19 Mr 16:14 Lu 24:36. 21 Peace be unto you - This is the foundation
of the mission of a true Gospel minister, peace in his own soul, 2Cor 4:1.
As the Father hath sent me, so send I you - Christ was the apostle of the
Father, Heb 3:1. Peter and the rest, the apostles of Christ.
22 He breathed on them - New life and vigour, and saith, as ye receive
this breath out of my mouth, so receive ye the Spirit out of my fulness:
the Holy Ghost influencing you in a peculiar manner, to fit you for your
great embassy. This was an earnest of pentecost.
23 Whose soever sins ye remit - (According to the tenor of the Gospel,
that is, supposing them to repent and believe) they are remitted, and whose
soever sins ye retain (supposing them to remain impenitent) they are retained.
So far is plain. But here arises a difficulty. Are not the sins of one
who truly repents, and unfeignedly believes in Christ, remitted, without
sacerdotal absolution? And are not the sins of one who does not repent
or believe, retained even with it? What then does this commission imply?
Can it imply any more than,
1. A power of declaring
with authority the Christian terms of pardon; whose
sins are remitted and whose retained? As in our daily form of absolution;
2. A power of inflicting
and remitting ecclesiastical censures? That is, of excluding
from, and re - admitting into, a Christian congregation.