And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour,
every man his brother
Which is not to be understood of the outward ministry of the word; in heaven indeed there will be no need of it, nor in the New Jerusalem state; but in every period of time before it. In the first times of the Gospel, persons were appointed and qualified by Christ to be pastors and teachers; and in the latter day men shall run to and fro, and increase knowledge; besides, the saints in the present state stand in need of teaching; since they know but in part, and there is room for a growth in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ: nor does this contradict brotherly teaching, or the private instructions of saints in religious conversation and Christian conference, which are very useful; but is rather opposed to pretended revelations of private men; or to the magisterial dictates of persons in public office; the word of God being the only rule of instruction in righteousness: or this may be not absolutely, but comparatively said; setting forth the abundance of knowledge under the Gospel dispensation, that, in comparison of former times, there would be no need of the means of further knowledge: saying, know the Lord:
not naturally, or as by the light of nature; but spiritually; nor in a general way, as the God of nature and providence, as a Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor; but in a special manner, as the God of grace, as the God and Father of Christ, and his people in him; not legally, but evangelically; not speculatively, but practically, and in a saving way and manner: this kind of knowledge now under the Gospel dispensation is greater than under the former; as the knowledge of God in his persons, in his perfections, in his titles and characters, and in his Son; and as to the manner of it, clearly, with open face as in a glass; and as to the persons to whom it is communicated, not to Judah only, but to men of all nations; all which is owing to a greater effusion of the spirit, as it follows: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest
of them, saith the Lord:
not all mankind; but all the house of Israel, all the family of God, all the children of God being taught by him; not all alike, but all with the same kind of knowledge. This is frequently applied to the times of the Messiah by the Jews F14: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no
there was forgiveness of sin under the former covenant, but the blood of Christ was not then actually shed for it; it was held forth under types; and there was a remembrance of sin made every year; and saints had not such a clear and comfortable sight of pardon in common as now; and it was known and applied but to a few. This is the staple blessing of the covenant, and the evidence of all the rest.