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On Reconciliation by Christ, and his Intercession.
MR. WINCHESTER makes the following remark upon Colos. i. 15–20. “ As the word all is generally ac
knowledged to be used in its most extensive sense “ in every place of this paragraph except the last, “ there is no reason to be given why the apostle should
change the sense of the word without giving us the “ least notice of it."*
Mr. Vidler also is of opinion, that the reconciliation spoken of in this paragraph includes devils as well as men. “ Let it be observed,” says he, “ that all rational “creatures are either things in earth, or things in heaven; "i. e. things of earthly original, or things of heavenly
original: nothing was made in hell, even hell itself is "only the consequence of the creatures' transgression. * All the things therefore which are in heaven, or which “ are in earth, must mean every rational creature that "needed reconciliation. That this is the sense of the " apostle may be justly urged from ver. 15. It will not “ be denied that every man and every angel are here “included, as being created by Christ, and for Christ, " and having their existence in Cbrist.
Paul then goes on to say that Christ is the head of the body, tiie church, fc. Let any man ask,
1. Whether it be not here included that Jesus Christ " made the devils ; not indeed as devils, but as pure and holy angels ?
“ 2. Whether Jesus Christ did not make them for " himself?
* Dialogues, p. 43.
16 3. Whether Jesus Christ doth not now uphold them “ in being? For by him all things consist.
" 4. Let him ask whether the all things in heaven and “ in earth in ver. 20. which are to be reconciled by the “ blood of his cross, are not the same all things said to “ be created by Jesus Christ in r. 16? And if so,
66 5. Whether devils are not to be reconciled as well
as men ?"'*
I have given their arguments at length on this celebrated passage, and shall now proceed to answer them.
Mr. V. supposes that by “ all things that are in heaven, se and that are in earth,” the apostle means all things of earthly, and of heavenly original. This curious interpretation of his words is the foundation on which Mr. V.'s fabric for the accommodation of devils is built. I will take away the foundation, and then the babel will fall of itself. The apostle does not say where they were created, but where they existed at the time he was writing; for he writes in the present tense—“that are in heaven, "and that are in earth;" if therefore he meant to include the fallen angels, and the lost of mankind, he ought to have added, " and that are in hell.” It is evident that he did not substitute the present tense for the past, because when speaking of the time of creation, in the former part of the verse, he uses the past tense—"By “ Him were all things created;" and if he meant to speak of the place of their existence at that time, he ought to have proceeded, as he begun, in the past tense, and to have said, “ that were in heaven, and that were in 56 earth.” This remark serves to overturn all that Mr. V. has said ; for if things in hell are not included in this account of creation, I believe no one will suppose that they are included in the reconciliation.
If it be inquired, “What things in heaven stood in “ need of reconciliation ? I answer, that all the saints who were in heaven at the time the apostle wrote, once
* God's Love to his Creatures, p. 21, 22.
needed reconciliation : And it was through Jesus Christ, that God reconciled them unto himself; for they were saved through faith in Christ, as a Lamb slain (intentionally) from the foundation of the world.
In Heb. chap. ii. the exclusion of devils from the benefits arising from the death of Christ is expressed in very strong terms. “For verily he taketh not hold of “ angels,” (verse 16. See the marginal reading.) The reason why He assumed human nature, is stated in ver. 14, 15, 17.
“ Forasmuch then as the children are par. "takers of flesh and blood, He also himself took part of “ the same ; that through death, He might destroy him “ that had the power of death; that is, the devil; and “ deliver them, who through fear of death, were all “their life-time subject to bondage. Wherefore in all
things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren : " that he might be a merciful and faithful High-Priest in “ things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for “ the sins of the people.” There are three things remarkable in this passage. 1. The fallen angels will not be saved through the death of Christ, but destroyed. 2. The children for whom Christ died, to make reconciliation for their sins, are said to be partakers of flesh and blood; but the devils are not partakers of flesh and blood; therefore they are not His children, nor has he made reconciliation for their sins. 3. Atonement can only be made in the same nature which offended. It behooved Christ, to be made like unto his brethren in all things, that he might be qualified as their High-Priest to make reconciliation for their sins. This is the reason why He took flesh and blood in order to redeem mankind. The devils therefore cannot be benefited by what Christ did in the buman nature, seeing they do not partake of flesh and blood. If they are His brethren, and He intends to make reconciliation for their sins, it behooves Him to be made like unto them in all things ; i. e. it is necessary He should assume their nature. But the Universalists
do not contend for their salvation in any other way than by the blood of the cross; we may therefore very safely conclude, that they have neither part nor lot in this matter,
Messrs. Weaver and Vidler both allow that the seed of Abraham, on whom Christ taketh hold, means all believers under the present dispensation ; but these they call, the first-fruits; and Mr. V. wishes to know," whether the “ harvest will cot follow ?”' i. e. whether unbelievers and deyils will not reap everlasting life. The apostle James calls the believers of his day, with propriety, the firstfruits ; because they were the first converts under the Gospel dispensation ; but whether believers eighteen hundred
afterward ought to be viewed in the same light may be disputed. However, as these gentlemen expect such a wonderful crop in the time of harvest, it may be necessary to inform them, that our Lord has given a pretty full account of it in Matt. xiii. When that season arrives, the angels, who are the reapers, will “gather the tares, " the children of the wicked
one, and cast them into a furnace of fire ; there shall “ be wailing and goashing of teeth.” So that after the harvest is got in, many will have to say, “ The first“ fruits are gathered; the harvest is past, the summer 6 is ended, and we are not saved.”
The word all, in Coloss. i. 15—20. cannot be understood in so comprehensive a sense wben applied to reconciliation, as when applied to creation, because though Jesus Christ created, He did not die to reconcile, the holy angels. Mr. Vidler says, “ There must be a recon“ciliation betwixt them, and such as are reconciled to “God by Jesus Christ."* But it must be observed, that God did not give Jesus Christ to die that saints and angels might be reconciled to each other, but “ that He might reconcile all things “ unto Himself.” And in this sense the holy angels could not require reconciliation,
* God's Love, p. 22.
9 i. e.
- And you
The design of God respecting the reconciliation of men is in many instances frustrated. He hath committed to His ministers the word of reconciliation, and they beseech and pray singers to be reconciled to God, 2 Cor. v. 19, 20. Yet numbers do not receive their testimony. They may still justly complain with the prophet, “ Who “ hath believed our report ?”! And even after the reconciliation hath taken place, final salvation is suspend. ed upon the condition of perseverance; for immediately after the apostle bad expressed the pleasure of God about the reconciliation of all things, he adds, “ hath He reconciled in the body of His fiesh through " death, to present you holy, and unblamable, and unre“provable in His sight : if ye continue in the faith, “grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the “hope of the Gospel.” Now if devils are not included in this account of reconciliation, and if the reconciliation and final salvation of men be conditional, then this passage affords no support to the Universal Restoration.
On Jobn xvii. 20, 23. Mr. Winchester observes, that co when the church shall be one, in spirit, love, design, “ judgment, &c. as the Father and Son are ; then shall “ the world believe, and believing, have life; then shall “ the world know Him, whom to know is life eternal. “But as this great cause has never yet existed, the effect “ has not yet followed ; but when the first shall be, the " last shall take place in consequence.'
Mr. W. bas not left us in the dark about the time when these events will happen. His friend asks, “ When shall the world 66 believe and know that Christ is the sent of God ?" Mr. W. answers, " When the great marriage of the Lamb " shall be celebrated, and his Bride shall be one in uni“versal love and fellowship, as the Father and the Son now are.
When I had read this I turned over to
* Dialogues, p. 96, 97.