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THE SONS OF GOD.

THE SONS OF GOD.

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Published by glennpease
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.



JOHN I. 12.

As many as received him, to them gave he power to become

the sons of God,
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.



JOHN I. 12.

As many as received him, to them gave he power to become

the sons of God,

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Published by: glennpease on Oct 05, 2013
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THE SOS OF GOD.BY THOMAS AROLD, D.D.JOH I. 12.As many as received him, to them gave he power to becomethe sons of God,This is one of the encouraging passages of Scripture, full of mercy and of hope. Butthe words immediately before it are of a diffe-rent character : — " He came unto his own,and his own received him not/' And eventhe text itself, when put out more fully by thesame St John, in another part of his writings,becomes not indeed less full of mercy, butmixed with something of a more sober charac-ter, such as we cannot afford to spare. *' Be-loved," says St. John, in his first Epistle, *' noware we the sons of God ; and it doth not yetappear what we shall be ; but we know thatwhen he shall appear, we shall be like him, forwe shall see him as he is. And every manthat hath this hope in him, purifieth himself.THE SOS OF GOD. 15even as he is pure." What I have read hasnot consisted of many words, yet it furnishesmatter of thought more than enough tooccupy all the time which we have now beforeus. Let us see the principal points which itpresents to us, each in its proper order.
 
First, Those who were Christ's own did notreceive him.Secondly, To those who did receive him hegave power, or, as the margin of our trans-lation reads it, he gave the privilege of becom-ing the sons of God.Thirdly, St. John declares for himself andhis fellow Christians, that this great privilegewas to them not wholly future ; that theywere then, in fact, enjoying it, yet not to thefull ; for there was more of the promise yet tobe fulfilled, and that in a sense so high, thatthey could not as yet so much as conceive it.But meanwhile, so enjoying for the present,so hoping for the future, he declares thatneither the enjoyment nor the hope were idle ;they engrossed his whole being, insomuch thathe continually was purifying himself, even asChrist is pure.First, then, " Christ's own did not receivehim." This is a matter of fact asserted of Christ's coming into the world, and of his not16 THE SOS OF GOD.being listened to by his own people, the Jews.The words relate, in their proper meaning, tothis, and to this only ; it would be mere foolish-ness to use them as an argument or an autho-rity for any thing else; to suppose that anassertion with respect to a particular fact past,can be taken as a prophecy about other factsto come. But although the words themselvescan prove nothing at all with respect to thefuture, — I mean with respect to that time which
 
was future then, although it is past now, — yetexperience has shown, that what St. John heresays of one particular time is also true of manyother times ; so that the words, although notmeant to do so, do in fact describe a later stateof things as well as a former one. It is stilltrue that Christ comes to his own, and that hisown receive him not. For undoubtedly weare Christ's own, exactly in the same sense inwhich the Jews were his own :— all Christianpeople who acknowledge him for their Kingand Lord by their public profession, and whohave become members of his Church by bap-tism, are now in the same relation to him asthe Jews were before, when they, too, as anation, acknowledged the Lord Jehovah astheir God, and had become members of hisChurch by circumcision. We are Christ's own.THE SOS OF GOD. 17as the Jews were his own ; and surely it is astrue of us that we^ in a great many instances^do not receive him, as it was true of theJews then.To pretend, indeed, to determine what pro-portion they who do not receive him bear tothose who do, would be a vain and a mostblamable attempt. It is enough to say, thatmany, a great many, do not receive him :common experience, our common acquaintancewith men's writings, with their words, and,above all, with their actions, make this, as amatter of fact, clear enough. And it is no lessclear, that they who do not receive him cannotclaim their share in the promise to become thesons of God, in that sense of the word in which

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