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CHRIST THE HEIR OF THE WORLD.
BY REV. A. A. MINER,
“Whom he hath appointed heir of all things." —HEB. I. 2.
One of the most striking characteristics of the Iloly Scriptures is their announcement of the highest truths in language of the greatest simplicity. When the sacred historian would record the fiat of Omnipotence by which darkness should be no more, his language is, “ And God said, let there be light, and there was light.” St. Paul, also, having opened his epistle to the Hebrews in the most terse and dignified terms,
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us
Gen. i. 8.
by his Son,”-places before us, at a single stroke of his pen, and in language of the most perfect simplicity, the entire grasp of the Divine purpose in sending his Son into the world, by adding, “Whom he hath appointed heir of all things.”
Were we called upon to consider, in this language, a human bequest, we should find it of consequence to notice not only the bequest itself, but the validity of the transaction by which it is made, and its bearing upon general interests. If the legacy were found to be an unquestionable good; if the legator were rightfully possessed of the same, and made the conveyance lawfully, and if there were no impediment to the efforts of the legatee to take possession of the inheritance, then would the transaction excite its full measure of interest.
But it is no human bequest with which we are now concerned. And since the Deity himself is the legator, we need employ no words to show that he is rightfully possessed of the things of which he makes Christ the heir. Is he not the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and of all things therein? Does he not say, “ All souls are mine”?' In making Christ “ heir of all
* Ezek. xvii. 4.
things,” therefore does he not convey to him what is his own to bestow ?
Nor is there room to doubt the validity of the appointment itself. In human transactions, there must be conformity to existing laws, in default of which, human bequests are invalid. But God is a law unto himself. Christ is “ heir of all things” by his sovereign appointment. He, whose right none can question, — who “ doeth his will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and to whom none can say, what doest thou,” — he need regard no other law. His will is law, and makes valid every transaction of his hand. We pass to consider, then, the inheritance itself.
The “ all things” of which Christ is made heir, are doubtless all souls. Whatever the doctrine which may result from this position, however important that doctrine may be, and however opposed to the current theology of the world, it cannot set aside the position itself. Nor can any of those methods be deemed successful, by which it is attempted to bring the universality of this phrase under suspicion. When
it is said, that, rigidly construed, “ all things must embrace the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, the fishes of the sea, and even inanimate objects, it is obvious to reply, that the phrase is limited by the nature of the case, and by that alone. It must embrace the entire class of things included in Christ's mission, and no more.
When Christ bade his disciples "Go
into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature," there could have been no doubt as to the proper limit of the phrase
every creature; " — it must have signified “every creature” capable of being instructed in the Gospel, or all mankind.
That the whole human race is included in the inheritance of Christ, is further seen in the prophetic announcement of this heirship, as involved in the divine purpose recorded by the Psalmist, “ Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”* We shall scarcely perceive the full significance of this language, unless we bear in mind the circumstances under which it is used. The promise is
The promise is of the Messiah
1 Mark xvi. 15.
* Psalms üi 8.