« PoprzedniaDalej »
mman of faith, the justified man; yea more, it is "in the stone a new name written," that distinguishes the man of the Holy Ghost, who, in the administration of the gospel church, is associated with its glorified head. So far is this sealing mark from being within the reach of imposture, that it is" a name which no man knoweth, saving "he that receiveth it."
As the ministers of our ascended Lord are to be known by the faithful and true report they give concerning Jesus Christ, in which they make full proof of their ministry; so also, those gifts which are styled helps, or helpers, are to be known by their helpfulness, as they will attach themselves to the ministers of Christ, and follow them thro' all their labours and perils, and never forsake them. Elisha was sufficiently described as being one of them which "stand before the Lord "of Hosts," by this faithful mark, that he "poured water upon the hands of Elijah." So constantly and closely did Elisha cleave to Elijah, and follow him whithersoever he went, that no power but the chariot of fire could have parted them. And it is often to be recorded of the men who " addict themselves to the ministry" of the saints, as in the case of Elisha, that their master's mantles fall to them, and that they succeed them in the highest charge of the ministry of the word. And no ministers have ever served the church more successfully than those who have been solely educated in the college of bosom intimacy with the anointed ones which, from age to age, stand as witnesses "before the God "of the earth."
Men who are thus sent of God, must depend upon the strength of the word of their testimony for all their success- Through long and painful struggles, under the mighty hand of God, their own strength is weakened, and they are made to
renounce self-dependance, and even to strip themselves of all such furniture as, in a natural course of events, is observed to give an advantage; and to which, therefore, successful effects, in some measure, might be attributed. On the other hand, a great body of men will find their way eligible to obtain a prominent standing in the church, by means of natural advantages and human acquirements; and who, in their pursuits, will not fail to make a studious use of the policies of carnal wisdom, and the modes of dress and address, which, ordinarily, are found successful, to give men weight and influence in the world. Between these natural and those spitual men, there exists the greatest contrast of character. They to whom God has given his word of promise by the effectual operation of his spirit, know in what way they ought to make it manifest, that they dare trust his truth; and therefore, they will glory in weakness, because, in that condition, the power of God resteth upon them. Spurning at riches and fame, they will cleave to the reproach and dust of Christ, and rejoice to suffer and die with him; that so, according to his promise, they may with him, rise and be glorified. But many will take an opposite course, will appreciate natural strength, take advantage of the higher grounds, and keep close step in their circles in the pursuit of degrees and stations; supposing, as the wisdom of man dic tates in natural things, that, in like manner, gain will befriend christian usefulness. Here we have in view, the origin of the antichristian party, and the perpetual persecutions suffered by the saints.
Men who are habituated to value themselves and others according to a natural and ordinary scale of estimation, will never cease to regard those upon whom the spirit of the ascended Lord has rested, with a peculiar mixture of hatreds ;
for their lowly appearance, stripling in youth, and marred in years, they will dispise them; for the effects of their ministry, which they can no farther reach, than "as Jannes and Jambres "withstood Moses," they will envy them; and for the immensely eminent prospects, which they boldly avow of a future and fast-approaching day, they will dread them. Steeled as they are against conviction, their unhumbled spirits will not patiently bear the load of reproof and condemnation, heaped upon them by the whole deportment and communication of the faithful; but they will arm themselves against them, if by any means they may be able either to tread them down in silence, or to throw them at a distance, beyond sight or hearing. Unhappy men! they know not what they do.
The word of the Lord, ministered by his servants, to all attentive observers, is a subject of awful solemnity, and never-ceasing wonders. To every one that believeth "it is the power of "God unto salvation;" but to them that are disobedient, it is" a stone of stumbling, and a rock "of offence." Thus saith the Lord "I will make
my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall consume them." Je r. v. 14. And the same it is in these last days. See Rev.xi. 5. The fruitless figtree meets its stroke, and behold, how suddenly it withers away! The proud enemies of the church, without, as Agag by Samuel, like fat bullocks before these men of the altar, are hered in pieces; and their false brethren within, who dare withstand their words, suffer a soorer doom; they perish uniformly, and as it were of course, in the gainsaying of Core; the earth opens it mouth, and they go in, and it eats them up; they go down alive into the pit, and their names are lost from among the living who praise the Lord.
Sanctuary men, however, must not forget that
in order to gain a complete triumph over their enemies, it is the will of God that one day they be themselves slain; that instruments must be found of sufficient strength, to do the tragical deed; and that they must yield to the will of their heavenly Father, as lambs to the slaughter, and be silent under it, as sheep before the shearers; but "the Lord is the avenger of all such," and their enemies will soon know, to their eternal confusion, that their God has already reproved kings, and rebuked the whole world for their sakes, saying, "Touch not mine anointed, and "do my prophets no harm."
As the Gospel is the divine fullness, and exhibits the glory of the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; the adversary, in order to meet in form this most adorable display, will
shape himself into a triple demon host. Hence, the enemy of the gospel church is always described by three names,, as being three persons, or three hosts of enemies.. Thus, Eph. vi. 12. Principalities, and powers; which are the rulers: of the darkness of this world; and spiritual wickedness, which is in high places.. Rev..xx. 2. The Old Serpent; the Devil, and Satan. And in the account of the wars and conflicts, there is a Dragon, a Beast, and a Whore; and after the destruction of the Great Whore, there still remains the Dragon, and Beast, and False prophet; and there are three Unclean Spirits, Spirits of Devils, a Dragon Spirit, a Beast Spirit, and a False Prophet Spirit; the same thing is intimated, Rev. xi.. 8, by the witnesses being slain in a city of three names, Sodom, Egypt, and Apostate Jerusalem.. John did not write Jerusalem; a tender heart wonld be loth to use in disgrace, so good a name; but will say rather, where our Lord was crucified.
This triplex form of the enemy is presented not only on a the great scale, but in each division. of his forces; it is the general principle of tactics of the last age. The grand army is composed of three divisions, by. the name of Sodom, Egypt, and where also our Lord was crucified....... The first division, in honour of the great head of the empire, bears the general name of Dragon; and its subdivisions have the names of Old Serpent, Devil, and Satan. Let it here be noted, that the name of Old Serpent, is exactly the same characteristic as Dragon.. One division of armies is always under the immediate command of the generalissimo. And as they are led on by the commander in chief, commence the tremendous. operations, and like the men of Sodom, who opposed themselves to angels, and the Lord of angels, set themselves against the Lord and his immediate followers; this host of Pagans, Jews