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The Second Blrth.

The Second Blrth.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.


St. John Hi. 6, 6.

Except a man be bom of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into
the kingdom of God, That which is bom of the fieth is Jiesh, and
that which is bom of the Spirit is spirit.
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.


St. John Hi. 6, 6.

Except a man be bom of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into
the kingdom of God, That which is bom of the fieth is Jiesh, and
that which is bom of the Spirit is spirit.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 05, 2013
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THE SECOD BlRTH.BY THOMAS AROLD, D.D.St. John Hi. 6, 6.Except a man be bom of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter intothe kingdom of God, That which is bom of the fieth is Jiesh, andthat which is bom of the Spirit is spirit.If we read the 15th chapter of the first Epistle to theCorinthians, that famous chapter with which we are all sowell acquainted, and which speaks at so much length of theresurrection, we shall find that there were some who calledthemselves Christians, and had joined the Christian society,who did not believe in any life after death. ow this tous seems a contradiction ; we cannot fancy a man's being aChristian, and at the same time his not believing in theresurrection. But what these persons meant is explainedin a passage of St. Paul's second Epistle to Timothy, wherehe says that Hymenaeus and Philetus maintained that theresurrection was past already. Of course they did not meanthat either they or their disciples had been dead, and hadrisen again from the dead ; but they maintained that theresurrection which Christ had promised was a rising fromthe death of sin to tlie life of righteousness ; that a manso rose when he was baptized and became a Christian;that thus to all who were Christians their resurrection wasTHE SECOD BIRTH. 125past already ; they had received what Christ had promised,and for the future had nothing to tmst to but such hopesof another life as they could gain from their own naturalreason, without in any degree relying on any especial revela-tions of the Gospel.
 
ow it is true that the words 'death' and 'risingagain' are often used in this figurative manner in theScriptures, to express a man's being sunk and lost inurickedness, and then rising out of that lost state to a lifeof virtue. They are so used, it is probable, in the verynext chapter but one to that from which the text is taken ;namely, in the 5th chapter of St. John. In the 25th verseour Lord says, ' the hour is coming and now is, when thedead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they thathear shall live.' It is probable that our Lord here meansexactly what His Apostle Peter means, when he says that* the Gospel was preached to them that are dead, that theymight live according to God in the Spirit,' and what HisApostle Paul also means, when he writes to the Ephesians,' Even when we were dead in sins, God hath quickened us '{i.e. hath made us alive again,) ' together with Christ, andhath raised us up together.' You see that St. Paul him-self maintains that in one sense ' the resurrection was pastalready ;' for he declares of himself and his fellow Chris-tians, that ' God had quickened them and had raised themup, when they were dead in sins.' But after our Lord hadspoken figuratively of the resurrection in the 25th verse of the 6th of St. John, He goes on in the 28th verse to speak of it literally. ' Marvel not at this ;' {i.e. that they whoare dead in sins shall be roused by the call of the Son of God to a life of righteousness,) ' for the hour is coming, inthe which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice,and shall come forth ; they that have done good, unto theresurrection of life ; and they that have done evil, unto theresurrection of condemnation.' His call can do more than126 THE SECOD BIRTH.rouse those who are dead figuratively, sunk and lost in sins ;it shall rouse the really dead, the very dead who are in theirgraves, mouldering or mouldered, retiuning to dust oralready returned to it. All of these shall hear His voice, andall shall obey it ; but it is no longer, ' they that hear shall
 
live.' It is now another resurrection, in which they whonever rose before, that is, who never heard Christ's firstcall from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness,shall now arise only to condemnation. But truly maywe say with St. John in the Revelation, ^Blessed andholy is he who hath part in the first resurrection ; on suchthe second death hath no power.' He who has risen inthis world at Christ's first call to a life of righteousness,shall assuredly rise without fear at His second call to a lifeof glory.I may seem all this time to have forgotten my text,but in truth I have been preparing the way for the expla-nation of it. We see that the words death and resurrectionare used in the ew Testament in two senses, sometimesfiguratively, sometimes literally ; we see that they whoused them only figuratively, who, like Hymenaeus andPhiletus, maintained that there was no other resurrectionthan that which was past already, erred concerning thetruth, and overthrew the faith of some ; yet we see alsothat it were to err no less to interpret them only literally,for it is not true that all the really dead who shall hear thevoice of the Son of God sliall live eternally ; on the con-trary, many shall hear it and shall obey it, but shall findit a call, not to life, but to condemnation.ow what is true of the words ' death ' and * resurrec-tion ' is true also of the words ' birth ' and ' kingdom of Grod ; ' they also are used in two senses, a literal one anda figurative one ; and in these two, as well as in the otherwords, it is to err from the truth, and to lose some part of 1THE SECOD BIRTH. 127

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