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The Universalist Herald
March 15, 1891

Confidences in the Universal Triumph of the Gospel

by A. McLean, President of Bethany College, Va.


The scriptures speak in the most confident tone of the ultimate and universal triumph of the gospel. The final victory may be long delayed, but it is assured beyond the possibility of a doubt. This is the one far off divine event to which the whole creation moves. To Abraham the promise was given: "IN THY SEED shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." In the apostolic comment on this passage it is said that the 'seed' spoken of was Christ. To Moses God sware: "As truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord." Because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself. We have the promise of Jehovah confirmed by his oath. The eternal purpose can not be defeated. The kings of the earth may set themselves, and the rulers may take counsel together against the Lord and against the Anointed. He that sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. He sets his King upon the hill of Zion, and says to him: "Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." Napoleon planned his Russian campaign with his usual sagacity. Humanly speaking, failure was impossible. But there was one contingency that he could not foresee. When Moscow was almost in his grasp, it was laid in ashes by the inhabitants, and the campaign which began so auspiciously ended in disaster. Not so here. He who saw the end from the beginning, has promised that the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea, and his promise can not be broken.

The prophets spoke of the sufferings of Christ, and of the glory that should follow. David said: "His name shall endure forever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed." His dominion should extend from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. Isaiah said: "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever." According to this prophet, he should see the travail of his soul and be satisfied. Daniel said: "I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away and his kingdom, that which shall not be destroyed." In Nebuchadnezzar's dream the little stone cut out of the mountain without hands smote the great image so that it became like chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. Malachi said: "For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts." Then men who spake as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance spoke of Christ as the Desire of the Savior of all nations. The benefits to accrue from his advent were not to be confined to one people. All kindreds and tribes and tongues are to be blessed in him.

In the New Testament we find the same confidence expressed everywhere. The angel said to the shepherds: "Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Simeon speaks of him as a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. John the Baptist said: "Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God." In his own teaching our Lord said: "And other sheep have, which are not of this fold; them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one flock and one Shepherd." After he rose from the dead, he said to his disciples: "Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations." President Garfield, when dying, asked his friends if they thought that he would have a place in human history. Our Lord had no fears on that score. Speaking of his death, he said that if he was lifted up from the earth, he would draw all men to him. When his disciples were cast down he bade them be of good cheer, for he had overcome the world. Just before his ascension he spoke of their being witness in Jerusalem; and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Every utterance is instinct with the assurance of victory.

The apostles speak as if they were the representatives of a world wide and world conquering movement. They felt that all false gods and all false systems of religion must perish and pass away. The kingdoms of this would must become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ. They were willing to be despised and slaughtered, if need be, that the gospel might be furthered. Paul said: "Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it." He preached in Antioch, Corinth, Ephesus, Athens, and in Rome. In the capital of the Empire he dwelt two years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no man forbidding him. He was a prisoner at the time. He was an ambassador in bond, but the word of God was not bound. The gospel was preached among those belonging to Caesar's household. There were many adversaries even where great and effectual doors were opened. He was opposed by false brethren and by false teachers. He was in peril by sea and by land. He was hungry and cold and weary. But these things did not move him. What befell him turned out for the furtherance of the gospel. He never lost faith in the ultimate and universal triumph of the glorious gospel of the Blessed God. In the Epistle to the Hebrews it was said: "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool." His attitude is that of expectancy. He must reign until every enemy is put under his feet. He must be recognized as King of kings and Lord of lords. He is seated on the right hand of God, waiting in confidence to see all nations bow to his authority.

This should be the mental attitude of the church today. We have every reason for encouragement. We have the promise of our Lord to be with us to the end of the age. His command to evangelize the world implies that we are well able to do it. We must expect opposition. The opium curse, the liquor traffic, and the slave trade lie in bold obstruction across our way. Men in the church and skeptics out of it sneer at every thing we do. Be it so. The command is, "Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation." It is for us to do what is in our power. Obstacles more serious than any that confront us now have been taken out of the way. The whole world is now open to the gospel. Our missionary efforts have been successful far beyond anything we had a right to expect even in our wildest dreams. This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The signs of the times are all propitious. The harvest of the earth is overripe; it is for us to cast in our sickle and reap. Our risen Lord expects this of us. The heathen nations expect this of us. The redeemed around the throne expect it.

A cloud of witnesses they stand,
A diademned, illustrious band,
And urge us to proceed,
To lead the trophied armies on,
To spoil the foe, and take the crown,
And win the world for God.
(-- Missionary Intelligencer)