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acquainted with a redemption already fulfilled, the apostle bids them be patient and holy “ until the redemption,” that is, until the fulness of the recovered possession be come in.
There are many vast and wonderful particulars belonging to this general subject on which our future inquiry will turn: but for the present we may profitably engage our thoughts upon the greatness of wisdom and power which breaks forth in the book of revelation, as securing the divine purposes to the earth, and to the incarnate Lord of the earth. This view of the subject may likewise assist us in interpreting a few passages in the Scripture which are thought not easy to reconcile with the doctrine of special redemption; as, for example, the passage in 2 Pet. ii. 1. which describes those who finally perish as nevertheless bought by the Lord, (see the Scripture) so also in 1 Tim. iv. 10, wherein Christ is said to be “the Saviour of all men, but specially of them that believe.” The redemption price being given for the earth, all its inhabitants are so far included, that they come under the authority of Christ as the purchaser. And also under the government of Christ as the Mediator ;.-hence all men are amenable to
him,-God hath committed all judgment to the Son. All providential mercies likewise are received from him, and all sparing compassions are consequent upon his present office as Mediator. In the exercise of this high sovereignty, Christ will continue to preserve the earth in its present condition, until the time come for the change for which he has redeemed it, when, as it is expressed in Heb. i. 11, 12, the earth and the heaven having waxed old shall perish ; and he shall change them;" as a vesture shall He fold them up, and they shall be changed.” “ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness ; but long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” 2 Pet. iii. 9:but this covenant being accomplished, the earth sball then be burned up, yielding to that new state of things of which the apostle is speaking.
Our affections ought to be in lively exercise, so as gratefully to commemorate the first Advent of Him for whom this longing desire of the church of old was ever alive. “Oh that thou wert as my brother,” Cant. viii. 1, is the language of holy love, desiring the incarnation, and pleading for the fulfilment of
the promise in Eden. “ The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent.” The longings of individuals likewise are fervently expressed, “I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord,” Gen. xlix. 18. “Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion,” Psalm xiv. 6; “ this is all my salvation and all my desire.” 2 Sam. xxiii. 5.
This desire is accomplished. Abraham saw the day and was glad : he saw it by the anticipation of faith, which to him was the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. And we have seen the day. “ God manifest in the flesh,” has been “ seen by angels,” and looked upon by them, 1 Tim. iii. 16. 1 John i. 1. And our faith, if genuine and scriptural, has beheld him in whom is life. We are required in this act of faith to unite, the affection of praise ; and if believers, we shall have brought an offering to our king, and have hailed him Lord! In proportion to our spiritual discernment of his glory, we shall not only bow before him in tributes of praise, but in the language of desire. The disposition of the faithful, in respect of the first, will be our disposition in respect of the second Advent. Our cry will be, " Oh that thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down,”
Isaiah lxiv. 1. «Come quickly, Lord Jesus," Rev. xxii. 20. And our attitude will be “ looking for and hasting to the day of God.” These are desires which one might suppose must necessarily mingle with our acceptance of the doctrine of redemption, whether it respects the glory of Christ in the visible recovery of the earth, or in the various sublime accompaniments of that recovery in the redemption wrought for his people. Let us, therefore, give diligence in humility to be taught of God, and endeavour to meditate upon this subject in connection with the one preceding, and as forming a cheering revelation of the remedy for those evils which the first man procured, and of the recovery of those blessings which he lost.
III.-REDEMPTION OF THE CHURCH.
The doctrine of redemption must still receive our attention. We have seen in what sense it describes the visible recovery of the earth at large to its rightful Lord ; and that it involves not only the present security of creation, as placed beneath the government of the Mediator, but that it is designed to produce ere long a glorious change in the face of nature,-so long clouded with sorrow, but soon to be brilliant in joy! The glory thus reserved to Christ is to be attended with another kind of diadem ; for not only is He “ King of Kings and Lord of Lords,” — not only is He crowned with honour and majesty as Ruler and Judge,-but He is exalted as Head of a kingdom and people, in whom, and for whom, he peculiarly lives. There are remarkable expressions in the Scripture declarative of this great truth, particularly in the epistle to the Ephesians ; the first chapter of which exhibits Christ in