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honourable name, and would think themselves deeply injured if their title to it were called in question, are notwithstanding living in the habitual indulgence of those sins, which are here said to expose them to the wrath of God, living in them without concern, in a state of hardness of heart, impenitence, and unbelief. Many others who are thought to be very moral and good sort of people, are filled with worldly-mindedness, thinking only of the things of this life, and have their minds or ideas entirely bounded by the things of time and sense, as if there were no eternity. The sensual and the worldly-minded are both of them dead to God, both of them instigated in their various pursuits by the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, the enemy of God, the destroyer of the souls of men. They are living without hope, and without God in the world,52 or as if there were no God, to whom they are indebted for life and breath and all things,53 whom it is their duty to obey, and to whom they must give an account of the deeds done in the body. They are not in the way to heaven. to heaven. What a miserable portion is all that this world can give; and yet how eagerly is it sought after by multitudes, and even by some who make a profession of religion, and boast of the excellency and superiority of true
52 Ephesians ii. 2, 12.
53 Acts xvii. 25.
Christianity. So lamentable is the inconsistency of fallen man. Oh! that such might see their error before it is too late, and while the door of mercy is open, flee from the wrath to come.
And let us, brethren, who have come to the house of God to commemorate the dying love and rising power of our most adorable Redeemer, not be contented with merely making an outward profession of Christianity; but while we call to mind His glorious resurrection, let us seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God; and look forward in hope that when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. As this hope is set before us through His bloodshedding and death, let us do in remembrance of Him, as He commanded His disciples to do; let us, in the use of the ordinance of His appointment, "feed on Him in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving," and be thankful that His blood was shed for our redemption; that He died that we might live, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. And let us manifest that we are indeed risen with Christ, by setting our affection on things above; by living above the world, in communion and fellowship with our heavenly Father; by walking humbly with Him, in obedience to His holy will and commandments, and looking forward in hope to the glory which is to be revealed at the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.
THE RECORD OF GOD.
1 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 record here spoken of is the sum and substance of Divine revelation, from the beginning to the end of the inspired volume. It was made known to our first parents in the denunciation pronounced upon their tempter and deceiver, the old serpent and Satan, that the Seed of the woman should bruise his head; and the knowledge of it was vouchsafed at sundry times and in divers manners to the patriarchs and prophets, until the appointed season for its fulfilment arrived, when, as our apostle states, the Life was manifested, even
that eternal Life which was with the Father from the beginning, was manifested unto us; when God was manifested in the flesh to be the Redeemer of fallen man; and being found in fashion as a man, humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, that He might put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and become the Author of eternal salvation to all them that believe in and obey Him.55
The Epistle for this day begins with stating the source from whence spiritual life in the soul of man is derived, the manner in which it discovers itself, and the means whereby it operates. Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world, and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Spiritual life is derived from being born of God. The Evangelist informs us, that when the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.56 So important is this new birth, that our Saviour Himself declared, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the
54 Phil. ii. 8. 55 Heb. ix. 26; v. 9. 56 John i. 11-14.
kingdom of God. For as that which is born of the flesh, is flesh, or partakes of that natural life which qualifies it for this world; so that only which is born of the Spirit of God is spirit," or partakes of that spiritual life which qualifies it for an entrance into the kingdom of heaven. To the natural mind the world presents the highest source of gratification. To walk according to the course of this world,58 so as to be spoken well of by all around us, is most gratifying to human nature. The world presents objects of attraction, which are commonly found to be irresistible by those who have the opportunity of enjoying them. The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,59 have, one or the other of them, dominion over all mankind. In the days of youth and health especially, how little else is regarded by multitudes than self-gratification in the sight of the eyes, or in the wandering of the desire, or in the idea of our own superiority to others. But he that is born of God overcometh the world, by faith in the Son of God, and in the exercise of self-denial in these respects. He seeks his pleasure in what is more lasting and substantial than any thing which this world can give. He sets his affection on things above, not on things on the earth.60 He seeks for purer joys than this world affords. And this he does, because
57 John iii. 3, 6. 58 Eph. ii. 2. 59 1 John ii. 16. 60 Col. iii. 2.