« AnteriorContinuar »
Let it be seen that "your life is hid with Christ in God, and then when Christ, who is your life, shall appear, ye also shall appear with him in glory." Heed the apostolic injunction, that, “speaking the truth in love, you may grow up into him in all things which is the Head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
BY REV. JOSEPH SMITH,
"Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcison, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all, and in all.”—Col. iii. 11.
The great idea in the mind of a Jew, was his nationality. He gloried in patriotism. The glory of the Greek was wisdom. Those in bondage think, that above all things they would glory in freedom. But the christian, renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him, glories only in Christ crucified. Christ to him is ALL, and in all. Patriotism, freedom, learning and refinement, are, by no means to be lightly esteemed. But compared with the glory of the cross, they are to him only as a dim candle in the brightness of the noon-day sun, overpowered, absorbed, unseen. It accords with the genius of ancient languages, and with the ardor of the Hebrew mind, to express a superlative idea by contrast rather than comparison. The gain of the whole world, considered by itself, would be something, but contrasted with the loss of a soul, it is absolutely nothing. Freedom, civilization, learning, and, whatever appertains to us as men, or citizens, considered by themselves, are of great value, but not worthy to be named in comparison with the blessings that flow from the cross. In contrast, those are as nothing, and these are all.
The language of the text is very general, or rather, I may say, absolutely unlimited. Is it to be so understood? We readily grant that to the words, all, every-one, every-where, we are not in all instances to attach the widest possible idea. The connection and nature of the subject show evidently where the writer
did not intend these terms to be thus interpreted. But does it follow, from any just principle of interpretation, that these words are never to be understood in their widest, unlimited sense? If, in their application to men and things of time, we may be in danger of making words mean too much, are we in danger of committing the same error when words are used to express the Being, Attributes and Work of God? I take it for granted, that with our limited perception, and imperfect comprehension, the idea we receive from these words cannot transcend the magnitude of the idea which the Holy Ghost intended they should express. Nor will all that we can say equal the extent of their meaning, or the blessedness of their import, as developed in every true christian's experience. His enraptured thoughts, outrunning the tongues of the learned, and the pens of ready writers, often prompt him to exclaim in reference to this subject," the half cannot be
It is worthy of remark here, that, though the language in which a thought is uttered, remains unchanged, the thought itself in our minds often grows broader, decper, higher, and more glorious, in proportion to our increasing power of comprehension. To the mind of a little child, playing upon the beach, the word, Ocean, presents only the idea of so much of the water as he can see. To the mind of the student in the halls of learning, this word presents a greatly enlarged idea. But, to the sailor, who has crossed every ocean in every direction, the word has a meaning, of which, neither the child, nor the student can form any adequate conception. To a little child, the word, World, means the circle, of which the horizon is the circumference. To the child of riper years, World, means this great globe. Great! but how much greater would his idea be, if he had been round the globe. But to the intelligent Astronomer, whose active thoughts have not only followed the planets of the solar system in their orbits, but wandered far off to the fixed stars and contemplated them as centres and suns to other systems, the word, World, conveys an idea, in comparison with which, the real magnitude of this globe itself, is but as a single drop compared to the ocean. So shall maturer years, and more perfect knowledge, enlarge our idea of the truth uttered in the text, that Christ is all, and in all.
We invite you to consider,
I. The fact of Christ's exaltation as here asserted.
This language does not deny the individuality of persons and things. "All and in all," as here asserted of Christ, implies that the persons and things, in whom He dwells, are not to be considered as identical with, and parts of Himself, yet the language asserts that there is nothing in existence which is not in some way connected with Himself. If Christ be in all, the connection of all with Him must be very close and important. What is the nature of this connection? Is it that of cause and
effect; of antecedent and consequent; or that of a shadow to its substance? Is it that of an elementary principle to its illustration; or as the connection between a premise and the conclusion? Or like the relation of the stage to the scenes acted thereon? It will require the illustrations suggested by all these correlatives, and more, to convey a full idea of the nature of the connection between what is material and providential, and the spiritual wonders of the cross. From one point of view, the material universe seems like a stage, on which the successive scenes of Redemption might be acted. From another, Redemption appears like a sublime conclusion, and the creation and government of the world, like the premise and the several steps of the argument. From another point of view, Redemption as wrought out by Christ on Calvary, appears like substance, the sum and substance of all truth, and all the world besides but its shadow, or illustration. Viewed as it existed in the Eternal mind, ere the world was made or time began, Redemption appears as the great work for the development of the Divine Glory, and the creation and government of a material world, merely as subordinate contingencies. Accordingly when the material world shall have disappeared, and we, in that better land, are permitted to read a truthful history of what it once was, Christ will be seen to be all in all, not merely the Lion of one tribe or nation, but the Hero of the whole story, and Redemption by the blood of the cross, his most sublime achievement.
And I may add, this connection of all things with Christ crucified is not simply an important idea, in the nature of things, but the essential idea, the very foundation of all things created, the reason why created things are what they are. The soul of man, for illustration, cannot be all and in all in its relation to his body, without the body's having been by nature fitted for such a connection. And this fitness of the body for a connection with the soul, and to be subservient to its interests, is obviously the most important idea in the nature of the body's organization. So if Christ be all, and in all things, that arrangement in the nature of all things which fits them for this connection, is certainly the most important element of their nature. The apostle declares not simply that all things were made by Christ, but FOR HIM. Fitted in their essential nature, by infinite wisdom, for Christ, for the purposes of his kingdom, for the glory of his cross, this must forever be their most important destiny, this, the sublime mission of a created world.
When we say of one thing, that it is all and in all, in its connection with another, it is equivalent to saying that the latter exists. wholly for the former, or that the latter is what it is, because the former has made it so. To be all in all of anything, is to be the essential cause of its existence, or the end for which it was made. To mark with exactness the flight of time, is all in all parts of a watch, because all parts of a watch exist, and are what they are,
for this purpose. The germ is all and in all, in a kernel of corn considered as seed, because the whole surrounding body of the seed exists for the germ. A man builds a house for himself and family. He and they are all and in all in reference to its construction and arrangement, because it was their wisdom and power which caused it to be what it is, and for them it is to be used. Their will, their pleasure and their business, furnish the true reasons for all its peculiarities. The sun is all and in all in respect to the existence and beauty of the rainbow, because it is so emphatically the cause of the rainbow. Thus Christ is all and in all, for he is the cause of all, and all things are for his use and glory in effecting the purposes of Redemption by the blood of the cross. And hence the true reason of all things must be found in this, their relation to Christ crucified. And the knowledge and acknowledgment of Christ in all things, is the first step in the path of true wisdom. Here man first learns, what he will never in this life, nor in Eternity, have occasion to unlearn. From this centre all rays of knowledge emanate, and to this all true knowledge leads. Here, if anywhere, must human wisdom and Divine meet and harmonize.
"Here hangs all human hope; this nail
Supports the falling universe: this gone, we drop;
When by the power of the Holy Ghost, the heart is regenerated, and Christ is revealed to the eye of faith, and appreciated by the enraptured soul as ALL, and seen to be in all things, then, and not till then, does man discover the true philosophy; then and not till then, is he in any sympathy with the essential nature of things, with the laws by which they are governed, and with the ultimate design which they are to accomplish. When every created thing, animate and inanimate, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, shall be seen pointing to Calvary, and crying in reason's ear, as well as the ear of faith, "Blessing and honor and glory and power be unto the Lamb," then will they be doing the great work for which they were made, and accomplishing the purpose for which they were by nature chiefly fitted. For thy use, and pleasure, and glory, O Lamb of God! all things are, and were created. Thou art ALL! Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is nothing on earth to be desired without Thee. Thou art above all, in all, and over all, God blessed forever.
We pass to notice.
II. The evidences by which the assertion in the text is sustained.
of Christ crucified, revealing by his cross the mystery of godliness, making known thereby to angels and men, the wisdom and love of God, and suggesting therein to all created intelligences, adequate reasons for all things that are, that have been and that are yet to be. And,
First, the view of Christ crucified, given in the whole of the Bible, accords with the idea presented in the text. The Bible, as a whole, is a revelation from God. But what does it reveal? Light? Christ is the Light of the world. Does it reveal truth? Christ is the Truth. Does it reveal the way to Heaven? Christ is the Way! Does it reveal life eternal? Christ is our Life. Christ is all, and in all the Bible. It is most emphatically the revelation of Jesus Christ. Its first lesson to fallen man, and its last, are of Christ crucified. The Old Testament, with all its histories, and prophecies, and sacrifices, simply shows what pains Christ had taken to prepare the world for the sublime wonders of his cross. The Evangelists record his teachings, and the cir cumstances of his death. The Acts and the Epistles record the development of his glory and the progress of his Kingdom. If the Bible be regarded as a history, then Christ crucified is the subject of that history. If it be regarded as a biography, it is the biography of Christ crucified. Is it a narrative? Christ crucified is the Hero of the story. Does it contain doctrines? They are the teachings of Christ. Is it a book of laws? Christ is the Lawgiver. Does it enforce ordinances? These are emblems of Him, who died, and rose, and became to sinners the bread of life. Does the Bible contain promises? Christ is both the substance of what is promised, and the surety that the promise shall not fail. Does it speak of the creation of the world? It was by the power of Christ. Of its government? By Him all things consist. Of its end, when the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the heavens be rolled together and pass away? It will be, when Christ as Redeemer has no more use for them. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and End. Thus the Bible in all ite parts, speaks the sentiment of the text, that Christ crucified is
Again, secondly, the miracles of Christ, as strongly as his word, confirm and illustrate the truth asserted in the text. The Bible, from the beginning to the end, is but the echo of his voice, who spake as never man spake. He was mighty in word; nor is He less mighty in deed. The works that He has done bear witness of Him that He is ALL! and indicate the subordination of all things to Himself and to the purposes of his dying love. The dead came forth from their graves at his bidding, to bear witness of Him as mighty to save. Winds and waves cease their commotion in obedience to his mandate. A fish of the sea hastens to bring Him tribute. An untutored colt obediently