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CHAP. XX.

Chap. V.

Chap. VI.

Chap. VII.

say, 'By the grace of God I am what I am.' If in the latter case there has been no more coercion or violation of the will than in the former, though in it there was so much fiercer and more determined a will to be overcome, why should the hope of the ultimate subjection of all souls to God in the ages to come be rejected on the ground alleged, seeing that it would be but the effect of the same grace, which in the present age subdues so many persistent and depraved wills, bringing them into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

This grand purpose of the kingdom of Christ, it was next seen, is to be brought to pass not all at once but in a succession of eras; that it is therefore called the purpose of the ages,' because its consummation is only to be reached in the evolution of successive epochs. It is in the economy of the fulness of the times, that the good pleasure of God, which He hath purposed in Himself, is to be accomplished, of gathering up together again in one all things in Christ. Therefore the kingdom of Christ is set forth in Holy Scripture in different stages of it, and consequently under varying aspects of it. Sometimes it is spoken of as a kingdom that has come, and at another time as one yet to come; as a kingdom that cometh not with observation, and yet as being visibly manifested in power and great glory. In its present stage and aspect, the kingdom of Christ is one of moral force and spiritual influence and providential government, directed to and resulting in the calling out of a people for his This is to be succeeded by a further development of the kingdom, in the visible presence

name.

CHAP. XX.

and personal manifestation of Christ, at his second advent, to reign on the earth as the God-Man. He shall take unto Him, we are told, his great power and reign, and the Lord shall be King over all the earth, and there shall be one Lord and his name One. In this dominion the saved ones of this era are to be associated, as a royal priesthood. Being made kings and priests unto God, they are to share with their Lord in the accomplishment of the great purpose of his kingdom, to be fellow-workers with Him in bringing to pass the grand and glorious consummation of it, the reconciliation and subjection unto God of a ransomed and regenerated universe. In connection with this it was seen what Holy Scripture reveals concerning the results of the reign of Christ and of his saints on the earth, in the establishment of righteousness and peace, in the removing discord both from among man and beast, in the taking away of the curse from the earth, and in the renovation of the whole face of nature. Further, in this great work God's ancient people, chap. VIII. after their conversion, are to bear a distinguished part; for the manifestation of Christ as a King on the earth will be as David's Son and in connection with David's throne, his second coming being coincident with the conversion and restoration of the Jews, and their incorporation into the kingdom of Messiah; so bringing to pass the covenant promise to Abraham, 'In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.' Next, it was seen how on the appearing of the sign of the Son of Man in the heavens the sleeping saints are to be raised, and together with the living saints to be caught up to

Chap. IX

CHAP. XX.

meet the Lord in the air, to come with Him in their spiritual bodies when he descends to the earth. Chap. X. & XI. On the coming of the Lord, it was seen, judgment will be held on professing Christendom and on the non-christian nations, as set forth in the parables of the Virgins, the Talents, and the Sheep and Goats. Chap. XII-XIV. In connection with these judgments enquiry was made into the true significance of those emblems and expressions which set forth the punishment of the wicked, and we were led to the conclusion that none of them warrants the idea of never-ending torment; on the contrary, that both the Greek word used, the analogy of divine judgments generally, and the prevailing use of the symbol of fire, indicate a punishment corrective rather than vindictive, through which and out of which the subjects of it shall come forth purged and purified from evil, the wondrous monuments of the transforming love and power of the Saviour King. Further, it was seen, from the parallel drawn by St. Paul between Adam and Christ, that the effects of the redemptive work of the one shall be co-extensive with, yea shall overpass, the effects of the fall of the other; that the mediatorial reign of the Son of Man is to result in the subjection of all things to God, and that when this great end of it shall have been reached, then will He surrender the kingdom to the Father, and Himself become subject to Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. Next, it was seen that on grounds both of reason and revelation we are warranted in believing that death does not terminate the possibility of salvation, seeing that Christ Himself in his spirit

Chap. XV.

Chap. XVI.

CHAP. XX.

preached to the spirits in prison, but that beyond this life there is a remedial process by which the divine love and power shall ultimately triumph over every form of evil, and shall utterly destroy all the works of the devil. Next was considered Chap. XVII. the intermediate state of souls in Paradise, between death and the resurrection, especially as it is one of moral progress and spiritual advancement. An Chap. XVIII. enquiry of deep interest and moment was then entered upon as to the teaching on this subject of that law which was the shadow of the good things to come, and of which Christ said not one jot or tittle should pass away till all be fulfilled. And in this law were found various pre-intimations, all pointing to the very conclusions, which from the study of other parts of Scripture had been already arrived at, concerning the character and purpose of the kingdom of Christ. Finally, some passages were Chap. XIX. discussed, and objections considered, commonly alleged by those who maintain the never-ending duration of future punishment.

My

And now, in winding up this discussion, I wish once more distinctly to place before the reader what it is that I have endeavoured to establish. position is this, that the redemptive work and mediatorial reign of the Lord Jesus will eventuate in the ultimate reconciliation of all, in the final subjection and submission of all to God. Apart from the direct testimony of Holy Scripture to this effect, I contend that nothing less than this can legitimately be inferred from what we are told of the person and work of Christ, of the design of his incarnation, and of his investiture with universal

CHAP. XX.

Col. i. 12-20.

power and dominion. Considering all these, it seems to me a necessary inference that the reign and rule of Him, to whom all things in heaven and earth have been made subject, must ultimately issue in the complete victory of divine grace and goodness over satanic might and malice.

It is not, however, a matter of inference only but of distinct and emphatic statement. Not to adduce again the several scriptural testimonies which have been already cited, let this passage, which has not as yet been advanced, be duly pondered. Giving thanks unto the Father, who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, who delivered us out of the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love; in whom we have our redemption, even the remission of our sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the First-born of all creation; for in Him were all things created, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers; all things have been created by Him and for Him; and He is before all things and in Him all things subsist. And He is the Head of the body, the Church, who is the beginning, the First-born from the dead, that in all things He may be the first. Because it pleased the Father that in Him should all the fulness dwell, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross, through Him, I say, whether they be the things on the earth or the things in the heavens.' I am bold to ask, Can any statement be more clear and decided

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