Imagini ale paginilor

they will be cast into hell, into outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

Christ; having subdued all the adversaries of his Church, will resign his mediatorial kingdom to the Father. This is to be the last act of his temporal administration, when the resurrection has taken place, and all who are found written in the Lamb's book of life, have been crowned with glory. Hear St. Paul's words, “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.” From this passage it is very evident, that when Christ lays down the office of mediator which he is now exercising in heaven, the Christian scheme of redemption will be completed; for the Apostle distinctly says, that the end of this dispensation is not to be till the act of his resignation has taken place. “ Then cometh the end when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God.” It is much to be observed that St. Paul distinguishes, in a very striking manner, between the dominion of God the Father, and that of Jesus Christ the Messiah. The power to be given up by Christ is that which grew immediately out of his human character, and was the reward of his sufferings ; a kingdom of grace and righteousness and peace, conferred upon him at his ascension into heaven, when “a name was given him which is above every name," and he was crowned with glory and honour.” His natural power as God the Son,

which he has in common with the Father and the Holy Ghost, is essential in him, and being never conferred, can never be resigned. By this he reigns for ever and ever, and of his kingdom of glory there shall be no end. The inspired writer, as if fearful lest any mistake should be made, when he mentions what the Psalmist had foretold of Christ's supreme authority, stops to make a remark upon the passage;

“ But when he (the Psalmist) saith, All things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him ;" that is, when God gave to Christ supreme power, he reserved the divine prerogatives from such subjection. The power delegated to Christ related entirely to his Church, and was to be exercised exclusively for the good of the Church. It could not, therefore, be the same with the natural power and dignity of God, which are incommunicable to creatures, and inseparable from the Divinity. Christ, who “was equal to the Father as touching his Godhead, was inferior to the Father as touching his manhood.” And it is this inferiority which the Apostle has in view, when he farther adds, “ And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”

The full meaning, therefore, of Christ's resignation of his power and subjection of his person to God, amounts to this. Sin and death being vanquished, there will be no more occasion for Christ's interceding office, because no objects for whom to

intercede, and no enemies to conquer.

He will, therefore, resign his mediatorial government; and his Church being now united to God, he himself as man, will become subject unto him that put all things under him, that his headship being taken away, God may reign over all without the intervention of another. This final and glorious state of things seems to be expressly alluded to in his last prayer for his Church. “ Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.”—These words evidently imply, that, after the determination of Christ's reign, and as its final consequence, a very close and indescribable union will subsist between the undivided Trinity, Christ the author and finisher of our faith, and all the congregated members of his holy Church. Henceforward we shall dwell with Christ, in a state of social* intercourse with each other and with him, not as his servants, but as his brethren, admiring his perfections, experiencing his tenderness, and partaking of his holiness and glory. This is substantially declared in those comforting words with which he addressed his disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.And again, in these affectionate terms, “Father,

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am ; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me.”

* Paley-Sermon xxii.

Such is the origin, such the nature, and such the end of this wonderful dispensation, in which Christ's mediatorial kingdom is set forth to the world. From the whole view of the subject we gather, that our Lord Jesus Christ is invested with supreme power, as head of the Church; that he purchased this power by his sufferings, and that he exercises it for our exclusive welfare ; that he is our High Priest by whom we come unto God, and that we have no other means of approach but by him ; that his agency in our behalf is now in full operation, and will continue to be so till the end of the world; and that he will then lay down his government, and become subject to the sole dominion of God, that we may dwell with him, and he with us, and that God may be all in all.

If, then, the consideration of Christ's prevailing and continual agency in our behalf be of any value in our esteem, it cannot fail to interest us deeply when we regard our conduct, which is not only the subject of his mediation now, but will become the object of his approbation or displeasure at the last day. Placed, as we are, in a state of trial, which is to result in a state of unchangeable happiness or misery, it must be of the highest moment, that, when we come to give in our accounts, he who was appointed the mediator of our earthly life, may become the rewarder of our heavenly life, and may present us “ without spot and blameless” unto Him, whom we cannot approach without an intercessor, It is a vast mercy in God, that we were not left to

our own endeavours to find out a means of coming back to him, but have been graciously instructed in this most important article of religion, provided with the means requisite for such a purpose, and brought, almost unwillingly and against our nature, from the depths of darkness and uncertainty, to the very throne of grace and glory. Well might man have trembled had he stood before God without a Saviour. His own services, however acceptable through the meritorious intercession of Christ, would alone and by themselves have filled him with despondency. The altars of Jehovah would have been profaned by his unholy sacrifice, and the courts of heaven, could he have appeared there, would have been polluted by his unsanctified presence. But, “ blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,” our case is the reverse of this. The whole earth is become the sacred temple of the divine Majesty where he delights to dwell and to be worshipped ; and when our offerings on the earth are finished, and the world itself shall be no more, the universe will become one entire Catholic Church, undivided and unmixed, and God will be honoured and adored by all his servants. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for

« ÎnapoiContinuați »