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VI. "I am the Light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."*

What a glorious revelation is this! Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness. His bright beams illuminate his Church. As it was of old, so it is now. In the land of Goshen, the children of Israel had light in their dwellings, while the Egyptians were wrapt in darkness.+ The members of Christ's true Church are now enlightened by the Spirit, while the unbelieving members of the visible Church are walking in darkness; for he, and only he that followeth Christ, "shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

VII. "I am the Resurrection and the Life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die."‡

O! how rich are the promises of Christ! While a sojourner upon earth, if a true believer in the Son of God, I am a fruitful branch in the Vine; I am nourished by the Bread of Life; I am admitted by the Door into the sheepfold, the true Church; I am protected and saved by the good Shepherd; I am led into the true and living Way to the Father; I am enlightened by Jesus, the Light of the world, to see and avoid the dangers which surround me. All this is vouchsafed to me while travelling Zion ward; but, I must die; my body must return to the dust, and my spirit to him who gave it. Is all then ended? No. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life; he will re-animate my sleeping dust; he will re-unite my soul to my body made spiritual§ and incorruptible;|| and, he will give me eternal life. There is the climax of blessedness, the fulness of glory.

How precious are these beautiful sayings of Jesus. The more I meditate upon them, the more John xi. 25, 26,

+ Exod. x. 23.

John viii. 12.
§ 1 Cor. xv. 44.

|| 1 Cor. xv. 42.

of richness and beauty I discover in them. When I take a retrospective view of my mercies, I see, that from a child, baptised in his name, these blessings were freely offered to me in the gospel; and, that from the moment I truly believed with the heart unto righteousness, they became my portion, my treasure, my consolation. I cannot sufficiently praise the Giver of all good, the God of my life and of my salvation, for such unspeakable mercy, for such unsearchable riches of his grace.

O! that my life may be one continued course of loving obedience, and believing reliance on the faithfulness and truth of God. May I, from henceforth, show my faith by my works; and my election in Christ, by being "holy, and without blame before

him in love."*

O! my soul, praise the Lord with a song, and magnify him with thanksgiving. Tell of his salvation from day to day; for He is good, and his mercy endureth for ever. O! how great is his goodness towards them that fear him; how transcendent his mercy towards the children of men. There is no end of his loving-kindness. It is inexhaustible; it is everlasting! Sing, then, the praises of thy God, O my soul, for it well becometh a redeemed sinner to be thankful. Meditate continually on his excellent greatness, for such meditation is sweet. Rejoice in his salvation, for he has commanded his gospel to be preached to every creature, and hath declared, that whosoever believeth in him shall be saved.†

When a take a retrospective view of my underserved mercies, I must bless my God, that I was born in a Christian land, where the light of the glorious gospel shines around me with meridian splendour. I might have been the offspring of some poor Hottentot, or wild Otaheitan savage, ignorant of God, of Christ, and of heaven; sunk in all the sensualities of a debased idolatry. How, then, can I sufficiently admire the mercy of God in casting my • Eph. i. 4.

+ Mark xvi. 15, 16.

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lot in this favoured island. Truly "the lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage."* I hear the sound of the Sabbath bells calling me to hear the sweet sounds of the gospel of Christ. I am blessed with the faithful preaching of Christ crucified, with the precious Bible, released from its fetters, by our martyred Reformers. Millions of my perishing fellow sinners have none of these things. Even in Christian lands, professedly so called, the bells may sound, but they call to the rites of superstition, or to the preaching of a dead morality. But, O! my soul, remember, yes, remember, that as thy privileges are great, so is thy responsibility. Never forget the doom of Chorazin and Bethsaida.† St. Peter felt all the force of his Lord's words when he wrote, respecting backsliders and apostates: “If after they have escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them." The hearts of such

characters were never renewed, their natures were never changed. This they proved by their return to the propensities of their natural hearts; for thus added St. Peter: "It is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and, The sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire."t The sow, though washed, was a sow still. The outward washing could not change the inward propensity of the animal. Is it not so with multitudes of baptised persons? Outward reformation must never be confounded with inward regeneration.

St. Paul alludes to the same awful characters in his Epistle to the Hebrews: "He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three Psa. xvi. 6. + Matt. xi. 21. +2 Pet. ii. 20-22.

witnesses of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace ?"*"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."+

O! how we should dread every approach to final apostacy. "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries."+


When St. Paul says of the despiser of the blood of the covenant, "wherewith he was sanctified;" may he not allude to the ordinance of baptism, whereby the individual was sanctified or set apart to sacred uses, like the vessels of the temple? Had such an one been truly renewed by the Spirit of God, he would have been kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.-See Heb. vi. 9-12., where the Apostle assures his beloved converts, that he was persuaded better things of them, and things that accompanied salvation, though he thus spake.

I would then ask: Are all those true Christians, who are born in a Christian country? Are all those born again of the Spirit, who have been admitted by baptism unto the visible Church? Are all those the real disciples of Jesus, who attend his preached word? Alas! alas! many a heathen heart dwells in the bosom of baptised Christians. What then is my state and character? Before men, I

* Heb. x. 28, 29.

Heb. x. 26, 27.

+ Heb. vi. 4-6.

may be esteemed religious; but what will this avail, since He that judgeth me is the Lord. "For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."

* י

Surely I have cause to bless God if he have brought me to the saving knowledge of Christ as my Saviour, my Intercessor, my Righteousness, my Hope, my Refuge, and my Trust. The Rock on which I can securely build. The Friend in whom I can safely confide. The Fountain of supply for all my needs. I never can sufficiently admire this abundant grace, vouchsafed to one so worthless, when justice might have consigned me to the burning wrath of an offended God.

Lord, why is this? I search, but cannot find the cause in myself. I contemplate thine own Eternal Love, and there I reach the Fountain of all my mercies. "I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee."+ Surely mercy and truth have followed me all the days of my pilgrimage, like the waters in the wilderness, which cheered and refreshed the Israelites of old. As they drank of that spiritual Rock which followed them, (and that rock was Christ,) so have I been blessed with the living water from my crucified Lord, smitten for me.

As mountains rise above mountains, so do my mercies. On every side, I see blessings rise. To have Agur's wish fulfilled, is a favour of no ordinary kind. He well knew the danger of extremes, when he asked a gracious Providence to lead him in the middle path." Two things I have required of thee; deny me them not before I die; Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me; lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain."+

1 Sam. xvi. 7. +Jer. xxxi. 3.

Prov. xxx. 7—9.

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