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386 ON THE REST OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD.
patience the race set before you. Looking unto Him who overcame the world, be amidst
your tribulations, of good cheer. He now calls on you to virtue, happiness, and glory. Obey his call. What though you may have much to endure in your religious course,—what though the passage over the sea of life be dark and stormy,-after a few more struggles you will be landed safe on Emanuel's happy shore, where no tempests assail,—where all is peacefuland serene, —and where felicity, pure and unalloyed, for ever dwells. Amen.
ON THE PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE,
I JOHN ii. 25.
This is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life,
HE word of God abounds with many “ exceeding great and precious promi“ ses,” which are admirably calculated to comfort and strengthen the hearts of the faithful in every part of their warfare,— in every step of their pilgrimage through this changeable and weary
land. Of these promises, the chief and most important, to which all the others tend, and in which they terminate, is the one contained in my text ;-to the consideration of which, I propose to call your attention in the following discourse.
“ is the promise that he hath promised
us, even eternal life.” May God be with us by his Spirit, while I endeavour to explain the nature of the eternal life which is here promised,
In general language, the promise here given comprehends the whole of that salvation and happiness which Christ hath purchased by his blood, and shall bestow upon all who believe in his name, and obey his word. And this happiness is called life, in opposition to that death to which all the posterity of Adam became liable by the breach of the first covenant. By the fall we became subject to death, spiritual, temporal, and eternal ; but Jesus Christ has purchased for his people a deliverance from death in all its stages : he hath procured for them a spiritual life of greater happiness and glory than that which they had forfeited. So that justly might the Apostle say, “ As in Adam all 6 die, even so in Christ shall all be made « alive.” And this happiness is called “ eternal life,” in opposition to temporal deliverances; or rather to distinguish it from that short and precarious life of which we are presently possessed. It is
indeed begun here; but instead of being destroyed, or even interrupted by the dissolution of the body, it acquires new vigour at death, will be perfected at the resurrection, and last throughout eternal ages.
More particularly, this eternal life includes in it, in the first place, pardon of sin and peace with God.
Like all the other works of God, man was originally good, created in the divine image, holy and happy,—and found his chief delight in doing the will of his Creator. Forgetful, however, of the ligations he was under to love and fear the Lord his God, he fell into the snares of the devil, and disobeyed the express command that was given him as a trial of his submission to the divine will. The act of disobedience of which our first
parents were guilty, has extended its baneful effects to all their posterity, and involved them in guilt and condemnation. By nature we are all guilty creatures, obnoxious to divine wrath, and stand continually exposed to the just and everlasting displeasure of him who made us. But
our Lord and Saviour, by the sacrifice of himself
the cross, hath fully expiated our guilt, and reconciled us to God. By his being made a curse for us, he hath delivered us from the curse of the law, and from that endless and inexpressible misery which is the just desert of sin; so that, as St Paul argues, “ there is now “ no condemnation to them which are 66 in Christ Jesus. We have redemption 6 thro' his blood, even the forgiveness of 66 sins.” “ Christ hath once suffered for 6 sins, the just for the unjust, that he
might bring us to God.” By the blood of his cross he has made our peace
with heaven; for we, who were afar off, are now brought righ, and can draw near to God in full assurance of faith and hope. As the sacrifice was accepted and the ransom paid, the sentence of condemnation is reversed, the prison-door thrown open,
and liberty proclaimed to them who were in bondage. By reason of the sufferings and death of his incarnate son, God can pardon sin to the glory of his divine perfections, and in complete consistency with the honour of his government and laws. And not only so, bụt the gospel assures