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oppose in vain, while we maintain this heavenly peace! Death, with all its gloomy attendants, cannot terrify the believer who has peace with God. We are at war with sin, with hell, and with all that is evil in the world; but let us be of good courage, for we may overcome through the blood of the Lamb.
III. It is THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS GHRIST THAT WE HAVE PARDON AND PEACE.
When it is said to be through our Lord Jesus Christ, we are to take into the account all that he ever did, and all that he is do ing now on our account. We must not présume to separate his active obedience from his passive; as he had but one end in view in all he did, and in all he suffered, namely, the salvation of men. We should recollect
1. That it is through Christ that justification is attainable. Had he not undertaken our cause, we must have remained in a state of condemnation. We could not have delivered ourselves; nor could we have been delivered by the highest angel in heaven. It has pleased God, for wise purposes, to make Jesus the medium of all his gracious communications to man. 66 Other foundation can no man lay than that. iš laid, which is Christ Jesus." O let us:
build upon this foundation, and we shall stand firm both in life and death!
2. It is through Christ that faith is accepted as our righteousness. The law demands that obedience, which, as fallen creatures, we cannot perform. The gospel requires faith; but faith would have had no saving object if Christ had not died. It is the object which stamps value upon our faith, and renders it acceptable to God; so that if faith be imputed or reckoned to us for righteousness, it is wholly through the merit of our Lord.
Viewing things in this light, we see the great obligation we are under to love, honour, and obey our Saviour. Well might the apostle Peter say, “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious." He is precious to a believer in all his sacred offices and characters! He is precious in life and death, and will be so to all eternity!
“Now to him that is of power tosablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith': to God only wise, be glory through Jesus, Christ for ever. Amen."
The Importance of Regeneration,
John iii. 3. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the
kingdom of God.
peacore EVERY man should study the doctrine of regeneration with deep attention; because happiness, both in this and in a future world absolutely depends upon this momentous subject. Those who live and die unregenerate cannot see the kingdom of God. They will be cast out of the divine presence, and perish in their sins. ! Nicodemus, a ruler of the jews, 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 doest, except God be with him.” This was an honest confession of Christ as a divine prophet; but as to the nature of Messiah's kingdom, and the necessity of entering into it by a second birth, Nicodemus was as dark 'as the night in which he came. Without any comment
upon the confession of Nicodemus, Jesus instantly replied, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
We shall consider, first, what is meant by being born again : secondly, the necessity of being born again; and, thirdly, the means to be used that we may be born again.
1. WHAT IS MEANT BY BEING BORN AGAIN?
The new birth has been misunderstood, and therefore misrepresented, by many who · have borne the christian name. Some have maintained that water baptism is the new birth; but they have taken the sign for the thing signified. Some have supposed outward reformation to be the new birth; not l'ecollecting that there may be an outward reformation without a change of heart. Others have supposed that to be born again is to join a christian sect, and to make an open profession of christianity ; but they are as wide of the mark as the former. Many profess the name of Jesus who never felt his saying power. One remark will contain a full answer to all these dangerous errors: Baptism, a mere reformation of manners, and a profession of Christ, are . external things; but regeneration is an internal work of the holy Spirit.
The language of scripture is often figurative. Things of a spiritual nature are represented by natural things, to make them more intelligible, and to impress them deeply on the mind. The phrase, bornagain, is a figure taken from a natural birth; and it conveys the idea of an entrance upon a new life. By a riatural birth we become men; and by a spiritual birth we become christians. As our natural birth introduces us to natural things, so our spiritual birth introduces us to spiri. tual things. By our first birth we possessed the nature of man; by our second we possess the nature of God. These remarks make it evident that regeneration implies both a quickening and a renewal of the soul. .
1. To be born again implies a quickening of the soul. While men are in a state of nature they are spiritually dead; but when they are born again, new life is communicated by the Spirit of God. “You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” It may be called a resurrection, because new life is given to that which was dead. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are 'above." It may be called a creation, because that exists which did not exist before. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” In regeneration, then, a new life begins in the soul,