The events occurring in the first period were merely preparatory; — all of them having relation to the Savior’s coming and to those events and results which were connected with his coming. Before the Savior’s birth there had been labors and sufferings; — there had been teachings and prophecies, and ceremonies and sacrifices innumerable. And yet, they all were comparatively of no value, and had no effect, except in connection with the advent of the Son of God; much had been done preparatively, but nothing had been done effectually. It was Christ's coming which explained the import of preceding institutions and events, and which gave them their efficacy. And, therefore, until this period, it could not be said of the human race generally, nor of any part of the human race, "Ye are bought with a price."
In the language of President Jonathan Edwards, who refers, in his remarks, to the period of Christ's coming,
No part of the price was offered till now. But as soon as Christ was incarnate, then the purchase began immediately without any delay, and the whole time of Christ's humiliation, from the morning that Christ began to be incarnate, till the morning that he rose from the dead, was taken up with his purchase. And then the purchase was entirely and completely finished.
But if, in the language of President Edwards, the "purchase was completely finished," it was not accepted and not even known by those for whose benefit it was made, except to a very limited extent. If the purchase was completed, the plan of salvation was not completed. It still remained necessary that those who were lost, those for whom this great work of suffering and redemption was thus brought to a close, should hear and understand the announcement of this "joyful sound." The completion of the plan of salvation required from the beginning, and does now require, that the Gospel, the good news of redemption, should be preached to every creature. In connection with what the Savior had done, it could be said, with great and emphatic truth, that the prison doors of a fallen race were thrown open; — but those who were in the prison were so blind, and so in love with their own wretchedness, that it had become necessary to teach them their sin and their blindness, and to take them by the hand and to lead them out into the purchased liberty.
The plan of salvation, therefore, in its second period, is still in progress, and, this being the case, there still remains a great work to be done; — a work in which holy men have been engaged from the time of Christ;— a work in which they will continue to be engaged, until the last darkened mind is enlightened, the last ruined soul is saved.
— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 1.