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How different the case of unbelievers! Poffibly, they may assume certain fpecious appearances of virtue, and pretend a high regard to morality; yet, not being impressed with any deep conviction of fin, they have no true value for the Saviour, and refuse him the submission which he requires. On that ground, they are liable to perish eternally. Since faith in the Son of God is the only appointed means of deliverance from condemnation, all
, who are destitute of this principle, whatever else they may plead, remain under the sentence of death. Indeed, without any confideration of their contempt and rejection of the Gospel, as tranfgreffors of the divine law they have incurred the threatened penalty: and who shall acquit them? Jesus Christ " was manifefted to take a way our fins;” but they can receive no benefit from that grace, which they despise. Nay, this very cir- . cumstance aggravates their guilt, and not only enfures their punishment, but will increase their misery for ever. “ He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.” Unbelief, therefore, is an offence peculiarly heinous and more destructive than any other, as it effectually bars the door of mercy.
Various objections are urged against this representation. It is said, that, while faith is insisted on, as =
the only point of distinction, the grand criterion by which the states of men will be finally determined, we derogate from the holiness and justice of God, as if he paid no regard to their moral characters. We reply, that none poffefs any moral excellence in themselves, previous to their acceptance with God on the terms of the Gospel. But the grace of God produces a difference; and such a difference, as proves that he acts agreeably to his own perfections, both when he faves, and when he condemns. This is the description here given by our Lord himself.
Jesus, retiring from J:rusalem to Galilee, passed through
Samaria--conversed with a woman of Sychar-replied to his disciples, who brought him food-abode two days with the Samaritans, and had many converts
went to Cana, and cured ibe fon of a nableman at :. Capernaum.
copy after it.
“ He hath left us an example, that we should follow his steps *.” It will, therefore, be necessary for us to contemplate this illustrious pattern with serious attention, that according to our measure we may
“ He, that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also fo to walk, even as he walked t." Among other particulars, which are proposed for ou: imitation, his unwearied diligence and zeal, in accomplishing the grand object of his mission, were no: the least remarkable. His ministry, though contracted within narrow limits, was most laborious. For the last three years and a half, which is supposed to include the whole of his public life, he travelled much, and preached often; and that too, with great fatigue of both body and mind. If we accompany him from place to place, we shall observe bim conftantly intent upon his work, foregoing his own eale ; and comfort, and cheerfully meeting extreme suffer: ings, that he might be useful. In one word, he went about doing good I."
1 Pet. ii. 21.
* * John ii. 6.
Acts x. 38.
Have we nothing to learn from this description? Is it rrot likewise incumbent upon us to be active, for the short feason we may continue here? And should we not desire, not so much to live long, as to fill up portion of time, whatever it may be, in an honourable and profitable manner? If we have the mind of Christ, we shall eagerly seize every opportunity, wherever we may travel, to glorify God and promote the falvation of our fellow creatures: and those we shall account good journeys indeed, which have contributed to the conversion of a sinner. But alas! they, who follow the Saviour most closely, still remain at a great distance from him. Even his faithful servants may justly be covered with confusion, when they think how little they possess of his diligence, self-denial, fortitude, and zeal. How preposterous, then, is sloth and sensuality in those who are called by his name!
It is probable that our Lord continued at Jerusalem, and in the neighbouring parts of Judea, for some months after his conference with Nicodemus. But at length, his popularity having rendered him offenfive to the Pharisees, he judged it expedient, for his own safety, that he should remove to Galilee, in order to retire from their observation * A prudent attention to our own security, when we are exposed to the assaults or stratagems of enemies, is in no refpect inconsistent with religious fidelity and courage. We should not fhrink from danger, when we meet it in the path of duty; but it would be ralhness and presumption to hazard our lives without a necessary
In passing from Jerusalem to Galilee, he must of course go through the intermediate country of Samaria, which was then inhabited by a kind of degeperate Jews, who had mixed with the heathens, and introduced many of their idolatrous and superstitious
now hast, is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly." This itriking and unexpected discovery of the aJuliercus commerce, in which she was then living, produced the desired effect. She was instantly convicted, as if all her offences had been placed in array before hei*. Yet, probably with a view to shift c so dilagreeable a subjcét is her own wickedness, while she acknowledged Jesus to be a prophet from heaven, she requested inforination of him, touching the principal point in debate between the Jews and Samaritans. The latter retained only a part of the Mosaic law, and even that they had greatly corrupted. They had alfo erected a temple on mount Gerizim, in opposirion to that at Jerusalem; and each nation contended eagerly for its place, as well as mode, of worship.
Our Lord took the opportunity of explaining to the woman the dispensation of the Gospel, then about to be established, all'uring her, that all diftinéticn of places would Mortly ceale, so that men might every where have access unto God, and serve him accep.ably. He reproved the degeneracy of the Samaritans; and while he aflerted that the Salvation of God would proceed from the Jewilh church, he foretold the abolition of their rites and ceremonies, and insistej strongly on the necessity of pure, fervent, and fincere devotion. «God is a Spirit: and they, that worship him, muft worhip him in spirit and in truth." The solemnity of this address could not but affect her mind; and im nediately she was led to mention her expectation of Meffiah, the promised Deliverer, and of the reformation which he would introduce. Prepared, no doubt, as our Lord then saw her, to receive the declaration, without any further preface, or apprehension of danger from the discovery, he made himself known to her as the exalted Personage, whom the looked for: “J, that speak unto three, am he."
Jchn iv, 29.
And did he ever inal; 'exte aav in siis one'. o fufpenie about his character, as ze dat cu vorld. Does he not give ail uchry atornaran my very one, who eanety incidas as dizzo res; let us be encouraged to a< ind vit er 15. ivine teaching: “ Taen thail we inw. * ow on to know the Lord * " V3", he he Jesus is to large and free, as o lursai al sur sariceptions. The hittory berore is emaidis it as preventing grace. So far fron dhani mis incro ignorant, bigotted, lewd, and women woman, te first made the overture of mercy to ser; creiec Thould feem, she would not irave iangu attzz 11n. He is ftill acting the fame kind aut conduiding port towards finners of the praient day.
Fees 3 message of peace and love to you, au klic t3 79112 attention. Your paft folly, your bei agus come and inveterate evil habits, will be so good as se difficulties with him. He can instruz; He can 2 don ; He can fanátity. “ boremorsers ard Ii. terers," fo continuing, “Godine ; ut whoremongers and adulterers har de cura: the grace of Jesus, may become ilyze its him, and then they hall icherit me kar som sebe ven.
Do we know the gift of God” Lusern. plate the excellence and the value of 15, a on sets burn with most ardent delires, that a: Tas eurs. Have we drink of this " se do we thirst for the refre birra freza.3 Fergis our fondness for the vanities of the works 7e ** strangers to the well of life;" for seis wenn mane fatissed the soul, So 23 to mace ceny COLECA ment, in comparison, appear poor and 056905
Perhaps it may excite out wordt, ata w63 of Samaria, and such a woman 0122 er,