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When the commandments were repeated to him
you; “if the Lord be God, follow him; if Baal, (if
mammon, if satan) then follow him.” Be decided; if the world be indeed the highest object of
your desire, then love the world, and the things that are in the world; hunt after pleasure, amass riches, covet applause, study your earthly interests with such diligence as you think them worthy of; but attempt not to intermingle the services of God with these low pursuits; you may delude yourselves, but you cannot flatter or deceive him; you must be content with such a reward as you can obtain from the source whence you seek it; heaven is not for those who have set their affections on things of the earth. But if eternal life be your grand aim, be thankful that you can obtain it on any terms; make manifest your love for the Redeemer, who has put it in your power, by devoting yourselves wholly to his service; then let nothing divert you from the fixed
purpose of striving after it, let no worldly object intercept your view of it, let no temptation loosen your
hold on it; sacrifice every thing that interferes with the hope of it; despise the world, be unmoved by ridicule, struggle with the flesh, resolutely encounter every difficulty, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,” that you may persevere with boldness and constancy unto the end, that every earthly power may be subdued within you, and every
earthly taint washed from your hearts, that your sins may be forgiven, and your highest hopes finally crowned with success, and yourselves at length admitted to the everlasting enjoyment of your desires in heaven, for the sake of Jesus Christ our only Lord and Saviour. Amen.
THE TRUE GOD AND ETERNAL LIFE.
JOHN xvii, 3.
And this is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
These are most important words, demanding the serious attention of all who profess themselves candidates for that life and immortality which the gospel has revealed. They are a concise christian creed, a brief summary of the method by which we may become wise unto salvation. May God give us grace to understand them aright, and ever to exhibit in our lives that we both have a spiritual perception and feeling, and also thoroughly comprehend the practical nature and tendency, of the great truth which they declare.
The plain and simple meaning of the passage is, that eternal life is attained by the knowledge of God and his son Jesus Christ; and the object of my present and future discourse will be to explain wherein this knowledge consists, to direct you to the method of acquiring it, to show you the happiness of cultivating it, and the fatal consequences that must result from the neglect and rejection of it.
But first, I must call your attention to a point in my text, which is worthy of your particular observation, the equality, as objects of religious regard, here implied to exist between the Father and the Son, in the mysterious godhead. Life eternal, the great end of all religion, as far as man is concerned, is attached to the knowledge, not merely of the only true God, but also of Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent; and in order to this most important end, the knowledge of both these divine persons is spoken of as equally necessary; it is equally necessary to salvation, to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. What is this but an express assertion of their equality? What mere mortal man, however eminent, what angel, what archangel, what finite being, though the very highest in order of all creatures, would have presumed thus to couple his own name with that of the infinite