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Thus judging of the Election of these pious strangers, not by looking into the divine decrees, which is the province of no man, but by their being "converted and sanctified,” the only method by which we can "make our calling and election sure;" he proceeds in the text to show how this grace is displayed in the development of its infinitely merciful determinations. This is to be judged of by its effects, and which appears in THE REGENERATION OF THE MIND—friend, a thoughtless, careless, hearer into "a doer of the word."

moral chaos into which the powers
of the mind were sunk; to revive the
obliterated characters of the divine
law which were formerly engraven
upon the heart by the finger of GOD;
to re-kindle the holy fire of love,
which used to burn upon the altar
of the affections; to awaken the slum-
bering energies of the conscience
from the sleep of death; to change
the tone and alter the current of
the thoughts; to transform the will
from rebellion to obedience; and so
to renovate the conduct and the con-
versation as to present to the church
and to the world "a new creation,"
a sinner saved by grace and con-
verted to a saint, a lion transformed
to a lamb, an enemy changed into a


I. Here, THE GREAT ETERNAL IS RECOGNIZED AND ADORED AS THE AUTHOR OF OUR REGENERATION; who by the same creative energy with which he formed the universe and made man from the dust of the ground, and by the same almighty power and infinite wisdom with which he gar-scious of the benefit which he is the

And this great regenerating act of the Almighty Spirit of God is the more remarkable, if you reflect that it is generally effected in the most gentle and silent manner, and sometimes by the instrumentality of an agent so young-so weak-so devoid of great mental energies-so uncon

love and purity puts the treasure of his grace, not into narrow and polluted vessels, but into those which that grace has previously expanded and sanctified, although vessels of earth, for "without holiness no man shall see the Lord."

nished the heavens, raises us from the ruins of the fall,-lights again the lamp of spiritual illumination which sin had extinguished" remodels all the carnal mind, and moulds the man afresh."

That was an amazing transaction in which the Great Creator, from a mere fragment of earth, produced such a complex structure as the body, so" fearfully and wonderfully made," and united to it an intelligent, holy, happy, and immortal soul, formed of the breath of the Deity. But, if possible, it is a still greater act to renew that soul when "dead in trespasses and sins." To subdue its native depravity. To dethrone, "the spirit which works in the children of disobedience;" to restore order out of the

means of imparting, that not the least expectation was awakened of good issuing from so mean a source. Not only, however, is this treasure great beyond comparison, which is to enrich the soul through all eternity; but it is often sent by the most humble messenger that the excellency of the power may be of GOD and not of us, that the Gift and the Giver may not be eclipsed by the importance of the communicator. Witness the comparative insignificance of the little Hebrew captive maid, in effecting the supposed conversion of Naaman the Syrian; and the fishermen of Galilee, who brought about the ultimate conversion of the world. But whoever are the persons benefitted, and whatever be the means employed, "it is GOD

that worketh all in all." He is as much the author of our spiritual as of our natural life. He prepares the mind, like the soil, for the reception of the good seed of the word. He appoints the time, the place, and all the circumstances of our regeneration. He gives the ability, and the inclination to believe, to the saving of the soul. For "we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works." "He begetteth, and we are begotten of him, and, are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor | of the will of man, but of God;" for of him, and by him, and through him are all things, to whom be glory for ever and ever." O then, my dear friends, in whatever way, in whatever place you have been born again,” whether | the change according to its experimental demonstrations has been gradual or sudden-whether brought about by the terrors of law and of conscience, or by the instructions and attractions of the Gospel, let Him have the glory "who devizeth means that his banished ones may not be expelled from him," and "who divides to | all men severally as he will." By this mighty change are you emancipated from the chains and fetters, from the captivity and imprisonment of sin and Satan. By this are you rescued from eternal death and destruction. By this is the efficacy of Christ's atonement applied and enjoyed as "the blood of sprinkling." By this are you brought into the family of GoD, having the spirit of adoption, and are prepared for worshipping in spirit and in truth, with the peaceful assurance that your fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And it is this alone which makes you "meet to be the partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light."

But what induced the blessed GOD thus to beget us from a death in sin to a life of righteousness? The text in

forms you that it was "his abundant mercy." That mercy which is great unto the heavens, and thereby rises far above the mountains of our guilt. That mercy which delights in selecting objects the most unworthy as the recipients of its munificent savours, and in performing wonders, and in dispensing gifts the most expensive and magnificent. That mercy which "raises the poor out of the dust (of spiritual degradation) and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill (sad picture of man in his fallen state) to set him among princes," even among the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty, who are made "kings and priests unto God and the Father." You are aware, my dear hearers, that great offences require great mercies; here you see how liberally they have been bestowed by the GoD of love without money and without price, who hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities; but whose pleasure it is that "where sin has abounded, grace should much more abound." Thus, instead of being left to perish, we are begotten again" to newness of life.


II. Let us now consider, The state of mind with which this great regenerating act of the Father of mercies invests us-with “A LIVELY HOPE."

This is the beneficent object contemplated in our recovery from the ruins of the fall. For this eternal love made its provisions, and selected its guests. For this, the fountain of mercy was opened and the channel of mercy was formed—and the abundant river of the water of life flowed into our desert world. To impart this hope, the Son of God became a Saviour-and the Spirit of GOD became a Sanctifier-and the means of grace were instituted, and the Gospel is preached — “ that we through patience and comfort of the

Scriptures might have hope." And O, | straining "to live not to ourselves but to him that died for us and rose again-urging us not to be weary in well-doing, but rather to endure as seeing him who is invisible."

Much, however, as we value and welcome this glowing state of mind, and revere and adore the source whence it originates, viz. the Fountain of Mercy, we must not forget the channel through which that mercy flows, and by which this hope of the Gospel and of glory is obtained. It is not the covenant of works—that was broken down and destroyed by the fall. But mercy sweetly rolls from the fountain, bearing hope upon its placid bosom, through the channel of the covenant of grace-through the manger of Bethlehem-where the Saviour was born-through the garden of Gethsemane, where he ago-' nized-across the summit of Calvary on which he was crucified - and through the tomb of Joseph, where he triumphed over death, and rose again for the justification of his people. Yes, my friends, it is only by the incarnation, the sufferings, the death, and resurrection of our blessed Lord and Saviour that grace could come unto us. No other channel was deep enough or broad enough. And as the text makes particular mention of the latter of the Redeemer's mediatorial transactions, namely, his Re

what an invaluable blessing-what a desirable acquisition is it. So useful in our Christian conflict as a helmet to cover our head in the day of battle. So serviceable amid the storms and billows of life, as "an anchor to the soul both sure and steadfast." And especially is this grace important to us if you survey the property which the text ascribes to it-a "lively hope." And is it not so? Reflect on its origin-its residence-its influence-its tendency -its consummation, and you will perceive that life is visible in all its unfoldings. It originates with the living GOD; it dwells in living souls; it is productive of living joys; it centres and is consummated in eternal life. Hence it stands forth in a pleasing and prominent distinction from every other feeling of the kind which is not thus spiritual and divine-from the hope of the hypocrite which obtains nothing but disappointment and shame when GOD takethaway his soul. From the hope of the self-righteous Pharisee which the Scripture compares to the spider's web, a flimsy fabric made of his own materials and of his own weaving; or from the hope of the Worldling, which, having no foundation to rest upon, "is as the giving up of the Ghost. Instead of this, the expectation of the Believer, which is fixed upon the immoveable covenant and holy word of the blessed God-surrection, it is proper to state the and the finished work of the Saviour, relation which that great event bears is full of life and peace. Yes, amidst to our regeneration and our hope. It all the vicissitudes of the world and was the pledge and the pattern of the all the engagements of religion, it former, and the source and the enis inspiring and cheering-support-couragement of the latter of these ing and comforting-enlivening and communications. Our Lord's exit strengthening. It is this which puts from the tomb was the public assurenergy into our exertions-which ance that his mediation was finished adds fervour to all our devotions--that his sacrifice was accepted--that which imparts sincerity to all our his spirit would now descend to reservices and sacrifices-which adds new the souls of men, "as he garthe elastic spring of perseverance to nished the heavens." Without the all our activity and benevolence, con- resurrection of Christ, we should have

no regenerating grace, and, conse-
quently, no hope-" our faith would |
be vain, and we should be yet in our
sins as the Apostle affirms." He there-
fore, having been delivered for our of-
fences, was raised again for our justifi-
cation; and thus his rising became the
pledge of our conversion. Is it not
also the pattern of our resurrection
from death in sin to the life of righte-
ousness. Thus we
are said to be
"risen with Christ, and seeking those
things which are above,” coming forth |
from darkness to light-from insensi-
bility to sensation-from coldness to
the warmth of spiritual life,-from
inactivity to energy-from earth to
heaven. Thus hope springs up with
all the pleasurable bloom and fruit-
fulness of holy life, immediately from
the regeneration of the soul through
"the abundant mercy of Gop;" and
originally from "the resurrection of
Jesus Christ from the dead."

III. Intimately connected with this truly desirable state of mind is our title to eternal life, here significantly termed "AN INHERITANCE WHICH IS INCORRUPTIble, undefILED, AND THAT FADETH NOT AWAY WHICH IS RESERVED IN HEAVEN FOR YOU."

- the inheritance of the saints in light."

Now mark its properties and its security, and you will instantly discover its grand superiority to every thing here below.

It is "incorruptible." The ravages of time can never touch it. The vicissitudes of life can never affect it. There will be no more pain-no more disease-no more bereavement-no more death; sorrow and sighing will be done for ever away. Then our praying days, and our waiting days, and our watching days, and our days of warfare and toil will be over and terminate in the unruffled calm of everlasting peace.

It is the residence of the "incorruptible God." It is the glory of "the incorruptible crown." It is the abode of immortal and holy spirits; "for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed; for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." Then the child of God, who has been born of "the incorruptible seed of the word," will have reached his father's house, where there are many mansions. The Christian traveller to Zion will have reached the city of the living God and the heavenly Jerusalem. The pious warrior, having been faithful unto death, will receive the crown of life: the weather-beaten mariner, after having completed the eventful voyage of life, will enter the fair haven of peace, and land in safety: and the weary pilgrim, having finished his course, will wave his palm and cry, "Thanks be to GOD, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

This is to be your final attainment, and arises out of the connection in which you stand with the Father of mercies-for" if children, then heirs, heirs of GOD, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ." Heaven is thus to be viewed as the family domain of the household of faith, as our future home, after finishing the journey of life-as our Canaan of everlasting rest, on completing the toils of the wilderness, stretching beyond death's cold flood with all the celestial glory of a land flowing with milk and honey, and invested with every sublime and holy attraction—as "the land of promise-injured by the fall-never blighted by as the better country-the rest which remains for the people of GoD-the paradise of GOD without a tempter

The inheritance is undefiled. It has never been polluted by sin-never

the curse-into which nothing that is polluted, or tends to pollute, can enter -a prepared place for a prepared

people; it is a world of light with- Ah! my brethren, you may well out a shade of day without a night— | sigh and exclaim―

of joy without a sigh, a sorrow, or a tear a world of peace without interruption or satiety—a world vast in extent and filled with inhabitants without an unholy passion, without an envious look, without an improper desire, without a misplaced thought, word, or action: each, holy and happy

But come, take down your harp from the willow-adjust its neglected in himself, will heighten and partici-strings-look upward-mark the conpate the happiness of the whole family in heaven.

trast, and sing:

It fadeth not away. Oh how superior is this, to earthly possessions and enjoyments, which so soon wax old and decay and perish with the using. Where are the former generations of men, some of whom were so eminent for their researches and attainments in the arts, in science, in literature, in religion; who were giants in intellect, and the benefactors of their species; who were the fathers of the age in which they lived-and public blessings to the country which gave them birth-whose praise is in our churches—or whose names are handed down to posterity encircled with a halo of glory: where are they? In the cold grave, faded away like "the grass, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven." Where, too, are the cities, the nations, the empires of antiquity, once so splendid and magnificent, and to which their founders or admirers affixed the epithet eternal? They, too, are no more. Nay, what is the world? What are we who now inhabit it? What is yonder canopy above us, the sun, the moon, the stars, the universe? As to the world," the fashion of it passeth away." As to ourselves, "we all do fade as a leaf." And those material heavens shall wax old as doth a garment, and as a vesture shall they be changed by HIM who will make “ heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."


"This world all is a fleeting show,
For man's delusion giv'n;
The smiles of joy, the tears of woe,
Deceitful shine-deceitful flow,

There's nothing true but heav'n."

"There fragrant flowers immortal bloom,
And joys supreme are given;
There rays divine disperse the gloom,
Beyond the confines of the tomb

Appears the bliss of heaven."

And to render this incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading inheritance the more superior, you are reminded of its security: “it is reserved for you" by the love and faithfulness of GOD, whose promises are all yea and amen. In proportion to the value which we attach to an object is our anxiety for its safety. Witness the Roman seal and the military guard which were placed to secure the body of Christ. Your inheritance, my friends, is safe. It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom, therefore fear not. And your departed Saviour has gone to prepare that place for you, and will come again and receive you to himself, that "where he is you may be also."

Here, then, we learn in the first place, from what has been said, how much the GOD of all grace has done "according to his abundant mercy,” to inspire our gratitude. Let us give him the glory due to his name. Let us exclaim, "I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord, the humble shall hear thereof and be glad." This is the animated language of the Apos

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