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Turning to the higher and larger sphere of Colossians, we hear the same truth. In the Son of God's love we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins; “who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature." Is that His highest title? Is this His Divine glory? No; but founded upon it. He is the first-born of every creature, not because He became incarnate, not because He was the holy Man who triumphed over all the consequences of the first Adam's sin, and conquered him that led the first man captive at his will: in a word, not because He was a creature, be it the most faithful and glorious, but because He was the Creator. He is the first-born of every creature, FOR by Him were all things created. Here is His right to supremacy:

"For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him ail things consist" (Col. i. 16, 17).

His primacy over all creation flows from His Divine creative power.

He asserts it as man; but His title flows from another and higher source. But He is more than first-born of every creature.

“He is the head of the body, the Church who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead,” which, as we have seen, is the glory especially dwelt on in Ephesians.

Sin was here below. Man, who ought to have been the first, was the lowest of all; and creation itself, by reason of him, was steeped in the bondage of corruption. And those whom God was about to bring into the Church, what were they? Alienated and enemies in their mind by wicked works. Hence though the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, though ALL THE FULNESS was pleased to dwell in Him, even that could not meet the evil and misery of man, nor the holiness and the heart of God. The light of God was there, His love was there; in Him was life, and the Life was the light of

Alas! it was manifest that the Jews, that all, were irreparably blind.

"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin : but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth VOL. II. PT. III.



me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father” (John xv. 22–24).

What was to be done? Verily, verily,” saith the Lord, “ except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit." His death could alone deliver. But this was ever before the soul of our blessed Master. "I have a baptism to be baptised with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished." 6. This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood” (1 John v). Hence in Colossians i. 20—22.


“ And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in his sight."

The Church is being reconciled now.

To the living members of Christ it can be said, “ You hath He reconciled.” Creation is not so yet, though the blood of the cross is shed on which the reconciliation is grounded;

it will be so in the fulness of the times.a


a It is almost needless to say that these set times are not yet completed, and that Christ has not yet all things in the heavens and on the earth headed up in Him, and that the Church is not yet reigning joint heir with Him. The translation, which has been supposed to involve one, and which to be consistent ought to involve all of these consequences is a mistake. 6. That for the dispensation of the fulness of times, He hath headed up for Himself all things in Christ,” is a version founded upon a misconception of the force of the aorist infinitive. The infinitive being abstract, ανακεφαλαιώσασθαι is as capable of referring to the future as to the past. You cannot gather the time of actual occurrence from that word in itself. I believe that the authorised version gives the sepse quite correctly. The purpose of God was, “that He might together," or to gather together" etc. The object was not to express the time of the gathering; and this is so true, that usually the aorist infinitive is expressed in Latin and English by the present. Moreover, as here, the infinitive of the aorist is often em


At present, no such administration takes place, though we here learn God's purpose that it shall. Christ is, no doubt, head of angels, of Jews, of men, of creation. But is He now exercising these rights? Now it is of the administration when the periods are ripe that our verses speak. But none of the things are being yet gathered. On the contrary, there is yet to be a deeper crisis of rebellion than ever. It is now the time when all things are severed from Christ, or if gathered, gathered only in the ruin and wretchedness which the guile and power of Satan, have introduced. It is the time of another gathering, the gathering of the joint heirs who shall be glorified with Christ. But this is the gathering of Ephesians ii.," not of Ephesians i. It is the

gathering of the members of His body, not of the subjects of His rule.

Some, I know, have conceived that by all things in heaven and earth" is meant the Church. But first of all the expression “all things,” etc., forbids the thought. The Church never was and never will be “all things." And though now the calling is being effected on earth, it is not a gathering there, but out of it; and, even when complete and in heaven, still it will not even embrace all things in heaven, where the gathering in Ephes. i. 10., is a gathering, at the same time, of all things that are in the heavens and that are on the earth under the headship of Christ. Again, not only is the Church an elect body, but in verse il we have members of it referred as an additional thing to the heading up all things in Christ, “ in whom also we have obtained" etc., and in verse 22 we have “ all things.” again spoken of as put by God under Christ's feet, who is given as head over all things to the Church, which therefore, far from being merged in all things, enjoys and shares His supremacy,

ployed, where we might have expected that of the future, because the action is considered in itself as concluded ; and its future occurrence is sufficiently indicated by the governing verb, and the context generally. Besides this, the infin. aorist is generally used if the principal verb is in that tense.

b I might add also, that it is the gathering of the scattered children of God, in virtue of Christ's death referred to in John xi.

as His body and glorious Bride. And this is entirely confirmed by the verses immediately before and after verse 10; in the one case where the mystery of God's will is made known touching all things in heaven and on earth, and in the other, because we are spoken of as having the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance. Such is what we have in the mean time: not the actual possession which comes at the fulness of times, not previously, but the Spirit meanwhile, as the earnest until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory. For when that fulness arrives, it will be glory, His glory, and not as now the dealings and riches of His grace. The Lord hasten the glorious day!


Head of the Church, Thy body,
Jesus, our great salvation !

Sweet to Thy saints

It is to think
Of all thine exaltation !
All power to Thee 's committed,

power in earth, and heaven,
To thee a name

Above all fame,
Above all glory 's given.
Thy saints with Thee are raised,
With thee on high are seated,

Poor, sinful now,

But soon with thee (Blest thought !) to be completed ; For when Thou, Lord, and Saviour, Shalt come again in glory,

There by Thy side

Thy SPOTLESS Bride Shall crown the wondrous story. Then comes the final Kingdom, No bound, nor end possessing,

When Heaven, and earth,

Entranced shall lie
In universal blessing;
No murmuring tongue to sadden,
No breath of sin to wither,

In earth—on high

Be nought but joy, And blissful peace for ever!



Deuteronomy, xxxii. THERE is a whole system of divine lyrics in the word of God; and the one theme of them, I think I may state to be-God in connection with his people. They vary as to the degree in which different points of them are put forward in prominence; but the highest order is where God is dwelt upon more fully in His own glories and worthy praises. I do not mean God abstractedly; with that I think the scripture has little indeed to do. But perhaps we should find this thought characterise such Psalms as I I refer to-God in His own greatness and glories, yet still the covenant-God of His people. For this reason, I think I should put such Psalms as 1 Chron. xvi., Psalm cv., and the song of Moses (Psalm cxlv. is something of this character, though scarcely of the kind now spoken of) among the high places" of the word. I will take an example to illustrate: very glorious is the strain of triumph in which Moses says, by faith, in Exod. xv. “Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth Thy people, whom Thou hast redeemed; Thou hast guided ther strength to Thy holy habitation.” And very beautiful is it in Balaam's song (which is more akin to the subject now in hand), the aspect which Israel holds in the divine mind; “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob; thy tabernacles, O Israel” (Numb. xxiv.) But higher still are the thoughts when God is dwelt on, and gloried in by his people, for his own glories and worthiness (1 Chron. xvi. 10) "Glory ye in His holy name, let the heart of them ,

, rejoice that seek the Lord: seek the Lord, and His strength; seek His face continually. Remember His marvellous works, and the judgments of his mouth.And ver. 27, “Glory and honour are in His presence; strength and gladness are in His place." We should not value God, if I may so speak, only for what we can get from him (I mean as to our wants, etc.); it is our privilege

in Thy

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