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from him an eternal blessing and felicity might be derived to

The spotless Lamb of God bore our sins, that were de volved upon him : by thus bearing them, he destroyed them; and by dying for them, gained a complete victory over death. And how wonderful is the gradation of the blessings he procured for us! He not only delivered us from a prison and death, but presents us with a kingdom : according to that of the Psalmist, Who redeemeth thee from destruction ; who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies. Psalm ciii. 4.

I believe there are none so stupid or insensible, as to refuse that these tidings are very agreeable and pleasing to the ear. But we may, not without some reason, suspect of the greatest part of nominal Christians, who commonly receive these truths with great applause, that it may be said to them, without any injustice, what is all this to you? These privileges are truly great and manifold, and indifferently directed to all to whom they are preached, unless they reject them, and shut the door against happiness offering to come in: and this is not only the case of a great part of mankind, but they also impose upon themselves by false hopes, as if it were enough to hear of these great blessings, and dream themselves happy, because these sounds had reached their ears. But, О unhappy men! what will all these immense riches signify to you, I must indeed say, if you are not allowed to use them, but rather, if

you

know not how to avail yourselves of them? I therefore earnestly wish that these words of the gospel were well fixed in your minds : : He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not; but as many as received him, to them gave he

power to become the sons of God. John i. 10–12. In him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid, Col. ii. 3; and without him, there is nothing but emptiness, because in him all fulness doth dwell. But what advantage can it be to us hear these riches of our Jesus spoken of at great length, and to excellent purpose, or even to speak of them our

selves, if, all the while, we talk of them as a good foreign to us, and in which we have no concern, because our hearts are not yet open to receive him? What, pray, would the most accurate description of the Fortunate Islands, as they are called, or all the wealth of the Indies and the New World, with its golden mines, signify to a poor man half naked, struggling with all the rigours of cold and hunger ? Should one, in these circumstances, I say, hear or read of these immense treasures, or should any one describe them to him in the most striking manner, either by word of mouth, or with the advantage of an accurate pen; can it be doubted, but this empty display of riches, this phantom of wealth and affluence, would make his sense of want and misery the more intolerable ? Unless it be supposed, that despair had already reduced him to a state of insensibility. What further enhances the misery of those who hear of this treasure, and think of it to no purpose, is this, that there is no one of them, who is not miserable by choice, and a beggar in the midst of the greatest wealth ; and not only miserable by choice, but obstinately so, from an invincible and distracted fondness for the immediate causes of his misery

“ For who but a downright madman would reject such golden offers * ?"

To give a brief and plain state of the case : to those who sincerely and with all their hearts receive him, Christ is all things; to those who receive him not, nothing. For, how can any good, however suitable or extensive, be actually enjoyed, or indeed any such enjoyment conceived, without some kind of union between that good and the person supposed to stand in need of it? Behold, says the Psalmist, all those that are far from Thee, shall perish. Psal. lxxiii. 27. To be united to God, is the great and the only good of mankind. And the only means of this union is Jesus. In whatever sense you take it, he ought truly to be called the union of unions ; who, that he might with the greater consistency, and the more

* Quis enim nisi mentis inops oblatum hoc respuat aurum ?

closely, unite our souls to God, did not disdain to unite himself to a human body.

The great business of our life, therefore, young gentlemen, is this acceptance of Christ, and this inseparable union with him, which we are now recommending. Thrice happy, and more than thrice happy, are they who are joined with him in this undivided union, which no complaints, nor even the day of death can dissolve. Nay, the last day is happy above all other days, for this very reason, that it fully and finally completes this union, and is so far from dissolving it, that it renders it absolutely perfect and everlasting.

But, that it may be coeval with eternity, and last for ever, it is absolutely necessary that this union should have its beginning in this short and fleeting life. And pray, what hinders those of us that have not entered into this union before, to enter into it without delay ? Seeing the bountiful Jesus not only rejects none that come unto him, but also offers himself to all that do not wilfully reject him, and standing at the door, earnestly begs to be admitted. Oh, why do not these everlasting doors open, that the King of glory may.enter, and reign within us? Nay, though he were to be sought in a far country, and with great labour, why should we delay, and what unhappy chains detain us? Why do we not, after shaking them all off, and even ourselves, go as it were out of ourselves, and seek him incessantly till we find him? Then, rejoicing over him, say with the heavenly Spouse, I held him, and would not let him go ; and further add, with the same Spouse, that blessed expression, My beloved is mine, and I am his. And, indeed, this interest is always reciprocal. No man truly receives Jesus, who does not at the same time deliver up himself wholly to him. Among all the advantages we pursue, there is nothing comparable to this exchange. Our gain is immense from both ; not only from the acceptance of him, but also from surrendering ourselves to him. So long as this is delayed, we are the most abject slaves. When one has delivered himself up to Christ, then, and then only, he is truly

free, and becomes master of himself. Why should we wander about to no purpose ?

To him let us turp our eyes, on him fix our thoughts, that he who is ours by the donation of the Father, and his own free gift, may be ours by a cheerful and joyous acceptance. As St. Bernard says on those words of the prophet, to us a child is born, to us a son is given : “ Let us therefore make use of what is ours," 66 for our own advantage*.” So then, let him be ours by possession and uset, and let us be his for ever, never forgetting how dearly he has bought us.

LECTURE XV.

Of REGENERATION.

The Platonists divide the world into two, the sensible and the intellectual world : they imagine the one to be the type of the other, and that sensible and spiritual things are stamped, as it were, with the same stamp or seal. These sentiments are not unlike the notions which the masters of the cabalistical doctrine among the Jews, held concerning God's sephiroth and seal, wherewith, according to them, all the worlds, and every thing in them, are stamped or sealed. And these are probably near akin to what Lord Bacon of Verulam calls, his parallela signacula, and symbolizantes schematismi. According to this hypothesis, these parables and metaphors, which are often taken from natural things to illustrate such as are Divine, will not be similitudes taken entirely at pleasure, but are often, in a great measure, founded in nature and the things themselves. Be this as it may, that great change which happens in the souls of men by a real and effectual conversion to God, is illustrated in the Holy Scriptures by several remarkable changes,

* Puer natus est nobis, filius nobis datus est: utamur, inquit, nostro in uti tatem nostram.

η Κτησει και χρησει. .

both natural and civil, particularly by a deliverance from chains, prison, and slavery ; by a transition from one kingdom to another, and from darkness to light; by a restoration from death to life; by a new creation ; by a marriage ; and by adoption, and regeneration. Concerning this great change, as it is represented under the last of these figures, we propose, with Divine assistance, to offer a few thoughts from those words of St. John's gospel which we have already mentioned: To as many as received him, to them gave he power (or the privilege) to become the sons of God. John i. 12. Together with these words of our Saviour, in another place of the same gospel : Except a man be born again, of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John iii. 3.

If, indeed, we consider the nature and the original of man, it is not, without reason, that he is called the son of God, according to that passage which the Apostle, in his short, but most weighty sermon to the Athenians, quotes from the poet Aratus, and at the same time approves of, For we are all His offspring* Acts xvii. 28. Our first parent, in St. Luke's gospel, is also expressly called the son of God; Luke iii. ult., not only because he was created immediately by God, without any earthly father, but also, on account of the Divine image that was originally impressed upon the human nature.

And this glorious title, which distinguishes him from all other corporeal beings, he has in common with the angels, who are also so called in several places of the book of Job. Job i. 6, xxxvii. 7. It is indeed true, to use the words of St. Basil, that “ every piece of workmanship bears some mark or character of the workman who made it t." For I should rather choose, in this case, to use the word mark, or character, than likeness. But of man alone it is said, Let us make him after our own image. And this distinction is not improperly expressed by the schoolmen, who say, as we have already ob

* Του γαρ και γενος εσμεν.
* Πάν το εργαζόμενος έχειν τινα του τέκτονος τύπον.

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