Fourth. The manner in which our text reads is not without its meaning; for if it read, hath now commanded, it would then stand in the round form of a settled precept, and would certainly then appear intended to devolve an obligation; but it does not read so, but ‘now commandeth.’ The words stand in the passing progressive order, which intimates the matter intended to be begun, going on, and not yet finished, and which does not belong to the nature of a settled preceptive demand, while it well expresses the Lord’s commanding the ministry of the gospel of repentance and remission of sins to the Gentiles, and his saving power put forth therein among them, in the authority of his sovereign will, as well as in the riches of his grace. And our text will always stand in the passing progressive order, until the Lord hath fulfilled all his gracious designs, and gathered in his chosen of all nations and tongues everywhere; but then, in the truth and joy of their salvation, will the united millions out of all nations of men under heaven, shout to the great triune Jehovah’s praise, be hath commanded all men everywhere to repent: ‘Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles!’ Rom 9:24. And to this sense of our text agree, in unjarring concurrence, the prophecies; the characters and work o f Christ; his exaltation to give repentance and remission of sins; the work of the Holy Ghost; the nature and character of the gospel dispensation; the testimony Paul gives of his commission from the Lord to the Gentiles, Acts 26:15-18; his confession that he held the treasure of the gospel charge but in an earthen vessel of weakness, and that all the excellency of power, giving increase or effect, is of God only; the declared nature and character of the change wrought in the saints; the testimony borne in every epistle to the churches, of what they were, and who it is that both made them all what they are; and the experience of all who truly know what personal repentance into eternal life really is; while not a word in the apostle’s addresses to the Gentiles can be found, which fairly suggests the shade of a question to the contrary. And as to the use of the word commandeth in our text, this appears to me most happy, and by no means a difficulty; because the Lord neither begs any man into the ministry of his gospel, nor by that ministry begs any man to repentance; but by will and power commands both; and ‘The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes,’ Psalm xix 8; and ‘He that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God,’ and none else, 2 Cor 5:5.
John Foreman (1792-1872) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. He was appointed the Pastor of Hill Street Chapel, Marylebone, serving this position for close to forty years.