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bows, of things in heaven and things in earth. He has a name above” every name in heavenly authority and influence. It is by him that all things consist, whether they be principalities, or powers, or thrones, or domino ions. What keeps all these provinces, with their innumerable intelligences, in order, at their proper work, without clashing, and without anarchy? It is mediatorial power; it is the influence of the atonement. It is by him, 1 say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
All these services are rendered acceptable to God by the merits of the Mediator. Christ is as a Lamb slain in the midst of the throne; and all the services that come to the throne have a reference to the Lamb of atonement that is in the midst of it. The Mediator by his intercession presents the services of all the subjects of the empire publicly to his heavenly Father. In his official character Christ is the Receiver General of all the revenues of God's immense empire, and as the mediatorial President he presents them to God. He entered heaven, not to receive glory only, but to do templework. It is his work, as the public officer of the moral commonwealth, to present to God all the revenue of service and glory received from all the provinces, and gathered together under bis mediatorial inspection. In this office and work, he is the representative of the universe, but more especially of the church, transacting publicly all its affairs with God.
As the official President, it is his temple-work to recompense all these services by his sovereign grace. He has ascended far above all heavens, that he might fill all things, and bring all worlds into the light and the "joy of their Lord.” In the day when the mediatorial administration of things shall come to its splendid close, all intelligences, angels and men, shall be marshalled from their heavenly places, and gathered before him, as the great President; they shall receive their crowns from the hand that was nailed to the cross; and in love and homage, they will cast their diadems at his feet, and ascribe all their magnificent rewards to his sovereign bounty and love.
This mediatorial presidency of Christ shews the connection of his atonement with all the works of God. His atonement is the ground of his government over the universe. The mediatorial glory of Christ is an official glory that followed bis sufferings. His crown is linked to his cross. He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; wherefore God highly exalted him to the Universal Presidency. Christ is not head over all things irrespectively of bis atonement, any more than he can be Head of the church irrespectively of it. The Son of God has no mediatorial power in heaven or earth, but what arises from his atoneinent, and is connected with it.
The atonement, accomplished in this world, extends its relations and influences to other worlds, as is evident by the conveyance of the blessings of other worlds to ours. Our world, by sin, had atteinpted to snap the connection between it and the centre and source of all blessing, but mediatorial influences have preserved it. Now God blesses our world with the spiritual blessings of the heavenly places, and he blesses us and them, only “in Christ.” The atonement is the ground and medium of the ministry of angels in our world. As revolters we had every thing to dread from the employment of their agency, as subjects of high and unbending loyalty to the offending king. In the mediation of Christ they and we are become the subjects of the same presidency; they are the friends of man, and ministering spirits to the saints. They defend us from our spiritual adversaries, and execute the “charge” given to them concerning us through life. They rejoice in our accession to the church of Christ, and assembly of the firstborn; and they will, in due time, convey our ransomed and sanctified spirits safe home to glory. The actual admission of men into the “heavenly places,” shews that the atonement is connected with all heavens." It shews that the keys which open the door to them are in benevolent hands. Many myriads of sinners have already passed thither from the land of great tribulation -but they all arrived safely, only “through the blood of the Lamb.” Heaven would not have been open and accessible to sinners, had not Christ himself publicly entered it in his official character, and solemnly set it apart, to be the home of believers, by the influences of his own atonement. “By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us;" and all the heavenly things themselves were purified, consecrated, and set a-part, by his better sacrifice, so as to be accessible and approachable, and heritable by sinners of our world.
The Extent of the Atonement illustrated by its
Relation to the Universe.
If the atonement of Christ be limited in its design and aspect, particular in its blessings and influences, and commercial in its principles, paying quid pro quo, it seems to me impossible to account for the relation, which the scriptures declare to exist, between the atonement and all the works of God. A particular atonement supposes that Jesus Christ suffered the punishment due to the elect, and to them only; and that the blessings of the atonement shall be shared by them and by them only. On this hypothesis the good which angels have received is left entirely unaccounted for, except, perhaps, it be thought a 'mere sovereign largess: and the good which the wicked enjoy in this world is accounted for, partly as "uncovenanted mercies” scattered among them, and partly as a bonus granted to them for the sake of the church. If God can give some mercies uncovenanted, why not give every mercy? “Uncovenanted," means, irrespective of the promises connected with the atonement. Had the first-born of Adam any of these uncovenanted mercies? Must not Cain have known that all the good which he enjoyed was connected with the promise of the Seed of the woman? If God could honorabiy give any mercy without the covenanted atonement, he might give every mercy. The conclusion is unassailable, that if God could give any and every mercy irrespective of atonement, the death of Christ was necessary. When it is said that the wicked receive blessings for the sake of the church, the phraseology does not mean that the church is the meritorious cause of those blessings, but it is meant that these blessings are conferred upon others, for the purpose of benefit'ng the church. The question, "bow the ungodly come by these blessings?” is left untouched by such a phrase.
The blessings of the atonement cannot reach where its relations do not extend; and in whatever place, and in whatever world we find the blessings of the atonement, our conclusion is sound, that the designs and the influences of the death of Christ reached there. We discover the blessings of the atonement more or less liberally scattered every where in our world—yea, we find these blessings among principalities and provinces in "heavenly places.” The supposition that these blessings reached the heavenly places by accident, or at random, without any design or intent, is unreasonable, and unscriptural. Wherever, in the physical universe, we detect the influences of gravitation, we never suspect that those influences came there by some arbitrariness unaccountable, or by some endowment unintended. We never suspect this, simply, because we have no preconceived physical systein to render the suspicion necessary. In discussing the alonement, then, we are not afraid of embracing a favorite maxim of the advocates of limited redemption, that the death of Christ and its benefits are of the same extent. We find these benefits of the death of the Son of God in “all places of his dominions," and we cannot be wrong in believing, that they were intended to be so.
A limited atonement for a certain chosen number of men, leaves the benevolent ministry of angels, in our rebellious world, unaccounted for.
It may account for the angels being ministering spirits sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation; but the whole history of God's works shews, that the ministry of angels has had a benevolent influence upon many who have not proved heirs of salvation. The argument of our Savior about little children supposes that all of them have a share in the good services of angels. No one will say, either that the holy angels would give their services to such children, or that such children could become interested in such high advantages, irrespectively of the mediation and atonement of Christ.
This ministry of angels has not been confined to mankind in their childhood; it has followed them when grown up, and even when living in sin. As instances of this benevolent ministry towards mankind as sinners, I might mention the case of Hagar and her son, the case of Balaam, the case of the angel who led the contumacious Israelites through the wilderness; and, not to make a larger enumeration, the case of the angel who descended to the pool of Bethesda* to trouble the waters for the healing of the bodily disorders of men.
'The ministry of angels for the benefit of man is in every case an effect of the mediation and atonement of Christ, for angels and principalities are made subject to bis authority. They go at his bidding in every employment. If Christ had purchased their ministry for a certain number oply, how have these intelligences of distant worlds taken such interests in all the children of our world? Is this an uncovenanted employment and do even they do works of supererogation? Will these holy beings squander upon others a ministry so dearly purchased only for some?
* The critical disputes about the text of this narrative do not at all affect the probability of the benevolent aspect of the ministry of angels towards sinners.