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The Gift of Life Eternal

The Gift of Life Eternal

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Published by glennpease
BROOKE FOSS WESTCOTT, D.D., D.C.L.


The wages of sin is death ; but the gift of God is eternal life through
Jesus Christ our Lord. ROM. vi. 23.
BROOKE FOSS WESTCOTT, D.D., D.C.L.


The wages of sin is death ; but the gift of God is eternal life through
Jesus Christ our Lord. ROM. vi. 23.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 05, 2013
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THE GIFT OF LIFE ETERALBROOKE FOSS WESTCOTT, D.D., D.C.L.The wages of sin is death ; but the gift of God is eternal life throughJesus Christ our Lord. ROM. vi. 23.THERE are many words with which we have beenso long and so intimately familiar that we neverpause to ask ourselves what we mean by them.They form the basis of our reasonings, but, like thefoundations of a building, we do not notice theirdepth or structure ; nay, for this very cause thatthey do underlie our common discourse, we cannotwithout a special effort gain any true idea of them.ow " life " is such a word as this. We all use itand argue about it, but can we explain it ? I donot now wish to trouble you with the discussionswhich have been raised in the endeavour to embracein one large definition all the various classes of beings which are said to " live." It will be enoughthat we should turn our thoughts inward, andregard the marvellous blessing of human life inwhich we all share alike. Think for one momenton the infinite chasm between life and nothingness.On this side there is the glow of health, the consciousness of bodily vigour, the full exuberance of strength and spirits : on that a dreary void. Onthis side there is the keen sense of the countless250xxix VILLAGE SERMOS 251 joys with which the earth is filled, the glad delightin sunshine and beauty, the rich treasures of acreative mind : on that a dreary void. On this
 
side there is a marvellous power of traversing thewhole world in a moment, of holding communionwith all the noblest and the best of men, of risingwith the chorus of angels even to the throne of God :on that still the same dreary void. Whichever waywe turn we see within us a crowd of powers andfeelings which minister to our happiness and quickenour susceptibility ; and the sum of these thistreasure beyond all treasures we call " life."You can all add much to what I have said ; andit is a subject which we shall do well to consider. Forthe more we examine into the depths of meaningwhich lie in that small word " life," the more shall wemarvel that we can use it without awe. Comparedwith life all earthly things are valueless. Withoutit all wealth were vanity, all beauty darkness, andall glory gloom ; and this priceless blessing belongsto each one of us.Whence then did it come ? We were not, it isclear, our own makers. The first ground and pledgeof all our hopes can have come from God only.However deeply we may search, this will at somepoint be the end of our inquiry, And God breathedinto man the breath of life, and he became a livingspirit.And what gratitude do we show to the Author of such a gift ? Even in its humblest and saddeststate men judge life to be a blessing such that onlya madman would willingly cast it away. And yet Ifear that few words of thanksgiving ascend to God252 VILLAGE SERMOSfrom us I will not say for life only, but for thecountless joys with which He has been pleased in
 
His great mercy to crown our lives.It is true, however, that we may look at thishuman life of our? yet in another light. It is awarning as well as a gift ; a prophecy as well as ablessing. I have spoken of the strength and gladness of youth ; but there is also the weakness andsorrow of age. Is then this body born only to waxand waste away ? Shall corruption at last claim itfor its own ?I have spoken of the energies and resources of the mind, of the finer delights of imagination andunderstanding ; but the prospect is at last clouded,the eye grows dim and the head grows faint. Isthen this mind to rise only that it may fall again ?Shall forgetfulness at last cover all things ?I have spoken of the subtle and mysteriousworkings of the spirit, by which it claims a fellowship with earth and heaven and God, rising aboveall time and space. But a weight is on its wings.The burden to which it is bound brings it to thedust. Is then this spirit given only to be vanquished?Shall Death at last be conqueror ?A Christian alone, perhaps, can feel the deepsolemnity of such doubts as these, as he alone cansolve them. To him the mystery of life is real andterrible, and as his sense of sin and godliness isclear and active, so does he groan inwardly for themanifestation of Christ s triumph. If in thisworld only we had hope, surely we of all men shouldbe most wretched, St. Paul says we, that is, whohave learnt to prize aright the joys and promises itxxix VILLAGE SERMOS 253

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