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prophecy, taken together with the whole character of the blessed Jesus, answering in every minute particular to the ancient prophecies of the Old Testament; and also in connection with the internal evidence of the Gospel, arising from its agreement with the nature of God; and its adaption to the wants of fallen man: ought, yea, and will satisfy every honest inquirer after truth, that Christianity is of God.
Such an one, through grace, will be led to acknowledge with heart-felt gratitude, like the Bereans of old, that Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh; the only Saviour and hope of perishing sinners.
The joyful exclamation of such an enlightened soul will be: “ we have found him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write.” And should any sceptic reply, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth ?” The simple answer will be: " Come and see.”
In every age, a generation of men have sprung up, the Serpent's brood, who have laboured to bring the word of eternal truth into discredit by false state ments and sophistries of every kind. “Thy word is tried to the uttermost, therefore thy servant loveth it," was the language of David in his day.
It may appear strange, in this age of light and information, that the New Testament should be arraigned by modern infidels as the most immoral book that is extant. Surely this must be the dying grasp of infidelity; for what can be more feeble than such an attack? They may as well assert that the sun, when shining without a cloud in its meridian splendour, is the darkest part of the visible creation. The sun is indeed as darkness to those who are blind; and so are the things of God to those who are unenlightened by the Spirit of truth.
How strange! A Roman Emperor placed a sta
tue of Jesus amongst his idol deities, on account of the excellence of his moral precepts; whilst modern infidels, reaping the benefits of his morality in the inestimable blessings of the British Constitution, dare, in defiance of common sense, common honesty, and common experience, to denounce the Holy Gospel of Jesus as the chief of immoralities !
It is truly awful to behold, how far men may travel in the road of sin and rebellion against the Almighty Governor of the universe.
Is there in the whole world a morality so elevated so pure, so influential as the morality of the Gospel ? We need only compare the lives of those who reject the Christian revelation, with the lives of those who truly believe it, and live under its purifying influence, in order to ascertain where true morality is to be found.
It lies in the pages of the Bible, and is exhibited in the spirit and conduct of its sincere believers.
The history of the church in all ages attests this delightful truth, that, “the Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." Men of the most savage natures have become mild; the most impure have become chaste; the most ungovernable have become obedient. In short, the whole moral change from darkness to light, from sin to holiness, from Satan unto God, has been effected solely by the Spirit of God through the instrumentality of the Gospel of Christ.
O! blessed Sun of righteousness, thou who art the light of the world, let thy bright beams shine upon it, that the deep shades of error, superstition, and sin, may fly before thy powerful rays, till all the earth shall be filled with thy glory.
Shine, blessed Jesus, upon thy church. Let all thy people become burning and shining lights in the world, shining by reflection to thy glory. Illuminate Yea,
my dark mind. Take away the thick film from my mental vision. Remove the veil from my heart, and let me behold thy glory with unveiled face. let me daily contemplate thy glorious character, offices, and perfections, till I am changed into thy holy image, and made meet for the enjoyment of thy heavenly kingdom.
How rich, how varied are the themes,
The sacred page contains,
That fertilize the plains.
Salvation through his blood ;
To happiness and God.
Here lofty philosophic minds,
Deep vers'd in learned lore,
The cherubim adore.
The sacred mysteries of grace
Confound their reasoning pride ;
Who bow'd his head and died.
But firm as on a solid rock,
The saint on Christ relies ;
And mounts into the skies!
LVIII. ON THE LIVING WATER.
How beautifully instructive is our Saviour's conversation with the woman of Samaria, whilst sitting, wearied with his journey, on Jacob's well.
What an example to his followers does the benevolent 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 water.
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. 6. 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 water.
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.”
66 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.
66 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