suffering, could he have helped her, even for one hour? Surely, of all days, and though it was the sabbath, none more suited than the sabbath day for so gracious an act. The sabbath day is a day of mercy, given by the Lord to sinful man. And what method can be devised more highly calculated to honour the Lord's day, than in that day shewing mercy? Moreover the act itself, in healing this daughter of Abraham, must have been from the Lord. And though the Lord had forbidden man to work on that holy day; the Lord hath not restrained himself. So that put the whole together into one view, and then say; could it ever be supposed that there existed so unfeeling a creature upon earth, as to behold a woman, the tenderest part of our nature, and a daughter of Abraham too, related to the very stock which this Jewish ruler prided himself upon; labouring under a spirit of infirmity, which constrained her to go double contrary to the direct posture which distinguisheth man, made after the image of God, from brutes; and which miserable state she had borne for "eighteen years" together; and could in no wise lift up herself; could it be possible for any one in the shape of an human being to feel indignant in beholding the Lord Jesus, by a word speaking, making her at once whole; and hearing the poor object of such mercy glorifying God! Oh, what obduracy hath sin wrought in the heart! Oh, what grace in our most glorious Christ! Blessed, blessed, for ever be his holy name, in being touched with the feelings of our infirmities. Never surely, was the synagogue so blessed as by thy presence; neither any of thy sabbaths so honoured, as when thou dispensest in them such mercies. Come, Lord Jesus, now in this day of thy power, as thou didst then, in the days of thy flesh; come continually into thy church, and manifest this

[ocr errors]

grace in saying; "I am come that they might have life; and that they might have it more abundantly." (John x. 10.)


"And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him." (Luke xiii. 17.)



THINK reader! what an immediate effect followed our glorious Lord's alarming expostulations and judgment on the Jewish ruler! "All his adversaries were ashamed." And well they might, from an appeal so striking and unanswerable. Yes; so it was then; so is it now, and oh! how much more so will it be to the end of time; and in the tremendous judgment that follows! But mark the contrast with the others that "rejoiced for all the glorious things done by Christ." Yes; all the faithful in Christ Jesus rejoice now; and what a shout of praise will burst forth then, from ten thousand times ten thousand voices, when "Jesus shall come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all that believe!"

A few words in conclusion, before we take leave of this beautiful and interesting memoir, will not be unprofitable, if the Lord accompany our review of it with his blessing. We have read the history of this crippled state of this daughter of Abraham, as related to her body; but have we connected with it, what all such maladies of the body emblematically set forth -the more crippled state of the soul! The whole world indeed, is but as one great hospital of human

sicknesses; but who shall describe the still greater and infinitely more desperate disease of sin throughout the whole world! This woman had a spirit of infirmity, and was bowed together; but what was this, to the spiritual infirmity of all unawakened, unregenerated, unhealed sinners! She could in no wise lift up herself; neither can they, while in that state, lift themselves to the Lord in prayer or praise, supplication or thanksgiving. This poor womam had laboured under her bodily complaint " eighteen years;" but they a whole life; yea, a whole life not only crippled but spiritually "dead in trespasses and sins ;" and unless quickened by sovereign and Almighty grace, will continue so for ever. Oh! who shall speak to the greatness, freeness, fulness, and richness of that Almighty salvation, when the Son of God doth by the sinner as he did by this daughter of Abraham, when he said: "Thou art loosed from thine infirmity." And I hope the memoir of this woman will be useful to all the Lord's people, in prompting them to be always found, if possible, in their own places on the Lord's day in the house of God. Neither her infirmity, nor being bound together prevented her, though long, and no doubt painful were her exercises; neither should it, but from the greatest necessity, prevent us. The Lord hath promised his presence in the assemblies of his people. They are of Divine appointment. And we may safely conclude, that "wherever two or three are gathered together in his name, he is in the midst of them." (Matt. xviii. 20.) And though family worship, or private and personal devotion, are much to be prized; yet we read, "The Lord loveth the gates of Zion, more than all the dwellings of Jacob." (Psalm lxxxvii. 2.)

I only add, what blessed encouragement from the whole, ought all the sons and daughters of Abraham to gather, from the graciousness of Christ, manifested

to this poor woman. She asked no cure, she sought no remedy for her body, when Jesus came unasked, and blessed her in both. And such is it now, upon numberless occasions, according to his own Divine promise: "And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear." (Isaiah lxv. 24.)





"And he must needs go through Samaria.

"Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.

"Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.

"There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink." (John iv. 4—7.)


FEW of the Scripture records, in the manifestations of the Lord of life and glory to his people, have been read with more delight, or rendered more eminently useful under the Lord's teaching, to the encouragement of sinners, and the comforting of

saints, than this history of "the woman of Samaria." Every redeemed and regenerated child of God, into whose hands this interesting memoir hath come, cannot but have found it so. Yea, the whole church of God may see cause to bless God in his Trinity of persons for it. We trace the everlasting love of God the Father, in having before all worlds given this woman, among the whole body of the church, to his dear Son. And we no less discover the everlasting love of God the Son; who from all eternity having betrothed her to himself, redeemed her from the ruins of the fall, during the time state of the church by his blood; and now directed his steps to the well of Jacob, to call her by his grace! ! And equally we find cause to bless God the Holy Ghost, for his divine baptism in regeneration, in making her willing in the day of Christ's power. And to whom, but to him the Almighty Author of all Scripture, shall the church ascribe the glory, for causing so blessed a record to be made in his holy word; preserving it, and handing it down through all the intermediate ages to the present hour; and making it a sweet savour of Christ, both of his person, and of his salvation, in every place, and in every heart, to whom the Lord hath sent it?

The history opens in a very engaging manner: "And Jesus must needs go through Samaria." What! was there an absolute necessity for it? Yes! Jesus knew that the hour was come for the recovery of this woman who was there, from the state of nature to grace; and this was not the effect of a sudden impulse on the mind of Christ; for the thing itself had been settled with all the other events connected with it, from all eternity. The same covenant engagements of the Holy Three, "that bear record in heaven, and which Three are One ;" which in that sacred counsel of the most Holy Trinity, before all

« VorigeDoorgaan »