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The word, which our English translators have rendered continued, strictly signifies propagated. (6) His name shall be propagated as long as the sun. The inspired psalmist appears to have had particularly in view the propagation of the gospel of Christ among the nations of the earth, until the end of time. The text therefore, as well as the occasion, demands our attention to this more restricted interpretation.
While the perpetuity of the name of Christ is here asserted, the means of it are intimated. It is to be effected by transmission from one generation to another, and from one age to another.
The race of man is continued by propagation, by succession. Your fathers, where are they? One generation goeth, and another cometh. Instead of the fathers are the children. In the spiritual world, as in the natural, means are instituted for the end. When the knowledge of God was lost because men were not solicitous to retain it, it was graciously imparted again by a revelation from heaven. What care was taken by Jehovah to secure its preservation! After this knowledge was communicated to the chosen people, who were selected from the idolatrous world, and made the depositaries of the true religion, they were solemnly required, by reiterated precepts, to propagate the knowledge, which they had thus received, through every succeeding generation. Ye shall lay up these my words in your heart, and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your
children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the
when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the doorposts of thy houses, and upon thy gates.
This dispensation of religion however was, for the wisest purposes, limited both in extent and duration. All that was required of the Hebrews was, a faithful propagation of this religion through the line of their own descendants. When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, who was to be a light to lighten the Gentiles, as well as the glory of his people Israel. Although therefore Jesus Christ principally confined his public ministry to Judea, yet he gradually prepared the Jewish converts for the doctrine of the salvation of the Gentiles; and, after his resurrection, expressly instructed his apostles, that though Jerusalem should be favoured with their first ministrations, no nation should afterwards be debarred from that privilege. All things, said he, must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said to them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. This important article in the new dispensation of religion was inserted in the commission, which he gave to his
apostles just before his ascension: Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all thing's whatsoever I have commanded you. The promise, which he subjoins, And lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world, gives assurance of his gracious presence, not with them merely, but with all his faithful ministers, in every succession, until the final consummation.
Not long after his ascension, the apostles experienced the truth of his promise, in the miraculous gifts imparted to them, to enable them successfully to execute their commission. On the day of Pentecost, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. At that time there were sojourning at Jerusalem very many pious men, who, by their descent or profession, were Jews, who had come thither out of all parts of the known world, from every nation under heaven,“ here any of that people dwelt, or any who were proselytes to the Jewish religion.” Hearing the report of this miracle, the multitude came together, and was confounded with astonishment; for every one heard one or another of the apostles, as they addressed themselves by turns to people of a different language, speaking to him in his own proper
dialect. Behold! they exclaimed, are not all these, who speak, Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and in Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Lybia about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and Proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. What an admirable opportunity for commencing the ministry of the gospel, and propagating the name of Christ among all nations! With what intrepid fidelity did the apostles improve it, in preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified, in charging the guilt of his crucifixion on their hearers, and in exhorting them to repentance! How immediate, how wonderful, the effect! The same day there were added to them about three thousand souls. How far such of these Christian converts, as belonged to other countries, were instrumental in preparing the way
for the reception of the Gospel by the nations to which, by birth or residence, they belonged, it is impossible for us to determine. It is certain however, that the astonishing miracle of the gift of tongues was“ intended, not for pomp
and ostentation, but to render the apostles capable of propagating the Gospel to the most distant nations, to which the grace of God had determined to send it.”
Thus endued with power from on high, they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. The name of Christ was now propagated with a celerity utterly astonishing, and for which no adequate causes can be assigned, without recourse to
that divine agency, to which the sacred historian ascribes it. The book of the Acts of the Apostles, though limited almost entirely to the early labours and travels of the apostle Paul,“ contains an account “ of the spreading of the gospel, forwards through
many countries of the east, and backwards, through “a great part of the west ; of its piercing, on the
one side, into all the civilized, and some of the barbarous, provinces of Asia; and, on the other,
as far as the great metropolis of Europe, Rome " itself."* Ecclesiastical historians indeed agree, , “that Scythia, India, Gaul, and Egypt, all the most “ distant parts of the world then known, had the “ doctrine of Christ conveyed to them in less than
forty years; that is, before the destruction of the “ Jewish state hy Titus.” So mightily grew the word of God, and prevailed.
But it was not the divine purpose to continue the propagation of the Gospel by supernatural means. The age of miracles was to terminate, when, by the establishment of Christianity, the design of them should be effected. Together therefore with the miraculous gifts imparted for the benefit of the Christian church during its infant state, other gifts were imparted for its permanent maintenance to the end of the world. When Christ ascended up on high, he gave not only apostles and prophets, endued with extraordinary powers for a very extraordinary occasion ; but he gave evangelists, pastors and teachers, for the