Page images

volent Redeemer exhibit, of condescension to ignorance, and of affectionate improvement of trivial occurrences to the spiritual good of all around us.

The human mind, till taught of God, is equally blind, whether clothed in the imposing vestment of a Jewish doctor, or in the simple attire of a Samaritan female.

Nicodemus was as ignorant respecting the nature of the new birth, as this poor woman was of the living


Human learning, though called theological, can never make us savingly acquainted with the first principles of the Gospel of Christ. Many an unlettered peasant may be a scribe well instructed in the mysteries of the kingdom, whilst the learned doctor, filling the Professor's chair, may be a very babe in the things of Christ. This view is humiliating to the pride of man, and should teach us to call no man master upon earth; but in childlike simplicity to sit at the feet of Jesus, and drink of that living water, which alone can purify and refresh our souls.

How delightful is the thought, that Jesus, the Saviour and friend of sinners, is the giver of the living water. "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."

How consoling the truth, that this living water shall be in all his believing people as a well of water, not drying up as earthly springs too frequently do when most wanted; but daily rising higher and higher till it issue into everlasting life.

"Jesus answered and said unto her, whosoever drinketh of this water" (the well of Jacob) "shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the

water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." The joys of earth are only top springs. Many are delighted with these bubbling waters in seasons of outward prosperity. But in adverse times, when comfort is most needed, they become wells without


Where then must the poor worldling go to quench his thirst? He must go to Jesus. "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink." "Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely."

The Holy Spirit is this living water, whose sacred streams can satisfy the most thirsty soul with joys which strengthen and purify the heart. He who drinks of this fountain shall thirst no more as once he did. His thirst shall now be after righteousness; after the enjoyment of God himself. Blessed thirst! O! that I could feel this thirst increasing every hour; and every hour betake myself to this spring.

But what says the Saviour? It shall be in you, a well of water springing up into everlasting life. Happy experience when sensibly enjoyed!

Have I this precious internal spring? Have I the Spirit of Christ?

This forms the grand indisputable evidence of being a child of God, an heir of glory.

Were the whole world my own, I could find no real happiness separate from Jesus Christ. There are indeed many counterfeits which bear the image and superscription of happiness; but all shall finally be detected, and leave their possessors miserably poor.

"Man who is born of a woman is of few years and full of trouble." Such is the portrait which Job draws of human life. But man was created happy, and would have remained so had not Satan beguiled him into sin.

Yet being "full of trouble," he naturally desires


rest. Hence all men are in quest of happiness, and every one expects to find it. Many fancy that they have obtained it, and wrap themselves up in this fond conceit, till death hurls them headlong down the precipice into the burning gulph below!

While we view the many millions of mankind in search of some imaginary good, and greatly thirsting after it; how gracious, how condescending is the invitation of mercy to the only fountain of true felicity: "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price."

A world thirsting after happiness, but mistaking its true nature and source, is here most lovingly, most freely invited to accept of the inestimable blessing. "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not," is the powerful appeal to the hearts and consciences of sinners.

Much labour and expense are bestowed towards obtaining some supposed good: but being altogether of an earthly nature, it cannot nourish the soul, or satisfy its enlarged desires. Hence follows this gracious declaration : "hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear and come unto me, hear and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."


O! what a rich display of grace is here. Well may the Almighty say: "my thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are your ways my ways." it does not stop here. The voice of mercy still cries: "seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near;' evidently implying that a time is coming when he will not be

[ocr errors]

found; an hour is approaching, when he will not hear. He is now waiting to be gracious, and may be found in Christ upon a mercy-seat, to bless every returning penitent. But if the day of grace be once ended; if death find the sinner still impenitent and unbelieving, the Lord will be found indeed, but found seated on a throne of judgment; and the wretched criminal will be driven far from his presence, never more to hear the sweet call of slighted mercy.


In this beautiful invitation to a world of sinners, grace reigns through righteousness; for it is added: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

A sweet assurance of joy and peace is given to every sinner, who thus, through grace, turns unto the Lord with a true penitent heart and lively faith: "he shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."

Here is nothing but joy and rejoicing!-O! what a precious salvation ! The ransomed soul shall be filled with joy and peace through believing. "There is joy in the presence of the angels of God, over one sinner that repenteth." The ministers of Christ ardently long after and rejoice in the conversion of sinners. "My heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved." "God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ." "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." Such were the feelings of Paul and John.

The whole church rejoices to behold the wandering sheep brought safe into the fold; and heartily

welcomes the chief of sinners, when he becomes the loving disciple of her beloved Lord. “They had heard only, that he which persecuted us in times past, now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed, and they GLORIFIED GOD IN ME." So wrote Paul to the church in Galatia, respecting his reception by the apostles at Jerusalem.

The Almighty himself thus addresses his beloved people, redeemed through the blood of Jesus: "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save; he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing." Thus the Lord will bless the righteous, and with favour will he compass him as with a shield.

The certainty of all this blessedness is declared: "My word that goeth out of my mouth, it shall not return unto me void; but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it."

The glory of God is also secured: "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree; and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

This glorious change from sin to holiness, which is figuratively expressed by the thorn and briar ; the fir tree and the myrtle; shall be for a sign, an everlasting sign of the divine origin of the Gospel of Christ, and for a perpetual memorial of the converting grace of God.

O! my soul! after what object art thou thirsting? After what are thy desires tending? Look around thee, and see, if any created good can satisfy those desires ? Be assured that nothing can make thee truly happy, but an interest in the blood of Jesus; nothing but an union to him by faith; nothing but a sweet experience of his pardoning mercy and sanc

« PreviousContinue »