Notes from Christian Annotator

Table of Contents

1. Notes From the Christian Annotator
2. Ecclesiastes 3:11
3. Matthew 21:43
4. Mark 4:31-32
5. John 3:12
6. Romans 7:4
7. Ephesians 4:21
8. Philippians 2:12

Notes From the Christian Annotator

(The following notes, signed by Presbutes, are taken from The Christian Annotator. In doing this, it is assumed that this is the same Presbutes who wrote articles printed under that name in The Present Testimony.)

Ecclesiastes 3:11

It appears to me that the preacher is showing that however absorbing any object "under the sun" may be, yet that it does not satisfy that craving in the heart of man for something permanent, something "forever," because it is but "for a season. " "God hath made everything beautiful in his time, also he hath set 'forever' (or, as Arius Montanus has it in the margin of his Diglott, `perpetuitates desiderium') in the heart of man." So the word is rendered v. 14, "I know that whatsoever God doeth it shall be forever." God who knows the craving presents Himself as the one alone able to satisfy it: "he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." Solomon, the great experimentalist as to what the creature is, speaks largely of "labor," and its unsatisfyingness and disappointment; the "greater than Solomon" says, "Come unto me all ye that labor."
Presbutes The Christian Annotator 3:398 (1856).

Matthew 21:43

I would suggest... that "the nation intended" is the future nation of Israel under the new covenant. The proof of this from Scripture appears to me very abundant. It will be granted, I presume, that Israel at present has no national existence, Hos. 3:3.
In connection with the new covenant we find this promise: "If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever (Jer. 30:36)."
The Prophets who had denounced Israel as "a sinful nation." "an hypocritical nation," "a rebellious nation," "a nation not desired," "an ungodly nation," &c., apply to them such titles as "the righteous nation," the true Jeshurun (Isa. 26:2), "My nation" (Isa. 51:4), "The small one become a strong nation" Isa. 60:22, "One nation in the land" (Ezek. 37:22).
These and kindred expressions are, I believe, comprehended under the "all Israel" of Rom. 11:26. Israel as a nation will be spiritually converted. "Thy people shall be all righteous" and politically regenerated, and as such will be the pattern nation during the Millennium Isa. 2:1-4. This, I presume, is their νομοθεσια (Rom. 9:4). They will be the fountain of legislation to the nations, instead of copying them as their fathers did (1 Sam. 8:5; Hos. 13:10, 11); and instead of the nation{ s?} of Christendom being the pattern of legislation to them, as in their "high-mindedness" they now vainly imagine.
That "the kingdom is to be given" to Israel is promised (Mic. 4:8). "The daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion, the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem." This interesting subject might be pursued. But I only add that Israel's national conversion and political preeminence (Isa. 60:12, appears from Scripture to be entirely sui generis, and by no means interferes with that cluster of spiritual privileges now the portion of all believers, who are "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people."
Presbutes The Christian Annotator 3:320 (1856).

Mark 4:31-32

The parable of the grain of mustard seed appears to me to be set in manifest contrast with the parable of "the seed cast into the ground" (vv. 26-29). The first of the two parables presents to us the result at the time of harvest of that which had been growing for the most part secretly and imperceptibly in the world. It is in fact God's own work, which He is carrying on surely but noiselessly in the world. The good work which He begins in quickening a soul here, unheeded by the world, will be finished in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ, and be known as a work worthy of God, "when mortality shall be swallowed up of life." The children of God are not now known by the world in their lofty dignity as his children, but the day of their "manifestation" draweth nigh, and then shall they "shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."
One great hindrance now to the recognition of the sons of God by the world is, that the world has before its eyes a present palpable result in wide-spread Christianity, in other words in actual Christendom, "the grain of mustard seed become greater than all herbs." In this the world glories, and thus men have become "lovers of their own selves, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, having the form, but denying the power of godliness." Wherever the true doctrine of the cross is received "in the power and demonstration of the Spirit," there the world, though it assume the name of Christ as its outward badge, is known to be the same world which rejected and crucified the Lord of Glory (1 John 5:19).
The first of these parables shows us the work of God in the midst of the world, the second that man has so corrupted the doctrine of Christ (which in its power sets self aside and only exalts Christ) as to make the very name of Christ subserve his own selfishness, and help on his own self-exaltation.
Presbutes The Christian Annotator 4:55 (1857).

John 3:12

Nicodemus, as a Master of Israel, ought to have known from the oracles of God, that the doctrine, "a man must be born again," stood at the forepart of Israel's restoration to their own land, and their pre-eminence among the nations. Till man as a sinner is reconciled to God, he is incapable of enjoying God's temporal blessings, for he cannot enjoy God in them. "Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again" (ye -Jews). The doctrine was plainly taught (Ezek. 36; Jer. 31) that the earthly blessings promised by God to Israel, would never be enjoyed by them till they were born again. This doctrine stands as the basis of all blessing from God. The Lord in announcing it to Nicodemus refers to its connection with earthly things; and, if he did not believe that, how could he receive it as the basis of heavenly blessings, "those spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ," of which the Holy Ghost, sent down from heaven, is now the special witness and earnest.
Presbutes The Christian Annotator 2:95 (1855).

Romans 7:4

In Rom. 7 the Apostle enters largely into the question of the nature of law; taking up and proving his previous passing notice of law, such as "by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom. 3:20); "We establish the law" (Rom. 3:21); "Sin shall not have dominion over you, because ye are not under law" (Rom. 6:14).
I apprehend that "law" (Rom. 7:4) must be taken in the same comprehensive sense as in these passages, and therefore necessarily includes the moral law. The doctrine of the sixth chapter is that nothing short of death justifies from sin, and that we must have died unto sin in order to live to God; and that we have died to sin judicially in Christ (Rom. 6:2), cp. with Rom. 6:10.
In Rom. 7 the doctrine is, that we must have died unto "law" in order to union with Christ and fruitfulness unto God, and the Apostle twice asserts that we have died unto law by the body of Christ (vv. 4, 6), so that law has no longer dominion over us, because we have died; and he proves that sin would have dominion over one even quickened by the Spirit, if he were put under law, instead of being delivered by Christ. Deliverance from sin and deliverance from law by the cross of Christ are the introduction into a new life, and the basis of "righteousness and holiness of truth."
Presbutes The Christian Annotator 3:367, 368 (1856).

Ephesians 4:21

... as the truth is in Jesus. This is often quoted as though it were written "the truth as it is in Jesus," and is thus used as a compendious expression for the doctrines of grace. But such a use is likely to make us overlook the important doctrine which Christ teaches by his Spirit, and which follows in the context, viz. that the believer in Christ has put off the old man, has put on the new man, has been renewed in the spirit of his mind. (Cp. Col. 3:9, 10.) He is therefore to walk after the pattern of the new man, "in righteousness and holiness of truth." "Wherefore putting away," &c.
Presbutes The Christian Annotator 3:218 (1856).

Philippians 2:12

Without attempting an accurate solution of this much-controverted text, I submit to the consideration of others what has appeared to me the line of thought in the Apostle's mind. The Apostle appears to contrast his own personal presence with the constant presence of God: "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God (not Paul) which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." That this is the leading thought will appear more plainly by contrasting the conduct of the Galatians with that of the Philippians: "But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you (Gal. 4:18)." The presence of the Apostle prevented the Judaizing teachers from fascinating the Galatian converts; but the moment his back is turned, they listen to them, and give up their zeal for the doctrines of grace.
Not so the Philippians. The Apostle had to thank his God "for their fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now." In his absence they had been cast upon God, and it is this which the Apostle sought to rivet on them -they needed not Paul but God to work in them. It was God "who had begun a good work in them, and would perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). It was not what Paul, but what God had to do with them and they with God. It was a personal concern between God and themselves -"their own salvation." The Apostle was sensitively jealous of taking the place of a mediating priest. He labored to keep the souls of his converts in close contact with God, so that in his presence they might learn all their need of Christ: this was the object of his ministry. (See Acts 20:32.)
Presbutes The Christian Annotator 3:130 (1856).
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