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one of his mystical members, he is to all; for they are all one in Christ Jesus. The highest saint in the church above, or the humblest redeemed one in the church below; both alike are, what they are, in Christ; and have not contributed an atom of their own to the attainment of such rich mercy. So that they who from slender apprehensions of divine things can say but little of themselves in a way of improvement, are as truly the objects of Christ's love, and as fully received into Christ's arms, as the more strong and spiritual. And for this plain reason; because the whole is given, not merited; the whole is from what Christ is, and not what we are. The charter of redemption runs in these words: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done; but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus iii. 5-7.)
"And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him, for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.
"So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them and he abode there two days.
"And many more believed on him, because of his own word; "And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying for we have heard him our selves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." (John iv. 39-42.)
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.
AND thus is closed the wonderful narrative of the woman of Samaria! Who should have conceived from an incident so trivial, as her fetching water for her family, that events so infinite and important would result. Not only the conversion of the woman of Samaria herself, but the conviction also of many of the city. And who shall say to what multitudes the relation hath been blessed from that time to the present, through the many intermediate ages of the church, among whom God the Holy Ghost hath caused the sweet Scripture to be sent.
Let not the reader dismiss the subject until that he hath first taken another leisurely survey of the whole; and looking up for divine teaching, hath done as the bee doth by the flower, bring home the sweets of it, to make honey for her provender; so let him take home the Scripture from the word of God to his heart, and continually meditate on the many gracious portions for his spiritual sustenance in Christ, which are here abounding from day to day. And above every other view, let him continually feast his soul on the person and grace, and tenderness, and compassion of our most glorious Christ. How lovingly is the Lord here set forth in his divine character as the Saviour of the world; like another Rahab in Jericho; so this adultress in Samaria became the object of his salvation. And let him not fail to connect with this view of the Lord Jesus, the assurance that the same grace which led him then to Samaria, is now unceasingly acting in the spiritual visits he is making to his people, "to seek and save them that are lost." For he is, and must, and everlastingly will be, the " same Lord Jesus Christ, yesterday, to day, and for ever."
When he hath feasted his soul on the glories of
Christ's person; and the infinite fulness and Almightiness of his salvation; let him learn how to form a right judgment of his own personal interest in Christ, by testimonies similar to which were here shewn, and such as followed in the vast change the sovereign grace of Christ wrought on the woman of Samaria. She left her water-pots; she hastened to communicate to all she knew, that she had found Christ; she gave the most incontestible evidence of his GODHEAD, by declaring that he had told her "all things that ever she did." And not content with proclaiming his name, and sending them for their own conviction, she did more; she accompanied them to Christ. Her language was not, Go to him for yourselves; but Come! and then say "Is not this the Christ?" Such will be your conduct; if like her you have found him; and like her, can and do testify, that from his grace in your heart, he is the Son of God. It is among the truest testimonies of the renewed heart, when the change wrought upon ourselves we long to see wrought on others. "The fathers to the children to make known the Lord's truth." And though`a father cannot give his children grace; yet he can bring them under the means of grace; and if he knows himself the joyful sound, his mouth cannot but speak out of the abundance of the heart, to proclaim what the Lord hath done for his soul.
I only add, the Lord bless his word to his people, that the language of every redeemed and regenerated child of God may be, to say with the Samaritans, as they did to the woman: "Now we believe, not because of thy saying; for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world."
POOL OF BETHESDA.
"After this, there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
"Now there is at Jersualem by the sheep-market, a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
'In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, and withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
"For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water; whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had." (John v. 1-4.)
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.
I ADMIRE the very gracious manner in which this miracle of our most glorious Lord is introduced. It brings with it some relation of Christ's person. Yes! his person is infinitely greater than all his work. His glory more than all that concerns the welfare of his people. The sweet and interesting records which are given to us by the Holy Ghost, concerning Christ, are first, of his glorious person, and then of his love, to his church and people. So the Lord Jesus himself, describes the Almighty agency of the Lord the Spirit. "He shall glorify me,
said Christ; that is the first object God the Holy Ghost hath in view in his divine ministry. And then it is added: "for he shall receive of mine; and shall shew it unto you." (John xvi. 14.)
We are called upon therefore, as we mark the several features of this miracle, to behold our most glorious Christ, in his divine person, going up to Jerusalem, to a feast of the Jews. It is very likely that this feast was the feast of the passover; and for this reason, John hath marked, with great precision and exactness, the several passovers which Christ observed during his divine ministry. There were but four passovers, while our Lord was upon earth, in substance of our flesh. John hath very particularly noticed three of them in order; and it is not probable that he would have omitted one that must have happened in due course of time about this period. And supposing this to have been one; then the whole four will stand as they are placed in his gospel. The first is related John ii. 13. This follows. The third we have mentioned. (John vi. 4.) And the last, John xiii. 1. It is very interesting to observe, how the Son of God, when upon earth, honoured the temple with his presence. And surely the Lord of life and glory is not less attentive now, in the day of his power. And every regenerated child of God may with full assurance of faith take to himself this blessed conviction, that his spiritual presence is always the same in all public ordinances of the gospel, according to his own promise, that "wheresoever two or three of his people are gathered together in his naine: there, (said the Lord Jesus,) am I in the midst of them." (Mat. xviii. 20.) For my own part, I never allow myself to question the matter. It is in my apprehension, one fixed certain truth. I would not be found as those men of old were, who came with an evil design to seek for the Lord Jesus; when they spake