« PreviousContinue »
strict Commands against eating any sort of Blood, could not but wonder that the drinking a Man's Blood should be made the necessary Means of Eternal Life, when they had the undoubted Word of God for it, that whatsoever Soul should eat any Blood, should be cut off from his people.
This was the Discourse which gave occasion to many of his Disciples to depart from him, and walk no more with him; and 'was upon their Departure that our Lord ask'd the Twelve, whether they also would go away; to which Simon Peter answered, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou haft the Words of Eternal Life.
Now in these Words ic is plainly express’d, That the Words of Christ are the Words of Eternal Life; or, That Eternal Life is plainly made known in his Words.
Secondly, That merely upon that Account, without any Regard to any kind of Difficulties, we ought to adhere to Christ, with the Twelve; and not forsake him, as many in the time of his Appearance in the Flesh did.
First then, It is plainly express’d in my Text, That the Words of Christ are the Words of Eternal Life; or, That Eternal Life is plainly made known in his Words.
Now the Eternal Life which is manifested in the Words of Christ, is not the eternal Duration of the Soul simply consider’d. For of this, both Jews and Gentiles were generally well enough fatisfy'd before. When our Lord bids the Fews search the Scriptures, he tells them, that in them tbey thought they had eternal Life. So that our Lord does plainly acknowledge, that they had fome Knowledge and
Expectation of Eternal Life from the Scriptures of the Old Testament. I know it is a common Notion, that the Jews had no certain Knowledge of the Immortality of the Soul; but this is plainly contrary to the express Words of our Lord, and is rather discountenanced than confirmed by those Words of the Apostle, on which it seems to be built; who brought Life and Immortality to light through the Gospel. For these Words, in the Original, do not imply a bringing a thing to light which was in such a State of Darkness before, as to be alcogether unknown and unthought of; but rather a brightening and clearing something which was not well understood, or rightly pursued. So that the Immortality of the Soul is not peculiar to the Words of Christ; 'tis what indeed he speaks but little of, taking ic rather for granted, than endeavouring to prove it; it needing no Proof, be
ing before-hand generally confess’d and beliey'd
But nevertheless, there are many things relating to the Immortality of the Soul, both as to its Happiness, and the Means of obtaining it, which Christ has discover'd to us, and which we can find only in his Words.
By Eternal Life is indeed meant, not so much an Eternal Duration, as the Happiness of that State ; Eternity, without Happiness, being not worthy of the Name of Life.
So that the Eternal Life made known in the Words of Christ, is no other than Eternal Happiness: Immortality is the common Lot of all Men, both Good and Bad; but Eternal Life is the Privilege but of a few; there are not many that shall enter into it, it being the Consequence and Reward of one peculiar sort of Behaviour.
Now if we consider the Words of our Lord, in which mention is made of this Eternal Life, we shall, without much Difficulty, discover the Nature of it.
We are told then, in express Terms, that this is Life Eternal, to know the true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, Joh. xvii
. 3. Now to know God, and Jesus Christ, is to be like them in our Temper and Disposition of Mind, and in our outward Actions and Behaviour. For he that fays be knoweth him, and keepeth not his Commandments, is a Lyar, and the Truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his Word, in him verily is the Love of God perfe&ted; hereby we know that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also to walk as he walked, 1 Joh. ii. 4, 5, 6.
This Eternal Life, which arises from our Conformity to God, and his Son Jesus Christ, is begun here in the Body,