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Our hope of future existence depends principally on the promise of the Saviour, who says, "because I live, ye shall live also." (John xiv. 19.) And that this life shall be endless, we also know from him, when he tells us, that as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. (John v. 26.) Now, as we know the Father to be self-existent, and of endless duration, the Son, by this declaration, must be of endless duration also; and as he has told us, that his is the cause of our life, we think it no unreasonable conclusion, that so long as he, the Saviour, lives, we shall live also. Or, in other words, the life of Jesus will be co-eternal with the self-existent God; and his, the Saviour's, life, being the cause of ours, we, as the consequence, must continue world without end. This promise of the Saviour is, to us, infinitely superior to all the philosophy of man, on the subject of the nature of the soul, and the probability of its duration beyond the present state.

Thus saith the Lord for our immortality, we believe, and rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory. That it will be a life of blessedness we know, for Jesus hath gone to prepare a place for us. (John xiv. 2.) And we know that he understands our wants infinitely better than we do; that he hath both the will and the ability to prepare a place for us, as much superior to any thing we can conceive, as his wisdom and power are greater than ours. Who, under the influence of this faith, will not say, to depart and be with Christ is far better? (Phil. i. 23.)


To be with Christ is to be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John iii. 2.) To be like Christ, like

God! who can bear the splendour of this glory? None but those who know God, and Christ, whom he hath sent; (John xvii. 3;) and, having this knowledge, they have, even here, the enjoyment of life eternal. They know the great leading attributes of God, and they know that these appeared in Christ.

Let us then examine this glory, by these attributes of God. God is infinite in wisdom. Shall we be like him? then shall we be infallible, making no more errors of the understanding. God is love. Shall we be like him? then shall the heart of stone be far from us, and a new heart of tenderness and love be ours. God is almighty. Shall we be like him? then shall we have power to do all that love in the heart, directed by light in the understanding, could desire and design. Let no one suppose, that by this likeness to God, we infringe upon the incommunicable infinity of God. No, nothis is impossible; he, and he only, hath a strict and proper infinity, a circle of never-beginning, never-end. ing being and perfection; he hath a past and future eternity-we only a future. Nor do we murmur at this, but rather rejoice; for as we may grow in grace here, why may we not grow in glory hereafter? nay, the hope that we will brightens the divine prospect. Is there any thing unreasonable in the hope that our love will grow stronger and stronger, our wisdom and knowledge more and more extensive, as we continue longer and longer in the communion of angels, and of God? or that our power to accomplish what is according to the light and love of God should grow stronger and stronger through all eternity, being ever increased from the inexhaustible source of all power?

Have we not seen that the enjoyment of the Gospel is the knowledge of a life of endless blessedness? Let us now inquire, how is it, that it is given us in Christ Jesus? The answer is given us of God, who speaks by his inspired apostle, and says, the record that God gave of his Son is, that he hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (1 John v. 10, 11.) What proof can be clearer, or more to our purpose-what evidence can be stronger? for we have God himself for our witness! Should any so far misunderstand the context of our last quotation, we will now only say, that it is our purpose, (God giving the opportunity,) at a future time, to enter more fully into the consideration of our last quotation, and its context, which, we think, will establish the plain declaration, that our eternal life is given us in Christ Jesus. Having thus far progressed in the subject of our text, let us again say, what is the Gospel of God our Saviour? and are we believers of it?

1st. What is the Gospel of God our Saviour? We have already said, it is a life of endless blessedness, given us (i. e. all men) in Christ Jesus. Do we believe this, all this? and so believe with our understanding, that we are able to give to those who ask of us a rea son of the hope that is within us? then are we Christians in the true sense of the term, persons trusting in Christ for salvation. In proportion as we reject any part of this divine communication, so do we lose the right to the name of Christian. Do we look for endless blessedness without Christ, and say, cannot God save by any other way? we answer, no! for he is the way, and the only way, which God hath chosen; for Deity

can do nothing but that which is wisest and best, and such hope is the height of absurdity, never to be realized. Do we hope to gain endless blessedness by our imitation of Christ? This is little better; for this blessedness is the gift of God, not the purchase of man. Can man make God his debtor? If we had obeyed the law of God perfectly from the earliest dawn of being, would it have put God under any obligation to have given us endless life and blessedness? Certainly not; for, as respects him, we are unprofitable servants. (Luke xvii. 10.) The reward of man is in the doing; for in keeping of them (the judgments, statutes, and commandments of the Lord) there is GREAT REWARD. If, then, obedience is accompanied by great reward, what reason is there in looking for future payment, especially for one so perfect and eternal? No, the doctrine of salvation is a doctrine of free, unmerited, and boundless grace, extensive as the family of man, and endless as eternity.

Do you expect this blessedness from the partial favour of God to you? What right have you? Your marks and tokens will prove little more than that you are a Pharisee, saying, stand by, for I am holier than thou. (Is. lxv. 5.) Know thyself; know that thou art a poor fallen creature; a sinner; yea, a sinner against God and man; know thine own helplessness; feel the necessity of a Saviour; believe, and be saved.

Should any say, this doctrine tends to licentiousness; we answer, in the language of inspiration, that the grace of God, which bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and



worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in the present world. (Tit. ii. 11, 12.) God grant, that we may so ornament our profession.

(We will continue our subject at our next meeting.)

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