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stle to designate the intellectual faculty or the light of reason. With him that substantive denotes spiritual light—the light which is enjoyed by those who come to a real knowledge of the truth-the light in which the children of God walk before their Father; see John üži, 19; vii, 12; ix, 5; I John i, 7; ž, 8; &c. I conceive, therefore, that the apostle's doctrine, declared in the fourth verse of his Gospel, is precisely thisthat the Son, or Word, of God, or the Messiah, in his original and divine character, was the giver of eternal life, and the spiritual quickener and illuminator of the children of men. And this inference is strengthened by the consideration that "the life" here mentioned was "the light;" for it is the peculiar characteristick of the Spirit of Christ that it quickens and enlightens at the same time. That very principle within us which illuminates our darkness raises our souls from the death of sin, and springs up within us unto everlasting life.

Since such appears to be the true meaning of verse 4, we cannot reasonably hesitate in our interpretation of verse 9. In the former, the light is said to be in or by the Word; in the latter, according to a very usual figure of rhetorick, the Word being the source of the light, is himself denominated “light.” The light, in either case, must be of the same character; and if there be any correctness in the view we have now taken of the whole passage, it can be no other than the light of the Spirit of the Son of God. Hence, therefore, I conclude, on the authority of the apostle John, that a measure of the light of the Spirit of the Son of God lighteth every man that cometh into the world."6

6 JOHN 1, 9. "Ην το φώς το αληθινόν και φωτίζει πάντα άνθρωπον ερχόμενον εις τον κόσμον. «That was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” It was observed by Augustine, (De Peccatorum Meritis et Remiss. lib, i, $38.) and the suggestion has been adopted by many modern criticks, that the words έρχόμενον εις τον κόσμον, in this passage, are capable of being construed in connexion with pãs, " the light," instead of with Távra övegwmov,“ every man;” in which case the sentence must be rendered as follows: “That was the true light, which, coming into the world, lighteth every man.” Now, it ought to be remarked that the term “every man” is in itself very strong and precise. It denotes every individual man; and, since there is nothing in the con. text to limit its signification, it must be considered as signifying the whole of mankind. Were we, therefore, to adopt such a construction and translation of the passage, there would still be good reasons for interpreting it, not of that outward knowledge of Christianity which is enjoyed by a comparatively small number of human beings, but of an internal light bestowed universally on man. It is, however, obvious that the commonly adopted construction of this sentence is more agreeable to the order of the apostle's words, and therefore more consistent than the other with the general simplicity and perspicuity of his style. That construction is, moreover, confirmed by the consideration that John has here adopted a phrase well known amongst the Jews, in its usual sense. With that people, “ to come into the world” was a common expression, sig. nifying “

Such, according to my apprehension of scriptural truth, are the religious advantages which may be deemed the common allotment of mankind in general. God is their equal Judge and compassionate Father: the Son of God, when clothed with humanity, gave his life a ransom for them all: and lastly, through the operation of his Holy Spirit, a moral sense of right and wrong, accompanied with a portion of quickening and redeeming power, is implanted in them universally. Here, then, we may perceive grounds of union and brotherly kindness coextensive with the whole world : and whilst we cultivate a sense of these animating truths, we shall be disposed neither to think too highly of ourselves, 'nor to despise others. On the contrary, a feeling of true charity towards our neighbour, of whatever colour or country, will spread in our hearts; and a lively disposition will arise in us to labour for the happiness of that universal family who not only owe their existence to the same Creator, but are the common objects of his paternal regard and of his redeeming love.

to be born ;” and “ all men who come into the world" a customary description of “ all mankind;"' Vide Lightfoot Hor. Heb. in loc. The ancient fathers in general appear to have construed this passage in the same manner as the authors of our English version. See, for example, Tertullian, adv. Prax. cap. 12. Ed. Semler, ii, 214; Theodotus, Epitom. in Ed. Bened. Clement. Alex. p. 979; Origen, in lib. Judicum Homil. Ed. Bened, ii, 460. See also the two Syriac, Æthiopic, Persic, and Vulgate, versions.

While I am persuaded of the existence of these broad grounds of union; while I am well satisfied in the conviction that there is bestowed upon all men that moral sense and that measure of a quickening influence of which I have spoken; and while, lastly, I am convinced that such a sense and such an influence can be justly attributed only to the eternal Spirit of the Lord, I am very far from forming a low estimate of the sinfulness and degradation of the heathen world. However universally visited by a moral light, it is a mournful and melancholy fact, that men have very generally yielded themselves a prey to the deceitfulness and depravity of their own hearts. Multitudes indeed there are amongst those who have not been made acquainted with the truths of Christianity, who, “when they knew God, glorified him not as God, neither were thankful;" but have “changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things;" Rom. i, 21. 23. Hence hath God given them

to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts,” and hence may be applied to them that awful description used by the apostle“Gentiles in the flesh, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world;" Eph. ii, 11, 12.

We are not to forget that the same apostle who



has drawn this affecting picture of the Gentile world has declared that the Jews, on whom was bestowed the written law, were not "better than they," Rom. iii, 9—that all will be judged by a perfectly equitable Being, according to their own demerits, the Gentiles “without the law,” the Jews" by the law,” Rom. ii, 12; and finally, that God “hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all;" Rom. xi, 32. Nevertheless, a contemplation of so mournful a scene may serve to convince us of the unutterable advantages of that outward revelation by which are so clearly made known to us the glorious attributes of the one true God, the awful realities of the eternal world, and the various offices of that divine Saviour who is made unto us, of the Father, “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." This consideration naturally leads to the second branch of my present subject, and will fitly introduce a brief view of those religious advantages which are not bestowed upon the world in general, but are nevertheless common to all true Christians.

II. The visible church of Christ, upon earth, may be regarded, either in its most extensive character, as consisting of the whole of that proportion of mankind who profess Christianity; or in that narrower, yet more accurate, point of view, in which none can be looked upon as its members, except those persons who really love and serve their Redeemer, and who evince, by their conduct and conversation, that they are brought under the influence of vital religion.

It is to such as these alone that my present observations will be directed. Merely nominal Christians may indeed be considered as so far participating in the religious advantages of the church of Christ, as they receive their share of benefit from that general amelioration of the moral views and habits of mankind which has, in so remarkable a manner, been effected by the introduction of Christianity. But, from the more important, substantial, and enduring privileges of the followers of Jesus, the careless and disobedient hearers of the truth are plainly excluded. Nothing, indeed, can be more fraught with danger than the condition of those persons who, whilst they profess to believe in Jesus, and are called by his name, are nevertheless the servants of sin, and are living to the “lusts of the world, the lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life.” The light of the Sun of righteousness has risen upon them; but they hide themselves from its beams. They love “ darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.” In despite of those awful truths which, on the authority of their Creator himself, have been proclaimed in their hearing, they pursue without interruption the mad career of vice and dissipation. If there be any class amongst mankind, by whom, above others, the punishment of “ many stripes” may justly be expected, it is surely that class who profess, without practising, Christianity; who know their Master's will, and do it not. every one,” said our Lord Jesus, " that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man which built his house


the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it;" Matt. vii, 26, 27.

Let us therefore direct our regards to that scattered family and flock of Christ appertaining to various kindreds, nations, and denominations, who have received revealed religion in the love of it; who have been made willing in the day of the Lord's power; and who, with earnestness and honest determination, are fighting the good fight of faith, and laying hold of eternal life.

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