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we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, eveu so we also should walk in newness of life. For if wo havo been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall bo also in the likeness of His resurrection." The apostle is teaching believers that they are dead to sin, and to show that according to the mind of God this is absolutely true, he tells ua that baptism signifies burial. The believer is, as to his standing before God, no longer as descended from Adam. God regards his Adam nature as dead: he is a "new creature." The believer signifies by baptism (whether ha fully understands it or not) that he sides with God in condemning flesh as utterly worthless. He was mysteriously made a partaker of judgment and death in the person of Jesus Christ; and he therefore gives his body to bo laid in .the water as though dead. From this attitude ho is raised up, and thus in a figure shows that which is actually true, namely, that he is in resurrection life. Death, in the way of judgment, ho will never encounter. Christ, in wondrous lovo, accepted death for him eighteen hundred years ago, and He now as it were ratifies that act: in the first place, by faith in his Saviour; and secondly, by tho outward form of baptism. Thus, then, water baptism teaches death and resurrection: death past, and resurrection life in Christ in possession. (See Col. ii. 12, 13.)
As partakers, then, of death and lifo through Jesus Christ our Lord, who would forego tho privilege of sotting this forth by the baptism which He has orduined?
But again, we have allusion to baptism in tho first Epistle to Corinthians x. 1—" Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should bo ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and were alt baptized (tho same figure of burial) unto Moses in tho cloud and in the sea," Herein we learn that none of those who came out of Egypt were exempt from this baptism to Moses. To the Christian, Egypt represents the world; we are called out of it by faith in Jesus, and should evidently all be baptized to him. The Israelites had no place as worshippers until after this baptism to Moses; it was after they were thus baptized that God gave them his Sabbath, and fed thorn with manna, and taught them how to worship Him!
Such is rightfully tho teaching for tho Christian also ; though he may, and alas does, set aside God's order of things, because he is " not under law but under grace." But tho Lord loves His people to bo faithful to all his words, and thoso will realize greatest blessing who seek, in tho way Ho hus indicated, to please Him. The whole course of this Chapter (1 Cor. x.) enforces not only tho duty of conformity to baptism, but the primary place given to it in Christian life. The apostle begins the chapter with baptism, and goes on to the Lord's Supper, and worship, in regular order. This is insisted upon, that in the word of God, water baptism is always interposed between declaration of faith and the full privileges of the believer, as touching the assembly and fellowship with Christians. In other words, tho Christian has no right (according to scripture) to take his placo among Christians whilo he repudiates baptism. Of course it is admitted that it is mainly owing to unfaithfulness on the part of the majority of Gospel preachers, in this matter, that so few receive tho rite of baptism. Hut conscience once aroused, our duty is clear, to return to first principles, taking tho Bible as our only guide. It is by that only wo arc taught of the Holy Ghost. Let thore be no fear of seeming to be legal. Look how the next chapter in Corinthians opens (verse 2)—" Now I praise you, brethren, that you remembor me in all things, and keep tho ordinances as I delivered them to you."
One more reference. In 1 Peter iii. 20 the Apostle refers to tho days of Noah, and the ark in which oight souls wero saved by water ; then ho says (verso 21)—"The liko figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us." Tho salvation of Noah and his family, in the ark is a figure of baptism, and baptism is a figure of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. It is specially tho resurrection aspect of baptism which is here looked at (see conclusion of the verse) " by the rosurrection of Jesus Christ."
Looking at the manner of Noah's deliverance as given us here to be the type of Christian baptism wo find the samo lino of truth pressed upon our attention, which we have seen repeated again and again, namely, that baptism is the first thing
required of a beliover. Noah was a believor on the other side of the flood, there was no question about his faith ; he had to prove his faith by building tho ark, and submitting to tho baptism of the waters of death—and what then? He could build an altar, and be accepted of God as a worshipper!
We cannot conclude without a brief remark upon the proctioe of sprinkling infants. The dreadful delusion whioh prevails on this subject is said to bo based upon tho words of our Lord —" Suffer little children to come unto mo, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Now it must bo remembered that the disciples wero about to prevent children from coming to Jesus. But He will not suffer any to be prevented who are willing to come to Him, especially children and all of childlike mind. But what has this to do with baptism? Is it not obvious, that if tho Ijord had contemplated infant baptism, He would have enjoined it on that very occasion? The reader will havo perused this paper in vain if he fuils to soo that unless the reception of water baptism bo an evidence of faith already existing in the person receiving it, it is utterly in vain, and is a mcro mockery. No terms can be too strong in denouncing any who wilfully teach (that is, with full knowledge of its meaning^ the doctrine as set forth in the ritual and Catechism of the Church of England. The entire system with its promises and vows, its godfathers and godmothers, and its confirmation to follow, is not only opposed to the letter of Scripture, but is entirely subversive of the spirit of Christianity. To the simple hearted who lovo the Lord Josus Christ, these remarks are addressed. They are intended as an exhortation to faithfulness on a point respecting which nearly all Christendom has proved unfaithful. Baptism is a command, though thore are no pains and penalties recorded against its nonfulfilment. It is dcoply significant, but is not essential to salvation. It is a test of faith and love, and therefore we know not what consequences may attend failure respecting it. There are cases, such as that of the thiof on the cross, where water baptism cannot be received. Of such it will never be required. It is a matter for each one's conscience. We shall all be revealed in tho presonco of Christ in that bright day whon nothing will remain secret. What reason, dear reader, will you give to tho Lord (if unbaptizod) for your disobedience "and lack of love? Thanks be to Jesus our Lord, you cannot imperil your salvation if you believe in Him; but the word of God clearly reveals that our position in glory will depend upon the degree of our faithfulness here, "as one star differeth from another star in glory." Even in our present state, be assured spiritual happiness is ever consequent upon obedience.
Finallv, to any who may bo exercised in spirit by truth presented herein, and may consequently bo cast about as to who to apply to for help and guidance. Have full confidence in the " written word; " pray God to guide you. Any Christian can baptize you. As to fellowship,—remember tho Lord's precious assurance, "whore two or throo are gathered together in my name, thore am I in the midst of them."
The Editor will gladly aid with such counsel as the Lord may enable him to give, any who may desire it; but he would chiofly urge searching tho word of God and prayer.
OTJR CORRESPONDENTS AND OURSELVES.
W. D. W., Hereford.— Your letter is written in so very gracious a spirit that we would fain quote from it at some length if any good were likely to result. In speaking of the "leading brother at Plymouth," with reference to the great rupture between " The Brethren," we had no desire to press unduly on him personally. Doubtless his opponents dealt with him most unscripturally. The exclusive party assumed judgment where they had no jurisdiction. Their leader, and the few in power who act with him, seem to have been overtaken with that spirit of persecution which has more or less characterised every Christian sect, as in turn each has attained to any degree of ascendancy. It is heartrending to find among godly men such unholy zeal. No doubt all you say is correct respecting the one in whose defence you write, whom you describe as so cruelly persecuted. It seems clear that his heretical writing (indited, we are willing to believe, without evil intent,) had for years freely circulated amongst those who eventually made use of it to hunt the writer down. But alter all this is admitted "he was to be blamed," not forcausing a rupture in the confederacy, but for what he wrote. Had he not taught Christ-dishonouring doctrine, it could not have been used against him. This brother is now publishing a pamphlet in which he seeks to show that the calling of the church is not special to this dispensation, but includes all saved before Christ came to sufler for sin. We hope he is not sinning against the light. Alas! how many have been betrayed; like Diotrephes, through love of pre-eminence. This is thctrue spring of bitterness among " the Brethren," i.nd in all other divisions of the Church. How it contrasts with the Lord's words. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me." We expect, dear brother, no "healing of breaches," but "we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."
A. Z.—iSee our answer to W. D. W.
G.H. Duke-street—In our statements about "theBrethren" or " Plymouth Brethren," we haveendeavoured as fur as possible to avoid speaking of individuals. Our object was to show that as an association they had dishonoured the Lord Jesus respecting water baptism—also that they are opposed to Scripture in actingas a confederacy—and thut the result has been on the part of those who assumed power, a manifestation of intolerance, persecution and bigotry, which we should have thought impossible among those who love the Saviour. Yet they do love Jesus j who that knows them can doubt it? How greatly too the Lord has used them to spread the truth! We love them then for all their well-doing, and pity their shortcomings. May each little gathering yet be brought to see that the Head of the Church is the only safe guide, and that His words, followed in their integrity, are wiser than all the wisdom of men. May they yet learn that Spiritual strength is not found in human combinations—that on the contrary the Lord's word is "My strength is made perfect in weakness."—See also our answer to W. D. \V.
L. C. H. Higiioate—informs us that on one occasion, when the ground, of rupture among the Brethren was discussed, a brother present enquired of the chief leader of the exclusive party—" Hear Brother, why did you not stay at Plymouth and drive out the evil?" The reply was, "God alone can drive out evil." Our Brother adds, "Oh, that even now, he and his followers would act on this principle and lay down their arms." Many thanks for your kind offer of the tracts on "Philanthropy,'' but we do not know how to effect a gratuitous distribution of them. We would gladly have reviewed the paper if procurable of a publisher. Will you kindly point out wherein you consider we are in error about Baptism? Need we say that mere thoughts are of no avail when a command of the Lord is in question?
A. G. Birmingham.—Many thanks for your long and kind letter. We would gladly avail ourselves of the information you communicate if suited to our pages. You will notice, however, that our object is to unfold scripture truth without displaying human agencies. Respecting the preaching of the Gospel of Salvation, we thank the Lord of the harvest for sending forth in these days many true evangelists—We pray God to sustain them and give them grace to declare the truth with all boldness, but with all humility. The Lord will prosper his own servants provided there be thorough dependence upon him.
J. H. D.—"Mourningand feasting." This paper is very nicely written, but scarcely pointed enough for the needs of the present day. We thank the writer, though we cannot afford space for the communication.
P.—Thanks for the kind interest you have taken in the spread of Precious Truth. Respecting the paper on the "New Church" so called, it is quite beyond criticism; contradiction of the plain statements of the word of God abound almost in every sentence. The doctrines of Swedenborg live only through the ignorance of his followers. If they would but search the
scriptures they could scarcely fail to detect the glaring impostures of that false prophet.
J. G. E.—You will doubtless have seen in our reply to J. R.,
in our last, the chief part of your own inquiry answered.
Respecting Rom. ii. 7—none but the regenerate, those who are born again, can be found answering Hie description in that scripture. If a natural man can be found, in patient continuance in well doing, let him claim the promised reward; of course from childhood there must have been this patient continuance in well-doing, and it must be also maintained to the end of this present lite. The first three chapters in Romans must be read in connection; then you will come to the plain declaration, that "both Jews and Gentiles are ull under siu; as it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one." And again, "that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." Where is deliverance to be found? In Jesus Christ. He lias wrought salvation for all who trust in him. All who refuse to believe in the only Saviour are condemned already, and pass away in their sins into eternal misery. As to 2 Tim. i. 10, you must read the 9th with the 10th verse, which makes it plain that for those who are saved (believers only) Christ hath abolished death, &c. You will almost invariably find deliverance from any supposed scripture difficulty by looking at the context prayerfully, under the
guidance of the Holy Ghost. -" Thoniosites," we suppose,
are followers of Hr. I horuas, one of whose pamphlets we have been reading. He seems to have acquired some insight into dispensational truth; but he writes in a somewhat mystifying style. If we understand him, he appears to teach that water baptism is essential to salvation. This is contrary to truth.
Communications Received Euom—J. H. J. Monks Eleigh; J. R., Edinburgh; J. M. D. Wigan; W. Shorter; Mnuson; to bo answered in our next.D.V. Also Notices of Books.
To CoaiiEsroNDENTs.—Wo invite enquiries tending to the elucidation of scriptuinl truth. Controversial questions should be avoided entirely, if possible. Letters must bo pent before the loth. Letters for the Editor to be addressed to 335, Strand, W.C.
EiiHoii.—A few copies of No. 8 got into circulation with tho following error :—The first lino of the second column of page 55, was placed as the second line of the first column of page 56.
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JANUABY 1, 1866.
THE EDITOR'S LETTER TO THE CHRISTIAN READER
Patience! Beloved, Patience! This is a theme on which -we have much need to exhort one another. It is what the word of God constantly pressos upon all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Having already obtained salvation through faith in him, why are we left in the wilderness? There should be no doubt as to the reason why. God's purpose is that we should glorify him by living a life of faith— enduring a condition of things entirely contrary to the new nature which he has given to us. We are to endure as seeing him who is invisible, (i. e. as though wo could always see God.)
But not only so: we are to wait as those who are heirs to an incorruptible inheritance. It is not as though we were uncertain as to what will eventually become of us. God has made known to us that " we are more than conquerors through him that loved us," — that we are "joint-heirs with Christ," already "accepted in the Beloved." The only uncertainty on our side has regard to time. We wait to be taken home, to be changed into the likeness of Jesus, and to be put in possession of the inheritance—the free gift of God. How soon the change will come, we know not, though our heavenly Father knows full well. Hence the necessity for the exercise of patience.
"For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receives the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will como and will not tarry."
While he tarries, we are to live by faith, as the Scripture quoted (Heb. x.) goes on to say.
A similar exhortation to patience is given for our comfort in the Epistle of James—
"Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto tho coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and Ure latter rain. Be ye also pationt; stablish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."
AVhat a beautiful illustration is here given of what the Lord looks for in us! The fanner expects the fertilising rains of spring and autumn. He sows his corn seed in faith, and waits the result with patience ; he reckons that in due time he shall gather in the harvest. So may it be with you and I, beloved in the Lord. In our case, no vicissitudes of weather can alter the final result. All is secured for ua in Christ Jesus our Lord. All God's promises are Yea and Amen in Him. There is, ot course, the question of rewards and degree of glory, dependent
upon faithful walk down here. But the certainties of eternal life and heirship were settled, the moment we trusted in Jesus.
Patience, then, beloved; ye have need of patience. I pray you, be firmly established in the promises our Lord has so abundantly given you. Stand firmly in the established fact that you are going to God in the glory. Let both your life and conversation assert this fearlessly, yet with all humility. Say this—" I am a poor sinner deserving hell; but through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, / am saved; and am therefore patiently waiting for my Bedeemer to take me to heaven. He has said he will como and take mo to himself, and to the mansions he has gone to prepare, and He will do it."
Never suffer Satan to get you on the vantago ground of uncertainty. He may often tell you how unfit you are for the presence of God. Let your ready answer be—" Christ is fit, and I am accepted in Him. Moreover, when He comes I shall be changed into his likoness—in that likeness shall I appear in the presence of God."
Bemember we havo to Stand against tho Wiles of the Devil. Ho seeks to cheat and deceive us in every way. It is not an openly avowed foe we have to. contend with, but our adversary is the Prince of Darkness. Yet fear not: "Greateb is He that is in you, than he that is in the world." You have the Holy Ghost the Comforter ever with you—in you. Be therefore strong—not in yourself, but in the Lord. Put on the Whole armour of God. Do not attempt to make shift with a part of it. (See Eph. vi. 10—18.) Pray always. Stand firm in the assurance that the Lord Jesus will quickly come, and deliver you once and for ever.
Though olad in the whole armour of God, you are only to stand on the defensive. You cannot destroy your foe; yeu can only resist him. You cannot march up to heaven as a warrior. You can only stand and wait patiently, till He who has conquered for you, comes forth with the welcome shout. Then faith will be wanted no more; you will need no further exhortation to patience. That which is now seen as through a glass darkly, will then be a bright, glorious, eternal possession. Oh, dear brother, dear sister, you may well Wait in meekness and Patience, for it is true, that " when Christ, our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory."
Yours ever in Him,
In true Christian love,
The Editor of Precious Tbtjth.
TO MR. W PABKS, B.A.
Deae Bbotuer In Christ,—
Considering you to be a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, we thus address you. Hitherto we have spoken of you, or rather, of your writings. Henceforth we purpose to address you personally. We hope thus to be able to speak more lovingly, in pointing out the grievous errors you are teaching.
What aro we to think of you as a professed minister of Christ, when, instead of teaching the plain and simple truth as it is in Jesus, you talk about syllogism A and syllogism B—a series of mental propositions erected by yourself for the purpose of overthrowing them? Is that sort of preaching in conformity with the passage in 1 Cor. ii. 1—5?
"And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech, or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, Bave Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power; that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
We refrain from further consideration of your extravagant language, both in reasoning and declamation; but cannot help expressing our grief to see be much argument expended in an endeavour to prove that the Lord Jesus is Unwilling (!) to save.
It is now our duty to consider the Scriptures you quote in support of your doctrine. At page 13 of your tract (" Professor, Beware,") you say—
"Christ and Paul have most distinctly stated that "no man can believe without supernatural power,"
And you quote in support of this assertion John vi. 44 and 1 Cor. ii. 14. The first-named Scripture contains the following words from the mouth of the Lord Jesus—
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath ■ont me draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day."
Now, in verse 40 of the same chapter we get a very simple explanation of the above—
"This is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and belteveth on Him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
The Father draws to Jesus all who believe in him. Look at living instances—those who came to Jesus, as set before us in the Gospel narratives, such as the leper, the sick of the palsy, Jairus, the woman with an issue of blood, the Syro-phenician woman, &c. &Q. What were all these but believers? and why were they drawn to Jesus, but because they were believers? Such are they whom the Father draws to the Son! According to your theory, the Father draws unbelievers to the Son, that He may give them faith. But the Scriptures tell us that sinners who believe are drawn to Jesus, that He may save them!
You see, brother, you and the word of God are quite at variance.
Turn we now to your next Scripture, 1 Cor. ii. 14.
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God : for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
The subject here treated of, as you surely must see, is not salvation, but the unfolding of the hidden wisdom of God to believers. We have given, in the commencement of this letter, the portion of the chapter which speaks of Salvation, ending at the 5th verse. From that point the Apostle dilates upon God's dealings with believers, thus—
"Howbeit wo speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought; but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory. Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spxril; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him t Even so, the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now, we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God j that we might know the things that are freely given us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receive not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind; of Christ"
What has all this to do with your assertion, that "Christ and Paul distinctly stated that no man can believe without supernatural power"? The whole object of this passage is to show the necessity of being a believer, and having the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and that because the things of the Spirit are foolishness to the unbeliever. There is nothing at all about faith being given to the unbeliever to receive the Gospel message. You confound two very different things. Paul speaks of some in his day who "handled the word of God deceitfully," we do not accuse you of this; God knoweth our hearts. But it is clear, you do not "rightly divide the word of truth."
You have, in fact, selected a text which condemns your position entirely, for this passage is quite in accordance with Eph. i. 13—
"In whom (Christ) ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, tho Gospel of your salvation: in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise."
The Holy Ghost is given to believers, that they may understand and teach spiritual truth. He is given after they believe, as the above passage shows. He is never given to unbelievers. You cannot find a scripture to justify such a thought.
Your further quotations in our next, if the Lord will.
COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL BY
BT IHH EDITOR OP "PRECIOUS TRBTH."
"And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jeans was there, and both Jeans was called and his disciples to the marriage." (1, 2.)
Why the third day? The third period of the world's history had commenced. At its close there is to be a marriage in heaven: the glorified Son of God is to receive his Bride (the Church) and she will have made herself ready. But Cana of Galilee was emulous, and in spirit anticipated and typified that heavenly union. (Cana signifies—Emulation.) In the joyful time to come, Jesus and his disciples will occupy the foremost place. In Cana, they were but invited guests.
"And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine." (3.)
How touchingly simple, yet how noble! The mother of Jesus knew what a tender heart was in her son; he would sympathise with the need of the hour. She was conscious, too, that his power equalled his gentleness and his grace; she, therefore, asked nothing, but only mentioned the want. Was she not, however, trespassing upon his love? Was it not presuming upon a temporary relationship which was soon to come to an end? It would seem so?
"Jesus saith unto her.Woman, what have I to do with thee P mine hour is not yet come." (4.)
He had indeed descended from heaven to provide joy and gladness for the children of men; but the time had not yet come. He must first endure suffering and death ;—the poured out wine was to become the emblem of his own precious blood, shed for sinners, ere man could thoroughly joy in the blood of the grape. However, Mary had not reckoned in vain upon the exceeding grace of Jesus.
- His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever He saith unto you, Do it." (6.)
Oh, that these words were graven on the heart of every servant! How sublime in their brevity, and how perfect! Never let a Christian speculate as to what he is to do. The Lord Jesus, after his resurrection, gave the same directions—" Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever / have commanded you." (Matt, xxviii. 19, 20.) — Yes, that is it; "Whatsoever He saith unto you, Bo it."
"And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins a-piece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim."
And the water became wine, without another word or touch. The Creator was there—and his will was sufficient. The wine that was wanted to make glad that little company, was supplied without stint. It ■was limited only by the number and capacity of the] water-poto.
"And he saith unto thorn, Draw out now, and bear unto th governor of the feast. And thoy bare it." (8.)
Here we have the lesson illustrated with the same grand simplicity of sacred narrative. How brief are the words! how unhesitating and prompt the responses! Jesus said, Do this, and Do that; and they did it. Speaking after the manner of men, these servants had some room for questioning the value of the work He had given them to do. The Lord had not told them what Iie should effect; and we should scarcely have been surprised, had they hesitated to carry to the governor of the feast what they had just poured into the vessels as water, knowing that he expected wine. But they had received the command, and they oboyed it. May we willingly learn the lesson which the Holy Ghost would teach us here. How few, comparatively, of the Lord's own servants —his blood bought ones—accept the simple expression of His will, and do it!
"When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whenoe it was ; (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man at tho beginning doth set forth good wine ; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now." (9, 10.)
So the bridegroom was praised for the blessing that Jesus had wrought. But the servants which drew the water knew! Yes—and the servants who draw the water of the Word, and minister it to needy souls—they know that it is the power and love of Jesus which turns the water into wine. The water of life (tho Word of God), given and received in faith, becomes, through Jesus, the cup of Salvation—the wine which fills the believer's soul with joy unspeakable and full of glory. But, alas! some accept praise and honour from man for work which is all of the Saviour!
; "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him." (11.)
Fit commencement of the work the Father had given him to do! Herein he shows us, too, some of the features of his own bright character. He came in accepted weakness, and pure as water; but he poured out the life-stream in blood. For our sakes he endured, under the winepress of judgment; and for us he has become a continual joy, of which wine is but, as it were, the shadow of an image or figure.
From Galilee, he manifested forth his glory; it was outside tho hitherto favoured city of Jerusalem, that the Lord commenced his ministry. Happy indication of what is going on now; namely, the display of the grace and glory of Jesus to the despised and rejected ones of the world. Galilee and its inhabitants were held in contempt, and the true disciples of Christ now are lightly esteemed, as were the Galilaoans.
"Lay Aside Evert Weight."—Though the weights bo as precious (in an earthly sense) as gold, lay them aside, to run ail the better in the Life of Faith.",,,