Obrazy na stronie

were partakers of the gift of the Holy Ghost was then the cause of the apostle's thankfulness to God; that their minds were brought under His sacred influence; by means of which they gave undoubted evidence that they were truly believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. It was a common de

scription of the primitive Christians, that they were filled with the Holy Ghost.20 And this is what we should be desirous of above all things for ourselves, that we may partake of His gracious influences in our own souls; that the God of hope would fill us with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost.19

The effect produced in them by the grace of God which was given to them was, that in every thing they were enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge. They were spiritually enriched. However poor they might be as to the things of this world, they were rich towards God; rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him, and especially enriched in all utterance and in all knowledge. The effects of the descent of the Holy Ghost upon believers of the gospel of Christ in those days were most remarkable. When St. Peter preached to the family of Cornelius, it is said, The Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the

19 Rom. viii. 9; xv. 13.

20 Acts xiii. 52. 21 James ii. 5.


word; and they spake with tongues and magnified God. Utterance was given to them in languages with which they were not before acquainted, to enable them to magnify God, and bring glory to His name. Our apostle states to the Corinthians that, the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit.23 On another occasion we find him desiring Christians to pray for him, that utterance might be given unto hịm, that he might open his mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, that therein he might speak boldly as he ought to speak. In the case before us then, we may conclude that utterance was granted to enable the believers in Christ at Corinth to make known to all around them that blessed gospel which they had believed; and the knowledge of Divine truth was vouchsafed to them, to enable them to declare what was in reality the mind and will of God, according to His own revelation. But this knowledge may also be considered as having been communicated to them for their own benefit. It was deemed so valuable by the apostle in this point of view, that he declared to the Philippians, Yea, doubtless, I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.25 And he was anxious

22 Acts x. 44, 46. 23 1 Cor. xii.7,8. 24 Eph. vi. 19, 20. 25 Phil. iii. 8.

on behalf of the Colossians and Laodiceans that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God and of the Father and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.26 St. Peter also exhorted Christians, Grow, or increase, in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To have a right knowledge of Divine truth for ourselves, is most important for our own comfort. And the apostle Paul evidently considered it to be peculiarly desirable to have the ability of communicating this knowledge to others. So much so, that when the gospel of Christ was preached even from the most unworthy motives, it was a matter of rejoicing and thankfulness to him. He says to the Philippians, Some preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will. The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds; but the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.28 In whatever way the knowledge of the Saviour of sinners was spread abroad, it caused joy of heart to St. Paul that His precious name was made known

26 Col. ii. 2, 3.

27 2 Peter iii. 18. 28 Phil. i. 15-18.

at all events. He hoped that some would receive benefit, that some would believe the truth, and be saved by means of it.

But he rejoiced especially respecting the Corinthians, that it was in consequence of the influence of Divine grace that they were made acquainted with the truth of the gospel, and were enabled to make it known to others; otherwise he could not have appealed to them, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you. The testimony of Christ was that important saving truth of which the apostle had borne witness to them; respecting which he says afterwards, Christ sent me to preach the gospel, and which he terms the preaching of the cross of Christ, or of Christ crucified, and sums up by saying, Of God are ye in Christ Jesus, who of Him is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. The testimony of Christ relates to the work which He accomplished in human nature for the redemption of mankind; and is the glad tidings of the pardon of sin, and reconciliation with God, granted to the sinful children of men through faith in His name; in consequence of which spiritual and eternal blessings are bestowed upon them. On this subject the apostle John declares, This is the record, or testimony, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.29 This


was the theme which the apostles of Christ went forth to inculcate, in obedience to the command of their Lord and Master; when He commissioned them to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.30 They found mankind sinners against God; transgressors of His holy law; living in disobedience to His authority; having transferred their allegiance from their Creator to His enemy, the prince of darkness; and they went forth, proclaiming pardon and peace in His name to all who should truly turn to Him. They declared, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them,31 that Christ had made peace by the blood of His cross; and they called upon all who were desirous of attaining to the knowledge of the true God, from whom they had been separated by their sins, to behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, and put their trust in His propitiation for the pardon of their sins, and their reconciliation with God. Thus they preached Christ crucified as the only hope of guilty sinners before God. And this testimony concerning Christ was received by the Corinthians in the same manner as he described its reception by the Thessalonians, when he said to them, For this cause thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God, which ye heard


29 1 John v. 11, 12. 30 Mark xv. 15. 31 2 Cor. v. 19. 32 John i. 29.

« PoprzedniaDalej »