Imatges de pÓgina
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blood ;” and “ was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”—This is the remedy provided.

But how is it to be used and applied ? It is to be received with humble faith, and relied upon with a believing hope. Christ is “set forth as a propitiation through faith, in his blood.” And his “ Righteousness is unto all and upon all them that believe." We are expressly told that it is " faith which justifies ;” and that “whoever believeth shall obtain remission of sins.” But what then is this faith? Is it merely a fancy in the brain; a notion in the head; a persuasion in the mind; an assent of the understanding ? No.

; It is a grace, a principle in the heart, deeply fixed and abiding there. It is “with the heart that man believeth unto righteous

ness.

The persons who really believe in Christ, are those, who feeling their guilt and misery as sinners, hear with joy of the atonement which Christ has made for sin on the cross, and with the heart put their whole trust for pardon and acceptance in his merits, mercies, and promises. These persons are reconciled to God. In the use of the remedy provided, their deadly wound is healed. They have peace with God through Jesus Christ : for their faith in Christ uniting them to Him, secures to them a per

God in spirit and in truth. Pray that his kingdom may be set up in your heart; and that being enlightened, converted, and sanctified by his Spirit, you may walk with Him in newness of life. Do you slight this counsel ? Are

you

offended with this friendly admonition ? Wise in your own conceits, are you too proud to be taught? Puffed up with fleshly wisdom, will you still boast of your privileges, and say, “ The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we?” Is this the case ? Then will I conclude with. solemnly addressing you in the words of the prophet, “ Lo, thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and what wisdom is in thee," *

* Jeremiah, viii. 9.

SERMON II.

NATURE AND NECESSITY OF REGENERATION.

John, iii. 7. Marvel not, that I said unto Thee, Ye must

be born again.

THE truth contained in these words is one of the most weighty in Scripture: one which concerns us all, and requires the deepest attention. May God dispose our hearts to attend to it with seriousness, humility and impartiality! The way in which we receive the doctrine of the New Birth is one of the clearest tests of the pride, or the humility of our heart; of its teachable, or unteachable, of its prejudiced, or unprejudiced state. For the better understanding of the subject, let us shortly review the circumstances which stand connected with the text.

Nicodemus, a Pharisee, and ruler of the Jews; a person of the strictest sect, and highest authority among them, having heard of the miracles which Jesus wrought, and

being convinced that He could work them only through the power of God, was desirous of being acquainted with the doctrines which He taught. He accordingly came to Him, and from fear either of discovery or of interruption, came to Him by night. Addressing Him in terms of great respect, he professed his conviction that He was a teacher come from God: “ for no man,” added he, “ can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” Jesus, without any delay, proceeded to put his profession to the test. He proceeded to try, whether he was so convinced of His divine mission, as implicitly to receive the doctrines which He taught, however opposed they might be to human lemn and decisive manner, He said to Nilemn and human pride. In a most socodemus, “ Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. This declaration

” astonished the Pharisee, who, taking the new birth of which our Lord spoke, in a literal sense, asked with surprise, “ How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born ?” But the birth, to which Christ referred, as He went on to show, was not a literal, but a spiritual birth.

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he

a

cannot enter the kingdom of God." The birth which He meant was a birth, of which the application of water was the figurative emblem, or sign, but which was really to be effected by the agency of the Spirit of God. It was, in short, an inward and a spiritual change, a change of heart and nature, by the influence of the Holy Spirit; the reason and necessity for which our Lord immediately adduces, “ That which is born of the flesh, is flesh : and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit.”—This statement so clearly pointed out the nature and necessity of the new birth, to which he alluded, that He directly adds in the text, “ Marvel not, that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” As if he had said, . Be not surprised at my « assertion. That new birth, which, as a

teacher sent from God, I declare to be so

indispensably necessary to salvation, that Ko without it, no man can see or enter the

kingdom of God, contains nothing in its self impossible; nothing contradictory;

nothing, in fact, but what is perfectly • agreeable to reason, to Scripture, and to

experience; nothing but what you, as a s master in Israel, might easily have known, • and ought to understand.' In discoursing further on the text thus explained, I shall enter more fully,

1. On the Doctrine contained in it.

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