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“We are now certain that the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto the salvation
PUBLISHED BY HOULSTON & STONEMAN, PATERNOSTER ROW ;
Obe Evangelical Pulpit.
THE EXISTENCE OF DEATH AND THE DESTRUCTION OF HIM WHO HAD THE POWER OF DEATH.
BY THE REV. J. STOUGHTON,
AT THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCA, MIDDLETON ROAD,
DALSTON, SUNDAY EVENING, SEP, 21, 1851.
“FORASMUCH then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and deliver them, who through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage."-HEB. ii. 14, 15.
THE Scriptures contain notices of two systems or orders of things : the first is a state of things, which, if universally prevalent, would involve the complete ruin of the human race; it would extinguish the last spark of mercy, the last beam of hope, and consign the whole family of Adam over to remediless despair. It is a state of things which does prevail to a very considerable extent, and is being mournfully exemplified in the present and the everlasting ruin of multitudes of immortal souls. The other state of things which checks and controlls this, is that which, if it universally prevailed, would render this world the very reflection of heaven; it would make men here as happy as angels are there. It is a state of things which does exist to a certain extent; and which is being realized most blessedly in the hearts and consciences of multitudes, whom God, by his grace, has reclaimed from the error of their way.
The one state of things is the cause of human bondage, and human degradation; the other is the cause of human freedom and human happiness. The devil-the great enemy of God, the destroyer of souls, the accuser of the brethren, he has the charge of one empire, and Christ, the Lord of life and glory; the Mediator of the new covenant, the Saviour of men; he has charge of the other empire. Both these agencies are at work-satan, on the one hand, is captivating and leading astray the souls of men, binding them with fetters of iron, and leading them on in a state of bondage to that prison where they will be shut up for ever; and Christ, on the other hand, is liberating the captive; he is breaking their chains, he is emancipating them from their thraldom, and introducing them into the glory and liberty of the sons of God. The two states of things exist in the midst of us. These two agencies are now at work -they are in conflict with each other, and we know which will, in the end, prevail. Both states of things are brought before us in this passage. The evil is recognized as existing; and the destruction of the evil is also declared. The evil is here recognized the existence of death, that is here admitted; its connexion with satan, that is traced; and the misery and wretchedness of multitudes of our fellow men that also is described ; and then, on the other hand, you have Christ introduced; dying himself, in order that he may “destroy him who had the power of death; and deliver those who, through fear of death,