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22nd. The Baptiser with the Holy Ghost.
23rd. The One marked out by the descent 3 of the Holy Ghost.
24th. This was and is the Son of God.
The rest of the chapter forms, in a certain sense, a counterpart to that presented in the first 28 verses. Ist. These first 28 verses present the glories of the Lord, without which He never could have undertaken, 2ndly, these works referred to (29—34); viz., 1st: The setting aside of sin, and, 2ndly: the introduction of an entirely new and divine order of things under the Spirit's presence
Then 3rdly, we have (35—51) the blessed Lord presented as a man and among men-conscious of the possession of all those glories, and knowing His own responsibility to do the works which He had undertaken to do, yet now, as a man among men, showing out all the loveliness of humanity and the most attractive grace, complete power, and allwise discernment conceivable. And this intercourse of His, as we shall see, brings into light other titles that belong to Him. For He shows Himself (ver. 41) as the giver of a new name-proof of His knowledge of the Divine counsels about PeterPhilip owns Him (ver. 45) as the Prophet foretold of Moses, and the Messiah, Deliverer, Son of Man predicted by the Prophets: Nathanael finds Him to be a reader of secrets of the heart, and confesses Him (ver. 49) as Son of God and King of Israel, etc.
When, the next day after, John stood, and two of his disciples, and looked on Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The Lord laid hold of the two men's hearts by that word, and they followed Him. He turns round after a little, as if He were ignorant, and asks them, “What seek ye?” “Master (they reply) where dwellest Thou?". With what grace, when we think of who He was, and how attachment to His
& The opening of the heavens is not noticed here, but only the descent of the Holy Ghost to abide upon, to remain with, Him. I do not doubt but that there is a reason for this. Heaven and its plans were not so much in question as the person of the Lord, and the fulness of His identity with God and the Father and His competence to be the Anointed of the Lord.
person and occupation with Himself is the very highest blessing and glory of a man—does He reply, “Come and see.” What is there to a mere human mind in all this, save the strangeness of a man supposing that two men following Him must mean something and that something He would grant. But oh, when the heart knows Him, and has known a drawing after Him, the whole scene is radiant with light, and full of happy experimental reminiscences. And they came and saw where He dwelt, and abode with Him that day; for it was the tenth hour. The watchfulness of His love, the sensitiveness of His kindness, the quietness of His courtesy, and the openness of His hospitality, as a man toward these poor disciples of John, are all quite exquisite. Who would shrink from-who but be attracted by such a lovely gracious bearing of the Lamb of God toward
! One of the two, Andrew, was not at all for keeping the good news secret—there is an impulsive power in joyhe goes and finds his brother Simon, and tells him what had struck his own heart the while. We have found the Messias! And he brings Simon to Jesus.
The Lord knew all about Simon, what he was to be, and what his character was; and it is remarkable how, in this first interview He takes up the conversation and reads Peter to himself. " When Jesus saw him, he said, Thou art Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone." Truly, if Simon had a future spread before him, such as he knew not of, and had a character such as he had but little measured, he had now met a master who was beforehand in every thing and knew times, and seasons, and persons for to-morrow, better than we know ourselves of yesterday. He gives in divine title, to a stranger too, a new name here.
Next we find Him taking, even get more decidedly, the initiative, and showing His authority. Meeting a fellow-citizen of Andrew and Simon, viz., Philip, He calmly says, “ Follow me.” Philip is His servant and the servant of His work at once. The claim of the Lord to be obeyed formed itself in Philip's mind differently from what it had in others---each heart is drawn in a way peculiar to itself—to him this was the thought, “We have found Him, of whom Moses in the Law, and the Prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph." So Philip tells his joy forth (ver. 45) to Nathanael. But Philip had seen Jesus and heard His word, and Nathanael had not. Those that had seen and heard, and felt the drawing power of a living Jesus, found no blot to take notice of in His being of Nazareth. Not so Nathanael, to whom Philip told of his rich discovery. Nathanael was a good man, and a thoughtful but when mentality is in sway and the heart not yet kindled by a personal knowledge of the Lord, this was felt as a difficulty, and a great one too.
"Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth ?” saith he. One can sympathise with his difficulty. What! the Hope of Israel -the King of Israel be a Nazarene! And how blessedly too, can one's heart go along with Philip in his answer
. Having seen and tasted for himself of the indescribable beauty and blessedness of the power of the Lord, the question, Can any good thing come out of Nazarethdaunts him in no wise—the Lord Himself seems to rise before his mind, and He says simply "Come and see.”
Jesus' conduct as to Nathanael is remarkable. Himself surely was drawing Nathanael into His net. He waits not to see what effect the sight of Himself will produce, but goes forward lovingly, and yet aggressively, to make the new comer conscious that he was not coming to judge for himself about Jesus, but to be judged by Jesus. And what a contrast between the graceless questioning of Nathanael, whether any good thing could come out of Nazareth, when Jesus Himself, come thence, was in question; and the Lord's abrupt, but most gracious, estimate of Nathanael pronounced about him as he approached and ere ever he had spoken: Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! If Nathanael had been merely a mentalist, this would have thrown him back
upon himself; but he had a heart, and a heart that was right before God, uninstructed as it might be-a heart which pondered things in secret before God, and therefore not himself and the suitability or want of suitability to himself of the word of commendation given of himself by Jesus, ruled; but the strangeness of the secret power by which One seen for the first time professed to know all
about him. “Whence knowest thou me?” is his reply. He was in light; and whence had this Stranger that light. Jesus answers his enquiry by another statement, “ Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee” (48). What is there in this in seeing a man under a tree and telling him of it—nothing at all. Ah, but when the Lord is at work, and conscience is alive, a little word that has nothing in it, is full of light and life. So was it in this case; and Nathanael answers, "Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel.”
Jesus said unto him: “Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these. And He saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, hereafter ye shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man” (vers. 50, 51.)"
How perfect are all His ways! Those whom He sees exercised in secret before God-to them He reveals Himself as knowing them; as Son of God and as King of Israel; and as Himself able to connect these secret hid. den exercises of their hearts before God, with entrance into and perception of the glories which heaven shall open upon and pour down on Him as Son of man—the
Centre, end, and aim of all divine counsels.
This is the Man whom God delights to honour! Let the happy setting to of our concurrence, that He alone is worthy, be found in a hearty AMEN AND AMEN.
We may, I think, fairly use the Bible history of that of which Nathanael is a type, to suggest what was on his mind at the time. The remnant in connection with Israel to which he points will
, with many a thought of the glory that pertains to Israel's Messiah, be puzzled and perplexed
from not seeing that moral glory takes the lead of and is above all external glory. They will find it hard to recognise the Son of God and the King of Israel in the Nazarene-in the Lamb that was slain. They will have a fearful conflict in secret, ere they will be able to renounce creature-righteousness in favour of divine. Some exercise, I doubt not, common to Nathanael and the anti-typical remnant-had been Nathanael's under the fig—and there he met one who knew all about the claims of God and how they were to be met, just as much as He knew all about Nathanael's heart, aod life, and private walk.
THE HOUSE OF GOD,
AS SEEN IN I Cor. viii.-xiv. This divine discourse on the House of God, the House of this Dispensation, is brought forth by reason of an enquiry made of the Apostle by the saints at Corinth, touching their further fellowship with idol sacrifices.
How commonly has the wisdom of God been brought to us, through our ignorance! In various ways we erect our altars to the unknown God,"—but He, upon that, in grace declares, Himself to us. Just as new and fresh blessings have come to us, by reason of our own failures -or, as redemption itself has been displayed because of our sin, our great apostasy, our condition of self-wrought ruin.
“Now as touching things offered unto idols,” writes the Apostle, at the opening of this fine and weighty scripture; and these words intimate, that he is addressing himself to some communication he had received from the Corinthians on the subject.
He then takes up this matter, " eating things offered in sacrifice to idols,” beginning, however, to consider or discuss it, on the lowest ground, as I may say. .
In the progress of chapter viii., he shows the Corinthians, that, by their eating of idol-sacrifices, they were breaking the law of love; inasmuch as by their using their own liberty in this case, they were paining and tempting those who had not the like liberty.
Then, in chapter ix., he enforces this duty of considering their weak brethren, by showing them what his own ways had been, how he had never used his liberty in the Gospel, lest he should offend others, or hinder their acceptance of blessing.
Now, this argument, I may say, was taking the lowest ground upon which this grave subject of eating sacrifices