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Nicodemus, that he was not merely, as at nistry, could not fail to remonstrate on the first supposed, a teacher come from God, impiety and injustice of a known practice of but the Messiah, the Redeemer of Israel; Herod, which was, his cohabiting with Hefor he afterwards constantly espoused his rodias, his brother Philip's wife ; and therecause in the great council of the nation ; by incurring the displeasure of that ambiand when his countrymen put him to an ig tious woman, he was, at her instance, nominious death, together with Joseph of thrown into prison, there to be reserved for Arimathea, conveyed him to burial, when future destruction. all others had forsaken him. .
Whilst these things happened in Galilee, The time of the passover at Jerusalem be- our blessed Lord coutinued preaching in the ing expired, Jesus, together with bis disci- | wilderness, whither great numbers resorted, ples, withdrew into the remote parts of | attracted by curiosity, to see the miracles Judea, where he continued a considerable wbich fame reported he daily wrought. The time preaching the kingdom of God, aud success of his ministry exciting the envy baptizing the new con verts. John the Bap of the hypocritical tribe of Pharisees, our tist being also at the same time, baptizing blessed Lord thought proper to retire into in the river Enon, a dispute arose between Galilee, in order to promote the design of his disciples and certain Jews, concerning his mission in those parts. the preference of the baptism of Jesus.
In the course of his journey, being weary Being unable to decide the point, they re- | with travelling in so warm a country, and ferred it to the opinion of John, on which | excessive thirsty, he sat down in Samaria, the pious Baptist immediately declared, that 1. by a celebrated well, given by the old pahe was only the harbinger of the great Mes triarch Jacob to his son Joseph, while bis siah, who baptized not only with water, but disciples were gone to the city to procure with tbe Holy Spirit, adding, that bis own provisions, ministry, was on the decline, as the beauty of the morning star, the harbinger of the While the humble Jesus was sitting by sun, decreases wben that fountain of light the well side, a woman, a native of the dawns in the chanubers of the east.
country, came with her pitcher to fetch wa
ter; and our Lord requested of her to give The Baptist likewise mentioned to his dis bim to drink. The appearance of Jesus asciples and hearers many circumstances tend .tonished the woman, because she knew him ing to prove the divinity of the mission of the to be a Jew, and the Samaritans were held Holy Jesus, and the important design of in the utmost contempt by those people, his incarnation. “He that believeth on who, indeed, arrogated a preference to all the Son hath everlasting life, but he that nations upon the earth. But though she believeth not the Son shall not see life ; | knew him to be a Jew, she kuew not that but the wrath of God abideth on him. he was the Son of God, full of grace and
truth, divested of human prejudices, and the The Baptist, having publicly preached the very essence of humility and every virtue. great doctrine of salvation through faith in As the design of his coming into the world Jesus, departed from the wilderness of Ju- was to promote the real happiness of mandea, where he had continued a considerable kind, he embraced every opportunity of entime, and went into Galilee, often repairing forciug his salutary doctrines, and therefore, to the court of Herod, who esteemed, or af. | though his thirst was extreme, he delayed its fected to esteem, both his preaching and gratification, in order to inform this woman, person. But John, being faithful in his mi- | though of an infamous character, of the means by which she might obtain living which filed her with a degree of awe and water, or, in other words, eternal life. As fear, she proposed to his discussion a case the best method to effect this purpose, he long warmly contested between the Jews gave her to understand, that had she known and Samaritans; whether mount Gerizman, the character of the supplicant, she would or the city of Jerusalem, was destined by have eagerly satisfied his desire, and having God, as the place peculiarly set apart for rebeen retaliated by a gift, the most invalu- ligious worship ? Our blessed Lord replied to able, even living water, issuing from the this evasive, as well as insignificant question, well of eternal salvation.
that it was not the place, but the manner in
which adoration was offered to the Father of The woman, taking his words in the com- Spirits, that rendered such worship acceptmon acceptation, imagining that he sug- able, observing, that.“ God is a spirit, and gested his power of supplying her with wa- they that worship him must worship him in ter flowing from a perpetual spring, which spirit and in truth.” John iv. 24. in that parched climate appeared impossible, demanded of him, if he was vested with a In consequence of this reply to her, which power superior to their father Jacob, who apparently referred to things spiritual and dug this well, drank out of it with his fa eternal, she informed the blessed Jesus of mily, and left it for the benefit of posterity. | her expectation of the arrival of the pro
mised Messiah, who should punctually inThe Saviour and frieyd of mankind, still form them concerning these points so long benign in his purpose towards this poor and undecisively contested. wretch, replied, “ T'bat all who drank of the water of Jacob's well would thirst again,
Our Lord embracing the opportunity of being but a temporary allay of a desire inci
preaching himself to this poor woman, as dent to human nature; whereas those who
| the Saviour of sinners, replied, without hesidrank of the water which he was ready to
tation, “I that speak unto thee am he.” dispense, should never thirst ; because that
| While Jesus continued talking with the water flowed from the inexhaustible fountain of Divine Grace, and could not be
woman, his disciples returned, and ap. drained but with immensity itself.”
proached him at the very time when he told the woman that he was the Messiah.
Though they were astonished at his condeThough this great Preacher of Israel, by a scension in conversing with an inhabitant of simple and natural allegory, displayed the Samaria, and even of instructing her in the power of divine authority, the woman, blind doctrines of religion, none presumed to ask to the allusion, endeavoured to turn bis pious him wby he conversed with one who was an and benevolentdiscourse to ridicule, desiring enemy to the Jews, and the worship in the the gift of that living water, which would for temple at Jerusalem? But the woman ever prevent her from thirsting for the future. hearing Jesus call himself the Messiah, left
her pitcher, and ran into the city to publish To shew her the malignity of her pre the glad tidings, that the great deliverer of sumption, in turning into contempt the dis. mankind was then sitting by the well of course of him, who had the words of eternal | Jacob; and had told her all the secret tranlife, the blessed Jesus, by some pertinent sactions of her life. This report astonished questions and replies, evinced his knowledge the Samaritans, and, at the same time roused of her infamous course of life, and by that their curiosity to see a person foretold by means convinced her that he acted under an Moses and the prophets, and of whose ap. influence more than human, To evade, pearance there was then so universal an exhowever, the present subject of discourse, I pectation.
expla him with'; during the other, win their
: The disciples, on their return, set before at the words of the woman, that they were their master the provision they had pur- | fully persuaded that Jesus could be no other chased ; but he, wholly absorbed in medita | than the great Messiah ; accordingly their tion, refused the refreshment so highly re first request was, that he would deign to take quisite, telling them he had “ meat to eat up his residence in their city. The compasthat they knew nothing of.”
sionate Redeemer of the human race so far
complied, as to stay with them two days, an This unexpected answer surprised his dis interval which he spent in preaching the ciples, who, understanding his words in their kingdom of God; so that the greatest part natural sense, asked one another, Whether of the city embraced the doctrine of the any person had, during their absence, sup
gospel, and at his departure, the people said plied him with provisions ? But Jesus soon
unto the woman, “ Now we believe, notb'e. explained the mystery, by telling them, that
cause of thy saying ; for we have heard him he did not mean natural, but spiritual
ourselves, and know that this is indeed the food ; that to execute the commission he
Christ, the Saviour of the world,” Johuriv. 42. bad received from his Father, was far better to him than meat or drink ; and the satis Having accomplished his gracious design faction he was going to receive from the in Samaria, Jesus continued his journey to conversion of the Samaritans was much Galilee, to exercise his ministry, and preach greater than any sensual enjoyment. there the kingdom of God; telling his disci
ples, that the time was now accomplished Many of the Samaritans were now near which had been pre-determined by OmniJesus, who, lifting up his eyes, and seeing potence, for erecting the happy kingdom of the ways crowded with people coming to the Prince of Peace ; and, therefore, the him from the city, stretched out his benevo Mosaic ceremonies were no longer obligalent hand towards them, and addressed his tory, righteousness alone being now redisciples in the following manner : “ Say not quired from the children of men. ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest ? Behold, I say unto you, Our Lord having performed several miraLift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for cles at Jerusalem, during the passover, at they are wbite already to harvest.” John iv. which the inhabitants of Galilee were pre35. Behold yonder multitudes, how they sent. His preaching was, therefore, at first are thronging to hear the word, which has attended with great success, for they listened only a few minutes been sown in their attentively to his doctrine, and received it hearts! It is not, therefore, always necessary with particular kindness and courtesy; espeto wait with patience for the effect; for it cially the people of Cana, where he had sometimes immediately follows the cause. turned the water into wine. To gather this spiritual harvest, and finish the work of him that sent me, is my proper During his residence in that city, a noblefood ; adding, for the encouragement of his man of Capernaum came to him, requestdisciples, as you have laboured with me in ing, with great humility and reverence, that the barvest of souls, so shall you participate he would come down and heal his son, who in the great recompence of eternal reward : was at the point of death. Our blessed " He that reapeth; receiveth wages, and ga- | Lord readily complied with the latter part of thereth fruit unto life eternal; that both he his request; but to remove a prejddice they that soweth, and be that rea peth, may rejoice had conceived, that it was necessary to be
personally present, in order to restore the
sick person to healthi, refused to go down to Many of the people had been so affected Capernauin, dismissing the Father with this
the Cape at hulinn an death..
bodiequest; but to remove a noi
together.' Johnat reapeth, may rejoice
assurance, tliat his son was restored to health, 1 person in Nazareth should have been a fflicted .“ Go thy way, thy son liveth.” The noble | with any kind of disease. That they really man obeyed the word of Jesus, and imme entertained sentiments of this kind seems diately departed for his own house ; but be plain from our Saviour's own words : “ Ye fore his arrival he was met by his servants, will surely say to me, Physician, heal thywith the joyful news that his son was reco self : whatever we have had done in Capervered. The father enquired at what time he naum, do also here in thy country.” Eviwas perceived to be better;, and from their dently alluding to the great and benevolent answer was satisfied, that immediately after | miracle he had wrought on the nobleman's the words were spoken by our Lord, the son. fever left him, and he was recovered in a miraculous manner. This amazing instance
But the holy Jesus, by enumerating the of his power and goodness abundantly con
miracles Elijah had done in behalf of the , vinced the nobleman and his family, that
widow of Serepta, who was a heathen, and Jesus was the true Messiah, the great Pro
the inhabitant of an idolatrous city, in the phet so long promised to the world.
time of famine, when many widows in Israel
perisbed with hunger ; and of Naaman the After some stay in the city and neigh
Syrian, who was cured of his leprosy by the bourhood of Cana, Jesus went to Nazareth,
prophet Elisha, when numbers of Jews, afwhere he spent the greatest part of his
flicted with the same loathsome disease, youth, and, as bis constant custom was, went
were suffered to continue in their uncleanto the synagogue on the sabbath-day, and
ness, sufficiently proved that the prophets had, read that celebrated prediction of the Mes on some extraordinary occasions, wrought siah in the prophet Isaiali, “ The spirit of
miracles in favour of those whom the Israelthe Lord is upon me, because he hath an
ites, from a fond conceit of their being the ointed me to preach the gospel to the poor,
peculiar favourites of heaven, judged unhe hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted,
worthy of such marks of particular favour. to preach deliverance to the captives, and
The council were so incensed at this reply, recovering of sight to the blind, to set at li
that forgetting the sanctity of the sabbath, berty those that are bruised, to preach the they burried bim through the streets “ to acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke iv.
the brow of the hill whereou their city was 18, 19.
built,” intending to cast hiu headlong down
the precipice ; but the Son of God defeated It should be remembered, that our blessed their cruel intentions, by rendering himself Saviour read this passage in the original He
invisible, and withdrawing from the fury of brew, which was then a dead language ;
80 wretched a people. and, as he had never been taught letters,
wronorovano could do it only by inspiration from above. But he did more ; he explained the passage
CHAP. VI. with such strength of reason, and beauty of expression, tbat the inhabitants of Nazareth, Our Lord proceeds to Capernaum. Adds who well knew he had never been initiated to the number of his followers. Prointo the rudiments of learning, heard him claims the Gospel in Galilee.' Preaches with astonishment. · But as he had per to a numerous Audience his well known formed no miracle in their city, they were and excellent Discourse upon the Mount. offended at bim Perbaps they thought the place of his residence should have been bis THE great Redeemer, aggrieved by the peculiar care ; and as he could, with a single 1 cruel Nazarenes, departed from them, word, heal the sick at a distance, not a single I and fixed his habitation in Capernaum, the