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pel, hazards the belief of the whole. Let us ever bear in mind, that according to our faith, such shall be our selicity ; let us then be faithful unto death, that we may receive the crown of life. (Rev. ii. 10.) And though we should labour, and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe; (1 Tim. iv. 10 ;) let us not return evil for evil, nor railing for railing.
We close with the apostolic exhortation : I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, and ac. ceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
THE RECORD OF GOD.
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (1 John v. 11.)
We have often quoted the above passage ; and on a late occasion your speaker pledged himself to attempt to show, that our understanding of the text is not con. tradicted by the context, but supported by it; and to do this, we will take from the 9th to the 14th verse, both inclusive.
Verse 9. If we receive the witness of men, the wit. ness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God, which he hath testified of his Son.
Now, it is perfectly evident, that we do receive the witness of men. All the proceedings of our courts of law, whether civil or criminal, are grounded on evi. dence, or the witness of men. On the witness of men we dispose of the character, the property, nay, the very lives of our fellows. It would be utterly impossi. ble for society to exist without receiving the witness of men. There is not a day, and scarcely an hour of our lives, that we do not give credit to what we are told, and act upon it, thus showing our faith in our fellows, by the proof of our works. But "the witness of God is greater.” In what re.
spect is it? We answer; we receive, or confide, in
The testimony of God is as much greater than that of man, as God the Creator is greater than his creature ; and for these plain and simple reasons, be. cause he can neither be mistaken, nor tempted. He cannot be mistaken, for we are told in this epistle, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (i. 5.) How then can he who is light be mistaken, and testify falsely? Again ; he cannot be tempted by the hope of acquiring good, when, as Creator, he is already the own. er, and in entire possession of all things. The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (Ps. xxiv. 1.) God cannot be tempted with evil. (James i. 13.)
What can be more unreasonable than for us to put so much confidence in man, and not confide in God? and our folly is aggravated by the consideration, that the thing relative to which he hath condescended to ap pear as a witness, is that “which he hath testified u his Son." While we see and feel this truth, let us bear in memory, that whatever God does bear witness to, wo are bound to believe, however contrary to all our pre.
conceptions of the matter; for his testimony is the highest authority which men or angels are capable of receiving
Verse 10. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in hinself: he that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
What are we to understand by the believer having the witness in himself? We can see nothing obscure, mysterious, or difficult to be understood, much less can we see any thing supernatural in it. When a wit. ness is brought into court, and has given his testimony, that testimony is directed to the mind; the mind receives it. Is not the mind then in possession of it? Hath not that mind the witness in itself ? and the person who hath that mind, hath he not the witness in himself? There is nothing more plain, nothing more common; and were it a matter of ordinary or of any earthly concern, we think it would be considered as a waste of words to attempt to prove it. The only difference between this and ordinary: cases, is the importance of the subject, and the cer. tainty of the testimony; the subject is eternal life ; the certainty of the testimony is, that God gave it.
But we are told, that " he that believeth not God, hath made him a liar.” We bless God, that, strictly speaking, it is not in the power of any man, nor of all men, to make God a liar : God cannot lie, (Titus i. 2.) How then can those words be true? In the plain com. mon sense in which we have seen; receiving the witness in our selves by believing. When we hear a person testify to any fact, and do not believe what he says, we may perhaps, in charity, hope that he himself believes what he says, but speaks falsehood supposing it to be