« PreviousContinue »
" making mention of thy righteousness, " even of thine only. O! through Jesus, may
all our sins be forgiven us; through “ him may we now receive numberless to« kens of thy abundant grace, and be ad'“ mitted at last into eternal glory.”.
If the wicked thus forsake their ways, if thus shall become the state of their hearts, if this shall be the pious purpose of their souls, then both the saints on earth, and the angels in heaven will rejoice at their conversion ; they will rejoice at their return to God, and hail them as his children. God himself will thus speak peace to their troubled souls ;Fear not, for it is my “ good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
STRENGTH AND VICTORY OF
1 JOHN V. 4.
Whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world ;
and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
The Apostle, in the context, reminds the Christians to whom this epistle is addressed of their divine origin ; that they were “ born of God;" and thence infers their obligation to love and do good to one another, as children of the same heavenly Father. He at the same time naturally reminds them of their duty in general ; for whatever reason there is for our being con
scientious in the discharge of any one duty, there certainly is for our being conscientious in the discharge of every other. If we be Christians, God is our reconciled God and Father: we ought therefore sincerely and ardently to love him, and “this is the “ (evidence of) the love of God that we keep “ his commandments, and his command“ments (adds the apostle) are not grievous.” They are all both reasonable in themselves, and adapted to promote both our temporal and eternal interests. But if we would keep the commandments of God, there is one thing we should never forget—and of which the apostle here puts us in remembrance, the necessity of rising superior to the dangerous motives and considerations presented by the world. “ Whatsoever is born " of God overcometh the world, and this " is the victory that overcometh the world,
even our faith,”
If we have just views of this world, we shall consider it not as a place of rest ; but as a field of labour and conflict; not as a scene where we may gratify without restraint our appetites and passions ; but as a probationary state, where we must with
unremitting zeal aspire after the improvement of our intellectual and moral natures.
use the world;" but we are to use it as “not abusing it.” We must never be enslaved by its maxims, its manners or its pleasures: this slavery is the degradation and ruin of the immortal mind. It offends God, and necessarily disqualifies us for being received into the inheritance of the saints in light. Hence we are exhorted 56 not to love the world ; neither the " things that are in the world: if any man “ love the world, the love of the Father is not $ in him."Inordinate attachment to this world, is incompatible with ardent desires after that better world which is to come.We cannot serve both God and Mammon. Accordingly, victory over the world is characteristic of the Christian. He " is born of 6 God,” and “ whatsoever is born of God " overcometh the world; and this is the
victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
These striking words call for our serious attention : In discoursing from them therefore, let us consider the noble character which is here mentioned the formidable
enemy whom he contendswith and conquers
- the successful weapon which he wields, and the glorious felicity whích follows.May the Lord now take the direction of our minds, and accompany what shall be said with his rich and effectual blessing.
I. We are first to consider the noble character which is here mentioned. It is a character, the greatest and most illustrious that can adorn the earth. The Apostle is speaking of one who is the chosen offspring of heaven-of one who is “ born not of the “ will of the flesh, nor of the will of man; “ but of God;" and who is therefore an " heir of God, and a joint-heir with Jesus 66 Christ."
To be “ born of God," is to rise out of the ruins of a fallen nature to the glory of a redeemed one. It is to die to Adam and to live to Christ. It is to see, and feel, and forsake our own weakness, and vanity, and sin, and adhere to the strength, and sufficiency, and righteousness of the Captain of our Salvation. He then who is “ born of « God” is 6 brought out of darkness into “ marvellous light.” He strives to compre