Page images
[ocr errors]

unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak..... But in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little while inferior to the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour, that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb. ii. 5—9).

Now the work of putting all things in subjection under Christ and his church, is the act of God the Father during the Millennium; the commencement of which is marked by Adonai ruling in the midst of his enemies, and their being made the footstool of his throne (Ps. cx. 1, 2,5); the very same mystery and time mentioned in Psalm ii. 6,' " Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.” And the termination of this is the subjection, not only of his enemies, but of all things, to Christ at the time of the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father : for Christ must reign till the Father hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death-swallowed up in the lake of fire at the end of the Millennium (Rev. xx. 14);- 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 (1 Cor. xv. 25-28). The footstool of the Lord is at the enthronement of the King, and a part of his royal dignity (see Lam. ii, 1; Ps. xcix. 5, cxxxii.7; '1 Chron. xxviii. 2); but the treading of Satan, the old serpent, under his feet, is the riddance of all evil from heaven and earth,—the never-ending joy of the saved, the never-ending woe of the wicked.

The image of God is renewed in the souls of the elect in this life; and they are charged to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called ; to put off the old man, which is corrupt; and to put on the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. iv. 1, 24). This renewal of the soul is the work of Christ through the Holy Spirit, who is now become a quickening (life-giving) Spirit, as the second Adam, the Lord speaking from heaven (1 Cor. xv. 45, 47; Heb.

1 xii. 25). And as surely as we have borne the image of the earthly Adam, so surely shall we bear the image of the heavenly, if we be sons of God' by regeneration. But flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption : therefore, though renewed in the spirit of our minds now, we receive not the perfect image of God till the resurrection, when the body shall be renewed as well as the soul; when this corruptible shall bave put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, and death shall be swallowed up in victory (1 Cor. xv. 54).

But even now the promises to, and privileges of, the children


[ocr errors]

of God are vast, are beyond the conception of the natural man, and only to be understood by the teaching of the Spirit. “The unsearchable riches of Christ” is the mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been “hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ, to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” And we pray that he would “grant us, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith; that we, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend, with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge; that we might be filled with all the fulness of God;" “ till we all come, in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.'

This is our calling, and no less, to be as Christ was on earth, and so to glorify our heavenly Father. Jesus, when the hour of his departure was come, prayed the Father, “Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee;" and immediately adds, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John xvii. 4). The prayer, to be glorified with the Father, in order to glorify him still further than Christ had done on earth by doing his Father's will, received its answer in the ascension of Christ to the right hand of the Majesty on high; and his glorifying the Father then began, in Christ's shedding down the Holy Spirit to reveal the Father and the Son. “Thou,” saith he to the Father, “hast given to the Son power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him : and this is life eternal, That they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent(John xvii. 3). This is, therefore, given to the church now, and is the first act of glorifying the Father consequent upon the glorification of the Son; and given in the promised Comforter on the day of Pentecost-promised for the very end of glorifying the Father and the Son: “He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine” (John xvi. 14). And“whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son ” (John xiv. 13). The disciples of Jesus bear his commission: As thou, O Father, hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” Their reception is the same; but their victory is sure: “ In the world ye shall have tribulation : but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (xvi. 33). And to him that overcometh will Christ give to sit with him on his throne, as he hath overcome, and is seated in the Father's throne (Rev. iii. 21). “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 mė" (John xyii. 24). And in this salvation and glory of his followers, Christ glorifies his Father: they sons of God, joint heirs with Christ, and shewing forth the perfect image of God.

This perfect.image of God, exhibited in Christ and his body the church, shall during the Millennium rule and order all created things; shall fulfil the word of the Creator, “Let them

6 have dominion.' And as the Omniscient and Almighty God, in creating man to rule, of course invested him with faculties to ensure obedience, all creation shall be brought into harmonious subjection and sweet accord to its Creator : “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: the wolf shall lie down with the lamb, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox: none shall hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain ; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. xi. 9).

But, on the other hand, those who have irrecoverably marred in themselves or others the glorious image of God, rebellious fiends and fiend-like rebels against the Lord, shall be swept from the earth with the besom of destruction. “The fearful, and

. the unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.” The “wild beasts of the desert shalí also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow." For “ Tophet is ordained of old, yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it."

When God called man into being, he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul, an instrument harmoniously responsive to his Creator's will. When man by disobedience and sin fell into discord, and drew down from the love of God his only Son, to re-attune the jarring and discordant elements, he, rising triumphant from the grave, breathed upon his disciples the earnest of regeneration, saying, “ Receive ye the Holy Ghost." But to those who despise, or reject, or quench, this last proof of love, this final offer of mercy from God," there remaineth 'no more sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall consume the adversary. And to such, how appalling, how dreadful, the thought, that the breath of the Lord shall find nothing in their whole being responding in sweet harmony to its influence; but, self-ruined, self-condemned, and in hopeless anguish, they shall find, in that place where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched, that there the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it!

O Thou great Author and End of all blessing and joy, who

[ocr errors]



givest us life and breath and all things, and in whom we live and move and have our being; keep us, we pray thee, ever dependent upon Thee alone. Rebuke our vain imaginings about thee, and teach us to think and feel and act in thee continually; taught by Thyself, whom to know is life everlasting; having thy love shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost given unto us; doing all things to the glory of God. Give us, o Heavenly Father, to Jesus Christ thy Son; that, being one with him, we may receive the adoption of children, may become heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. Fulfil, o Christ, thy gracious promise, that him that cometh unto Thee thou wilt in no wise cast out: and do Thou and the Father come and take up an abode in us, by the Holy Ghost, who is one with the Father and the Son; that, we dwelling in God and God in us, we being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend, with all saints, what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge; that we may be filled with all the fulness of God.

THE HOUR OF CHRIST'S APPEARANCE. ALTHOUGH, by the blessing of God upon the labours of those who have lifted up their voices amidst much contumely, there is at length a considerable number of Christians expecting to see the Lord Jesus Christ appear shortly to judgment, we apprehend that many hold this opinion with more indistinctness thạn better consideration of the word of God warrants; and we therefore now call the attention of such to the time of his advent, in order that it may be seen to be actually at our very doors.

That the Lord appears in some part of that period called throughout Scripture “the day of the Lord,” is what few will deny, but there seems to be great confusion in men's minds upon the nature of the events which take place therein. In the first place, it must be borne in mind that the terms “ day of the Lord” and “ day of judgment.” are synonimous. Every visitation which comes upon the earth, for the destruction of man, beast, or herb, is a judgment from God. All war, pestilence, and famine, every battle, murder, and sudden death, that has ever taken place, from the fall of Adam to the present moment, is a judgment from God. There must, therefore, be something peculiar, something emphatic, something that distinguishes the wars, battles, and pestilence; the judgments, of “the day of the Lord,” from the same calamities which occur at other times; to cause them to be described as those which compose and constitute “ the day of judgment.' The distinction arises from

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the single circumstance of Christ himself being personally present—that is, within the atmosphere of this globe-at the time when the judgments, described in the book of God as taking place in the day of the Lord,” actually occur; and directing them in all their details with his own hand.

This is to be proved by many passages of Scripture. In the first place, the object of his coming; of his." arising out of his place,” is to avenge his insulted Royalty. See Ps. xcvi. 13, xcviii. 9, lxxxii. 8; Isa. xxviii. 21, xxvi. 21; Ps. ii.

But the Jews are never represented as refusing to receive Messiab as their King. They are constantly represented as refusing to receive him as their Atonement, Peace-offering, and Righteousness; but it is “ the nations,” during the dispersion of the chosen seed, that are described as refusing to submit to Christ as their Lord and King. The Jews, at their worst times, never refused to acknowledge submission to be due to Jehovah: they added to that the worship of other gods, they oppressed the poor, they violated God's commandments, they neglected His ordinances; but they never denied their subjection and dependence upon Him. This was a crime reserved for Christian nations; and committed by them with an intensity exactly commensurate with the extent of their boasting of their philosophy and enlightened understandings. “Why do the HEATHEN rage? ....Be wise now, therefore, 0 ye kings ; be instructed, ye judges of the earth.” (Ps. ii.)

Idumea, Edom, or Christendom, is always described as the scene on which the great transactions of “ the day of judgment” take place. There is the gathering of Armageddon : Messiah comes from Edom to Judea, with his garments already stained with blood. It is to sup on the flesh of the captains of Babylon that all the birds of the air are invited : and Babylon is Christendom. One of the causes for which Christ has a controversy with the nations is their treatment of his people during the dispersion, and for which he punishes the kings of the earth upon the earth : and, assuredly, the Christian nations have been most guilty in this respect. Moreover, the instruments with which Christ inflicts one part of his judgments are the Jews themselves, as a measure of retaliation (Ps. cxlix.; Obad. 15; Zech, ix. 13, x. 3—5).

The only question that can arise is, Whether the saints are “caught up to meet the Lord in the air” at the beginning, or at some other part, of that “day.” Now we have frequently had occasion to shew that all the figures, types, and facts which have prefigured the resurrection of the saints, shew it to take place in the morning of the day of the Lord. The very expression “ meet the Lord,” implies that He should be on his way down to the earth: and it is gratuitous folly, since there is not the

« PreviousContinue »