Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

est authority in Israel, and approached the nearest to the kingdom of God. In one view, they are to be considered as gospel ministers, not in their relation to the ancient church, but as they ministered the word of God to us. See 1 Pet. i. 12. "Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto "themselves, but unto us they did minister the

things which are now reported unto you by "them that have preached the gospel unto you "with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven." Hence the prophets are set, secondarily, on the register of the officers of the gospel church.

66

The business of the prophets, in relation to the Jewish church, was to describe the properties and manner of the kingdom; to point out and inaugurate the kings; to approbate or denounce the administration; and, in a word, to dispense with authority the blessings to the obedient, whether princes or subjects, ministers or people, and to lay the curses upon the trangressors. Thus Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom and wrote it in a book; which accorded fully with the bondage state of that church; and thus he set up Saul, and, and for his disobedience, set him aside, and prefered David, &c. But as the prophets ministered to us, their work was comprized in " searching "what, or what manner of time the Spirit of "Christ which was in them did signify, when it "testified before hand the suffering of Christ, " and the glory that should follow."

Among all these wonderful men, Elijah was the most distinguished, both for his lamb-like patience; and, according to his name, God-like porer. In him was given an exhibition of the spirit and power of the kingdom of God, both as to its state of suffering and patience, and of its triumph and glory. Under this name, therefore we have two characters, which may be distin

guished as the first and the second Elijah; and should either of these characters be exhibited at any time by a different person, the appearance would be so similar, that there would be room for the questions put by the Jews to John Baptist, Art thou Elias? or, Art thou that Prophet? Or should the same person who had been known in the first, appear again in the second character, the difference would be so great, that there would be room for the question of Obadiah to the prophet, when he met him after his long concealment, Art thou that my Lord Elijah?

At one time, we see this servant of God taking up his lonely abode in a famished wilderness, a dependant as it were upon the ravens; or sojourning in a strange land, sustained by the still poorer pittance of a widow woman. He wandered in deserts and in mountains, in dens and in caves of the earth. At another time, he appears armed with the fire of heaven, striking through kings, and ruling in the midst of his enemies,

Elisha, being anointed a prophet in Elijah's stead, may be considered as Elijah himself..... "The Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy

way to Damascus and when thou comest a"noint Hazael to be king over Syria; and Jehu "shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel; and

66

Elisha thou shalt anoint to be prophet in thy "stead. And it shall come to pass, that him "that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay; and him that escapeth from the sword "of Jehu, shall Elisha slay. So he departed, "and found Elisha; and Elijah passed by him, "and cast his mantle upon him." He, personally, did no more; the business, as to Hazael and Jehu, was done by Elisha; but as he was covered with Elijah's mantle, and the spirit of Elijah rested upon him, it may be said that the whole work, according to the tenor of his com

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

mission, was done by Elijah. When he was carried up to heaven in a whilwind, his mantle fell from him, and was taken up by Elisha, which indicated his being endued with power from on high. Hence, Elisha was able to appear Loldly in the city, at Bethel and Samaria, the seat of the Beast; and he could take ground from which Elijah had been repeatedly driven, and which he could never before maintain. It was by the ministry of Elisha, that Elijah completely triumphed.

By these circumstances relative to Elijah, viz. That his work consisted of such distinct parts, that a second was employed in the same commission with himself; and that he appeared in the land of Israel, disappeared, and appeared again. A certain complexity was given to the memorable prophecy of Malachi, Behold, I "will send my messenger, and he shall prepare "the way before me. Behold, I will send you

66

Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the "great and dreadful day of the Lord." The Jews expected that two persons would appear in this extraordinary character, one which they called by the name of Elias, and another which they stiled that prophet. John i. 21. The appearing of Elijah a second time, and with greater power, gave rise, undoubtedly, to the anticipation of Herod, when he said, "This is John "the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and "therefore mighty works do shew forth them"selves in him."

[ocr errors]

The prophecies, respecting the reappearing of Elijah do not seem to be fully accomplished; one must yet be expected to come to the covenant people, in this most wonderful character, immediately to prepare them for the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. This is that Deliverer who shall come out of Zion, and shall

come out of Zion, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. It is an established point in the covenant, that a work shall be wrought among the people of the Lord, by the instrumentality of a messenger sent before his face, particularly preparatory to his coming. To the prophecy, therefore, that Out of Zion shall come a Deliverer, it is added, "For this is my covenant unto "them, when I shall take away their sins." And hence, this Deliverer is called the Messenger of the Covenant. In this covenant relation, angels were sent to the family of Lot in Sodom.

This Deliverer, being a messenger, or one that is sent, is often called an angel; especially, in the view of his second and most glorious appearing. The Lord said to Moses in the Mount, " Behold, I "send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I "have prepared." And afterwards, when the people sinned and were threatened with the consuming anger of God, and Moses came forward expressly upon the ground of the covenant, pleading that the Lord would not forsake them in the wilderness, nor suffer them to be destroyed by their enemies, because they were his people; he obtained this answer, Behold, mine angel shall go before thee. From which answer, to a strong intercession, grounded upon the covenant, Moses understood that it would be the good pleasure of God to perform, in this way, his covenant mer cy. He was therefore very solicitous to know the import of this very interesting promise: "And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou say"est unto me, Bring up this people: and thou "hast not let me know whom thou wilt send "with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast found grace in my sight. "Now therefore I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that B b

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

CC

"I may find grace in thy sight: and consider "that this nation is thy people. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." By this declaration, a name was given to the angel, and from hence he was called the angel of God's presence. Isai. Ixiii. 9. The angel of his presence saved them. Which name imports, that he is sent before the face of the Lord, and also that he is so clothed with the authority of the Lord, that his agency is the same as if the Lord himself were immediately present. Hence, in many prophetic passages, it is not easy to distinguish between the proper angel intended by this name, and the Saviour, Christ the Lord.

[ocr errors]

Moses requested, that this kind messenger might be expressly known; and, it may be observed, that two angels, and only two, Gabriel and Michael, are known by name; and that they have the same relation to each other, and bear the same characters, as the two Elijahs. Gabriel, appearing to Zacharias, assumed the character of the Angel of God's Presence. Luke i. 19. And he informed Daniel, that Michael, and he alone, was associated with him in the great work of delivering the covenant people. Dan. x. 21. In this book, these characters are particularly delineated. Gabriel stands up first, and engages in a long warfare with the church's enemy; Michael comes to his assistance, and affords him succour, whereby, though he cannot subdue the foe, he is able to maintain his ground.. Dan. x. 13. Finally, Michael stands up, i. e. takes the leading part, and the enemy before him is vanquished for ever. Chap. xii. Gabriel appears in a more humble form, answerable to the state of humiliation; has the appearance of a man. Dan. viii. 15.....x. 16.....18. And is called the man Gabriel. ix. 21. Daniel is able to converse with

« PoprzedniaDalej »