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We cannot but remark also, at the close of this eleventh chapter to the Romans, how the apostle is led to contemplate this restoration of the natural descendants of Abraham as the consummation of all the plan of redemption. For it is on this occasion that he exclaims, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" as though in the winding up of the history of Israelites and Gentiles - as the dispensation of the kingdom bears upon them respectively, you saw the development of all the mystery of providence and redemption. First, during the unbelief of the ancient people, the remnant from among the Gentiles obtain mercy, are raised at that era from a state of total darkness and unbelief by the almighty power of God. So, hereafter, from a similar state of darkness and unbelief, shall the ancient people of God be raised up by the same almighty power. Thus through the Gentiles' mercy they will obtain mercy: that is, I conceive through a similar exercise of mercy.-An apostate people, the Gentile churches, will be given up to judgment — and God will be “ found of them that sought him not, and made manifest to them that asked not for him" - Israel now up in unbelief.”
Heb. ix. 27, 28; Tit. ii. 11; with 2 Tim. iv. 6, and
1 Thess. i, 9; iii. 5.
Some expressions in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, respecting the exposition of the eighth
psalm, and the putting in subjection of the world to come, not to angels, but to the Son of Man, we have already anticipated, in illustration of the fifteenth chapter of St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians, I shall only further quote, from this to the Hebrews, the twentyseventh and eighth verses of the ninth chapter :
“ And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
This plainly contrasts the business of the first with the business of the second advent. At the first, the Redeemer came to die, that the many for whom he was made an offering might not die, but be quickened unto everlasting life: at the second, he comes to his waiting family, not with sin -- the sins of his people imputed to him, that he might become a sin-offering for them; but in another character, as their great Deliverer - “ the Lord ,
. from heaven." And as his death saved them from the bitterness of death, so his coming again saves them from the judgment to come. For, as we have learnt before, both with respect to them that wake and with respect to them that sleep, the second coming of Christ delivers them from among those that are to abide the judgment of the strictness of justice, and from the vengeance to be poured upon the ungodly.
The Scriptures already considered will enable us to perceive, without comment, the bearing and true application of the following, Tit. i. 11, &c :
“ For the grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared unto all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, and righteously, and godly, in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and,” - or rather, “ even the glorious appearing of the great God, and," — or,
even our Saviour Jesus Christ.” And again, when, in his Second Epistle to Timothy, the apostle speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“ Who shall judge the quick and dead at his appearing and kingdom.”
And also, when expressing his resignation and hopes, the apostle, condemned, as it appears, to suffer the penalty of death, exclaims :
“ For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand; I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them that love his appearing.'
We remark here, that “ loving the appearing of our Lord” is used as a definition of, or, at least, as a sufficient characteristic whereby to designate a true believer: and the same style may be noticed in other passages. Thus the same apostle, speaking of the conversion of the Thessalonians, observes: “How ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven :" + and again, in his prayer, for the same people, in his Second Epistle: “ And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.” I
• 2 Tim. iv. 6.
+ Chap. i. 9, &c.
1 Chap. iii. 5.
The Catholic Epistles.
In passing to the catholic epistles, we find St. Peter speaking in the same style: of “salvation ready to be revealed in the last time;"* and again, of “ the grace to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." + He speaks, too, of the “appearing of the chief Shepherd,” when his faithful ministers shall “ receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." His language, also, in his Second Epistle, to which we have already had occasion to refer, is much to be remarked :
“ For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty." I
That is, evidently, of that majesty in which the Lord Jesus will appear at his second coming.
" For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son,”—“ This is my Son, the beloved in whom I am well pleased : and this voice, which came from heaven, we heard when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy."
Or rather, “ And so we have the word of prophecy more confirmed.” The prophetical word respecting the
Chap. i. 5.
+ Ver. 13.
Chap. i. 16.
second advent was made more firm by the transfiguration: it was a specimen of that glorious era.
“ Whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the daystar arise in your hearts. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation :” Is not to be interpreted apart by itself, but in connexion with the general scheme of prophecy.
“ For prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
What the Holy Ghost, therefore, has said by one prophet, must be compared with what he has said by another, in order to understand the prophecies of the Redeemer's coming. Here we must look for the true context, rather than to the particular circumstances of the individual prophet and his times; a method which I trust has been carefully pursued in the present investigation.
St. Peter, too, clearly repeats the prophecies of our Lord, and of St. Paul, and of marty of the more ancient prophecies respecting the abounding of false Christs and false prophets as a sign of Christ's second coming, of the great apostasy, and of the character of those last days when the Son of Man shall be revealed. For, as we have often seen, the consummation of wickedness and irreligion among the professed churches of Christ, at the eve of the second advent, is much in view of the Prophetic Spirit throughout the whole series of the divine oracles. As
· See Macknight's note.