Page images
PDF
EPUB

cation before God, and his acceptance and adoption into the divine family. He is an heir of God. He bas the Spirit of holiness communicated in regeneration, which is in him a well of water springing up to everlasting life. He has the pledges and anticipations of his full redemption in the seal and earnest of the Holy Ghost. The hope of eternal life is itself a prelude of heaven. Besides which, the happiness of communion with God, the enjoyment of his paternal love, the calm pleasure of holy meditation, and the i visits and manifestations of his Saviour's mercy, are all evidences that the Christian has eternal life abiding in him. These are of them, selves unspeakable blessings; blessings, indeed, such as, previously to the full display of them in the Gospel, eye had not seen, nor ear heard, neither had entered into the heart of man.

In order, howeyer, to understand better these remarks, we must contrast this eternal life witb THE EVERLASTING DEATH WHICH IT REMOVES, For we were by nature children of wrath even as others. We had incurred by our sins the righteous curse of God's holy law. We were enemies in our mind by wicked works. We were under condemnation. Banishment from the divine presence, the torments of a corroding conscience, misery unutterable of body and soul, the dreadful society of the devil and his angels, all the full inflictions of infinitę wrath and infi

nite justice, whatever the provoked majesty of God could demand, or the avenging power of God put into execution--all this we had incura red as transgressors against him. Estimate, then, the terror of this eternal death on the one hand, and the height of glory to which eternal life will raise us on the other, and you will be better able to appreciate the gift which we are now considering. Look down, if you can venture to do it, towards the impenetrable darkness of hell, and look up to the ravishing bliss of paradise; and when you have contrasted the two, say what must be that life which delivers us from the one and bestows upon us the other.

But I proceed to notice, that God confers this blessing AS A GJFT-God hath GIVEN to us eternal life. This is a point which, we might think, could require little proof. For if we are all sinners against God, if we have forfeited his favour and lie under his curse, then how can salvation be obtained otherwise than as a gift? Where are the merits which are to purchase it? Where is the covenant of works which can convey it? Where the uninterrupted and perfect obedience which can fulfil the conditions prescribed for its attainment? Where the atonement to repair the injured justice of the Lawġiver Where the superabundant duties to make for previous defects? Where the present security of virtue to prevent additional

up

faults? Where even the disposition of heart to turn to God? Where the relenting spirit which weeps for sin

Where the human strength which can lead us on against it, or the human resolution which can subdue it? In a word, where is the man who, on any supposable terms, can claim this salvation as a reward? To every one of these, and a thousand similar questions, there is but one reply-Man is by nature dead in trespasses and sins, unable to save himself, if he were disposed, and indisposed, if he were able.

Eternal life, then, is undeseryed, and is gra. tuitously bestowed. By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. I give unto them eternal life. The gift of God is eternal life. Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life. Every part of this unspeakable blessing, whether we regard the full fruition of it in heaven, or any of the preparatory steps to it, is spontaneously conferred, as by a sovereign who claims to himself the right of doing what he will with his own.

This will appear more evidently, if we consider THE PARTICULAR MANNER IN WHICH GOD GRANTS THIS INESTIMABLE GIFT.This life is in his Son. God does not bestow it on man, as he did on Adam, but treasures it up for him in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This still more directly shows that the blessing is entirely free. It

hath pleased the Father' that in Christ should all fulness dwell. The salvation of sinners is in him alone. This is the one method in which it becamé Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, to bring many sons unto glory. The expression of the text is very strong, THIS LIFE IS IN HIS SON; this eternal life, which is gratuitously conferred on us in the Gospel, is laid up, deposited, secured, hidden, sealed in Christ. He is the proprietor, the owner and dispenser, the treasurer and guardian, the spring and source of it. Life is in him as water is in the fountain, as riches are in the mine, as the pearl is in the casket, as the sap is in the tree, as light and heat are in the glorious orb of day.

Christ has LIFE IN HIMSELF, as the word which was with God and was God; that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us. He has life, also, as the MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MAN ; for the life was manifested. As the Father hath life in hinself, so hath he given also unto the Son to have life in himself. God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. He came that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly. We have already seen that our Lord and Saviour has purchased this life, and all that pertains to it, with his own blood; and that he bestows it on whom

us.

soerer he will. But he is moreover the source of it in the hearts of Christians by the mysterious presence of his Spirit. They are dead, and their life is hid with Christ in God. They live, yet not they, but Christ liveth in them; and the life which they live in the flesh, they live by the faith of the Son of God. He is the bread of life; and he that eateth, partaketh of, him, eveni he shall live by him. He is the resurrection and the life. He shall change our vile body, and make it like unto his glorious body; quickening our mortal bodies by his Spirit which dwelleth in

And at last, as the Judge of quick and dead, he shall invite us to partake of that eternal joy, which is the consummation of the life already begun in the soul, saying, Come, ye blessed children of my Father, inherit the king. dom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Thus Christ is the sole fountain and source from which eternal life flows to sinners. Life is in him essentially, and in him efficiently. Hé bestows the life of acceptance, the life of boliness, and the life of glory. In him, as the living Head, all the body of the church by joints and bonds having nourishment ministered and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God, He, and he only, is in possession of all that life which is the salvation of men. The Fatber is propitiated through his sacrifice, has exalted him

« EelmineJätka »