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That it is not enough for the members of Christ to mani

fest Holy Love, they ought to manifest His kingly power, not in word only, but in mighty works.- On the gifts of the Spirit,

173-182 On the point of prophetic chronology at which we stand.On the sealing,

182.189 On the coming judgments, and on the state of the world, which calls for them,

193 The existence of evil in God's world, the great mystery,

and God's purpose of bringing a greater good out of it,

than that which is marred is the secret of the Lord, 204-205 On the Serpent, the beast, and the false prophet, as fore.

doomed in the gospels preached to Adam, and Noah, and Abraham,

206 The kingdom and the first resurrection contained in the gospel preached to Noah,

224 On Noah as a type of the election,

226 Abraham also a type of the election,

228 Men are elected not to the shedding of the blood, which is

the atonement, but to the sprinkling of the blood, which is the purging of the conscience, 1 Pet. i, 2. 1 John ii. 2.

229 See also on the difference between the sacrifice and the sprinkling,

254 On God's sovereignty,

231 On the manifestation of God in Christ and his church, by contrast with the world,

235 The temptation by which the serpent seduced man,

240 On disease as a work of the devil, and healing as a part of

the gospel of him who is to destroy the works of the devil

.

243

! THE

BRAZEN SERPENT.

rect my

The third chapter of John's gospel is one of the key chapters in the Bible. “ All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction in righteousness,” but there are some passages which, in an especial manner, serve to unfold the mysteries of the kingdom of God, by setting them before us in their very elements. And such a passage is that which records our Lord's conversation with Nicodemus on the subject of the new birth. To the matter contained in that passage I would now di

readers' attention. " There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God, for no man can do these miracles that thou dost, except God be with him.” It is evident from this account that Nicodemus had already heard Jesus speak in public to the people, and that he had been much struck by his doctrine, as well as by the miraculous power that accompanied it, and gave testimony to it as the doctrine of that God, whose power upholds and controls all things. Nicodemus must have had his interest very much excited with regard to Jesus, before he could have been induced to seek this interview. His coming by night, shows at once his anxiety to understand some

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thing more of His doctrine, and his sense of the obloquy to which he might expose himself, by such a step, if known, yet, when he comes, he does not ask any particular question, about the doctrine which had so struck him ; he seems just to cast himself generally and without reservation on this new teacher, who carried with him such high credentials, trusting that the spirit which was mighty in Jesus to perform miracles, would also direct him to suit his instructions to the need of his disciple. But though he does not himself explain what his difficulties were, yet from the answer which Jesus gave him, we may gather that they were connected with something which he had heard on the nature of the kingdom of God, and the character of its subjects. He must have heard some such discourse as the sermon on the mount, in which the spiritual character of the kingdom was set forth, and the nature of true blessedness explained to consist in the possession of that spiritual character. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God; blessed are the meek ; blessed are the pure in heart.” Or he might have heard him claim for God the love of the heart, and condemn every thought, word, and action, as sinful, which did not proceed from this love; or he might have heard him

love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you, that you may be like your Father in heaven, who loves his enemies, and does good to them that hate him. We can easily suppose the feeling of a conscientious man on hearing such things from a teacher whose divine authority, he could not disallow, whilst he was at the same time quite conscious that he was neither poor in spirit, nor pure in heart,--and that in very truth he had not towards God, a feeling which

say,

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he could honestly call love,—and that he did not and could not love his enemies,-we can easily, I say, suppose him feeling great anxiety, and reasoning thus with himself,-if this be the only true blessedness, and the only recognised character of the heirs of the kingdom of God, it is perfectly certain that I, as I now stand, have neither part nor lot in the matter. And then we may suppose him setting about endeavouring to love God, and to be poor in spirit, and to love his enemies, and then finding that all his endeavours were absolutely nothing, and that he did not love a particle more for all the painful and conscientious efforts that he made. What is he to do? If the demand on him were to fast, or to go through the temple service, or to give a certain portion, or the whole of his goods to the poor, or even to his enemies, he could meet the demand - he could do any thing which required only the tongue or the hands, or the feet to do it, but he could not command his feelings, he could not love by trying to love, And yet a miraculously accredited messenger from heaven had declared that, in this character of holy love, and in it alone, consisted true blessedness, and the capacity of seeing or entering the kingdom of God. He thus felt himself, by the declaration of God, excluded from that good thing on which the expectation of the whole nation of Israel was fixed, -on God's best blessing, for thus they always rightly regarded the kingdom of God, however erroneous their notions as to its nature might be. In this his extremity of ignorance and helplessness, there remained no resource but to apply to Jesus himself—and this he accordingly did. “ Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God, for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” Thou bearest God's cre

dentials, and, in God's name, thou hast made claims on me which I cannot disallow, but which I cannot meet.--I have tried, but find I can do nothing ; divine Teacher, teach me. « Jesus answered and said unto him, except a man be born again,” or be born from above, (as it is literally translated on the margin,) “he cannot see the kingdom of God.” In this answer Jesus recognised the difficulty which Nicodemus felt; but he did not remove it; for he only told him that it was quite true, that as he then was, it was absolutely impossible for him to do those things which he had been trying to do; that those things were the actings of a principle of life altogether different from that which he had at present, and that, until he had that life, which was a life from above, all efforts to do them must, in the nature of things, be as vain as the efforts of one kind of tree to bring forth the fruit of another kind of tree. By thus recognising his difficulty, and assuring him that it was a real difficulty, however, he gave him this important information, that it was vain to expect by any system of discipline to train up that nature or principle of life which he had by his first birth, into a fitness for the kingdom of God, or into a character of true blessedness, or a capacity of doing any of those things which belong to the kingdom of God. Except a man be born from above; except a man get the life from above-an entirely new principle of life, he cannot see the kingdom of God. If you would have a branch bring forth fruit different from the natural fruit of the tree, you must first infuse a new sap, for the old sap must produce the old fruit, it can produce no other. A selfish and unholy nature cannot produce the fruits of holy love; a holy loving nature must be infused. Effort, however conscientious and

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