Page images

served for future consideration. What has been said is amply sufficient for the present, if you will but give it the serious consideration it demands; and it is more than sufficient, if you shall refuse that attention. There is one leading idea connected with this discourse, upon which I would wish you to fix your most profound attention. In the economy of redemption and of grace, the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, as mediator, divine and human, is the depositary of eternal life. It resides in him, and no sinner that treads upon the earth can have the promise or the prospect of pardon, except as in him. "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." If there is any presumption which seems to be pre-eminently fatal, it is the presumption which dares to hope for heaven, unconnected with the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, and through the medium of a vital faith in his name.

Men who take their opinions as their Gospel, dare to talk of their dependence upon the mercy of God, and will build on one foundation of sand after another, until they lose sight entirely of the only foundation laid in Zion. The mercy of God does not exist towards sinners except as it is connected with Jesus Christ in his character as divine mediator. What, then, can be more explicit than the language of my text-"This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." Suppose I tell you of a treasure hid in a particular field; you would scarcely be guilty of the practical absurdity of searching for it in another place, distant and remote. God the Father tells us, and records his testimony,

that eternal life is in his Son. Can you find it any where but in his Son? And yet, as sinners, you are guilty of the daily, hourly, practical absurdity, of looking for this in some other place. In the case of a treasure hid in a field, it would be a matter of comparatively little import whether you found it or not. If you chose to waste your time looking for it where it was never said to exist, you would only lose your labour and remain in the same condition. But eternal life being in Jesus Christ, and in him alone, look for it elsewhere and you lose not only time and strength and opportunity, but you lose your souls"For he that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."-"He that believeth on the Son of God, hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him."-" Ye will not come unto me," saith the Saviour-"ye will not come unto me that ye might have life." Look to it, my beloved brethren. "He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned." Other refuge than the Son of God have you none; refuse this and you are lost; for how shall you escape if you neglect so great salvation?



1 JOHN v. 11, 12.

A PORTION of the discussion connected with this text has already been passed over, viz: 1. The limitation fixed by the Apostle to those whom he designated by the word us, meaning, as was clearly shown, those who were true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. 2. The description of the eternal life spoken of as given to believers. Under this dispensation, it was shown that the eternal life was not mere perpetuity of existence, but a state of eternal happiness. And, 3. It was considered in what sense this eternal life was in the Son of God, carrying along the idea of the peculiarity attached to that phrase. The sense in which eternal life is in Jesus Christ, as the Son of God is, that in himself he has full possession of that life, not only as having eternal life or happiness in himself, but as having in his own divine hand all the eternal life or happiness which believers ever can enjoy. 2. That he is the only source from whence eternal life or happiness flows to believers. And, 3.

That it is in him as a sacred deposit, and thus secured to believers. This was the course of observation through which we passed, of deep, doctrinal, and practical importance. There was one division left untouched, with the solemn declaration made by the Apostle, as founded on his premises, viz:-" He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."


IV. This eternal life, which is imparted to ers, and is in the Lord Jesus Christ, is declared to be to them a gift; this is the record that God hath given us. This is the unvarying representation of the Scripture, and the object of this is not only to present the true state of the case, but to cut up by the roots every thing like pride or glory in saint or sinner, by ascribing eternal life even to believers as a free gift of God. Since the fall of Adam, man has unquestionably lost all right to eternal life, for the simple reason, that in consequence of the possession of a corrupted nature, every individual is utterly disqualified for that perfect obedience through which alone a right to eternal life could be secured. And besides this, there is no man but who has rendered himself obnoxious to everlasting condemnation, in consequence of transgression, the result of his own volitions. In this state of things, God, from the impulse alone of his own infinite benevolence, sent his only begotten Son to be the propitiation for the sins of the world; to make an atonement for sin. And thus the eternal Father, having opened up a way of escape through the blood and righteousness of his Son, has published the glad tidings of salvation, and has offered eternal life to as many as would receive it in his appoint

ed way. There is no one who reads the Scriptures with any kind of carefulness, who does not discover, in the very clearest manner set forth, that God has not tendered eternal life to man as a blessing which can be earned or merited, but entirely and exclusively as a free, unmerited gift to be received. The language of Scripture on this point has an explication about it which would seem to preclude the possibility of mistake. What a wonderful contrast, for instance, in the declaration made in Romans-" For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Observe also in the epistle to the Ephesians, in which there is so powerful a distinction run between what men are by nature, and what they are made by grace-"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ; (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man

« PreviousContinue »