Obrazy na stronie

its source, by a brief review of the Jewish history. Throughout this history God had a determined purpose which was now fulfilled.

This people of Israel had always been a peculiar people. They worshipped a God whom other nations knew not. And the God whom they worshipped exerted his power to raise them out of the bondage of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.

He supported them forty years whilst they wandered through the wilderness, till he permitted them to settle in the promised land of Canaan, casting out seven nations greater and mightier than they, and planting them in.

He governed them by judges, and he governed them by kings: but he still kept his eye upon them; and it was plain for all to perceive that there was a dispensation yet to come which his providence was gradually preparing. Promises were made to David and his line, which long remained unfulfilled, whilst devout men were "looking for the consolation of Israel."

But now of David's seed had God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus;— a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord :-his name was called Jesus, because "he should save his people from their sins."

John had

His coming had been announced. first preached the baptism of repentance. But John had assured his followers, I am not he: he who should come. There cometh one after me, whose shoes I am not worthy to loose.

Paul's hearers are thus led on to the announcement which he was about to declare. A great preparation had been made. From the beginning God had chosen the descendants of Abraham, and had separated them from all other nations; had given them a country to dwell in, had appointed and honoured their rulers. But the end was not yet. There was something still beyond. And expectation had been lately roused by the voice which cried, "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Thus he opens the way for the Messiah: prepares the ground, that it may better receive the truth with which he was charged: namely, that "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners had spoken in times past unto their fathers by the prophets, had in these last days spoken unto them by his Son."6

The event, though long waited for, had fulfilled the expectation: had justified the assurance of the prophet Habakkuk (ii. 3.) "The vision is yet for an appointed time; but in the end it shall speak, it shall not lie: though it tarry, wait for it: it will surely come; it will not tarry.

And so, of all God's promises. The scoffers of one age, like the scoffers of another, may say, and will say, "Where is the promise of his coming? All things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." Meanwhile, his purposes are proceeding for "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one

6 Heb. i. 1.

7 See 2 Pet. xiv. 4-8. Ib. 14.

day." One object, and no other, is worthy of our anxiety or diligence: that whenever his final dispensations are disclosed, for which these earthly revelations are designed to prepare us, be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless."

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ACTS xiii. 26—41.

26. Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.

So Paul assures the Jews his brethren, and the Gentile proselytes, who worshipped God together with them. God, according to his promise, has raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus. But he is only a Saviour to those who trust in him. His gospel is "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."1 Paul therefore appeals to those whom he was now addressing, that they should not, like too many in Judea, reject the counsel of God against themselves. Το you is the word of this salvation sent. And let them not be offended

1 Rom. i. 16.

It was

at what the rulers had been allowed to do. only effecting God's purposes, and fulfilling his prophecies.

27. For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath-day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.

28. And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.

29. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.

30. But God raised him from the dead:

31. And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.

32. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,

33. God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.2

35. Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.*

36. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption :

2 Isa. lv. 3, 4. "Incline your ear, and come unto me hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

3 Ps. xvi. 10.

37. But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. 38. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:

39. And by him, all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

The great object is here set forth, for which so long preparation had been made: the forgiveness of sins. By this (Jesus) all that believe are justified.

A man is justified when he is accounted righteous, when no accusation is maintained against him. In this sense, Job asks, “how can a man be justified with God?" And the Psalmist says, "In thy sight, O Lord, shall no man living be justified."

The gospel of Christ answers Job's question, and meets this feeling of the Psalmist. No man can be accounted righteous according to his own works or deservings. Tried by them, he must be guilty before God. But he may be justified if God is pleased to absolve him and account him righteous. And God has promised so to justify all that commit themselves to his son Jesus. By him all that believe are justified.

To all it is an unwelcome truth, that in the sight of God they are guilty, and must come before him as suppliants. It is an humbling truth, against which the heart is too ready to contend.

But it was particularly unwelcome to the Jews, because they were confident of God's favour, and "rested in the law of Moses."7

4 Gr. TOUTOU-only the pronoun. By this Jesus.

5 Job. xxv. 4.

6 Ps. cxliii. 2.

7 Rom. ii. 17.


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