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this head than our Lord's own words, John X. 27. et seqq. My sheep hear my « 'voice, and I know them, and they follow
And I give unto them eternal life, " and they shall never perish, neither shall
any pluck them out of my hand. My « Father which gave them me is greater " than all: and none is able to pluck them
Fa« ther are one.”—It is probable that Paul had this declaration in his eye, when he thus wrote to the Christians at Coloffe, Goios iii. 3. “ Your life is bid (that is,
safely lodged) with Christ in God.” Indeed the treasure was too precious to be committed to any creature.
Of this, the example of Adam, in his greatest perfection, affords a striking proof. How soon was his own life, and the life of all his posterity, forfeited in his hands ? Not the highest seraph, none o her but Emmanuel, God in our nature, was equal to the trust. But with him it is in absolute safety. He is able to keep that which the Father hath committed to him: And therefore, “ be4 cause he liveth, all who have fled to him
“ for refuge, shall live also;" and may be fully assured, that " when he who is their
life shall appear, then shall they likewise
appear with him in glory." Accordingly, the Apostle subjoins to my text, He that hath the Son, hath life. He doth not say, he shall have life at some distant period, but he hath it already, in present possession. And well might he say fo, when he recollected these words of our Lord, which his own pen had recorded in the 6th chapter of his gospel,
66 I am the “ bread of life.--I am the living bread which
came down from heaven: if any man eat of “ this bread, he shall live for ever. — As, the
living Father bath sent me, and I live by “ the Father; fo be that eateth me, even be " Jhall live by me.” For how can he die who feedeth upon that which giveth life? and He surely must have life in all its extent and perfection, whose sustenance or aliment is no other than essential life itself.
Hence it appears, how much they mistake the gospel-constitution, who represent eternal life as a distant reward, suspended upon the performance of certain conditions
on the part of the creature: whereas falvation through Christ, though perfected in heaven, is a present salvation; of which the various particulars, which are monly styled terms of acceptance with God, are in truth constituent parts, suited to the present state of Christians; and ought therefore to be considered as the genuine actings, and consequently the proper evidences, of life received from Christ, but not as the conditions or means of obtaining it. That our. Apostle viewed the matter in this light is evident, from the 13th verse of this chapter ; where, in the review of the large account he had given of the special duties that belong to believers, and the characters by which they are distinguished, he thus concludes : “ These things have I written “ unto you that believe on the name of the « Son of God," (not that ye may obtain, but), “ that ye may know that
have eter“ nal life,” by the free gift of the Father, in - consequence of your union with his blessed Son, who hath the fulness of life in his hand, as the proprietor, the dispenser, and the guardian thereof. For eternal life
doth really commence at that happy moment, when, by the new birth, we enter into the family of God, and become his children through faith in Christ Jesus.
Thus far have I endeavoured to illustrate the record that God hath given concerning his Son. Permit me then to ask, after all you have been hearing, in what light doth the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ now appear to you ? - Is he that object of terror, which the jealousy of an evil conscience is apt to paint him ?Can you rationally conclude, or is there even room to suspect, that he is an enemy to your happinefs ?-Oh! with what eyes do they read this facred volume, who are capable for a moment of entertaining such a thought ?' Is it not the obvious tendency, as well as the declared purpofe of every thing contained in the Scriptures of truth, to prove what the Apostle twice repeats in the preceding chapter, GOD IS LOVE?
What kind of evidence would satisfy you? It is my carnest desire that the quektion should be fully tried. My interest in
the decision is equal to yours: none hath more to gain or to lose than I have.
Devise the security that you esteem most valid : let nothing be omitted that you can suppose would be of avail for binding the most arsful and fallacious of your fellowmen; and when
have done, I challenge you to mention one article among them all, that is wanting in the security which God hath freely afforded
you. When a bare declaration of one's good intention doth not satisfy us, we may ask a promise ; and if doubts still remain, we may proceed to require the interposition of an oath; but there we must rest as to verbal security: “ An oath for confirmation is an “ end of all ftrife.” Need I remind
that without your solicitation, God hath been graciously pleased to give you all these? “ For God being willing more abundantly to “ Thew unto the heirs of promise the immu
tability of his counsel, confirmed it by
an oath, that by two immutable things, “ in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation who