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when he looketh not for Him, and at an hour when he is not aware"."
2. So much is spoken in general; but next who are spoken of as the rulers in the kingdom, Christ's viceroys? the Twelve Apostles, and first of all Peter. To him our Lord addressed these wonderful words : "I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church ; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven : and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." By the “ Church" must be meant a community or polity of men, and you see that St. Peter had the keys of this Church or kingdom, or the power of admitting into it, and excluding from it: and besides that, an awful power of binding and loosing, about which it does not fall within our present subject to inquire.
What is here spoken of St. Peter, is elsewhere spoken of the other Apostles. They too are rulers in Christ's kingdom. Christ said to them all, “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven $.
And more distinctly on another occasion : "I appoint unto you a kingdom, as My Father hath appointed unto Me, that ye may eat and drink at My table, in My kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes
I Luke xii. 42. 45, 46.
3 Matt. xvi, 18, 19. • Matt. xviii. 18.
of Israel'.” It had been prophesied of Christ that He should sit on the throne of David. Accordingly, they too, as His representatives, in His absence, were to sit on twelve thrones.
And their authority was equal to that of Him who appointed them.
“ He that receiveth you,” He saith, “ receiveth Me; and he that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that sent Me?" And as He had said to the seventy, “He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me, despiseth Him that sent Me." Nay, it would seem as if their authority were even greater than that which it pleased our Lord to possess in the days of His flesh; for, whereas He breathed on them and said, « Receive ye the Holy Ghost," He had formerly said, “ Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Thus the Apostles, the ministers of the kingdom, as being the organs of the Spirit, were arrayed in more awful sanctions even than the King Himself during His abode upon earth; and hence St. Paul says, “He that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God; who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit." And when St. Peter inflicted judgment upon Ananias, he said, “Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”
Moreover, this kingdom was to extend all over the
1 Luke xxii. 29, 30.
* Matt. x. 40.
8 Luke x. 16.
ye therefore and teach all nations, or rather, “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them.” And, especially, consider the parable of the mustard seed. “The kingdom of heaven,” says our Lord, “is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; which indeed is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree; so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof." Now what is especially remarkable here, is the concluding clause, which seems to refer us, by way of parallel, to the Chaldean power, as described by the Prophet Daniel, of which Nebuchadnezzar was the head. “The tree grew and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven .. the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof." The parable then of the mustard seed, not only represents the kingdom of Christ as the greatest of kingdoms, but, like Nebuchadnezzar's, as a kingdom under which things external to it find shelter, or as an empire.
And further, let it be observed, that the visible appearance and display of this one kingdom in all lands, seems to have been intended as the means (which no doubt it really was in the event) by which all lands were to be converted. For our Lord prays for His followers, that they may be one ; "that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me." Again,
Again, “ that they may be made perfect in one, that the world may know
I Matt. xxviii. 19.
that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me!."
3. Now the only question that can here arise is this: whether this imperial power was vested only in the Twelve Apostles, or in others besides and after them.
I answer, we must conclude that the power was vested in others also, from the size of the empire; for a few persons, though inspired, cannot be supposed to have been equal to the care of all the Churches. As Moses found his charge too great for him, and was permitted to have associates in his oflice, so doubtless would it be with the Apostles.
But again, it is expressly said, that the Church is to last to the end of time, and the gates of hell are to fail in their warfare against it. But the Apostles were soon cut off; therefore the Church's power was vested in others besides the Apostles.
But further, let this be observed, that the promise was neither made nor fulfilled exactly to the Twelve Apostles; one of them fell, and another took his place. Again, St. Paul was “not a whit behind the very chiefest Apostles," yet he was added to their original company.
Further, when, after His resurrection, Ile breathed on the Apostles, and gave them power to remit sins, St. Thomas was not present; was he then without the power which the rest had ? Surely not; therefore others had it besides them on whom our Lord personally or primarily bestowed it. It appears from all this, that the Twelve
1 Jolin xvii. 21. 23. [s. D.]
to whom our Lord first spake, were but representatives of the full number of His ministers, not commensurate with them.
This conclusion is strengthened by considering our Lord's language on another occasion, which certainly seems to show that the Apostles were not regarded by Christ in a personal light, but as representatives of others, or rather, I should say, of Himself. He truly is the only One, properly speaking, who sits on the throne of the kingdom; He is the sole Ruler in His empire, though invisible. They are but regents, or viceroys, in His absence; and whatever be their power, it is not their own, it comes from Him; and as it did not begin in them, so with them it did not terminate. They were but the accidental, though specially favoured, organs of His wonder-working operation. The text I allude to is as follows:-“ Be not ye called Rabbi, for One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren. Call no man your father upon the earth; for One is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters; for One is your Master, even Christ'." What words can be clearer to show, that no honours which were accorded to the • Apostles, were accorded to them for their own sake,
were, strictly speaking, vested in them that they were theirs only as being instruments of Him who, being “immortal, invisible," governs His kingdom in every age in His own way, the one Master, the one Lord, the one Teacher, the one Priest, alone glorified in all His saints, while they live
i Matt. xxiii. 8-10.