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that sacrifice by which he expiated for man, read the evil and malignity of sin, and learn the severity of the punishment which awaits thee, if his blood be not sprinkled upon thee, if thou hast no part in his sacrifice.
Behold him, broken-hearted penitent! A believing view of this Lamb of God will always afford peace to the contrite soul. For thee he was sent, for thee he was offered up. Banish the false and discouraging thought that thou art excluded from his mercy: he “ taketh away the sin of the world';" he is infinite in power and grace. Listen to him whilst he cries, “ Look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth.” Trust in him with confidence, for “ he is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God
Behold him, professing Christian, and triumph in the sufficiency of his merits, glory in the firm foundation on which your hope is built; but remember, that he taketh away, not only the guilt, but also the power of sin; and that you in vain pretend to behold him as the ground of your hope, if you do not at the same time look to him as a pattern for your imitation. Behold the Lamb of God. He is worthy the fixed contemplation of us all. Angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, continually view him in heaven with ever new delight; and all the pious on earth, by faith behold his perfections, and fasten their thoughts upon them as the spring of their sweetest consolation, as the most powerful incentive to holi
The next day after John had given this public testimony to Jesus, he was standing with two disciples when the Saviour passed, and repeated it in their hearing. These disciples were Andrew, Simon
Peter's brother, and probably John the Evangelist. it being customary with him to conceal bis own name in his writings. They immediately followed Jesus to his habitation, and were received with that benignity and kindness which he ever displayed. A long conversation with him, united to the testimony of the Baptist, the descent of the Spirit upon him, and the voice from heaven, could not fail to convince them that he was indeed the Messiah.
The soul that is acquainted with Christ wishes its neighbours, its friends, and relatives, to know him also. No wonder then that Andrew, full of joy, hastened to find his brother Simon, to inform him that Messiah had come, and to carry him to behold the object of their common wishes and desires. Simon hastens to the Saviour, who receives him with affection; and, though he had never seen him before, salutes him by his own and his father's name, adding, that he should henceforth be called Cephas, which in the Syro-Chaldaic, the language then spoken by the Jews, has the same signification with the word nelpos in Greek, and rock or stone in English. Hence this disciple derived the name of Peter, by which he was usually henceforth distinguished. 66 When Jesus beheld him, he said, thou art Simon the son of Jonah, thou shalt be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, a stone." By the imposition of this new and characteristic name, the Saviour intimated that he would display a firmness of resolution, and a constancy of attachment; and that the Christian church should be built upon his labours. The event justi- fied this prediction ; since he was the first who, after the miraculous descent of the Holy Spirit, preached the gospel to the Jews on the day of Pentecost, and since he was the first also who carried it to the Gentile nations.
The next day after Jesus had thus spoken to Peter and Andrew, he returned into Galilee, whence he had come to be baptized by John. He there finds Philip, whom he had destined to the apostleship, and says unto him, “ Follow me,” to be a witness of my discourses and my actions. Philip, who being a townsman of Andrew and Peter, had perhaps heard them speak of Jesus, and been made acquainted with the testimony of the Baptist, and whose heart was also impressed by the Holy Spirit, immediately followed the Redeemer. Imitate this docility, my brethren; be ready to obey the voice of the Lord, and to follow him the moment he calls you. Thus only can you be his disciples.
Philip, like Andrew, was not satisfied with having himself found the Saviour. He immediately endeavours to make Nathaniel (who is supposed to be the same person, who is mentioned by the other Evangelists under the name of Bartholemew) acquainted with him. Nathaniel had the same prejudices which generally prevailed among his countrymen, and thought that nothing good could proceed from Nazareth; but being of a candid disposition and open to conviction, he instantly complied with the request of Philip, who asked him to “ come and see,” that he might form a right judgment respecting this momentous question. On his approach Jesus honoured him with the amiable character of an Israelite indeed without guile;" • a man without prevailing and allowed insincerity in his conduct towards God or his fellow creatures.' Nathaniel. surprised at this high eulogium from one that he had never seen, inquires of Jesus, " whence knowest thou me?" Jesus answered, “ before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree I saw
thee.” i. e. I have thoroughly known you without any personal interview with you. To convince you of this, I assure you that I was present with you in a circumstance to which none but God and your own soul were privy. Under the fig-tree, to which you had retired before Philip called you, I saw your inmost soul.' We cannot tell what had been the ticular occupations of Nathaniel under the fig-tree, whether he had been praying for instruction respecting the Messiah, or, as is not improbable, meditating on Jacob's vision, or in some other mode maintaining secret intercourse with God. But when Jesus reminded him of this solemn secret transaction between God and his soul, all his prejudices vanished; and convinced that Christ was the searcher of hearts, he cried out with humility and reverence, “ Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the king of Israel.” Jesus in reply commended his faith, but assured him, that this was but a prelude to what he should hereafter behold, since he should see the whole frame of nature subject to his command; a happy correspondence established by him between heaven and earth; and angels attending to pay their honours to him.
My brethren, are there many of us to whom Jesus would give the same lovely character as he here does to Nathaniel; “ an Israelite indeed without guile ?” Like Nathaniel we must appear before him, and as he discerned the character of this disciple so as to pronounce upon it with infallible certainty, so he discerns our characters, and will declare them to the universe. Of more than one of us I trust he will
say, Behold an Israelite indeed in whom was no guile. I saw him under the fig-tree; I heard his groans;
I saw his wrestlings with God in
prayer; I treasured up his tears; and I testify before all that his heart was
right with God.' But I fear that of a far greater number of us he will declare, Behold a disscmbler with God; an Israelite only in name. I saw him under the fig-tree; I marked the secret corruptions that he harboured in his heart, and the allowed neglects of which he was habitually guilty: he would follow his convictions, and devote himself to me as far as his ease, his honour, and his interests would permit, but no further; and therefore, on account of his secret reserves, and his allowed guile, he must take his portion with hypocrites and unbelievers.' Who can reflect on the consequences of such a decision, and not desire so to live that the testimony of Jesus may be favourable to him?
On the third day after Jesus and his disciples arrived at Galilee, they went to a marriage that was in Cana. During the progress of the feast the wine failed; perhaps in consequence of the number who came to see the Saviour, who now began to excite the public attention. Mary mentioned it to Jesus, and intimated her desire that he would by miracle supply them; the Saviour reproved her for presuming to direct him in the duties of his ministry; and insinuated that his miracles were to be performed, not for the convenience of his friends, but in pursuance of the great ends he had in view, the conversion and salvation of mankind. But though Mary acted improperly in making this request, Jesus knowing that it would confirm his disciples' faith, and advance his mission, complied with it; and ordering six waterpots to be filled with water, instantly changed it into wine; thus making a sufficient provision for the seven days of the feast, and even providing for the future necessities of the new married couple, by conferring on them a valuable nuptial present in this modest