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hell. But fear ye not the reproach of men: neither be ye afraid of their revilings. Behold the hour cometh, when Chrift shall render to every man according to his deeds. Then fhall the righteous man ftand in great boldness before the face of fuch as have afflicted him, and made no account of his labours. When they fee it, they shall be troubled with terrible fear: and fhall be amazed at the ftrangeness of his falvation, fo far beyond all that they looked for. And they, repenting, and groaning for anguish of Spirit, shall say within themfelves; this was he whom we had fome-· time in derifion, and a proverb of reproach. We fools accounted his life madness; and his end to be without honour. How is he numbered with the children of God: and his lot is among the Saints *!
* Wisdom, v. 1—5.
On coming unto JESUS CHRIST for life.
JOHN, v. 40.
Ye will not come unto me, that ye might bave life.
SUPPOSE a legiflator, anxious to deter
his fubjects from the commiffion of a particular crime, were to annex to it, as a penal confequence, the total confiscation of property. Suppofe an individual, forewarned of the impending effects of disobedience, wilfully to commit the crime. Confifcation enfues. The inheritance defigned for his children is intercepted. Suppose the children arrived at manhood, and treading in the fteps of their father. Suppose them habitually trampling upon ftatutes, which they feel themselves bound by ties of duty to obey; and manifefting by efforts of impotent treason inherent malevolence
malevolence against the Legislator. Suppofe that legiflator, however rigorous in justice, equally abundant in mercy: however refolute to maintain the honour of his law, equally folicitous to remove every impediment to the exercife of overflowing kindness towards tranfgreffors. Suppofe him, however arduous the task, to have devifed a method, by which, without encroachment on the principles of rectitude, without depreciation of his authority, without encouragement to offences, the forfeited inheritance may be restored; every acces fion of punishment which has been incurred be averted; and new poffeffions, far furpaffing the patrimony which by guilt was loft, be fuperadded. Suppose the attainment of these bleffings, the gifts of free mercy, to be effectually placed on equitable and easy conditions within the reach of the offenders. What if you were to hear that the bleffings are defpifed; that the offer is rejected? Should you credit the intelligence? Should you conceive that the annals of the world could furnish many examples of fimilar infanity? Should you apprehend that in the most enlightened regions, fimilar infanity is frequent at this hour? Should you believe that it is but needful
needful to caft 'your eyes round the circle in which you move, to witness many a correfponding spectacle of frenzy? Should you believe that at this hour there may be exhibited a kindred fpectacle of frenzy by yourfelf?
Our Saviour, as we learn from the former part of the chapter before us, had given extreme offence to the Jews by expreffions which they juftly understood as a diftinct affirmation, of his divinity. He proceeded therefore to declare to them the glorious and pre-eminent power, with which he was, in his human nature, entrufted by his Father. One branch of this power was to raise all mankind from the grave. As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even fo the Son quickeneth whom he will. Another was to judge the world. The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgement unto the Son: that all men may bononr the Son even as they honour the Father. To thefe declarations our Lord, after fome collateral and explanatory difcuffion, fubjoined the emphatical words of the text; Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life. In these words three facts were implied. Firft: that the Jews were not at that time poffeffed of life; nor caVOL. II. pable
pable of obtaining it by their own exertions. They were in a state of death. They were in a state of condemnation as finners. Eternal deftruction hung over their heads: and from that deftruction they were of themselves unable to deliver their fouls. Secondly: A method of obtaining life was provided and made known unto them; namely, to come unto Chrift. God had openly fet forth his Son, from eternity a partaker of the Godhead, to be a propitiation for the fins of mankind; to purchase falvation by his blood; to reveal to men the path of righteousness, and to enable them to pursue it. Thirdly: The Jews had the power of coming unto Chrift, and of thus obtaining life. On another occafion, our Lord affirmed, as an univerfal truth; No man can come unto me, except the Father which bath fent me draw him. But the terms in which he addreffed the multitude, "Ye will not come unto me," prove, that to them, as unto all to whom the Gospel was preached, the requifite affiftance was vouchfafed from above; and that their refusal to feck falvation through Him was their own voluntary deed.
Do you conceive that thefe momentous truths have no other reference than to the