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Paul's examination before Felix;' as well as of Paul's own reference to his examinations. It is used of the spiritual discernment of the believer in Christ ;3 of believers judging others;" and of asking questions, with a view of ascertaining how a matter stood,' &c. : from all which examples, we may at once perceive what these Bereans really did when they thus searched the Scriptures; and we cannot wonder at the result, when we are told, that, " therefore, many of them believed : " for "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."

And indeed, it is only in such a godly discriminating searching of the Divine Word, that we shall, under the teaching of the Divine Spirit, be able to distinguish between things that differ. For our Lord's exhortation to us is, not only to “take heed howwe “hear.” but also to “take heed whatwe “hear."9 Cease my son to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.":0 “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.”'ll So shall not we, who are “teachers,"l2 be" unskilful in the word of righteousness,"13 but have the ability "rightly to divide the word of truth ;''14 and so, being “full of goodness," and "filled

” “ with all knowledge," be “able also to admonish one another."'l5

But not only does our blessed Lord command us to “ search the Scriptures” generally ; but he bids us likewise to search the prophetic. Scriptures particularly; so that we may have understanding of the times : and He rebukes those who neglected this duty, and were, therefore, ignorant

31 Cor. ii. 14, 15.
6 Acts xvii. 11, 12.

lark 24,
12 1 Cor. xii. 28, 29.

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1 Acts xxiv. 8. * Acts xxviii. 18.
"1 Cor. iv. 3, 4. 51 Cor. x. 25, 27.
7 Rom. x. 17.

& Luke viii. 18.
10 Prov. xix. 29. u Prov. xiv. 4.
13 Heb. v. 13.

14 2 Tim. ii. 15. 15 Rom. xv. 14. See also Heb. v. 12.

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in this particular. For when “the Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired Him that He would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day : for the sky is red and lowering. Oye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" Now the reason they did not discern the signs of the times, was because, unlike “the children of Issachar," in former days, "which were men that had understanding of the times,” and, therefore, “knew what Israel ought to do ; ?? these Pharisees and Sadducees did not "search the Scriptures,” and, therefore, "discernednot “the signs of the times,” and “knew” not “what Israel ought to do : " and, therefore, when the Christ of God appeared, “they that dwelt at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew Him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which were read every Sabbath day, they fulfilled them in condemning Him."3 For “their minds were blinded :” and so “ when Moses was read, the vail was upon their heart." They knew indeed that “ Christ” was to be “ born” “in Bethlehem of Judea," and could quote the passage where the prediction occurred :' but their neglect of the study of the prophetic Word itself, made them ignorant both of the time at which, as well as of the circumstances under which, He was to appear: and so, when “He came unto His own,” “His own received Him

" but rejected Him. “For had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." It was this same ignorance of the Prophetic Scriptures, which induced them, not only to “kill the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets;” but also to

not;

1 Matt. xvi. 1-3.
4 2 Cor. jii. 14, 15.
71 Cor. ii. 8,

2 1 Chron. xii. 32.
5 Matt. ii. 4-6.

3 Acts xiii, 27.
6 John i. 11.

persecute " the first preachers of the Gospel, and “ forbid ” them “ to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved,” when "wrath came upon them to the uttermost.''l

There were some few among the people, however, who really were looking out for their Messiah, and were longing for His coming; and these had been evidently searching the Prophetic Scriptures for the purpose of ascertaining when He would be likely to appear: and they were not disappointed of their hope. Thus we read, “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon ; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel : and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple : and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him after the custom of the law, then took he Him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word : for mine eyes have seen thy Salvation, which Thou hast prepared before all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel. And Joseph and His mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of Him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary His mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against ; Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess ; " "and she was a widow of about fourscore years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks like

11 Thess. ii. 15, 16.

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wise unto the Lord, and spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem."

Now this passage clearly shews that these devout believers had been searching the Prophetic Scriptures; and that they expected their Messiah would appear about this time. The two passages of Scripture in the Old Testament, which Simeon had been particularly dwelling upon, were Isaiah xl. 1-5, and lxi. 1-3—" Comfort ye, comfort ye, My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned : for she hath received of Jehovah's hand double for all her sin," &c. And again, " The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon Me; because Jehovah hath anointed Me"

“to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah, that He might be glorified.” But as both these passages, so far as Israel is concerned, relate (as we shall see,) not to the First, but to the Second, coming of the Lord, "the Holy Ghost,” Who then came “upon him," at once " revealedthis to Simeon; and taught him to distinguish between these two comings, by shewing him, that at Christ's First coming, He was to be rejected by the Jewish nation; being “set for the fallof many in Israel : for “through their fall salvation ” had to "conie unto the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy.” And, therefore, that it would not be until His Second Coming, that Israel was to “rise again.” Hence He was first to be “a light to lighten the Gentiles," before He was to be “the glory of His people Israel.” And so the Apostle writes, when addressing the Gentile converts at Rome, “For I would not,

2

i Luke ii. 25-38.

? Rom. xi. 11.

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brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved : as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins."'! This quotation is taken from Isaiah lix. 20, 21. And then immediately follows the prediction of “the glory of” God's “people Israel:" which was “the consolation of Israel,” which Simeon was "waiting for "_" Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of Jehovah is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but Jehovah shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising," &c.?

We have some farther instances recorded in the first Chapter of John's Gospel, where we read that “two of” John's “ disciples,” who heard John say of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God!” “ followed Jesus ;” and, on his

! invitation, “ came and saw where He dwelt, and abode with Him that day.” One of these

One of these “ was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother: ” who “first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, we have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus.” “The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow Me." Philip findeth Nathaniel, and saith unto him, We have found Him of Whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathaniel said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth ? Philip said unto him, Come and see. Jesus

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i Rom. xi. 25-27.

' Isaiah lx. 1.3.

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