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reference to the favours conferred on him, “Is this the manner of men, O Lord God" ?" No; it is not the manner of men; nor ought it to be: because man has a claim on his fellow-man; but we have no claim whatever on God. He might have left us to perish, precisely as he did the fallen angels, and never have saved so much as one: and, if he have saved one, that person has reason to exclaim with wonder, ' Why have I been taken, whilst so many others have been left ?' God, in all this matter, does as it pleaseth him; and " he giveth not account to us of any of his matters:” “ His ways are not as our ways, nor his thoughts as our thoughts: but as the heavens are high above the earth, so are his ways higher than our ways, and his thoughts than our thoughts."] 3. How utterly incomprehensible!

[So the Apostle declares the love of Christ to be: it has “ a breadth, and length, and depth, and height, that passeth knowledge," and defies the search of the brightest intelligence of heaven. To all eternity will the wonders of this grace be unfolding; and to all eternity will it remain as far from being fully comprehended, as it was at the very first moment it was revealed. Indeed, we must comprehend the infinite distance between the glorious Creator and his rebellious creatures; and then go on yet further, to comprehend all the wonders of redemption, before we can comprehend the smallest portion of this mystery. We must close our meditations, after all, with that with which we have commenced them: “What manner of love is this which the Father hath bestowed upon us !"] “Behold" then, brethren, “ behold” it : “ Behold”

it, I say,

1. With due solicitude to ascertain the fact

(God has bestowed this favour upon millions: but hath he bestowed it upon us? In this inquiry we are deeply interested: nor should anyone of us leave it as a matter of doubt for one single hour. But you will ask, ' Can this point be ascertained?' By the world around us, I readily acknowledge, it cannot be ascertained: and, if we profess to have been brought into this relation to God, we must not wonder that the world ascribe our pretensions to the workings of pride and presumption. For they know nothing of God, or of his operations upon the souls of men: how, therefore, should they be able to judge of our claims in this matter? The Apostle, in the words following my text, justly adds, “ Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” But we may ascertain the point ourselves; for we have a standard by which to try

n 2 Sam. vii. 19.

o Isai. lv. 8, 9.

p Eph. iii. 18, 19.

we

ourselves; and we may examine ourselves by it without any difficulty. St. John elsewhere says, “ To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Here are the very relations of which we are speaking, and the means by which we are brought into it, and the test whereby we are to try ourselves. Inquire, then, whether you have ever “ received the Lord Jesus Christ” into your hearts by faith, and whether you are "living altogether by faith on him?": - If you have never come to Christ as lost sinners, and cast yourselves wholly upon him, you know infallibly that you are not yet brought into this relation of

sons of God.” But if Christ be “all your salvation and all your desire,” then you possess this high privilege; for " are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesust:" and, if you look up to God for the gift of his Holy Spirit, he will shine upon his own work, and “ give you his Spirit, to witness with your spirits, that you are indeed the children of God.” Again then I say, Leave not this matter in suspense ;

but “examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith, and try your own selves : and never rest, till you can adopt the words of our text with a special reference to your own souls.]

2. With a becoming zeal to walk worthy of this high calling

[Certainly, this relation brings with it corresponding duties. If you are made sons of God, it is that you may serve and honour him as dear children. How this is to be done, St. Paul informs us : “Be blameless, and harmless, as sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, amongst whom ye shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of lifet" Well, indeed, may the world cry out against your vain conceit, if you are not walking worthy of your high calling. God has called you, that you should be holy: and “ if you have in you the hope of which we have been speaking, then will you purify yourselves, even as Christ is pureu.” Look to it, then, that you walk as becometh saints, in all holiness and righteousness before God and man. By this test will you be tried at the last day; and all your professions of faith in Christ will be found a delusion, if you shew not your faith by your works. But, if God have, indeed, bestowed this honour upon you, then will his love have a constraining influence upon your souls; and you will strive to be "holy, as he is holy,” and “perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”] 9 John i. 12, 13.

r Gal. üi. 26. s Rom. viii. 16. i Phil. ii. 15, 16. u ver. 3.

MMCCCCXLII.

THE INESTIMABLE PRIVILEGES OF BELIEVERS.

1 John iii. 2. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it

doth not yet appear what we shall be : but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him ; for we shall see him as he is.

OUR Lord was hated, reviled, and persecuted unto death: but we see how glorious was his person, and how exalted his character. In the same manner his followers are treated with contempt : but God declares their state to be the most honourable upon earth. To this effect St. John represents them as slighted by man and honoured by God. I. The present state of believers—

The Scripture speaks of believers in the most exalted terms. They are not merely servants, but “sons of God." This they are by adoption

[Every believer was once a child of wrath". But God takes whom he will into his own familye: he adopts them as his sons, and makes them heirs of his gloryd.]

They are brought into this relation also by regeneration

[Once they had only a carnal mind that was enmity against Gode; but they have been born again of the Holy Spirit'; they are renewed after the image of their heavenly Father.] They enjoy this state “novo

[Rich and poor, learned and unlearned, partake alike of this honour; nor does God withhold it from any on account of their remaining infirmities; even now, while the world despises them, does God own his relation to them.] What an unspeakably blessed state is this!

[How different is it from the state they were once in! How great the privileges which they enjoy by means of this relation ! How sweet the sense of this relation often is to

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our

their souls! To what a glorious state does it lead them in a better world! Well might the Apostle break forth in wonder and admiration ]

Yet, blessed as it is, it falls infinitely short of what it will be in, II. Their future stateVery little is known respecting this,

(We can form no idea of spiritual and glorified bodies. We cannot imagine how extensive will be the capacities of the soul. We have very faint conceptions of perfect holiness and perfect happiness. Even one who had seen Christ transfigured, says, “ It doth not appear," &c.] Yet there are some things revealed to us

(We shall see Christ, not merely by faith, but with our bodily eyesi; not veiled as formerly, but in all his glory. We shall resemble him too in all his imitable perfections. This resemblance will result from our sight of him.

Even bodies shall be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” This shall be fully accomplished at the great day of his appearing.] These things we may be said to “know”

[We have already experienced the earnest of them in our hearts. When we believe in him, we have views of him which we had not before; these transform the soul into his imagek. Our Lord has given us the fullest assurance of these things!. St. Paul also leaves us no room to doubt m.] INFER

1. How wonderfully different the lot of believers and unbelievers !

(Believers are the children of God. Unbelievers are the children of the wicked one". Believers can form no adequate conception of the happiness that awaits them. Unbelievers have no idea of the misery to which they are hastening. How different will be the appearance of each in that day! How different their feelings on secing Christ upon his judgmentseat! For what different ends will their capacities of soul and body be enlarged! What a different state will they experience to all eternity! Let none defer calling upon God for mercy. Let all seek his regenerating grace, and an admission into his family. If we will believe in Christ these blessings shall be ourso.]

h 1 John ii. 1.
1 John xvii. 24.
n John viii. 38, 44.

i Job xix. 25–27. k 2 Cor. ii. 18.
m 1 Cor. xv. 49. Col. iii. 4.
o John i. 12,

2. How bright the prospects of the true Christian!

[The Christian's warfare will soon be over: then will come a blessedness which he cannot now conceive; another day may bring him to the full possession of it. Let these prospects animate every pious soul. Let none suffer their minds to be drawn away by the things of time. Let every one stand ready to take his flight P. Let the beloved Apostle be our example) P 2 Pet. iii. 12.

9 Rev. xxii. 20.

MMCCCCXLIII.

THE FRUITS AND EFFECTS OF HOPE.

thren's peace.

1 John iii. 3. Every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth

himself, even as he is pure. THE people of God are but little known to an ungodly world : instead of being considered according to their true character, they are regarded as hypocrites, enthusiasts, and disturbers of their bre

But this is easily accounted for: the world know not God; and therefore it is no wonder that they know not his people. But the saints themselves have a very inadequate conception of the honour that is put on them, or of the glory that is reserved for them. They know indeed that they are sons of God; but they have very little idea of what is comprehended in that relation : and as to their eternal state, they can form no precise judgment respecting it; they only know, in the general, that they shall be like God, and be with him for ever. Yet though so little known to the world, and to themselves, they have marks whereby they may be clearly distinguished; they may be known by their uniform endeavours after holiness. To this effect the Apostle speaks in the words before us; from which we shall take occasion to consider, I, The Christian's hope

Christ is the fountain and foundation of a sinner's hope : without Christ, all must have perished: nor has the most eminent saint any more hope than a fallen angel, except as he is interested in the merits of

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