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malevolence against the legislator. Suppose that legislator, however rigorous in justice, equally abundant in mercy : however resolute to maintain the honour of his law, equally folicitous to
remove every impediment to the exercise of overflowing kindness towards transgressors. Suppose him, however arduous the task, to have devised a method, by which, without encroachment on the principles of rectitude, without depreciation of his authority, without encouragement to offences, the forfeited inheritance may be restored ; every accesfion of punishment which has been incurred be averted; and new possessions, far furpassing the patrimony which by guilt was lost, be supperadded. Suppose the attainment of these blessings, the gifts of free mercy, to be effectually placed on equitable and easy conditions within the reach of the offenders. What if you were to hear that the blessings are despised; that the offer is rejected ? Should you credit the intelligence? Should you conceive that the annals of the world could furnish many examples of similar insanity ? Should you apprehend that in the most enlightened regions similar insanity is frequent at this hour? Should you believe that it is but
needful to cast your eyes round the circle in which you move, to witness many a corresponding spectacle of frenzy? Should you believe that at this hour there may be exhibited a kindred spectacle of frenzy by yourself?
Our Saviour, as we learn from the form mer part of the chapter before us, had given extreme offence to the Jews by expressions which they justly understood as a distinct affirmation of his divinity. He proceeded therefore to declare to them the glorious and pre-eminent power, with which he was, in his human nature, entrusted by his Father. One branch of this power was to raise all mankind from the grave. As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them ; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. Another was to judge the world. The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men may bonour the Son even as they honour the Father. To these declarations our Lord, after some collateral and explanatory discussion, subjoined the emphatical words of the text ? re will not come unto me, might have life. In these words three facts were implied. First: That the Jews were not at that time poffeffed of life; nor capable Vol. II. F
of obtaining it by their own exertions. They were in a state of death. They were in a state of condemnation as sinners. Eternal destruction hung over their heads: and from that destruction they were of themselves unable to deliver their souls. Secondly. A method of obtaining life was provided and made known unto them ; namely, to come unto Christ. God had openly set forth his Son, from eternity a partaker of the Godhead, to be a propitiation for the fins of mankind; to purchase salvation by his blood; to reveal to men the path of righteousness, and to enable them to pursue it. Thirdly: The Jews had the power of coming unto Christ, and of thus obtaining life. On another occasion, our Lord affirmed, as an universal truth; No man can come unto me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him by the purifying influence of the Holy Spirit on the heart. But the terms in which he addressed the multitude, « Ye will not come unto me,” prove, that to them, as unto all to whom the gospel was preached, the requifite assistance was vouchsafed from above; and that their refusal to seek salvation through Him was their own voluntary deed. Do you conceive that these momentous
truths, have no other reference than to the Jews? They relate to all men.
All men equally with the Jews have inherited from the common ancestor of all the same corrupt nature.
like the Jews, have incurred the wrath of God, and plunged themselves into a state of death and condemnation, by breaking his Law: and are equally incapable of satisfying his justice, and delivering themselves from punishment, by any strength or wisdom of their own. To all men, as unto the Jews, life, an eternal life of happiness, is offered. To all men Jesus Christ is proposed as the Author and only giver of salvation. To all men grace is extended from above, to render them capable of coming unto Christ effectually for pardon, for blessedness everlasting. On all men power and assistance fufficient progressively to incline and enable them, if they resist not the Holy Spirit, to come unto Christ and attain salvation, are mercifully bestowed. And every man, who perishes in consequence of not coming unto Christ, perishes because, though in every respect enabled to come, he will not come unto the appointed Saviour that he might have life.
Perhaps, however, you may be disposed to conclude that you have already obeyed F 2
thc command of coming unto the Lord Jesus. May God
you may be warranted in that conclusion ! But on what grounds have you formed it? Do you conclude that you have come unto Christ, because you were born in a Christian country; were baptised into the Christian Church; have been accustomed to attend Christan worship, and to profess yourselves Christians ? All these steps may have been taken, and you may still be in a state of death. Were not the Jews outwardly members of the true church of God in their day? Had not they been received into that church, according to the ordinance of God, in their infancy ? Had not they been trained
in attendance on the Synagogue and the temple! Were not they zealous for the forms of their religion, and eager to profess themselves the people of God? Yet how does our Saviour address them? As men under the sentence of condemnation. My bretheren, to be a real Christian is not to be a Christian in name and
profession; but to be in heart and conduct, as becometh the doctrine of Christ. And no man is in heart and conduct a true disciple of our Lord, who has not come unto Him that he might have life.