« PreviousContinue »
between God and man, was
all in all :" but now, being made perfect through his mediation, and made partakers of his glory, and having been exalted to sit on his throne, his interposition, as Mediator between two, is no longer needed; they are presented to God as God,- FATHER, Son, and Spirit, three persons but one essence; for this is the only God. And though the manifestation of Deity, from the very economy of that Divine Being, is still in the person of the Son, yet an actual manifestation of the Godhead is made. The God-man does not only, as such, manifest his own glory, but he manifests the glory of the Deity, as the essential image of the invisible God. His saints behold, not only the glory which God hath given to him as God-man, but they behold in him the glory of the Father, as he is the everlasting Son, the Light of Light, and very God of very God, who is in the bosom of the Father, and maketh manifestation of the Divine Presence, and communicates to all created nature the energizing of the Holy Spirit. Thus, to them who are glorified with Christ, God is all in all ; and they are themselves manifested to the world below, as joint heirs with Christ in his kingdom, partakers of his kingly and of his priestly characters.
Such I believe to be the meaning of the delivery of the kingdom to the Father, and of the subjection of the Son himself, and of God's being all in all where formerly Christ was all in all.
The apostle proceeds with his revelation respecting the resurrection of the dead; and he argues, in the twenty-ninth and following verses, from the sufferings and imminent danger to which Christians in general, and the preachers of the Gospel in particular, were exposed in this world; that nothing but this glorious hope of
second advent was made more firm by the transfiguration: it was a specimen of that glorious era. 1
“ Whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the daystar arise in your hearts. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation :" Is not to be interpreted apart by itself, but in connexion with the general scheme of prophecy..
“ For prophecy came not in old time by the will of man ; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
What the Holy Ghost, therefore, has said by one prophet, must be compared with what he has said by another, in order to understand the prophecies of the Redeemer's coming. Here we must look for the true context, rather than to the particular circumstances of the individual prophet and his times; a method which I trust has been carefully pursued in the present investigation.
St. Peter, too, clearly repeats the prophecies of our Lord, and of St. Paul, and of marry of the more ancient prophecies respecting the abounding of false Christs and false prophets as a sign of Christ's second coming, of the great apostasy, and of the character of those last days when the Son of Man shall be revealed. For, as we have often seen, the consummation of wickedness and irreligion among the professed churches of Christ, at the eve of the second advent, is much in view of the Prophetic Spirit throughout the whole series of the divine oracles. As
· See Macknight's note.
St. Jude tells us, in a prophecy very similar to this of St. Peter, “ Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these;" and so, as we have seen, did Moses, and David, and Isaiah, and all the prophets.
“ But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction."
St. Peter has before him the same “ mystery of iniquity,” which St. Paul speaks of; he sees it beginning to work, and marks what will be its end, an absolute denial of that Master, who, according to the common profession of the whole Christian world, bought them with his death, to be "a peculiar people to himself.” But when this corruption shall have attained its utmost pitch, then cometh that swift destruction predicted, as we collect from former prophecies, by the sudden appearance of the Master whom they have denied, from heaven with his mighty angels.
But, as former prophecies told us, great would be the extent of the evil before the judgment burst upon them.
2. “ And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the
way of truth shall be evil spoken of.”
Hence, it is evident, that the characters here portrayed are not professed deists or infidels; they retain so much of the form of godliness that they are confounded with those that profess the Christian religion, for they evidently bring a scandal upon that religion :
3. “And through covetousness shall they, with feigned words, make merchandize of you."
waters drowned, the fire consumed, or on which the birds of the air and the beasts of the field were fed. giveth it a body,” formed according to his pleasure: and though the man is the same, as to his consciousness and essential being, yet he comes in a body of a very
different kind from that in which he was formerly seen before hi death.
But why, proceeds the apostle, should - this create a difficulty? What a wonderful variety of bodies and material substances are there in nature !
39. “ All flesh is not the same flesh :"
There are even varieties here :
“ But there is one kind of Aesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial; but the glory"_" the beauty and excellency"_" of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.” — The beauty, and excellency, and appropriate nature of these celestial bodies differ also among themselves.
“ There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars ; for,"—or rather, “ nay," or, “moreover," one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead."
The dead are raised, indeed, in the bodies that God, according to his pleasure, will give them, but in bodies very different from what they had before; as different as one animal is from another; as different, in its nature, as the stars which shine in the heavens are from the substances found upon the surface of the earth, or in its entrails. As different is this body from the former in its beauty, in its excellency, in its peculiar functions and adaptation of parts, as the sun is different from the moon, the moon from the stars; and as they again are different will not spare these corrupters of the faith, and wicked professors of the Gospel, and their judgment will be as signal and as tremendous.
In the tenth verse these destined victims are again designated :
“ But, chiefly," or, “especially, them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities."
Does not this seem to point out the special character of that particular time when Christ shall appear? How the abject superstition of the papacy could have led to this spirit of rebellion, which would brook no restraint, and cast off all respect for their constituted rulers, and to God's appointed ministers of justice, might appear difficult to explain. Our forefathers, however, pointed out this spirit in the Papists, whenever the powers of the state opposed their peculiar interest : but, doubtless, we are to take in view the general state of apostate Christendom, in that falling away, when the “man of sin" is revealed. This state of things may not arise exactly at his bidding. As himself is a government, of course it would not : but this would become the character of that Christendom that he had perverted from Christ; and over which, refractory as it might become, he would retain considerable influence to the last. And I cannot but think this spirit (prognostic of the last day) is already gone forth in the Christian nations. It is designated by its admirers as "the love of freedom :" but in the late revolution it developed itself in its true character ; and has certainly left a temper and feeling in Christendom, on the consequences of which it is not