CXCI. The Fulness of the Time.

GAL. iv. 4.
“When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His
Son, made of a woman.”

ST. PAUL’S words lead us to consider how the event was
prepared for, and then what it was in itself. By the ex-
pression “fulness of the time,” he means the arrival of
a given hour which completes an epoch. Our Lord
appears when a course of preparation, conducted through
previous ages, was at last complete.
I. The threefold preparation for the Son of God in this
world.
1. The world had to be prepared, in a certain sense,
politically for His work. In order to spread a creed two
instruments are desirable—a common language and a
common social system, common laws and government.
2. There was a preparation in the convictions of man-
kind. The heathen nations were not without some re-
ligion, but their religion went to pieces when discussed,
and so there came about a growth of gross superstition
and of blank unbelief which continued down to the time of
the incarnation.
3. There was a preparation in the moral experience of
mankind. Men saw and approved the better course, and
they followed the worst, and the natural law was thus to
them only a revelation of sin and weakness. It led them
to yearn for a deliverer. This widespread corruption, this
longing for better things, marked the close of the epoch of
moral experiments; it announced that the fulness of time
had come.
II. The advent of Jesus was the coming of the Man of
men, the sinless, the representative Man, the one Man in
whom humanity was not dishonoured. Christ comes to
be the head of a new race of men, who, by faith and love,
become united to Him, so as to share His merits, His
moral wealth, His matchless glory. He and His revelation
have on them the clear mark of eternity. He can bring
all whose hearts are not closed against His advances, by
wilful sin, into their right relation towards God and towards
each other.
Henry Parry Liddon, D.C.L.

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