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universe into one dwelling-place. The intervention whereby the primal unity is restored is by moral means, and to moral ends. And yet we are told that the whole truth the apostle was commissoned to reveal, when by the Spirit he indited this verse, is, that at some future period, called the fullness of times, God will gather together the entire company of redeemed men, some of whom are now in heaven and others still on earth, into one undivided family—i. e., into the same local abode! Can it be that this is all the truth contained in this great utterance, which commences so majestically in the ninth verse, and ends with what has been proved to be, in every other instance, an emphatic addition to the ordinary term for universality? It were far more probable (if a restriction must be imposed on his language), looking at the manner in which the same apostle elsewhere speaks of the union of Jews and Gentiles in church fellowship, that he speaks of that event here also.
But let us look distinctly at this theory in the light of what is necessarily implied in the definition of ανακεφαλαιώσασθαι. (1). It implies a previous state of unity. But there was no original unity among the redeemed of the Lord, either moral or local. As unconverted sinners, they were alienated one from another, as well as from God; and were separated both in time and place. As regenerated men, they were never gathered together in one except as they are all one in Christ; and they are that to-day as really as they ever will be. There never was a local union of them. This theory, therefore, fails to meet the demand of the definition in the first point. (2). The definition implies an existing condition of severance and dispersion. But all the redeemed are one body in and under Christ this present hour; always have been, and always will be. The same is true of them at any period in the history of redemption, from the beginning to the consummation of ages. And just so far as the great work of the Mediator terminates on the condition of ransomed sinners, the mystery and greatness and glory of the divine purpose converge at this very point; they are each and all united to their living Head, and thus have union and communion one with another, and together constitute one body, even the mystical body of Christ. It is an intense lowering of the dignity and grandeur of the union of all believers, to put forward so prominently the idea of contiguity. Whatever of reality there may be in such a union, it is after all but the outward expression of that which is inward and spiritual, and which gives value and sig. nificance to the outward. Furthermore, the whole context proves that the apostle is dealing with the spiritual realities of redemption. Relations in space are lost sight of in the surpassing glory of spiritual and eternal relations, established, as we believe, between the various races of rational beings. Again: in passages analogous to Eph. i: 9, 10, where the same apostle treats of the privileges bestowed on the Gentiles by the Gospel, it is evident he refers to their incorporation with the true Israel-Israel after the Spirit. See Eph. iii: 3-6. The union, therefore, is not of the kind they contend for who restrict the apostle's language to mankind; and if so, there is not an existing separation such as a regathering implies. Believers, both those in heaven and those on earth, are one body now. (3). If the views just presented be correct, neither can there be any proper reconstruction after men are once united to Christ in their effectual calling. That would be the gathering together again in one, whether the previous unity be conceived of as existing among men themselves in the loins of Adam before the fall, or between them and God. It is demonstrable, therefore, as it seems to us, that this theory of a union of all believers in one local habitation, meets neither the fair demands of what is implied in the verb ανακεφαλαιώgaslai, nor of the context.
It is worthy also of very particular notice, that the apostle does not say, “ To gather together again in one all things that are in Christ?” Hence, the argument derived from the fact that believers alone are ever said to be in Christ, falls to the ground. Were εν τώ Χριστη an attributive of τα πάντα, perspicuity would require the insertion of τα, or τα όντα, before εν in a case like this, even if it could be fairly claimed as an exception to the general rule. See Winer, sec. xx. It ought to be observed, too, that Xplotq has the article. The common formula, upon which the argument hinges, is simply év Xploto. The truth is, èy TÔ Xplota is to be joined to the verb—not to tà távta; and what the apostle asserts, is that it is the purpose of God that all things, in the fullness of times, shall be gathered together again in one in the Christ. All things are to be reunited in Him precisely in the sense in which they were originally created in Him (èv auto). Col. i: 16. “He is the creative center of all things, the causal element of their existence; the causa conditionalis—the act of creation being supposed to rest in Him, and to depend on Him for its completion and realization.” (See Ellicott in loc., and Winer, sec. xlviii, pp. 406–8, d, and note 3, on p. 407.) So Christ is the causal element of the regathering of all things—the act of regathering being supposed to center in Him as the causal element of its realization. We close these criticisms with simply calling attention to the two following remarks: 1. As the regathering in Ephesians is manifestly a reuniting of the different parts of the universe to each other, without, of course, excluding the idea that all as one whole are reunited to God; so the reconciliation in the parallel passage in Colossians, it may be argued analogically, is a reconciliation of the various races and orders of the universe, and not one between them collectively as one party, and God as the other. 2. If the verb to reconcile must be construed in its strict theological sense, and if the reconciliation is unto God as an offended party, and if by the things in heaven be meant the souls of the. redeemed, then, how can they be said to be reconciled unto God? The very reason why they are in heaven now is because they were reconciled to Him before they left the earth.
In the final scheme of things, therefore, as ordained of God, and revealed in the Scriptures, and as the consummate result of the mediatorial intervention of the incarnate Son, in its august and universal sweep—we find as the grand center of the whole, the throne of God and the Lamb. Next, circling round and hard by the throne, and most mysteriously allied to it as partakers of a divine nature and instinct with the life of Christ, are the redeemed of the Lord. Next, according to their rank, come the angels, ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands. All constitute one perfect and harmonious empire. The devil and his angels, with the finally impenitent of mankind, are confined in the prisonhouse of perdition. They shall no more go forth to disturb the harmony of Messiah's kingdom. Universal concord reigns forever. Sin shall no more blast the happiness or the happy
fellowship of the blessed. We call this order of things final, and have assumed elsewhere that the kingdom of Messiah, thus constituted in its completed estate, is an everlasting kingdom. Now it is inchoate-in a formative condition. It will be finished when the last one of the elect is gathered in and glorified. It is not in place here to discuss the question of its permanency.
In the preceding part of this essay, we have endeavored to comprehend the following particulars : (a) to state what the commonly accepted opinion of the New Life is, and, by way of contrast, to state as distinctly as the nature of the case admits, what it really is; (b) to remove the objection derived from the mysterious nature of it; (c) to show that the change involved in it is but analogous to the transformation which we do know the human body undergoes at the resurrection; (d) to show that the idea of it herein set forth, is presented in the symbols of the Old and New Testaments; and lastly, (e,) to show that it is the purpose of God through the influence of the cross, manifested with supreme glory and efficacy in the divine life of glorified men, to confirm the elect angels, and out of the elect of heaven and earth—reconciled and gathered together again in one-to constitute one harmonious and everlasting empire whose head is the Lamb. In the subsequent part, we shall aim to exhibit the more direct proofs of such a new life, and to show its relations to other doctrines “which are most surely believed among us."
The reader will please correct the following Errata in our article on Impatation, in the December number:
On page 647, 1. 14, for Francke read Franeker.