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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 5

The Conditions or Mystery of the Gospel

The Conditions or Mystery of the Gospel.

"Pray for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldy, to make known the Mystery of the Gospel for which I am a an ambassador in bonds."—Paul to the Ephesians.

If a man believe that in the Age to Come a "kingdom and dominion," such as the gospel exhibits, will exist upon the earth, and that men to whom it has been preached in ages previous to its establishment, will rise from the dead to possess it, or to be judged with duo severity for refusing to believe what God has revealed concerning it—he will spontaneously inquire, "What must I do that I may inherit glory, honour, and eternal life in the kingdom of God?" This question is equivalent to saying "What must I do to be saved?"—for, if a man possess these things in that kingdom, that is "inherit the kingdom," he is saved from sin, corruptibility, and death; in short, from all evil from which he needs to be delivered. The answer to this question so transcendantly important to all is exhibited in "the Mystery of the Gospel," which may therefore be said to contain the conditions of salvation.

The gospel of the kingdom then hath a Mystery connected with it By a mystery is meant a thing kept secret and hid from mankind until revealed The gospel was preached to Abraham; but its Mystery was not preached until the day of Pentecost The revelation made through Peter on that day was "the revelation of the Mystery which," says Paul, "was kept secret since the world began." The apostolic preaching of

Rom. xvi. 25.

page 18 Jesus Christ was the revelation of the mystery; the Old Testament exhibition of the truth was "the gospel of God promised afore by the prophets in the Holy Scriptures."* The gospel is revealed there without mystery. The things of the kingdom and the sufferings and resurrection of its king are plainly revealed; but the use to he made of those sufferings in their precise and especial adaptation to the consciences of gospel believers in giving them the answer of a good conscience towards God, was "the hidden wisdom of God in a mystery"—it was not revealed. It was "the salvation of souls." The initiative of that salvation which ends in the participation of the joy and glory of the Lord—"a salvation of which the prophets inquired and searched diligently, searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them who hare preached the gospel unto you.... which things the angels desired to look into." But the prophets and angels could not succeed in discovering the secret. It was impenetrable. With all the aids at their command they could not find it out; for it was "a mystery hidden from the ages and the generations," and intended to he concealed until the time appointed for its manifestation to the saints by the preaching of the apostles.

But, though the Mystery of the Gospel ceased to be a secret after the day of Pentecost, it still continued to be called the Mystery. This we apprehend was to keep before the believer's mind the remembrance of the nature of the things specially pertaining to Jesus, and to his conscience before God, which had been directly revealed to him though the apostles. As if one should say to another, "I will tell you the secret." He tells it, and in referring to it at some future time, he says, "You remember the secret on account of which I have suffered greatly." Here the thing would he called a secret, although it ceased to be such as soon as told.

The Mystery is based upon a few fulfilled gospel predictions. It was foretold by the prophets, that the King of the Jews who should reign over them and all the nations for ever, "should pour out his soul unto death" as "an offering for sin," as the result of his being wounded and bruised for the transgressions and iniquities of God's people; that though numbered with transgressors in coming to his death, in the rich man's sepulchre should be his tomb,§ and that he should awake early in the morning from the sleep of death without seeing corruption, to the enjoyment of life and pleasures for ever-

* Rom. i. 2.

1 Pet. i. 10–12.

Col. 1.26.

§ Isai. liii 9.

Ps. vii. 3,8.

page 19 more.* These testimonies predicted the death, burial, and resurrection of the King; of the Jews, or the Christ, which is the; same thing. In the fulness of time Jesus came; and having established his right to the throne of David, died, was buried) and rose again. The things concentred in these facts being accomplished, this partial fulfilment leaves all the rest of the gospel still a matter of promise. This unfulfilled portion of the gospel is its hope; which, with the facts and mystery based upon them, is the subject matter of "the faith" which justifies,

"The Mystery of the seven stars, and the seven golden lamps. The seven siars are the messengers of the seven churches; and the seven lamps are the seven churches." We quote this text to show the use of the word mystery. It is evidently employed hear for meaning; the hidden meaning of the seven stars is the messengers of the seven churches—the seven lamps mean or signify the seven churches. The mystery ef the gospel is the meaning or signification of its accomplished facts as interpreted by Jehovah; and by his authority concentrated in an institution, through which the benefits of those facts may be imparted to those who believe the gospel of the kingdom, and its mystery.

The mystery revealed through the apostles, though unknown to the prophets and angels, was then, as it is now, still an element of the gospel of the kingdom. It was there when preached to Abraham, but hidden; it is there yet, only revealed. The gospel of the kingdom is the major term; the Mystery the lesser. The gospel of the kingdom contains the Mystery; but the Mystery does not contain the gospel of the kingdom; Mence, Jesus did not say, "Go into all the world, and preach the Mystery of the gospel; he that believes the Mystery and is baptized shall be saved;" but "Go and preach the gospel," for he that believed this apostolically ministered would believe the gospel of the kingdom, its facts and mystery.

"Seek ye first the kingdom, of God," said Jesus. To seek a certain thing first implies that there is something else to be sought afterwards; we may then inquire, "What next shall we seek?" To this the Great Teacher replies, "And God's righteousness." "What is this? It is that "robe of righteousness" he hath provided for the covering of those who have sought the kingdom and have found it. It is God's sin-covering—the robe made white in the blood of the Lamb;§—the righteousness of God witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, through belief of Jesus Christ for all and upon all believing the gospel. The righteousness of God is "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," which he hath appointed for those who believe the gos-

* Ps, xvi. 10, 11.

Isai. Ixi. 10.

Ps. xxxii. 1, 2.

§ Rev. vii. 14; xix. 8.

K Rom. iii. 21, 22; i. 10, 16.

page 20 pel of the kingdom. He hath set him forth as a blood-sprinkled mercy-seat, through faith in which they may have remission of past si ns, and he thus invested with the wedding garment.* Those who ate not covered with the robe of righteousness which God has constructed; or being cured, do not "keep their garments," that is, preserve their robes from defilement, are said in scripture to walk mked." Believers and unbelievers, who have not put on the robe of God's righteousness are clothed in filthy rags of scarlet or crimson dye, and may say with Israel as at present circumstanced, "we are all unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." They are uncovered with the garments ot salvation, and having no clothing but things of their own invention, are naked before God, and certain if they remain so to be put to shame at the coming of his King.

Jesus the Christ, or Anointed King of Israel, is the righteousness of those who, believing the gospel of the kingdom and its mystery, put Jttm on; henee, in regard to them, he is styled "Jehovah Our Righteousness."§ When a believer puts him on he is said to be "in him," and when in him, to be "constituted the righteousness of God in him." Seek then, in the first place, to understand the Word of the Kingdom; and after accomplishing that, seek to be constituted the righteousness of God in its King; and all things shall be added to you.** This is the order laid down by Jesus; another which cannot be improved.

All the sufferings Of the apostles inflicted by their own countrymen, were on account of the Mystery of the Gospel. Israel, like the angels and prophets, were ignorant of this hidden element of their hope; and when it was demonstrated by the apostles they would not receive it. The Mystery was as much a part of the Hope of Israel as the kingdom. It was the Mystory of the Hope as well as the Mystery of the Gospel; for before Christ came the gospel was all a matter of hope, so that the mystery was hidden in the hope of the nation as the greater includes the less. This identity of "the mystery of Christ" with the Hope of Israel is apparent from the reason assigned by the apostle for, his loss of liberty. In writing to the Ephesians, Paul says, "For the Mystery of the Gospel 1 am an ambassador in bonds;" to the Colossians also he says, "For the Mystery of Christ I am in bonds;" and to thy elders of the synagogue at Heme he said, "For the Hope of Israel am I bound with this chain."†† Now the apostle was not an ambassador in chains for three different things, but for one thing, even for "the hope and resurrection of the dead." "I stand," said he, "and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers, unto which our twelve tribes, instantly serving day and night,

* Mat. xxii. 11–14.

Rev. xvi. 15; iii. 17, 18

Gal. iii. 27.

§ Jer. xxiii. 6.

2 Cur. v. 21.

Matt. xiii. 23, 13–15.

** Matt. vi. 33.

†† Eph. vi. 19; Col. iv. 3; Acts Matt. 33.

page 21 hope to come. For which hope's sake I am accused of the Jews."* This hope of the Twelve Tribes, or hope of Israel, proclaimed in the name of Jesus as king of the Jews, was the sole ground of the apostle's tribulation. He suffered for nothing else; it is therefore clear that the mystery of the gospel, " the mysteries of the kingdom," and the mystery of Christy are hut different forms of speech expressive of the same thing.

The mystery then is the meaning of the gospel facts concentrated into a focus of power, which is The Name or' Jesys, "than which there is none other under heaven given among men whereby they can be saved." His name comprehends every thing that cart be seripturilly affirmed of him. It is a part of him name that he is that Son of David who was to he also Son of God, and King of the Jews on David's throne for the age. This is tantamount to saying that Jesus is the Christ. This truth is the foundation corner stone of the mystery. It is also part of his name that "his blood cleanses from all sin" through his resurrection from the dead, those who believe the gospel; for "he was delivered for their offences, and raised again for their justification." The believer of the gospel of the kingdom, then, who with an honest and good heart believes also that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living (lod; that a fountain was opened in his blood for sin and for unclean ness§ when he suffered death upon the accursed tree; that he was buried; and that he rose again upon the third day, According to the scriptures, for the justification of the faithful unto eternal life; such an one believes the gospel in its hope, facts and mystery, and is prepared to become "the righteousness of God in Jesus by putting on, and so becoming an element of, the Name of Jesus Christ. A believer who is constituted the righteousness of God in Jesus is one to whom repentance and the remission of sins has been granted in his name. The institution of the name is the sin-cleansing mystery" of the gospel of the kingdom. Such a thing had never been heard of before in Israel. They had heard of John's baptism—" the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,"—but of repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for remission of sins, this was a secret which prophet nor angel had ever heard till the Holy Spirit revealed it on Pentecost by the mouth of Peter.

But how doth a sinner become the subject of repentance and the remission of sins in the name of Jesus; how doth he put on and become a constituent of the name? There is but one way of accomplishing this indispensable and essential necessity, or condition of salvation. He must first become a believer of the hope, facts, and mystery of the gospel; for without faith, a faith that works by love and purifies the heart, it is impossible to please God; being thus prepared, he may then be immer-

* Acts xxvl. 6, 7; xxiii. 6.

Eph. ii. 20.

Rom. iv. 25.

§ Zech. xiii. 1

Aeis ii. 38.

Heb, xi. 6; Acta xv. 9; Gal. v. 6.

page 22 sed into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This act unites the believer of the true gospel to the Name; so that in being united, his faith and childlike disposition are counted to him for repentance and remission of sins, and he becomes an heir of the kingdom and glory of God which are promised to him for ever. Thus, "he that believes the gospel and is baptized shall be saved; and he that bolieveth not shall be condemned."*

In conclusion then, the great salvation exhibited in the gospel of the kingdom is national and individual As a national salvation it delivers the nations from those that oppress them; suppresses vice, superstition, and crime; restrains evil; abolishes war; establishes justice and righteousness in the earth; and consummates a social regeneration of the world, which shall be "glory in the highest heavens to God, over earth, peace, and good will among men."

As an individual salvation, it saves believers of the gospel promises, facts, and mystery, from sin, sins, and the wages of sin, which is death. It saves them from sins which are past when they become the subject of repentance and remission in the name of Jesus; and it saves them from sin in the flesh, and the consequences off It, when they arise from the death-state to possess the kingdom of God. This is a great and wonderful deliverance; a salvation from all the ills of flesh, personal and relative. What possibility is there of escape if this be neglected? We know of none. The Bible reveals none; and a salvation-doctrine not inscribed in light upon its sacred page is unworthy of a wise man's consideration.

We trust we hare made this great subject plain to the inquirer's mind, as well as to the minds of all our readers. He asks foe "a few lines stating the facts of the gospel' The gospel cannot be stated in this way. The facts are few, as we have seen; the promises great and many. The gospel is more a matter of promise and doctrine than a matter of fact A man may believe all its facts, and still be very far from believing the gospel. Leave out the hope, and the mystery, and the gospel is destroyed. There Is a statement of the gospel preached as "the Ancient Gospel," which makes it to consist of "facts to be believed, commands to be obeyed, and promises to be enjoyed"—the facts, the death, burial, aaid resurrection, of Jesus Christ; the commands, repent and he baptised; and the promises, remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and eternal life. This is the latest edition of error. The statement should be promises, facts, and doctrine to be believed, and obedience of faith to be rendered, for repentance and justification unto life in the kingdom of God. He that is the subject of this, and walks worthy of his high angelic destiny cannot fail of obtaining an illustrious position in the Age to Come.

* Mark xvi. 15, 16.

Luke xx. 36.