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nothing," i. e. either in regard any connection with him, or that to their own salvation or that of she even knew him. See this athers. Of this they, doubtless, same Peter, a little after, when a felt the fullforce. Therefore he prisoner, under examination bepromised to be with them, that fore the high Priest and rulers he might afford them all needed of the Jews, boldly avowing the help: In this view the promise name he had denied, charging implied all that supply of grace them with the guilt of his crucito their own hearts, which fixion, attesting his resurrection, should keep them in the love of proclaiming him as the only SaGod, and fit them for the holy viour, and, unawed by their mansions he was going to pre-threats, refusing to cease preachpare for them. The certainty ing him to the people. Acts iv. of this they had in the promise See Stephen, in like circumstanthat the Holy Spirit who dwelt ces, with like intrepidity, defendin them, should be in them, and sing his own cause, and that of his abide with them for ever. Lord ; fearlessly rebuking the
The promise of Christ's pre- 1 chief Priest, and fathers, and peosence implied, also, all suitable ple of the Jews, in this faithful accomplishments and furniture and pointed language. “Ye stiff for their ministry. Under a sense necked and uncircumcised ir of their own incompetence, the heart and ears, ye do always promise of his presence could resist the Holy Ghost; as have been no encouragement to your fathers did, so do ye. them, had they not understood Which of the prophets have not it as implying that he would your fathers persecuted ? and communicate to them all need they have slain those who shewful gifts for the performance of ed before of the coming of that their work. He had cautioned. holy one, of whom ye have been them, before, not to be solicitous the betrayers and murderers." how, or what they should answer, Acts vii. 51. And when led when persecuted and brought forth by the outrageous mob, before rulers for trial; for he and stoned to death for his fideliwould give them a“ mouth and ty, and zeal for his Lord, how wisdom, which all their adversa- happily, how gloriously did he ries should not be able to gain- die ? with his last breath comsay or resist.” This assistance, mitting his soul to his Saviour, of no doubt is implied in the pro-whose glory he had just received mise of his presence. To go an extraordinary manifestation, through with their work, they and praying for the pardon of had need of great patience, and his murderers. How full of confortitude of mind, and special solation and joy were Paul and .consolations, for their support. Silas, in the midst of great out
These were included in the pro- ward affliction, when, in prisony mise of Christ, which was, in this at midnight, their feet fast in the respect, remarkably fulfilled to stoeks, they found' in their them. See the pusillanimous hearts, not only to pray, but sing Peter, who forsook his Lord, praises to God. Acts xvi. I when first apprehended; then may not dwell on the particular following him, afar off; and, instances of abuse and distress tilt of fear, denying that he had they endured ; or the patience constancy and meekness they they were, doubtless, included in manifested ; or the deliverance, Christ's promise to be with: support and consolation they ex- them. This promise, also, inperienced. The apostle has cluded an engagement to direct thrown many such like circum- them, in their ministerial work. stances together in 2 Cor. vi. A fulfilment of it, it is conceivand in the conclusion, says, they ed, Peter received, when the were “ As sorrowful, yet always Spirit directed him to go with rejoicing; as poor, yet making the messengers of Cornelius, many rich; as having nothing, Acts x. 19. Also Paul and and yet possessing all things." Timothy when they were forTo what can these things be as- bidden by the Holy Ghost to cribed, but to the divine power preach the word in Asia ; and operating in their hearts, and when they assayed to go into elisposing other things so as to Bythinia ; but the Spirit sufferfavor them, contrary to the ed them not. Acts xvi. 6, 7. wishes and endeavors of their Again, the promise under conenemies? But wherever there sideration, it is thought, inust is any special exertion of divine | denote a supply of all those minpower, there is evidence of the isterial gifts to each one, which special presence of God ; for we will furnish him to act, with procannot conceive of his exerting priety, the part assigned him. his power in any place where he But these gists are all communiis not. These exertions of divine cations from the divine Spirit: power, therefore, which were i Cor. xii. 4, &c. The promise Put forth for the protection, as- also implies an assurance of sucsistance and comfort of his min-ce88, that they should not labor isters, betokened that presence in vain. Nothing short of an of Christ which he promised assurance of divine power to be them, and must be considered as with them, to render their lathe fulfilment of that promise. bors effectual, could have given We may further remark that them any courage, in an underthe special work, which was taking, which, in every other wrought for them, was such as view, appeared so unpromising, is peculiarly ascribed to the Holy and even impossible to succeed. Ghost. Thus of Peter and Ste-The weight of this consideration phen, in the circumstances which has been felt by all the faithful have been mentioned, it is par ministers of Christ. " Who is ticularly said, they were filled sufficient for these things ?" has with the Holy Ghost ; which the been the language of their hearts. sacred historian seems to men- Christ's promise was certainly tion as the cause of the zeal, fi- designed to encourage them, in delity, intrepidity, composure an enterprize infinitely above and peace of mind which they their own strength; it must manifested. And those graces therefore be designed to contain of love, joy, long-suffering, gen- an assurance of success, tleness &c. for which they were But what is necessary to to so conspicuous, are called fruits success of the gospel ininistry of the Spirit, Gal. V. Eph. v. among men ? Certainly, that And as these were necessary to influence which will effectually furnish them for their work, I change their minds, subdue the rebellion of their hearts against It is also to be remarked, thai, God's authority, remove their though this promise was oriprejudices against his truth, ginally made to the apostles, it open their hearts, a* it is said of is evident he meant not to reLydia, to attend to and receive strict it to them ; but to extend the truths spoken to them. This it to all the faithful ministers in work is ever ascribed to God, his church, to the end of time. and appears to be peculiarly the The words of the promise imoffice of the divine Spirit. Thus ply so much, “ Lo, I am with the prophet represents the wild you to the end of the world." derness as becoming a fruitful | In this he had, apparently, a field, when the Spirit shall be view to a succession of gospel poured out from on high. Isai. teachers, whom he meant to xxxii. 15. Then, and then only, raise up, in every age. He foreare people “ convinced of sin, of saw that, having to deal with a righteousness and of judgment,” corrupt world, who would be when the Spirit is sent for that enemies to him and his king: end. John xvi. 8. The apos-dom, they would meet.great optle says, “ God hath chosen you position; many trials, which to salvation, through sanctifica- would tend to dishearten them. cation of the Spirit.” 2 Thess. ii. He therefore left such a prom13. And as sanctification is ise to encourage them ; that first begun, through his influ- their faith might have sure ence, so it is carried on through ground to rest on. He knew, every step, till believers receive also, how much need they would the end of their faith, even the have of a constant sense of his salvation of their souls. They presence, and continual inspecare changed into the image of tion of their conduct, to prevent Christ, from glory to glory, their sloth, and keep them as by the Spirit of the Lord. watchful and faithful in his ser2 Cor. iii. 18.
vice. Encouraged by this proThus their success in bring- mise, they need not fear to take ing sinners to repentance and the most dangerous post, or ensalvation, the great object of gage in the most arduous labors, their ministry appears to depend in his kingdom, when his provon the influence of the divine idence points its out as the way Spirit ; and this success was, of duty. “I can do all things, certainly included in the prom- through Christ, who strengthises of Christ's presence. From eneth me,” said Paul. the circumstances in which this It is important further to obpromise was made, we must serve, that the condition, plainly conclude it implied whatever implied, of their enjoying his was needful to furnish them presence, is their fidelity in his for their ministry ; to support, work. They must be faithful encourage and succeed them in in teaching whatsoever he has it; and we see that all this was commanded them, and administer. fiwfilled to them by the commu- ing the ordinances he has apnications of he divine Spirit; pointed. This is the business the presence, therefore, whic he enjoins, on them, and then Christ promised, was the pre-promises to be with them, &c. sence of his Spirit.
which implies that he will be
with and own them in doing argument, if he be allowed to be these things, not otherwise. God.
From what has been advanced If any imagine that Christ did on this subject, we infer the di- not mean to promise the preyinity of Christ. If the pre- sence and assistance of his Spirit, sence of Christ, which he prom- when he promised to be with his ised to his disciples, was the ministers ; still it is believed, presence of the Holy Stririt ; if his divinity may be argued from it was proper for him to say, he the promise, because the nature would be with them, because of it is such that none but God the Holy Spirit would be with can fulfil it. The scriptures them, this, it is conceived, mụst teach us that Christ, since his denote such a oneness between resurrection, has ascended into him and the Spirit as no mere the heavens, which have receivcreature can claim, supposing ed him till the end of the world ; the Holy Spirit to be God. Be- that he there lives to make inlievers, indeed, are said to have tercession for his people. Here the Spirit of God dwelling in he promised to be with his aposthem; and those
se who are tles and ministers to the endof the joined to the Lord are one Spir- world ; to be with them alway it,” kc. yet surely no one will i. e. every day, or all the days, pretend that this would justify as it is in the Greek. All his them in calling the Spirit of faithful ministers, through all God.their Spirit, as he is called parts of the earth, have a right, the Spirit of Christ. This could from this promise, to expect his
never authorize them to repre-presence with them, for their disent themselves as being present, rection, protection, support and wherever the Spirit of God is ; consolation, in all the various or to speak of sending the Spirit places, times and circumstanto be in apd abide with others, ces in which they are situated ; as Christ does. The scripture they have a right to expect his representations, some of which presence constantly ; for there have been mentioned, of the re- is no moment when they do not lation between Christ and the need it ; no moment to which Holy Spirit, it is thought, are the promise does not extend. such as no mere creature can' The Lord fills heaven and earth; appropriate. If so, the real di- but can it be conceived that any vinity of Christ will follow as a merely created nature can reside consequence, unless we deny the perpetually in heaven, and also divinity of the Holy Ghost. But be perpetually in every part of to deny this would be, in effect, the earth, where any of his serto deny the divine authority of vants are; in each place exertthe scriptures, which were writing that care and power which ten by his inspiration, and land they individually need, and which us, at once, in the dreary regions the promise under consideration of infidelity. Whatever any implies ? may think concerning the per- May I be indulged in offering sonality of the Holy Spirit, as a few thoughts more, different from that of the Fath- turally arise on contemplating er, it makes no difference, in this this promise. By this we are Vol. VI. NO, 8.
assured that Christ will never enlargement of his kingdom. lack a church on earth, so long Let those who are engaged, as as the world endures ; nor shall workers together with Christ, in the church lack a succession of building the walls of Jerusalem, faithful pastors.
He will not redouble their exertions, while suffer those ordinances and ad- they consider that every prayer ministrations to cease, in which they make, every sermon they he hath engaged to afford his preach, and every ordinance presence to the end. Though they administer is like a stone the enemies of Christ, and his laid in the building, which, by kingdom exert all their force, his blessing, helps to raise it to and make violent efforts to de- its appointed height. Let them stroy his cause, they can never bear in their hearts his precious perform their enterprize ; for promise. They need the ac“ when the enemy comes in like complishment of it every day. a flood, the Spirit of the Lord | If they are faithful, they may will lift up a standard against expect the contradiction of sinhim.” The Christian church, 'ners, who will be impatient of in the beginning, when small the holy, self-denying precepts like a grain of mustard seed, was and faithful reproofs of the gosrudely attacked. The enemy pel. But if Christ be for them, sought, and hoped to overturn they need fear none who are ait ; but he fought against a pre- gainst them. If tempted to sloth, sent God, whose watchful eye or unfaithfulness, in shunning was ever on his church for good, to declare truths which are disand his power constantly exert- pleasing to men, let them call ed for its protection and enlarge- to mind the presence of their ment. And though he some- Lord; let a sense of that rouse times saffers it to decrease, and them to action, and dispel the the encmy gets apparent advan- fear of man which brings a tage, for a season; this only snare. If they are in “ labors serves to shew, more illustrious- more abundant," they will feel ly, his superiority over him, their dependence on his blessing when he appears in his glory to succeed them. If the pleaand builds ap Zion. Upon the sure of the Lord prosper in their strength of this promise, and hands, they will acknowledge it what we have already seen of as proceeding from the powerits accomplishment, we confi- ful influence of his Spirit. dently expect the time when He hath sent them a war« all nations shall flow unto the fare ; but, thanks to his name, mountain of the Lord's house;" not at their own charges, or unwhe: “ Zion shall become a accompanied. Though the adquiet habitation, and the holy versary erect many strong bolds one of Israel shall make her to impede the progress, and prean eternal excellency, a joy of vent the success of Christ's sermany generations.” This is the vants; yet to attack them need not Lord's doing, and it is, even in seem hazardous, nor to demolprospect, marvellous in our ish them impossible, under the eyes. “ Let the children of Zi-conduct of him who is able to on be joyful in their King ;" let bind the strong man, and take them pray and strive for the laway all his armor.