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are not in similar conditions, yea it is a truth and a fact, every day exemplified, that even a man in the natural world cannot live one hour in the company of another man, who is in an opposite state of affection and thought, without perceiving an unfavorable sphere, or influence, certain, though invisible, which soon dissociates and parts them asunder. So neither, my dear brethren, can we spiritually behold the Lord our God aright, and be “ conjoined to him in a perpetual covenant, which shall never be forgotten,” UNLESS “ We believe in him, fear him, love him with all the heart, with all the mind, with all the soul, and with all the strength; worship him, and give him thanks, put our whole trust in him, call upon him, honor his holy name and his word, and serve him truly all the days of our lives.” For as he was pleased to glorify his humanity and ours, this does not preclude, but produce, the necessity of our spiritual regeneration, both with respect to our internal and external man, our will and understanding, our affections and thoughts, our words and actions, For this is the new and second Birth, so much insisted on in Scripture by our Lord and his Apostles and Christian ministers ever since. And without THIS, the use, benefit, and application of his redeeming work on Earth will be all lost, and worst than lost, to us, for ever. For “ we can never be with him where he is, nor behold his glory there," nor be capable of the divine irradiations, emanations and influences, which eternally beam forth from the presence of “ the God of Gods, in Zion.”
To this most important purpose, “ the heart of stone must be taken away, and the new heart of flesh,” must be given to us. And “ the dry bones must be raised to life, by the spirit of the Lord.” For, such (however anwelcome the news may be to the polite Pharisee, or the rebellious sinner) I say, such is nevertheless the state of the unregenerate man, or every man by nature, in consequence of his hereditary and actual depravity, and nothing but a practical and unwearied application to him, who is “ the Resurrection and the Life, in whom
whosoever belieyeth shall never perish,” can bring us into that new, superior, and blessed state of life, peace and salvation, which is the true end of our existence, and the perfection of our immortal hopes. Let us, therefore, singly and collectively endeavour to be “ looking unto Jesus, as both the author and the finisher of our faith. Which also fulfils the Lord's strong invitation in the Old Testament,' “ Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else.” And, since faith, without love, is no faith in reality, but only an ideal dream; let us also, my beloved brethren, endeavour to EMBRACE our blessed Saviour, like good old Simeon, with the arms of a sincere desire, affection, and love, daily and hourly striving to do and suffer his sovereign and infallible will, to exalt his adorable name, and in a word, to. “ adorn the doctrine of God, our Saviour, in all things,” For
He hath done and suffered infinitely more than mind can conceive, or language can express, to regain what Adam lost, and thus to accomplish our everlasting
happiness, His mercy and his goodness áre every day most eminently displayed towards us. And it only remains for us to await around him, in his own appointed ways, and to live perpetually with a consciousness of his all-seeing eye, and with a desire of his providential direction.
So shall a sufficient portion of his divine spirit rest upon us, and by its sacred, renovating and delightful influences, qualify and prepare us for that eternal heaven above, which his unbeclouded presence alone can bestow, And although we shall rise again from the grave, with immortal strength and youth, be made like unto our glorious head, live in his presence, and be elevated immensely far above our present christian state on earth; nevertheless, his divine words in our text, will for ever, in a certain sense, remain truly applicable to the infinite distinction between him and us, and to our glorious duty thence arising.
May the divine “ Sun of Righteousness” arise upon your souls and mine, give us a direct perception and a profitable application of the precious truths now delivered, that we may “ know him and the power of his Resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings ;” “ that we may feel after him, that we may find him, though he is not far from every one of us :” and that “ like as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glory of the father, even so we also may walk in newness of life.” .