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The Unspeakable Gift of God.

The Unspeakable Gift of God.

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Published by glennpease

REV. T, DALE, A.M.


" And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.' 1 John, v. 11.

REV. T, DALE, A.M.


" And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.' 1 John, v. 11.

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Published by: glennpease on May 04, 2013
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THE USPEAKABLE GIFT OF GOD.REV. T, DALE, A.M." And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in hisSon.' 1 John, v. 11.Our knowledge of God being limited as to his attributes, it is manifest tha,tour conceptions of God must be inadequate as to his acts. It is, however, mer-cifully ordained, that those which most immediately concern ourselves are thosealso which we can most readily comprehend. The wisdom which devised, thelove which directed, and the power which accomplished the Gospel system of salvation, are, doubtless, among the mysteries into which angels desire to look,as well as ainpng the splendours of divine agency on which mortal sense cannotendure to gaze. For, of the dwelling of light wherein Jehovah tabernacles,and to which we are told man cannot approach, we know it is a concentrationof brightness, before which even the celestial intelligences are said to veil theirfaces M'ith their M'ings. And if this be true in the material, wlierefore not alsoin the moral sense ?All speculations, therefore, concerning the divine nature, which deviate inany degree from the beaten track of divine revelation, are much more likely tobewilder by uncertainty than to conduce to edifying. And, in like manner, alladmeasurement by the standard of human reason of things beyond its province,all attempts to scale or system those divine Avorkings by which salvation canbe brought home to any one of us, are liable to become, in the issue, at oncedisparaging to the divine honour, and detrimental to our own improvement.It must be enough to establish a doctrine that God has revealed it; enough tocertify a promise that God hath uttered it; enough to commend and sanctifyan inward working that God hath ordained, and that God is accomplishing it.Hence, in propounding the doctrine which our text records and attests, that"God hath given to us eternal life," and that "this life is in his Son," no demandis made on the believer for an examination into God's motive, rv/j^ he gave; norfor an admeasurement of God's benevolence, what he gave ; nor for a demonstration of God's consistency, the way he bestowed the gift of his Son, Hismotive is revealed to have been the purest possible ; his benevolence, thebroadest possible ; his mode of dispensing it, the wisest possible. All thesepoints, indeed, are practically involved in the declaration, that the work of salvation is God's. Lower than this, the Apostle could not rest ; higher tlianthis, he desires not to ascend : for when wisdom and faith have combined, amimeasured out their widest range, they must turn, after all, to the two points, anasettle there, wherein all the light that can be thrown on the subject is tor*-
 
VOL. I. 2 c386 THE USPEAKABLE GIFT OP GOn.centrateJ: "He is faithful that hath promised ;"' and "what lie hath promised,he is also ahle to perform,"It is, therefore, a matter of fact which is stated, hoth in the text and in thepassage to Mhich the text immediately refers: " 'I'his is tlie promise tliat he hatlipromised us, even eternal life:" and thus, thougli the subject is one which over-passes man's imagination, though it is that MJiich "e\e iiatli not seen, nor earheard, nor hath entered into tue heart of man to conceive ;"' though, conse-quently, were it man's, no asseveration would be too earnest, nor any evidencetoo ample and conclusive; yet, since it is God's, the Apostle hinges tlie door of eternal life on the single and sufficient promise, on the bare word and will of God; and, with a touching simplicity which goes directly to the heart, andwhich should operate a confidence filial as his own, he tlms demonstrates byexample, what ne had before declared in terms, that it is impossible for Godto lie, and, that in proportion to our conviction of that impossibility, is tliestrength of our consolation, if we have fled for refuge to the hope set before usin the Gospel.The inference, then, from all this will be, what indeed the Apostle hadalready stated in the preceding verse: "He that believctli on tlie Sou, haih thewitness in himself." It is the witness of God's working ; it is the seed of God'ssowing; it is the root of God's planting. "o man can say that Jesus is theLord, but by the power of the Holy Ghost;" and none, surely, can aver thatthere is life eternal in Christ Jesus, who does not believe and avow that Jesusis the Lord.It ought, therefore, to be detennined this day, dearly beloved brethren — andmay the Lord himself enable you to determine the point aright — whether younave as yet duly recognized and realized, impressed and engraven on yournearts, first, the value of the gift ; next, the goodness of the giver ; and, lastly,the fitness and sufficiency of the instrument. The gift is eternal life; thegiver is God ; and this life is in his Son.ow, in one sense, it must be admitted, the Value op the Gift defies allestimate: for the gift is eternal life; and who sh.ill furnish us with &ny data on•which we can compute the costliness of a benefit which is destined to endurethroughout eternity? Some of us may be able, perhaps, to cast a retrospectiveglance nearly three-score years and ten behind, and the life of man is declaredto be nought but labour and sorrow ; but what is that when paralleled with thechain which stretches forward throughout endless ages and generations ? It isthe hill that we ascend which overlooks the boundless plain ; it is the river
 
down which we are borne by the tide into the immeasurable expanse of ocean.o, we can never rightly estimate the value of the gift; but, we can arrive atthis conclusion — that its value transcends all estimate; not only in theory (forall will concur in the fact, which is from its very nature incapable of denial)but in practice also; so far, at least, that we seek the invaluable gift in pre-ference to every other, thougli the due proportion may not be observed between it jindotliers, as to the ardour, and zeal, and fixedness ofpurposc in which it is sought.Still none approximate to the general estimate of the truth, but tliose whoavow, or, which is better for, whose conduct will attest for them, without tlienecessity of any further avowal, that they do seek first the kingdom of Godand liis righteousness, though they do not seek these only — that their works, inVhe experience of tlicir daily intercourse, are commenced, continued, and endedin God ; tliat they sanctify whatever they undertake by the word of God andTHE USPEAKABLE GIFT OK GOD. 3i^7prayer ; furnisliing themselves for tiie necessary contact and unavoidablecollision with the world, which is always hazardous, and often pernicious, bykeeping constantly upon them the whole armour of God, and constantlypolishing their only weapon of defence, which is the Word of God. It would beno feeble test of vital religion, to determine how far we are acted on in commonthings by the remembrance and recognition of eternal life ; how far the desirewe have to attain it works upon our daily motives and principles ; and howfar we are thus prepared for the pursuit of practical holiness. For though Godhas given freely, and gratuitously, and like a God, in a manner harmonizingwith all that he has in his word revealed of his own adorable perfections, hedoes not offer, except in some few special cases, to force, or even to urge, his gifton man's acceptance. Free to accept that gift we must be considered; just asit is certain that we are unable to accept it unless God prevent us, and give usthe will, and work with us when we have that will. The impulse, therefore,the effort, comes from him : and happy are those who can, while I am speaking,discern the production thereof in themselves.For in stating the fact, the Apostle virtually proposes an inquiry. Hesupplies the subject of it, at least; and the estimate of its importance willbest determine the propriety of proposing it for ourselves. The fact is this :"God hath given to us eternal life." The question founded on the fact is,Have we received his gift? Have we truly and effectually received it? Forthere were those in the Apostle's days, and doubtless there are in our own, of whom it is necessary to entreat, even with tears, that they " receive not thegrace of God in vain." If then, we have received it, where is the evidence of the fact? What result does it produce ? Wliat power does itbiing to bear onthe complicated machinery of our daily motives and principles of action?How does it operate on the actions of our lives, and how does it influence the

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