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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.
Condescending and compassionate Redeemer! who would thus graciously converse with a Samaritan, with a woman of an infamous reputation too, from whom, on various ac-. counts, a haughty Pharisee would have turned away in proud disdain! and could forget his thirst, pressing as that appetite is, that he might instruct and lead her to the waters of life! Gracious gift of God to the children of men! how noble and how lasting a delight does it administer ! Let it be our language, Lord, evermore give us this living water! Oh, pour out this enlivening spirit on us, which alone can allay the thirst of our souls, and give us that lasting satisfaction which we in vain would seek from these broken cisterns, from these precarious streams; till at length the fountain springs up in Paradise, and flows on to life everlasting!
May this good spirit anticipate those immortal delights to our souls by leading us into that spirituality of worship which the nature of God demands, and which the gospel dispensation is so eminently calculated to promote! Let it be inscribed on our hearts that God is a Spirit; and let it teach us to worship him in spirit and in truth. Such worshippers the Father seeks; such may he ever find in us!
May all intemperate zeal for matters of doubtful disputation, all sentiments of bigotry and severity against our brethren, be happily swallowed up in this infinitely greater concern! and while others contend about places and forms of worship, may we pour out our hearts before him, and feel the love of God and man shed abroad in them by his Spirit given unto us! (Rom. v. 5.)
JOHN IV. 27-42.
AND upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? The woman then left her water-pot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did: Is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields: for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
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 because of his own word and said unto 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.
Let us behold with pleasure the glorious example of our
blessed Redeemer, and learn to imitate his zeal. It was his meat and drink to pursue his Father's work, to glorify God, and to do good to souls: and ought it not to be ours? Let us bless God for every opportunity of applying to it and every field of service, which Providence opens to us.
Let gospel ministers especially be thankful for all that hath been done to introduce their services, not only by the ministration of the prophets under the Old Testament, but the apostles also under the New, and by succeeding servants of Christ in every age of the church. In this sense, with regard to us, is that proverb true, One soweth and another reapeth. We have entered into the labours of others: may others in time enter into ours! May the work be delivered over from one faithful hand to another and be carried on by each with growing zeal and success! Blessed time, when all the workmen shall meet and join their songs; and each of the souls gathered into eternal life shall be, to all concerned in their conversion or edification, an ornament of glory and a source of pleasure!
Surely, if we know Christ ourselves, we shall, like this woman of Samaria, be solicitous to communicate the knowledge to others, and shall sometimes forget our little worldly interests to attend to this vast superior care. May we believe in him, not merely on the report and testimony of others, but on our own experience; that having tasted that the Lord is gracious, we may bear a more lively and effectual testimony to him!
Let us watchfully observe the leadings of Providence, and whatever our own schemes may have been, let us still adjust our conduct by the intimations of present duty; and espeIcially where we have reason to believe that God is by his Spirit beginning to work on men's hearts, let us be ambitious of being workers together with him. A word spoken in such a season is remarkably good, and it is a great part of Christian and ministerial prudence to observe and improve those tender times.
JOHN IV. 43-54.
Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee. For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.-Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto
the feast. So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the
word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then inquired he of them the hour, when he began to amend: And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth; and himself believed, and his whole house. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judea into Galilee.
How unreasonable are the passions and prejudices of mankind, and this in particular, a prophet should have no honour in his own country! One would have imagined that Jesus at least, free as he was from all the follies of childhood and youth, should have been an exception; nay, indeed, that he should have been peculiarly honoured there, where his early wisdom and piety could not but be observed.
Our Lord however intended them a visit, even at Nazareth; and it is the duty of his ministers to bear their testimony, whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear. Yet should they learn of their Great Master to study as much as they can to obviate those prejudices, which might prevent their usefulness, and should use the most prudent and gentle methods to vanquish them.
Such was this beneficial miracle of our Lord; which may afford us many particulars worthy of our notice. With what affection and zeal does this tender parent apply to Christ on the sickness of his child! Let us not be less importunate when soliciting spiritual blessings in behalf of our dear offspring: and so much the rather as their lives are so precarious,
and we know not how soon these lovely flowers may be cut down, and all farther petitions for them be for ever superseded.
Our Lord, while at a distance from the patient, wrought and perfected the cure. And has he not still the same Divine power, though he does not exert it in the same miraculous way? Let not his bodily absence abate our faith, while praying for others or for ourselves.
Salvation now came to this house, and blessings infinitely more valuable, than noble blood, or ample possessions, or royal favour, or recovered health could give; for the cure wrought on the body of one was a means of producing faith in the hearts of all. Blessed Jesus! thy power was no less employed in the latter than in the former. Oh may that power work in such a manner on our souls as that we all may be disposed cordially to receive thee and cheerfully to venture our eternal all upon thee! May we and our houses concur in so wise and happy a resolution: and not insisting upon evidence beyond what thy gracious wisdom has thought fit to give us, may we candidly receive the light we have, and faithfully improve it so as to be at length entitled to the blessedness of those who have not seen and yet have believed! John xx. 29.
LUKE IV. 14-30.
AND he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias, and when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture