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done or felt as Christians? And yet God is longsuffering to you-ward. Yet he calls you to repentance. Consider, then, your 'obligations to this duty: or if you will not consent to this invitation, at least let me remind you that you must look upon Christ, either here in a way of penitence, or elsewhere in a way of despail ; for, Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him, and all nations of the earth shall wail because of him. Then, sinner, you will be forced to behold the Son of God, but not as a Saviour. Then you will look on him, but not with penitence. Then you will mourn for him, but not with salutary sorrow. No; the heavens shall then depart as a scroll when it is rolled together, and every mountain and island shall remove out of its place : and the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond-man, and every free-man, shall hide themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the | mountains ; and shall say to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. Rev. vi. 14—18.
Do you ask, then, what is your obligation to repent? Let these awful forebodings be the answer ; or rather let the inexpressible tenderness and long-suffering of that crucified Saviour
YOUR DESIRES TO TURN TO
who still waits to be gracious, form the reply. Let THIS KINDLE HIM. See, he stands with outstretched arms to save you. Hear his voice, complaining, as it were, from the cross, Is it nothing to you, all ye
that pass by ? behold and see, if ever there was sorrow like unto my sorrow! Look, then, sinner, to the Son of God whom you have crucified. Fall at his feet ; acknowledge your transgressions ; Take with you words, and turn to the Lord; beseech him to bestow on you the Spirit of grace and supplications. He has promised to give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him. This sacred Spirit can enable you to pray, can soften your heart, can discover to you the mysteries of the Cross, can grant you true repentance, and produce a genuine mourning for sin. Only implore his gracious aid. Do not harden your hearts. Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. Seize the opportunity. Begin this most necessary duty; and cease not your efforts till you have seen your sins and seen your Saviour, till you have repented, and believed the Gospel, till you have become a truly contrite and holy and obedient Christian.
ETERNAL LIFE THE GIFT OF GOD IN JESUS
JOHN, v. 11, 12
And this is the record, that God hath given to
us eternal life; and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life.
The chief truths of religion are revealed so plainly in the Holy Scriptures, as to be intelligible to every serious inquirer. Whatever obscurity may rest on some parts of the sacred Volume, every thing is perspicuous in proportion as it is important. Thus the leading doctrines of the fall of man and his recovery in Christ Jesus, lie on the very surface of Holy Writ. God has been pleased to direct our regard to them with peculiar solemnity. The Witnesses of heaven and earth* attest by an express record the eternal life which is in the Son of God. To such a testimony who would refuse credence? To a
* 1 John, v. 7, 8.
truth delivered in a way'so authoritative, who would not bend his utmost attention; especially, when the attestation relates to the greatest benefit which was ever bestowed on a lost world? God does not require us to believe so extraordinary'a fact as that of his having given to us eternal life in his own Son, without an adequate record; and when he condescends to bear witness to such a fact, we may be assured it is one of unspeakable moment. Let us then consider with due anxiety,
I. The gift which is here said to be conferred;
II. The only means by which it can be obtained.
I. THE GIFT WHICH IS SAID TO BE CONFERRED: God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
The gift which God bestows is ETERNAL LIFE. This life, strictly speaking, is that glorious state of endless happiness which the saints in light enjoy before the throne of God; but it is frequently used in the Scripture to designate all those blessings which precede it and prepare the way for it; and is opposed to that everlasting death which our sins had merited. With this latitude it is to be taken in
text. ETERNAL LIFE, THEN, CONSIDERED IN ITSELF,
is that state of consummate peace and holiness and joy which awaits the righteous in a future world. It is the unveiled presence of God. It is “the fruition of his glorious Godhead *.". It is the rest which remaineth for his faithful people. It is the inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, that fadeth not away. It is the fulness of joy which is in God's presence, and the pleasures which are at his right hand for evermore. It is the blessedness which the sacred writers anticipate, when they speak of beholding God's face in righteousness, awaking up after his likeness, and being satisfied with it ; of being with Christ; and of falling down before the throne, and saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing. This will be life fitly so called ; a life with no decay or impurity, no change or interruption, no satiety or weariness. It will be spiritual and perfect; immeasurable in its degree, eternal in its duration.
But, in addition to this, ALL BLESSINGS WHICH PREPARE the Christian for this unutterable felicity, are also included in the expression Eternal Life. : He that believeth on the Son of God hath everlasting life. He becomes entitled to it upon his pardon and justifi
* Collect for the Epiphany.