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preached to the spirits in prison, but that beyond CHAP. XX. 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 Chup. XIX. discussed, and objections considered, commonly alleged by those who maintain the never-ending duration of future punishment.
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. My 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
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
Ι the earth or the things in the heavens.' I am bold to ask, Can any statement be more clear and decided than that here made by St. Paul? He
that God was well pleased that in Christ should all the fulness dwell, the fulness, that is, of the Godhead, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross, through Him (he repeats) whether they be the things on the earth or the things in the heavens. Is this the good pleasure of God, to reconcile all things to Himself through Christ, and can that good pleasure be frustrated or disappointed ? Were all things created in Christ and by Christ and for Christ, and did He, in and by and for whom they were called into existence, become man and suffer and die to win back and restore a fallen world, and shall the mighty purpose of his incarnation be in any wise thwarted, and his redemptive act fall short of his creative act ? Did the Son of God become a partaker of flesh and blood, that through death He might bring to nought him that hath the power of death, that is the devil, and after all shall the issue of the contest between the Prince of Light and the Prince of Darkness be, what according to so-called orthodoxy it only will be, that whereas Immanuel will save his thousands, Apollyon will slay his tens of thousands? I cannot and do not think it. Rather would I believe that sooner than that Satan shall snatch one trophy from the Lord of Hosts, he himself shall at last succumb, and laying down the weapons of his rebellion become himself a trophy of the might and the mercy of Him whom God highly exalted, and to whom He gave the name which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of things in heaven and on earth and
under the earth, and that every tongue should con-
now, I can do no more than once again to commend this subject to the prayerful study of the reader. Whether or not he may have been able to go along with me in all that I have written, this at least, I think, none can deny, that the view which has been put forward of the kingdom of Christ, while it throws light upon some of the darkest enigmas by which the minds of the best of men have been troubled, is one that redounds to the glory of the love and grace and power of the Triune Jehovah. For myself I may say, that because I believe that the views, commonly held and propounded concerning the eternity of evil and of its punishment, are not to the honour of our God and Saviour, but disparage rather the potency of his redemptive work; because I believe that the ultimate complete recovery of a fallen world under the mediatorial reign of the Son of Man is most clearly revealed in Holy Scripture, and that this doctrine is truly to the praise of his holy name as the Saviour King ; because I profoundly believe all this, therefore it is that I have written what I have written. 'I believed, therefore have I spoken.' To the blessing of God I commend this effort to set forth the glory of his might and mercy, and to make manifest the unsearchable riches of Christ.'
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