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Christ All and in All

Christ All and in All

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Published by glennpease

JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, D.D.




"Christ is all and in all."— Col. 3: H.

JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, D.D.




"Christ is all and in all."— Col. 3: H.

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 03, 2013
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07/15/2013

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CHRIST ALL AD I ALLJOSEPH FORT EWTO, D.D."Christ is all and in all."— Col. 3: H.THESE words, written by St. Paul from hisprison in Rome when he was an old mannear his end, show us a spirit serene, be-nign and mellow, undaunted by life and tmdis-mayed by death. They are memorable words,summing up what years of obedience to the heav-enly vision had taught him, making his experiencea revelation and his faith a philosophy. ot onlyhad the vision remained undimmed, but it had be-come more radiant, until, at eventide, there waslight all round the sky. It is therefore that welisten to his words, not as to one who spins a curi-ous theory or makes an idle guess, but one whohad thought deeply and lived profoundly. Suchwords are more than eloquent, for that they havewithin them the insight of a long life of high,heroic service, vision-led and Christ-illumined.There had come to Rome a man named Epa-phras, who told the aged Apostle how the littlechurch at Colosse was being led astray by wilyteachers of error. As between fanatical Hebrew0394 THE MERCY OP HELLliteralists and dreamy Oriental occultists the saintsof that city were sorely troubled, not knowingwhat to do. Hence this Epistle, which is a kindof exposition of the prologue of the Gospel of St.John, setting forth the Eternal Christ as the imageof the invisible God by whom all things werecreated and in whom all things hold together.Over against the legalists who would petrify faithinto a form, and the occultists who would melt
 
good and evil into a blur, it unveils Qirist as thecreative ideal of the universe, the redemptivereality of humanity, and the prophetic hope of theworld. For depth and grasp and grandeur, notless than for its portrayal of the new life requiredof us, this Epistle has hardly an equal even in thewritings of St. Paul.Surely, if its ruling insight can be made real andvivid to each of us, commanding the assent andhomage of our hearts, the hour will have been wellspent. Let us see a little. What kind of a na-tion would this be if every man in it were such aman as Lincoln, true of heart, clear of mind, livingwith malice toward none and charity for all, seek-ing the sanctity and safety of the Republic? So-cial slavery and industrial brutality would cease toexist. Laws would be wise and just and merciful,giving to each his right and leaving every one freeto stretch his arms and his soul. o womanwould be made desolate, no little child forlorn, byCHRIST ALL AD I ALL 95grasping greed or grinding cruelty. It would in-deed be the nation it was meant to be, conceiv^ inliberty and dedicated to the ideal that all men arecreated equal, entitled to equal justice and oppor-tunity for life and happiness. Because thismighty and tender spirit took form in Lincoln, hislife was a revelation of the genius and purpose of the Republic, its reason for being, and its prophecyfor times to come. or will its mission be ftil-fiUed till all men under its flag are such men ashe, if not in genius, at least in spirit and ideal.Just so, lodcing out Over the far horizons of time, St. Paul saw all the groaning aeons of nature,all the groping ages of history,' moving toward onepoint of light, one " far off Divine event."Through all the dim dreams of centuries, he sawthe soul of man pointing, like the needle of a com-pass, to the life of Christ as the Divine ideal,which is at once the reason for the universe andthe revelation of its purpose. Like Aristotle, he
 
saw that nature is a realm of ends, and that ** it isthe Perfect Man, in whom the thought of God isclear, who is the measure of all things." Hencehis vision of Christ as the crown, the climax, theconsummation of all things, the whole findingfocus in a single luminous life, as we may findinfinity in a grain of sand and eternity in an hour.Much else there may be in the majestic infinitudesof God which can have no likeness in man, how-96 THE MERCY OP HELLever exalted; but of that we can never know, sincewe have in us no key to it. But the quality of God, as distinguished from His quantity; Hisspirit, His purpose. His pity, and most of all Hischaracter, without which His power is mere force — these are revealed in the life of Jesus!Christ, then, is all that we really know of God,as He is all that we need for nobility of life andhope in death; and if we lay it to heart that theDivine Ideal, as St. Paul held, is that all shall atlast be like Him, life lights up like an aurora. Forthis nature exists; for this stms rise and set, andflowers grow, and seas drift and sing — that manmay realize the divine dream revealed in Christ!Such is the ultimate purpose of God and the im-mortal hope of hiunanity, but it could never cometrue in any life, much less in all, tmless the secondpart of the text were as true as the first. Whatthe theologians have taught of the uniqueness andsupremacy of Christ is true, profoundly and glori-ously true. 'Tis well that we sing it, and rest init, rejoicing in the measureless promise of it.Only, to the vision of Athanasius and Augustinewe must add the insight of Channing and Emer-son. Christ is all, but He is also in all — Hisimage and superscription upon every htunan soul,something in the very nature of man which willnot let him rest till the ideal in which he wascreated is realized. It must be so, else Christwere not truly all :

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