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Forbid it, ye
down to dwell in everlasting darkness? angels of light, ye messengers of mercy! thou Lamb of God, who died on the cross to redeem a lost world! Forbid it, O, thou Eternal God, thou Father of all spirits! Interpose thine Almighty power! Roll back the clouds of darkness and pour into the benighted mind the healing beams of light divine!!
CHRIST THE JUDGE.
The Father judgeth no man; but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father. John 5: 22-23.
It seems to be a part of the divine plan of the Infinite Father to accomplish his purposes through secondary causes. Revelation carries us back beyond the creation of all things, and presents God to the mind when he existed alone in the vast realms of infinite space, before the song of angels awakened the echoes of the universe, or the mighty wilderness of moving worlds had trembled into birth, in obedience to the fiat of Omnipotence. The first manifestation of creative wisdom and power was in the creation of the physical universe through the agency of the Divine Son. God "hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds." Heb. 1: 2. "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." John 1: 3. "God, who areated all things by Jesus Christ." Eph. 3: 9.
After the material universe was formed, God, in the development of his infinite purposes, peopled it with living creatures, capable of enjoying its rich stores of blessings. This great work was accomplished through the agency of Christ. "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." Col. 1: 16.
When man had ruined himself by sin, and was shrouded in the darkness of hopeless despair God came forth for his deliverance, but it was through Christ that he revealed himself. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." Jehn 3: 16. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself." 2 Cor. 5: 19. The redeeming of the world through the agency of Christ is in strict harmony with all that we see of the procedure of the divine government. God bestows existence and all the blessings of life through second causes. All things are his messengers to convey blessings to his children.
To complete the great plan contemplated in the divine government, the Scriptures inform us that the anthority of Judge is committed to Christ; that he through whom the universe and all its inhabitants were created and man redeemed is to set in final decis ion on the destiny of men and angels, and distribute the awards of infinite justice. This tremendous truth is clearly stated in the Scriptures. "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." Paul says to Timothy: "I charge thee, therefore, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and
kingdom." 2 Tim. 4: 1. To the Athenians he said: "The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." Acts 17: 30-31. Here we have a clear statement of the doctrine of the New Testament on this important subject, and this has been the faith of all branches of the church. Let us notice.
I. The nature of this office.
1st. There must be a moral right to this office.
A man might have the power to call men to account for their conduct, and to punish them at his pleasure when he had no moral right to do so. We have many examples of this kind in the history of the world. Alexander, Cæsar and Napoleon Bonaparte had the power to call millions of men to an account for their political conduct; but they had no moral right to this authority. Christ has a moral right to the office of judge. God, as the creator and preserver of men, has a just claim upon man; a moral right to hold him responsible for his actions. This authority he has given into the hands of his Son. He "hath given him authority to execute judgment." John 5: 27. It is perfectly just in God to commit this office to another; and his appointment gives Christ a moral right "to execute judgment" on all men.
2d. There must be power to execute this office.
account for their ac
Power to call them before him. A judge may have the moral right to call men to an tions, but not the power to do it. to resist his power successfully.
They may be able Christ has the phys
ical power to call men before him to answer for their. deeds. None can resist him successfully. He has power to raise man from the dead. "For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and come forth." John 5: 28-29. The mighty angels of heaven are his servants, and he will employ them to execute his decrees on man. Paul says that he "shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels." 2 Thess. 1: 7. (See margin,) "angels of his power." They will accompany him when he comes "to execute judgment," and he has pointed out their office." The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them that do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire." Matt. 13: 41-42. Nono can escape, or successfully resist these agents of the divine law. One of them destroyed the first-born of man and beast in every family in Egypt in one night, save the families of the children of God; and the vast army of Sennacherib, king of Assyria, fell before the sword of the destroying angel of God. Here, men sometimes escape the hands of the agents of the law; but none can flee beyond the reach, or hide where the angelic ministers of the Mighty Judge of quick and dead cannot find them. Paul says: "We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ." 2 Cor. 5: 10. It is a matter over which we have no control. We must go, whether we are willing or not.
3d. There must be a knowledge to detect and reveal the true character of every man, when brought before him.
Sometimes earthly judges have not been able to bring out the real character of men when brought before them, and some great criminals have escaped the hands of justice through the ignorance of the judge.