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the true kingdom of God. But into that true kingdom, that state of eternal life and joy, we must all be born by water and by the Spirit. These are they which must prepare us through what is well called our travail time of life, for the moment of our heavenly birth hereafter ; without these we shall never come to it. By constant repentance, constant faith,—and not faith only, but all the other graces of the Holy Spirit, each in their order, we are gradually ripened for our appointed hour. In this sense we may say, if we will, that we are born daily, by daily becoming more and more ready to be born; but the actual birth is at our resurrection, or else, in a lower sense, when we are admitted into the Church of Christ on earth for the first time. But as in this sense it is past with all of us, and as in that higher sense which alone concerns us, it can only come after our deaths; so there is no birth to be looked for now, as some one sudden change, which shall divide, as by a great gulf, the latter parts of our lives from those which have gone before. We cannot be born here any more, but we may by water and the Spirit be prepared for a real birth hereafter. The preparation may not cease till the time of that birth be fully come. It is still by the Spirit, and the water, and the blood, all agreeing in one, that we are brought nearer and nearer to the redemption of our body, to the real resurrection, the real birth,


into the kingdom of God—not by “water” only, that is, by repentance, but by “ water and blood," by our repentance, and our grateful faith in God's love through Christ; and not by these only, but by the constant indwelling of the Spirit” of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead, that abiding with us, and ripening in us all His blessed fruits of love and peace, and joy, He may, when our spirits are fully quickened, quicken also our mortal bodies, that having heard Christ's call from the death of sin, and having arisen to His spiritual life, we may hear it also from the very grave, and come forth, and be born again to a life which shall never die.

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July 15th, 1832.

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St. John, viii. 58.
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, before

Abraham was, I am.

RESEMBLANCES in words merely between one part of Scripture and another, and especially when those words are looked at by themselves, without any reference to the context, cannot be insisted upon as proving any thing. But when the passage in St. John from which I was just quoting was chosen for the Gospel of this day, the chapter in Exodus from which I have been also quoting, having been chosen for the first lesson, the resemblance between them to which it was intended to draw our attention was not verbal only but real.

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Verbal indeed it is not, as far as the Greek version of the Old Testament is concerned; for the expression there which answers to the “I am that I am" of our English Bible, is not the same with that in St. John's Gospel, which is translated in English by the same words. But the resemblance is real notwithstanding; for He who redeemed His people out of Egypt, and whilst revealing Himself in a visible form described Himself as essentially and eternally existing, is the same with Him who redeemed His people from their sins, and who, whilst again revealing Himself in a visible form, again declared that His existence was not measured by time, that He was the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.

Those who are acquainted with controversial theology well know that the words of our Lord are made to bear a lower sense by those who do not acknowledge His Divinity. By them they are interpreted as meaning only, “Before Abraham was, it was determined in the counsels of God that I should be, and as to God all things are eternally present, so I may say that in God's sight before Abraham was I am." Many persons who would without any scruple reject such an interpretation in this case, yet do not hesitate often in explaining the prophecies to adopt a similar rule of interpretation there; that is, they give the words a meaning as far below their simple and obvious meaning,

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as the interpretation, “ Before Abraham was, I was present to God, inasmuch as he had determined that I should be,” falls below the simple meaning of the words “ Before Abraham was, I am." But the fault in both cases consists not in giving such partial interpretations of the words of Scripture as a meaning of them, but as the meaning; as their highest meaning or their only one. It is true that our Lord's Incarnation was determined, so the Scripture tells us, from the beginning of the world; it is true, therefore, that our Lord was present in the mind of God, if we may so speak, before Abraham was born; and if any Jew who had heard him say these words, and who knew nothing of His divine nature, had understood them in this sense, and therefore, seeing in them nothing which he would think blasphemous, had not joined his countrymen in taking up stones to cast at Him, such a Jew would have understood them well according to his light, and would have gained from them the knowledge of a truth. And so when the Apostles preached the resurrection, they were not wrong who said that the rising from the death of sin to a life of righteousness, was a part of the Christian's resurrection. But those were very wrong, who said that this figurative and partial interpretation of the doctrine expressed the whole of it; and so should we be wrong if taking only the lowest sense which our Lord's words will bear, that sense of

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