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is heaven, whose dwelling is with God from the beginning

Let not such a witness have cause to say of any of us, Ye receive not my testimony. The words which immediately follow show, that to refuse it is death, to receive it everlasting life.

14. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15. That whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have eternal life.

Here another truth is set before Nicodemus, which might more justly appear new and strange to him.

We read in Numbers xxi. (649,) that the people, weary of their detention in the wilderness, murmured against God and his servant Moses. " And the Lord sent fiery serpents among

the

people, and they bit the people ; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee : pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole ; and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it

upon a pole; and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass he lived."

This transaction, we now learn, had a meaning which could not be then foreseen; a reference beyond itself. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. As the serpent was raised on high, in the midst of the camp, that it might be beheld by all the people: even so must the Son of man be raised

upon

the cross, that all might behold the Lamb of God, the sacrifice offered for the sin of the world.

And for a like cause. The cause why Moses lifted up the serpent, was the hopeless state to which their sins had reduced the Israelites. “ The people came to Moses and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee : pray unto the Lord, that he may take away

the serpents from us.” And the cause why Jesus was lifted up, was the sin of mankind.

. “ Sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men, for that all had sinned.” And then it was, by reason of this sad and hopeless condition, that the compassion of God was moved, and he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish.” This is the first resemblance. But a further resemblance is found in the nature of the remedy. Of the Israelites, as many as looked up towards the serpent of brass, were healed of their wounds. Of sinners, it is promised that whosoever look up to the Son of man, shall find the remedy of their sins. Their wound is healed, and is not a wound unto death. They are assured that “ the

3 Rom. v. 12.

blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin."

They are assured, that “ sin shall not have dominion over them.”

They are washed, they are sanctified, they are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Thus is the consequence of sin removed, and it has no more power to destroy.

The difficulty is to feel that sense of danger which shall rouse us to seek deliverance. This must be done by ourselves. As there has been a lifting up on God's part, there must be a looking up on ours. And here it is not with us as with the Israelites. The Israelites could not but perceive the malignancy of their bodily malady. The disease of the soul is hidden and concealed from our notice.

But if any thing can convince us of its fatal consequences, it must be the remedy which God has mercifully provided. The Son of man must be lifted up, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish. Unless then the Son of man be lifted up, there is no more help nor hope, than there was to the Israelites, till Moses lifted up the serpent of brass, that they who had been bitten might look upon

it and live. This brings the subject closely home. Have you felt the wound which sin has inflicted upon the soul, and felt it deeply enough to seek its remedy? Have you found that remedy in the sacrifice of Christ, now offered as a full and perfect satisfaction? Then is the Son of man to you, what the brazen serpent was to the Israelites. God has said to us, as to them, “Look unto him and be saved, all ye ends of the earth.” And he has also said,

" There is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby ye may obtain health and salvation.

LECTURE XVII.

DISCOURSE WITH NICODEMUS CONTINUED.

John iii. 16–21.

16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

19. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Our Lord had been uttering to Nicodemus things which probably surprised and perplexed him. But he does not leave him without an assurance full of comfort. He had sought Jesus, under an acknowledgment

4 See Acts iv. 12.

peace and

that he was а teacher sent from God.” He is now acquainted that God had indeed sent him as a pledge of his love, as the author of bearer of mercy. He had come to an idolatrous world—a world which had become idolatrous, because men had not liked to retain God in their knowledge. He came to a nation which had misused the privileges it enjoyed, had rejected the counsels of God, and despised his reproofs : and yet he came not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.

He brought an offer of reconciliation; and his first message was, Peace to this rebellious people:-" to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.” “Herein was love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

If subjects are in a state of rebellion against their sovereign, and he sends an embassy, offering to receive them again to favour on their laying down their arms: those who refuse his offer, and reject his messenger, are condemned already. They are condemned by their act of rebellion; and “his wrath abides upon them ;” their state of condemnation continues, because they have not accepted the terms of reconciliation. Such is the case of those, who, like the Jews, reject the counsel of God against themselves.

And what are the grounds of their refusal ? Do

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