But though this detection led her to conclude that the person with whom she was then discoursing was somewhat more than ordinary, to know this part of her history; yet, there was nothing more as yet in the divine discourse of Christ, leading her to discover who Christ was; or her need of Christ for salvation. Her adulterous state she found Jesus knew; but she knew not him." Sir, I perceive (said she) that thou art a prophet." And from this conviction, she went off to an enquiry in relation to the dispute between the Samaritans and the Jews, where was the right place to worship. We shall enter upon this part of the subject hereafter; but for the present, I am anxious that my reader should particularly observe in this striking instance, the grace of Christ, and his divine manner of instruction, in thus gradually preparing the woman's mind for the discovery of himself.


And I would herefrom take occasion to remark, that this is for the most part, the plan in divine teaching, when the Lord is bringing sinners to himself. He doth by them as he did by this poor woman. opens to their view their sinful lost estate. 'He leads them into the chambers of imagery in their own heart, as the Lord did the prophet. They are alarmed at the discovery; and like her, begin to question after what is the true worship. Their convictions are legal, not spiritual. For until Christ hath made discoveries. of himself, though like the woman, the Lord Jesus may be supposed a prophet as he was by her; yet until Christ is known in his GODHEAD, and in his manhood, and in his union of both; and which can only be spiritually known and believed; all the convictions of sin will only lead to the attempt of self-reform; and an attempt after self-righteousness. And this explains to us what is so very generally considered as conversion among men. Sinners when convinced

of sin, as this woman was of her sad course of life, for the moment begin to think of a reform; and perceiving as she said that Christ was a prophet, she asked the right way of worshipping God. All that feel alarm in their guilty consciences, but while ignorant of Christ, do the same. They hope to amend; and by prayers and alms, and good works, which they consider the right way of worshipping God, conclude that they shall now please God, as by their former life they have displeased God. But in all these things here is nothing of Christ. It is only shifting ground. From profaneness turning to sobriety; and from neglecting the means of grace, setting up a form of religion in following them. All which, as it begins in creature strength, riseth no higher than creature reformation. Here is nothing of the divine life; nothing of the new birth; and as it begins in nature, so it ends What is short, of Christ is short of all. woman of Samaria was advanced, and

in the same. Thus far the no farther,

And the Lord Jesus now led her on to the gracious manifestation of himself, until the conviction ended in the most complete discovery that the stranger she had met at the well was no other than the Lord of life and glory.


"Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

"Ye worship ye know not what we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.


But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers

shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

"God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth.

"The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

"Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee, am he.” (John iv. 20-26.)


I ADMIRE the infinite wisdom of our most gracious Lord, as well as the infinite grace manifested in the plan He was pleased to adopt for the divine instruction of this woman of Samaria. Having shewn her that he was perfectly well acquainted with her history, he now proceeded to shew her that he was possessed also of the perfect knowledge of the true principles of divine worship. And without staying to pay any further attention to her question, which savoured more of curiosity than usefulness, where God was to be worshipped; the Lord Jesus called her attention to the consideration how that worship should be performed. The hour was approaching when the true church would emerge from the rubbish of mere forms and ceremonies, under which, through the ignorance and superstition of men, it had long been buried; and arise to the scriptural and spiritual apprehension of the divine knowledge of God in divine things. The Lord then delineates the character of true worshippers; and such as the Father seeketh to worship him: "God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth."

I detain the reader but for the moment, to observe what a brief statement the Lord hath made of this

most interesting subject: and though brief, yet it doth in fact contain in its bosom the sum and substance of all vital godliness. The knowledge of the Lord in his Trinity of persons is all spiritual. Communion with the Lord is all spiritual. The incomings of grace to every redeemed and regenerated child of God are wholly spiritual; and the out-goings of the soul in acts of faith, and love, and adoration, and praise, are altogether spiritual.

And though our adorable Lord did not in so many words say, that all the springs of spiritual life were, and are, in Him; yet by the woman's answer, it is evident that the bias of her mind was led by Him so to interpret what He said, for she instantly spoke of the Messiah as the Holy One, which would make known when he was come both the nature and perfection of God, and explain the principles of true worship. "I know (said she) that Messias cometh which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things." It is not to be explained upon any principles whatever, how the mind of the woman should have been so instantly led to speak of Christ; unless we suppose, (which seems evidently to have been the case) that the Lord Jesus directed her mind to the subject. And moreover that as Christ, whenever he should arrive, was to be of the seed of David, that this Samaritan woman should have conceived so high an idea of his GODHEAD, as to know that he would teach all things. I pray the reader not to overlook it. The Christ she expected, evidently she looked for as the Emanuel; even Him whom the prophets all with one voice predicted: God with us. She had no consciousness that Him, with whom she was then conversing, was the very person. Of this, though at the moment she expressed such sublime conceptions of the Messiah, nothing it should appear was further from her thoughts than that this was He. But hearing this

stranger, as to her Jesus seemed, speak so blessedly of spiritual worship, as the whole of spiritual life, and all flowing from God, and leading to God; she instantly connected Christ as the source and spring of all; and who in his advent, would open and explain all things to his people.

The Lord having thus wound up the woman's mind to the point all along he had intended, and by convincing her of her lost estate by nature, and her total inability to save herself; and having prepared her yet further for the manifestation of himself, by shewing in what the pure spiritual adoration of Jehovah might consist; now makes a clear revelation of himself, in the most affectionate and endearing manner, " and saith unto her, I that speak unto thee, am he!"

Let the reader figure to himself if it be possible, what must have passed in the woman's mind in the first event of this wonderful discovery! And let him connect with it, what infinite grace and power must have accompanied that discovery in the Lord's communication of himself to her heart. Hence the most complete conviction at once took place in the accomplishment of salvation. The day spring from on high now shone upon her soul, and all the blessed effects followed. No doubt the same sovereignty which all along had been manifested by our glorious Lord through all the preceding conversation, was exercised to induce in her every corresponding affection. She was led to connect with one view the whole sum and substance of what Christ had said to her, and was at once overwhelmed with the most perfect assurance, that this was the Christ.

There are several interesting considerations which present themselves to our notice, which ought not to be overlooked in this condescending and gracious conduct of our most glorious Christ. As, first: It is of all others the most important to observe, that in his

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