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had power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease. (Matt. x. 1.)
Hence the woe denounced against that city which should refuse to receive them, or to hear their words. And their
message, thus confirmed by miracles, was to be received as the word of God: wherefore our Lord says—He that receiveth
receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
With such powers were the apostles entrusted during this stage of their discipline; but we must still acknowledge that they were not, as yet, duly qualified for the general charge of proclaiming the Gospel. They were not fully apprised of the character and office of the Messiah, and of the nature of his kingdoin.
Their divine Teacher, from the beginning of his ministry, published the approach of the kingdom of heaven : he also said to: his apostles--Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke, xii. 32.) And again-1 appoint you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed me. (Luke, xxii. 29.) And, in
another place-Ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit
upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matt. xix. 28.) Yet still it must be admitted, that in all those days when the Lord Jesus went in and out amongst them, they were not duly qualified to explain to the world the form and constitution of that kingdom. Notwithstanding the doctrine and the example of Christ, and the evidence of those prophecies which declared the nature of his government, the apostles kept pertinacious hold of the general mistake of their countrymen, and cherished the persuasion that the Messiah, at his first advent, was to be a temporal prince of the Israelites. And though they loved and revered their divine Master, they could not hear, with patience, even from his mouth, any thing that opposed this their governing prejudice. To give one instance of this : we are informed, that, from the time when they confessed their belief that he was the Christ, the Son of the living God; Jesus began to shew unto his disciples, that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many
things of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. This was instructing them in the doctrine of a persecuted and suffering Redeemer ; but here the strength of their prejudice, and their aversion to such doctrine, immediately appear in the answer of Peter :- Be it far from thee, Lord ; this shall not be unto thee !
Thus, it must be granted, that the natural powers of the apostles, with all the advantages of our Lord's public ministry, whilst operating upon those powers alone, were insufficient, wholly, to subdue their prejudices, and bring them to a right apprehension of the duty and office to which they were appointed.
Called, as they were, not into the kingdom of a triumphant prince, but into the ministry of a persecuted church, where they would be exposed to scorn, to affliction, and to death, we must confess it was requisite, before they were sent forth upon their commission, that they should receive some more effectual qualification, that their minds should be enlightened, and their prejudices wholly subdued. Otherwise, it may justly
be urged, that their doctrine must submit to the controul of human judgment; and, consequently, that our faith must stand, not in the power of God, but in the wisdom of men.
But it appears, from the whole tenor of the Gospel, that these faithful and wise servants, whom their Lord made rulers over all his household, the church, did receive a qualification, which was abundantly sufficient; even the support and plenary inspiration of the Holy Ghost. It was this that constituted them ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. pretend not to be sufficient of themselves to think any thing as of themselves, but acknowledge that their sufficiency is of God, who hath made them able ministers of the New Testament. (2 Cor. iii. 5, 6.)
This endowment of the spirit our Lord had repeatedly promised to his apostles ; but it was not given to them till after he had ascended to his father.
For the gift of healing, which was committed to them when Jesus sent them forth upon a special commission, was only a divine attestation of the truth of their message, and was dis
For they tinct in its measure, from that complete inspiration, which was to direct their judgment in all things ; since we find that they did not, as yet, rightly understand the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
Our Lord, indeed, charges his disciples not to premeditate their defence, in the time of persecution ; and adds this gracious promise--It shall be given you in that same. hour, what ye shall speak : for it is not ye that speak, but the spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.
however, does not refer to a measure of the spirit, which they had already received ; but to that full demonstration of the power of God, which was promised to them after his departure: for it must be remarked that, previous to the ascension of Christ, the apostles had not been exposed to persecution. And so the matter is explained by St. John-This spake he of the spirit, which they that believe on him should receive : for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John, vii. 39.) Of this plenary inspiration, and the extraordinary effects it was to produce, our Lord gave frequent intimations to his