Saturday, September 4, 2010

Christ All and In All

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all (Col. 3.11).

And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all (1 Cor. 15.28).

Ralph Robinson, Christ All, and In All, pp. 4-5:

If Christ be all in all, then is nothing anything at all without Jesus Christ. All the world, the riches, pleasures, honours of the world, is but emptiness without Christ. 'Vanity of vanities; all is vanity,' Eccl. i. 2. That man hath just nothing that hath not Christ, who is all things; the world is but nigrum nihil [trans.: a thing of nothing]. Thy wisdom, thy parts, thy children, thy offices, thy preferments, thy lands and revenues, all thou hast, if thou want him that is all things, can amount to nothing. They are but ciphers without a figure. Oh that men would consider this!

Philip Henry, Christ All in All, pp. 363-364, 368:

I am this day, from this text, to show you, he is our all; or, as the apostle expresses it, our all in all. Twice, and but twice, is this phrase found in all the Bible; here, and in 1 Cor. xv. 28. Here, it is spoken of Christ, what he is in this world; there, of God the Father, what he will be to us in the other world, -- our complete happiness alone, without any other person or thing to help. -- And the one follows upon the other. If Christ be all in all with us now, the Father will be all in all to us to eternity; -- else not.

Doct. That Jesus Christ is a Christian's all, or his all in all.

There are two other Scripture phrases to the same purpose, -- The root of the matter, Job xix. 28, and The one thing needful, Luke x. 42. He alone is sufficient, himself without any other, to make us happy, and without him nothing else can do it.

What is a sick man's all in all? A physician. -- A condemned man's? A pardon. -- A captive's? A ransom. -- A hungry man's? Food. -- A thirsty man's? Drink. -- A man's in debt? A surety. -- This, in all respects, is our condition, and all this he is to us.
"Si Christum noscis, satis est, si caetera nescis.
Si Christum nescis, nihil est si caetera noscis."*

* If you know Christ, it is enough, if you are ignorant of other things. -- If you are unacquainted with Christ, it is nothing if you know everything else.

Katherine Savage (daughter of Philip Henry and publisher of her father's sermons on Christ All in All), Diary, in J.B. Williams, The Christian Lady of the Seventeenth Century; or the Life of Mrs. Savage, quoted in Philip Henry, Christ All in All, pp. x-xi:

1697. Sabbath. January 10. This day and the evening before I spent some time in reading my dear father's sermons on Col. iii. 11, 'Christ is all and in all.' With this he concludes that subject which he was so long upon, namely, what Christ is to true believers in forty particulars. He is their Foundation, Food, Root, Raiment, Head, Hope, Refuge, Righteousness, &c. What can be added? He is our all -- our all in all -- both in respect of the benefits we have by him -- election creation -- conversion -- justification -- consolation -- teaching -- redemption -- strength -- at death -- in judgment -- to eternity. In all these Christ is all in all. Further, as to duty to be performed to him. He is all in all to be known, chosen, loved, desired, delighted in, trusted, thought of, followed, preached. He is all in all in the Scriptures, in the sacraments, in sabbaths, in praying. Blessed be God for these sweet, wholesome truths to be food for my pour soul. He 'being dead yet speaketh.' And what is it, he says, but that which his heart was always full of? Christ -- Christ -- Christ. Methinks I hear him still: Oh, make Christ your all!

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