« PreviousContinue »
them all, as their forerunner, in order to prepare a place for them; and from heaven to rule over all men. 2 Pet.iii. 13; Philipp. iii. 20; Heb.vi.20; John xiv. 2, 3.
Where does the Scripture assert that Jesus is set down at the right hand of God ?
Mark xvi. 19; Rom. viii. 34; Ephes. i. 20, 21, 22; 1 Cor. xv. 27; 1 Peter iii. 22; Heb. i. 3, 13, and elsewhere.
What is meant by Christ's sitting at the right hand of God?
By the seating of Christ at the right hand of God the apostolic writer meant (Ephes. i. 21) his exaltation; whereby he is raised “ far above all principality and power, and might and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:" together with the subjection of all things under his feet, and his supreme dominion and authority over all men and all things ; which excels in this, that Christ has absolute authority over our. bodies and our souls, and rules not only over men but also over angels, good and bad, and over death and hell:
Why has Christ this power over the souls and bodies of men ?
That he might be able to succour them in all their necessities both spiritual and temporal ; and also on the other hand punish the disobedient with both spiritual and corporal penalties ; because he is constituted the judge of quick and dead, who must render to every one according to his works. For which
reason also such wisdom is given to him, that he might try the hearts and the reins, and judge all according to the secrets of their hearts 64.
64 That those who disobey the commands of God and Christ, after being raised at the last judgment, will be doomed to punishment, and cast into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels, has always been the opinion of this church. This appears, not to mention other proofs, from the Confession of Faith published in 1642, and afterwards in 1651, in the name of these congregations; and also from the Brevis Declur. Art. Rel. Christiana, published in 1656 under the name of John Simplicius, Art. 22. See also Crellius's Commentary on Matth. iii. 10; 2 Thess. i. 8, 9; Heb. x. 27; Rev. xxi. 8. also Volkelius DeVera Religione, lib.iii. c.33: and Schlichtingius on John v. 29; where, among other things bearing on this subject, we read, Hæc igitur Christi verba, &c. "These words of Christ therefore manifestly and clearly teach, not only that the good shall be raised to life, but also that the wicked shall be raised to condemnation and punishment. This is one part of the Christian faith, which whoever has not, has not the whole Christian faith.” See the same writer on Heb. x. 27; 2 Peter iii. 7. also Wolzogenius on Matth. iii. 12; x. 28; xxv. 41, 46; John v. 29; and A. Wissowatius on Acts xxiv. 15, and on Jude,ver. 6, 15, &c. It is therefore a mere calumny of some persons that these churches, which choose to be called simply Christian, but which by others are commonly styled Ebionite, Samosatenite, Arian, Photinian or Socinian, deny the resurrection and the punishment of the wicked. For it is evident from the cited authorities that they, equally with others, constantly maintain that there will be a resurrection both of the just and of the unjust--and that the latter shall be consigned to everlasting punishment, but the former admitted to everlasting life n.
B. WISSOWATIUS. [The doctrine of the proper eternity of hell torments is rejected by most Unitarians of the present day, as, in their opinion, wholly irreconcileable with the divine goodness and unwarranted by the Scriptures. In reference to the future fate of the wicked, some hold that after the resurrection they will be annihilated or consigned to “everlasting destruction," in the literal sense of the words : but most have received the doc
Wherefore has he dominion over good and bad angels?
He rules over the good angels that he may be able to employ their ministry, whereby they may either enlarge the boundaries of his kingdom or succour believers in all their necessities. He has power over bad angels, that he may restrain their endeavours and machinations, which are wholly bent to effect the ruin of all mankind, and especially of believers, who have the way to immortality appointed to them: that he may employ their power at his own pleasure either to punish or restrain men who oppose his honour or the salvation of believers, or in any way, as far as in them lies, are bent on doing injury, or are in any respect enemies, to himself or to believers; and lastly that he may punish them with everlasting fire.
Wliy has he power over death and hell?
That he may snatch believers, though they may have been swallowed up hy death, from the jaws of death and the mouth of hell, restore them again to life, and make them immortal. Wherefore Christ himself says (Revel. i. 18) that he has the keys of hell and death.
trine of universal restoration, which maintains that all men, however depraved their characters may have been in this life, will, by a corrective discipline, suited in the measure of its severity to the nature of each particular case, be brought ultimately to goodness and consequently to happiness. Transl.)
SECTION SECTION VII.
OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST.
I HAVE understood what
have stated respecting the kingdom of Christ;-explain to me now who his people is ?
It is the church, or society of Christians; which, as it is distinguished by some, is either visible or invisible.
OF THE VISIBLE CHURCH.
What is the visible church?
It is a society of such men as hold and profess saving doctrine ; which society may be considered in general, and in particular :- In general, when all the visible societies of Christ, dispersed over the whole world, are considered as one society or church ;-In particular, when every single society, existing in certain places, is taken for a church of Christ.
. As at this time all societies in every place claim for themselves the title of the Church of Christ, I wish to learn whether there be any signs whereby the church of Christ
be known ? It is to little purpose to seek the signs of the true church of Christ, since I have explained to you what constitutes a true church, namely, saving doctrine ; for every church which holds and professes this, is a true
church of Christ. But no church which has not and professes not the saving doctrine, although it display and pretend to I know not what signs, can be deemed a true church of Christ. And since to hold the saving doctrine is the essence of the church of Christ, it cannot, speaking literally, be the sign of it, since the sign ought to differ from the thing signified.
In order then to know what is a true church of Christ, it is sufficient to know the saving doctrine ?
You rightly apprehend the matter : for he who has embraced the saving doctrine knows as far as is needful for him what a true church is. He has therefore no occasion to seek for the signs whereby a church may be known. And what the saving doctrine is, you may have learnt from our discourse and conference.
OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST.
SINCE you have stated to me that saving doctrine is essential to the visible church of Christ, I now wish to know from you what order is prescribed to it in this doctrine ?
This order is comprised in the offices of the persons of whom the church of Christ is composed, and in diligent watchfulness and care that every person discharges his own duties. Who are the
of whom the church is composed !
Of these there are some who govern, and some whose duty it is to obey.