may per- said to those of whose baptism we read in haps be an error as fatal, as it is absurd, the Acts, than is there recorded, before

1 Proselyte all the nations of the earth.) they were admitted to it. The Christian • The whole tenor of the succeeding books Church in succeeding ages has acted a wise of the New Testament sheus that Christ and safe part in retaining these words ; and

sion that the gospel they contain so strong an intimation, that * should be preached to all mankind without each of these persons is properly God, and

exception, not only to the Jews, but to that worship is to be paid, and glory as all the idolatrous Gentiles : but the pre- cribed to each, that I cannot but hope

judices of the apostles led them at first to they will be a means of maintaining the · mistake the sense, and to imagine that it . belief of the one, and the practise of the

other,

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486 And promises to be with them to the end of the world. Sect. solemn initiatory ordinance they may profess cil. their subjection to each of these Divine persons, Mat, and, maintaining suitable regards to each, may. XXVIII receive from each correspondent blessings : And 20 Teaching them

w to observe all things 20 see that you instruct the converts whom you

vom you whatsoever I bave so baptize, teaching them to keep and ob- commanded you: and serve all things whatsoever I have commanded lo, I am with you alyou; as remeinbering that I am their Lord, and

word, and end of the world. you only the messengers of my will. And, Amen. while you act in pursuance of these directions, though numberless difficulties will appear in your way, yet be not discouraged at them ; for behold, I am always with you, to support and comfort you, and in some measure at least to succeed your labours ; and I will to such purposes as these be with all my faithful ministers who shall succeed you in the work, even to the end of the world n. Amen! () blessed Jesus, so may it indeed be! And may this important promise be fulfilled to us and to our successors, to the remotest ages, in its full

extent o. Mark And he yet farther added, So far as it is neces.

And these signs shall *11.17.sary and expedient for the confirmation of my folle

gospel, and the establishment of my cause and liere ; in my name interest in the world, a miraculous power shall shall they cast out de

vils, they sball speak attend you, and others who shall join with you or succeed you in the first plantation of my chureh ; and in particular, these signs, and others no less wonderful, shall follow them that believe, and be performed by those who in a lively manner exercise their faith in God, when he is inwardly exciting them to such operations p: in my name they shall cast out the most obstinate and mischievous demons who may

MARK XVI. 17.

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other, among the generality of Christians of the certain truth of the things contained to the end of the world.

in it; yet I think the turn here given to it n I am always with you, even to the end in Matthew very natural, considering its of the world.] As Christ's presence with his connection with that promise, which was surviving apostles and other ministers was as undoubtedly the greatest strength and joy necessary after the destruction of Jerusa- of that good man's heart. St. John uses lem as before it, nothing seems more un- the like turn in more express language, reasonable than to limit these words by in the last verse but one of the Revelation. such an interpretation, as to refer them Surely I am come quickly : Amen! Ever se, only to that period : por does it indeed ap- come Lord Jesus ! pear that the end of the world, is ever used p These signs shall follow them that be. in any other than the most extensive lieve, &c.] It is exceeding evident, that sepse.

the word believe, in this place, must sig0 Amen! -0 may it indeed be!] nify something different from that faith Though the word Amen, with which each wbich had in the preceding verse of Mark of the gospels ends, seems chiefly to have been required as indispensably necessary been intended as an intimation of the con- to salvation ; and can have no other ratioclusion of the book, and as an asseveration pal interpretation than what is here given. q They shall take up serpents.] Jamblicus r If by some secret oropen attempt made (Vit. Pythag. cap. 28) says that Pythagoras to destroy them, they drink, &c.] I add this could do this; and very credible writers clause, that none may imagine God ever have asserted, that in the eastern nations intended that these miraculous powers should there is an art of charming snakes and ser- be used merely for ostentation, or to gratify pents by the force of music, so as for a the curiosity of spectators. Considering to while to suspend their disposition to hurt. what degrees of cursed refinement the art (See Bochart. Hierozoic. part 2. lib. iii. of poisoning was by this time brought, as cap. 6. and compare Psalm Iviii. 4, 5. and well as how frequently execution was done, Eccles. x. 11.)--But this power was un by giving poison to condemned persons in doubtedly exerted without any such artifice the age and country in which the apostles and included (as in the case of Paul, Acts lived, such a promise as this will appear xxviii. 3—-5.) an ability to heal the most more important than the reader might at dangerous wounds given by the bite of the first apprehend, most noxious animals.

Reflections on the commission Christ gave his aposiles. 487 have possessed the bodies of men ; they shall sect.

ccii. by an extraordinary, and hitherto unknown, effusion of my Spirit, be enabled with the M greatest fluency and propriety to speak in vari- XVI. 17

ous new languages wbich they have never
18 They shall take learnt; They shall take up serpents without 18
up serpents, and if being bitten or endangered by them q: and if,
they drink any deadly
thing, it shall not hurt by some secret or open attempt made to destroy
them; they shall lay them, they drink any deadly and malignant
hands on the sick, and poison, it shall not hurt them ; and] when they
they shall recover.

shall lay (their) hands on the sick and infirm, it
shall be attended with a healing virtue, and they
shall immediately recover without the use of any
farther means. So that in consequence of this
extraordinary confirmation, my gospel shall
meet with a very general reception, and my
heavenly Father, according to his promise,
“ shall give me the heathen for mine inberi-
tance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for
my possession.” (See Psal. ii. 8.)

Such was the purport of our Lord's discourse,
and in this manner he conversed with his dis-
ciples till his ascension, with the account of
which illustrious fact we shall conclude this
important history of his life.

IMPROVEMENT.

With how ill a grace could the Jews complain of any Mat. deficiency in the evidence of our Lord's resurrection, when he xxviii, appeared alive to so great a number as five hundred at once! How 10 glad must these disciples be when they saw the Lord! and with Acts what pleasure must they hear him speaking of those things which i. 3. concerned the kingdom of God!

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xvi. 15.

488 Reflections on the commission Christ gave his apostles.

We have surely perpetual reason for thankfulness, when we think of that commission which Christ gave to his disciples : nor is

it a circumstance of little importance, that they had it in charge, Luke when they published this message of grace, to begin at Jerusalem;

though the religious opportunities that were abused by that engrateful city had already been so great, and their provocations so many. Amazing condescension of the Prince of Peace, that he sent his ambassadors of peace to them when they had hardly laid aside the weapons with which they had slain bim, and were scarce rested after the cruel fatigue which their officious malice had given them in abetting his murder! Behold, he offers them all the invaluable blessings purchased by bis blood, while it was yet, as we may say, warın upon mount Calvary! and on the saine principles, even unto this day, where sin hath abounded, there is grace abounding much more. (Rom. v. 20.)

The commission he gave his apostles, though it began at Jerusaa lem, did not end there ; nor was it confined within the narrow

Jimits of Judea ; but they were appointed to go into all the world, Mark and preach the gospel to every creature. We to this day, in our 13. remote land, enjoy the benefit of it. Let us remember the im

portant consequences that will one way or another attend the 16 gospel thus brought us. If we believe it, we shall be saved; but if

we believe it not, we shall be damned. Life, or death, () my soul, is the certain issue of it, with regard to thee in particular. Be surety to thy servant, O Lord, for good (Psal. cxix. 122.) and let

my life be precious in thy sight! Luke Christ opened the understanding of the apostles, to apprehend the xxiv. 45 sense of scripture. Let us study that sacred book with an humble

dependence upon the aid of that blessed Spirit by whom it was dictated. And let these apostles who were thus divinely taught, be reverently regarded as our surest guides, when we are studying the oracles of the Old Testament; considering the extraordinary

commission with which Christ sent them forth, the power from on 49 high with which he invested them, and the ample credentials which

he thereby gave them. Mat. These miraculous donations are now ceased, but that valuable

i promise still continues in force, That he will be with his ministers 201

always, even unto the end of the world. In the strength of that gracious assurance, () thou faithful and true Witness, would thine humble ambassadors still go forth to all the labours and difficulties before them : remember thy word unto thy servants (Psal, cxix. 49.) and may it be unto us according to it ! Amen!

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