Abbildungen der Seite

Minister. This is very easily done; for it is universally acknowledged by all Christians, that all things are now, and have ever been subject to his control; for when he was upon earth, in his lowest state of humiliation, even the unclean spirits, the most rebellious of beings obeyed his word; which made those who saw his miracles cry with amazement, “What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they obey him," St. Mark, i. 27. T'he devils obeyed him universally in whatever he comarded them; and could not enter into the swine without his permission; and how disagreeable soever his words were to them, they were forced to comlpy, without daring to complain; yea, they frequently seemed like humble suppliants; and once we read, they went so far as to adjure our blessed Lord not to torment them: See St. Mark, v. 7. The winds, waves, fishes, all obey him; all diseases, and even death itself, heard his voice, and departed at his bidding; and to his disciples he said, “ All power is given unto me, in heaven and in earth,” Matth. xxviii. 18. And certainly now, he is at “the right hand of God, angels, and authorities, and powers, are made subject unto him," 1 Pet. iii. 22.-God hath exalted him far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion; and every name that is named; not only in this age (for so I render the word aioni) but also in that which is to come; and put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,” Ephes. i. 21, 22. But as though the apostle had known that the sense would be disputed, he hath said, “ But now we see not yet all things put under him," Heb. ii. 8. All things were subject to his control, even on earth; and they cannot be less so, now he is exalted to heaven, to the glory which he had with the Father before the world was; and yet many years after his ascension, the apostle says “But now we see not yet all things put under him;" by which he must certainly mean their being willingly subject unto him; for, in all other senses, all things are now put under him, in the most unlimited manner, as we have seen already. But the apostle goes on to tell how far the important work is accoinplished, and that a sure foundation is laid for its entire completion; saying, “ But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suftering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that he, by the grace of God, should taste death for all;"> (for so the word pantos ought to be rendered.) There was anciently a manuscript in use, in which the words were choris Theou instead of chariti Theou, that is, for all except God. And there is a little doubt of its being the true sense; because St. Paul makes the same exception, with respect to those who are put under Christ, as we have before noted, 1 Cor. xv. 27.

Then the apostle adds, ” For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Heb. ii. 9. 10.

Instead of the word all intending only a part, we find in several places, that the word many intends all, as in Rom. v. 15, 16, 19. « For if ed unto muny.


These many

through the offence of one, many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath aboundThe free gift is of many

offences unto justification. For, as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so, by the obedience of one, shall many be made right

Isaiah lii. 11, 12. By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many (or the many) for he shall bear their iniquities. And he bare the sins of many and made intercession for the transgressors. are called all, in the 6th verse. "All we, like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and JEHOVAH hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

But to return to our subject: St. Paul assures us, that though all things, without exception, are put under him, one sense, yet, in another, he says,

But now we see not yet all things put under him.” But he leaves us not in the dark about the matter; but speaks of that effectual

working, whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself,” Phil. iii. 21. And when all things shall be subdued unto himself, 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. xvi. 28.

Here we plainly find, a very necessary distinction between all things being put under him; and all things being subdued unto him, the former is already done in the fullest manner; and the latter shall be as perfectly and fully accomplished in due time: “ Because the creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the

[ocr errors]

glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together, until now," Rom. viii. 21. 22,

Though what hath already been spoken, may seem more than enough to prove the point respecting the word all; yet there is one passage more, full to the purpose, that I would not omit; it being of itself, fully sufficient to settle the dispute forever:--The apostle, speaking of Christ saith,“ Who is the image of the invisible God,, the firstborn of every creature; 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 all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.-For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell; 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.” Col. i. 15, 20.

As the word all is generally acknowledged to be used in its most extensive sense, in every place in 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; and, indeed, it would be very unkind, if not unfair, for him thus to do; as it would tend to mislead us in a matter of very great importance.

Friend. I hope I am not so attached to my own opinions as to be unwilling to hear and consider what may be advanced against them; but the doctrine of endless damnation has been so generally considered as a most important article of faith by all denominations, that I can by no means think of giving it up, unless you are able to establish the contrary system upon the most solid ground, and answer all the scriptural objections fairly, that have been, or that can be brought against it; for I must have all my doubts solved, before I can think of believing such a strange doctrine as this appears to me,

Minister. I most heartily commend your prudence and sincerity. I took the same resolution; and would never receive this view, till I could answer all objections to my own satisfaction; and if you are disposed to inquire farther at another opportunity, I shall be happy in giving you all the assistance in my power.



« ZurückWeiter »