And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
A glowing prophecy of a second and yet more glorious Incarnation of Christ. There was a first coming, and there is to be a second coming, of the Saviour. He is supreme in heaven. He is also to be supreme on earth. Christ is to fill all with Himself — all governments; all laws; all policies under the government; all commercial and industrial organizations; all societies; all circles; all households; all individuals. All are to be filled with the mind, and will, and spirit of the Head; and Christ is to be the brain of the whole world. In other words, all physical economies and civil organizations, just as much as spiritual economies and religious organizations, are to be absolutely filled and dominated by Him. This is what I call the second Incarnation. It is the injection, as the first Incarnation was the lapse, as it were, into the human body, of the mind and will of Christ — the Divine Christ, subjecting Him to the law of matter, to its limitations and its infirmities, as we are controlled by the physical laws which surround us. So there is to be a more glorious Incarnation, by which the sum total of the globe itself, and all its members, are to be gloriously filled full of the mind, and feeling, and will, and disposition of Christ. As one little body bore about His spirit, so this greater body, the comprehensive race and the globe, is to bear about in it the mind and will of God; and everything is to move harmonious from pole to pole, and round and round the world. The whole world is to be as perfectly harmonious as the whole body is harmonious under the control of an intelligent, healthy, right minded man. This is poetry indeed, but it is the poetry of prophecy: It is the ideal of progress. It is that bright conception toward which, whether men know it or not, they are certainly drifting or steering. Will not that be the millennium? You may think it is fantasy. It is poetry now, but it will be fact yet. For there is to be a second great Incarnation; and as the Spirit Divine filled the body of Christ, and filled it full, so that great body which is the Church, which is the whole human race, is yet to be filled full of Him who filleth all things with all things. All the processes of society are to exhibit more of Christ; so that at last the day shall come when in all the earth, like a man without a pain from head to foot, mankind shall be without a sadness, or a sigh, or a sorrow; when the whole globe, in all its parts, shall be filled full of Him who filleth all things, who is the head and animating brain of the time and the world; and the globe, no longer singing a requiem, no longer singing of things gloomy and sad, clothed with light and inspired with joy, shall go chanting in its rounds, and the heaven and the earth shall sing together; and so the consolation shall come.
I. If this be so, then, first, dismiss the unworthy conceptions of Christ's saving which have sprung from a judgment formed upon the inchoate and undeveloped state of things that has existed hitherto. Many men seem to think that the gospel is sent into this world as a life boat, to pick off from the foundering wreck as many of the great population as they possibly can, and let the rest go down. But Christianity is not a mere wrecker's boat. In saving men, we ought to do it with the feeling that we are aiming toward the final consummation — the salvation of mankind. I believe the world will come to its final state as my tulips will come to blossom next spring. They are in the winter now, but they are in the bulb, and will come forth. And the world is coming to blossom yet. Not in my day, and not in your day, but ere long in ages to come. As it takes a great many years to bring an orchard into full fruitfulness, but as at last the trees come to maturity and begin to bear fruit, so by and by men will begin to be fruitful unto God, and the whole globe will be a great tree of the Lord, filled with Divine fruit on every side and on every branch.
II. This whole globe is my Lord's; and when I speak about anything that concerns His kingdom, whether it be science, or art, or learning, or politics, or anything else, I am talking about my Father's business. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof."
III. If these views be correct, then all those tendencies which now alarm and discourage Christian men, as, for instance, the insurrection of science against faith, have no real cause of fear in them. Now, as I have already said, the globe itself, that is, the realm of natural material laws, is to receive a second Incarnation of Christ. Science is now making the swaddling clothes of Christianity. If it takes from the world many ecclesiastical notions which men would not otherwise give up, very good. The world will be the wiser for it. If there be many superstitions which are supposed to be religion, but which are not religion, and they are taken away, very good. The world will be the better for it.
IV. If these views be correct, we shall not see the true glory of redemption here. We cannot imagine it. We shall not be in a condition to see it until we have passed from this mortal state. We are told that a man in the midst of a battle is the least able to describe the battle. The smoke and the noise, and the intensity of the conflict, prevent him from having a large view of the movements of the whole field. We are secluded. Each age is, as it were, but a note in the whole period of time. It cannot be that we rise so high, or stand at a period so late, that we see the whole disclosure. Then only shall we understand the nature of Christ, then only the comprehensive plan of His mercy, then only this second and greater Incarnation, by which He interjects the whole globe and its processes with His Spirit, when we reach the other world. Then and there only shall we be furnished with that vision by which we may see His grace, so that worthily we may worship Him, rejoicing that He is lifted above all kings, all princes, all principalities of every name.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,