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that love him.' Suffice it to observe, that it consists in deliverance and exemption from all possible evil, and the possession and enjoyment of all possible good-and that throughout eternity.

ing Lord. If we are to live, he must first die. | heard, neither have entered into the heart of man The bread which I give is my flesh, which I give the things which God hath prepared for them for the life of the world. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. That we might be rich he became poor; that we might have fullness of joys, he became a man of sorrows; that we might be heirs of glory, he became acquainted with grief.

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This life eternal is through Jesus Christ,' inasmuch as he publishes it to us by his gospel. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.' He was the life manifested; in him was life, and the life was the light of men. When many of his followers, being of fended at the spirituality of his doctrine' on this very point, went back and walked no more with Jesus, he said unto the twelve, 'Will ye also go away?' Then Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life; and we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.' The beloved disciple John bears his solemn testimony respecting 'that which was from the beginning, which he had heard, which he had seen with his eyes, which he had looked on and his hands had handled of the Word of Life.' And he himself, the Witness, faithful and true, declares that power has been given him over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as the Father has given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.'

This eternal life is 'through Jesus Christ,' inasmuch as it is he who produces in us its commencement here, and prepares us for its consummation hereafter. Unto him, as accepted High Priest and exalted King, is committed the entire dispensation of the Holy Ghost,-the ministration of "the Spirit;'-and by virtue of this 'law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus,' the Son quickeneth whom he will.' Hence it is that he is so often spoken of as being 'the Life,' in the abstract. When Christ, who is our Life, shall appear, then ye shall also with him in glory.' He obtained it by appear his death, he announced it by his gospel, he imparts it by his Spirit. He is all our salvation in time, and will be all our praise in eternity.

What is the gift which is to be thus freely bestowed by God through Christ on his believing people? It is 'eternal life;' but all that is included in that expression we can no more comprehend than we can conceive of all the misery that is threatened in that 'eternal death' to which it stands opposed. Eye hath not seen, nor ear

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There is the removal of all evil. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.' They rest from their labours and their sufferings together. There is no more death, neither sorrow nor crying; neither is there any more pain; for the former things are passed away.

There is the fruition of all good, and especially of the chief good,—the beatific vision, and holy service, and blissful fellowship of the Deity. They are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. The powers of their minds being purified and perfected, they will search all things, yea, the deep things of God, with unceasing attention and unwearied delight-exchanging the feeble and indistinct conceptions of earth for the living light of heaven. There no darkness shall cloud the mind, no impurity defile the heart, no effort exhaust the vigour, but in ever-growing assimila tion to the image of the Blessed, they shall realize with ecstatic rapture the fullest gratification of their desires, the highest consummation of their hopes. Him whom not seeing they love, they shall then see as He is;' they shall be for ever with one another, and for ever with the Lord. And conducted, under celestial guidance, to new scenes of adoring contemplation, and to new sources of unmingled bliss, the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.'


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I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye,' Ezek. xviii. 32.

Ir is Jehovah who speaks; and his words contain a solemn declaration and an urgent entreaty, both addressed to sinful, perishing men.

The declaration is, that he has no pleasure in the death of him that dieth;' and who that knows anything of God can for a moment doubt this? He is a God of truth; and it were the height of impiety to call in question any of his assevera

tions. He is a God of wisdom; and can we did not receive from his gracious hand?-consuppose that he would call beings into existence and then wantonly proceed to destroy his own workmanship? He is a God of goodness and love; and it is as impossible that these attributes should take pleasure in the wretchedness of his creatures, as that his holiness and justice should take pleasure in their iniquity.

Nor has he left himself without many a witness to confirm to us the truth of his own saying, and place it beyond the possibility of contradiction. His works, as well as his word, show him to be a God, who feels for the sinner while he hates his sin.

God is love! and that love includes the intense and immeasurable desire of doing good; it is nothing less than the almighty energy of the divine mind, manifested in the unceasing and endless diffusion of happiness. As he is essentially blessed in himself, it is nothing but goodness that could have prompted him to create the universe, and give existence, and the means of existence and enjoyment, to the innumerable orders of creatures which it contains. As he is supremely good in himself, so he is the Author and Giver, the Source and Bestower of all the good that is any where or at any time enjoyed. His goodness is the praise of earth; it is the glory of heaven; it shines and is confessed throughout the universe. And can such a God, think you, have pleasure in the death of him that dieth?

'His tender mercies are over all his works.' The noon-tide sun and the cheerful day; the fullorbed moon as she walks in brightness and beauty at night; the verdant earth, the spacious sea, the bespangled firmament; the healthy breeze, the fruitful shower, the varying seasons; the flowers arrayed by his hand, the beasts fed by his bounty, the birds watched by his care-all his works praise him, all his creatures declare that the Lord is good. And can such an one then have pleasure in the death of him that dieth?

But man is pre-eminently the subject of exquisite and extensive enjoyment, and it is all from God. Other creatures here below he made for man, but us made he for himself, that we might share in his happiness and rejoice in his joy. How precious are thy thoughts unto us, O God! how great is the sum of them! if we should count them, they are more in number than the sand.' Are we not the objects of his constant protection, and his ever-wakeful, unwearied keeping? Does not his visitation preserve our spirits, and his kindness bless every moment of our lives? What have we ever had of good that we

venient food, needful raiment, secure dwelling, refreshing repose, affectionate relatives, faithful friends-all of us life's necessaries, and many of us its luxurious comforts. In Him we live, and move, and have our being; and can He have pleasure in our death?

But from his ceaseless loving-kindness to us as creatures, turn to his dealings towards us as sinners. The high powers he has conferred upon us, and the providential bounties he has heaped upon us, we have employed as instruments of rebellion against him. And how now must he conduct himself towards us? He might in a moment frown us into perdition—he might crush us into nothing-for he could annihilate with a word those worlds which by a word he created. But blessed be his name! He against whom we have sinned would be our Redeemer; and for this end he sent his own Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that by his labours, his prayers, his agonies, his tears, his blood, his life, the world through him might be saved. Rather than that we should suffer, God spared not his own Son, but gave him up to the death for us all. When we hear the eternal Father saying, Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow; smite the shepherd;'-when we see him bruising and putting to grief his best-beloved, and laying on him the iniquity of us all,―can we once harbour the impious thought, that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, has pleasure in the sinner's misery?


And who but the same God, so rich in mercy, has suffered our manners and spared our lives until now? If our death and destruction had been with him an object of pleasurable desire, how easily and instantaneously might he have accomplished it! He had but to will it, and long ere to-day our bodies would have been in

the grave, and our souls in hell. Yet not only has his long-suffering forbearance prolonged life, but his grace has surrounded us with all the means of salvation, which are fitted and intended to exhibit to us his love in Christ Jesus, and to be the channels for conveying to us his Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of life and peace. Much and earnestly does he strive with our consciences, that he may guide us in the way everlasting; and surely, then, the God who gave his Son to die for us, and who sends his Spirit to quicken us to life, can have no pleasure in our death.

It is upon this solemn declaration, the truth of which is so fully attested by God's entire pro

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cedure towards the sinner, both in providence | condemned criminals, and in the eye of the law and grace, that is founded the urgent entreaty, are dead already, and are only waiting for the 'Turn yourselves, and live ye.' The fact of such execution of the sentence; the soul that sinneth an entreaty being addressed to us by God, clearly shall die.' But in Christ there is life; for to shows, were any farther proof required, the per- them who are in him by a living faith condemnafect sincerity and solemn earnestness of the de- tion there is none. The law of the Spirit of life claration he had made, that he desires not the in Christ Jesus makes the Christian free from sinner's death. Nor does this entreaty stand the law of sin and death. His sin is freely foralone. The Bible is full of invitations the most given; his trespass is fully remitted; his iniquities tender and affectionate-addressed to the worst are cast behind God's back, as into the depths of of sinners, without distinction or reserve-to the sea, whence they shall never rise against him turn from the error and evil of their ways, in judgment; they shall not be once mentioned that they may live. And if these invitations unto him, nor remembered any more for ever. they persist in rejecting to the close of life, then Before God, through Christ, he stands up as the blame of their destruction can only be laid at righteous, having the righteousness of Christ put their own door. The Almighty has made it evi- upon him as a garment, and reckoned unto him dent in a variety of ways, and in a manner the as a possession. Being thus justified freely by most affecting, that so far from seeking the sin- his grace, he is accepted in the Beloved. And ner's death, he would far rather that he should is not this pardon, this acquittal, this acceptance, be saved and come to repentance. Yea, he life in the truest sense?-when God's law being swears to it by his own eternal self-existence, so satisfied, and his justice vindicated, the sentence glorious and happy: 'As I live,' saith the Lord of death is reversed, and the gift of life is beGod, I have no pleasure in the death of the stowed. It is then only when a man is absolved, wicked. Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways, reconciled, adopted into the family of God, that for why will ye die, O house of Israel.' Turn he begins really to live as his child. Verily, us, O Lord, and we shall be turned; heal us, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my and we shall be healed; save us, and we shall be words, and believeth on him that sent me, hath saved; for thou art our praise. everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.'


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Then there is the life of renewal and sanctification. By nature we are said to be carnallyminded, which is death-to be 'dead in trespasses and sins.' But as the Father hath life in him

'Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life,' self, even so hath he given to the Son to have

John v. 40.

life in himself; and as the Father raiseth the THE word life denotes in gospel phraseology, not dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son bare, conscious existence, but happy existence. also quickeneth whom he will. When the SaA man may be alive, and yet be most miserable; viour died, and rose, and revived, it was that he and even though there may be nothing to cause might be the Lord both of the quick and dead. him present uneasiness, he may be rendered very As a reward of his obedience to the death, he unhappy by the dark uncertainty as to how it received into his hands the entire dispensation of may fare with him hereafter. Life, then, in the the Holy Ghost, and hence it is called the law highest and noblest sense of the term, points us of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus making us, to that glorious state of holiness, peace, felicity in this sense also, free from the law of sin and -perfect, endless, undisturbed, which awaits the death. Nothing but the application of that perfected just in the kingdom of their Father-law can ensure the result desired, namely, the the fullness of joy in his presence, the pleasures awakening us to a life of holiness. Education at his right hand for evermore.

will not do it, precepts will not do it, example will not do it, argument the most cogent— persuasion the most affectionate and earnest will not do it; the gospel itself will not do it, if it come in word only. It is the Spirit that quick

But while this will be to the believing soul life's ultimate consummation, we also find that under the same designation are included in scripture all those spiritual blessings which precede it here, and prepare the saint for its final enjoy-eneth: the letter killeth; the words which Jesus ment hereafter.

There is the life of pardon and justification. Being all sinners against God's holy law, we are

speaks, they are spirit and they are life.

And what then is regeneration but the communication of new life to a dead soul? What is

confession of sin and self-abhorrence on account | pensable qualification for its enjoyment. If Christ of it? What are faith, hope, love? What are offered them life in sin, they would eagerly run righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost? to him; but as what he offers is life in obeWhat are the aspirations of prayer, the emotions dience, they will not come to him that they may of thankfulness, the songs of praise, but the evi- | have life.' dences and enjoyments of a new-born child of God? And from what do all these things flow, but from the sinner's coming to Christ that he may have life?

Finally, there is the life of happiness and glory. For it is after all this that life in the highest degree begins. These earnests and foretastes of heaven shall issue in that eternal felicity for which they prepare the saint. This renewal, sanctification, comfort, peace, shall issue in the joy unspeakable and glorified. For what is glory but grace consummated and perfect? What is the kingdom of God in heaven, but the same kingdom that was begun on earth?-there completed in all its parts, subduing and pervading the whole man in soul, body, and spirit-heightened, refined, sublimated, indestructible, eternal.

Now, the cause of this refusal is only to be found in the sad perversity of man's will, and in his deliberate preference of darkness to light, of evil to good, of death to life. Most earnest and free is the gospel offer, and most full the gospel promise of wisdom and strength above our own in the sincere use of the means appointed. But the sinner comes not, because he will not; he persists in choosing cursing rather than blessing, and therefore the blame of his misery and destruction will lie entirely at his own door. 'Awake, thou that sleepest! and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.'


Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God?' 1 Sam. vi. 20.

THIS was the exclamation of the people of Bethshemesh, when the Lord had smitten so many of their number, on account of their irreverent familiarity, and impious curiosity in 'looking into the ark.' They had, at first, received it with all joyful respect, offering burnt-offerings, and sacrificing sacrifices;' but its continued presence in the midst of them wore off those impressions of sacred awe. And it required a signal and mira

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Now, in all these senses of the term, life is to be found in Christ, and in Christ alone; and yet, though it be the very thing we dying sinners most need, sinners will not come to him that they may have life. As to the life of pardon and justification they fancy they do not need it for as they have not (as they suppose) wronged man, they cannot have wronged God; or if they feel that they are chargeable with some offences, they think that God is too merciful to punish weak creatures like them; that if he should require some satisfaction to his justice, their good deeds will at least baculous display of heaven's vengeance to give a lance, if not outweigh, their bad deeds, and that their prayers and alms, their services, and sacrifices, and sufferings, will surely be taken into account in the matter of their justification. They cannot bring themselves to suppose, that they ought to be treated as on the same footing before God as the worst of criminals.


humbling simplicity of the gospel of free grace offends them; and as they cannot see how they can be under death, they will not come to Christ that they may have life.'

Still more reluctant are sinners to come to Christ for a life of holiness. Indeed, there are not wanting many, who would be willing, yea, anxious to accept deliverance from wrath and hell from any quarter, provided it did not come to them in the way of previous deliverance from evil passions and darling lusts. They would have no objection to obtain a title to the happiness of heaven when they die, but they care not to seek after that holiness which forms the indis

check to their unholy presumption, and to convince them that God is greatly to be feared, even in the assembly of his saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are round about him.' 'Who,' cried they, 'is able to stand before this holy Lord God?'

The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.' When we would describe the character of a fellow-creature, we endeavour to seize on that peculiar feature by which he is most strikingly marked out from others—that quality which is said to form the basis of his character. Now, to speak after the manner of men, it is no disparagement to any of the attributes of Jehovah, but rather constitutes their highest glory to affirm, that holiness lies at the foundation of them all. And by holiness we mean that perfection of the Deity, by which, to use the language of his own word, He is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look upon iniquity.' Under this title is he worshipped and

feared by his people on earth- the holy Lord as the God with whom they have to do, is not God, the Holy One of Israel.' Under this title in all their thoughts; and hence the question has is he worshipped and praised by saints and angels never seriously occurred to them, as to how they in heaven— the holy, holy, holy Lord God Al- shall stand before him; or if it has sometimes mighty. His name is holy; his nature is holy; been suggested to them, it has promptly been his Spirit is holy; his word is holy; his works repelled as an unwelcome intruder. But a man's are holy; his saints give thanks at the remem-treatment of a truth cannot in the least affect its brance of his holiness; and holiness becometh his reality, nor prevent its consequences. Your

'house for ever.'


forgetfulness of death will not keep you alive; your doubt of a resurrection will not hide you in the grave; your denial of a judgment will not delay one moment its approach, nor exempt you from any one of its penal awards. And, oh sinner, what will you do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation that shall come from far? To whom will ye flee for help, and where will

But what sinner is able to stand before this holy Lord God? Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?' 'God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.' The careless sinner, indeed, will not believe this, or if he does not deny the truth of a future judgment, he treats it with indifference and un-ye leave your glory? If thou hast run with the

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Even in a present life, God can so alarm and dismay the conscience of a sinner with a discovery of his own guilt and misery, and of the bright and spotless holiness, and the burning, consuming justice of his Judge, as to lay him prostrate and trembling at his feet. Unable to look up to the divine majesty, far less to stand before Him, he lays his hand upon his mouth, and his mouth in the dust; and out of the depths of distress and anguish he is heard to groan: The arrows of the Almighty are within me, and the poison thereof drinketh up my spirit. My flesh trembleth because of Him, and I am afraid of his judgments. Destruction from God is a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I cannot endure. While I suffer his terrors I am distracted.' When they hear of righteousness, temperance, or judgment to come,' again they tremble. When they read in the hand-writing of conscience, the appalling mystic scroll, Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting!'-then their countenance is changed, and their thoughts trouble them, so that the joints of their loins are loosed, and their knees smite one against another.

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And how comes it then, that so many sinners can live as if there were no God, or as if his title of the 'holy Lord God' were but an empty sound? It is because they have not yet been brought to realize his dread presence as the, Witness of their conduct, the Hearer of their words, the Searcher of their hearts, the Judge of their souls. God,

footmen, and they wearied thee, how then wilt thou contend with horses? And if in the land of peace wherein thou trustedst they wearied thee, how then wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan? What will you do, when God riseth up? And when he visiteth, what will you answer him? In that awful day of the revelation of God's righteous judgments- the day for which all other days were made'-the whole world of the ungodly will lie guilty before God, and not one of them will be able to endure the lightning of his eye, or the terror of his frown. They will call, but call in vain, to the mountains and rocks: Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?'

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All joy to the believer who lives, walks, stands by his faith! In drawing near before this holy Lord God, his language is, If thou, O Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.' Himself a guilty and polluted creature, he, nevertheless, stands up before God in Christ, acquitted, accepted, approved; and living under a ministration not of bondage and death, but of liberty and life, he is even permitted to look into the ark' of the gospel-not indeed with the prying gaze of idle curiosity, but with a hallowed contemplation like that of angels when they desire to look' into the mysteries of redemption. Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape the wrath to come, and to stand before the Son of Man.'

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